Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Adjustment of Georges Bank and Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic Yellowtail Flounder Annual Catch Limits, 10719-10720 [2019-05429]

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[FR Doc. 2019–05362 Filed 3–21–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4152–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 190220138–9138–01] RIN 0648–XG833 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Adjustment of Georges Bank and Southern New England/MidAtlantic Yellowtail Flounder Annual Catch Limits National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary final rule; adjustment of annual catch limits. AGENCY: This action transfers unused quota of Georges Bank and Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder from the Atlantic scallop fishery to the Northeast multispecies fishery for the remainder of the 2018 fishing year. This quota transfer is authorized when the scallop fishery is not expected to catch its entire allocations of yellowtail flounder. The quota transfer is intended to provide additional fishing opportunities for groundfish vessels to help achieve the optimum yield for these stocks while ensuring sufficient amounts of yellowtail flounder remain available for the scallop fishery. DATES: Effective March 21, 2019, through April 30, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily Keiley, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281–9116. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS is required to estimate the total amount of yellowtail flounder catch from the scallop fishery by January 15 each year. If the scallop fishery is expected to catch less than 90 percent of its Georges Bank (GB) or Southern New England/ Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) yellowtail flounder sub-annual catch limit (ACL), the Regional Administrator (RA) has the authority to reduce the scallop fishery sub-ACL for these stocks to the amount projected to be caught, and increase the groundfish fishery sub-ACL by the same amount. This adjustment is intended to help achieve optimum yield for these stocks, while not threatening an overage of the ACLs for the stocks by the groundfish and scallop fisheries. Based on the most current available catch data, we project that the scallop SUMMARY: 10719 fishery will have unused quota in the 2018 fishing year. Using the highest expected catch, the scallop fishery is projected to catch approximately 14 mt of GB yellowtail flounder, or 44 percent of its 2018 fishing year sub-ACL, and approximately 3 mt of SNE/MA yellowtail flounder, or 80 percent of its 2018 fishing year sub-ACL. The analysis of the highest expected catch is based on the proportion of estimated yellowtail flounder catch occurring in February and March compared to catch in the remainder of the scallop fishing year. The highest proportion observed (in this case fishing year 2016) over the past six years is used to estimate the highest expected catch in fishing year 2018. Because the scallop fishery is expected to catch less than 90 percent of its allocation of GB and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder, this rule reduces the scallop sub-ACL for both stocks to the upper limit projected to be caught, and increases the groundfish sub-ACLs for these stocks by the same amount, effective March 21, 2019, through April 30, 2019. Using the upper limit of expected yellowtail flounder catch by the scallop fishery is expected to minimize the risk of constraining scallop fishing or an ACL overage by the scallop fishery while still providing additional fishing opportunities for groundfish vessels. Table 1 summarizes the revisions to the 2018 fishing year sub-ACLs, and Table 2 shows the revised allocations for the groundfish fishery as allocated between the sectors and common pool based on final sector membership for fishing year 2018. TABLE 1—GEORGES BANK AND SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND/MID-ATLANTIC YELLOWTAIL FLOUNDER SUB-ACLS Initial sub-ACL (mt) Stock Fishery GB Yellowtail Flounder ......................................... Groundfish .................... Scallop .......................... Groundfish .................... Scallop .......................... SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder ................................ 169.4 33.1 42.5 4.0 Change (mt) +18.53 ¥18.53 +0.78 ¥0.78 Revised sub-ACL (mt) Percent change 187.93 14.57 43.28 3.22 +11 ¥56 +2 ¥19 TABLE 2—ALLOCATIONS FOR SECTORS AND THE COMMON POOL [In pounds] GB yellowtail flounder SNE/MA yellowtail flounder Sector name Revised GB Cod Fixed Gear Sector ............................................................................. Maine Coast Community Sector ...................................................................... Maine Permit Bank .......................................................................................... Northeast Coastal Communities Sector .......................................................... Northeast Fishery Sector I ............................................................................... Northeast Fishery Sector II .............................................................................. Northeast Fishery Sector III ............................................................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:22 Mar 21, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Initial 3,536 6,958 57 23 0 7,902 9 E:\FR\FM\22MRR1.SGM Revised 3,187 6,272 51 21 0 7,124 9 22MRR1 858 1,263 30 205 0 1,798 1 Initial 843 1,240 30 201 0 1,766 1 10720 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 56 / Friday, March 22, 2019 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 2—ALLOCATIONS FOR SECTORS AND THE COMMON POOL—Continued [In pounds] GB yellowtail flounder SNE/MA yellowtail flounder Sector name Revised Northeast Fishery Sector IV ............................................................................ Northeast Fishery Sector V ............................................................................. Northeast Fishery Sector VI ............................................................................ Northeast Fishery Sector VII ........................................................................... Northeast Fishery Sector VIII .......................................................................... Northeast Fishery Sector IX ............................................................................ Northeast Fishery Sector X ............................................................................. Northeast Fishery Sector XI ............................................................................ Northeast Fishery Sector XII ........................................................................... Northeast Fishery Sector XIII .......................................................................... New Hampshire Permit Bank .......................................................................... Sustainable Harvest Sector 1 .......................................................................... Sustainable Harvest Sector 2 .......................................................................... Sustainable Harvest Sector 3 .......................................................................... Common Pool .................................................................................................. Sector Total ..................................................................................................... Groundfish Total .............................................................................................. Classification The NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that the management measures implemented in this final rule are necessary for the conservation and management of the Northeast multispecies fishery and consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. This action is authorized by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and 553(d)(3) to waive prior notice and opportunity for public comment and the thirty day cooling off period, respectively. This rule relieves groundfish fishermen from more restrictive ACLs for yellowtail stocks and is intended to help the fishery achieve optimum yield. The earlier this rule is in place, the more time the groundfish fishermen will have to plan and fish for, and potentially catch, extra available quota. Delaying the effective date reduces the expected benefit and undermines the purpose of VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:22 Mar 21, 2019 Jkt 247001 8,956 5,287 11,197 105,711 56,731 114 5 6 2 142,936 0 3,980 9,258 45,357 6,290 408,024 414,315 the rule to help the fishery achieve optimum yield. The authority to transfer available yellowtail catch from the scallop fishery to the groundfish fishery was designed to allow timely implementation before the end of the northeast multispecies fishing year on April 30, 2019 (see 50 CFR 648.90(a)(4)(iii)(C)). NMFS is required to project GB and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder catch in the scallop fishery by January 15 of each year so that projected unused quota may be transferred to the groundfish fishery. Data available for analysis this year were delayed, and we could not make our projection until well after January 15. As a result, providing additional time for prior public notice and comment or a 30-day cooling off period before transferring quota for these yellowtail flounder would likely prevent the rule from being in place before the end of the fishing year, or would mean that the rule would be in place too close to the end of the fishing year to be effective, and to confer a benefit to Groundfish fishermen. Such a delay would reduce or eliminate any potential benefit to the groundfish PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 Initial Revised 8,074 4,767 10,095 95,299 51,144 103 4 6 2 128,858 0 3,588 8,346 40,889 5,671 367,839 373,510 Initial 2,158 20,109 5,118 8,142 7,513 0 523 19 10 20,064 0 86 2,100 7,002 18,418 76,998 95,416 2,118 19,740 5,024 7,993 7,376 0 513 18 10 19,696 0 84 2,061 6,874 18,081 75,588 93,669 fishermen from receiving the additional allocation that is intended to offset the current negative economic effects of severe decreases in ACLs of several important groundfish stocks. Scallop fishermen are not expected to be adversely affected by this rule. Projected scallop catch for the balance of the year is designed to avoid constraining scallop catch by using the high-end estimate of yellowtail bycatch based on previous year’s catch. Further, scallop fishermen are aware of this potential transfer at the beginning of the fishing year and have sufficient time to plan accordingly. It also does not require time for adjusting to any new compliance measures or other action on the part of the scallop or groundfish fishermen. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 18, 2019. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–05429 Filed 3–21–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\22MRR1.SGM 22MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 56 (Friday, March 22, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 10719-10720]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-05429]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 190220138-9138-01]
RIN 0648-XG833


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery; Adjustment of Georges Bank and Southern New 
England/Mid-Atlantic Yellowtail Flounder Annual Catch Limits

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Temporary final rule; adjustment of annual catch limits.

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SUMMARY: This action transfers unused quota of Georges Bank and 
Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder from the Atlantic 
scallop fishery to the Northeast multispecies fishery for the remainder 
of the 2018 fishing year. This quota transfer is authorized when the 
scallop fishery is not expected to catch its entire allocations of 
yellowtail flounder. The quota transfer is intended to provide 
additional fishing opportunities for groundfish vessels to help achieve 
the optimum yield for these stocks while ensuring sufficient amounts of 
yellowtail flounder remain available for the scallop fishery.

DATES: Effective March 21, 2019, through April 30, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily Keiley, Fishery Management 
Specialist, (978) 281-9116.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS is required to estimate the total 
amount of yellowtail flounder catch from the scallop fishery by January 
15 each year. If the scallop fishery is expected to catch less than 90 
percent of its Georges Bank (GB) or Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic 
(SNE/MA) yellowtail flounder sub-annual catch limit (ACL), the Regional 
Administrator (RA) has the authority to reduce the scallop fishery sub-
ACL for these stocks to the amount projected to be caught, and increase 
the groundfish fishery sub-ACL by the same amount. This adjustment is 
intended to help achieve optimum yield for these stocks, while not 
threatening an overage of the ACLs for the stocks by the groundfish and 
scallop fisheries.
    Based on the most current available catch data, we project that the 
scallop fishery will have unused quota in the 2018 fishing year. Using 
the highest expected catch, the scallop fishery is projected to catch 
approximately 14 mt of GB yellowtail flounder, or 44 percent of its 
2018 fishing year sub-ACL, and approximately 3 mt of SNE/MA yellowtail 
flounder, or 80 percent of its 2018 fishing year sub-ACL. The analysis 
of the highest expected catch is based on the proportion of estimated 
yellowtail flounder catch occurring in February and March compared to 
catch in the remainder of the scallop fishing year. The highest 
proportion observed (in this case fishing year 2016) over the past six 
years is used to estimate the highest expected catch in fishing year 
2018.
    Because the scallop fishery is expected to catch less than 90 
percent of its allocation of GB and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder, this 
rule reduces the scallop sub-ACL for both stocks to the upper limit 
projected to be caught, and increases the groundfish sub-ACLs for these 
stocks by the same amount, effective March 21, 2019, through April 30, 
2019. Using the upper limit of expected yellowtail flounder catch by 
the scallop fishery is expected to minimize the risk of constraining 
scallop fishing or an ACL overage by the scallop fishery while still 
providing additional fishing opportunities for groundfish vessels.
    Table 1 summarizes the revisions to the 2018 fishing year sub-ACLs, 
and Table 2 shows the revised allocations for the groundfish fishery as 
allocated between the sectors and common pool based on final sector 
membership for fishing year 2018.

            Table 1--Georges Bank and Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic Yellowtail Flounder Sub-ACLs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Initial sub-                    Revised sub-
             Stock                   Fishery         ACL (mt)       Change (mt)      ACL (mt)     Percent change
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Yellowtail Flounder........  Groundfish......           169.4          +18.53          187.93             +11
                                Scallop.........            33.1          -18.53           14.57             -56
SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder....  Groundfish......            42.5           +0.78           43.28              +2
                                Scallop.........             4.0           -0.78            3.22             -19
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                              Table 2--Allocations for Sectors and the Common Pool
                                                   [In pounds]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      GB yellowtail flounder        SNE/MA yellowtail flounder
                   Sector name                   ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Revised         Initial         Revised         Initial
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod Fixed Gear Sector........................           3,536           3,187             858             843
Maine Coast Community Sector....................           6,958           6,272           1,263           1,240
Maine Permit Bank...............................              57              51              30              30
Northeast Coastal Communities Sector............              23              21             205             201
Northeast Fishery Sector I......................               0               0               0               0
Northeast Fishery Sector II.....................           7,902           7,124           1,798           1,766
Northeast Fishery Sector III....................               9               9               1               1

[[Page 10720]]

 
Northeast Fishery Sector IV.....................           8,956           8,074           2,158           2,118
Northeast Fishery Sector V......................           5,287           4,767          20,109          19,740
Northeast Fishery Sector VI.....................          11,197          10,095           5,118           5,024
Northeast Fishery Sector VII....................         105,711          95,299           8,142           7,993
Northeast Fishery Sector VIII...................          56,731          51,144           7,513           7,376
Northeast Fishery Sector IX.....................             114             103               0               0
Northeast Fishery Sector X......................               5               4             523             513
Northeast Fishery Sector XI.....................               6               6              19              18
Northeast Fishery Sector XII....................               2               2              10              10
Northeast Fishery Sector XIII...................         142,936         128,858          20,064          19,696
New Hampshire Permit Bank.......................               0               0               0               0
Sustainable Harvest Sector 1....................           3,980           3,588              86              84
Sustainable Harvest Sector 2....................           9,258           8,346           2,100           2,061
Sustainable Harvest Sector 3....................          45,357          40,889           7,002           6,874
Common Pool.....................................           6,290           5,671          18,418          18,081
Sector Total....................................         408,024         367,839          76,998          75,588
Groundfish Total................................         414,315         373,510          95,416          93,669
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Classification

    The NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that the management 
measures implemented in this final rule are necessary for the 
conservation and management of the Northeast multispecies fishery and 
consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law.
    This action is authorized by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries finds good cause pursuant 
to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and 553(d)(3) to waive prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment and the thirty day cooling off period, 
respectively. This rule relieves groundfish fishermen from more 
restrictive ACLs for yellowtail stocks and is intended to help the 
fishery achieve optimum yield. The earlier this rule is in place, the 
more time the groundfish fishermen will have to plan and fish for, and 
potentially catch, extra available quota. Delaying the effective date 
reduces the expected benefit and undermines the purpose of the rule to 
help the fishery achieve optimum yield.
    The authority to transfer available yellowtail catch from the 
scallop fishery to the groundfish fishery was designed to allow timely 
implementation before the end of the northeast multispecies fishing 
year on April 30, 2019 (see 50 CFR 648.90(a)(4)(iii)(C)). NMFS is 
required to project GB and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder catch in the 
scallop fishery by January 15 of each year so that projected unused 
quota may be transferred to the groundfish fishery. Data available for 
analysis this year were delayed, and we could not make our projection 
until well after January 15. As a result, providing additional time for 
prior public notice and comment or a 30-day cooling off period before 
transferring quota for these yellowtail flounder would likely prevent 
the rule from being in place before the end of the fishing year, or 
would mean that the rule would be in place too close to the end of the 
fishing year to be effective, and to confer a benefit to Groundfish 
fishermen. Such a delay would reduce or eliminate any potential benefit 
to the groundfish fishermen from receiving the additional allocation 
that is intended to offset the current negative economic effects of 
severe decreases in ACLs of several important groundfish stocks.
    Scallop fishermen are not expected to be adversely affected by this 
rule. Projected scallop catch for the balance of the year is designed 
to avoid constraining scallop catch by using the high-end estimate of 
yellowtail bycatch based on previous year's catch. Further, scallop 
fishermen are aware of this potential transfer at the beginning of the 
fishing year and have sufficient time to plan accordingly. It also does 
not require time for adjusting to any new compliance measures or other 
action on the part of the scallop or groundfish fishermen.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: March 18, 2019.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-05429 Filed 3-21-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P