Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 58, 16441-16454 [2019-07832]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules dimers, polymers with 1,1′methylenebis[4-isocyanatobenzene], polypropylene glycol, polypropylene glycol ether with trimethylolpropane (3:1), and 1,3-propanediol, polypropylene glycol monomethacrylate-blocked (P-19-10) is subject to reporting under this section for the significant new uses described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. (2) The significant new uses are: (i) Industrial, Commercial, and consumer activities. It is a significant new use to use the substance involving an application method that results in inhalation exposures. (ii) [Reserved] (b) Specific requirements. The provisions of subpart A of this part apply to this section except as modified by this paragraph (b). (1) Recordkeeping. Recordkeeping requirements as specified in § 721.125(a) through (c), and (i) are applicable to manufacturers, importers, and processors of this substance. (2) Limitations or revocation of certain notification requirements. The provisions of § 721.185 apply to this section. [FR Doc. 2019–07853 Filed 4–18–19; 8:45 am] to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). This proposed revision would have updated, clarified and streamlined text in certain DOE intellectual property and technology transfer clauses in order to benefit from DOE’s experience under the existing clauses, and, where necessary, make these DOE clauses consistent with recent changes to the FAR. However, the Department has determined that it will not proceed with the rulemaking and, as such, is withdrawing the proposed rule. The changes that were proposed in this rulemaking will be incorporated into a larger rulemaking that will update the entire Department of Energy Acquisition Regulation (DEAR). Signed in Washington, DC, on March 26, 2019. John Bashista, Director, Office of Acquisition Management, Department of Energy. [FR Doc. 2019–07913 Filed 4–18–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration BILLING CODE 6560–50–P 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 181203999–9350–01] DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY RIN 0648–BI64 48 CFR Parts 927, 952, and 970 RIN 1991–AB82 Acquisition Regulation: Patents, Data and Copyrights Department of Energy. Notice of proposed rulemaking; withdrawal. AGENCY: ACTION: On November 7, 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a rule in the Federal Register proposing to amend the Department of Energy Acquisition Regulation (DEAR). DOE hereby withdraws this proposed rule. SUMMARY: The proposed rule that appeared in the Federal Register on November 7, 2013 (78 FR 66865) is withdrawn as of April 19, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sharon Archer, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Acquisition Management, MA–611, 950 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: (202) 287–1739. Email: Sharon.Archer@hq.doe.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On November 3, 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a rule proposing to make changes to conform khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 58 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: This action proposes to approve and implement Framework Adjustment 58 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This rule would set 2019–2020 catch limits for 7 of the 20 multispecies (groundfish) stocks, implement new or revised rebuilding plans for 5 stocks, revise an accountability measure, and make other minor changes to groundfish management measures. This action is necessary to respond to updated scientific information and to achieve the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan. The proposed measures are intended to help prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, achieve optimum yield, and ensure that SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 16441 management measures are based on the best scientific information available. DATES: Comments must be received by May 6, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2018–0138, by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. 1. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20180138; 2. Click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon and complete the required fields; and 3. Enter or attach your comments. • 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 Groundfish Framework Adjustment 58.’’ 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 us. All comments received are a 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. We will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Copies of Framework Adjustment 58, including the draft Environmental Assessment, the Regulatory Impact Review, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis prepared by the New England Fishery Management Council in support of this action are available from Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950. The supporting documents are also accessible via the internet at: http:// www.nefmc.org/management-plans/ northeast-multispecies or http:// www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Grant, Fishery Policy Analyst, phone: 978–281–9145; email: Mark.Grant@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents 1. Summary of Proposed Measures 2. Fishing Year 2019–2020 Shared U.S./ Canada Quotas 3. Catch Limits for Fishing Years 2019–2020 E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 19APP1 16442 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS 4. Adjustments Due to Fishing Year 2017 Overage 5. Rebuilding Programs 6. Revision to the Georges Bank Yellowtail Flounder Accountability Measure Trigger for Scallop Vessels 7. Exemption From the U.S. Minimum Fish Sizes for Groundfish Species for Vessels Fishing Exclusively in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area 8. Administrative Changes and Regulatory Corrections Under Secretarial Authority 1. Summary of Proposed Measures This action would implement the management measures in Framework Adjustment 58 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The New England Fishery Management Council reviewed the proposed regulations and deemed them consistent with, and necessary to implement Framework 58 in a February 8, 2019, letter from Council Chairman Dr. John Quinn to Regional Administrator Michael Pentony. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), we are required to publish proposed rules for comment after preliminarily determining whether they are consistent with applicable law. The MagnusonStevens Act allows us to approve, partially approve, or disapprove measures that the Council proposes based only on whether the measures are consistent with the fishery management plan, plan amendment, the MagnusonStevens Act and its National Standards, and other applicable law. Otherwise, we must defer to the Council’s policy choices. We are seeking comments on the Council’s proposed measures in Framework 58 and whether they are consistent with the Northeast Multispecies FMP, the MagnusonStevens Act and its National Standards, and other applicable law. Through Framework 58, the Council proposes to: • Set fishing year 2019–2020 shared U.S./Canada quotas for Georges Bank (GB) yellowtail flounder and eastern GB cod and haddock; • Set 2019–2020 specifications, including catch limits, for four groundfish stocks: Witch flounder; GB winter flounder; Gulf of Maine (GOM) winter flounder; and Atlantic halibut; • Revise or implement new rebuilding programs for GB winter flounder, southern New England/MidAtlantic (SNE/MA) yellowtail flounder, witch flounder, northern windowpane flounder, and ocean pout; • Revise the trigger for the scallop fishery’s accountability measures (AM) for GB yellowtail flounder; and • Exempt vessels fishing exclusively in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area from the U.S. minimum fish size for groundfish species. This action also proposes a number of other measures that are not part of Framework 58, but that may be, or are required to be, considered and implemented under our authority specified in the FMP. We are proposing these measures in conjunction with the Framework 58 proposed measures for expediency purposes, and because some of these measures are related to the catch limits proposed as part of Framework 58. The additional measures proposed in this action are listed below. • Adjustment for fishing year 2017 catch overage—this action announces the reduction of the 2019 GOM cod allocation due to an overage that occurred in fishing year 2017. • Other administrative revisions and corrections—this action proposes to revise the application deadline for daysat-sea (DAS) leases, make regulatory corrections regarding the information required to be included in catch reports submitted via a vessel monitoring system (VMS), and correct a citation in the regulations allocating GB and SNE/ MA yellowtail flounder to the scallop fishery. These proposed changes are described in the section 8, Administrative Changes and Regulatory Corrections under Secretarial Authority. 2. Fishing Year 2019–2020 Shared U.S./ Canada Quotas Management of Transboundary Georges Bank Stocks Eastern GB cod, eastern GB haddock, and GB yellowtail flounder are jointly managed with Canada under the United States/Canada Resource Sharing Understanding. The Transboundary Management Guidance Committee (TMGC) is a government-industry committee made up of representatives from the United States and Canada. For historical information about the TMGC see: http://www.bio.gc.ca/info/intercol/ tmgc-cogst/index-en.php. Each year, the TMGC recommends a shared quota for each stock based on the most recent stock information and the TMGC’s harvest strategy. The TMGC’s harvest strategy for setting catch levels is to maintain a low to neutral risk (less than 50 percent) of exceeding the fishing mortality limit for each stock. The harvest strategy also specifies that when stock conditions are poor, fishing mortality should be further reduced to promote stock rebuilding. The shared quotas are allocated between the United States and Canada based on a formula that considers historical catch (10percent weighting) and the current resource distribution (90-percent weighting). For GB yellowtail flounder, the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) also recommends an acceptable biological catch (ABC) for the stock. The ABC is typically used to inform the U.S. TMGC’s discussions with Canada for the annual shared quota. Although the stock is jointly managed with Canada, and the TMGC recommends annual shared quotas, the Council may not set catch limits that would exceed the SSC’s recommendation. The SSC does not recommend ABCs for eastern GB cod and haddock because they are management units of the total GB cod and haddock stocks. The SSC recommends overall ABCs for the total GB cod and haddock stocks. The shared U.S./Canada quota for eastern GB cod and haddock is included in these overall ABCs, and must be consistent with the SSC’s recommendation for the total GB stocks. 2019 U.S./Canada Quotas The Transboundary Resources Assessment Committee conducted assessments for the three transboundary stocks in July 2018, and detailed summaries of these assessments can be found at: https://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/ assessments/trac/. The TMGC met in September 2018 to recommend shared quotas for 2019 based on the updated assessments, and the Council adopted the TMGC’s recommendations in Framework 58. The proposed 2019 shared U.S./Canada quotas, and each country’s allocation, are listed in Table 1. TABLE 1—PROPOSED 2019 FISHING YEAR U.S./CANADA QUOTAS (mt, live weight) AND PERCENT OF QUOTA ALLOCATED TO EACH COUNTRY Quota Eastern GB cod Total Shared Quota ............................................................................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 650 19APP1 Eastern GB haddock 30,000 GB yellowtail flounder 140 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules 16443 TABLE 1—PROPOSED 2019 FISHING YEAR U.S./CANADA QUOTAS (mt, live weight) AND PERCENT OF QUOTA ALLOCATED TO EACH COUNTRY—Continued Quota Eastern GB cod U.S. Quota ............................................................................................................................. Canadian Quota ..................................................................................................................... khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS The proposed 2019 U.S. quotas for eastern GB cod, eastern GB haddock, and GB yellowtail would represent 26percent, 4-percent, and 50-percent decreases, respectively, compared to 2018. The quota decreases are due to decreases in biomass for each stock, despite increases in the portion of the shared quota that is allocated to the United States for each stock. For a more detailed discussion of the TMGC’s 2019 catch advice, see the TMGC’s guidance document that will be posted at: https:// www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/. The 2019 U.S. quotas for eastern GB cod, eastern GB haddock, and GB yellowtail that are proposed in Framework Adjustment 58, if approved, will replace the 2019 quotas previously specified for these stocks (84 FR 8282; March 7, 2019). This is discussed further in Section 3, Catch Limits for the 2019–2020 Fishing Years. The regulations implementing the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding require deducting any overages of the U.S. quota for eastern GB cod, eastern GB haddock, or GB yellowtail flounder from the U.S. quota in the following fishing year. If catch information for the 2018 fishing year indicates that the U.S. fishery exceeded its quota for any of the shared stocks, we will reduce the respective U.S. quotas for the 2019 fishing year in a future management action, as close to May 1, 2019, as possible. If any fishery that is allocated a portion of the U.S. quota exceeds its allocation and causes an overage of the overall U.S. quota, the overage reduction would be applied only to that fishery’s allocation in the following fishing year. This ensures that catch by one component of the overall fishery does not negatively affect another component of the overall fishery. 3. Catch Limits for Fishing Years 2019– 2020 Summary of the Proposed Catch Limits Tables 2 through 8 show the proposed catch limits for the 2019–2020 fishing years. A brief summary of how these catch limits were developed is provided below. More details on the proposed catch limits for each groundfish stock VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 can be found in Appendix II (Calculation of Northeast Multispecies Annual Catch Limits, FY 2019–FY 2020) to the Framework 58 Environmental Assessment (see ADDRESSES for information on how to get this document). Framework 57 (83 FR 18985; May 1, 2018) previously set quotas for all groundfish stocks for fishing years 2019–2020. Only the eastern portion of the GB cod stock, jointly managed with Canada, did not have a 2019 quota set in Framework 57. Through Framework 58, the Council proposes to adopt new catch limits for 7 of the 20 groundfish stocks for the 2019–2020 fishing years. The fishing year 2019 quotas previously set by Framework 57 will be in effect on May 1, 2019, unless and until replaced by the quotas proposed in this action. A default quota for GB cod will be in effect from May 1, 2019, through July 31, 2019. Overfishing Limits and Acceptable Biological Catches The overfishing limit (OFL) serves as the maximum amount of fish that can be caught in a year without constituting overfishing. The OFL for each stock is calculated using the estimated stock size and FMSY (i.e., the fishing mortality rate that, if applied over the long term, would result in maximum sustainable yield). The OFL does not account for scientific uncertainty, so the SSC typically recommends an ABC that is lower than the OFL in order to account for this uncertainty. Usually, the greater the amount of scientific uncertainty, the lower the ABC is set compared to the OFL. For GB cod, GB haddock, and GB yellowtail flounder, the total ABC is then reduced by the amount of the Canadian quota (see Table 1 for the Canadian and U.S. shares of these stocks). Additionally, although GB winter flounder, white hake, and Atlantic halibut are not jointly managed with Canada, there is some Canadian catch of these stocks. Because the total ABC must account for all sources of fishing mortality, expected Canadian catch of GB winter flounder (45 mt), white hake (33 mt), and Atlantic halibut (33 mt) is deducted from the total ABC. The U.S. ABC is the amount available to PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 189 (29%) 461 (71%) Eastern GB haddock 15,000 (50%) 15,000 (50%) GB yellowtail flounder 106 (76%) 34 (24%) the U.S. fishery after accounting for Canadian catch (see Table 2). For stocks without Canadian catch, the U.S. ABC is equal to the total ABC. Based on the SSC’s recommendation, the Council recommended continuing to set the OFL as unknown for GB yellowtail flounder. An empirical stock assessment is used for this stock, and the assessment can no longer provide quantitative estimates of the status determination criteria. No historical estimates of biomass, fishing mortality rate, or recruitment can be calculated because a stock assessment model framework is lacking. Status determination relative to reference points is not possible because reference points cannot be defined. In the absence of an assessment model, the empirical approach based on survey catches indicates stock condition is poor, given a declining trend in survey biomass despite reductions in catch to historical low levels. Total catch has declined in recent years and is at the lowest value in the time series. The stock has been experiencing below average recruitment and a truncation of age structure. Stock biomass is low and productivity is poor. In the temporary absence of an OFL, given recent catch data, we have preliminarily determined that the GB yellowtail flounder ABC is a sufficient limit for preventing overfishing and is consistent with the National Standards. As an index-assessed stock, an estimate of the probability of overfishing cannot be determined, but the proposed ABC is based on an exploitation rate applied to the most recent estimate of stock size. The proposed ABC is a substantial reduction (53 percent) from the 2018 ABC in light of stock conditions and continued low survey biomass. We previously approved setting the OFL as unknown for GB yellowtail flounder as part of Framework 57, and we are continuing to develop guidance on setting status determination criteria and relevant catch limits in cases when an empirical assessment cannot provide numerical estimates of traditional reference points. E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 19APP1 16444 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 2—PROPOSED FISHING YEARS 2019–2020 OVERFISHING LIMITS AND ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCHES [Mt, live weight] 2019 Stock OFL GB Cod * .............................................................................. GOM Cod ............................................................................. GB Haddock * ....................................................................... GOM Haddock ..................................................................... GB Yellowtail Flounder * ...................................................... SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder ................................................ CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder ............................................... American Plaice ................................................................... Witch Flounder ..................................................................... GB Winter Flounder ............................................................. GOM Winter Flounder .......................................................... SNE/MA Winter Flounder .................................................... Redfish ................................................................................. White Hake .......................................................................... Pollock .................................................................................. N Windowpane Flounder ..................................................... S Windowpane Flounder ..................................................... Ocean Pout .......................................................................... Atlantic Halibut ..................................................................... Atlantic Wolffish ................................................................... U.S. ABC 3,047 938 99,757 16,038 UNK 90 736 2,099 UNK 1,182 596 1,228 15,640 3,898 53,940 122 631 169 UNK 120 Percent change from 2018 1,824 703 58,114 12,490 106 68 511 1,609 993 810 447 727 11,785 2,938 40,172 92 473 127 104 90 15 0 19 ¥5 ¥50 0 0 ¥7 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2020 OFL 3,047 938 100,825 13,020 UNK 90 848 1,945 UNK 1,756 596 1,228 15,852 3,916 57,240 122 631 169 UNK 120 U.S. ABC 2,285 703 73,114 10,186 168 68 511 1,492 993 810 447 727 11,942 2,938 40,172 92 473 127 104 90 CC = Cape Cod; N = Northern; S = Southern; UNK = Unknown. * Only the GB cod, GB haddock, and GB yellowtail stocks have changes from the 2019 U.S. ABCs previously approved in Framework 57. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Annual Catch Limits Development of Annual Catch Limits The U.S. ABC for each stock is divided among the various fishery components to account for all sources of fishing mortality. First, an estimate of catch expected from state waters and the ‘‘other’’ sub-component (e.g., nongroundfish fisheries or some recreational groundfish fisheries) is deducted from the U.S. ABC. These subcomponents are not subject to specific catch controls by the FMP. As a result, the state waters and other subcomponents are not allocations, and these sub-components of the fishery are not subject to AMs if the catch limits are exceeded. After the state and other subcomponents are deducted, the remaining portion of the U.S. ABC is distributed to the fishery components that receive an allocation for the stock. Components of the fishery that receive an allocation are subject to AMs if they exceed their respective catch limit during the fishing year. A fishing year 2017 overage of the GOM cod allocation is discussed in detail in Section 5, Adjustments Due to Fishing Year 2017 Overage. Once the U.S. ABC is divided, subannual catch limits (sub-ACL) are set by reducing the amount of the ABC distributed to each component of the fishery to account for management uncertainty. Management uncertainty seeks to account for the possibility that management measures will result in a level of catch greater than expected. For VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 each stock and fishery component, management uncertainty is estimated using the following criteria: Enforceability and precision of management measures; adequacy of catch monitoring; latent effort; and whether the composition of catch includes landings and discards, or is all discards. The total ACL is the sum of all of the sub-ACLs and state and other subcomponents, and is the catch limit for a particular year after accounting for both scientific and management uncertainty. Landings and discards from all fisheries (commercial and recreational groundfish fisheries, state waters, and non-groundfish fisheries) are counted against the ACL for each stock. Sector and Common Pool Allocations For stocks allocated to sectors, the commercial groundfish sub-ACL is further divided into the non-sector (common pool) sub-ACL and the sector sub-ACL, based on the total vessel enrollment in sectors and the cumulative potential sector contributions (PSC) associated with those sectors. The preliminary sector and common pool sub-ACLs proposed in this action are based on fishing year 2019 PSCs and fishing year 2018 sector rosters. All permits enrolled in a sector, and the vessels associated with those permits, have until April 30, 2019, to withdraw from a sector and fish in the common pool for the 2019 fishing year. In addition to the enrollment delay, all permits that change ownership after PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 December 1, 2018, may join a sector (or change sector) through April 30, 2019. The final sector and common pool subACLs will be based on final 2019 sector rosters. Common Pool Total Allowable Catches The common pool sub-ACL for each stock (except for SNE/MA winter flounder, both windowpane flounder stocks, ocean pout, Atlantic wolffish, and Atlantic halibut) is further divided into trimester TACs. The distribution of the common pool sub-ACLs into trimesters was adopted in Amendment 16 to the FMP (75 FR 18262; April 9, 2010) and was based on landing patterns at that time. Framework 57 (83 FR 18985; May 1, 2018) revised the apportionment of TACs among the trimesters. Once we project that 90 percent of the trimester TAC is caught for a stock, the trimester TAC area for that stock is closed for the remainder of the trimester. The closure applies to all common pool vessels fishing on a groundfish trip with gear capable of catching the pertinent stock. Any uncaught portion of the TAC in Trimester 1 or Trimester 2 is carried forward to the next trimester. Overages of the Trimester 1 or Trimester 2 TAC are deducted from the Trimester 3 TAC. Any overages of the total common pool sub-ACL are deducted from the following fishing year’s common pool sub-ACL for that stock. Uncaught portions of any trimester TAC may not be carried over into the following fishing year. Table 5 summarizes the E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 19APP1 16445 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules common pool trimester TACs proposed in this action. Incidental catch TACs are also specified for certain stocks of concern (i.e., stocks that are overfished or subject to overfishing) for common pool vessels fishing in the special management programs (i.e., special access programs (SAP) and the Regular B Days-at-Sea (DAS) Program), in order to limit the catch of these stocks under each program. Tables 6 through 8 summarize the proposed Incidental Catch TACs for each stock and the distribution of these TACs to each special management program. In fishing year 2017, GOM cod catch exceeded the total ACL and ABC, but not the OFL (Table 10). This overage and the required payback are discussed in detail in Section 5, Adjustments Due to Fishing Year 2017 Overage. The TACs for GOM cod in Tables 5 through 8 have been adjusted for this overage. Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP The Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment (OHA2) (83 FR 15240; April 9, 2018) eliminated the year-round closure of Closed Area I. When OHA2 eliminated Closed Area I, the Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP was no longer necessary, because the geographic area is now an open area accessible to the groundfish fleet (with the exception of the GB Dedicated Habitat Research Area and the Seasonal Closed Area I North closure). However, the Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP is still part of the FMP. We are required by the FMP to allocate an Incidental Catch Total Allowable Catch for GB cod, which is split between the Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP, Regular B Days-at-Sea Program, and the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP (Table 7). However, this allocation (0.1 mt) is a minor portion of the quota, and this is not expected to have any negative impacts for the common pool fishery. Additionally, overall fishing effort by both common pool and sector vessels in the Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP is controlled by an overall TAC for GB haddock, which is the target species for this SAP. The GB haddock TAC for the SAP is based on the amount allocated to this SAP for the 2004 fishing year (1,130 mt) and adjusted according to the growth or decline of the western GB haddock biomass in relationship to its size in 2004. Based on this formula, the Council’s proposed GB Haddock TAC for this SAP is 3,454 mt for the 2019 fishing year and 3,673 for the 2020 fishing year. Until the Council revises the allocations to the Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP, a portion of the quotas will be allocated to the program, and will be unavailable to be caught. Because no vessel will need to declare into the program, no catch will count against the SAP’s quotas. Default Catch Limits for 2021 Framework 53 established a mechanism for setting default catch limits in the event a future management action is delayed. If final catch limits have not been implemented by the start of a fishing year on May 1, then default catch limits are set at 35 percent of the previous year’s catch limit, effective until July 31 of that fishing year, or when replaced by new catch limits. If this value exceeds the Council’s recommendation for the upcoming fishing year, the default catch limits will be reduced to an amount equal to the Council’s recommendation for the upcoming fishing year. Because groundfish vessels are not able to fish if final catch limits have not been implemented, this measure was established to prevent disruption to the groundfish fishery. Additional description of the default catch limit mechanism is provided in the preamble to the Framework 53 final rule (80 FR 25110; May 1, 2015). TABLE 3—PROPOSED CATCH LIMITS FOR THE 2019 FISHING YEAR [Mt, live weight] khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Stock GB Cod * ........................... GOM Cod .......................... GB Haddock * .................... GOM Haddock .................. GB Yellowtail Flounder * ... SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder .................................. CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder .................................. American Plaice ................ Witch Flounder * ................ GB Winter Flounder * ........ GOM Winter Flounder * ..... SNE/MA Winter Flounder .. Redfish .............................. White Hake ........................ Pollock ............................... N Windowpane Flounder .. S Windowpane Flounder ... Ocean Pout ....................... Atlantic Halibut * ................ Atlantic Wolffish ................. Total ACL Groundfish sub-ACL Preliminary sector sub-ACL Preliminary common pool sub-ACL Recreational sub-ACL Midwater trawl fishery Scallop fishery Smallmesh fisheries State waters subcomponent Other subcomponent A to H A+B+C A B C D E F G H 1,741 666 55,249 11,803 103 1,568 610 53,276 11,506 85 1,536 378 52,896 8,219 83 32 12 380 93 1 ........................ 220 ........................ 3,194 ........................ ................ ................ 811 116 ................ .............. .............. .............. .............. 16.5 .................. .................. .................. .................. 2.0 18 47 581 91 0.0 155 9 581 91 0.0 66 32 26 6 ........................ ................ 15 .................. 2 17 490 1,532 948 786 428 700 11,208 2,794 38,204 86 457 120 100 84 398 1,467 854 774 355 518 10,972 2,735 37,400 63 53 94 75 82 381 1,442 835 768 337 456 10,921 2,715 37,170 na na na na na 17 26 18 6 18 62 51 21 230 63 53 94 75 82 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ .............. .............. .............. .............. .............. .............. .............. .............. .............. 18 158 .............. .............. .............. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. 51 32 40 0 67 73 118 29 402 2 28 3 21 1 41 32 55 12 7 109 118 29 402 3 218 23 4 1 na: Not allocated. * These stocks have changes from the 2019 allocations previously approved in Framework 57. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 19APP1 16446 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 4—PROPOSED CATCH LIMITS FOR THE 2020 FISHING YEAR [Mt, live weight] Stock GB Cod * ........................... GOM Cod .......................... GB Haddock * .................... GOM Haddock .................. GB Yellowtail Flounder * ... SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder .................................. CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder .................................. American Plaice ................ Witch Flounder * ................ GB Winter Flounder * ........ GOM Winter Flounder * ..... SNE/MA Winter Flounder .. Redfish .............................. White Hake ........................ Pollock ............................... N Windowpane Flounder .. S Windowpane Flounder ... Ocean Pout ....................... Atlantic Halibut * ................ Atlantic Wolffish ................. Total ACL Groundfish sub-ACL Preliminary sector sub-ACL Preliminary common pool sub-ACL Recreational sub-ACL Midwater trawl fishery Scallop fishery Smallmesh fisheries State waters subcomponent Other subcomponent A to H A+B+C A B C D E F G H 2,182 666 69,509 9,626 163 1,965 610 67,027 9,384 134 1,925 378 66,549 6,703 132 40 12 478 76 2 ........................ 220 ........................ 2,605 ........................ ................ ................ 1,020 95 ................ .............. .............. .............. .............. 26 .................. .................. .................. .................. 3 23 47 731 74 0 194 9 731 74 0 66 31 25 6 ........................ ................ 16 .................. 2 17 490 1,420 948 786 428 700 11,357 2,794 38,204 86 457 120 100 84 398 1,361 854 774 355 518 11,118 2,735 37,400 63 53 94 75 82 381 1,337 835 768 337 456 11,066 2,715 37,170 na na na na na 17 24 18 6 18 62 52 21 230 63 53 94 75 82 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ .............. .............. .............. .............. .............. .............. .............. .............. .............. 18 158 .............. .............. .............. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. 51 30 40 0 67 73 119 29 402 2 28 3 21 1 41 30 55 12 7 109 119 29 402 3 218 23 4 1 na: Not allocated. * These stocks have changes from the 2020 allocations previously approved in Framework 57. TABLE 5—PROPOSED FISHING YEARS 2019–2020 COMMON POOL TRIMESTER TACS [Mt, live weight] 2019 2020 Stock Trimester 1 GB Cod ................................................................ GOM Cod ............................................................. GB Haddock ......................................................... GOM Haddock ..................................................... GB Yellowtail Flounder ........................................ SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder ................................ CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder ............................... American Plaice ................................................... Witch Flounder ..................................................... GB Winter Flounder ............................................. GOM Winter Flounder .......................................... Redfish ................................................................. White Hake .......................................................... Pollock .................................................................. Trimester 2 8.9 5.7 102.7 25.1 0.2 1.3 9.7 19.2 10.2 0.5 6.5 12.8 7.8 64.4 Trimester 3 10.8 3.8 125.5 24.1 0.4 1.7 4.4 2.1 10.2 1.5 6.7 15.9 6.4 80.5 Trimester 1 12.1 2.1 152.1 43.6 0.7 3.2 2.9 4.7 10.2 4.3 4.4 22.5 6.4 85.1 Trimester 2 11.2 5.8 129.2 20.4 0.4 1.3 9.7 17.8 10.2 0.5 6.5 13.0 7.8 64.4 Trimester 3 13.6 3.9 157.9 19.7 0.6 1.7 4.4 1.9 3.7 1.5 6.7 16.1 6.4 80.5 15.2 2.1 191.3 35.6 1.0 3.1 2.9 4.3 4.6 4.3 4.4 22.8 6.4 85.1 TABLE 6—PROPOSED COMMON POOL INCIDENTAL CATCH TACS FOR THE 2019–2020 FISHING YEARS [Mt, live weight] Percentage of common pool sub-ACL khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Stock GB cod ................................................................................................................................... GOM cod ............................................................................................................................... GB yellowtail flounder ............................................................................................................ CC/GOM yellowtail flounder .................................................................................................. American Plaice ..................................................................................................................... Witch Flounder ....................................................................................................................... SNE/MA winter flounder ........................................................................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 2019 2 1 2 1 5 5 1 19APP1 2020 0.64 0.12 0.03 0.17 1.29 0.92 0.62 0.80 0.12 0.04 0.17 1.20 0.92 0.62 16447 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 7—PERCENTAGE OF INCIDENTAL CATCH TACS DISTRIBUTED TO EACH SPECIAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM Regular B DAS program (%) Stock GB cod ......................................................................................................................................... GOM cod ..................................................................................................................................... GB yellowtail flounder .................................................................................................................. CC/GOM yellowtail flounder ........................................................................................................ American Plaice ........................................................................................................................... Witch Flounder ............................................................................................................................. SNE/MA winter flounder .............................................................................................................. Closed Area I hook gear haddock SAP (%) 50 100 50 100 100 100 100 Eastern U.S./CA haddock SAP (%) 16 na na na na na na 34 na 50 na na na na TABLE 8—PROPOSED FISHING YEARS 2019–2020 INCIDENTAL CATCH TACS FOR EACH SPECIAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM [Mt, live weight] Regular B DAS program Closed Area I hook gear haddock SAP Stock 2019 GB cod ..................................................... GOM cod .................................................. GB yellowtail flounder .............................. CC/GOM yellowtail flounder .................... American Plaice ....................................... Witch Flounder ......................................... SNE/MA winter flounder .......................... 0.32 0.12 0.01 0.17 1.29 0.92 0.62 4. Adjustments Due to Fishing Year 2017 Overage If an overall ACL is exceeded due to catch from vessels fishing outside of an allocated fishery, the overage is distributed to the components of the fishery with an allocation. If a fishery component’s catch and its share of the ACL overage exceed the component’s allocation, then the applicable AMs must be implemented. The commercial groundfish fishery AMs require a pound-for-pound reduction of the applicable sector or common pool subACL following either component’s overage. The recreational fishery AMs require a modification to that fishery’s management measures. In fishing year 2017, GOM cod catch exceeded the total ACL and ABC, but not the OFL (Table 9). We notified the Council of the overage and payback amounts in October 2018. This proposed rule includes a description of the fishing year 2017 catch overage and required adjustments to fishing year 2019 allocations. These adjustments are not part of Framework 58. We are khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS 2020 2019 0.40 0.12 0.02 0.17 1.20 0.92 0.62 Eastern U.S./Canada haddock SAP 2020 0.10 na na na na na na announcing them in conjunction with Framework 58 proposed measures because they relate to the catch limits proposed in Framework 58. Total GOM cod catch in fishing year 2017 exceeded the total ACL due to a combination of excess catch from the recreational fishery, the state waters sub-component, and the other subcomponent (non-groundfish Federal fisheries). Both the sector and common pool sub-ACLs were underharvested. The recreational fishery’s overage of its fishing year 2017 sub-ACL was addressed by a change in recreational fishery management measures for fishing year 2018 to prevent a subsequent overage (83 FR 18972; May 1, 2018). The remaining overage (61.4 mt) due to catch by the state waters subcomponent and other sub-component (unallocated components) must be distributed among the common pool, sectors, and the recreational fishery in proportion to their shares of the fishing year 2017 groundfish fishery ACL as though each of those components had caught that amount. The commercial 2019 0.13 na na na na na na 2020 0.22 na 0.01 na na na na 0.27 na 0.02 na na na na fishery AM for overages is a pound-forpound payback that results in a deduction of the overage amount from the fishing year 2019 commercial fishery sub-ACLs. The sector and common pool sub-ACL underages in fishing year 2017 reduce the adjustment necessary to the fishing year 2019 sector and common pool sub-ACLs. The portion of the overage allocated to the recreational fishery does not result in a pound-for-pound reduction of the recreational sub-ACL. As discussed above, the portion of the catch overage attributed to the recreational fishery was addressed by a change in recreational measures for 2018. Table 10 shows the proportion (as a percentage) of the unallocated overage attributed to each component, the amount (mt) of the unallocated overage attributed to each sub-component, the amount (mt) of any overage of each component’s sub-ACL, and amount (mt) that must be paid back by each component. Table 11 shows revised fishing year 2019 GOM cod allocations incorporating these payback amounts. TABLE 9—2017 ABC, ACL, CATCH, AND OVERAGE [Mt, live weight] Stock U.S. ABC Total ACL Catch Total overage Unallocated overage GOM Cod ............................................................................. 500 473 612.6 139.6 61.4 VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 19APP1 16448 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 10—2019 PAYBACK CALCULATIONS AND AMOUNTS [Mt, live weight] Proportion (%) Component Sectors ............................................................................................................. Common Pool .................................................................................................. Recreational ..................................................................................................... Amount 64 2 34 Underage 39.4 1.3 20.7 Payback 10.5 0.9 0 28.8 0.4 (*) * The recreational fishery does not have pound-for-pound payback. TABLE 11—REVISED 2019 ALLOCATIONS khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS [Mt, live weight] Stock Total ACL Groundfish sub-ACL Initial preliminary sector sub-ACL Revised preliminary sector sub-ACL Initial preliminary common pool sub-ACL Revised preliminary common pool sub-ACL GOM Cod ................................................. 666 610 378 349.20 12 11.6 5. Rebuilding Programs assessment, the GB winter flounder stock was never overfished, nor experiencing overfishing, but that it is approaching an overfished condition. Because GB winter flounder is approaching an overfished condition, we recommended the Council still revise the GB winter flounder rebuilding plan, rather than discontinue it. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that overfished stocks be rebuilt as quickly as possible, not to exceed 10 years when biologically possible, while accounting for the needs of fishing communities. Rebuilding plans must have at least a 50-percent probability of success. Selection of a rebuilding plan with a higher probability of success is one way of addressing uncertainty, but this does not affect the standard used in the future to determine whether a stock is rebuilt. The minimum rebuilding time (Tmin) is the amount of time a stock is expected to take to rebuild to the biomass (B) associated with maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the absence of any fishing mortality (F). The actual timeline set with a rebuilding plan (Ttarget) may be greater than Tmin, but cannot exceed the maximum rebuilding time (Tmax). Tmax is 10 years if Tmin is less than 10 years. In situations where Tmin exceeds 10 years, Tmax establishes a maximum time for rebuilding that is linked to the biology of the stock. Framework 58 would revise or implement new rebuilding plans for five stocks: GB winter flounder; SNE/MA yellowtail flounder; witch flounder, northern windowpane flounder; and ocean pout. The deadline to implement these rebuilding plans is August 31, 2019. The SSC advised that revising the ABCs for fishing years 2019 and 2020 is not warranted for the development of the new rebuilding plans because these ABCs were set with the most recent assessments in 2017. Therefore, the 2019 and 2020 ABCs set in Framework 57 were incorporated in developing the proposed rebuilding plans. These rebuilding plans would be initiated in 2019 and therefore January 1, 2020, would be the first year of the rebuilding plan for all stocks. The current rebuilding strategies for GB winter flounder, witch flounder, and northern windowpane flounder were adopted in 2010, and all three rebuilding programs were scheduled to rebuild their respective stocks by 2017. The current ocean pout rebuilding strategy was adopted in 2004 and was expected to rebuild the stock by 2014. The SNE/MA yellowtail flounder stock was previously determined to be rebuilt in 2012 based on revised reference points. In 2015, updated scientific information revised our understanding of the status of these stocks. As a result, on August 31, 2017, we notified the Council that the GB winter flounder, witch flounder, northern windowpane flounder, and ocean pout stocks were not making adequate rebuilding progress and that SNE/MA yellowtail flounder is now overfished, and subject to overfishing. Subsequently, on November 1, 2018, we notified the Council that, based on the 2017 VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 Stocks With Projections The GB winter flounder and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder stock assessments are based on analytical models that provide projections of B. Long-term catch projections for groundfish stocks tend to underestimate fishing mortality and overestimate stock biomass. The inherent uncertainty surrounding longterm projections makes it difficult to estimate the fishing mortality rate that is PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 required to rebuild the stock by Ttarget (Frebuild). This uncertainty is due, in part, to the estimate’s dependence on future recruitment (the amount of age-1 fish added to the stock each year), which is difficult to predict. If recruitment does not increase as projected, then progress towards rebuilding occurs at a much slower pace or building to BMSY is not possible. The GB winter flounder and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder rebuilding programs proposed in this action would rebuild the stocks within 10 years, or by 2029, which is the maximum time period allowed by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The basis for setting Ttarget = Tmax is that recruitment may not increase as assumed in the projections. Recent recruitment estimates for both stocks have been relatively low, which make the Tmin projections likely to be overly optimistic. The proposed rebuilding plan for GB winter flounder would set Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY with a 77percent probability of achieving BMSY. The proposed rebuilding plan for SNE/ MA yellowtail flounder would set Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY with an 82percent probability of achieving BMSY. Tmin for both GB winter flounder and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder is 3 years, rebuilding by the end of 2022. As explained in more detail in Appendix III of the EA (see ADDRESSES), the proposed rebuilding programs intend to address the needs of fishing communities as much as practicable, as well as factor in past performance of groundfish catch projections in order to increase the likelihood of rebuilding success. The Council’s default control rule for setting catch limits requires that catches be set based on 75 percent of FMSY or Frebuild, whichever is lower. Typically, when a stock was in a rebuilding program, initial catch advice was based E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 19APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS on 75 percent of FMSY. Updated assessments often resulted in large reductions in catch advice through large reductions in the estimates of Frebuild below 75 percent of FMSY as the rebuilding time shortens. Rebuilding progress for many groundfish stocks has often occurred slower than expected due to recruitment not increasing as projected, which leads to dramatic reductions in catch limits as the rebuilding end date gets closer. When Frebuild approaches zero, Frebuild is less likely to be used for setting catch limits because of the impact on catch of other stocks in the multispecies complex. Selecting Frebuild levels that are more conservative than the control rule (75 percent of FMSY) helps to avoid this problem. Stocks Without Projections The stock assessments for northern windowpane flounder, ocean pout, and witch flounder do not have analytical models and catch projections are not possible. Therefore, Tmin for F0 is undefined, and Tmin could be less than or greater than 10 years. Without Tmin, no direct methods for estimating Tmax are available. Under the groundfish control rule, most stocks would be expected to rebuild in 10 years when fishing at 75 percent of FMSY. However, for northern windowpane flounder, ocean pout, and witch flounder, rebuilding was not achieved as previously planned despite application of the control rule and prohibiting possession of this stock. For northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout, no aging data is currently available. Therefore, an evaluation of mean generation time for these two stocks is not possible. Recently, overfishing ended on northern windowpane flounder, which could be a positive sign for potential stock growth and indicate that a Ttarget of 10 years could be appropriate. Ocean pout has not responded to low catches, despite low relative F, indicating a Ttarget of 10 years may be too short. Witch flounder are a long-lived species, and a Ttarget of 10 years may be too short given their life history. However, in the previously developed witch flounder rebuilding plan, the stock was able to rebuild according to the projections. In addition, there were signs of a relatively large incoming year class (2013) in multiple surveys, which could indicate rebuilding is possible for this stock. A recent examination of the witch flounder yield-per-recruit analysis completed in the 2017 assessment suggests a mean generation time of 11.3 years at F0. Following National Standard 1 guidelines (81 FR 71858; October 16, VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 2016), two times the mean generation time results in 23 years (11.3 × 2 = 22.6, rounded up to 23), and was used as the basis for calculating Tmax for the witch flounder rebuilding plan. The proposed rebuilding plan for northern windowpane flounder would set Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY and Ttarget at 10 years, rebuilding by the end of 2029. The proposed rebuilding plan for ocean pout would set Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY and TTarget at 10 years, rebuilding by the end of 2029. The proposed witch flounder rebuilding plan would set Frebuild as an exploitation rate of 6 percent (or otherwise determined in a future stock assessment) and Ttarget at 23 years, rebuilding by the end of 2043. The northern windowpane flounder, ocean pout, and witch flounder assessments are index-based and do not have projections, which prevents calculating probabilities of achieving BMSY. Additional considerations by stock are discussed in Appendix III of the EA (see ADDRESSES). 6. Revision to the Georges Bank Yellowtail Flounder Accountability Measure Trigger for Scallop Vessels The scallop fishery is allocated subACLs for four stocks: GB yellowtail flounder; SNE/MA yellowtail flounder; northern windowpane flounder; and southern windowpane flounder. These allocations are made to manage the scallop fishery’s bycatch of these stocks and mitigate potential negative impacts to the groundfish fishery. Framework 47 (77 FR 26104; May 2, 2012) established a policy for triggering scallop fishery AMs. The AMs are triggered if either the scallop fishery exceeds its sub-ACL for a stock and the overall ACL for that stock is exceeded, or the scallop fishery exceeds its sub-ACL for a stock by 50 percent or more. Framework 56 (82 FR 35660; August 1, 2017) made a change to this policy for GB yellowtail flounder to remove the second trigger for the 2017 and 2018 fishing years. For these years, the AMs for GB yellowtail flounder are triggered only if the scallop fishery exceeds its sub-ACL and the overall ACL is exceeded. Framework 58 would extend this provision for GB yellowtail flounder for the 2019 and 2020 fishing years. This measure is intended to provide flexibility for the scallop fishery to better achieve optimal yield, despite recent reductions in the ACL, while continuing to prevent overfishing. Framework 58 proposes to reduce the 2019 GB yellowtail flounder ABC by 50 percent when compared to 2018, but, in recent years, a significant portion of the overall ACL has remained uncaught as PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 16449 groundfish vessels have reduced their catch and avoided the stock. Exceeding the total ACL would trigger the AM to prevent subsequent ACL overages and correct the cause of the overage. This measure provides the scallop fishery with flexibility to adjust to current catch conditions and better achieve optimum yield while still providing an incentive to avoid yellowtail flounder. This extension is proposed for only 2 years to provide further opportunity to assess its performance and to reduce the potential risk for the groundfish fishery. The underlying policy for triggering scallop fishery AMs established by Framework 47 would be in effect for catches in fishery 2021 and beyond. Beginning with catch during fishing year 2021, the AM would be triggered if either the scallop fishery exceeds its sub-ACL for a stock and the overall ACL for that stock is exceeded, or the scallop fishery exceeds its sub-ACL for a stock by 50 percent or more. 7. Exemption From the U.S. Minimum Fish Sizes for Groundfish Species for Vessels Fishing Exclusively in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area U.S. vessels participating in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) fishery are prohibited from possessing any fish, or parts of fish, that do not meet the minimum fish size in the domestic fishery. Figure 1 shows the NAFO Regulatory Area. Framework 58 would exempt U.S. vessels on trips fishing exclusively in the NAFO Regulatory Area from the domestic Northeast Multispecies FMP minimum sizes. On those trips, the vessels would be required to land fish that met the NAFO minimum sizes as specified in the NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures (see: https://www.nafo.int/ Fisheries/Conservation). A comparison of U.S. domestic and NAFO minimum sizes in contained in the EA (see ADDRESSES). The NAFO stocks are distinct from the stocks managed by the Northeast Multispecies FMP. Therefore, harvest of those stocks does not have a biological impact on U.S. stocks. NAFO fishing trips also require 100-percent observer coverage. All catch that comes onboard the vessel is identified and quantified following NAFO protocols by the fisheries observer. Allowing U.S. vessels to harvest groundfish using NAFO minimum sizes would enable the United States to be better stewards of the NAFO resource by reducing discards that meet the NAFO size standards but are below the domestic minimum size. Landing the dressed fish, even at sizes less than the domestic minimum size, E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 19APP1 16450 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules dominated by foreign interests, this is expected to provide U.S. fishing businesses an opportunity to compete equally in the frozen market. This would apply to all NAFO species included in the Northeast Multispecies FMP to proactively facilitate BILLING CODE 3510–22–C days-at-sea (DAS) leasing program to allow vessels to temporarily transfer DAS to one another as a way to mitigate cuts in DAS allocations. Historically, all applications to lease DAS were submitted on paper and NMFS set a March 1 annual deadline to allow for a 45-day processing window and time to use the DAS prior to the end of the fishing year on April 30. Nearly all DAS leases are now submitted electronically and are processed almost immediately. Therefore, we are using our administrative authority under § 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to push khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS 8. Administrative Changes and Regulatory Corrections Under Secretarial Authority The following changes are being made using Magnuson-Stevens Act section 305(d) authority to ensure that FMPs or amendments are implemented in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Days-at-Sea Leasing Deadline In 2004, Amendment 13 (81 FR 22906; April 27, 2004) established a VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 development of U.S. participation in NAFO, as well as applying to species (yellowtail flounder and American plaice) already being landed in the U.S. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P back the application deadline to April 30. This is intended to facilitate efficient use of groundfish DAS throughout the fishing year. At-Sea Catch Reporting This rule proposes to correct a mistake in the VMS catch report requirements for vessels fishing in the U.S. Canada Management Areas. Amendment 16 (75 FR 18262; April 9, 2010) implemented a requirement for vessels to submit catch reports at-sea via their vessel monitoring system (VMS) on any trip fishing in multiple broad E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 19APP1 EP19AP19.001</GPH> would not give the NAFO participants a competitive advantage over domestic fishermen that rely upon the fresh fish market nor would it negatively affect the fresh fish market. Instead, because the NAFO catch primarily goes into the frozen market, which is currently Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules stock areas (BSA) and maintained preexisting requirements for vessels to submit catch reports for any trip fishing in a special management program (e.g., the U.S./Canada Management Areas, the Regular B DAS Program). In the rulemaking for Amendment 16, NMFS initially proposed to remove the requirement that vessels report statistical area fished in the VMS catch reports, but the final rule maintained that requirement to ensure NMFS can accurately attribute catch of GB cod and GB haddock to accounting of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area quotas for these stocks. However, the regulatory text implemented by the final rule inadvertently removed the requirement to report by statistical area. This rule proposes to revise the regulatory text correctly capture NMFS published intent to continue requiring VMS catch reports include catch by statistical area. The final rule implementing Amendment 16 also included a requirement that trips fishing in multiple BSAs report catch by BSA in VMS catch reports because it was necessary to allow NMFS and sectors to calculate discard rates. In 2013, we revised the VMS reporting instructions to require vessels to submit catch by statistical area fished, rather than reporting catch by BSA, for any trip requiring a VMS catch report. We made this change to create a single VMS form that would address all required VMS catch reports and eliminate unnecessary duplication of reporting. However, this change was not consistently captured in the regulations and remains a source of confusion. In this rule, we propose to revise the regulations to consistently state that species kept must be reported by statistical area on all VMS catch reports. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Citation for Scallop-Yellowtail Quota Transfer The regulations allocating GB and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder to the scallop fishery include a mechanism to transfer unused yellowtail flounder quota from the scallop fishery to the groundfish fishery. The regulations implementing this provision include an incorrect citation related to recreational allocations, and this action proposes to correct this citation. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has made a preliminary determination that this proposed rule is consistent with Framework 58, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 consideration after public comment. In making the final determination, we will consider the data, views, and comments received during the public comment period. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866. This proposed rule does not contain policies with federalism or takings implications as those terms are defined in E.O. 13132 and E.O. 12630, respectively. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual determination for this determination is as follows. Periodic framework adjustments are used to revise the Northeast Multispecies FMP in response to new scientific information to support catch limits that prevent overfishing and other adjustments to improve management measures included in the FMP. Framework Adjustment 58 proposes to revise catch limits for 7 of the 20 multispecies stocks for fishing years 2019–2020 (May 1, 2019, through April 30, 2020), implement rebuilding plans for 5 stocks, revise an accountability measure, and make other administrative changes to groundfish management measures. This action is necessary to respond to updated scientific information and to achieve the goals and objectives of the FMP. The proposed measures are intended to help prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, and achieve optimum yield. The recreational groundfish, Atlantic sea scallop, small-mesh multispecies, and Atlantic herring fisheries are also affected by the setting of quotas through fishery-specific sub-quotas of various groundfish species including: GOM cod and haddock for the recreational fishery; four flounder stocks for the Atlantic scallop fishery; GB yellowtail flounder for small-mesh fisheries; and GOM and GB haddock for the midwater herring fishery. Analysis of the likely economic impacts of Framework 58 measures predicts that the proposed action will have overall positive impacts on fishing vessels, purchasers of seafood products, recreational anglers, and operators of party/charter businesses. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires Federal agencies to consider disproportionality and profitability to determine the significance of regulatory impacts. For RFA purposes only, NMFS established a small business size PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 16451 standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts less than not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. The determination of whether the entity is large or small is based on the average annual revenue for the most recent 3 years for which data are available (from 2015 through 2017). As of May 1, 2017 (the beginning of the groundfish fishing year 2017), NMFS had issued 887 limited-access groundfish permits associated with vessels, 423 open access handgear permits, 723 limited access and general category Atlantic sea scallop permits, 736 small-mesh multispecies permits, 81 Atlantic herring permits, and 803 permits to vessels that are not permitted in the groundfish fishery but have been active in the large-mesh non-groundfish fishery over the past year. Therefore, this action potentially regulates 3,680 permits. Some of these permits are issued to the same vessel. When accounting for this overlap between fisheries, this action potentially regulates 2,368 permitted vessels. Each vessel may be individually owned or part of a larger corporate ownership structure. For RFA purposes, the proposed action ultimately regulates the ownership entity. Ownership entities are identified on June 1 of each year based on the list of all permit numbers, for the most recent complete calendar year, that have applied for any type of Northeast Federal fishing permit. The current ownership data set is based on calendar year 2017 permits and contains gross sales associated with those permits for calendar years 2015 through 2017. Based on the ownership data, 1,784 distinct business entities hold at least one permit that the proposed action potentially regulates. Of these 1,784 entities, 201 are inactive and do not have revenues. Of the 1,784 entities, 1,774 entities are categorized as small, and 10 entities are categorized as large. All 1,784 entities could be directly regulated by this proposed action. The Framework 58 measures would enhance the operational flexibility of fishermen and increase profits overall. The measures proposed in Framework 58 are expected to have a positive economic effect on small entities because they will generate $0.2 million in additional gross revenues compared E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 19APP1 16452 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules to not taking action. The measures are also expected to generate $9.3 million in additional gross revenues relative to the most recent fishing year (2016). The details of these economic analyses are included in Framework 58 (see ADDRESSES). Description of Proposed Framework 58 Measures Annual Catch Limits This action would set 2019–2020 catch limits for seven groundfish stocks: GB cod; GB haddock; GB yellowtail flounder; witch flounder; GB winter flounder; GOM winter flounder; and Atlantic halibut. This action would also set 2019 catch limits for the three stocks jointly managed with Canada (Eastern GB cod, Eastern GB haddock, and GB yellowtail flounder) based on assessments completed in 2018. Compared to 2018, Framework 58 would increase the U.S. ABC for three stocks and decrease the ABCs for three stocks. Changes range from modest increases for GB cod (15 percent) and GB haddock (19 percent) to a 50-percent reduction for GB yellowtail flounder. Stock Rebuilding Plans Framework 58 would revise or implement new rebuilding plans for five stocks: GB winter flounder, Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) yellowtail flounder, witch flounder, northern windowpane flounder, and ocean pout. For GB winter flounder, SNE/MA yellowtail flounder, northern windowpane flounder, and ocean pout the proposed rebuilding plans would limit fishing mortality to 70 percent of the level that would result in maximum sustainable yield of the stock (over the long term) for 10 years, rebuilding these stocks by 2029. For witch flounder, the proposed rebuilding plan would limit fishing mortality to the level that would harvest 6 percent of the stock for 23 years, rebuilding by 2043. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Atlantic Scallop Fishery Accountability Measure Policy GB yellowtail flounder is a bycatch species for the scallop fishery and possession by scallop vessels is prohibited. Under this temporary change, the accountability measure for the scallop fishery’s GB yellowtail quota would only be triggered if the scallop fishery exceeds its quota for the stock and the overall quota for the stock is also exceeded. The intent of this change is to provide flexibility for the scallop fishery to better achieve optimal yield despite reductions in the overall quota for GB yellowtail flounder, while continuing to prevent overfishing. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 Minimum Fish Size Exemptions for Vessels Fishing Exclusively in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area U.S. vessels participating in the NAFO fishery are prohibited from possessing any fish that do not meet the minimum fish size in the domestic fishery. Framework 58 would exempt U.S. vessels on trips fishing exclusively in the NAFO Regulatory Area from the domestic groundfish minimum sizes. This exemption is expected to provide U.S. fishing businesses an opportunity to compete equally in the frozen market, but would not give the NAFO participants a competitive advantage over domestic fishermen that rely upon the fresh fish market, nor would it negatively affect the fresh fish market. This action is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The effects on the regulated small entities identified in this analysis are expected to be positive relative to the no action alternative, which would result in lower revenues and profits than the proposed action. These measures would enhance the operational flexibility of groundfish fishermen, and increase profits. Under the proposed action, small entities would not be placed at a competitive disadvantage relative to large entities, and the regulations would not reduce the profits for any small entities relative to taking no action. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Dated: April 15, 2019. Patricia A. Montanio, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons stated in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 648.10, revise paragraph (k)(2) and the first sentence of paragraph (k)(3) to read as follows: ■ § 648.10 VMS and DAS requirements for vessel owners/operators. * PO 00000 * * (k) * * * Frm 00038 * Fmt 4702 * Sfmt 4702 (2) Reporting requirements for NE multispecies vessel owners or operators fishing in more than one broad stock area per trip. Unless otherwise provided in this paragraph (k)(2), the owner or operator of any vessel issued a NE multispecies limited access permit that has declared its intent to fish within multiple NE multispecies broad stock areas, as defined in paragraph (k)(3) of this section, on the same trip must submit a hail report via VMS providing a good-faith estimate of the amount of each regulated species retained (in pounds, landed weight) and the total amount of all species retained (in pounds, landed weight), including NE multispecies and species managed by other FMPs, from each statistical area. This reporting requirement is in addition to the reporting requirements specified in paragraph (k)(1) of this section and any other reporting requirements specified in this part. The report frequency is detailed in paragraphs (k)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section. (i) Vessels declaring into GOM Stock Area and any other stock area. A vessel declared to fish in the GOM Stock Area, as defined in paragraph (k)(3)(i) of this section, and any other stock area defined in paragraphs (k)(3)(ii) through (iv) of this section, must submit a daily VMS catch report in 24-hr intervals for each day by 0900 hr of the following day. Reports are required even if groundfish species caught that day have not yet been landed. (ii) Vessels declaring into multiple broad stock areas not including GOM Stock Area. A vessel declared into multiple stock areas defined in paragraphs (k)(3)(ii) through (iv) of this section, not including the GOM Stock Area I defined in paragraph (k)(3)(i) of this section, must submit a trip-level report via VMS prior to crossing the VMS demarcation line, as defined in § 648.10, upon its return to port following each fishing trip on which regulated species were caught, as instructed by the Regional Administrator. (iii) The Regional Administrator may adjust the reporting frequency specified in paragraph (k)(2) of this section. (iv) Exemptions from broad stock area VMS reporting requirements. (A) A vessel is exempt from the reporting requirements specified in paragraph (k)(2) of this section if it is fishing in a special management program, as specified in § 648.85, and is required to submit daily VMS catch reports consistent with the requirements of that program. (B) The Regional Administrator may exempt vessels on a sector trip from the E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 19APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules reporting requirements specified in this paragraph (k)(2) if it is determined that such reporting requirements would duplicate those specified in § 648.87(b). (3) NE multispecies broad stock areas. For the purposes of the area-specific reporting requirements listed in paragraph (k)(1) of this section, the NE multispecies broad stock areas are defined in paragraphs (k)(3)(i) through (iv) of this section. * * * * * * * * ■ 3. In § 648.14, revise paragraphs (a)(7) and (k)(17) to read as follows: § 648.14 Prohibitions. * * * * * (a) * * * (7) Possess, import, export, transfer, land, or have custody or control of any species of fish regulated pursuant to this part that do not meet the minimum size provisions in this part, unless such species were harvested exclusively within state waters by a vessel that does not hold a valid permit under this part, or are species included in the NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan that were harvested by a vessel issued a valid High Seas Fishing Compliance permit that fished exclusively in the NAFO Regulatory Area. * * * * * (k) * * * (17) Presumptions. For purposes of this part, the following presumptions apply: Regulated species possessed for sale that do not meet the minimum sizes specified in § 648.83 are deemed to have been taken from the EEZ or imported in violation of these regulations, unless the preponderance of all submitted evidence demonstrates that such fish were harvested by a vessel not issued a permit under this part and fishing exclusively within state waters, or by a vessel issued a valid High Seas Fishing Compliance permit that fished exclusively in the NAFO Regulatory Area. This presumption does not apply to fish being sorted on deck. * * * * * ■ 4. In § 648.17, revise paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows: § 648.17 Exemptions for vessels fishing in the NAFO Regulatory Area. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS * * * * * (a) Fisheries included under exemption—(1) NE multispecies. A vessel issued a valid High Seas Fishing Compliance Permit under part 300 of this title and that complies with the requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, is exempt from NE multispecies permit, mesh size, effortcontrol, minimum fish size, and possession limit restrictions, specified VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 in §§ 648.4, 648.80, 648.82, 648.83, and 648.86, respectively, while transiting the EEZ with NE multispecies on board the vessel, or landing NE multispecies in U.S. ports that were caught while fishing in the NAFO Regulatory Area. * * * * * ■ 5. In § 648.82, revise paragraph (k)(3)(iii) to read as follows: § 648.82 Effort-control program for NE multispecies limited access vessels. * * * * * (k) * * * (3) * * * (iii) Denial of lease application. The Regional Administrator may deny an application to lease Category A DAS for any of the following reasons, including, but not limited to: The application is incomplete or submitted past the April 30 deadline; the Lessor or Lessee has not been issued a valid limited access NE multispecies permit or is otherwise not eligible; the Lessor’s or Lessee’s DAS are under sanction pursuant to an enforcement proceeding; the Lessor’s or Lessee’s vessel is prohibited from fishing; the Lessor’s or Lessee’s limited access NE multispecies permit is sanctioned pursuant to an enforcement proceeding; the Lessor or Lessee vessel is determined not in compliance with the conditions, restrictions, and requirements of this part; or the Lessor has an insufficient number of allocated or unused DAS available to lease. Upon denial of an application to lease NE multispecies DAS, the Regional Administrator shall send a letter to the applicants describing the reason(s) for application rejection. The decision by the Regional Administrator is the final agency decision. * * * * * ■ 6. Section 648.85 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(3)(v)(A)(3), (a)(6)(iv)(I), and (a)(7)(vi)(D) to read as follows: § 648.85 Special management programs. * * * * * (a) * * * (3) * * * (v) * * * (A) * * * (3) Total pounds of cod, haddock, yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder, pollock, American plaice, redfish, Atlantic halibut, ocean pout, Atlantic wolffish, and white hake kept (in pounds, live weight) in each statistical area, as instructed by the Regional Administrator. * * * * * (6) * * * (iv) * * * (I) Reporting requirements. The owner or operator of a NE multispecies DAS PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 16453 vessel must submit catch reports via VMS in accordance with instructions provided by the Regional Administrator, for each day fished when declared into the Regular B DAS Program. The reports must be submitted in 24-hr intervals for each day, beginning at 0000 hr and ending at 2359 hr. The reports must be submitted by 0900 hr of the following day. For vessels that have declared into the Regular B DAS Program in accordance with paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(C) of this section, the reports must include at least the following information: VTR serial number or other universal ID specified by the Regional Administrator; date fish were caught; statistical area fished; and the total pounds of cod, haddock, yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder, pollock, American plaice, redfish, Atlantic halibut, and white hake kept in each statistical area (in pounds, live weight), as instructed by the Regional Administrator. Daily reporting must continue even if the vessel operator is required to flip, as described in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(E) of this section. * * * * * (7) * * * (vi) * * * (D) Reporting requirements. The owner or operator of a common pool vessel must submit reports via VMS, in accordance with instructions to be provided by the Regional Administrator, for each day fished in the Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP Area. The reports must be submitted in 24-hr intervals for each day fished, beginning at 0000 hr local time and ending at 2359 hr local time. The reports must be submitted by 0900 hr local time of the day following fishing. The reports must include at least the following information: VTR serial number or other universal ID specified by the Regional Administrator; date fish were caught; statistical area fished; and the total pounds of cod, haddock, yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder, pollock, American plaice, redfish, Atlantic halibut, and white hake kept in each statistical area (in pounds, live weight), specified in § 648.10(k)(3), as instructed by the Regional Administrator. Daily reporting must continue even if the vessel operator is required to exit the SAP as required under paragraph (b)(7)(iv)(G) of this section. * * * * * ■ 7. In § 648.87, revise paragraph (b)(1)(vi) introductory text and paragraph (b)(1)(vi) (A) to read as follows: E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 19APP1 16454 § 648.87 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 76 / Friday, April 19, 2019 / Proposed Rules Sector allocation. * * * * * (b) * * * (1) * * * (vi) Sector reporting requirements. In addition to the other reporting/ recordkeeping requirements specified in this part, a sector’s vessels must comply with the reporting requirements specified in this paragraph (b)(1)(vi). (A) VMS declarations and trip-level catch reports. Prior to each sector trip, a sector vessel must declare into broad stock areas in which the vessel fishes and submit the VTR serial number associated with that trip pursuant to § 648.10(k). The sector vessel must also submit a VMS catch report detailing regulated species and ocean pout catch by statistical area when fishing in multiple broad stock areas on the same trip, pursuant to § 648.10(k). * * * * * ■ 8. Section 648.90 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(4)(iii)(C) and paragraph (a)(5)(iv)(B), and adding paragraph (a)(5)(iv)(D) to read as follows: § 648.90 NE multispecies assessment, framework procedures and specifications, and flexible area action system. * * * * (a) * * * (4) * * * (iii) * * * (C) Yellowtail flounder catch by the Atlantic sea scallop fishery. Yellowtail flounder catch in the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, as defined in subpart D of this part, shall be deducted from the ABC/ACL for each yellowtail flounder stock pursuant to the restrictions specified in subpart D of this part and khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS * VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Apr 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 the process to specify ABCs and ACLs, as described in paragraph (a)(4) of this section. Unless otherwise specified in this paragraph (a)(4)(iii)(C), or subpart D of this part, the specific value of the sub-components of the ABC/ACL for each stock of yellowtail flounder distributed to the Atlantic sea scallop fishery shall be specified pursuant to the biennial adjustment process specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. The Atlantic sea scallop fishery shall be allocated 40 percent of the GB yellowtail flounder ABC (U.S. share only) in fishing year 2013, and 16 percent in fishing year 2014 and each fishing year thereafter, pursuant to the process for specifying ABCs and ACLs described in this paragraph (a)(4). An ACL based on this ABC shall be determined using the process described in paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this section. Based on information available, NMFS shall project the expected scallop fishery catch of GB and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder for the current fishing year by January 15. If NMFS determines that the scallop fishery will catch less than 90 percent of its GB or SNE/MA yellowtail flounder sub-ACL, the Regional Administrator may reduce the pertinent scallop fishery sub-ACL to the amount projected to be caught, and increase the groundfish fishery sub-ACL by any amount up to the amount reduced from the scallop fishery subACL. The revised GB or SNE/MA yellowtail flounder groundfish fishery sub-ACL shall be distributed to the common pool and sectors based on the process specified in paragraph (a)(4)(iii)(H)(2) of this section. * * * * * PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 (5) * * * (iv) * * * (B) 2017 and 2018 fishing year threshold for implementing the Atlantic sea scallop fishery AMs for Northern windowpane flounder. For the 2017 and 2018 fishing years only, if scallop fishery catch exceeds the northern windowpane flounder sub-ACL specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section, and total catch exceeds the overall ACL for that stock, then the applicable scallop fishery AM will take effect, as specified in § 648.64 of the Atlantic sea scallop regulations. For the 2019 fishing year and onward, the threshold for implementing scallop fishery AMs for northern windowpane flounder will return to that listed in paragraph (a)(5)(iv)(A) of this section. (C) * * * (D) 2017 through 2020 fishing year threshold for implementing the Atlantic sea scallop fishery AM for GB yellowtail flounder. For the 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 fishing years, if scallop fishery catch exceeds the GB yellowtail flounder sub-ACL specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section, and total catch exceeds the overall ACL for that stock, then the applicable scallop fishery AM will take effect, as specified in § 648.64 of the Atlantic sea scallop regulations. For the 20212 fishing year and onward, the threshold for implementing scallop fishery AMs for GB yellowtail flounder will return to that listed in paragraph (a)(5)(iv)(A) of this section. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2019–07832 Filed 4–18–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\19APP1.SGM 19APP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 76 (Friday, April 19, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 16441-16454]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-07832]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 181203999-9350-01]
RIN 0648-BI64


Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 58

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This action proposes to approve and implement Framework 
Adjustment 58 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. 
This rule would set 2019-2020 catch limits for 7 of the 20 multispecies 
(groundfish) stocks, implement new or revised rebuilding plans for 5 
stocks, revise an accountability measure, and make other minor changes 
to groundfish management measures. This action is necessary to respond 
to updated scientific information and to achieve the goals and 
objectives of the fishery management plan. The proposed measures are 
intended to help prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, 
achieve optimum yield, and ensure that management measures are based on 
the best scientific information available.

DATES: Comments must be received by May 6, 2019.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2018-0138, 
by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.
    1. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0138;
    2. Click the ``Comment Now!'' icon and complete the required 
fields; and
    3. Enter or attach your comments.
     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 Groundfish Framework Adjustment 
58.''
    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 us. All comments received are a 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. We will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).
    Copies of Framework Adjustment 58, including the draft 
Environmental Assessment, the Regulatory Impact Review, and the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis prepared by the New England Fishery 
Management Council in support of this action are available from Thomas 
A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 
Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950. The supporting documents 
are also accessible via the internet at: http://www.nefmc.org/management-plans/northeast-multispecies or http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Grant, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
phone: 978-281-9145; email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

1. Summary of Proposed Measures
2. Fishing Year 2019-2020 Shared U.S./Canada Quotas
3. Catch Limits for Fishing Years 2019-2020

[[Page 16442]]

4. Adjustments Due to Fishing Year 2017 Overage
5. Rebuilding Programs
6. Revision to the Georges Bank Yellowtail Flounder Accountability 
Measure Trigger for Scallop Vessels
7. Exemption From the U.S. Minimum Fish Sizes for Groundfish Species 
for Vessels Fishing Exclusively in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries 
Organization Regulatory Area
8. Administrative Changes and Regulatory Corrections Under 
Secretarial Authority

1. Summary of Proposed Measures

    This action would implement the management measures in Framework 
Adjustment 58 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan 
(FMP). The New England Fishery Management Council reviewed the proposed 
regulations and deemed them consistent with, and necessary to implement 
Framework 58 in a February 8, 2019, letter from Council Chairman Dr. 
John Quinn to Regional Administrator Michael Pentony. Under the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act), we are required to publish proposed rules for comment 
after preliminarily determining whether they are consistent with 
applicable law. The Magnuson-Stevens Act allows us to approve, 
partially approve, or disapprove measures that the Council proposes 
based only on whether the measures are consistent with the fishery 
management plan, plan amendment, the Magnuson-Stevens Act and its 
National Standards, and other applicable law. Otherwise, we must defer 
to the Council's policy choices. We are seeking comments on the 
Council's proposed measures in Framework 58 and whether they are 
consistent with the Northeast Multispecies FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act and its National Standards, and other applicable law. Through 
Framework 58, the Council proposes to:
     Set fishing year 2019-2020 shared U.S./Canada quotas for 
Georges Bank (GB) yellowtail flounder and eastern GB cod and haddock;
     Set 2019-2020 specifications, including catch limits, for 
four groundfish stocks: Witch flounder; GB winter flounder; Gulf of 
Maine (GOM) winter flounder; and Atlantic halibut;
     Revise or implement new rebuilding programs for GB winter 
flounder, southern New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) yellowtail 
flounder, witch flounder, northern windowpane flounder, and ocean pout;
     Revise the trigger for the scallop fishery's 
accountability measures (AM) for GB yellowtail flounder; and
     Exempt vessels fishing exclusively in the Northwest 
Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area from the U.S. 
minimum fish size for groundfish species.
    This action also proposes a number of other measures that are not 
part of Framework 58, but that may be, or are required to be, 
considered and implemented under our authority specified in the FMP. We 
are proposing these measures in conjunction with the Framework 58 
proposed measures for expediency purposes, and because some of these 
measures are related to the catch limits proposed as part of Framework 
58. The additional measures proposed in this action are listed below.
     Adjustment for fishing year 2017 catch overage--this 
action announces the reduction of the 2019 GOM cod allocation due to an 
overage that occurred in fishing year 2017.
     Other administrative revisions and corrections--this 
action proposes to revise the application deadline for days-at-sea 
(DAS) leases, make regulatory corrections regarding the information 
required to be included in catch reports submitted via a vessel 
monitoring system (VMS), and correct a citation in the regulations 
allocating GB and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder to the scallop fishery. 
These proposed changes are described in the section 8, Administrative 
Changes and Regulatory Corrections under Secretarial Authority.

2. Fishing Year 2019-2020 Shared U.S./Canada Quotas

Management of Transboundary Georges Bank Stocks

    Eastern GB cod, eastern GB haddock, and GB yellowtail flounder are 
jointly managed with Canada under the United States/Canada Resource 
Sharing Understanding. The Transboundary Management Guidance Committee 
(TMGC) is a government-industry committee made up of representatives 
from the United States and Canada. For historical information about the 
TMGC see: http://www.bio.gc.ca/info/intercol/tmgc-cogst/index-en.php. 
Each year, the TMGC recommends a shared quota for each stock based on 
the most recent stock information and the TMGC's harvest strategy. The 
TMGC's harvest strategy for setting catch levels is to maintain a low 
to neutral risk (less than 50 percent) of exceeding the fishing 
mortality limit for each stock. The harvest strategy also specifies 
that when stock conditions are poor, fishing mortality should be 
further reduced to promote stock rebuilding. The shared quotas are 
allocated between the United States and Canada based on a formula that 
considers historical catch (10-percent weighting) and the current 
resource distribution (90-percent weighting).
    For GB yellowtail flounder, the Council's Scientific and 
Statistical Committee (SSC) also recommends an acceptable biological 
catch (ABC) for the stock. The ABC is typically used to inform the U.S. 
TMGC's discussions with Canada for the annual shared quota. Although 
the stock is jointly managed with Canada, and the TMGC recommends 
annual shared quotas, the Council may not set catch limits that would 
exceed the SSC's recommendation. The SSC does not recommend ABCs for 
eastern GB cod and haddock because they are management units of the 
total GB cod and haddock stocks. The SSC recommends overall ABCs for 
the total GB cod and haddock stocks. The shared U.S./Canada quota for 
eastern GB cod and haddock is included in these overall ABCs, and must 
be consistent with the SSC's recommendation for the total GB stocks.

2019 U.S./Canada Quotas

    The Transboundary Resources Assessment Committee conducted 
assessments for the three transboundary stocks in July 2018, and 
detailed summaries of these assessments can be found at: https://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/assessments/trac/. The TMGC met in September 2018 to 
recommend shared quotas for 2019 based on the updated assessments, and 
the Council adopted the TMGC's recommendations in Framework 58. The 
proposed 2019 shared U.S./Canada quotas, and each country's allocation, 
are listed in Table 1.

 Table 1--Proposed 2019 Fishing Year U.S./Canada Quotas (mt, live weight) and Percent of Quota Allocated to Each
                                                     Country
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Eastern GB     GB yellowtail
                            Quota                               Eastern GB cod      haddock          flounder
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Shared Quota...........................................              650           30,000              140

[[Page 16443]]

 
U.S. Quota...................................................        189 (29%)     15,000 (50%)        106 (76%)
Canadian Quota...............................................        461 (71%)     15,000 (50%)         34 (24%)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed 2019 U.S. quotas for eastern GB cod, eastern GB 
haddock, and GB yellowtail would represent 26-percent, 4-percent, and 
50-percent decreases, respectively, compared to 2018. The quota 
decreases are due to decreases in biomass for each stock, despite 
increases in the portion of the shared quota that is allocated to the 
United States for each stock. For a more detailed discussion of the 
TMGC's 2019 catch advice, see the TMGC's guidance document that will be 
posted at: https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/. The 2019 
U.S. quotas for eastern GB cod, eastern GB haddock, and GB yellowtail 
that are proposed in Framework Adjustment 58, if approved, will replace 
the 2019 quotas previously specified for these stocks (84 FR 8282; 
March 7, 2019). This is discussed further in Section 3, Catch Limits 
for the 2019-2020 Fishing Years.
    The regulations implementing the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing 
Understanding require deducting any overages of the U.S. quota for 
eastern GB cod, eastern GB haddock, or GB yellowtail flounder from the 
U.S. quota in the following fishing year. If catch information for the 
2018 fishing year indicates that the U.S. fishery exceeded its quota 
for any of the shared stocks, we will reduce the respective U.S. quotas 
for the 2019 fishing year in a future management action, as close to 
May 1, 2019, as possible. If any fishery that is allocated a portion of 
the U.S. quota exceeds its allocation and causes an overage of the 
overall U.S. quota, the overage reduction would be applied only to that 
fishery's allocation in the following fishing year. This ensures that 
catch by one component of the overall fishery does not negatively 
affect another component of the overall fishery.

3. Catch Limits for Fishing Years 2019-2020

Summary of the Proposed Catch Limits

    Tables 2 through 8 show the proposed catch limits for the 2019-2020 
fishing years. A brief summary of how these catch limits were developed 
is provided below. More details on the proposed catch limits for each 
groundfish stock can be found in Appendix II (Calculation of Northeast 
Multispecies Annual Catch Limits, FY 2019-FY 2020) to the Framework 58 
Environmental Assessment (see ADDRESSES for information on how to get 
this document).
    Framework 57 (83 FR 18985; May 1, 2018) previously set quotas for 
all groundfish stocks for fishing years 2019-2020. Only the eastern 
portion of the GB cod stock, jointly managed with Canada, did not have 
a 2019 quota set in Framework 57. Through Framework 58, the Council 
proposes to adopt new catch limits for 7 of the 20 groundfish stocks 
for the 2019-2020 fishing years. The fishing year 2019 quotas 
previously set by Framework 57 will be in effect on May 1, 2019, unless 
and until replaced by the quotas proposed in this action. A default 
quota for GB cod will be in effect from May 1, 2019, through July 31, 
2019.

Overfishing Limits and Acceptable Biological Catches

    The overfishing limit (OFL) serves as the maximum amount of fish 
that can be caught in a year without constituting overfishing. The OFL 
for each stock is calculated using the estimated stock size and 
FMSY (i.e., the fishing mortality rate that, if applied over 
the long term, would result in maximum sustainable yield). The OFL does 
not account for scientific uncertainty, so the SSC typically recommends 
an ABC that is lower than the OFL in order to account for this 
uncertainty. Usually, the greater the amount of scientific uncertainty, 
the lower the ABC is set compared to the OFL. For GB cod, GB haddock, 
and GB yellowtail flounder, the total ABC is then reduced by the amount 
of the Canadian quota (see Table 1 for the Canadian and U.S. shares of 
these stocks). Additionally, although GB winter flounder, white hake, 
and Atlantic halibut are not jointly managed with Canada, there is some 
Canadian catch of these stocks. Because the total ABC must account for 
all sources of fishing mortality, expected Canadian catch of GB winter 
flounder (45 mt), white hake (33 mt), and Atlantic halibut (33 mt) is 
deducted from the total ABC. The U.S. ABC is the amount available to 
the U.S. fishery after accounting for Canadian catch (see Table 2). For 
stocks without Canadian catch, the U.S. ABC is equal to the total ABC.
    Based on the SSC's recommendation, the Council recommended 
continuing to set the OFL as unknown for GB yellowtail flounder. An 
empirical stock assessment is used for this stock, and the assessment 
can no longer provide quantitative estimates of the status 
determination criteria. No historical estimates of biomass, fishing 
mortality rate, or recruitment can be calculated because a stock 
assessment model framework is lacking. Status determination relative to 
reference points is not possible because reference points cannot be 
defined. In the absence of an assessment model, the empirical approach 
based on survey catches indicates stock condition is poor, given a 
declining trend in survey biomass despite reductions in catch to 
historical low levels. Total catch has declined in recent years and is 
at the lowest value in the time series. The stock has been experiencing 
below average recruitment and a truncation of age structure. Stock 
biomass is low and productivity is poor.
    In the temporary absence of an OFL, given recent catch data, we 
have preliminarily determined that the GB yellowtail flounder ABC is a 
sufficient limit for preventing overfishing and is consistent with the 
National Standards. As an index-assessed stock, an estimate of the 
probability of overfishing cannot be determined, but the proposed ABC 
is based on an exploitation rate applied to the most recent estimate of 
stock size. The proposed ABC is a substantial reduction (53 percent) 
from the 2018 ABC in light of stock conditions and continued low survey 
biomass. We previously approved setting the OFL as unknown for GB 
yellowtail flounder as part of Framework 57, and we are continuing to 
develop guidance on setting status determination criteria and relevant 
catch limits in cases when an empirical assessment cannot provide 
numerical estimates of traditional reference points.

[[Page 16444]]



         Table 2--Proposed Fishing Years 2019-2020 Overfishing Limits and Acceptable Biological Catches
                                                [Mt, live weight]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               2019                                            2020
              Stock              -------------------------------- Percent change -------------------------------
                                        OFL          U.S. ABC        from 2018          OFL          U.S. ABC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod *........................           3,047           1,824              15           3,047           2,285
GOM Cod.........................             938             703               0             938             703
GB Haddock *....................          99,757          58,114              19         100,825          73,114
GOM Haddock.....................          16,038          12,490              -5          13,020          10,186
GB Yellowtail Flounder *........             UNK             106             -50             UNK             168
SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder......              90              68               0              90              68
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder......             736             511               0             848             511
American Plaice.................           2,099           1,609              -7           1,945           1,492
Witch Flounder..................             UNK             993               0             UNK             993
GB Winter Flounder..............           1,182             810               0           1,756             810
GOM Winter Flounder.............             596             447               0             596             447
SNE/MA Winter Flounder..........           1,228             727               0           1,228             727
Redfish.........................          15,640          11,785               2          15,852          11,942
White Hake......................           3,898           2,938               0           3,916           2,938
Pollock.........................          53,940          40,172               0          57,240          40,172
N Windowpane Flounder...........             122              92               0             122              92
S Windowpane Flounder...........             631             473               0             631             473
Ocean Pout......................             169             127               0             169             127
Atlantic Halibut................             UNK             104               0             UNK             104
Atlantic Wolffish...............             120              90               0             120              90
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CC = Cape Cod; N = Northern; S = Southern; UNK = Unknown.
* Only the GB cod, GB haddock, and GB yellowtail stocks have changes from the 2019 U.S. ABCs previously approved
  in Framework 57.

Annual Catch Limits

Development of Annual Catch Limits
    The U.S. ABC for each stock is divided among the various fishery 
components to account for all sources of fishing mortality. First, an 
estimate of catch expected from state waters and the ``other'' sub-
component (e.g., non-groundfish fisheries or some recreational 
groundfish fisheries) is deducted from the U.S. ABC. These sub-
components are not subject to specific catch controls by the FMP. As a 
result, the state waters and other sub-components are not allocations, 
and these sub-components of the fishery are not subject to AMs if the 
catch limits are exceeded. After the state and other sub-components are 
deducted, the remaining portion of the U.S. ABC is distributed to the 
fishery components that receive an allocation for the stock. Components 
of the fishery that receive an allocation are subject to AMs if they 
exceed their respective catch limit during the fishing year. A fishing 
year 2017 overage of the GOM cod allocation is discussed in detail in 
Section 5, Adjustments Due to Fishing Year 2017 Overage.
    Once the U.S. ABC is divided, sub-annual catch limits (sub-ACL) are 
set by reducing the amount of the ABC distributed to each component of 
the fishery to account for management uncertainty. Management 
uncertainty seeks to account for the possibility that management 
measures will result in a level of catch greater than expected. For 
each stock and fishery component, management uncertainty is estimated 
using the following criteria: Enforceability and precision of 
management measures; adequacy of catch monitoring; latent effort; and 
whether the composition of catch includes landings and discards, or is 
all discards. The total ACL is the sum of all of the sub-ACLs and state 
and other sub-components, and is the catch limit for a particular year 
after accounting for both scientific and management uncertainty. 
Landings and discards from all fisheries (commercial and recreational 
groundfish fisheries, state waters, and non-groundfish fisheries) are 
counted against the ACL for each stock.
Sector and Common Pool Allocations
    For stocks allocated to sectors, the commercial groundfish sub-ACL 
is further divided into the non-sector (common pool) sub-ACL and the 
sector sub-ACL, based on the total vessel enrollment in sectors and the 
cumulative potential sector contributions (PSC) associated with those 
sectors. The preliminary sector and common pool sub-ACLs proposed in 
this action are based on fishing year 2019 PSCs and fishing year 2018 
sector rosters. All permits enrolled in a sector, and the vessels 
associated with those permits, have until April 30, 2019, to withdraw 
from a sector and fish in the common pool for the 2019 fishing year. In 
addition to the enrollment delay, all permits that change ownership 
after December 1, 2018, may join a sector (or change sector) through 
April 30, 2019. The final sector and common pool sub-ACLs will be based 
on final 2019 sector rosters.
Common Pool Total Allowable Catches
    The common pool sub-ACL for each stock (except for SNE/MA winter 
flounder, both windowpane flounder stocks, ocean pout, Atlantic 
wolffish, and Atlantic halibut) is further divided into trimester TACs. 
The distribution of the common pool sub-ACLs into trimesters was 
adopted in Amendment 16 to the FMP (75 FR 18262; April 9, 2010) and was 
based on landing patterns at that time. Framework 57 (83 FR 18985; May 
1, 2018) revised the apportionment of TACs among the trimesters. Once 
we project that 90 percent of the trimester TAC is caught for a stock, 
the trimester TAC area for that stock is closed for the remainder of 
the trimester. The closure applies to all common pool vessels fishing 
on a groundfish trip with gear capable of catching the pertinent stock. 
Any uncaught portion of the TAC in Trimester 1 or Trimester 2 is 
carried forward to the next trimester. Overages of the Trimester 1 or 
Trimester 2 TAC are deducted from the Trimester 3 TAC. Any overages of 
the total common pool sub-ACL are deducted from the following fishing 
year's common pool sub-ACL for that stock. Uncaught portions of any 
trimester TAC may not be carried over into the following fishing year. 
Table 5 summarizes the

[[Page 16445]]

common pool trimester TACs proposed in this action.
    Incidental catch TACs are also specified for certain stocks of 
concern (i.e., stocks that are overfished or subject to overfishing) 
for common pool vessels fishing in the special management programs 
(i.e., special access programs (SAP) and the Regular B Days-at-Sea 
(DAS) Program), in order to limit the catch of these stocks under each 
program. Tables 6 through 8 summarize the proposed Incidental Catch 
TACs for each stock and the distribution of these TACs to each special 
management program.
    In fishing year 2017, GOM cod catch exceeded the total ACL and ABC, 
but not the OFL (Table 10). This overage and the required payback are 
discussed in detail in Section 5, Adjustments Due to Fishing Year 2017 
Overage. The TACs for GOM cod in Tables 5 through 8 have been adjusted 
for this overage.
Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP
    The Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment (OHA2) (83 FR 15240; 
April 9, 2018) eliminated the year-round closure of Closed Area I. When 
OHA2 eliminated Closed Area I, the Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP 
was no longer necessary, because the geographic area is now an open 
area accessible to the groundfish fleet (with the exception of the GB 
Dedicated Habitat Research Area and the Seasonal Closed Area I North 
closure). However, the Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP is still 
part of the FMP. We are required by the FMP to allocate an Incidental 
Catch Total Allowable Catch for GB cod, which is split between the 
Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP, Regular B Days-at-Sea Program, and 
the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP (Table 7). However, this allocation 
(0.1 mt) is a minor portion of the quota, and this is not expected to 
have any negative impacts for the common pool fishery. Additionally, 
overall fishing effort by both common pool and sector vessels in the 
Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP is controlled by an overall TAC for 
GB haddock, which is the target species for this SAP. The GB haddock 
TAC for the SAP is based on the amount allocated to this SAP for the 
2004 fishing year (1,130 mt) and adjusted according to the growth or 
decline of the western GB haddock biomass in relationship to its size 
in 2004. Based on this formula, the Council's proposed GB Haddock TAC 
for this SAP is 3,454 mt for the 2019 fishing year and 3,673 for the 
2020 fishing year. Until the Council revises the allocations to the 
Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP, a portion of the quotas will be 
allocated to the program, and will be unavailable to be caught. Because 
no vessel will need to declare into the program, no catch will count 
against the SAP's quotas.
Default Catch Limits for 2021
    Framework 53 established a mechanism for setting default catch 
limits in the event a future management action is delayed. If final 
catch limits have not been implemented by the start of a fishing year 
on May 1, then default catch limits are set at 35 percent of the 
previous year's catch limit, effective until July 31 of that fishing 
year, or when replaced by new catch limits. If this value exceeds the 
Council's recommendation for the upcoming fishing year, the default 
catch limits will be reduced to an amount equal to the Council's 
recommendation for the upcoming fishing year. Because groundfish 
vessels are not able to fish if final catch limits have not been 
implemented, this measure was established to prevent disruption to the 
groundfish fishery. Additional description of the default catch limit 
mechanism is provided in the preamble to the Framework 53 final rule 
(80 FR 25110; May 1, 2015).

                                                Table 3--Proposed Catch Limits for the 2019 Fishing Year
                                                                    [Mt, live weight]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Preliminary   Preliminary                   Midwater                           State
            Stock               Total    Groundfish   sector sub-   common pool   Recreational     trawl     Scallop  Small-mesh  waters sub- Other sub-
                                 ACL      sub-ACL         ACL         sub-ACL        sub-ACL      fishery    fishery   fisheries   component   component
                                A to H    A + B + C             A             B               C          D         E           F           G           H
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod *.....................    1,741        1,568         1,536            32  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          18         155
GOM Cod......................      666          610           378            12             220  .........  ........  ..........          47           9
GB Haddock *.................   55,249       53,276        52,896           380  ..............        811  ........  ..........         581         581
GOM Haddock..................   11,803       11,506         8,219            93           3,194        116  ........  ..........          91          91
GB Yellowtail Flounder *.....      103           85            83             1  ..............  .........      16.5         2.0         0.0         0.0
SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder...       66           32            26             6  ..............  .........        15  ..........           2          17
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder...      490          398           381            17  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          51          41
American Plaice..............    1,532        1,467         1,442            26  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          32          32
Witch Flounder *.............      948          854           835            18  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          40          55
GB Winter Flounder *.........      786          774           768             6  ..............  .........  ........  ..........           0          12
GOM Winter Flounder *........      428          355           337            18  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          67           7
SNE/MA Winter Flounder.......      700          518           456            62  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          73         109
Redfish......................   11,208       10,972        10,921            51  ..............  .........  ........  ..........         118         118
White Hake...................    2,794        2,735         2,715            21  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          29          29
Pollock......................   38,204       37,400        37,170           230  ..............  .........  ........  ..........         402         402
N Windowpane Flounder........       86           63            na            63  ..............  .........        18  ..........           2           3
S Windowpane Flounder........      457           53            na            53  ..............  .........       158  ..........          28         218
Ocean Pout...................      120           94            na            94  ..............  .........  ........  ..........           3          23
Atlantic Halibut *...........      100           75            na            75  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          21           4
Atlantic Wolffish............       84           82            na            82  ..............  .........  ........  ..........           1           1
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
na: Not allocated.
* These stocks have changes from the 2019 allocations previously approved in Framework 57.


[[Page 16446]]


                                                Table 4--Proposed Catch Limits for the 2020 Fishing Year
                                                                    [Mt, live weight]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Preliminary   Preliminary                   Midwater                           State
            Stock               Total    Groundfish   sector sub-   common pool   Recreational     trawl     Scallop  Small-mesh  waters sub- Other sub-
                                 ACL      sub-ACL         ACL         sub-ACL        sub-ACL      fishery    fishery   fisheries   component   component
                                A to H    A + B + C             A             B               C          D         E           F           G           H
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod *.....................    2,182        1,965         1,925            40  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          23         194
GOM Cod......................      666          610           378            12             220  .........  ........  ..........          47           9
GB Haddock *.................   69,509       67,027        66,549           478  ..............      1,020  ........  ..........         731         731
GOM Haddock..................    9,626        9,384         6,703            76           2,605         95  ........  ..........          74          74
GB Yellowtail Flounder *.....      163          134           132             2  ..............  .........        26           3           0           0
SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder...       66           31            25             6  ..............  .........        16  ..........           2          17
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder...      490          398           381            17  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          51          41
American Plaice..............    1,420        1,361         1,337            24  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          30          30
Witch Flounder *.............      948          854           835            18  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          40          55
GB Winter Flounder *.........      786          774           768             6  ..............  .........  ........  ..........           0          12
GOM Winter Flounder *........      428          355           337            18  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          67           7
SNE/MA Winter Flounder.......      700          518           456            62  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          73         109
Redfish......................   11,357       11,118        11,066            52  ..............  .........  ........  ..........         119         119
White Hake...................    2,794        2,735         2,715            21  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          29          29
Pollock......................   38,204       37,400        37,170           230  ..............  .........  ........  ..........         402         402
N Windowpane Flounder........       86           63            na            63  ..............  .........        18  ..........           2           3
S Windowpane Flounder........      457           53            na            53  ..............  .........       158  ..........          28         218
Ocean Pout...................      120           94            na            94  ..............  .........  ........  ..........           3          23
Atlantic Halibut *...........      100           75            na            75  ..............  .........  ........  ..........          21           4
Atlantic Wolffish............       84           82            na            82  ..............  .........  ........  ..........           1           1
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
na: Not allocated.
* These stocks have changes from the 2020 allocations previously approved in Framework 57.


                      Table 5--Proposed Fishing Years 2019-2020 Common Pool Trimester TACs
                                                [Mt, live weight]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                2019                                      2020
            Stock            -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               Trimester 1   Trimester 2   Trimester 3   Trimester 1   Trimester 2   Trimester 3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod......................           8.9          10.8          12.1          11.2          13.6          15.2
GOM Cod.....................           5.7           3.8           2.1           5.8           3.9           2.1
GB Haddock..................         102.7         125.5         152.1         129.2         157.9         191.3
GOM Haddock.................          25.1          24.1          43.6          20.4          19.7          35.6
GB Yellowtail Flounder......           0.2           0.4           0.7           0.4           0.6           1.0
SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder..           1.3           1.7           3.2           1.3           1.7           3.1
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder..           9.7           4.4           2.9           9.7           4.4           2.9
American Plaice.............          19.2           2.1           4.7          17.8           1.9           4.3
Witch Flounder..............          10.2          10.2          10.2          10.2           3.7           4.6
GB Winter Flounder..........           0.5           1.5           4.3           0.5           1.5           4.3
GOM Winter Flounder.........           6.5           6.7           4.4           6.5           6.7           4.4
Redfish.....................          12.8          15.9          22.5          13.0          16.1          22.8
White Hake..................           7.8           6.4           6.4           7.8           6.4           6.4
Pollock.....................          64.4          80.5          85.1          64.4          80.5          85.1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


               Table 6--Proposed Common Pool Incidental Catch TACs for the 2019-2020 Fishing Years
                                                [Mt, live weight]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Percentage of
                            Stock                               common pool sub-       2019            2020
                                                                      ACL
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB cod.......................................................                  2            0.64            0.80
GOM cod......................................................                  1            0.12            0.12
GB yellowtail flounder.......................................                  2            0.03            0.04
CC/GOM yellowtail flounder...................................                  1            0.17            0.17
American Plaice..............................................                  5            1.29            1.20
Witch Flounder...............................................                  5            0.92            0.92
SNE/MA winter flounder.......................................                  1            0.62            0.62
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 16447]]


           Table 7--Percentage of Incidental Catch TACs Distributed to Each Special Management Program
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Closed Area I
                                                                   Regular B DAS     hook gear     Eastern U.S./
                              Stock                                 program (%)     haddock SAP   CA haddock SAP
                                                                                        (%)             (%)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB cod..........................................................              50              16              34
GOM cod.........................................................             100              na              na
GB yellowtail flounder..........................................              50              na              50
CC/GOM yellowtail flounder......................................             100              na              na
American Plaice.................................................             100              na              na
Witch Flounder..................................................             100              na              na
SNE/MA winter flounder..........................................             100              na              na
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                           Table 8--Proposed Fishing Years 2019-2020 Incidental Catch TACs for Each Special Management Program
                                                                    [Mt, live weight]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Regular B DAS program          Closed Area I hook gear       Eastern U.S./Canada haddock
                                                         --------------------------------           haddock SAP                         SAP
                          Stock                                                          ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               2019            2020            2019            2020            2019            2020
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB cod..................................................            0.32            0.40            0.10            0.13            0.22            0.27
GOM cod.................................................            0.12            0.12              na              na              na              na
GB yellowtail flounder..................................            0.01            0.02              na              na            0.01            0.02
CC/GOM yellowtail flounder..............................            0.17            0.17              na              na              na              na
American Plaice.........................................            1.29            1.20              na              na              na              na
Witch Flounder..........................................            0.92            0.92              na              na              na              na
SNE/MA winter flounder..................................            0.62            0.62              na              na              na              na
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. Adjustments Due to Fishing Year 2017 Overage

    If an overall ACL is exceeded due to catch from vessels fishing 
outside of an allocated fishery, the overage is distributed to the 
components of the fishery with an allocation. If a fishery component's 
catch and its share of the ACL overage exceed the component's 
allocation, then the applicable AMs must be implemented. The commercial 
groundfish fishery AMs require a pound-for-pound reduction of the 
applicable sector or common pool sub-ACL following either component's 
overage. The recreational fishery AMs require a modification to that 
fishery's management measures.
    In fishing year 2017, GOM cod catch exceeded the total ACL and ABC, 
but not the OFL (Table 9). We notified the Council of the overage and 
payback amounts in October 2018. This proposed rule includes a 
description of the fishing year 2017 catch overage and required 
adjustments to fishing year 2019 allocations. These adjustments are not 
part of Framework 58. We are announcing them in conjunction with 
Framework 58 proposed measures because they relate to the catch limits 
proposed in Framework 58.
    Total GOM cod catch in fishing year 2017 exceeded the total ACL due 
to a combination of excess catch from the recreational fishery, the 
state waters sub-component, and the other sub-component (non-groundfish 
Federal fisheries). Both the sector and common pool sub-ACLs were 
underharvested. The recreational fishery's overage of its fishing year 
2017 sub-ACL was addressed by a change in recreational fishery 
management measures for fishing year 2018 to prevent a subsequent 
overage (83 FR 18972; May 1, 2018). The remaining overage (61.4 mt) due 
to catch by the state waters sub-component and other sub-component 
(unallocated components) must be distributed among the common pool, 
sectors, and the recreational fishery in proportion to their shares of 
the fishing year 2017 groundfish fishery ACL as though each of those 
components had caught that amount. The commercial fishery AM for 
overages is a pound-for-pound payback that results in a deduction of 
the overage amount from the fishing year 2019 commercial fishery sub-
ACLs. The sector and common pool sub-ACL underages in fishing year 2017 
reduce the adjustment necessary to the fishing year 2019 sector and 
common pool sub-ACLs. The portion of the overage allocated to the 
recreational fishery does not result in a pound-for-pound reduction of 
the recreational sub-ACL. As discussed above, the portion of the catch 
overage attributed to the recreational fishery was addressed by a 
change in recreational measures for 2018.
    Table 10 shows the proportion (as a percentage) of the unallocated 
overage attributed to each component, the amount (mt) of the 
unallocated overage attributed to each sub-component, the amount (mt) 
of any overage of each component's sub-ACL, and amount (mt) that must 
be paid back by each component. Table 11 shows revised fishing year 
2019 GOM cod allocations incorporating these payback amounts.

                                                       Table 9--2017 ABC, ACL, Catch, and Overage
                                                                    [Mt, live weight]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                           Unallocated
                               Stock                                     U.S. ABC        Total ACL          Catch        Total overage       overage
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GOM Cod............................................................             500              473            612.6            139.6             61.4
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 16448]]


                                 Table 10--2019 Payback Calculations and Amounts
                                                [Mt, live weight]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Component                     Proportion (%)      Amount         Underage         Payback
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sectors.........................................              64            39.4            10.5            28.8
Common Pool.....................................               2             1.3             0.9             0.4
Recreational....................................              34            20.7               0             (*)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The recreational fishery does not have pound-for-pound payback.


                                                           Table 11--Revised 2019 Allocations
                                                                    [Mt, live weight]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                            Initial          Revised
                                                                     Groundfish sub-      Initial          Revised        preliminary      preliminary
                       Stock                           Total ACL           ACL          preliminary      preliminary    common pool sub- common pool sub-
                                                                                       sector sub-ACL   sector sub-ACL        ACL              ACL
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GOM Cod...........................................             666              610              378           349.20               12             11.6
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5. Rebuilding Programs

    Framework 58 would revise or implement new rebuilding plans for 
five stocks: GB winter flounder; SNE/MA yellowtail flounder; witch 
flounder, northern windowpane flounder; and ocean pout. The deadline to 
implement these rebuilding plans is August 31, 2019. The SSC advised 
that revising the ABCs for fishing years 2019 and 2020 is not warranted 
for the development of the new rebuilding plans because these ABCs were 
set with the most recent assessments in 2017. Therefore, the 2019 and 
2020 ABCs set in Framework 57 were incorporated in developing the 
proposed rebuilding plans. These rebuilding plans would be initiated in 
2019 and therefore January 1, 2020, would be the first year of the 
rebuilding plan for all stocks.
    The current rebuilding strategies for GB winter flounder, witch 
flounder, and northern windowpane flounder were adopted in 2010, and 
all three rebuilding programs were scheduled to rebuild their 
respective stocks by 2017. The current ocean pout rebuilding strategy 
was adopted in 2004 and was expected to rebuild the stock by 2014. The 
SNE/MA yellowtail flounder stock was previously determined to be 
rebuilt in 2012 based on revised reference points. In 2015, updated 
scientific information revised our understanding of the status of these 
stocks. As a result, on August 31, 2017, we notified the Council that 
the GB winter flounder, witch flounder, northern windowpane flounder, 
and ocean pout stocks were not making adequate rebuilding progress and 
that SNE/MA yellowtail flounder is now overfished, and subject to 
overfishing. Subsequently, on November 1, 2018, we notified the Council 
that, based on the 2017 assessment, the GB winter flounder stock was 
never overfished, nor experiencing overfishing, but that it is 
approaching an overfished condition. Because GB winter flounder is 
approaching an overfished condition, we recommended the Council still 
revise the GB winter flounder rebuilding plan, rather than discontinue 
it.
    The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that overfished stocks be rebuilt 
as quickly as possible, not to exceed 10 years when biologically 
possible, while accounting for the needs of fishing communities. 
Rebuilding plans must have at least a 50-percent probability of 
success. Selection of a rebuilding plan with a higher probability of 
success is one way of addressing uncertainty, but this does not affect 
the standard used in the future to determine whether a stock is 
rebuilt. The minimum rebuilding time (Tmin) is the amount of 
time a stock is expected to take to rebuild to the biomass (B) 
associated with maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the absence of any 
fishing mortality (F). The actual timeline set with a rebuilding plan 
(Ttarget) may be greater than Tmin, but cannot 
exceed the maximum rebuilding time (Tmax). Tmax 
is 10 years if Tmin is less than 10 years. In situations 
where Tmin exceeds 10 years, Tmax establishes a 
maximum time for rebuilding that is linked to the biology of the stock.

Stocks With Projections

    The GB winter flounder and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder stock 
assessments are based on analytical models that provide projections of 
B. Long-term catch projections for groundfish stocks tend to 
underestimate fishing mortality and overestimate stock biomass. The 
inherent uncertainty surrounding long-term projections makes it 
difficult to estimate the fishing mortality rate that is required to 
rebuild the stock by Ttarget (Frebuild). This 
uncertainty is due, in part, to the estimate's dependence on future 
recruitment (the amount of age-1 fish added to the stock each year), 
which is difficult to predict. If recruitment does not increase as 
projected, then progress towards rebuilding occurs at a much slower 
pace or building to BMSY is not possible.
    The GB winter flounder and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder rebuilding 
programs proposed in this action would rebuild the stocks within 10 
years, or by 2029, which is the maximum time period allowed by the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act. The basis for setting Ttarget = 
Tmax is that recruitment may not increase as assumed in the 
projections. Recent recruitment estimates for both stocks have been 
relatively low, which make the Tmin projections likely to be 
overly optimistic. The proposed rebuilding plan for GB winter flounder 
would set Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY with a 
77-percent probability of achieving BMSY. The proposed 
rebuilding plan for SNE/MA yellowtail flounder would set 
Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY with an 82-percent 
probability of achieving BMSY. Tmin for both GB 
winter flounder and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder is 3 years, rebuilding 
by the end of 2022. As explained in more detail in Appendix III of the 
EA (see ADDRESSES), the proposed rebuilding programs intend to address 
the needs of fishing communities as much as practicable, as well as 
factor in past performance of groundfish catch projections in order to 
increase the likelihood of rebuilding success.
    The Council's default control rule for setting catch limits 
requires that catches be set based on 75 percent of FMSY or 
Frebuild, whichever is lower. Typically, when a stock was in 
a rebuilding program, initial catch advice was based

[[Page 16449]]

on 75 percent of FMSY. Updated assessments often resulted in 
large reductions in catch advice through large reductions in the 
estimates of Frebuild below 75 percent of FMSY as 
the rebuilding time shortens. Rebuilding progress for many groundfish 
stocks has often occurred slower than expected due to recruitment not 
increasing as projected, which leads to dramatic reductions in catch 
limits as the rebuilding end date gets closer. When Frebuild 
approaches zero, Frebuild is less likely to be used for 
setting catch limits because of the impact on catch of other stocks in 
the multispecies complex. Selecting Frebuild levels that are 
more conservative than the control rule (75 percent of FMSY) 
helps to avoid this problem.

Stocks Without Projections

    The stock assessments for northern windowpane flounder, ocean pout, 
and witch flounder do not have analytical models and catch projections 
are not possible. Therefore, Tmin for F0 is 
undefined, and Tmin could be less than or greater than 10 
years. Without Tmin, no direct methods for estimating 
Tmax are available. Under the groundfish control rule, most 
stocks would be expected to rebuild in 10 years when fishing at 75 
percent of FMSY. However, for northern windowpane flounder, 
ocean pout, and witch flounder, rebuilding was not achieved as 
previously planned despite application of the control rule and 
prohibiting possession of this stock. For northern windowpane flounder 
and ocean pout, no aging data is currently available. Therefore, an 
evaluation of mean generation time for these two stocks is not 
possible. Recently, overfishing ended on northern windowpane flounder, 
which could be a positive sign for potential stock growth and indicate 
that a Ttarget of 10 years could be appropriate. Ocean pout 
has not responded to low catches, despite low relative F, indicating a 
Ttarget of 10 years may be too short.
    Witch flounder are a long-lived species, and a Ttarget 
of 10 years may be too short given their life history. However, in the 
previously developed witch flounder rebuilding plan, the stock was able 
to rebuild according to the projections. In addition, there were signs 
of a relatively large incoming year class (2013) in multiple surveys, 
which could indicate rebuilding is possible for this stock. A recent 
examination of the witch flounder yield-per-recruit analysis completed 
in the 2017 assessment suggests a mean generation time of 11.3 years at 
F0. Following National Standard 1 guidelines (81 FR 71858; 
October 16, 2016), two times the mean generation time results in 23 
years (11.3 x 2 = 22.6, rounded up to 23), and was used as the basis 
for calculating Tmax for the witch flounder rebuilding plan.
    The proposed rebuilding plan for northern windowpane flounder would 
set Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY and 
Ttarget at 10 years, rebuilding by the end of 2029. The 
proposed rebuilding plan for ocean pout would set Frebuild 
at 70 percent of FMSY and TTarget at 10 years, 
rebuilding by the end of 2029. The proposed witch flounder rebuilding 
plan would set Frebuild as an exploitation rate of 6 percent 
(or otherwise determined in a future stock assessment) and 
Ttarget at 23 years, rebuilding by the end of 2043. The 
northern windowpane flounder, ocean pout, and witch flounder 
assessments are index-based and do not have projections, which prevents 
calculating probabilities of achieving BMSY. Additional 
considerations by stock are discussed in Appendix III of the EA (see 
ADDRESSES).

6. Revision to the Georges Bank Yellowtail Flounder Accountability 
Measure Trigger for Scallop Vessels

    The scallop fishery is allocated sub-ACLs for four stocks: GB 
yellowtail flounder; SNE/MA yellowtail flounder; northern windowpane 
flounder; and southern windowpane flounder. These allocations are made 
to manage the scallop fishery's bycatch of these stocks and mitigate 
potential negative impacts to the groundfish fishery. Framework 47 (77 
FR 26104; May 2, 2012) established a policy for triggering scallop 
fishery AMs. The AMs are triggered if either the scallop fishery 
exceeds its sub-ACL for a stock and the overall ACL for that stock is 
exceeded, or the scallop fishery exceeds its sub-ACL for a stock by 50 
percent or more. Framework 56 (82 FR 35660; August 1, 2017) made a 
change to this policy for GB yellowtail flounder to remove the second 
trigger for the 2017 and 2018 fishing years. For these years, the AMs 
for GB yellowtail flounder are triggered only if the scallop fishery 
exceeds its sub-ACL and the overall ACL is exceeded. Framework 58 would 
extend this provision for GB yellowtail flounder for the 2019 and 2020 
fishing years.
    This measure is intended to provide flexibility for the scallop 
fishery to better achieve optimal yield, despite recent reductions in 
the ACL, while continuing to prevent overfishing. Framework 58 proposes 
to reduce the 2019 GB yellowtail flounder ABC by 50 percent when 
compared to 2018, but, in recent years, a significant portion of the 
overall ACL has remained uncaught as groundfish vessels have reduced 
their catch and avoided the stock. Exceeding the total ACL would 
trigger the AM to prevent subsequent ACL overages and correct the cause 
of the overage. This measure provides the scallop fishery with 
flexibility to adjust to current catch conditions and better achieve 
optimum yield while still providing an incentive to avoid yellowtail 
flounder. This extension is proposed for only 2 years to provide 
further opportunity to assess its performance and to reduce the 
potential risk for the groundfish fishery. The underlying policy for 
triggering scallop fishery AMs established by Framework 47 would be in 
effect for catches in fishery 2021 and beyond. Beginning with catch 
during fishing year 2021, the AM would be triggered if either the 
scallop fishery exceeds its sub-ACL for a stock and the overall ACL for 
that stock is exceeded, or the scallop fishery exceeds its sub-ACL for 
a stock by 50 percent or more.

7. Exemption From the U.S. Minimum Fish Sizes for Groundfish Species 
for Vessels Fishing Exclusively in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries 
Organization Regulatory Area

    U.S. vessels participating in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries 
Organization (NAFO) fishery are prohibited from possessing any fish, or 
parts of fish, that do not meet the minimum fish size in the domestic 
fishery. Figure 1 shows the NAFO Regulatory Area. Framework 58 would 
exempt U.S. vessels on trips fishing exclusively in the NAFO Regulatory 
Area from the domestic Northeast Multispecies FMP minimum sizes. On 
those trips, the vessels would be required to land fish that met the 
NAFO minimum sizes as specified in the NAFO Conservation and 
Enforcement Measures (see: https://www.nafo.int/Fisheries/Conservation). A comparison of U.S. domestic and NAFO minimum sizes in 
contained in the EA (see ADDRESSES). The NAFO stocks are distinct from 
the stocks managed by the Northeast Multispecies FMP. Therefore, 
harvest of those stocks does not have a biological impact on U.S. 
stocks. NAFO fishing trips also require 100-percent observer coverage. 
All catch that comes onboard the vessel is identified and quantified 
following NAFO protocols by the fisheries observer. Allowing U.S. 
vessels to harvest groundfish using NAFO minimum sizes would enable the 
United States to be better stewards of the NAFO resource by reducing 
discards that meet the NAFO size standards but are below the domestic 
minimum size. Landing the dressed fish, even at sizes less than the 
domestic minimum size,

[[Page 16450]]

would not give the NAFO participants a competitive advantage over 
domestic fishermen that rely upon the fresh fish market nor would it 
negatively affect the fresh fish market. Instead, because the NAFO 
catch primarily goes into the frozen market, which is currently 
dominated by foreign interests, this is expected to provide U.S. 
fishing businesses an opportunity to compete equally in the frozen 
market. This would apply to all NAFO species included in the Northeast 
Multispecies FMP to proactively facilitate development of U.S. 
participation in NAFO, as well as applying to species (yellowtail 
flounder and American plaice) already being landed in the U.S.
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP19AP19.001

BILLING CODE 3510-22-C

8. Administrative Changes and Regulatory Corrections Under Secretarial 
Authority

    The following changes are being made using Magnuson-Stevens Act 
section 305(d) authority to ensure that FMPs or amendments are 
implemented in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Days-at-Sea Leasing Deadline

    In 2004, Amendment 13 (81 FR 22906; April 27, 2004) established a 
days-at-sea (DAS) leasing program to allow vessels to temporarily 
transfer DAS to one another as a way to mitigate cuts in DAS 
allocations. Historically, all applications to lease DAS were submitted 
on paper and NMFS set a March 1 annual deadline to allow for a 45-day 
processing window and time to use the DAS prior to the end of the 
fishing year on April 30. Nearly all DAS leases are now submitted 
electronically and are processed almost immediately. Therefore, we are 
using our administrative authority under Sec.  305(d) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act to push back the application deadline to April 30. This is 
intended to facilitate efficient use of groundfish DAS throughout the 
fishing year.

At-Sea Catch Reporting

    This rule proposes to correct a mistake in the VMS catch report 
requirements for vessels fishing in the U.S. Canada Management Areas. 
Amendment 16 (75 FR 18262; April 9, 2010) implemented a requirement for 
vessels to submit catch reports at-sea via their vessel monitoring 
system (VMS) on any trip fishing in multiple broad

[[Page 16451]]

stock areas (BSA) and maintained preexisting requirements for vessels 
to submit catch reports for any trip fishing in a special management 
program (e.g., the U.S./Canada Management Areas, the Regular B DAS 
Program). In the rulemaking for Amendment 16, NMFS initially proposed 
to remove the requirement that vessels report statistical area fished 
in the VMS catch reports, but the final rule maintained that 
requirement to ensure NMFS can accurately attribute catch of GB cod and 
GB haddock to accounting of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area quotas for 
these stocks. However, the regulatory text implemented by the final 
rule inadvertently removed the requirement to report by statistical 
area. This rule proposes to revise the regulatory text correctly 
capture NMFS published intent to continue requiring VMS catch reports 
include catch by statistical area.
    The final rule implementing Amendment 16 also included a 
requirement that trips fishing in multiple BSAs report catch by BSA in 
VMS catch reports because it was necessary to allow NMFS and sectors to 
calculate discard rates. In 2013, we revised the VMS reporting 
instructions to require vessels to submit catch by statistical area 
fished, rather than reporting catch by BSA, for any trip requiring a 
VMS catch report. We made this change to create a single VMS form that 
would address all required VMS catch reports and eliminate unnecessary 
duplication of reporting. However, this change was not consistently 
captured in the regulations and remains a source of confusion. In this 
rule, we propose to revise the regulations to consistently state that 
species kept must be reported by statistical area on all VMS catch 
reports.

Citation for Scallop-Yellowtail Quota Transfer

    The regulations allocating GB and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder to the 
scallop fishery include a mechanism to transfer unused yellowtail 
flounder quota from the scallop fishery to the groundfish fishery. The 
regulations implementing this provision include an incorrect citation 
related to recreational allocations, and this action proposes to 
correct this citation.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has made a preliminary determination that 
this proposed rule is consistent with Framework 58, other provisions of 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further 
consideration after public comment. In making the final determination, 
we will consider the data, views, and comments received during the 
public comment period.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866.
    This proposed rule does not contain policies with federalism or 
takings implications as those terms are defined in E.O. 13132 and E.O. 
12630, respectively.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The factual determination for this determination is as follows.
    Periodic framework adjustments are used to revise the Northeast 
Multispecies FMP in response to new scientific information to support 
catch limits that prevent overfishing and other adjustments to improve 
management measures included in the FMP. Framework Adjustment 58 
proposes to revise catch limits for 7 of the 20 multispecies stocks for 
fishing years 2019-2020 (May 1, 2019, through April 30, 2020), 
implement rebuilding plans for 5 stocks, revise an accountability 
measure, and make other administrative changes to groundfish management 
measures. This action is necessary to respond to updated scientific 
information and to achieve the goals and objectives of the FMP. The 
proposed measures are intended to help prevent overfishing, rebuild 
overfished stocks, and achieve optimum yield. The recreational 
groundfish, Atlantic sea scallop, small-mesh multispecies, and Atlantic 
herring fisheries are also affected by the setting of quotas through 
fishery-specific sub-quotas of various groundfish species including: 
GOM cod and haddock for the recreational fishery; four flounder stocks 
for the Atlantic scallop fishery; GB yellowtail flounder for small-mesh 
fisheries; and GOM and GB haddock for the midwater herring fishery. 
Analysis of the likely economic impacts of Framework 58 measures 
predicts that the proposed action will have overall positive impacts on 
fishing vessels, purchasers of seafood products, recreational anglers, 
and operators of party/charter businesses.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires Federal agencies to 
consider disproportionality and profitability to determine the 
significance of regulatory impacts. For RFA purposes only, NMFS 
established a small business size standard for businesses, including 
their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 
CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS 
code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently 
owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation 
(including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts less than 
not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations 
worldwide. The determination of whether the entity is large or small is 
based on the average annual revenue for the most recent 3 years for 
which data are available (from 2015 through 2017).
    As of May 1, 2017 (the beginning of the groundfish fishing year 
2017), NMFS had issued 887 limited-access groundfish permits associated 
with vessels, 423 open access handgear permits, 723 limited access and 
general category Atlantic sea scallop permits, 736 small-mesh 
multispecies permits, 81 Atlantic herring permits, and 803 permits to 
vessels that are not permitted in the groundfish fishery but have been 
active in the large-mesh non-groundfish fishery over the past year. 
Therefore, this action potentially regulates 3,680 permits. Some of 
these permits are issued to the same vessel. When accounting for this 
overlap between fisheries, this action potentially regulates 2,368 
permitted vessels. Each vessel may be individually owned or part of a 
larger corporate ownership structure. For RFA purposes, the proposed 
action ultimately regulates the ownership entity. Ownership entities 
are identified on June 1 of each year based on the list of all permit 
numbers, for the most recent complete calendar year, that have applied 
for any type of Northeast Federal fishing permit. The current ownership 
data set is based on calendar year 2017 permits and contains gross 
sales associated with those permits for calendar years 2015 through 
2017.
    Based on the ownership data, 1,784 distinct business entities hold 
at least one permit that the proposed action potentially regulates. Of 
these 1,784 entities, 201 are inactive and do not have revenues. Of the 
1,784 entities, 1,774 entities are categorized as small, and 10 
entities are categorized as large. All 1,784 entities could be directly 
regulated by this proposed action.
    The Framework 58 measures would enhance the operational flexibility 
of fishermen and increase profits overall. The measures proposed in 
Framework 58 are expected to have a positive economic effect on small 
entities because they will generate $0.2 million in additional gross 
revenues compared

[[Page 16452]]

to not taking action. The measures are also expected to generate $9.3 
million in additional gross revenues relative to the most recent 
fishing year (2016). The details of these economic analyses are 
included in Framework 58 (see ADDRESSES).

Description of Proposed Framework 58 Measures

Annual Catch Limits

    This action would set 2019-2020 catch limits for seven groundfish 
stocks: GB cod; GB haddock; GB yellowtail flounder; witch flounder; GB 
winter flounder; GOM winter flounder; and Atlantic halibut. This action 
would also set 2019 catch limits for the three stocks jointly managed 
with Canada (Eastern GB cod, Eastern GB haddock, and GB yellowtail 
flounder) based on assessments completed in 2018. Compared to 2018, 
Framework 58 would increase the U.S. ABC for three stocks and decrease 
the ABCs for three stocks. Changes range from modest increases for GB 
cod (15 percent) and GB haddock (19 percent) to a 50-percent reduction 
for GB yellowtail flounder.

Stock Rebuilding Plans

    Framework 58 would revise or implement new rebuilding plans for 
five stocks: GB winter flounder, Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic 
(SNE/MA) yellowtail flounder, witch flounder, northern windowpane 
flounder, and ocean pout. For GB winter flounder, SNE/MA yellowtail 
flounder, northern windowpane flounder, and ocean pout the proposed 
rebuilding plans would limit fishing mortality to 70 percent of the 
level that would result in maximum sustainable yield of the stock (over 
the long term) for 10 years, rebuilding these stocks by 2029. For witch 
flounder, the proposed rebuilding plan would limit fishing mortality to 
the level that would harvest 6 percent of the stock for 23 years, 
rebuilding by 2043.

Atlantic Scallop Fishery Accountability Measure Policy

    GB yellowtail flounder is a bycatch species for the scallop fishery 
and possession by scallop vessels is prohibited. Under this temporary 
change, the accountability measure for the scallop fishery's GB 
yellowtail quota would only be triggered if the scallop fishery exceeds 
its quota for the stock and the overall quota for the stock is also 
exceeded. The intent of this change is to provide flexibility for the 
scallop fishery to better achieve optimal yield despite reductions in 
the overall quota for GB yellowtail flounder, while continuing to 
prevent overfishing.

Minimum Fish Size Exemptions for Vessels Fishing Exclusively in the 
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area

    U.S. vessels participating in the NAFO fishery are prohibited from 
possessing any fish that do not meet the minimum fish size in the 
domestic fishery. Framework 58 would exempt U.S. vessels on trips 
fishing exclusively in the NAFO Regulatory Area from the domestic 
groundfish minimum sizes. This exemption is expected to provide U.S. 
fishing businesses an opportunity to compete equally in the frozen 
market, but would not give the NAFO participants a competitive 
advantage over domestic fishermen that rely upon the fresh fish market, 
nor would it negatively affect the fresh fish market.
    This action is not expected to have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities. The effects on the regulated 
small entities identified in this analysis are expected to be positive 
relative to the no action alternative, which would result in lower 
revenues and profits than the proposed action. These measures would 
enhance the operational flexibility of groundfish fishermen, and 
increase profits. Under the proposed action, small entities would not 
be placed at a competitive disadvantage relative to large entities, and 
the regulations would not reduce the profits for any small entities 
relative to taking no action. As a result, an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: April 15, 2019.
Patricia A. Montanio,
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is proposed 
to be amended as follows:

PART 648--FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows:

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

0
2. In Sec.  648.10, revise paragraph (k)(2) and the first sentence of 
paragraph (k)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.10  VMS and DAS requirements for vessel owners/operators.

* * * * *
    (k) * * *
    (2) Reporting requirements for NE multispecies vessel owners or 
operators fishing in more than one broad stock area per trip. Unless 
otherwise provided in this paragraph (k)(2), the owner or operator of 
any vessel issued a NE multispecies limited access permit that has 
declared its intent to fish within multiple NE multispecies broad stock 
areas, as defined in paragraph (k)(3) of this section, on the same trip 
must submit a hail report via VMS providing a good-faith estimate of 
the amount of each regulated species retained (in pounds, landed 
weight) and the total amount of all species retained (in pounds, landed 
weight), including NE multispecies and species managed by other FMPs, 
from each statistical area. This reporting requirement is in addition 
to the reporting requirements specified in paragraph (k)(1) of this 
section and any other reporting requirements specified in this part. 
The report frequency is detailed in paragraphs (k)(2)(i) and (ii) of 
this section.
    (i) Vessels declaring into GOM Stock Area and any other stock area. 
A vessel declared to fish in the GOM Stock Area, as defined in 
paragraph (k)(3)(i) of this section, and any other stock area defined 
in paragraphs (k)(3)(ii) through (iv) of this section, must submit a 
daily VMS catch report in 24-hr intervals for each day by 0900 hr of 
the following day. Reports are required even if groundfish species 
caught that day have not yet been landed.
    (ii) Vessels declaring into multiple broad stock areas not 
including GOM Stock Area. A vessel declared into multiple stock areas 
defined in paragraphs (k)(3)(ii) through (iv) of this section, not 
including the GOM Stock Area I defined in paragraph (k)(3)(i) of this 
section, must submit a trip-level report via VMS prior to crossing the 
VMS demarcation line, as defined in Sec.  648.10, upon its return to 
port following each fishing trip on which regulated species were 
caught, as instructed by the Regional Administrator.
    (iii) The Regional Administrator may adjust the reporting frequency 
specified in paragraph (k)(2) of this section.
    (iv) Exemptions from broad stock area VMS reporting requirements. 
(A) A vessel is exempt from the reporting requirements specified in 
paragraph (k)(2) of this section if it is fishing in a special 
management program, as specified in Sec.  648.85, and is required to 
submit daily VMS catch reports consistent with the requirements of that 
program.
    (B) The Regional Administrator may exempt vessels on a sector trip 
from the

[[Page 16453]]

reporting requirements specified in this paragraph (k)(2) if it is 
determined that such reporting requirements would duplicate those 
specified in Sec.  648.87(b).
    (3) NE multispecies broad stock areas. For the purposes of the 
area-specific reporting requirements listed in paragraph (k)(1) of this 
section, the NE multispecies broad stock areas are defined in 
paragraphs (k)(3)(i) through (iv) of this section. * * *
* * * * *
0
3. In Sec.  648.14, revise paragraphs (a)(7) and (k)(17) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  648.14  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (7) Possess, import, export, transfer, land, or have custody or 
control of any species of fish regulated pursuant to this part that do 
not meet the minimum size provisions in this part, unless such species 
were harvested exclusively within state waters by a vessel that does 
not hold a valid permit under this part, or are species included in the 
NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan that were harvested by a vessel 
issued a valid High Seas Fishing Compliance permit that fished 
exclusively in the NAFO Regulatory Area.
* * * * *
    (k) * * *
    (17) Presumptions. For purposes of this part, the following 
presumptions apply:
    Regulated species possessed for sale that do not meet the minimum 
sizes specified in Sec.  648.83 are deemed to have been taken from the 
EEZ or imported in violation of these regulations, unless the 
preponderance of all submitted evidence demonstrates that such fish 
were harvested by a vessel not issued a permit under this part and 
fishing exclusively within state waters, or by a vessel issued a valid 
High Seas Fishing Compliance permit that fished exclusively in the NAFO 
Regulatory Area. This presumption does not apply to fish being sorted 
on deck.
* * * * *
0
4. In Sec.  648.17, revise paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.17  Exemptions for vessels fishing in the NAFO Regulatory 
Area.

* * * * *
    (a) Fisheries included under exemption--(1) NE multispecies. A 
vessel issued a valid High Seas Fishing Compliance Permit under part 
300 of this title and that complies with the requirements specified in 
paragraph (b) of this section, is exempt from NE multispecies permit, 
mesh size, effort-control, minimum fish size, and possession limit 
restrictions, specified in Sec. Sec.  648.4, 648.80, 648.82, 648.83, 
and 648.86, respectively, while transiting the EEZ with NE multispecies 
on board the vessel, or landing NE multispecies in U.S. ports that were 
caught while fishing in the NAFO Regulatory Area.
* * * * *
0
5. In Sec.  648.82, revise paragraph (k)(3)(iii) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.82  Effort-control program for NE multispecies limited access 
vessels.

* * * * *
    (k) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (iii) Denial of lease application. The Regional Administrator may 
deny an application to lease Category A DAS for any of the following 
reasons, including, but not limited to: The application is incomplete 
or submitted past the April 30 deadline; the Lessor or Lessee has not 
been issued a valid limited access NE multispecies permit or is 
otherwise not eligible; the Lessor's or Lessee's DAS are under sanction 
pursuant to an enforcement proceeding; the Lessor's or Lessee's vessel 
is prohibited from fishing; the Lessor's or Lessee's limited access NE 
multispecies permit is sanctioned pursuant to an enforcement 
proceeding; the Lessor or Lessee vessel is determined not in compliance 
with the conditions, restrictions, and requirements of this part; or 
the Lessor has an insufficient number of allocated or unused DAS 
available to lease. Upon denial of an application to lease NE 
multispecies DAS, the Regional Administrator shall send a letter to the 
applicants describing the reason(s) for application rejection. The 
decision by the Regional Administrator is the final agency decision.
* * * * *
0
6. Section 648.85 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(3)(v)(A)(3), 
(a)(6)(iv)(I), and (a)(7)(vi)(D) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.85  Special management programs.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (v) * * *
    (A) * * *
    (3) Total pounds of cod, haddock, yellowtail flounder, winter 
flounder, witch flounder, pollock, American plaice, redfish, Atlantic 
halibut, ocean pout, Atlantic wolffish, and white hake kept (in pounds, 
live weight) in each statistical area, as instructed by the Regional 
Administrator.
* * * * *
    (6) * * *
    (iv) * * *
    (I) Reporting requirements. The owner or operator of a NE 
multispecies DAS vessel must submit catch reports via VMS in accordance 
with instructions provided by the Regional Administrator, for each day 
fished when declared into the Regular B DAS Program. The reports must 
be submitted in 24-hr intervals for each day, beginning at 0000 hr and 
ending at 2359 hr. The reports must be submitted by 0900 hr of the 
following day. For vessels that have declared into the Regular B DAS 
Program in accordance with paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(C) of this section, the 
reports must include at least the following information: VTR serial 
number or other universal ID specified by the Regional Administrator; 
date fish were caught; statistical area fished; and the total pounds of 
cod, haddock, yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder, 
pollock, American plaice, redfish, Atlantic halibut, and white hake 
kept in each statistical area (in pounds, live weight), as instructed 
by the Regional Administrator. Daily reporting must continue even if 
the vessel operator is required to flip, as described in paragraph 
(b)(6)(iv)(E) of this section.
* * * * *
    (7) * * *
    (vi) * * *
    (D) Reporting requirements. The owner or operator of a common pool 
vessel must submit reports via VMS, in accordance with instructions to 
be provided by the Regional Administrator, for each day fished in the 
Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP Area. The reports must be submitted 
in 24-hr intervals for each day fished, beginning at 0000 hr local time 
and ending at 2359 hr local time. The reports must be submitted by 0900 
hr local time of the day following fishing. The reports must include at 
least the following information: VTR serial number or other universal 
ID specified by the Regional Administrator; date fish were caught; 
statistical area fished; and the total pounds of cod, haddock, 
yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder, pollock, American 
plaice, redfish, Atlantic halibut, and white hake kept in each 
statistical area (in pounds, live weight), specified in Sec.  
648.10(k)(3), as instructed by the Regional Administrator. Daily 
reporting must continue even if the vessel operator is required to exit 
the SAP as required under paragraph (b)(7)(iv)(G) of this section.
* * * * *
0
7. In Sec.  648.87, revise paragraph (b)(1)(vi) introductory text and 
paragraph (b)(1)(vi) (A) to read as follows:

[[Page 16454]]

Sec.  648.87  Sector allocation.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (vi) Sector reporting requirements. In addition to the other 
reporting/recordkeeping requirements specified in this part, a sector's 
vessels must comply with the reporting requirements specified in this 
paragraph (b)(1)(vi).
    (A) VMS declarations and trip-level catch reports. Prior to each 
sector trip, a sector vessel must declare into broad stock areas in 
which the vessel fishes and submit the VTR serial number associated 
with that trip pursuant to Sec.  648.10(k). The sector vessel must also 
submit a VMS catch report detailing regulated species and ocean pout 
catch by statistical area when fishing in multiple broad stock areas on 
the same trip, pursuant to Sec.  648.10(k).
* * * * *
0
8. Section 648.90 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(4)(iii)(C) and 
paragraph (a)(5)(iv)(B), and adding paragraph (a)(5)(iv)(D) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  648.90  NE multispecies assessment, framework procedures and 
specifications, and flexible area action system.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (4) * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (C) Yellowtail flounder catch by the Atlantic sea scallop fishery. 
Yellowtail flounder catch in the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, as 
defined in subpart D of this part, shall be deducted from the ABC/ACL 
for each yellowtail flounder stock pursuant to the restrictions 
specified in subpart D of this part and the process to specify ABCs and 
ACLs, as described in paragraph (a)(4) of this section. Unless 
otherwise specified in this paragraph (a)(4)(iii)(C), or subpart D of 
this part, the specific value of the sub-components of the ABC/ACL for 
each stock of yellowtail flounder distributed to the Atlantic sea 
scallop fishery shall be specified pursuant to the biennial adjustment 
process specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. The Atlantic sea 
scallop fishery shall be allocated 40 percent of the GB yellowtail 
flounder ABC (U.S. share only) in fishing year 2013, and 16 percent in 
fishing year 2014 and each fishing year thereafter, pursuant to the 
process for specifying ABCs and ACLs described in this paragraph 
(a)(4). An ACL based on this ABC shall be determined using the process 
described in paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this section. Based on information 
available, NMFS shall project the expected scallop fishery catch of GB 
and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder for the current fishing year by January 
15. If NMFS determines that the scallop fishery will catch less than 90 
percent of its GB or SNE/MA yellowtail flounder sub-ACL, the Regional 
Administrator may reduce the pertinent scallop fishery sub-ACL to the 
amount projected to be caught, and increase the groundfish fishery sub-
ACL by any amount up to the amount reduced from the scallop fishery 
sub-ACL. The revised GB or SNE/MA yellowtail flounder groundfish 
fishery sub-ACL shall be distributed to the common pool and sectors 
based on the process specified in paragraph (a)(4)(iii)(H)(2) of this 
section.
* * * * *
    (5) * * *
    (iv) * * *
    (B) 2017 and 2018 fishing year threshold for implementing the 
Atlantic sea scallop fishery AMs for Northern windowpane flounder. For 
the 2017 and 2018 fishing years only, if scallop fishery catch exceeds 
the northern windowpane flounder sub-ACL specified in paragraph (a)(4) 
of this section, and total catch exceeds the overall ACL for that 
stock, then the applicable scallop fishery AM will take effect, as 
specified in Sec.  648.64 of the Atlantic sea scallop regulations. For 
the 2019 fishing year and onward, the threshold for implementing 
scallop fishery AMs for northern windowpane flounder will return to 
that listed in paragraph (a)(5)(iv)(A) of this section.
    (C) * * *
    (D) 2017 through 2020 fishing year threshold for implementing the 
Atlantic sea scallop fishery AM for GB yellowtail flounder. For the 
2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 fishing years, if scallop fishery catch 
exceeds the GB yellowtail flounder sub-ACL specified in paragraph 
(a)(4) of this section, and total catch exceeds the overall ACL for 
that stock, then the applicable scallop fishery AM will take effect, as 
specified in Sec.  648.64 of the Atlantic sea scallop regulations. For 
the 20212 fishing year and onward, the threshold for implementing 
scallop fishery AMs for GB yellowtail flounder will return to that 
listed in paragraph (a)(5)(iv)(A) of this section.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2019-07832 Filed 4-18-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P