Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 58, 34799-34815 [2019-15322]

Download as PDF 34799 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 25 TO PARAGRAPH (j)(2)(i) Required adjacent channel separation distances in meters from edge of polygon 16 dBm (40 mW) 20 dBm (100 mW) 8 16 13 26 Communicating with Mode II or Fixed device ......................................................................... Communicating with Mode I device ........................................................................................ (ii) Fixed white space devices, except that when communicating with Mode I personal/portable white space devices, the required separation distances must be increased beyond the specified distances by 8 meters if the Mode I device operates at power levels no more than 40 mW EIRP, or 13 meters if the Mode I device operates at power levels above 40 mW EIRP. TABLE 26 TO PARAGRAPH (j)(2)(ii) Required adjacent channel separation distances in meters from edge of polygon 16 dBm (40 mW) 20 dBm (100 mW) 24 dBm (250 mW) 28 dBm (625 mW) 32 dBm (1600 mW) 36 dBm (4 watts) 8 ............................................................................................................... 13 20 32 50 71 * * * * * ■ 8. Section 15.713 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows: jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES § 15.713 White space database. (a) * * * (1) To determine and provide to a white space device, upon request, the available channels at the white space device’s location in the TV bands, the 600 MHz duplex gap, the 600 MHz service band, and 608–614 MHz (channel 37). Available channels are determined based on the interference protection requirements in § 15.712. A database must provide fixed and Mode II personal portable white space devices with channel availability information that includes scheduled changes in channel availability over the course of the 48-hour period beginning at the time the white space devices make a recheck contact. In making lists of available channels available to a white space device, the white space database shall ensure that all communications and interactions between the white space database and the white space device include adequate security measures such that unauthorized parties cannot access or alter the white space database or the list of available channels sent to white space devices or otherwise affect the database system or white space devices in performing their intended functions or in providing adequate interference protections to authorized services operating in the TV bands, the 600 MHz duplex gap, the 600 MHz service band, and 608–614 MHz (channel 37). In addition, a white space VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 database must also verify that the FCC identifier (FCC ID) of a device seeking access to its services is valid; under the requirement in this paragraph (a)(1) the white space database must also verify that the FCC ID of a Mode I device provided by a fixed or Mode II device is valid. A list of devices with valid FCC IDs and the FCC IDs of those devices is to be obtained from the Commission’s Equipment Authorization System. * * * * * ■ 9. Section 15.714 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows: § 15.714 White space database administration fees. PART 95—PERSONAL RADIO SERVICES 10. The authority citation for part 95 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 307. 11. Section 95.2309 is amended by adding paragraph (h) to read as follows: ■ WMTS frequency coordination. * * * * * (h) Obtaining interference protection. To receive interference protection, parties operating WMTS networks in the PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 [FR Doc. 2019–10921 Filed 7–18–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 181203999–9503–02] (a) A white space database administrator may charge a fee for provision of lists of available channels to fixed and personal/portable devices and for registering fixed devices. This paragraph (a) applies to devices that operate in the TV bands, the 600 MHz service band, the 600 MHz duplex gap, and 608–614 MHz (channel 37). * * * * * § 95.2309 608–614 MHz frequency band shall notify one of the white space database administrators of their operating location pursuant to §§ 15.713(j)(11) and 15.715(p) of this chapter. RIN 0648–BI64 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: Final rule. AGENCY: This action approves and implements Framework Adjustment 58 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This rule sets 2019– 2020 catch limits for 7 of the 20 multispecies (groundfish) stocks, implements new or revised rebuilding plans for 5 stocks, revises an accountability measure, and makes other minor changes to groundfish management measures. This action is SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 34800 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations necessary to respond to updated scientific information and to achieve the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan. The final 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: Effective July 18, 2019. ADDRESSES: 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. Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule may be submitted to Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office and by email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax to (202) 395–5806. 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 Approved Measures 2. Fishing Year 2019 Shared U.S./Canada Quotas 3. Catch Limits for Fishing Years 2019–2020 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 9. Comments and Responses on Measures Proposed in the Framework 58 Proposed Rule 10. Changes From the Proposed Rule 1. Summary of Approved Measures This action approves the management measures in Framework Adjustment 58 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The measures implemented in this final rule are: • Fishing year 2019 shared U.S./ Canada quotas for Georges Bank (GB) yellowtail flounder and Eastern GB cod and haddock; • Fishing year 2019–2020 specifications, including catch limits, for four groundfish stocks: Witch flounder; GB winter flounder; Gulf of Maine (GOM) winter flounder; and Atlantic halibut; • Revisions to rebuilding programs for GB winter flounder and northern windowpane flounder; and new rebuilding plans for Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) yellowtail flounder, witch flounder and ocean pout; • Revisions to the trigger for the scallop fishery’s accountability measures (AM) for GB yellowtail flounder; and • An exemption for 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 implements a number of other measures that are not part of Framework 58, but that are implemented under Regional Administrator authority included in the Northeast Multispecies FMP or Secretarial authority to address administrative matters under section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. We are implementing these measures in conjunction with the Framework 58 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 revises the application deadline for days-at-sea (DAS) leases, makes regulatory corrections regarding the information required to be included in catch reports submitted via a vessel monitoring system (VMS), and corrects a citation in the regulations allocating GB and SNE/ MA yellowtail flounder to the scallop fishery. These changes are described in the section 8, Administrative Changes and Regulatory Corrections under Secretarial Authority. 2. Fishing Year 2019 Shared U.S./ Canada Quotas Management of Transboundary Georges Bank Stocks As described in the proposed rule (84 FR 16441; April 19, 2019), Eastern GB cod, Eastern GB haddock, and GB yellowtail flounder are jointly managed with Canada under the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding. This action adopts shared U.S./Canada quotas for these stocks for fishing year 2019 based on 2018 assessments and the recommendations of the Transboundary Management Guidance Committee (TMGC). The 2019 shared U.S./Canada quotas, and each country’s allocation, are listed in Table 1. Detailed summaries of the assessments can be found at: https://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/ assessments/trac/. TABLE 1—2019 FISHING YEAR U.S./CANADA QUOTAS (MT, LIVE WEIGHT) AND PERCENT OF QUOTA ALLOCATED TO EACH COUNTRY Quota Eastern GB cod jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES Total Shared Quota ................................................................................................... U.S. Quota ................................................................................................................. Canadian Quota ......................................................................................................... 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 650 189 (29%) 461 (71%) 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 PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Eastern GB haddock 30,000 15,000 (50%) 15,000 (50%) GB yellowtail flounder 140 106 (76%) 34 (24%) 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 E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 34801 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations 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 Catch Limits This rule adopts new catch limits for 7 of the 20 groundfish stocks for the provided in the proposed rule and in Appendix II (Calculation of Northeast Multispecies Annual Catch Limits, FY 2019—FY 2020) to the Framework 58 Environmental Assessment (EA) (see ADDRESSES for information on how to get this document), and is not repeated here. The sector and common pool subACLs implemented in this action are based on fishing year 2019 potential sector contributions (PSC) and final fishing year 2019 sector rosters. 2019–2020 fishing years. 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. The catch limits implemented in this action, including overfishing limits (OFL), acceptable biological catches (ABC), and annual catch limits (ACL), are listed in Tables 2 through 8. A summary of how these catch limits were developed, including the distribution to the various fishery components, was TABLE 2—FISHING YEARS 2019–2020 OVERFISHING LIMITS AND ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCHES [Mt, live weight] 2019 Percent change from 2018 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 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 2020 OFL 15 0 19 ¥5 ¥50 0 0 ¥7 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 U.S. ABC 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 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. 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 4, Adjustments Due to Fishing Year 2017 Overage. The allocations for GOM cod in Tables 3, 5, 6, and 8 through 11 have been adjusted for this overage. 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 sooner than July 31. If this default 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 default 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—CATCH LIMITS FOR THE 2019 FISHING YEAR jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES [Mt, live weight] Stock GB Cod* ...................................... GOM Cod .................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Total ACL Groundfish sub-ACL Final sector sub-ACL Final 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 .................... 220 ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 1,741 637 Jkt 247001 1,568 581 PO 00000 1,514 350 Frm 00033 54 11 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 18 47 155 9 34802 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 3—CATCH LIMITS FOR THE 2019 FISHING YEAR—Continued [Mt, live weight] Stock 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 Final sector sub-ACL Final 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 .................... 3,194 .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... 811 116 ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 17 15 ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 18 158 ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 2 ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 55,249 11,803 103 66 490 1,532 948 786 428 700 11,208 2,794 38,204 86 457 120 100 84 53,276 11,506 85 32 398 1,467 854 774 355 518 10,972 2,735 37,400 63 53 94 75 82 52,432 8,216 82 26 377 1,436 831 742 337 444 10,915 2,714 37,152 na na na na na 844 96 2 6 21 31 23 32 18 74 57 21 248 63 53 94 75 82 581 91 0 2 51 32 40 0 67 73 118 29 402 2 28 3 21 1 581 91 0 17 41 32 55 12 7 109 118 29 402 3 218 23 4 1 na: Not allocated to sectors. * These stocks have changes from the 2019 allocations previously approved in Framework 57. TABLE 4—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 Final sector sub-ACL Final 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 .................... 220 .................... 2,605 .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... ................ ................ 1,020 95 ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 26 16 ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 18 158 ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 3 ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 2,182 666 69,509 9,626 163 66 490 1,420 948 786 428 700 11,357 2,794 38,204 86 457 120 100 84 1,965 610 67,027 9,384 134 31 398 1,361 854 774 355 518 11,118 2,735 37,400 63 53 94 75 82 1,897 378 65,965 6,700 130 25 377 1,332 831 742 337 444 11,060 2,714 37,152 na na na na na 67 11 1,062 78 4 6 21 29 23 32 18 74 58 21 248 63 53 94 75 82 23 47 731 74 0 2 51 30 40 0 67 73 119 29 402 2 28 3 21 1 194 9 731 74 0 17 41 30 55 12 7 109 119 29 402 3 218 23 4 1 na: Not allocated to sectors. * These stocks have changes from the 2020 allocations previously approved in Framework 57. TABLE 5—FISHING YEARS 2019–2020 COMMON POOL TRIMESTER TACS [Mt, live weight] 2019 2020 Stock jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES 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 ................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 15.1 5.3 228.0 26.0 0.5 1.3 12.2 23.3 12.7 2.5 PO 00000 Frm 00034 Trimester 2 Trimester 3 18.3 3.6 278.6 25.0 0.7 1.8 5.6 2.5 4.6 7.6 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Trimester 1 20.4 2.0 337.7 45.2 1.2 3.3 3.6 5.7 5.8 21.6 E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 18.9 5.5 286.8 21.2 0.7 1.3 12.2 21.6 12.7 2.5 19JYR1 Trimester 2 22.9 3.7 350.5 20.4 1.1 1.7 5.6 2.3 4.6 7.6 Trimester 3 25.6 2.0 424.9 36.8 1.9 3.2 3.6 5.2 5.8 21.6 34803 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 5—FISHING YEARS 2019–2020 COMMON POOL TRIMESTER TACS—Continued [Mt, live weight] 2019 2020 Stock Trimester 1 GOM Winter Flounder .............................. Redfish ..................................................... White Hake .............................................. Pollock ...................................................... Trimester 2 6.7 14.3 8.0 69.5 Trimester 3 6.9 17.7 6.6 86.8 Trimester 1 4.5 25.2 6.6 91.8 Trimester 2 6.7 14.5 8.0 69.5 Trimester 3 6.9 18.0 6.6 86.8 4.5 25.5 6.6 91.8 TABLE 6—COMMON POOL INCIDENTAL CATCH TACS FOR THE 2019–2020 FISHING YEARS [Mt, live weight] Percentage of common pool sub-ACL Stock GB Cod ........................................................................................................................................ GOM Cod ..................................................................................................................................... GB Yellowtail Flounder ................................................................................................................ CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder ...................................................................................................... American Plaice ........................................................................................................................... Witch Flounder ............................................................................................................................. SNE/MA Winter Flounder ............................................................................................................ 2019 2 1 2 1 5 5 1 2020 1.08 0.11 0.05 0.21 1.57 1.15 0.74 1.35 0.11 0.08 0.21 1.46 1.15 0.74 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 .......................................................................................... 50 100 50 100 100 100 100 Closed area I hook gear haddock SAP (%) Eastern U.S./CA haddock SAP (%) 16 .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. 34 .............................. 50 .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. TABLE 8—FISHING YEARS 2019–2020 INCIDENTAL CATCH TACS FOR EACH SPECIAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM [Mt. live weight] Regular B DAS program Stock Closed area I hook gear haddock SAP Eastern U.S./Canada haddock SAP 2019 2019 2020 2019 2020 0.17 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 0.22 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 0.37 ........................ 0.02 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 0.46 ........................ 0.04 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 2020 GB Cod .................................................... GOM Cod ................................................. GB Yellowtail Flounder ............................ CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder ................... American Plaice ....................................... Witch Flounder ......................................... SNE/MA Winter Flounder ........................ 0.54 0.11 0.02 0.21 1.57 1.15 0.74 jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES Sector Annual Catch Entitlements (ACE) This rule announces the ACE allocated to sectors based on fishing year 2019 potential sector contributions (PSC) and final fishing year 2019 sector rosters. We calculate a sector’s allocation for each stock by summing its members’ PSC for the stock and then multiplying that total percentage by the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 0.67 0.11 0.04 0.21 1.46 1.15 0.74 commercial sub-ACL for that stock. The process for allocating ACE to sectors is further described in the final rule approving sector operations plans for fishing years 2019 and 2020 (84 FR 17916; April 26, 2019) and is not repeated here. At the start of the 2019 fishing year, we provided final allocations, to the nearest pound, to each sector based on their final May 1 PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 rosters. Table 9 shows the cumulative fishing year 2019 PSC by stock for each sector for fishing year 2019. Tables 10 and 11 show the ACEs allocated to each sector for fishing year 2019, in pounds and metric tons, respectively. We have included the common pool sub-ACLs in tables 9 through 11 for comparison. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES 34804 VerDate Sep<11>2014 Jkt 247001 . ~ j PO 00000 j e0:= ::s a 1! a::s ...~ " 1! 0 ~ ...~ ... = ::s 8 c .: i = " .~ "' ~ t ~ ::§ t ~£ ::s g ~.: ....... ~ "' ~ >l ~ ·;~ ;;:; •g ... ~ u u ~ . ~ = ~ ~ . •g ! -~~ .a .~ 1! ::s 8 ~ .: !l ~ ~ . o! ~ ! . ~ ~ ~ "' ~ Frm 00036 Fmt 4700 Fixed Gear Sector 77 16.4463816 0.76138213 2.46371816 0.21209561 0.8467309 0.72288695 2.16381305 0.66973956 1.25390141 0.07239399 12.692847 1.34491762 0.65299547 1.14124062 3.83231266 Maine Coast Community Sector 85 2.32945267 11.5036951 3.13851332 8.88543681 1.7787573 1.4982696 3.40789601 12.2947645 9.60733252 1.01111527 3.48417828 1.83972479 8.64505174 13.2298481 12.6221748 r..fainePermit Bank 11 0.13360966 1.15405062 0.04432773 1.12451663 0.01377701 0.03180705 0.317725 1.16407082 0.72688225 0.00021715 0.42643762 0.01789069 0.82190152 1.65422882 1.69505339 Mooncusser Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 Sector 40 12.2376902 3.36776156 4.08494805 3.03403352 0.00660941 0.17678852 2.39421429 0.66192027 1.64610086 0.01018417 2.43054175 1.49924351 2.69684784 5.82619857 5.43067395 NEFS2 NEFS4 137 53 6.56110032 4.14715377 27.3669288 10.9572837 10.7153753 5.34210878 23.3449701 8.81058655 1.90808383 2.16161028 1.88582919 2.2612274 25.4681065 6.12165848 11.3487456 9.40642104 14.8712767 8.71637823 3.21761828 0.69180161 25.2736815 7.00769691 4.27378299 0.86851087 15.5863977 6.63468548 9.48758155 8.23850875 14.9609105 6.56549379 NEFS5 NEFS6 24 24 55 0.47996588 3.04705666 11.8905817 0.00066239 3.08690553 3.0162481 0.81554777 3.35165948 10.5482595 0.00357885 4.22042782 7.40207811 1.27619665 2.7147303 24.0819284 20.0477965 4.62121534 7.90202627 0.20509605 3.62074425 9.79489855 0.43226934 4.39493222 9.36742282 0.56080262 5.69558486 9.16015927 0.43636604 1.52608004 29.9749814 0.01160091 4.5398473 2.85940513 12.0392738 1.74528574 14.6659939 0.01449119 6.80464863 9.05212644 0.09437284 4.51264711 6.35623876 0.04251814 3.65402413 6.29405708 39 29 48 7.76827943 0.52584587 0.39910256 1.10297247 2.46878322 12.3443259 7.37398169 0.17673207 0.0348594 0.67593196 1.2820479 2.86938324 14.2948252 0.00114846 0.00149117 8.82944802 0.54787117 0.01948622 5.71766365 4.27772808 2.52120664 2.9609966 1.08109636 1.69908227 3.56068818 2.04601658 1.6544682 21.6884865 0.01083155 0.00312599 4.63264392 9.10191902 2.13205972 10.3440965 0.60102392 0.02150409 0.86441708 0.33492707 1.94329496 1.043686 0.65504438 4.50105141 1.17029747 0.76336954 8.90552513 18 66 0.62874707 11.6582938 2.8678693 0.75905885 0.09374416 20.3786926 1.0135535 0.94291262 0.00042969 34.7614337 0.01049524 23.0227454 7.83165685 6.09705271 0.50289552 8.46304277 0.56772919 8.68233154 0.00043898 17.3078377 7.53639404 1.91384775 0.21702251 15.2248795 0.22673867 4.31064442 0.28137128 2.13845227 0.77537598 2.62678979 4 0.00082215 1.14430608 3.4057E-05 0.03234742 2.0262E-05 1.7878E-05 0.02179261 0.02847772 0.00615968 3.2379E-06 0.06067789 3.6297E-05 0.01940234 0.08135658 0.11135181 23 2.26053718 3.12270341 1.96920548 3.62668945 0.80749099 0.12772692 3.35132189 4.37675268 3.32755932 5.66114479 4.44084348 0.80328436 2.8860922 4.23262121 3.1993367 36 0.98521931 4.82034601 0.972144 3.14482002 2.64119607 3.11490618 2.6903929 4.27414195 3.42441717 0.63886188 3.04136153 1.98112304 3.41004341 6.32307856 5.87288783 NEFS7 NEFS8 NEFS 10 NEFS11 NEFS 12 NEFS13 New Hampshire Permit Bank Sustainable Ha.tVest Sector 1 Sustainable HatVest Sector 2 Sustainable Harvest Sector 3 58 15.0685142 7.26760844 26.911408 28.2180763 9.84679159 5.26025239 8.62447719 24.7318655 21.7898628 13.6346388 3.31793498 18.2411343 34.5739744 29.4293798 20.8144536 489 3.43164582 2.88710843 1.58474045 1.15651365 2.85674878 19.9192037 5.37255528 2.14136248 2.70234859 4.11387264 5.09608124 14.2712715 0.52131945 0.77309336 0.66339377 Common Pool ER19JY19.006</GPH> Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Table 9 -- Cumulative PSC (percentage) each sector is receiving by stock for fishing year 2019 jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES VerDate Sep<11>2014 e z= 6 il Jkt 247001 "' Fixed Gear Sector o.~l "' Q u ~ ~ "' u Q ~ "' Q u :;: 8 ~ :g~ == =o.l ~ ~ "'~ ~ "' =~ ~ Q "'"'= = :;: ~ 0 \!) "'i= ~ Q'O == = ~==~ ::~ :.:==~ 8::~ ~ = ~ ·~ ~ .c ~ "'"' ~j ~ ~t~ \!)f"< ~i :;: s 81>: "'~~ t .f:! ~~ =,Si .c Jij = .!! = ~ u:§lg =r:. ~~~ oo~fi: I 19 22 24 I 99 IS !58 69 3,160 ~ ;...s~ \!) u~ii: 0:: r:. ~ .S ~ "'~ -~ .c ~ ~~ 69 500 6 815 2,079 39 2 Community Sector 10 71 91 1,038 2,648 1,628 3 I 30 398 181 17 27 21 2,091 798 10,407 Maine Permit Bank Mooncusser I 4 9 IS 37 206 0 0 3 38 14 0 3 0 199 100 1,398 Sector 51 372 27 1,351 3,447 556 0 0 21 21 31 0 19 17 652 351 4,478 27 199 217 3,544 9,042 4,278 4 I 224 367 280 55 198 49 3,770 572 12,336 17 126 87 1,767 4,508 1,614 4 2 54 304 164 12 55 10 1,605 497 5,413 Maine Coast PO 00000 NEFS2 Frm 00037 NEFS4 NEFS 5 Fmt 4700 NEFS6 NEFS7 NEFS 8 Sfmt 4725 NEFS 10 NEFS 11 2 IS 0 270 688 I 2 14 2 14 11 7 0 137 4 6 35 13 93 24 1,108 2,828 773 5 3 32 142 107 26 35 20 1,646 272 3,013 50 362 24 3,488 8,901 1,356 45 6 86 303 172 511 22 167 2,190 383 5,190 32 236 9 2,439 6,222 124 27 6 50 96 67 370 36 118 209 63 965 2 16 20 58 149 235 0 0 38 35 39 0 71 7 81 40 629 E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 2 12 98 12 29 526 0 0 22 55 31 0 17 0 470 271 7,343 3 19 23 31 79 186 0 0 69 16 11 0 59 2 55 17 639 49 354 6 6,739 17,196 173 65 16 54 274 163 295 IS 174 1,043 129 2,166 0 0 9 0 0 6 0 0 0 I 0 0 0 0 5 5 92 Harvest Sector 1 9 69 25 651 1,662 665 2 0 29 142 63 97 35 9 698 255 2,638 Sustainable Harvest Sector 2 4 30 38 321 820 576 5 2 24 138 64 11 24 23 825 381 4,842 Sustainable Harvest Sector 3 63 458 58 8,899 22,709 5,171 18 4 76 800 410 233 26 208 8,363 1,775 17,162 14 104 25 524 1,337 212 5 14 47 69 51 70 40 163 126 47 547 402 2,936 771 32,545 83,047 18,112 181 57 830 3,166 1,831 1,636 742 979 24,063 5,984 81,906 NEFS 12 NEFS 13 New Hampshire Permit Bank Sustainable Common Pool Sector Total Numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand pounds. In some cases, this table shows an allocation of 0, but that sector may be allocated a small amount of that stock in tens or hundreds pounds. 1\ Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Table 10 --ACE (in 1,000 lb), by stock, for each sector for fishing year 2019#A The data in the table represent the total allocations to each sector. 34805 ER19JY19.007</GPH> jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES 34806 VerDate Sep<11>2014 e. z 6 il Jkt 247001 "' Fixed Gear Sector o.~l '0 Q u ~ ~ u Q :;:1 '0 u ~ '0 Q 8 ~ .... =o.l :g~ ~ ~ ~ Q . '0~ '0 '0 =~ = :;:1 '0 ~ "'i. ~ Q'O == = ~ ;;...s: ~ 0 \!) ="" \!) ~==~ ::~ :;:~==~ 8::~ ~ = ~~~ oo~fi: u:§lg u~ii: ~ ~ ·~ 0:: .cv'O~ . ~j ~ ~i :;:1 s ~ l!l"' 81>: ~t~ ~ .S ~ .f:! t ~~ =.51 .c . Jij ~ "'~~ ~ = -~ "'~ '0 ~~ PO 00000 31 227 3 370 943 18 I 0 9 10 11 I 45 7 72 31 1,433 Maine Coast Community Sector 4 32 41 471 1,201 739 2 0 14 180 82 8 12 10 949 362 4,721 Maine Permit Bank 0 2 4 7 17 93 0 0 I 17 6 0 2 0 90 45 634 23 169 12 613 1,564 252 0 0 10 10 14 0 9 8 296 159 2,031 Mooncusser Sector NEFS2 Frm 00038 NEFS4 NEFS 5 Fmt 4700 NEFS6 NEFS7 NEFS 8 Sfmt 4700 NEFS 10 NEFS 11 E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM NEFS 12 NEFS 13 12 90 99 1,607 4,101 1,940 2 I 101 167 127 25 90 22 1,710 260 5,595 8 57 39 801 2,045 732 2 I 24 138 74 5 25 4 728 225 2,456 I 7 0 122 312 0 I 6 I 6 5 3 0 62 2 3 16 6 42 11 503 1,283 351 2 I 14 64 49 12 16 9 747 123 1,367 22 164 11 1,582 4,037 615 20 3 39 137 78 232 10 76 993 174 2,354 15 107 4 1,106 2,822 56 12 3 23 43 30 168 16 54 95 29 438 I 7 9 27 68 107 0 0 17 16 17 0 32 3 37 18 286 I 6 44 5 13 238 0 0 10 25 14 0 8 0 213 123 3,331 I 9 10 14 36 84 0 0 31 7 5 0 27 I 25 8 290 19JYR1 22 161 3 3,057 7,800 78 29 7 24 124 74 134 7 79 473 58 982 New Hampshire Permit Bank 0 0 4 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 42 Sustainable Harvest Sector 1 4 31 11 295 754 301 I 0 13 64 28 44 16 4 317 116 1,197 Sustainable Harvest Sector 2 2 14 17 146 372 261 2 I 11 63 29 5 11 10 374 173 2,196 28 208 26 4,037 10,301 2,345 8 2 34 363 186 106 12 94 3,793 805 7,785 6 47 11 238 607 96 2 6 21 31 23 32 18 74 57 21 248 183 1,332 350 14,762 37,669 8,216 82 26 377 1,436 831 742 337 444 10,915 2,714 37,152 Sustainable Harvest Sector 3 Common Pool Sector Total # Numbers are rounded to the nearest metric ton, but allocations are made in pounds. In some cases, this table shows a sector allocation of 0 metr1c tons, but that sector may be allocated a small amount of that stock in pounds. 1\ ER19JY19.008</GPH> The data in the table represent the total allocations to each sector. Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Table 11 --ACE (in metric tons), by stock, for each sector for fishing year 2019 #A Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations BILLING CODE 3510–22–C 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 in proportion to each component’s share of the ACL. 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 12). We notified the Council of the overage and payback amounts in October 2018. The proposed rule included a description of the fishing year 2017 catch overage and required adjustments to fishing year 2019 allocations, and is not repeated here. These adjustments are not part of Framework 58. We are including them in conjunction with Framework 58 measures for expediency purposes, and 34807 because they relate to the catch limits included in Framework 58. Table 13 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 14 shows revised fishing year 2019 GOM cod allocations incorporating these payback amounts. These revised allocations were incorporated in the quotas set for 2019 (see 3. Catch Limits for Fishing Years 2019–2020). TABLE 12—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 Catch amount below sub-ACL (underage) Payback (overage minus underage) TABLE 13—2017 PAYBACK CALCULATIONS AND AMOUNTS [mt, live weight] Proportion of overage (%) Component Sectors ............................................................................................................. Common Pool .................................................................................................. Recreational ..................................................................................................... Overage amount 64 2 34 39.4 1.3 20.7 10.5 0.9 0 28.8 0.4 (*) * The recreational fishery does not have pound-for-pound payback. TABLE 14—REVISED 2019 ALLOCATIONS jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES [mt, live weight] Stock Total ACL Groundfish sub-ACL Initial sector sub-ACL Revised sector subACL Initial common pool sub-ACL Revised common pool sub-ACL GOM Cod ................................................. 666 610 378.40 349.56 11.25 10.85 5. Rebuilding Programs Therefore, the 2019 and 2020 ABCs set in Framework 57 are incorporated in the approved rebuilding plans. These rebuilding plans begin in 2019; therefore, January 1, 2020, will be the first year of the rebuilding plan for all stocks. This action revised the rebuilding programs for GB winter flounder and northern windowpane flounder; and creates new rebuilding plans for Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) yellowtail flounder, witch flounder and ocean pout, as more fully described in the proposed rule and Appendix III of the EA (see ADDRESSES). The deadline to implement these rebuilding plans is August 31, 2019. The Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (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. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 Stocks With Projections The GB winter flounder and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder rebuilding programs approved in this action are expected to rebuild the stocks within 10 years, or by 2029, which is the maximum rebuilding time (Tmax) allowed by the MagnusonStevens Act. The approved rebuilding plan for GB winter flounder sets the fishing mortality (F) rate that is required to rebuild the stock (Frebuild) at 70 percent of fishing mortality rate PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 associated with maximum sustainable yield (FMSY) with a 77-percent probability of achieving the biomass associated with maximum sustainable yield (BMSY). Generally, F is the proportion of the mean population size that is removed in a period of time. The approved rebuilding plan for SNE/MA yellowtail flounder sets Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY with an 82-percent probability of achieving BMSY. As explained in more detail in Appendix III of the EA, the approved rebuilding plans address the needs of fishing communities as much as practicable, as well as factoring in past performance of groundfish catch projections in order to increase the likelihood of rebuilding success. E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 34808 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations Stocks Without Projections The approved rebuilding plan for northern windowpane flounder sets Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY and the rebuilding timeline (Ttarget) at 10 years, rebuilding by the end of 2029. The approved rebuilding plan for ocean pout sets Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY and Ttarget at 10 years, rebuilding by the end of 2029. The approved witch flounder rebuilding plan sets Frebuild as an exploitation rate of 6 percent (or as otherwise determined in a future stock assessment) and Ttarget at 23 years, rebuilding by the end of 2043. The northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout assessments are index-based. The witch flounder assessment is an empirical area-swept model. None of these assessments provide sufficient information for projections, which prevents calculating probabilities of achieving BMSY. Additional considerations by stock are discussed in Appendix III of the EA. 6. Revision to the Georges Bank Yellowtail Flounder Accountability Measure Trigger for Scallop Vessels jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES 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 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. This action VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 extends this policy for GB yellowtail flounder for the 2019 and 2020 fishing years. For these years, the scallop fishery’s AMs for GB yellowtail flounder will be triggered only if the scallop fishery exceeds its sub-ACL, and the overall ACL is exceeded. 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 reduces the 2019 GB yellowtail flounder ABC by 50 percent when compared to 2018. 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 mitigate biological effects of the overage and to address the cause of the overage by deterring subsequent ACL overages. 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 GB yellowtail flounder. This extension is for only 2 years to reduce the potential risk for negative economic impacts to the groundfish fishery while providing further opportunity to assess the AM’s performance. The underlying policy for triggering scallop fishery AMs that was established by Framework 47 will be in effect for catches in fishing year 2021 and beyond. Beginning with catch during fishing year 2021, the AM will 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 subACL for a stock by 50 percent or more. PO 00000 7. Exemption From the U.S. Minimum Fish Sizes for Groundfish Species for Vessels Fishing Exclusively in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area This action exempts U.S. vessels on trips fishing exclusively in the NAFO Regulatory Area (Figure 1) from the domestic Northeast Multispecies FMP minimum sizes. On those trips, the vessels are required to land fish that meet the NAFO minimum sizes as specified in the NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures (see: https:// www.nafo.int/Fisheries/Conservation), or otherwise specified. A comparison of U.S. domestic and NAFO minimum sizes is 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 require 100-percent observer coverage, and 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 enables 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. NAFO catch primarily goes into the frozen market. Landing the dressed fish, even at sizes less than the domestic minimum size, does not give the NAFO participants a competitive advantage over domestic fishermen that rely upon the fresh fish market nor does it negatively affect the fresh fish market. Instead, this is expected to provide U.S. fishing businesses an opportunity to compete equally in the frozen market. This exemption applies to all NAFO species included in the Northeast Multispecies FMP. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Frm 00040 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations 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. jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES Days-at-Sea Leasing Deadline We are using our administrative authority under § 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to set the application deadline for days-at-sea leasing applications to April 30. This is intended to facilitate efficient use of groundfish DAS throughout the fishing year. As explained in the proposed rule, NMFS previously set a March 1 annual deadline to allow for a 45-day window to process paper applications and time VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 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, making the March 1 deadline unnecessary. At-Sea Catch Reporting This rule revises the regulations for vessel monitoring system (VMS) catch reports. As explained in the proposed rule, Amendment 16 (75 FR 18262; April 9, 2010) implemented a new requirement for vessels to submit catch reports at-sea via their VMS on any trip fishing in multiple broad 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). However, the regulatory text implemented by the final rule inadvertently removed the PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 requirement to report by statistical area. Additionally, 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, but this change was not captured consistently in the regulations. This action revises the regulations to state consistently that species kept must be reported by statistical area on all VMS catch reports. Citation for Scallop-Yellowtail Quota Transfer This action corrects an erroneous citation to recreational allocations in the regulations implementing the mechanism to transfer unused yellowtail flounder quota from the scallop fishery to the groundfish fishery. E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 ER19JY19.009</GPH> BILLING CODE 3510–22–C 34809 34810 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations 9. Comments and Responses on Measures Proposed in the Framework 58 Proposed Rule We received comments on the Framework 58 proposed rule from three members of the public, the Northeast Seafood Coalition (NSC), and a joint comment from the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Only comments that were applicable to the proposed measures are addressed below. Consolidated responses are provided to similar comments on the proposed measures. Fishing Year 2019 Shared U.S./Canada Quotas Comment 1: NSC commented that the 140-mt total shared quota for GB yellowtail flounder for 2019 could result in significant fishery and management implications that NMFS and the Council have not fully addressed. Response 1: We disagree. The SSC review of the Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee assessment results and the discussions by the Council directly addressed the low GB yellowtail flounder quota for fishing year 2019 and the potential effects to the fishery. The EA analyzes the effects of the reduced quota. Additionally, this action extends the temporary change to the scallop fishery AM trigger for GB yellowtail flounder for the 2019 and 2020 fishing years (see 3. Revision to the Georges Bank Yellowtail Flounder Accountability Measure Trigger for Scallop Vessels) to provide flexibility for the scallop fishery to better achieve optimal yield, despite recent reductions in the ACL, while continuing to prevent overfishing. jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES Catch Limits for Fishing Years 2019– 2020 Comment 2: CLF and NRDC commented that the GB cod ACL should not be increased until there is full accountability in the groundfish fishery through 100-percent catch monitoring at sea, an approved stock assessment model for GB cod, and a clear indication that the stock status for GB cod is increasing. Response 2: We disagree. This action does not change the 2019 OFL and overall ABC set by Framework 57. The 2019 ACL increase for U.S. fishermen is not an increase in the overall available catch, but rather is the result of the way the overall ABC is divided between the U.S. and Canada. Canada’s portion of the overall catch was not originally included in the U.S. available catch for 2019 and 2020. In the final rule for Framework 57, the published 2018 U.S. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 ABC included a reduction to account for Canadian catch, but the published U.S. ABCs for 2019 and 2020 were set equal to the total ABCs for those years because the portion of the Eastern GB cod TAC allocated to Canada for those years had not yet been set. Framework 58 allocates a portion of the Eastern GB cod TAC to Canada, and this allocation results in a 34-percent reduction to the 2019 U.S. ABC to account for Canada’s allocation (see 2. Fishing Year 2019 Shared U.S./ Canada Quotas). Accordingly, the increase in the GB cod ACL for fishing year 2019, in comparison to 2018, does not reflect an increase in the overall ABC. Rather, the ACL increase reflects that the allocation of Eastern GB cod to Canada in 2019 is less than in 2018. Framework 57 set the GB cod OFL and overall ABC for fishing years 2018– 2020 based on the peer-reviewed stock assessment completed in 2017 and the recommendations of the SSC, consistent with the National Standard 2 requirement to use the best scientific information available. Further, the ABCs and ACLs were calculated to prevent overfishing while achieving optimum yield, as required by National Standard 1, and they are consistent with the current rebuilding program for GB cod. In the absence of better information that would allow a more explicit determination of scientific uncertainty (including accuracy of catch and natural mortality estimates), the SSC’s catch advice for GB cod set an ABC that was 75 percent of the recommended OFL, consistent with the Council’s ABC control rule. This action revises the GB cod U.S. ABC and ACL for fishing year 2019 based on the most recent assessment of the eastern portion of the GB cod stock (jointly managed with Canada) and the resulting Eastern GB cod TAC for 2019. This reflects the best scientific information available, is expected to prevent overfishing while achieving optimum yield, and is consistent with the rebuilding program for GB cod. Comment 3: One member of the public commented that the possession limits for yellowtail flounder for common pool vessels and the smallmesh fisheries should be zero, because it is not economically efficient to implement small possession limits. Response 3: We disagree that the common pool should be prohibited from possessing yellowtail flounder. This action allocates quotas to components of the groundfish fishery and some other fisheries (see Table 3), but does not set individual vessel possession limits. A separate action (84 FR 17926; April 26, 2019) set common pool vessel possession and trip limits for fishing PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 year 2019 to facilitate harvest and enable the total catch to approach, but not exceed, the quota for stocks allocated to the common pool, including yellowtail flounder stocks. Further, the FMP prohibits small-mesh vessels from retaining yellowtail flounder (all stocks) and allocates a sub-ACL of GB yellowtail flounder to manage that fishery’s bycatch of the stock, which, if exceeded, would result in AMs being triggered. Comment 4: One recreational fisherman commented that either the GOM cod commercial fishery allocation should be reduced to allow recreational fishermen to retain GOM cod or GOM cod possession should be prohibited for all vessels. Response 4: We disagree. In Amendment 16, the Council allocated 33.7 percent of the GOM cod ACL to the recreational fishery and 66.3 percent to the commercial fishery, based on historic catch. This action allocates GOM cod to each group based on the ABCs set in Framework 57, consistent with the allocation split set by the Council in Amendment 16, as reduced to payback an overage in fishing year 2016 (see 4. Adjustments Due to Fishing Year 2017 Overage). Recreational measures (e.g., season, bag limit, minimum size) are set to ensure that the recreational sub-ACL is achieved, but not exceeded. A separate action (84 FR 20609; May 10, 2019) recently proposed and solicited comment on recreational fishing measures for fishing year 2019, including two 2-week seasons when recreational vessels may be allowed to possess GOM cod. Rebuilding Programs Comment 5: CLF and NRDC commented that the northern windowpane flounder, ocean pout, and witch flounder rebuilding plans do not have an adequate probability of rebuilding success; and do not comply with the legal requirements for rebuilding plans. Response 5: We disagree and have approved the rebuilding plans. The northern windowpane flounder, ocean pout, and witch flounder rebuilding plans are based on the best scientific information available and are designed to ensure rebuilding progress within required timelines. In the absence of scientific information that provides a basis for precise probabilities of achieving BMSY, we are required to base our determination on the data currently available for these specific fisheries, the potential for gaining additional data within the rebuilding plan time, the performance of rebuilding plans generally compared to specific measures E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations in these rebuilding plans, and the ability to adjust measures using updated information during our frequent evaluation of adequate rebuilding progress. Using this information, we are approving measures that we expect will promote rebuilding within the timelines taking into account the status and biology of the stocks, the interactions of these stocks within the ecosystem, and the needs of fishing communities. The best scientific information available on the status and biology of these stocks show that they are in poor condition and rebuilding progress has been inadequate. However, the assessments provide limited information. The northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout assessments are index-based, which compare current catch in the most recent survey tows conducted by NOAA’s research vessel to the 3-year average catch of the surveys. The witch flounder assessment is an empirical area-swept model, which estimates exploitable biomass based on the survey catch and that area surveyed. None of these assessments is appropriate for making short-term projections of biomass, which prevents calculating probabilities of achieving BMSY. Despite not being able to generate projections, both northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout have proxy reference points that are used to evaluate rebuilding progress. Witch flounder does not have proxy reference points, but the indices of abundance and biomass are compared to time series averages to evaluate rebuilding progress. The approved rebuilding plans for northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout conservatively set Ttarget at 10 years, rebuilding by the end of 2029, because the minimum time for rebuilding each of these stocks in the absence of any fishing mortality (Tmin) is unknown due to a lack of aging data to calculate a mean generation time for these stocks. As described in the proposed rule, following National Standard 1 guidelines for setting timelines for stocks whose biology required more than 10 years to rebuild, Ttarget for witch flounder is set at 23 years based on two times the mean generation time, rebuilding by the end of 2043. To rebuild within the prescribed timelines, the approved rebuilding plans set fishing mortality limits more conservatively than the past rebuilding plans. Under the groundfish control rule, most stocks would be expected to rebuild in 10 years when fishing at 75 percent of FMSY. Consistent with the Council’s ABC control rule, the previous rebuilding plans began by setting F at 75 percent of FMSY, with an option to VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 reduce the target F to a lower Frebuild if the stock was not rebuilding as expected. However, for northern windowpane flounder, ocean pout, and witch flounder, rebuilding was not achieved as previously planned despite application of the control rule. The revised rebuilding plans for northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout set Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY and Ttarget at 10 years, rebuilding by the end of 2029. The revised witch flounder rebuilding plan sets Frebuild as an exploitation rate of 6 percent and Ttarget as 23 years, rebuilding by the end of 2043. The new rebuilding plans for northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout have a more conservative Frebuild, set at 70 percent of FMSY, and unlike the previous rebuilding plans, the Frebuild will be implemented from the start of the rebuilding plans. Future quotas, based on the rebuilding plans, are expected to be lower than they would have been under the current rebuilding plans. Possession of these stocks is already prohibited, but if catch exceeds the quotas, accountability measures are implemented to further reduce catch by requiring selective trawl gear in geographic areas where catch is highest. The witch flounder rebuilding plan sets a more conservative Frebuild as an exploitation rate of 6 percent. These new rebuilding plans set Frebuild levels as rates (e.g., Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY) rather than setting specific static values (e.g., 0.30). The rebuilding plans will incorporate the Frebuild values calculated by future assessments, consistent with the recommendations of the SSC. Importantly, this ensures that the rebuilding plans will adjust to new information by incorporating the Frebuild and exploitation rate values calculated by future assessments. Consistent with the MagnusonStevens Act rebuilding requirement and National Standard 1 Guidelines, at least every 2 years NMFS will evaluate the rebuilding progress of each of these stocks and make a determination as to whether adequate rebuilding progress is being made. The National Standard 1 Guidelines state that the Secretary may find that a stock is making inadequate rebuilding progress if either: (1) Frebuild or the ACL associated with Frebuild is exceeded, and AMs are not correcting the operational issue that caused the overage, nor addressing any biological consequences; or (2) the rebuilding expectations of a stock or stock complex are significantly changed due to new and unexpected information about the status of the stock. The guidelines provide for reviews of recent stock assessments, comparisons of catches to PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 34811 ACLs, or other appropriate performance measures to gauge whether adequate rebuilding progress is being made. When addressing rebuilding programs based on available scientific information that does not provide for precise probabilities, this periodic review ensures that there is opportunity to use potentially better available information to take prompt and timely corrective action if a rebuilding plan is making inadequate progress. We plan to monitor the rebuilding progress of northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout using the proxy biological reference points. Northern windowpane flounder has proxy biological reference points defined as FMSY proxy = 0.34 and BMSY proxy = 2.06 kg/tow. Ocean pout has proxy biological reference points defined as FMSY proxy = 0.76 and BMSY proxy = 4.94 kg/tow. Determining whether witch flounder is rebuilt will be more difficult because FMSY and BMSY are undefined. To make a determination, we will evaluate whether catch has exceeded the ACLs, or F has exceeded Frebuild, and the accountability measures are not addressing the cause of the overage; and whether the rebuilding expectations of the stock are significantly changed due to new or unexpected information about the status of the stock. We will continue to monitor whether the large 2013 year class moves through the population. As part of the mandated review of rebuilding progress we will determine whether additional measures are required and make recommendations to the Council as necessary. We are expecting additional assessment information during the rebuilding plans that will provide for adjusting fishing mortality accordingly and will inform our evaluation of whether adequate rebuilding progress is being made during the rebuilding plan. New fishery assessments for the northern windowpane flounder and witch flounder stocks are expected every 2 years and new assessments for the ocean pout stock are expected every 3 years. In addition to providing updated estimates of catch and status determination criteria, future assessments may provide additional information useful to evaluating rebuilding. For example, otoliths collected from windowpane flounder may allow for the development of a full analytical model at a future research track assessment. These rebuilding plans also account for the role of these stocks within the ecosystem and the needs of fishing communities. The Council considered and analyzed multiple rebuilding plans E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES 34812 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations for each stock as part of Framework Adjustment 58. In evaluating the options for each stock, the Council reviewed expected social and economic effects to consider the needs of communities, as recommended by the SSC. The Council opted to balance the likelihood of rebuilding a stock while simultaneously reducing economic risk. Ocean pout and northern windowpane flounder are each managed as a single stock throughout a very large geographic range. Therefore, these stocks have the potential to severely constrain catch of many other stocks caught in these stock areas. Thus, for ocean pout and northern windowpane flounder the Council selected neither the most conservative nor the most liberal Frebuild. For witch flounder, the Council selected the exploitation rate from the most recent assessment. These measures balance the need for better available information that would support development of more refined restrictions with ensuring rebuilding while avoiding potentially overly burdensome restrictions. Comment 6: CLF and NRDC commented that NMFS recommended that the Council consider new conservation measures for northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout, and that witch flounder was ‘‘in need of rebuilding measures,’’ but that Framework 58 did not include new or additional management measures beyond new rebuilding timelines and new Frebuild rates. Response 6: We are approving these rebuilding plans after taking into account the fishery management plan’s ACL and AM measures, and the recent performance of these fisheries in relation to those measures; our close scrutiny of available information concerning the progress of these stocks as required under the MagnusonStevens Act; and our intent to conduct a research track assessment to investigate index-based assessments and control rules in the fall of 2020. In our August 31, 2017, letter to the Council, we made several recommendations to the Council regarding development of new rebuilding plans for northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout, including suggesting they consider additional management measures. We also recommended that the Council consider the effect of Framework Adjustment 56 (82 FR 35660; August 1, 2017) measures on correcting an operational issue that had contributed to recent ACL overages of northern windowpane flounder. The Groundfish Plan Development Team discussed whether to develop additional management measures. Since Framework 56 was implemented, VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 northern windowpane flounder catch has been reduced and has not exceeded the ACL. This suggests that the accountability measures implemented under Framework 56 are correcting the operational issues that led to the ACL overages and thereby addressed any biological consequences from overages. Ocean pout catch and witch flounder catches continue to be significantly below their ACLs and, as discussed above, are unit stocks for which additional restrictions could substantially adversely affect the entire fishery. As a result, the Plan Development Team developed the more conservative rebuilding plans approved by this action, rather than developing additional management measures for these stocks. Comment 7: NSC commented that we should reconsider the stock status of GB winter flounder, consistent with the July 27, 2018, letter from Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director of the New England Fishery Management Council. Response 7: In the July letter, Thomas A. Nies asked that we revisit our August 31, 2017, determination that, based on the 2015 stock assessment, GB winter flounder was overfished and subject to overfishing. In a response dated November 1, 2018, we notified the Council that, based on the 2017 stock assessment, GB winter flounder is not overfished and is not subject to overfishing, but is approaching an overfished condition. Further, we agreed that the latest assessment’s biomass time series shows that GB winter flounder was not below the overfished threshold in 2007, nor any year since; therefore, the National Standard 1 Guidelines provide for the Council to choose to end the rebuilding plan. Because the stock is approaching an overfished condition, we recommended that the Council revise the rebuilding plan, rather than ending it. In Framework 58, the Council proactively revised the rebuilding plan for GB winter flounder because it is approaching an overfished condition. For the reasons discussed in the proposed rule and the preamble to this proposed rule, we have approved the rebuilding plan. Comment 8: NSC commented in support of the witch flounder rebuilding plan and, in particular, setting the exploitation rate at 6 percent or as determined by a future stock assessment. Response 8: We agree and have approved the witch flounder rebuilding plan. Comment 9: NSC commented in support of the extension of the temporary change to the AM trigger for PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 GB yellowtail flounder to remove the second trigger for the 2019 and 2020 fishing years. Response 9: We agree and have approved the measure for the reasons discussed in the proposed rule and the preamble to this rule. Comment 10: NSC commented in support of the exemption from U.S. domestic minimum fish sizes for groundfish for vessels fishing exclusively in the NAFO regulatory area to provide an opportunity for U.S. vessels to compete in the international frozen fish market without affecting the fresh fish market. Response 10: We agree and have approved the measure for the reasons discussed in the proposed rule and the preamble to this rule. 10. Changes From the Proposed Rule The sector and common pool subACLs implemented by this action are based on fishing year 2019 PSCs and final fishing year 2019 sector rosters. The sub-ACLs in the proposed rule were based on the 2018 rosters because all permits enrolled in a sector, and the vessels associated with those permits, had 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 changed ownership after December 1, 2018, were allowed to join a sector through April 30, 2019. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that the management measures implemented in this final rule are necessary for the conservation and management of the Northeast multispecies fishery and consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866. This rule is not an E.O. 13771 regulatory action because this rule is not significant under E.O. 12866. This final 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 Assistant Administrator for Fisheries finds that there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delayed effectiveness of this action. This action relies on the best available science to set 2019 catch limits for seven groundfish stocks and adopts several other measures to improve the management of the groundfish fishery. E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations This final rule must be in effect as early in fishing year 2019 as possible to capture fully the conservation and economic benefits of Framework 58. Framework 58 implements new quotas for fishing year 2019 for the transboundary GB stocks that we jointly manage with Canada (GB cod, GB haddock, and GB yellowtail flounder) based on new assessments for these stocks conducted in 2018. Framework 58 also includes minor adjustments to the catch limits specified in Framework 57 for witch flounder, GB winter flounder, GOM winter flounder, and Atlantic halibut. Framework 57, which we approved last year, set fishing year 2019 (May 1, 2019, through April 30, 2020) catch limits for all 20 groundfish stocks based on assessments conducted in 2017. Only the eastern portion of the GB cod stock, jointly managed with Canada, did not have a 2019 quota set in Framework 57. The Council took its final vote on Framework 58 in December 2018 and submitted the preliminary draft framework to NMFS for review on February 5, 2019. The formal submission of the framework to NMFS occurred on March 19, 2019. Given the timing of the Council process and the 5-week partial government shutdown, we were unable to publish a proposed rule for Framework 58 until April 19, 2019. A separate action implemented a constraining default quota (35 percent of the 2018 quota) for Eastern GB cod that will be in effect until we implement Framework 58. The 30-day delay in implementation for this rule is unnecessary because this rule contains no new measures (e.g., requiring new nets or equipment) for which regulated entities need time to prepare or revise their current practices. This action is similar to the process used to set quotas every 1–2 years, approves all items as proposed, and contains only quotas and minor adjustments to the management plan that were discussed at multiple noticed meetings where the public was provided opportunity to learn about the action, ask questions, and provide input into the development of the measures. Affected parties and other interested parties participated in this public process to develop this action and expect implementation as close to the beginning of the fishing year on May 1 as possible. A further delay in implementation beyond the date of filing, during which time a constraining default quota is in place for Eastern GB cod, increases negative economic effects for regulated entities. The default quota, which is in place for Eastern GB cod from May 1 until this rule is effective, is VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 constraining the fishery in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area. The majority of fishing in that region occurs during summer. The seasonality of this fishery is primarily due to the seasonal geographic distribution of the stocks jointly managed with Canada. Haddock, a healthy and abundant stock, is the target fishery for U.S. vessels in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area. However, this stock of haddock is primarily in the U.S. waters of their range during the summer and are generally more abundant in Canadian waters later in the fishing year. A secondary reason for the importance of accessing the Eastern U.S./Canada Area early in the year is that the summer weather provides safer fishing in the area (approximately 150– 200 miles offshore). To estimate the effect of a further delay before implementing the full Eastern GB cod quota for the year we can evaluate a recent instance of this occurring. In 2017, default quotas (35 percent of the 2016 quotas) were in place from May 1 until we implemented Framework 56 on August 1. That resulted in negative economic impacts to the offshore fleet by reducing harvest of Eastern GB cod by nearly half and reducing harvest of Eastern GB haddock by nearly a third. In 2017, catch of Eastern GB cod dropped to 43.7 mt from 82.1 mt in 2016, while catch of Eastern GB haddock dropped to 425.1 mt from 588 mt in 2016. We forecast how a similar delay in 2019 could affect the fleet by using the 2017 declines in catch and the most recent (2018) average exvessel prices per pound during the period of May through July. In 2018, cod and haddock prices were $2.41 and $0.98, respectively. That would reduce revenue by more than $500,000 for the industry in 2019. That includes only the foregone catch of Eastern U.S./Canada stocks and does not include the revenue from other stocks (e.g., pollock, GB yellowtail flounder, GB winter flounder) that would also be caught on trips in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area. Because of the seasonal nature of the fishery, industry would permanently forego the revenues. Accordingly, a further delay in effectiveness for this action would be contrary to the public interest. The quota for GB yellowtail flounder will decrease 50 percent with implementation of this rule. Delaying the reduction could lead to catch at a rate that would result in an early closure, or quota overage, once the reduced quota is implemented. This would have future negative economic impacts on the fishery. Further, delaying the required reduction in the catch limit increases the likelihood of an overage and negative biological PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 34813 impact to this stock that is overfished and subject to a rebuilding plan. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration, during the proposed rule stage, that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared. This rule contains a collection-ofinformation requirement subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and which has been approved by OMB under control number 0648–0605. Public reporting burden for VMS catch reports is estimated to average 15 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate, or any other aspect of this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and by email to OIRA_ Submission@omb.eop.gov, or fax to (202) 395–5806. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. All currently approved NOAA collections of information may be viewed at: http://www.cio.noaa.gov/ services_programs/prasubs.html. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Dated: July 15, 2019. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons stated in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is 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. E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 34814 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations 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. jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES * * * * * (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 § 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 (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 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. (a) Fisheries included under exemption—(1) NE multispecies. A vessel issued a valid High Seas Fishing PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 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 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), (b)(6)(iv)(I), and (b)(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 E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1 jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 139 / Friday, July 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations statistical area, as instructed by the Regional Administrator. * * * * * (b) * * * (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 § 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Jul 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 under paragraph (b)(7)(iv)(G) of this section. * * * * * ■ 7. In § 648.87, revise paragraphs (b)(1)(vi) introductory text and (b)(1)(vi)(A) to read as follows: § 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 § 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 (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 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 PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 34815 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. * * * * * (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. * * * * * (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 2021 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. 2019–15322 Filed 7–18–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\19JYR1.SGM 19JYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 139 (Friday, July 19, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 34799-34815]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-15322]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 181203999-9503-02]
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: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This action approves and implements Framework Adjustment 58 to 
the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This rule sets 
2019-2020 catch limits for 7 of the 20 multispecies (groundfish) 
stocks, implements new or revised rebuilding plans for 5 stocks, 
revises an accountability measure, and makes other minor changes to 
groundfish management measures. This action is

[[Page 34800]]

necessary to respond to updated scientific information and to achieve 
the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan. The final 
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: Effective July 18, 2019.

ADDRESSES: 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.
    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
final rule may be submitted to Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries 
Office and by email to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-
5806.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

1. Summary of Approved Measures
2. Fishing Year 2019 Shared U.S./Canada Quotas
3. Catch Limits for Fishing Years 2019-2020
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
9. Comments and Responses on Measures Proposed in the Framework 58 
Proposed Rule
10. Changes From the Proposed Rule

1. Summary of Approved Measures

    This action approves the management measures in Framework 
Adjustment 58 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan 
(FMP). The measures implemented in this final rule are:
     Fishing year 2019 shared U.S./Canada quotas for Georges 
Bank (GB) yellowtail flounder and Eastern GB cod and haddock;
     Fishing year 2019-2020 specifications, including catch 
limits, for four groundfish stocks: Witch flounder; GB winter flounder; 
Gulf of Maine (GOM) winter flounder; and Atlantic halibut;
     Revisions to rebuilding programs for GB winter flounder 
and northern windowpane flounder; and new rebuilding plans for Southern 
New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) yellowtail flounder, witch flounder 
and ocean pout;
     Revisions to the trigger for the scallop fishery's 
accountability measures (AM) for GB yellowtail flounder; and
     An exemption for 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 implements a number of other measures that are not 
part of Framework 58, but that are implemented under Regional 
Administrator authority included in the Northeast Multispecies FMP or 
Secretarial authority to address administrative matters under section 
305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. 
We are implementing these measures in conjunction with the Framework 58 
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 revises the application deadline for days-at-sea (DAS) leases, 
makes regulatory corrections regarding the information required to be 
included in catch reports submitted via a vessel monitoring system 
(VMS), and corrects a citation in the regulations allocating GB and 
SNE/MA yellowtail flounder to the scallop fishery. These changes are 
described in the section 8, Administrative Changes and Regulatory 
Corrections under Secretarial Authority.

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

Management of Transboundary Georges Bank Stocks

    As described in the proposed rule (84 FR 16441; April 19, 2019), 
Eastern GB cod, Eastern GB haddock, and GB yellowtail flounder are 
jointly managed with Canada under the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing 
Understanding. This action adopts shared U.S./Canada quotas for these 
stocks for fishing year 2019 based on 2018 assessments and the 
recommendations of the Transboundary Management Guidance Committee 
(TMGC). The 2019 shared U.S./Canada quotas, and each country's 
allocation, are listed in Table 1. Detailed summaries of the 
assessments can be found at: https://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/assessments/trac/.

 Table 1--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
U.S. Quota.............................................          189 (29%)       15,000 (50%)          106 (76%)
Canadian Quota.........................................          461 (71%)       15,000 (50%)           34 (24%)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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

[[Page 34801]]

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 Catch Limits

    This rule adopts new catch limits for 7 of the 20 groundfish stocks 
for the 2019-2020 fishing years. 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. The 
catch limits implemented in this action, including overfishing limits 
(OFL), acceptable biological catches (ABC), and annual catch limits 
(ACL), are listed in Tables 2 through 8. A summary of how these catch 
limits were developed, including the distribution to the various 
fishery components, was provided in the proposed rule and in Appendix 
II (Calculation of Northeast Multispecies Annual Catch Limits, FY 
2019--FY 2020) to the Framework 58 Environmental Assessment (EA) (see 
ADDRESSES for information on how to get this document), and is not 
repeated here. The sector and common pool sub-ACLs implemented in this 
action are based on fishing year 2019 potential sector contributions 
(PSC) and final fishing year 2019 sector rosters.

              Table 2--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.

    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 4, Adjustments Due to Fishing Year 2017 
Overage. The allocations for GOM cod in Tables 3, 5, 6, and 8 through 
11 have been adjusted for this overage.

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 sooner than July 31. If this 
default 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 default 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--Catch Limits for the 2019 Fishing Year
                                                                    [Mt, live weight]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        Final
                                               Groundfish    Final      common   Recreational   Midwater   Scallop     Small-      State      Other sub-
               Stock                Total ACL    sub-ACL     sector   pool  sub-    sub-ACL      trawl     fishery      mesh    waters sub-   component
                                                            sub-ACL      ACL                    fishery              fisheries   component
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       A to H   A + B + C          A          B             C          D          E          F            G            H
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod*...........................      1,741       1,568      1,514         54  ............  .........  .........  .........           18          155
GOM Cod...........................        637         581        350         11           220  .........  .........  .........           47            9

[[Page 34802]]

 
GB Haddock*.......................     55,249      53,276     52,432        844  ............        811  .........  .........          581          581
GOM Haddock.......................     11,803      11,506      8,216         96         3,194        116  .........  .........           91           91
GB Yellowtail Flounder*...........        103          85         82          2  ............  .........         17          2            0            0
SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder........         66          32         26          6  ............  .........         15  .........            2           17
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder........        490         398        377         21  ............  .........  .........  .........           51           41
American Plaice...................      1,532       1,467      1,436         31  ............  .........  .........  .........           32           32
Witch Flounder*...................        948         854        831         23  ............  .........  .........  .........           40           55
GB Winter Flounder*...............        786         774        742         32  ............  .........  .........  .........            0           12
GOM Winter Flounder*..............        428         355        337         18  ............  .........  .........  .........           67            7
SNE/MA Winter Flounder............        700         518        444         74  ............  .........  .........  .........           73          109
Redfish...........................     11,208      10,972     10,915         57  ............  .........  .........  .........          118          118
White Hake........................      2,794       2,735      2,714         21  ............  .........  .........  .........           29           29
Pollock...........................     38,204      37,400     37,152        248  ............  .........  .........  .........          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 to sectors.
* These stocks have changes from the 2019 allocations previously approved in Framework 57.


                                                     Table 4--Catch Limits for the 2020 Fishing Year
                                                                    [Mt, live weight]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        Final
                                               Groundfish    Final      common   Recreational   Midwater   Scallop     Small-      State      Other sub-
               Stock                Total ACL    sub-ACL     sector   pool  sub-    sub-ACL      trawl     fishery      mesh    waters sub-   component
                                                            sub-ACL      ACL                    fishery              fisheries   component
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       A to H   A + B + C          A          B             C          D          E          F            G            H
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod*...........................      2,182       1,965      1,897         67  ............  .........  .........  .........           23          194
GOM Cod...........................        666         610        378         11           220  .........  .........  .........           47            9
GB Haddock*.......................     69,509      67,027     65,965      1,062  ............      1,020  .........  .........          731          731
GOM Haddock.......................      9,626       9,384      6,700         78         2,605         95  .........  .........           74           74
GB Yellowtail Flounder*...........        163         134        130          4  ............  .........         26          3            0            0
SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder........         66          31         25          6  ............  .........         16  .........            2           17
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder........        490         398        377         21  ............  .........  .........  .........           51           41
American Plaice...................      1,420       1,361      1,332         29  ............  .........  .........  .........           30           30
Witch Flounder*...................        948         854        831         23  ............  .........  .........  .........           40           55
GB Winter Flounder*...............        786         774        742         32  ............  .........  .........  .........            0           12
GOM Winter Flounder*..............        428         355        337         18  ............  .........  .........  .........           67            7
SNE/MA Winter Flounder............        700         518        444         74  ............  .........  .........  .........           73          109
Redfish...........................     11,357      11,118     11,060         58  ............  .........  .........  .........          119          119
White Hake........................      2,794       2,735      2,714         21  ............  .........  .........  .........           29           29
Pollock...........................     38,204      37,400     37,152        248  ............  .........  .........  .........          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 to sectors.
* These stocks have changes from the 2020 allocations previously approved in Framework 57.


                                               Table 5--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..................................................            15.1            18.3            20.4            18.9            22.9            25.6
GOM Cod.................................................             5.3             3.6             2.0             5.5             3.7             2.0
GB Haddock..............................................           228.0           278.6           337.7           286.8           350.5           424.9
GOM Haddock.............................................            26.0            25.0            45.2            21.2            20.4            36.8
GB Yellowtail Flounder..................................             0.5             0.7             1.2             0.7             1.1             1.9
SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder..............................             1.3             1.8             3.3             1.3             1.7             3.2
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder..............................            12.2             5.6             3.6            12.2             5.6             3.6
American Plaice.........................................            23.3             2.5             5.7            21.6             2.3             5.2
Witch Flounder..........................................            12.7             4.6             5.8            12.7             4.6             5.8
GB Winter Flounder......................................             2.5             7.6            21.6             2.5             7.6            21.6

[[Page 34803]]

 
GOM Winter Flounder.....................................             6.7             6.9             4.5             6.7             6.9             4.5
Redfish.................................................            14.3            17.7            25.2            14.5            18.0            25.5
White Hake..............................................             8.0             6.6             6.6             8.0             6.6             6.6
Pollock.................................................            69.5            86.8            91.8            69.5            86.8            91.8
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                   Table 6--Common Pool Incidental Catch TACs for the 2019-2020 Fishing Years
                                                [Mt, live weight]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Percentage of
                              Stock                                 common pool        2019            2020
                                                                      sub-ACL
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod..........................................................               2            1.08            1.35
GOM Cod.........................................................               1            0.11            0.11
GB Yellowtail Flounder..........................................               2            0.05            0.08
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder......................................               1            0.21            0.21
American Plaice.................................................               5            1.57            1.46
Witch Flounder..................................................               5            1.15            1.15
SNE/MA Winter Flounder..........................................               1            0.74            0.74
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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


                               Table 8--Fishing Years 2019-2020 Incidental Catch TACs for Each Special Management Program
                                                                    [Mt. live weight]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           Regular B DAS   Closed area I                  Eastern U.S./Canada haddock SAP
                                                              program        hook gear   ---------------------------------------------------------------
                          Stock                          ----------------   haddock SAP
                                                                         ----------------      2019            2020            2019            2020
                                                               2019            2020
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod..................................................            0.54            0.67            0.17            0.22            0.37            0.46
GOM Cod.................................................            0.11            0.11  ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............
GB Yellowtail Flounder..................................            0.02            0.04  ..............  ..............            0.02            0.04
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder..............................            0.21            0.21  ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............
American Plaice.........................................            1.57            1.46  ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............
Witch Flounder..........................................            1.15            1.15  ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............
SNE/MA Winter Flounder..................................            0.74            0.74  ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sector Annual Catch Entitlements (ACE)

    This rule announces the ACE allocated to sectors based on fishing 
year 2019 potential sector contributions (PSC) and final fishing year 
2019 sector rosters. We calculate a sector's allocation for each stock 
by summing its members' PSC for the stock and then multiplying that 
total percentage by the commercial sub-ACL for that stock. The process 
for allocating ACE to sectors is further described in the final rule 
approving sector operations plans for fishing years 2019 and 2020 (84 
FR 17916; April 26, 2019) and is not repeated here. At the start of the 
2019 fishing year, we provided final allocations, to the nearest pound, 
to each sector based on their final May 1 rosters. Table 9 shows the 
cumulative fishing year 2019 PSC by stock for each sector for fishing 
year 2019. Tables 10 and 11 show the ACEs allocated to each sector for 
fishing year 2019, in pounds and metric tons, respectively. We have 
included the common pool sub-ACLs in tables 9 through 11 for 
comparison.
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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 in proportion to each 
component's share of the ACL. 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 12). We notified the Council of the overage and 
payback amounts in October 2018. The proposed rule included a 
description of the fishing year 2017 catch overage and required 
adjustments to fishing year 2019 allocations, and is not repeated here. 
These adjustments are not part of Framework 58. We are including them 
in conjunction with Framework 58 measures for expediency purposes, and 
because they relate to the catch limits included in Framework 58.
    Table 13 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 14 shows revised fishing year 
2019 GOM cod allocations incorporating these payback amounts. These 
revised allocations were incorporated in the quotas set for 2019 (see 
3. Catch Limits for Fishing Years 2019-2020).

                                                       Table 12--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
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                 Table 13--2017 Payback Calculations and Amounts
                                                [mt, live weight]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Catch amount       Payback
                    Component                     Proportion  of  Overage amount  below  sub-ACL  (overage minus
                                                   overage  (%)                      (underage)      underage)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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 14--Revised 2019 Allocations
                                                                    [mt, live weight]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Groundfish sub-   Initial sector  Revised  sector  Initial  common  Revised  common
                       Stock                           Total ACL           ACL            sub-ACL          sub-ACL       pool  sub-ACL    pool  sub-ACL
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GOM Cod...........................................             666              610           378.40           349.56            11.25            10.85
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5. Rebuilding Programs

    This action revised the rebuilding programs for GB winter flounder 
and northern windowpane flounder; and creates new rebuilding plans for 
Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) yellowtail flounder, witch 
flounder and ocean pout, as more fully described in the proposed rule 
and Appendix III of the EA (see ADDRESSES). The deadline to implement 
these rebuilding plans is August 31, 2019. The Council's Scientific and 
Statistical Committee (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 are incorporated in the approved rebuilding plans. These rebuilding 
plans begin in 2019; therefore, January 1, 2020, will be the first year 
of the rebuilding plan for all stocks.

Stocks With Projections

    The GB winter flounder and SNE/MA yellowtail flounder rebuilding 
programs approved in this action are expected to rebuild the stocks 
within 10 years, or by 2029, which is the maximum rebuilding time 
(Tmax) allowed by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The approved 
rebuilding plan for GB winter flounder sets the fishing mortality (F) 
rate that is required to rebuild the stock (Frebuild) at 70 
percent of fishing mortality rate associated with maximum sustainable 
yield (FMSY) with a 77-percent probability of achieving the 
biomass associated with maximum sustainable yield (BMSY). 
Generally, F is the proportion of the mean population size that is 
removed in a period of time. The approved rebuilding plan for SNE/MA 
yellowtail flounder sets Frebuild at 70 percent of 
FMSY with an 82-percent probability of achieving 
BMSY. As explained in more detail in Appendix III of the EA, 
the approved rebuilding plans address the needs of fishing communities 
as much as practicable, as well as factoring in past performance of 
groundfish catch projections in order to increase the likelihood of 
rebuilding success.

[[Page 34808]]

Stocks Without Projections

    The approved rebuilding plan for northern windowpane flounder sets 
Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY and the rebuilding 
timeline (Ttarget) at 10 years, rebuilding by the end of 
2029. The approved rebuilding plan for ocean pout sets 
Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY and 
Ttarget at 10 years, rebuilding by the end of 2029. The 
approved witch flounder rebuilding plan sets Frebuild as an 
exploitation rate of 6 percent (or as otherwise determined in a future 
stock assessment) and Ttarget at 23 years, rebuilding by the 
end of 2043. The northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout 
assessments are index-based. The witch flounder assessment is an 
empirical area-swept model. None of these assessments provide 
sufficient information for projections, which prevents calculating 
probabilities of achieving BMSY. Additional considerations 
by stock are discussed in Appendix III of the EA.

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 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. This action extends this policy for GB 
yellowtail flounder for the 2019 and 2020 fishing years. For these 
years, the scallop fishery's AMs for GB yellowtail flounder will be 
triggered only if the scallop fishery exceeds its sub-ACL, and the 
overall ACL is exceeded.
    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 reduces 
the 2019 GB yellowtail flounder ABC by 50 percent when compared to 
2018. 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 
mitigate biological effects of the overage and to address the cause of 
the overage by deterring subsequent ACL overages. 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 GB yellowtail flounder. This extension is for only 2 
years to reduce the potential risk for negative economic impacts to the 
groundfish fishery while providing further opportunity to assess the 
AM's performance. The underlying policy for triggering scallop fishery 
AMs that was established by Framework 47 will be in effect for catches 
in fishing year 2021 and beyond. Beginning with catch during fishing 
year 2021, the AM will 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

    This action exempts U.S. vessels on trips fishing exclusively in 
the NAFO Regulatory Area (Figure 1) from the domestic Northeast 
Multispecies FMP minimum sizes. On those trips, the vessels are 
required to land fish that meet the NAFO minimum sizes as specified in 
the NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures (see: https://www.nafo.int/Fisheries/Conservation), or otherwise specified. A 
comparison of U.S. domestic and NAFO minimum sizes is 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 require 100-percent observer coverage, and 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 enables 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. NAFO catch 
primarily goes into the frozen market. Landing the dressed fish, even 
at sizes less than the domestic minimum size, does not give the NAFO 
participants a competitive advantage over domestic fishermen that rely 
upon the fresh fish market nor does it negatively affect the fresh fish 
market. Instead, this is expected to provide U.S. fishing businesses an 
opportunity to compete equally in the frozen market. This exemption 
applies to all NAFO species included in the Northeast Multispecies FMP.
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P

[[Page 34809]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JY19.009

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

    We are using our administrative authority under Sec.  305(d) of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act to set the application deadline for days-at-sea 
leasing applications to April 30. This is intended to facilitate 
efficient use of groundfish DAS throughout the fishing year. As 
explained in the proposed rule, NMFS previously set a March 1 annual 
deadline to allow for a 45-day window to process paper applications 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, making the March 1 deadline unnecessary.

At-Sea Catch Reporting

    This rule revises the regulations for vessel monitoring system 
(VMS) catch reports. As explained in the proposed rule, Amendment 16 
(75 FR 18262; April 9, 2010) implemented a new requirement for vessels 
to submit catch reports at-sea via their VMS on any trip fishing in 
multiple broad 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). However, the regulatory text 
implemented by the final rule inadvertently removed the requirement to 
report by statistical area. Additionally, 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, but this change was not captured 
consistently in the regulations. This action revises the regulations to 
state consistently that species kept must be reported by statistical 
area on all VMS catch reports.

Citation for Scallop-Yellowtail Quota Transfer

    This action corrects an erroneous citation to recreational 
allocations in the regulations implementing the mechanism to transfer 
unused yellowtail flounder quota from the scallop fishery to the 
groundfish fishery.

[[Page 34810]]

9. Comments and Responses on Measures Proposed in the Framework 58 
Proposed Rule

    We received comments on the Framework 58 proposed rule from three 
members of the public, the Northeast Seafood Coalition (NSC), and a 
joint comment from the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the 
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Only comments that were 
applicable to the proposed measures are addressed below. Consolidated 
responses are provided to similar comments on the proposed measures.

Fishing Year 2019 Shared U.S./Canada Quotas

    Comment 1: NSC commented that the 140-mt total shared quota for GB 
yellowtail flounder for 2019 could result in significant fishery and 
management implications that NMFS and the Council have not fully 
addressed.
    Response 1: We disagree. The SSC review of the Transboundary 
Resource Assessment Committee assessment results and the discussions by 
the Council directly addressed the low GB yellowtail flounder quota for 
fishing year 2019 and the potential effects to the fishery. The EA 
analyzes the effects of the reduced quota. Additionally, this action 
extends the temporary change to the scallop fishery AM trigger for GB 
yellowtail flounder for the 2019 and 2020 fishing years (see 3. 
Revision to the Georges Bank Yellowtail Flounder Accountability Measure 
Trigger for Scallop Vessels) to provide flexibility for the scallop 
fishery to better achieve optimal yield, despite recent reductions in 
the ACL, while continuing to prevent overfishing.

Catch Limits for Fishing Years 2019-2020

    Comment 2: CLF and NRDC commented that the GB cod ACL should not be 
increased until there is full accountability in the groundfish fishery 
through 100-percent catch monitoring at sea, an approved stock 
assessment model for GB cod, and a clear indication that the stock 
status for GB cod is increasing.
    Response 2: We disagree. This action does not change the 2019 OFL 
and overall ABC set by Framework 57. The 2019 ACL increase for U.S. 
fishermen is not an increase in the overall available catch, but rather 
is the result of the way the overall ABC is divided between the U.S. 
and Canada. Canada's portion of the overall catch was not originally 
included in the U.S. available catch for 2019 and 2020. In the final 
rule for Framework 57, the published 2018 U.S. ABC included a reduction 
to account for Canadian catch, but the published U.S. ABCs for 2019 and 
2020 were set equal to the total ABCs for those years because the 
portion of the Eastern GB cod TAC allocated to Canada for those years 
had not yet been set. Framework 58 allocates a portion of the Eastern 
GB cod TAC to Canada, and this allocation results in a 34-percent 
reduction to the 2019 U.S. ABC to account for Canada's allocation (see 
2. Fishing Year 2019 Shared U.S./Canada Quotas). Accordingly, the 
increase in the GB cod ACL for fishing year 2019, in comparison to 
2018, does not reflect an increase in the overall ABC. Rather, the ACL 
increase reflects that the allocation of Eastern GB cod to Canada in 
2019 is less than in 2018.
    Framework 57 set the GB cod OFL and overall ABC for fishing years 
2018-2020 based on the peer-reviewed stock assessment completed in 2017 
and the recommendations of the SSC, consistent with the National 
Standard 2 requirement to use the best scientific information 
available. Further, the ABCs and ACLs were calculated to prevent 
overfishing while achieving optimum yield, as required by National 
Standard 1, and they are consistent with the current rebuilding program 
for GB cod. In the absence of better information that would allow a 
more explicit determination of scientific uncertainty (including 
accuracy of catch and natural mortality estimates), the SSC's catch 
advice for GB cod set an ABC that was 75 percent of the recommended 
OFL, consistent with the Council's ABC control rule. This action 
revises the GB cod U.S. ABC and ACL for fishing year 2019 based on the 
most recent assessment of the eastern portion of the GB cod stock 
(jointly managed with Canada) and the resulting Eastern GB cod TAC for 
2019. This reflects the best scientific information available, is 
expected to prevent overfishing while achieving optimum yield, and is 
consistent with the rebuilding program for GB cod.
    Comment 3: One member of the public commented that the possession 
limits for yellowtail flounder for common pool vessels and the small-
mesh fisheries should be zero, because it is not economically efficient 
to implement small possession limits.
    Response 3: We disagree that the common pool should be prohibited 
from possessing yellowtail flounder. This action allocates quotas to 
components of the groundfish fishery and some other fisheries (see 
Table 3), but does not set individual vessel possession limits. A 
separate action (84 FR 17926; April 26, 2019) set common pool vessel 
possession and trip limits for fishing year 2019 to facilitate harvest 
and enable the total catch to approach, but not exceed, the quota for 
stocks allocated to the common pool, including yellowtail flounder 
stocks. Further, the FMP prohibits small-mesh vessels from retaining 
yellowtail flounder (all stocks) and allocates a sub-ACL of GB 
yellowtail flounder to manage that fishery's bycatch of the stock, 
which, if exceeded, would result in AMs being triggered.
    Comment 4: One recreational fisherman commented that either the GOM 
cod commercial fishery allocation should be reduced to allow 
recreational fishermen to retain GOM cod or GOM cod possession should 
be prohibited for all vessels.
    Response 4: We disagree. In Amendment 16, the Council allocated 
33.7 percent of the GOM cod ACL to the recreational fishery and 66.3 
percent to the commercial fishery, based on historic catch. This action 
allocates GOM cod to each group based on the ABCs set in Framework 57, 
consistent with the allocation split set by the Council in Amendment 
16, as reduced to payback an overage in fishing year 2016 (see 4. 
Adjustments Due to Fishing Year 2017 Overage). Recreational measures 
(e.g., season, bag limit, minimum size) are set to ensure that the 
recreational sub-ACL is achieved, but not exceeded. A separate action 
(84 FR 20609; May 10, 2019) recently proposed and solicited comment on 
recreational fishing measures for fishing year 2019, including two 2-
week seasons when recreational vessels may be allowed to possess GOM 
cod.

Rebuilding Programs

    Comment 5: CLF and NRDC commented that the northern windowpane 
flounder, ocean pout, and witch flounder rebuilding plans do not have 
an adequate probability of rebuilding success; and do not comply with 
the legal requirements for rebuilding plans.
    Response 5: We disagree and have approved the rebuilding plans. The 
northern windowpane flounder, ocean pout, and witch flounder rebuilding 
plans are based on the best scientific information available and are 
designed to ensure rebuilding progress within required timelines. In 
the absence of scientific information that provides a basis for precise 
probabilities of achieving BMSY, we are required to base our 
determination on the data currently available for these specific 
fisheries, the potential for gaining additional data within the 
rebuilding plan time, the performance of rebuilding plans generally 
compared to specific measures

[[Page 34811]]

in these rebuilding plans, and the ability to adjust measures using 
updated information during our frequent evaluation of adequate 
rebuilding progress. Using this information, we are approving measures 
that we expect will promote rebuilding within the timelines taking into 
account the status and biology of the stocks, the interactions of these 
stocks within the ecosystem, and the needs of fishing communities.
    The best scientific information available on the status and biology 
of these stocks show that they are in poor condition and rebuilding 
progress has been inadequate. However, the assessments provide limited 
information. The northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout 
assessments are index-based, which compare current catch in the most 
recent survey tows conducted by NOAA's research vessel to the 3-year 
average catch of the surveys. The witch flounder assessment is an 
empirical area-swept model, which estimates exploitable biomass based 
on the survey catch and that area surveyed. None of these assessments 
is appropriate for making short-term projections of biomass, which 
prevents calculating probabilities of achieving BMSY. 
Despite not being able to generate projections, both northern 
windowpane flounder and ocean pout have proxy reference points that are 
used to evaluate rebuilding progress. Witch flounder does not have 
proxy reference points, but the indices of abundance and biomass are 
compared to time series averages to evaluate rebuilding progress.
    The approved rebuilding plans for northern windowpane flounder and 
ocean pout conservatively set Ttarget at 10 years, 
rebuilding by the end of 2029, because the minimum time for rebuilding 
each of these stocks in the absence of any fishing mortality 
(Tmin) is unknown due to a lack of aging data to calculate a 
mean generation time for these stocks. As described in the proposed 
rule, following National Standard 1 guidelines for setting timelines 
for stocks whose biology required more than 10 years to rebuild, 
Ttarget for witch flounder is set at 23 years based on two 
times the mean generation time, rebuilding by the end of 2043.
    To rebuild within the prescribed timelines, the approved rebuilding 
plans set fishing mortality limits more conservatively than the past 
rebuilding plans. Under the groundfish control rule, most stocks would 
be expected to rebuild in 10 years when fishing at 75 percent of 
FMSY. Consistent with the Council's ABC control rule, the 
previous rebuilding plans began by setting F at 75 percent of 
FMSY, with an option to reduce the target F to a lower 
Frebuild if the stock was not rebuilding as expected. 
However, for northern windowpane flounder, ocean pout, and witch 
flounder, rebuilding was not achieved as previously planned despite 
application of the control rule. The revised rebuilding plans for 
northern windowpane flounder and ocean pout set Frebuild at 
70 percent of FMSY and Ttarget at 10 years, 
rebuilding by the end of 2029. The revised witch flounder rebuilding 
plan sets Frebuild as an exploitation rate of 6 percent and 
Ttarget as 23 years, rebuilding by the end of 2043.
    The new rebuilding plans for northern windowpane flounder and ocean 
pout have a more conservative Frebuild, set at 70 percent of 
FMSY, and unlike the previous rebuilding plans, the 
Frebuild will be implemented from the start of the 
rebuilding plans. Future quotas, based on the rebuilding plans, are 
expected to be lower than they would have been under the current 
rebuilding plans. Possession of these stocks is already prohibited, but 
if catch exceeds the quotas, accountability measures are implemented to 
further reduce catch by requiring selective trawl gear in geographic 
areas where catch is highest. The witch flounder rebuilding plan sets a 
more conservative Frebuild as an exploitation rate of 6 
percent. These new rebuilding plans set Frebuild levels as 
rates (e.g., Frebuild at 70 percent of FMSY) 
rather than setting specific static values (e.g., 0.30). The rebuilding 
plans will incorporate the Frebuild values calculated by 
future assessments, consistent with the recommendations of the SSC. 
Importantly, this ensures that the rebuilding plans will adjust to new 
information by incorporating the Frebuild and exploitation 
rate values calculated by future assessments.
    Consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act rebuilding requirement and 
National Standard 1 Guidelines, at least every 2 years NMFS will 
evaluate the rebuilding progress of each of these stocks and make a 
determination as to whether adequate rebuilding progress is being made. 
The National Standard 1 Guidelines state that the Secretary may find 
that a stock is making inadequate rebuilding progress if either: (1) 
Frebuild or the ACL associated with Frebuild is 
exceeded, and AMs are not correcting the operational issue that caused 
the overage, nor addressing any biological consequences; or (2) the 
rebuilding expectations of a stock or stock complex are significantly 
changed due to new and unexpected information about the status of the 
stock. The guidelines provide for reviews of recent stock assessments, 
comparisons of catches to ACLs, or other appropriate performance 
measures to gauge whether adequate rebuilding progress is being made. 
When addressing rebuilding programs based on available scientific 
information that does not provide for precise probabilities, this 
periodic review ensures that there is opportunity to use potentially 
better available information to take prompt and timely corrective 
action if a rebuilding plan is making inadequate progress.
    We plan to monitor the rebuilding progress of northern windowpane 
flounder and ocean pout using the proxy biological reference points. 
Northern windowpane flounder has proxy biological reference points 
defined as FMSY proxy = 0.34 and BMSY proxy = 
2.06 kg/tow. Ocean pout has proxy biological reference points defined 
as FMSY proxy = 0.76 and BMSY proxy = 4.94 kg/
tow. Determining whether witch flounder is rebuilt will be more 
difficult because FMSY and BMSY are undefined. To 
make a determination, we will evaluate whether catch has exceeded the 
ACLs, or F has exceeded Frebuild, and the accountability 
measures are not addressing the cause of the overage; and whether the 
rebuilding expectations of the stock are significantly changed due to 
new or unexpected information about the status of the stock. We will 
continue to monitor whether the large 2013 year class moves through the 
population. As part of the mandated review of rebuilding progress we 
will determine whether additional measures are required and make 
recommendations to the Council as necessary. We are expecting 
additional assessment information during the rebuilding plans that will 
provide for adjusting fishing mortality accordingly and will inform our 
evaluation of whether adequate rebuilding progress is being made during 
the rebuilding plan. New fishery assessments for the northern 
windowpane flounder and witch flounder stocks are expected every 2 
years and new assessments for the ocean pout stock are expected every 3 
years. In addition to providing updated estimates of catch and status 
determination criteria, future assessments may provide additional 
information useful to evaluating rebuilding. For example, otoliths 
collected from windowpane flounder may allow for the development of a 
full analytical model at a future research track assessment.
    These rebuilding plans also account for the role of these stocks 
within the ecosystem and the needs of fishing communities. The Council 
considered and analyzed multiple rebuilding plans

[[Page 34812]]

for each stock as part of Framework Adjustment 58. In evaluating the 
options for each stock, the Council reviewed expected social and 
economic effects to consider the needs of communities, as recommended 
by the SSC. The Council opted to balance the likelihood of rebuilding a 
stock while simultaneously reducing economic risk. Ocean pout and 
northern windowpane flounder are each managed as a single stock 
throughout a very large geographic range. Therefore, these stocks have 
the potential to severely constrain catch of many other stocks caught 
in these stock areas. Thus, for ocean pout and northern windowpane 
flounder the Council selected neither the most conservative nor the 
most liberal Frebuild. For witch flounder, the Council 
selected the exploitation rate from the most recent assessment. These 
measures balance the need for better available information that would 
support development of more refined restrictions with ensuring 
rebuilding while avoiding potentially overly burdensome restrictions.
    Comment 6: CLF and NRDC commented that NMFS recommended that the 
Council consider new conservation measures for northern windowpane 
flounder and ocean pout, and that witch flounder was ``in need of 
rebuilding measures,'' but that Framework 58 did not include new or 
additional management measures beyond new rebuilding timelines and new 
Frebuild rates.
    Response 6: We are approving these rebuilding plans after taking 
into account the fishery management plan's ACL and AM measures, and the 
recent performance of these fisheries in relation to those measures; 
our close scrutiny of available information concerning the progress of 
these stocks as required under the Magnuson-Stevens Act; and our intent 
to conduct a research track assessment to investigate index-based 
assessments and control rules in the fall of 2020. In our August 31, 
2017, letter to the Council, we made several recommendations to the 
Council regarding development of new rebuilding plans for northern 
windowpane flounder and ocean pout, including suggesting they consider 
additional management measures. We also recommended that the Council 
consider the effect of Framework Adjustment 56 (82 FR 35660; August 1, 
2017) measures on correcting an operational issue that had contributed 
to recent ACL overages of northern windowpane flounder.
    The Groundfish Plan Development Team discussed whether to develop 
additional management measures. Since Framework 56 was implemented, 
northern windowpane flounder catch has been reduced and has not 
exceeded the ACL. This suggests that the accountability measures 
implemented under Framework 56 are correcting the operational issues 
that led to the ACL overages and thereby addressed any biological 
consequences from overages. Ocean pout catch and witch flounder catches 
continue to be significantly below their ACLs and, as discussed above, 
are unit stocks for which additional restrictions could substantially 
adversely affect the entire fishery. As a result, the Plan Development 
Team developed the more conservative rebuilding plans approved by this 
action, rather than developing additional management measures for these 
stocks.
    Comment 7: NSC commented that we should reconsider the stock status 
of GB winter flounder, consistent with the July 27, 2018, letter from 
Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director of the New England Fishery 
Management Council.
    Response 7: In the July letter, Thomas A. Nies asked that we 
revisit our August 31, 2017, determination that, based on the 2015 
stock assessment, GB winter flounder was overfished and subject to 
overfishing. In a response dated November 1, 2018, we notified the 
Council that, based on the 2017 stock assessment, GB winter flounder is 
not overfished and is not subject to overfishing, but is approaching an 
overfished condition. Further, we agreed that the latest assessment's 
biomass time series shows that GB winter flounder was not below the 
overfished threshold in 2007, nor any year since; therefore, the 
National Standard 1 Guidelines provide for the Council to choose to end 
the rebuilding plan. Because the stock is approaching an overfished 
condition, we recommended that the Council revise the rebuilding plan, 
rather than ending it. In Framework 58, the Council proactively revised 
the rebuilding plan for GB winter flounder because it is approaching an 
overfished condition. For the reasons discussed in the proposed rule 
and the preamble to this proposed rule, we have approved the rebuilding 
plan.
    Comment 8: NSC commented in support of the witch flounder 
rebuilding plan and, in particular, setting the exploitation rate at 6 
percent or as determined by a future stock assessment.
    Response 8: We agree and have approved the witch flounder 
rebuilding plan.
    Comment 9: NSC commented in support of the extension of the 
temporary change to the AM trigger for GB yellowtail flounder to remove 
the second trigger for the 2019 and 2020 fishing years.
    Response 9: We agree and have approved the measure for the reasons 
discussed in the proposed rule and the preamble to this rule.
    Comment 10: NSC commented in support of the exemption from U.S. 
domestic minimum fish sizes for groundfish for vessels fishing 
exclusively in the NAFO regulatory area to provide an opportunity for 
U.S. vessels to compete in the international frozen fish market without 
affecting the fresh fish market.
    Response 10: We agree and have approved the measure for the reasons 
discussed in the proposed rule and the preamble to this rule.

10. Changes From the Proposed Rule

    The sector and common pool sub-ACLs implemented by this action are 
based on fishing year 2019 PSCs and final fishing year 2019 sector 
rosters. The sub-ACLs in the proposed rule were based on the 2018 
rosters because all permits enrolled in a sector, and the vessels 
associated with those permits, had 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 changed ownership 
after December 1, 2018, were allowed to join a sector through April 30, 
2019.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that the management 
measures implemented in this final rule are necessary for the 
conservation and management of the Northeast multispecies fishery and 
consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law.
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866.
    This rule is not an E.O. 13771 regulatory action because this rule 
is not significant under E.O. 12866.
    This final 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 Assistant Administrator for Fisheries finds that there is good 
cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delayed 
effectiveness of this action. This action relies on the best available 
science to set 2019 catch limits for seven groundfish stocks and adopts 
several other measures to improve the management of the groundfish 
fishery.

[[Page 34813]]

This final rule must be in effect as early in fishing year 2019 as 
possible to capture fully the conservation and economic benefits of 
Framework 58.
    Framework 58 implements new quotas for fishing year 2019 for the 
transboundary GB stocks that we jointly manage with Canada (GB cod, GB 
haddock, and GB yellowtail flounder) based on new assessments for these 
stocks conducted in 2018. Framework 58 also includes minor adjustments 
to the catch limits specified in Framework 57 for witch flounder, GB 
winter flounder, GOM winter flounder, and Atlantic halibut. Framework 
57, which we approved last year, set fishing year 2019 (May 1, 2019, 
through April 30, 2020) catch limits for all 20 groundfish stocks based 
on assessments conducted in 2017. Only the eastern portion of the GB 
cod stock, jointly managed with Canada, did not have a 2019 quota set 
in Framework 57. The Council took its final vote on Framework 58 in 
December 2018 and submitted the preliminary draft framework to NMFS for 
review on February 5, 2019. The formal submission of the framework to 
NMFS occurred on March 19, 2019. Given the timing of the Council 
process and the 5-week partial government shutdown, we were unable to 
publish a proposed rule for Framework 58 until April 19, 2019. A 
separate action implemented a constraining default quota (35 percent of 
the 2018 quota) for Eastern GB cod that will be in effect until we 
implement Framework 58.
    The 30-day delay in implementation for this rule is unnecessary 
because this rule contains no new measures (e.g., requiring new nets or 
equipment) for which regulated entities need time to prepare or revise 
their current practices. This action is similar to the process used to 
set quotas every 1-2 years, approves all items as proposed, and 
contains only quotas and minor adjustments to the management plan that 
were discussed at multiple noticed meetings where the public was 
provided opportunity to learn about the action, ask questions, and 
provide input into the development of the measures. Affected parties 
and other interested parties participated in this public process to 
develop this action and expect implementation as close to the beginning 
of the fishing year on May 1 as possible.
    A further delay in implementation beyond the date of filing, during 
which time a constraining default quota is in place for Eastern GB cod, 
increases negative economic effects for regulated entities. The default 
quota, which is in place for Eastern GB cod from May 1 until this rule 
is effective, is constraining the fishery in the Eastern U.S./Canada 
Area. The majority of fishing in that region occurs during summer. The 
seasonality of this fishery is primarily due to the seasonal geographic 
distribution of the stocks jointly managed with Canada. Haddock, a 
healthy and abundant stock, is the target fishery for U.S. vessels in 
the Eastern U.S./Canada Area. However, this stock of haddock is 
primarily in the U.S. waters of their range during the summer and are 
generally more abundant in Canadian waters later in the fishing year. A 
secondary reason for the importance of accessing the Eastern U.S./
Canada Area early in the year is that the summer weather provides safer 
fishing in the area (approximately 150-200 miles offshore).
    To estimate the effect of a further delay before implementing the 
full Eastern GB cod quota for the year we can evaluate a recent 
instance of this occurring. In 2017, default quotas (35 percent of the 
2016 quotas) were in place from May 1 until we implemented Framework 56 
on August 1. That resulted in negative economic impacts to the offshore 
fleet by reducing harvest of Eastern GB cod by nearly half and reducing 
harvest of Eastern GB haddock by nearly a third. In 2017, catch of 
Eastern GB cod dropped to 43.7 mt from 82.1 mt in 2016, while catch of 
Eastern GB haddock dropped to 425.1 mt from 588 mt in 2016. We forecast 
how a similar delay in 2019 could affect the fleet by using the 2017 
declines in catch and the most recent (2018) average ex-vessel prices 
per pound during the period of May through July. In 2018, cod and 
haddock prices were $2.41 and $0.98, respectively. That would reduce 
revenue by more than $500,000 for the industry in 2019. That includes 
only the foregone catch of Eastern U.S./Canada stocks and does not 
include the revenue from other stocks (e.g., pollock, GB yellowtail 
flounder, GB winter flounder) that would also be caught on trips in the 
Eastern U.S./Canada Area. Because of the seasonal nature of the 
fishery, industry would permanently forego the revenues. Accordingly, a 
further delay in effectiveness for this action would be contrary to the 
public interest.
    The quota for GB yellowtail flounder will decrease 50 percent with 
implementation of this rule. Delaying the reduction could lead to catch 
at a rate that would result in an early closure, or quota overage, once 
the reduced quota is implemented. This would have future negative 
economic impacts on the fishery. Further, delaying the required 
reduction in the catch limit increases the likelihood of an overage and 
negative biological impact to this stock that is overfished and subject 
to a rebuilding plan.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration, during the proposed rule stage, that this action would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for this certification was published in the 
proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received 
regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility 
analysis was not required and none was prepared.
    This rule contains a collection-of-information requirement subject 
to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and which has been approved by OMB 
under control number 0648-0605. Public reporting burden for VMS catch 
reports is estimated to average 15 minutes per response, including the 
time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, 
gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing 
the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden 
estimate, or any other aspect of this data collection, including 
suggestions for reducing the burden, to NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and by 
email to [email protected], or fax to (202) 395-5806.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty 
for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays 
a currently valid OMB Control Number. All currently approved NOAA 
collections of information may be viewed at: http://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prasubs.html.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: July 15, 2019.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons stated in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is 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.

[[Page 34814]]


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 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), 
(b)(6)(iv)(I), and (b)(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

[[Page 34815]]

statistical area, as instructed by the Regional Administrator.
* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (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 paragraphs (b)(1)(vi) introductory text and 
(b)(1)(vi)(A) to read as follows:


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 
(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.
* * * * *
    (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 2021 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. 2019-15322 Filed 7-18-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P