Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 20296-20299 [2019-09570]

Download as PDF 20296 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 90 / Thursday, May 9, 2019 / Rules and Regulations shall run from the date on which the tariff matter first appears in the water carrier’s tariff on the internet. ■ 10. Amend § 1312.12 by adding paragraph (c) to read as follows: § 1312.12 Temporary rule; inseason Angling category retention limit adjustment. ACTION: Posting requirements. * * * * * (c) Exemption for electronically filed tariffs. A water carrier that publishes, files, and keeps its tariffs electronically in accordance with § 1312.4(b) is exempt from the posting requirements of this section. ■ 11. Amend § 1312.13 by adding paragraph (g) to read as follows: § 1312.13 Furnishing copies of tariff publications. * * * * * (g) Exemption for electronically filed tariffs. A water carrier that publishes, files, and keeps its tariffs electronically in accordance with § 1312.4(b) is exempt from this section. ■ 12. Amend § 1312.15 by adding a sentence at the end of paragraph (a) and a sentence at the end of paragraph (b) to read as follows: § 1312.15 Change of carrier or agent. (a) * * * A water carrier that publishes, files, and keeps its tariffs electronically in accordance with § 1312.4(b) shall promptly submit any such change by email to tariffs@stb.gov, but in no case later than 20 days after the effective date. (b) * * * A water carrier that publishes, files, and keeps its tariffs electronically in accordance with § 1312.4(b) shall promptly submit any such change of agent by email to tariffs@stb.gov, but in no case later than 200 days after the effective date. [FR Doc. 2019–09564 Filed 5–8–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4915–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 180117042–8884–02] RIN 0648–XH007 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with RULES AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:58 May 08, 2019 Jkt 247001 NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily retention limit that applies to vessels permitted in the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally for BFT) should be adjusted for the remainder of 2019, based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. NMFS is adjusting the Angling category BFT daily retention limit from the default of one school, large school, or small medium BFT to two school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for private vessels with HMS Angling category permits; to three school BFT and one large school/ small medium BFT per vessel per day/ trip for charter boat vessels with HMS Charter/Headboat permits when fishing recreationally; and to six school BFT and two large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for headboat vessels with HMS Charter/Headboat permits when fishing recreationally. These retention limits are effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS prohibits targeted fishing for BFT. DATES: Effective May 11, 2019, through December 31, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin, 978–281–9260 or Larry Redd, 301–427–8503. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (Amendment 7) (79 FR 71510, December 2, 2014), and in accordance with implementing regulations. NMFS is required under ATCA and the Magnuson-Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 reasonable opportunity to harvest the ICCAT-recommended quota. As a method for limiting fishing mortality on juvenile BFT, ICCAT recommends a tolerance limit on the annual harvest of BFT measuring less than 115 centimeters (cm) (45.3 inches) (straight fork length) to no more than 10 percent by weight of a Contracting Party’s total BFT quota. Any overharvest of such tolerance limit from one year must be subtracted from the tolerance limit applicable in the next year or the year after that. NMFS implements this provision by limiting the harvest of school BFT (measuring 27 to less than 47 inches curved fork length) as appropriate to not exceed the 10-percent limit (127.3 mt) annually. In 2018, NMFS implemented a final rule that established the U.S. BFT quota and subquotas consistent with ICCAT Recommendation 17–06 (83 FR 53191, October 11, 2018). The currently codified baseline U.S. quota is 1,247.86 metric tons (mt) (not including the 25 mt ICCAT allocated to the United States to account for bycatch of BFT in pelagic longline fisheries in the Northeast Distant Gear Restricted Area). See § 635.27(a). The currently codified Angling category quota is 232.4 mt (127.3 mt for school BFT, 99.8 mt for large school/small medium BFT, and 5.3 mt for large medium/giant BFT). The Angling category season opened January 1, 2019, and continues through December 31, 2019. The size classes of BFT are summarized in Table 1. Please note that large school and small medium BFT traditionally have been managed as one size class, as described below, i.e., a limit of one large school/ small medium BFT (measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). Currently, the default Angling category daily retention limit of one school, large school, or small medium BFT applies (§ 635.23(b)(2)). This retention limit applies to HMS Angling and to HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels (when fishing recreationally for BFT). As defined at § 600.10, ‘‘charter boat’’ means a vessel less than 100 gross tons (90.8 mt) that meets the requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard to carry six or fewer passengers for hire (i.e., uninspected) and ‘‘headboat’’ means a vessel that holds a valid Certificate of Inspection issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry passengers for hire (i.e., greater than six). E:\FR\FM\09MYR1.SGM 09MYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 90 / Thursday, May 9, 2019 / Rules and Regulations 20297 TABLE 1—BFT SIZE CLASSES Size class Curved fork length School ................................................................................................................................ Large school ...................................................................................................................... Small medium .................................................................................................................... Large medium .................................................................................................................... Giant .................................................................................................................................. Table 2 summarizes the recreational quota, subquotas, landings, and 27 47 59 73 81 to less than 47 inches (68.5 to less than 119 cm). to less than 59 inches (119 to less than 150 cm). to less than 73 inches (150 to less than 185 cm). to less than 81 inches (185 to less than 206 cm). inches or greater (206 cm or greater). retention limit information for 2017 and 2018, by size class. TABLE 2—ANGLING CATEGORY QUOTAS (mt), ESTIMATED LANDINGS (mt), AND DAILY RETENTION LIMITS, 2017–2018 2017 Size class Subquotas and total quota (mt) Landings (mt) Amount of subquotas and total quota used (%) Subquotas and total quota (mt) Landings (mt) Amount of subquotas and total quota used (%) School ...................................................... Large School/Small Medium .................... Trophy: Large Medium/Giant ................... 108.4 82.3 4.5 47.1 84.5 10.2 43 103 227 127.3 99.8 5.3 55.8 45.5 11.3 44 46 213 Total .................................................. 195.2 141.8 73 232.4 112.6 48 Daily Retention Limits (per Vessel) ......... January 1 through April 29: 1 school, large school, or small medium (default). April 30 through December 31 (82 FR 19615, April 28, 2017): Private boats: 2 school and 1 large school/small medium. Charter/Headboats: 3 school and 1 large school/ small medium. Adjustment of Angling Category Daily Retention Limit jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with RULES 2018 Under § 635.23(b)(3), NMFS may increase or decrease the Angling category retention limit for any size class of BFT after considering regulatory determination criteria provided under § 635.27(a)(8). Also under § 635.23(b)(3), recreational retention limits may be adjusted separately for specific vessel type, such as private vessels, headboats, or charter boats. NMFS has considered all of the relevant determination criteria and their applicability to the change in the Angling category retention limit. The criteria and their application are discussed below. NMFS considered the usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock (§ 635.27(a)(8)(i)). Biological samples collected from BFT landed by recreational fishermen continue to provide NMFS with valuable parts and data for ongoing scientific studies of BFT age and growth, migration, and reproductive status. Additional opportunity to land BFT would support the collection of a broad range of data VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:58 May 08, 2019 Jkt 247001 January 1 through April 25: 1 school, large school, or small medium (default). April 26 through December 31 (83 FR 18230, April 26, 2018): Private boats: 2 school and 1 large school/small medium. Charter/Headboats: 3 school and 1 large school/ small medium. for these studies and for stock monitoring purposes. NMFS considered the catches of the Angling category quota to date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made (§ 635.27(a)(8)(ii)). NMFS anticipates that the full 2019 Angling category quota would not be harvested under the default retention limit. As shown in Table 2, Angling category landings were approximately 73 percent of the 195.2mt annual Angling category quota in 2017 and 49 percent of the 232.4-mt annual Angling category quota in 2018, including landings of 43 percent of the available school BFT quota in both years. NMFS also considered the effects of the adjustment on the BFT stock and the effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the FMP (§ 635.27(a)(8)(v) and (vi)). These retention limits would be consistent with the quotas established and analyzed in the 2018 BFT quota final rule, which implemented the ICCAT quota consistent with ATCA, and with objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, and is not expected to negatively impact stock PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 health or to affect the stock in ways not already analyzed in those documents. It is also important that NMFS limit landings to the subquotas both to adhere to the FMP quota allocations and to ensure that landings are as consistent as possible with the pattern of fishing mortality (e.g., fish caught at each age) that was assumed in the latest stock assessment. Another principal consideration in setting the retention limit is the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full Angling category quota without exceeding it based on the goals of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, including to achieve optimum yield on a continuing basis and to optimize the ability of all permit categories to harvest their full BFT quota allocations (related to § 635.27(a)(8)(x)). The 2018 school BFT landings represent 4 percent of the total U.S. quota for 2018, well under the ICCAT recommended 10-percent limit. Given that the Angling category landings fell short of the available quota and considering the regulatory criteria above, NMFS has determined that the Angling category retention limit E:\FR\FM\09MYR1.SGM 09MYR1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with RULES 20298 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 90 / Thursday, May 9, 2019 / Rules and Regulations applicable to participants on HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels should be adjusted upwards from the default levels. NMFS has also concluded that implementation of separate limits for private, charter boat, and headboat vessels is appropriate, recognizing the different nature, socio-economic needs, and recent landings results of the two components of the recreational BFT fishery. For example, charter operators historically have indicated that a multifish retention limit is vital to their ability to attract customers. In addition, Large Pelagics Survey estimates indicate that charter/headboat BFT landings averaged 26 percent of recent recreational landings for 2017 through 2018, with the remaining 74 percent landed by private vessels. NMFS has further concluded that a higher limit for headboats (than charter boats) is appropriate, given the limited number of headboats participating in the bluefin tuna fishery. Given these considerations, for private vessels with HMS Angling category permits, this action adjusts the limit upwards to two school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip (i.e., two BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). For charter boat vessels with HMS Charter/Headboat permits, this action adjusts the limit upwards to three school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip when fishing recreationally for BFT (i.e., three BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). ‘‘Charter boat’’ means a vessel less than 100 gross tons (90.8 mt) that meets the requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard to carry six or fewer passengers for hire (i.e., uninspected). For headboat vessels with HMS Charter/Headboat permits, this action adjusts the limit upwards to six school BFT and two large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip when fishing recreationally for BFT (i.e., three BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). ‘‘Headboat’’ means a vessel that holds a valid Certificate of Inspection issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry passengers for hire (i.e., greater than six). These retention limits are effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS prohibits targeted fishing for BFT. Regardless of the duration of a fishing trip, the daily retention limit applies upon landing. For example, whether a private vessel (fishing under the Angling category retention limit) takes a two-day trip or VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:58 May 08, 2019 Jkt 247001 makes two trips in one day, the day/trip limit of two school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT applies and may not be exceeded upon landing. NMFS anticipates that the BFT daily retention limits in this action will result in landings during 2019 that would not exceed the available subquotas. Lower retention limits could result in substantial underharvest of the codified Angling category subquota, and increasing the daily limits further may risk exceeding the available quota, contrary to the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments. NMFS considered input on recreational limits from the HMS Advisory Panel at its March and September 2018 meetings. NMFS is not setting higher school BFT limits than the adjustments listed in Table 1 due to the potential risk of exceeding the ICCAT tolerance limit on school BFT and other considerations, such as potential effort shifts to BFT fishing as a result of current recreational retention limits for New England groundfish and striped bass. Monitoring and Reporting NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries closely through the mandatory landings and catch reports. HMS Charter/Headboat and Angling category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling (888) 872–8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.). Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional retention limit adjustments or closures are necessary to ensure available quota is not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. If needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (978) 281–9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments. HMS Angling and HMS Charter/ Headboat category permit holders may catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs at § 635.26. Anglers are also reminded that all BFT that are released must be handled in a manner that will maximize survival, and without removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at § 635.21(a)(1). For PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 additional information on safe handling, see the ‘‘Careful Catch and Release’’ brochure available at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/ outreach-and-education/careful-catchand-release-brochure. Classification The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons: The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment to implement the daily retention limit for the remainder of 2019 at this time is impracticable. Based on available BFT quotas, fishery performance in recent years, and the availability of BFT on the fishing grounds, immediate adjustment to the Angling category BFT daily retention limit from the default levels is warranted to allow fishermen to take advantage of the availability of fish and of quota. NMFS could not have proposed these actions earlier, as it needed to consider and respond to updated data and information from the 2018 Angling category. If NMFS was to offer a public comment period now, after having appropriately considered that data, it would preclude fishermen from harvesting BFT that are legally available consistent with all of the regulatory criteria, and/or could result in selection of a retention limit inappropriately high or low for the amount of quota available for the period. Fisheries under the Angling category daily retention limit are currently underway and thus prior notice would be contrary to the public interest. Delays in increasing daily recreational BFT retention limit would adversely affect those HMS Angling and Charter/ Headboat category vessels that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest more than the default retention limit of one school, large school, or small medium BFT per day/trip and may exacerbate the problem of low catch rates and quota rollovers. Analysis of available data shows that adjustment to the BFT daily retention limit from the default level would result in minimal risks of exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota. NMFS provides notification of retention limit adjustments by E:\FR\FM\09MYR1.SGM 09MYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 90 / Thursday, May 9, 2019 / Rules and Regulations jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with RULES publishing the notice in the Federal Register, emailing individuals who have subscribed to the Atlantic HMS News electronic newsletter, and updating the information posted on the Atlantic Tunas Information Line and on hmspermits.noaa.gov. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:58 May 08, 2019 Jkt 247001 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For these reasons, there also is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under § 635.23(b)(3), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 20299 Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: May 6, 2019. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–09570 Filed 5–8–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\09MYR1.SGM 09MYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 90 (Thursday, May 9, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 20296-20299]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-09570]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 180117042-8884-02]
RIN 0648-XH007


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason Angling category retention limit 
adjustment.

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SUMMARY: NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily 
retention limit that applies to vessels permitted in the Highly 
Migratory Species (HMS) Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat 
category (when fishing recreationally for BFT) should be adjusted for 
the remainder of 2019, based on consideration of the regulatory 
determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. NMFS is 
adjusting the Angling category BFT daily retention limit from the 
default of one school, large school, or small medium BFT to two school 
BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for 
private vessels with HMS Angling category permits; to three school BFT 
and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for 
charter boat vessels with HMS Charter/Headboat permits when fishing 
recreationally; and to six school BFT and two large school/small medium 
BFT per vessel per day/trip for headboat vessels with HMS Charter/
Headboat permits when fishing recreationally. These retention limits 
are effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS 
prohibits targeted fishing for BFT.

DATES: Effective May 11, 2019, through December 31, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin, 978-281-9260 or 
Larry Redd, 301-427-8503.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by 
persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR 
part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by 
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
(ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the 
allocations established in Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly 
Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) 
(Amendment 7) (79 FR 71510, December 2, 2014), and in accordance with 
implementing regulations. NMFS is required under ATCA and the Magnuson-
Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a reasonable 
opportunity to harvest the ICCAT-recommended quota.
    As a method for limiting fishing mortality on juvenile BFT, ICCAT 
recommends a tolerance limit on the annual harvest of BFT measuring 
less than 115 centimeters (cm) (45.3 inches) (straight fork length) to 
no more than 10 percent by weight of a Contracting Party's total BFT 
quota. Any overharvest of such tolerance limit from one year must be 
subtracted from the tolerance limit applicable in the next year or the 
year after that. NMFS implements this provision by limiting the harvest 
of school BFT (measuring 27 to less than 47 inches curved fork length) 
as appropriate to not exceed the 10-percent limit (127.3 mt) annually.
    In 2018, NMFS implemented a final rule that established the U.S. 
BFT quota and subquotas consistent with ICCAT Recommendation 17-06 (83 
FR 53191, October 11, 2018). The currently codified baseline U.S. quota 
is 1,247.86 metric tons (mt) (not including the 25 mt ICCAT allocated 
to the United States to account for bycatch of BFT in pelagic longline 
fisheries in the Northeast Distant Gear Restricted Area). See Sec.  
635.27(a). The currently codified Angling category quota is 232.4 mt 
(127.3 mt for school BFT, 99.8 mt for large school/small medium BFT, 
and 5.3 mt for large medium/giant BFT).
    The Angling category season opened January 1, 2019, and continues 
through December 31, 2019. The size classes of BFT are summarized in 
Table 1. Please note that large school and small medium BFT 
traditionally have been managed as one size class, as described below, 
i.e., a limit of one large school/small medium BFT (measuring 47 to 
less than 73 inches). Currently, the default Angling category daily 
retention limit of one school, large school, or small medium BFT 
applies (Sec.  635.23(b)(2)). This retention limit applies to HMS 
Angling and to HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels (when 
fishing recreationally for BFT).
    As defined at Sec.  600.10, ``charter boat'' means a vessel less 
than 100 gross tons (90.8 mt) that meets the requirements of the U.S. 
Coast Guard to carry six or fewer passengers for hire (i.e., 
uninspected) and ``headboat'' means a vessel that holds a valid 
Certificate of Inspection issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry 
passengers for hire (i.e., greater than six).

[[Page 20297]]



                                            Table 1--BFT Size Classes
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Size class                                           Curved fork length
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
School..............................  27 to less than 47 inches (68.5 to less than 119 cm).
Large school........................  47 to less than 59 inches (119 to less than 150 cm).
Small medium........................  59 to less than 73 inches (150 to less than 185 cm).
Large medium........................  73 to less than 81 inches (185 to less than 206 cm).
Giant...............................  81 inches or greater (206 cm or greater).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 2 summarizes the recreational quota, subquotas, landings, and 
retention limit information for 2017 and 2018, by size class.

                          Table 2--Angling Category Quotas (mt), Estimated Landings (mt), and Daily Retention Limits, 2017-2018
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                               2017                                            2018
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                             Amount of                                       Amount of
                       Size class                          Subquotas and                   subquotas and   Subquotas and                   subquotas and
                                                            total quota    Landings (mt)    total quota     total quota    Landings (mt)    total quota
                                                               (mt)                          used (%)          (mt)                          used (%)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
School..................................................           108.4            47.1              43           127.3            55.8              44
Large School/Small Medium...............................            82.3            84.5             103            99.8            45.5              46
Trophy: Large Medium/Giant..............................             4.5            10.2             227             5.3            11.3             213
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................................           195.2           141.8              73           232.4           112.6              48
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Daily Retention Limits (per Vessel).....................  January 1 through April 29: 1 school, large
                                                          school, or small medium (default).
                                                          January 1 through April 25: 1 school, large
                                                          school, or small medium (default).
                                                          April 30 through December 31 (82 FR 19615,
                                                          April 28, 2017):
                                                          April 26 through December 31 (83 FR 18230,
                                                          April 26, 2018):
                                                          Private boats: 2 school and 1 large school/
                                                          small medium.
                                                          Private boats: 2 school and 1 large school/
                                                          small medium.
                                                          Charter/Headboats: 3 school and 1 large school/
                                                          small medium.
                                                          Charter/Headboats: 3 school and 1 large school/
                                                          small medium.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adjustment of Angling Category Daily Retention Limit

    Under Sec.  635.23(b)(3), NMFS may increase or decrease the Angling 
category retention limit for any size class of BFT after considering 
regulatory determination criteria provided under Sec.  635.27(a)(8). 
Also under Sec.  635.23(b)(3), recreational retention limits may be 
adjusted separately for specific vessel type, such as private vessels, 
headboats, or charter boats.
    NMFS has considered all of the relevant determination criteria and 
their applicability to the change in the Angling category retention 
limit. The criteria and their application are discussed below.
    NMFS considered the usefulness of information obtained from catches 
in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of 
the status of the stock (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(i)). Biological samples 
collected from BFT landed by recreational fishermen continue to provide 
NMFS with valuable parts and data for ongoing scientific studies of BFT 
age and growth, migration, and reproductive status. Additional 
opportunity to land BFT would support the collection of a broad range 
of data for these studies and for stock monitoring purposes.
    NMFS considered the catches of the Angling category quota to date 
and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no 
adjustment is made (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(ii)). NMFS anticipates that the 
full 2019 Angling category quota would not be harvested under the 
default retention limit. As shown in Table 2, Angling category landings 
were approximately 73 percent of the 195.2-mt annual Angling category 
quota in 2017 and 49 percent of the 232.4-mt annual Angling category 
quota in 2018, including landings of 43 percent of the available school 
BFT quota in both years.
    NMFS also considered the effects of the adjustment on the BFT stock 
and the effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of 
the FMP (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(v) and (vi)). These retention limits would 
be consistent with the quotas established and analyzed in the 2018 BFT 
quota final rule, which implemented the ICCAT quota consistent with 
ATCA, and with objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and 
amendments, and is not expected to negatively impact stock health or to 
affect the stock in ways not already analyzed in those documents. It is 
also important that NMFS limit landings to the subquotas both to adhere 
to the FMP quota allocations and to ensure that landings are as 
consistent as possible with the pattern of fishing mortality (e.g., 
fish caught at each age) that was assumed in the latest stock 
assessment.
    Another principal consideration in setting the retention limit is 
the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full Angling 
category quota without exceeding it based on the goals of the 2006 
Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, including to achieve optimum yield 
on a continuing basis and to optimize the ability of all permit 
categories to harvest their full BFT quota allocations (related to 
Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(x)).
    The 2018 school BFT landings represent 4 percent of the total U.S. 
quota for 2018, well under the ICCAT recommended 10-percent limit. 
Given that the Angling category landings fell short of the available 
quota and considering the regulatory criteria above, NMFS has 
determined that the Angling category retention limit

[[Page 20298]]

applicable to participants on HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat 
category permitted vessels should be adjusted upwards from the default 
levels. NMFS has also concluded that implementation of separate limits 
for private, charter boat, and headboat vessels is appropriate, 
recognizing the different nature, socio-economic needs, and recent 
landings results of the two components of the recreational BFT fishery. 
For example, charter operators historically have indicated that a 
multi-fish retention limit is vital to their ability to attract 
customers. In addition, Large Pelagics Survey estimates indicate that 
charter/headboat BFT landings averaged 26 percent of recent 
recreational landings for 2017 through 2018, with the remaining 74 
percent landed by private vessels. NMFS has further concluded that a 
higher limit for headboats (than charter boats) is appropriate, given 
the limited number of headboats participating in the bluefin tuna 
fishery.
    Given these considerations, for private vessels with HMS Angling 
category permits, this action adjusts the limit upwards to two school 
BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip 
(i.e., two BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT 
measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). For charter boat vessels with HMS 
Charter/Headboat permits, this action adjusts the limit upwards to 
three school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per 
day/trip when fishing recreationally for BFT (i.e., three BFT measuring 
27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 
inches). ``Charter boat'' means a vessel less than 100 gross tons (90.8 
mt) that meets the requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard to carry six or 
fewer passengers for hire (i.e., uninspected). For headboat vessels 
with HMS Charter/Headboat permits, this action adjusts the limit 
upwards to six school BFT and two large school/small medium BFT per 
vessel per day/trip when fishing recreationally for BFT (i.e., three 
BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to 
less than 73 inches). ``Headboat'' means a vessel that holds a valid 
Certificate of Inspection issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry 
passengers for hire (i.e., greater than six). These retention limits 
are effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS 
prohibits targeted fishing for BFT. Regardless of the duration of a 
fishing trip, the daily retention limit applies upon landing. For 
example, whether a private vessel (fishing under the Angling category 
retention limit) takes a two-day trip or makes two trips in one day, 
the day/trip limit of two school BFT and one large school/small medium 
BFT applies and may not be exceeded upon landing.
    NMFS anticipates that the BFT daily retention limits in this action 
will result in landings during 2019 that would not exceed the available 
subquotas. Lower retention limits could result in substantial 
underharvest of the codified Angling category subquota, and increasing 
the daily limits further may risk exceeding the available quota, 
contrary to the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and 
amendments. NMFS considered input on recreational limits from the HMS 
Advisory Panel at its March and September 2018 meetings. NMFS is not 
setting higher school BFT limits than the adjustments listed in Table 1 
due to the potential risk of exceeding the ICCAT tolerance limit on 
school BFT and other considerations, such as potential effort shifts to 
BFT fishing as a result of current recreational retention limits for 
New England groundfish and striped bass.

Monitoring and Reporting

    NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries closely through the 
mandatory landings and catch reports. HMS Charter/Headboat and Angling 
category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT 
retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of 
each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov, using the HMS Catch 
Reporting app, or calling (888) 872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 
a.m. until 4:30 p.m.). Depending on the level of fishing effort and 
catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional retention limit 
adjustments or closures are necessary to ensure available quota is not 
exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing 
opportunities in, all geographic areas. If needed, subsequent 
adjustments will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, 
fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (978) 281-
9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on quota monitoring 
and inseason adjustments.
    HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat category permit holders may 
catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the 
requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs at 
Sec.  635.26. Anglers are also reminded that all BFT that are released 
must be handled in a manner that will maximize survival, and without 
removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at Sec.  
635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the 
``Careful Catch and Release'' brochure available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/outreach-and-education/careful-catch-and-release-brochure.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior 
notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for 
the following reasons:
    The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and 
amendments provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond 
to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, 
the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in 
the BFT fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public 
comment to implement the daily retention limit for the remainder of 
2019 at this time is impracticable. Based on available BFT quotas, 
fishery performance in recent years, and the availability of BFT on the 
fishing grounds, immediate adjustment to the Angling category BFT daily 
retention limit from the default levels is warranted to allow fishermen 
to take advantage of the availability of fish and of quota. NMFS could 
not have proposed these actions earlier, as it needed to consider and 
respond to updated data and information from the 2018 Angling category. 
If NMFS was to offer a public comment period now, after having 
appropriately considered that data, it would preclude fishermen from 
harvesting BFT that are legally available consistent with all of the 
regulatory criteria, and/or could result in selection of a retention 
limit inappropriately high or low for the amount of quota available for 
the period.
    Fisheries under the Angling category daily retention limit are 
currently underway and thus prior notice would be contrary to the 
public interest. Delays in increasing daily recreational BFT retention 
limit would adversely affect those HMS Angling and Charter/Headboat 
category vessels that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest 
more than the default retention limit of one school, large school, or 
small medium BFT per day/trip and may exacerbate the problem of low 
catch rates and quota rollovers. Analysis of available data shows that 
adjustment to the BFT daily retention limit from the default level 
would result in minimal risks of exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota. 
NMFS provides notification of retention limit adjustments by

[[Page 20299]]

publishing the notice in the Federal Register, emailing individuals who 
have subscribed to the Atlantic HMS News electronic newsletter, and 
updating the information posted on the Atlantic Tunas Information Line 
and on hmspermits.noaa.gov. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 
U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public 
comment. For these reasons, there also is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 
553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness.
    This action is being taken under Sec.  635.23(b)(3), and is exempt 
from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq.

    Dated: May 6, 2019.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-09570 Filed 5-8-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P