Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Spiny Dogfish Fishery; 2019 and Projected 2020-2021 Specifications, 11923-11925 [2019-06030]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 61 / Friday, March 29, 2019 / Proposed Rules PART 1516—TYPES OF CONTRACTS 1. The authority citation for part 1516 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301and 41 U.S.C. 418b. 2. Amend section 1516.401–70 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows: ■ 1516.401–70 Award term incentives. * * * * * (b) Award term incentives are designed to motivate contractors to provide superior performance. Superior performance must be defined in the Award Term Incentive Plan. Accordingly, the prescribed performance measures, i.e., acceptable quality levels (AQL), which must be achieved by a contractor to become eligible for an award term will be in excess of the AQLs necessary for Government acceptance of contract deliverables, unless rationale is documented that such service is beyond the contractor’s capability or control. * * * * * ■ 3. Revise section 1516.401–270 to read as follows: 1516.401–270 Definition. Acceptable quality level (AQL) as used in this subpart means the minimum percent of deliverables which are compliant with a given performance standard that would permit a contractor to become eligible for an award term incentive. The performance necessary for eligibility for the award term incentive must be in excess of that necessary for the Government acceptance of contract deliverables. The AQLs associated with the award term incentive shall exceed the AQLs associated with the acceptance of contract deliverables. For example, under contract X, acceptable performance is 75 percent of reports submitted to the Government within five days. However, to be eligible for an award term incentive, 85 percent of reports must be submitted to the Government within five days. ■ 4. Amend section 1516.406 by revising paragraphs (c) and (d) to read as follows: 1516.406 Contract clauses. jbell on DSK30RV082PROD with PROPOSALS * * * * * (c) The Contracting Officer shall insert the clauses at 1552.216–77, Award Term Incentive, 1552.216–78, Award Term Incentive Plan, and 1552.216–79, Award Term Availability of Funds, in solicitations and contracts when award term incentives are contemplated. The clauses at 1552.216–77 and 1552.216–78 may be used on substantially the sameas basis. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Mar 28, 2019 Jkt 247001 (d) If the Contracting Officer wishes to use the ratings set forth in the Department of Defense Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System on the contract at hand as the basis for contractor eligibility for an award term incentive, the Contracting Officer shall insert the clause at 1552.216–78. 11923 2019 fishing year and projected specifications for 2020 and 2021. DATES: Comments must be received on or before April 15, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2019–0008, by either of the following methods: Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the PART 1552—SOLICITATION Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT 1. Go to www.regulations.gov/ CLAUSES #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20190008, ■ 5. The authority citation for part 1552 2. Click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, continues to read as follows: complete the required fields, and Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301 and 41 U.S.C. 3. Enter or attach your comments. 418b. – OR – ■ 6. Amend section 1552.216–78 by Mail: Submit written comments to revising paragraph (e) to read as follows: Michael Pentony, Regional Administrator, National Marine 1552.216–78 Award term incentive plan. Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic * * * * * Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the (e) [If the contract will contain a outside of the envelope: ‘‘Comments on quality assurance surveillance plan the Proposed Rule for Spiny Dogfish (QASP), reference the QASP, e.g., Specifications.’’ attachment 2. Typically, the Instructions: Comments sent by any performance standards and AQLs will other method, to any other address or be defined in the QASP] individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be (End of clause) considered by NMFS. All comments * * * * * received are part of the public record [FR Doc. 2019–06131 Filed 3–28–19; 8:45 am] and will generally be posted for public BILLING CODE 6560–50–P viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information National Oceanic and Atmospheric submitted voluntarily by the sender will Administration be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ 50 CFR Part 648 A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). [Docket No. 190207082–9233–01] A draft environmental assessment RIN 0648–XG800 (EA) has been prepared for this action that describes the proposed measures Fisheries of the Northeastern United and other considered alternatives, as States; Spiny Dogfish Fishery; 2019 well as provides an analysis of the and Projected 2020–2021 impacts of the proposed measures and Specifications alternatives. Copies of the specifications document, including the EA and the AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and (IRFA), are available on request from Dr. Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Christopher M. Moore, Executive Commerce. Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery ACTION: Proposed rule; request for Management Council, Suite 201, 800 comments. North State Street, Dover, DE 19901. SUMMARY: NMFS proposes specifications These documents are also accessible via the internet at http://www.mafmc.org. for the 2019 spiny dogfish fishery and projected specifications for fishing years FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 2020 and 2021. The specifications are Cynthia Ferrio, Fishery Management necessary to establish allowable harvest Specialist, (978) 281–9180. levels and other management measures SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: to prevent overfishing while allowing Background optimum yield. This action is also intended to inform and provide an The Atlantic spiny dogfish fishery is opportunity for comment to the public jointly managed in Federal waters by on these proposed specifications for the the New England and Mid-Atlantic PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\29MRP1.SGM 29MRP1 11924 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 61 / Friday, March 29, 2019 / Proposed Rules Fishery Management Councils. Additionally, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission manages the spiny dogfish fishery in state waters from Maine to North Carolina through an interstate fishery management plan. The Spiny Dogfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) requires the specification of an annual catch limit (ACL), annual catch target (ACT), and the total allowable landings (TAL). These limits and other management measures may be set for up to five fishing years at a time, with each fishing year running from May 1 through April 30. This action proposes specifications for fishing year 2019 and projected specifications for fishing years 2020–2021. In 2018, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center completed an assessment update for the spiny dogfish stock, using the most recent and best available catch and biomass estimates from spring trawl surveys. This update indicates that the spiny dogfish stock is not currently overfished or experiencing overfishing. However, general biomass (specifically female spawning stock biomass) has been declining due to a combination of poor pup production and recruitment. Complications with several spring trawl surveys in recent years have also resulted in some data deficiencies for the stock. The Mid- Atlantic Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) reviewed the assessment update and recommended reducing the acceptable biological catch (ABC) in fishing years 2019–2021. The recommended ABC for 2019 would be a 43-percent decrease from the current 2018 ABC of 22,635 mt, followed by increases to the ABC in 2020 and 2021. This recommendation is based on the Mid-Atlantic Council’s Risk Policy to prevent overfishing from occurring. The quota increases in the later years of the cycle are due to a projected growth in biomass and subsequent reduced risk of overfishing. The joint New England and MidAtlantic Council Spiny Dogfish Monitoring Committee (MC) derived an adjusted overfishing limit (OFL), ABC, ACL, ACT, and TAL from the SSC’s recommended ABC and expected fishery data. The SSC only provided an OFL recommendation for 2019 that will be revisited as specifications are developed in the subsequent years. To calculate the portion of the total ABC available for the U.S. commercial quota each year, the MC followed the FMP’s process in their recommendations and made deductions from the ABC to account for expected Canadian landings (49 mt), U.S. discards (3,475 mt), and U.S. recreational harvest (81 mt). The SSC and MC made these recommendations to the Mid-Atlantic and New England Councils and the Commission, which all reviewed them and submitted their own consistent recommended specifications. The recommended ABC and resulting commercial quota for 2019 are substantially reduced to decrease the risk of spiny dogfish becoming overfished. However, the assessment update projects an increase in the spiny dogfish stock over the next several years. Thus, there is an allowance for quota increases in the recommendations for 2020 and 2021. Proposed Specifications This action proposes the Councils’ recommended spiny dogfish specifications for 2019–2021. The specifications are consistent with the SSC, Monitoring Committee, and Commission’s recommended catch and landings limits. These recommendations are a substantial reduction in coastwide commercial quota from fishing year 2018 to 2019 in order to ensure overfishing does not occur. However, quotas are projected to increase in 2020 and 2021 as the spiny dogfish biomass is projected to increase, and the risk of overfishing declines. Table 1 provides a summary of the proposed specifications. TABLE 1—SUMMARY OF PROPOSED 2019, AND PROJECTED 2020 AND 2021 SPINY DOGFISH FISHERY SPECIFICATIONS 2019 (mt) jbell on DSK30RV082PROD with PROPOSALS OFL .......................................................... ABC .......................................................... ACL = ACT .............................................. TAL ........................................................... Commercial Quota ................................... Percent Change in Quota from Previous Year ...................................................... The recommended decrease in commercial quota is not expected to result in catch overages or revenue losses in the spiny dogfish fishery, as the fishery caught less than 42 percent of the 39,099,717-lb (17,735-mt) quota in 2017, and current reported landings for fishing year 2018 are behind those of 2017 at this time. The Councils did not recommend changes to any other regulations for the spiny dogfish fishery. All other fishery management measures, including the 6,000-lb (2,722-kg) federal trip limit, remain unchanged for fishing years 2019–2021. Changes to the trip limit were discussed and may be pursued in a future action. The Councils and NMFS will review the specifications for fishing years 2020 and 2021 to determine if any VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Mar 28, 2019 Jkt 247001 2019 (lb) 2020 (mt) 2020 (lb) 2021 (lb) 21,549 12,914 12,865 9,390 9,309 47,507,413 28,470,497 28,362,470 20,701,000 20,522,832 N/A 14,126 14,077 10,602 10,521 N/A 31,142,499 31,034,473 23,373,409 23,194,835 N/A 16,043 15,994 12,519 12,438 N/A 35,368,761 35,260,734 27,599,671 27,421,096 ¥46 ¥46 +13 +13 +18 +18 changes need to be made prior to their implementation. NMFS will publish a notice prior to each fishing year to confirm the projected specifications are effective unchanged or announce any necessary changes for those years. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MagnusonStevens Act), the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Spiny Dogfish FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866 PO 00000 2021 (mt) Frm 00037 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 because this action contains no implementing regulations. The Mid-Atlantic Council prepared a draft EA for this action that analyzes the impacts of this proposed rule. The EA includes an IRFA, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), which is supplemented by information contained in the preamble of this proposed rule. The IRFA was prepared to examine the economic impacts of this proposed rule, if adopted, on small business entities, as well as the possible economic impacts of the other alternatives presented in this EA/specifications document. A copy of the detailed RFA analysis is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the 2019– E:\FR\FM\29MRP1.SGM 29MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 61 / Friday, March 29, 2019 / Proposed Rules 2021 spiny dogfish specifications IRFA analysis follows. Description of the Reasons Why Action by the Agency Is Being Considered This action proposes 2019 catch limits and projects 2020–2021 specifications for the spiny dogfish fishery. A complete description of the action, why it is being considered, and its legal basis are contained in the draft EA and in this rule’s preamble, and are not repeated here. jbell on DSK30RV082PROD with PROPOSALS Statement of the Objectives of, and Legal Basis for, This Proposed Rule This action is taken under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and regulations at 50 CFR part 648. A complete description of the action, why it is being considered, and its legal basis are contained in the specifications document, and elsewhere in the preamble to this proposed rule, and are not repeated here. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which This Proposed Rule Would Apply This proposed rule affects small entities engaged in commercial fishing operations in the spiny dogfish fishery. For the purposes of the RFA analysis, the ownership entities (or firms), not the individual vessels, are considered to be the regulated entities. Ownership entities are defined as those entities or firms with common ownership personnel as listed on the permit application. Because of this, some vessels with spiny dogfish permits may be considered to be part of the same firm because they may have the same owners. To identify these small and large firms, vessel ownership data from the permit database were grouped according to common owners and sorted by size. In terms of RFA, a business primarily engaged in commercial fishing is classified as a small business if it has combined annual receipts not in excess of $11 million, for all its affiliated operations worldwide. In 2017, there were 2,254 vessels that held a spiny dogfish permit, while 244 of these vessels contributed to overall landings. Cross-referencing those permits with vessel ownership database revealed that 1,695 entities owned those vessels. 1,685 were classified as small entities, with the remaining 10 classified as large businesses. Of the 1,685 small entities, 374 had no revenue in 2017, 1,104 were commercial fishing entities, and 207 were for-hire entities. For those small businesses with revenues, their average revenues were $0.5 million in 2017. Overall, there were 227 entities with spiny dogfish permits VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Mar 28, 2019 Jkt 247001 that reported revenue from spiny dogfish during 2017. Of those entities, 1 was large and 226 were small and their average revenues in 2017 were $0.4 million. Description of the Projected Reporting, Record-Keeping, and Other Compliance Requirements of This Proposed Rule There is no new reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements contained in this proposed rule, or any of the alternatives considered for this action. Federal Rules Which May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With This Proposed Rule NMFS is not aware of any relevant Federal rules that may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this proposed rule. Description of Significant Alternatives to the Proposed Action Which Accomplish the Stated Objectives of Applicable Statutes and Which Minimize Any Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities This action (the preferred alternative) proposes 2019 commercial catch specifications and projected 2020–2021 specifications for the spiny dogfish fishery based on the most recent stock assessment update and the application of the Council’s Risk Policy to prevent overfishing. These proposed specifications would decrease the commercial quota by 46 percent to 9,309 mt in 2019, followed by modest increases to 10,521 mt and 12,438 mt, in 2020 and 2021 as the biomass is projected to increase and the risk of overfishing declines. Although 46 percent is a substantial quota reduction, landings reports from the most recent available full fishing year (2017) show that only 7,439 mt of spiny dogfish were landed. Available landing information for fishing year 2018 is around 23 percent lower than in 2017. Given this data, it is possible that even the large 46-percent reduction in quota for 2019 will not be constraining to the spiny dogfish industry and small entities. If the fishery were to reverse the recent landing trends and fully achieve the proposed 2019 quota, it would still generate more landings and likely more revenues than the most recent year (2017) of full fishery information. Therefore, it is expected that the proposed action will have minimal impact on small entities. There is the potential for slight negative economic impact in the short term if landings and effort drastically increase and the lowered quotas become restrictive. However, there is also possible slight PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 11925 positive long term impacts due to maintaining sustainability of the spiny dogfish resource. The Council also considered a no action alternative, where the same catch limits and specifications from 2018 would continue into 2019 and beyond. This no action alternative may have a higher potential of minimizing shortterm economic impacts on small entities, as it keeps the quotas higher and provides the potential for greater revenues and economic gain. However, as previously stated, effort and landings in the spiny dogfish fishery have been low in recent years, and higher quotas increase the risk of overfishing without addressing the issues in the market that may be keeping landings low. The Council recommended these proposed specifications (preferred alternative) over the no action alternative to satisfy the MagnusonStevens Act requirements to ensure fish stocks are not subject to overfishing, while allowing the greatest opportunity to achieve sustainable yield. This also increases the likelihood that the fishery will remain a viable source of fishing revenues for spiny dogfish fishing entities in the long term, and makes it the better lasting economic choice. Alternative 2 (no action) was not recommended by the Council because it would exceed the catch level recommendations of the Council’s SSC, put the spiny dogfish stock at an unnecessary risk of overfishing, and would be inconsistent with the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. As explained in the EA, ‘‘[g]iven the status of the spiny dogfish stock and the requirements of the MSA, alternatives that would allow catches higher than the no action alternative would risk overfishing even more than no action. Alternatives that would limit catches to less than the alternative recommended by the Councils would be unnecessarily restrictive and hamper achievement of optimum yield’’ (MAFMC 2019, p.11). NMFS agrees with the Council’s IRFA analysis and rationale for recommending these catch limits. As such, NMFS is proposing to implement the Council’s preferred specifications, as presented in Table 1 of this proposed rule’s preamble. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 25, 2019. Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–06030 Filed 3–28–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\29MRP1.SGM 29MRP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 61 (Friday, March 29, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 11923-11925]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-06030]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 190207082-9233-01]
RIN 0648-XG800


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Spiny Dogfish 
Fishery; 2019 and Projected 2020-2021 Specifications

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes specifications for the 2019 spiny dogfish 
fishery and projected specifications for fishing years 2020 and 2021. 
The specifications are necessary to establish allowable harvest levels 
and other management measures to prevent overfishing while allowing 
optimum yield. This action is also intended to inform and provide an 
opportunity for comment to the public on these proposed specifications 
for the 2019 fishing year and projected specifications for 2020 and 
2021.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before April 15, 2019.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2019-0008, by either of the following methods:
    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via 
the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
    1. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2019-0008,
    2. Click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, 
and
    3. Enter or attach your comments.

- OR -

    Mail: Submit written comments to Michael Pentony, Regional 
Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic 
Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope: 
``Comments on the Proposed Rule for Spiny Dogfish Specifications.''
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).
    A draft environmental assessment (EA) has been prepared for this 
action that describes the proposed measures and other considered 
alternatives, as well as provides an analysis of the impacts of the 
proposed measures and alternatives. Copies of the specifications 
document, including the EA and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis (IRFA), are available on request from Dr. Christopher M. 
Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 
Suite 201, 800 North State Street, Dover, DE 19901. These documents are 
also accessible via the internet at http://www.mafmc.org.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia Ferrio, Fishery Management 
Specialist, (978) 281-9180.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The Atlantic spiny dogfish fishery is jointly managed in Federal 
waters by the New England and Mid-Atlantic

[[Page 11924]]

Fishery Management Councils. Additionally, the Atlantic States Marine 
Fisheries Commission manages the spiny dogfish fishery in state waters 
from Maine to North Carolina through an interstate fishery management 
plan. The Spiny Dogfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) requires the 
specification of an annual catch limit (ACL), annual catch target 
(ACT), and the total allowable landings (TAL). These limits and other 
management measures may be set for up to five fishing years at a time, 
with each fishing year running from May 1 through April 30. This action 
proposes specifications for fishing year 2019 and projected 
specifications for fishing years 2020-2021.
    In 2018, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center completed an 
assessment update for the spiny dogfish stock, using the most recent 
and best available catch and biomass estimates from spring trawl 
surveys. This update indicates that the spiny dogfish stock is not 
currently overfished or experiencing overfishing. However, general 
biomass (specifically female spawning stock biomass) has been declining 
due to a combination of poor pup production and recruitment. 
Complications with several spring trawl surveys in recent years have 
also resulted in some data deficiencies for the stock. The Mid-Atlantic 
Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) reviewed the 
assessment update and recommended reducing the acceptable biological 
catch (ABC) in fishing years 2019-2021. The recommended ABC for 2019 
would be a 43-percent decrease from the current 2018 ABC of 22,635 mt, 
followed by increases to the ABC in 2020 and 2021. This recommendation 
is based on the Mid-Atlantic Council's Risk Policy to prevent 
overfishing from occurring. The quota increases in the later years of 
the cycle are due to a projected growth in biomass and subsequent 
reduced risk of overfishing.
    The joint New England and Mid-Atlantic Council Spiny Dogfish 
Monitoring Committee (MC) derived an adjusted overfishing limit (OFL), 
ABC, ACL, ACT, and TAL from the SSC's recommended ABC and expected 
fishery data. The SSC only provided an OFL recommendation for 2019 that 
will be revisited as specifications are developed in the subsequent 
years. To calculate the portion of the total ABC available for the U.S. 
commercial quota each year, the MC followed the FMP's process in their 
recommendations and made deductions from the ABC to account for 
expected Canadian landings (49 mt), U.S. discards (3,475 mt), and U.S. 
recreational harvest (81 mt). The SSC and MC made these recommendations 
to the Mid-Atlantic and New England Councils and the Commission, which 
all reviewed them and submitted their own consistent recommended 
specifications. The recommended ABC and resulting commercial quota for 
2019 are substantially reduced to decrease the risk of spiny dogfish 
becoming overfished. However, the assessment update projects an 
increase in the spiny dogfish stock over the next several years. Thus, 
there is an allowance for quota increases in the recommendations for 
2020 and 2021.

Proposed Specifications

    This action proposes the Councils' recommended spiny dogfish 
specifications for 2019-2021. The specifications are consistent with 
the SSC, Monitoring Committee, and Commission's recommended catch and 
landings limits. These recommendations are a substantial reduction in 
coastwide commercial quota from fishing year 2018 to 2019 in order to 
ensure overfishing does not occur. However, quotas are projected to 
increase in 2020 and 2021 as the spiny dogfish biomass is projected to 
increase, and the risk of overfishing declines. Table 1 provides a 
summary of the proposed specifications.

                           Table 1--Summary of Proposed 2019, and Projected 2020 and 2021 Spiny Dogfish Fishery Specifications
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             2019 (mt)       2019 (lb)       2020 (mt)       2020 (lb)       2021 (mt)       2021 (lb)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OFL.....................................................          21,549      47,507,413             N/A             N/A             N/A             N/A
ABC.....................................................          12,914      28,470,497          14,126      31,142,499          16,043      35,368,761
ACL = ACT...............................................          12,865      28,362,470          14,077      31,034,473          15,994      35,260,734
TAL.....................................................           9,390      20,701,000          10,602      23,373,409          12,519      27,599,671
Commercial Quota........................................           9,309      20,522,832          10,521      23,194,835          12,438      27,421,096
Percent Change in Quota from Previous Year..............             -46             -46             +13             +13             +18             +18
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The recommended decrease in commercial quota is not expected to 
result in catch overages or revenue losses in the spiny dogfish 
fishery, as the fishery caught less than 42 percent of the 39,099,717-
lb (17,735-mt) quota in 2017, and current reported landings for fishing 
year 2018 are behind those of 2017 at this time.
    The Councils did not recommend changes to any other regulations for 
the spiny dogfish fishery. All other fishery management measures, 
including the 6,000-lb (2,722-kg) federal trip limit, remain unchanged 
for fishing years 2019-2021. Changes to the trip limit were discussed 
and may be pursued in a future action. The Councils and NMFS will 
review the specifications for fishing years 2020 and 2021 to determine 
if any changes need to be made prior to their implementation. NMFS will 
publish a notice prior to each fishing year to confirm the projected 
specifications are effective unchanged or announce any necessary 
changes for those years.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the NMFS 
Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with the Spiny Dogfish FMP, other provisions of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further 
consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 
12866 because this action contains no implementing regulations.
    The Mid-Atlantic Council prepared a draft EA for this action that 
analyzes the impacts of this proposed rule. The EA includes an IRFA, as 
required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), which 
is supplemented by information contained in the preamble of this 
proposed rule. The IRFA was prepared to examine the economic impacts of 
this proposed rule, if adopted, on small business entities, as well as 
the possible economic impacts of the other alternatives presented in 
this EA/specifications document. A copy of the detailed RFA analysis is 
available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the 2019-

[[Page 11925]]

2021 spiny dogfish specifications IRFA analysis follows.

Description of the Reasons Why Action by the Agency Is Being Considered

    This action proposes 2019 catch limits and projects 2020-2021 
specifications for the spiny dogfish fishery. A complete description of 
the action, why it is being considered, and its legal basis are 
contained in the draft EA and in this rule's preamble, and are not 
repeated here.

Statement of the Objectives of, and Legal Basis for, This Proposed Rule

    This action is taken under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act and regulations at 50 CFR part 648. A complete description of the 
action, why it is being considered, and its legal basis are contained 
in the specifications document, and elsewhere in the preamble to this 
proposed rule, and are not repeated here.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which This 
Proposed Rule Would Apply

    This proposed rule affects small entities engaged in commercial 
fishing operations in the spiny dogfish fishery. For the purposes of 
the RFA analysis, the ownership entities (or firms), not the individual 
vessels, are considered to be the regulated entities. Ownership 
entities are defined as those entities or firms with common ownership 
personnel as listed on the permit application. Because of this, some 
vessels with spiny dogfish permits may be considered to be part of the 
same firm because they may have the same owners. To identify these 
small and large firms, vessel ownership data from the permit database 
were grouped according to common owners and sorted by size. In terms of 
RFA, a business primarily engaged in commercial fishing is classified 
as a small business if it has combined annual receipts not in excess of 
$11 million, for all its affiliated operations worldwide.
    In 2017, there were 2,254 vessels that held a spiny dogfish permit, 
while 244 of these vessels contributed to overall landings. Cross-
referencing those permits with vessel ownership database revealed that 
1,695 entities owned those vessels. 1,685 were classified as small 
entities, with the remaining 10 classified as large businesses. Of the 
1,685 small entities, 374 had no revenue in 2017, 1,104 were commercial 
fishing entities, and 207 were for-hire entities. For those small 
businesses with revenues, their average revenues were $0.5 million in 
2017. Overall, there were 227 entities with spiny dogfish permits that 
reported revenue from spiny dogfish during 2017. Of those entities, 1 
was large and 226 were small and their average revenues in 2017 were 
$0.4 million.

Description of the Projected Reporting, Record-Keeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements of This Proposed Rule

    There is no new reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance 
requirements contained in this proposed rule, or any of the 
alternatives considered for this action.

Federal Rules Which May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With This 
Proposed Rule

    NMFS is not aware of any relevant Federal rules that may duplicate, 
overlap, or conflict with this proposed rule.

Description of Significant Alternatives to the Proposed Action Which 
Accomplish the Stated Objectives of Applicable Statutes and Which 
Minimize Any Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities

    This action (the preferred alternative) proposes 2019 commercial 
catch specifications and projected 2020-2021 specifications for the 
spiny dogfish fishery based on the most recent stock assessment update 
and the application of the Council's Risk Policy to prevent 
overfishing. These proposed specifications would decrease the 
commercial quota by 46 percent to 9,309 mt in 2019, followed by modest 
increases to 10,521 mt and 12,438 mt, in 2020 and 2021 as the biomass 
is projected to increase and the risk of overfishing declines. Although 
46 percent is a substantial quota reduction, landings reports from the 
most recent available full fishing year (2017) show that only 7,439 mt 
of spiny dogfish were landed. Available landing information for fishing 
year 2018 is around 23 percent lower than in 2017. Given this data, it 
is possible that even the large 46-percent reduction in quota for 2019 
will not be constraining to the spiny dogfish industry and small 
entities. If the fishery were to reverse the recent landing trends and 
fully achieve the proposed 2019 quota, it would still generate more 
landings and likely more revenues than the most recent year (2017) of 
full fishery information. Therefore, it is expected that the proposed 
action will have minimal impact on small entities. There is the 
potential for slight negative economic impact in the short term if 
landings and effort drastically increase and the lowered quotas become 
restrictive. However, there is also possible slight positive long term 
impacts due to maintaining sustainability of the spiny dogfish 
resource.
    The Council also considered a no action alternative, where the same 
catch limits and specifications from 2018 would continue into 2019 and 
beyond. This no action alternative may have a higher potential of 
minimizing short-term economic impacts on small entities, as it keeps 
the quotas higher and provides the potential for greater revenues and 
economic gain. However, as previously stated, effort and landings in 
the spiny dogfish fishery have been low in recent years, and higher 
quotas increase the risk of overfishing without addressing the issues 
in the market that may be keeping landings low.
    The Council recommended these proposed specifications (preferred 
alternative) over the no action alternative to satisfy the Magnuson-
Stevens Act requirements to ensure fish stocks are not subject to 
overfishing, while allowing the greatest opportunity to achieve 
sustainable yield. This also increases the likelihood that the fishery 
will remain a viable source of fishing revenues for spiny dogfish 
fishing entities in the long term, and makes it the better lasting 
economic choice. Alternative 2 (no action) was not recommended by the 
Council because it would exceed the catch level recommendations of the 
Council's SSC, put the spiny dogfish stock at an unnecessary risk of 
overfishing, and would be inconsistent with the requirements of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act. As explained in the EA, ``[g]iven the status of 
the spiny dogfish stock and the requirements of the MSA, alternatives 
that would allow catches higher than the no action alternative would 
risk overfishing even more than no action. Alternatives that would 
limit catches to less than the alternative recommended by the Councils 
would be unnecessarily restrictive and hamper achievement of optimum 
yield'' (MAFMC 2019, p.11). NMFS agrees with the Council's IRFA 
analysis and rationale for recommending these catch limits. As such, 
NMFS is proposing to implement the Council's preferred specifications, 
as presented in Table 1 of this proposed rule's preamble.

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

    Dated: March 25, 2019.
Chris Oliver,
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-06030 Filed 3-28-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P