Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; State Management Program; Amendments 50A-F, 38198-38201 [2019-16657]

Download as PDF 38198 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 151 / Tuesday, August 6, 2019 / Proposed Rules PART 180—CONTINUING QUALIFICATION AND MAINTENANCE OF PACKAGINGS Authority: 49 U.S.C. 5101–5128; 49 CFR 1.81 and 1.97. ■ 1. The authority citation for part 180 continues to read as follows: ■ 2. In § 180.209: a. Revise Table 1—Requalification of Cylinders in paragraph (a); and § 180.209 Requirements for requalification of specification cylinders. ■ ■ TABLE 1—REQUALIFICATION OF b. Revise paragraph (e). The revisions read as follows. (a) * * * CYLINDERS 1 Specification under which cylinder was made Minimum test pressure (psig) 2 Requalification period (years) 3 ......................................................................... 3A, 3AA .............................................................. 3,000 psig ......................................................... 5/3 times service pressure, except non-corrosive service (see § 180.209(g)). 5/3 times service pressure ............................... 5/3 times service pressure ............................... 2 times service pressure (see § 180.209(g)) ... Test not required. 5/3 times service pressure ............................... 5/3 times service pressure ............................... 2 times service pressure (see § 180.209(g)) ... 2 times service pressure, except non-corrosive service (see § 180.209(g)). 2 times service pressure .................................. 2 times service pressure, except non-corrosive service (see § 180.209(g)). Test not required. ........................................................................... See current exemption or special permit ......... As marked on cylinder, but not less than 5/3 of any service or working pressure marking. 5. 5, 10, or 12 (see § 180.209(b), (f), (h), and (j)). 5 or 12 (see § 180.209(j) and (m)3). 5. 5 or 10 (see § 180.209(f)). 3AL ..................................................................... 3AX, 3AAX ......................................................... 3B, 3BN .............................................................. 3E ....................................................................... 3HT .................................................................... 3T ....................................................................... 4AA480 .............................................................. 4B, 4BA, 4BW, 4B–240ET ................................. 4D, 4DA, 4DS .................................................... 4E ....................................................................... 4L ....................................................................... 8, 8AL ................................................................. Exemption or special permit cylinder ................. Foreign cylinder (see § 173.301(j) of this subchapter for restrictions on use). 3 (see §§ 180.209(k) and 180.213(c)). 5. 5 or 10 (see § 180.209(h)). 5, 7, 10, or 12 (see § 180.209(e), (f), and (j)). 5. 5, 10, or 12 (See § 180.209(e)). 10 or 20 (see § 180.209(i)). See current exemption or special permit. 5 (see §§ 180.209(l) and 180.213(d)(2)). 1 Any cylinder not exceeding 2 inches outside diameter and less than 2 feet in length is excepted from volumetric expansion test. cylinders not marked with a service pressure, see § 173.301a(b) of this subchapter. 3 This provision does not apply to cylinders used for carbon dioxide, fire extinguisher or other industrial gas service. 2 For * * * * (e) Cylinders in non-corrosive gas service. A cylinder made in conformance with DOT Specifications 4B, 4BA, 4BW, or 4E protected externally by a suitable corrosionresistant coating and used exclusively for non-corrosive gas that is commercially free from corroding components may be requalified by volumetric expansion testing every 12 years instead of every 5 years. As an alternative, the cylinder may be subjected to a proof pressure test at least two times the marked service pressure, but this latter type of test must be repeated every 10 years after expiration of the initial 12-year period. When subjected to a proof pressure test, the cylinder must be carefully examined under test pressure and removed from service if a leak or defect is found. * * * * * jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS * Issued in Washington, DC, on July 31, 2019, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.97. William S. Schoonover, Associate Administrator of Hazardous Materials Safety, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. [FR Doc. 2019–16677 Filed 8–5–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–60–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Aug 05, 2019 Jkt 247001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 RIN 0648–BI84 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; State Management Program; Amendments 50A–F National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: The Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendments 50A, 50B, 50C, 50D, 50E, and 50F to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS (Amendments 50A–F). Amendments 50A–F would delegate authority to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas (Gulf states), to establish specific management measures for the harvest of red snapper in Federal SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 waters in the Gulf by the private angling component of the recreational sector. The purposes of Amendments 50A–F are to increase fishing opportunities and economic benefits by allowing each Gulf state to establish specific management measures for the recreational harvest of red snapper in Federal waters by private anglers landing in that state. DATES: Written comments must be received on or before October 7, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on Amendments 50A–F identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2017–0122’’ by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20170122, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Lauren Waters, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public E:\FR\FM\06AUP1.SGM 06AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 151 / Tuesday, August 6, 2019 / Proposed Rules viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of Amendments 50A–F, which include an environmental impact statement, a fishery impact statement, a Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis, and a regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the website: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/ sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/ reef_fish/2017/am46_gray_trigger/ documents/pdfs/gulf_reef_am46_gray_ trigg_final.pdf. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lauren Waters, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, telephone: 727–824– 5305; email: Lauren.Waters@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires each regional fishery management council to submit any FMP or amendment to NMFS for review and approval, partial approval, or disapproval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving an FMP or amendment, publish an announcement in the Federal Register notifying the public that the FMP or amendment is available for review and comment. The FMP being revised by Amendments 50A–F was prepared by the Council and implemented by NMFS through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the MagnusonStevens Act. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS Background The red snapper stock annual catch limit (ACL) is divided into commercial (51 percent) and recreational (49 percent) sector allocations. In 2015, through Amendment 40 to the FMP, the recreational sector was separated into a private angling component and a Federal charter vessel and headboat (forhire) component until the end of 2022 (80 FR 22422, April 22, 2015). Within the recreational sector, the recreational ACL is allocated 57.7 percent to the private angling component and 42.3 percent to the for-hire component. Recreational harvest of red snapper in Gulf Federal waters is managed through a two-fish bag limit, a 16-inch (40.6 cm) total length (TL) minimum size limit, and fishing seasons for each component that begin on June 1 and close when the annual catch target (ACT) of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Aug 05, 2019 Jkt 247001 respective recreational component is projected to be reached. However for the 2018 and 2019 fishing years, NMFS issued exempted fishing permits to each of the five Gulf states to allow each state to set the fishing season for private anglers landing in that state. The forhire component fishing season continues to be set by NMFS. The Gulf red snapper stock is not undergoing overfishing, and is not overfished but continues to be managed under a rebuilding plan that ends in 2032. From 1996 through 2014, the recreational fishing season for red snapper in Gulf Federal waters became progressively shorter, and increased catch rates and inconsistent (longer) Gulf state water recreational fishing seasons contributed to recreational harvest overages. Recreational fishermen throughout the Gulf have requested more flexibility from the Council and NMFS in recreational red snapper management to provide greater socio-economic benefits to their local areas. In 2017, the Council began developing Amendments 50A–50F to establish state management programs for the harvest of red snapper in the Gulf by the recreational sector. State management refers to allowing a state to set some regulations applicable to anglers landing red snapper in that state (e.g., recreational bag limits and season length), or in some circumstances applicable to anglers fishing for red snapper in Federal waters off that state (e.g., closed areas). Amendment 50A includes actions affecting all Gulf states and the overall Federal management of recreational red snapper, regardless of whether all Gulf states participate in a state management program. Amendments 50B–F are individual amendments for each Gulf state (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas, respectively) and contain the Council’s selection of preferred alternatives for each individual state management plan. Management measures under a state’s approved state management program would have to achieve the same conservation goals as the current Federal management measures (e.g., constrain harvest to the state’s allocated portion of the recreational ACL). Although under state management for measures controlling certain harvesting activities, red snapper would remain a federally managed species. The Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee would continue to recommend the acceptable biological catch for red snapper, while the Council would determine the total recreational sector, component, and state ACLs. PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 38199 Unless area closures off a state are established in Federal waters, enforcement would primarily be conducted in state waters and dockside. Actions Contained in Amendments 50A–F Amendments 50A–F include measures: Identifying the recreational component to include in state management programs; establishing the state-specific allocation of the annual catch limit (ACL); delegating the authority to the states to establish the recreational fishing season, recreational bag limit, and size limits; establishing the post-season ACL adjustments; and establishing the procedure for states to request an area closure in Federal waters off their state. Recreational Components Included in State Management Programs Currently, the Council and NMFS establish all management measures for both the Federal private angling and forhire components in Gulf Federal waters. Amendments 50A–F would delegate to each state the authority to establish specific management measures applicable to the private angling component only. The Council and NMFS would continue to specify all management measures applicable to the Federal for-hire component. The sunset provision ending sector separation after the 2022 fishing year would be removed, and separate component ACLs would continue to be set for each component indefinitely. The Council decided not to pursue state management of the for-hire component at this time in order to reduce the administrative burden and potential complication of enforcement in developing a program for that component. The Council wanted to have Amendments 50A–F implemented for the 2020 fishing year, and including the for-hire component may have affected this timeline. Delegation Currently, each Gulf state decides when to open and close their respective state waters to fishing for reef fish. These state water recreational reef fish seasons may not be consistent with the fishing seasons in Federal waters. In state waters, the states establish other management measures, such as recreational bag limits and size limits, while the Council has the responsibility for reef fish management measures applicable in Federal waters. Amendments 50A–F would delegate some management authority to a Gulf state to regulate recreational harvest of red snapper in Federal waters by private anglers landing in that state. Each state E:\FR\FM\06AUP1.SGM 06AUP1 38200 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 151 / Tuesday, August 6, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS would be required to establish the private angling season structure for harvest of its assigned portion of the ACL, monitor landings, and prohibit further landings of red snapper when the state-specific component ACL is reached or projected to be reached. Each state would also be required to specify a bag limit and a minimum size limit within the range of 14 to 18 inches (35.6 cm to 45.7 cm), TL. In combination, these measures must be expected to maintain harvest levels within the state’s ACL. A state could also establish a maximum size limit. If NMFS determines that a state’s red snapper private angling regulations are inconsistent with the FMP and the state fails to correct the inconsistency after notice and an opportunity to do so, or a state does not specify the required management measures, then NMFS would suspend that state’s delegation and publish a document in the Federal Register stating that the default management measures for the red snapper private angling component apply in Federal waters off that state. The default management measures are the current season (June 1 until the projected closure date), bag limit (2 fish per person per day), and minimum size limit (16 inches (40.6 cm), TL). The areas of Federal waters off Florida and off Texas are currently defined in the regulations. Amendment 50A would specify the area of Federal waters off Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana so that each Gulf state would have a defined Federal water boundary off that state. Allocation Currently, the red snapper private angling component ACL is managed as a single unit for all of the Gulf states. Amendment 50A would apportion the private angling component ACL to each state. The allocation would be based on the allocations requested by each state in its EFP application, which totaled 96.22 percent of the overall component ACL. The remaining 3.78 percent would be apportioned between Florida and Alabama, proportionally, based on their EFP allocation request. This results in the apportionment of the private angling ACL to each Gulf state as follows: Alabama 26.298 percent (1,122,662 lb (509,231 kg)), round weight, Florida 44.822 percent (1,913,451 lb (867,927 kg)), round weight, Louisiana 19.120 percent (816,233 lb (370,237 kg)), round weight, Mississippi 3.550 percent (151,550 lb (68,742 kg)), round weight, and Texas 6.210 percent (265,105 lb (120,250 kg)), round weight. If NMFS suspends one or more state’s delegation, NMFS would project the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Aug 05, 2019 Jkt 247001 private angling season in Federal waters off the applicable states based on the remaining aggregate portion of the ACL reduced by the established 20 percent buffer that is used to determine the Federal annual catch target. Anglers who fish in Federal waters off a state without an active delegation of authority would fish under the default Federal regulations described previously. Post-Season ACL Adjustments Amendments 50B–F would establish post-season quota adjustments. An overage adjustment, or payback provision, is an accountability measure (AM) that reduces the following year’s ACL by some specified amount, usually the amount the ACL was exceeded. The current recreational red snapper postseason AM applies when the stock is classified as overfished and an overage of the total recreational sector’s ACL occurs. The AM requires NMFS to reduce the recreational sector ACL and ACT, and applicable component ACL and ACT, in the year following an overage of the total recreational ACL by the full amount of the overage, unless the best scientific information available determines that a greater, lesser, or no overage adjustment is necessary. Amendments 50B–F would establish post-season ACL overage adjustments for states with an active delegation, regardless of stock status. If the landings of a state exceed that state’s ACL, then in the following fishing year that state’s ACL would be reduced by the amount of the ACL overage in the prior fishing year, unless the best scientific information available determines that a greater, lesser, or no overage adjustment is necessary. The total recreational ACL and the private angling component ACL would also be reduced. In Amendments 50B–F, the Council expressed its intent to allow for carryover of a state’s unused portion of its ACL to the following fishing year if permitted under a separate amendment to the FMP that the Council was developing to add a carryover provision to the Acceptable Biological Catch Control Rule. In June 2019, the Council postponed work on that amendment. Therefore, NMFS is not proposing to implement this provision at this time. Area Closures Amendment 50A would allow a Gulf state, consistent with the terms of an active delegation, to request that NMFS close all, or an area of, Federal waters off that state to the harvest and possession of red snapper by private anglers. The state would request the closure by letter to NMFS, providing PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 dates and geographic coordinates for the closure. If the request is within the scope of the analysis in Amendment 50A, NMFS would publish a document in the Federal Register implementing the closure in Federal waters off that state for the fishing year. Based on the analysis in Amendment 50A, Texas would be able to request a closure of all Federal waters off the state to allow a year-round fishing season in state waters and a limited season in Federal waters. Florida would be able to request a closure of Federal waters off the state seaward of the 20-fathom (36.6m) depth contour, or seaward of the 35fathom (64.0-m) depth contour, for the duration of Florida’s open private angling component season. Alabama would be able to request a closure of Federal waters off the state seaward of the 20-fathom (36.6-m) depth contour, or seaward of the 35-fathom (64.0-m) depth contour, for the duration of Alabama’s open private angling component season. Florida and Alabama want the ability to close deeper waters to potentially extend their seasons by decreasing the average size of fish landed. These areas were chosen because an approximation for the 20fathom depth contour is currently defined in 50 CFR 622.34(d) for the seasonal shallow-water grouper closure, and an approximation of the 35-fathom depth contour is partially defined in 50 CFR 622.35(b) for the seasonal eastern Gulf longline closure. The coordinates for any closure off Texas, Florida, or Alabama are provided in Appendix H of Amendment 50A and would be included in the Federal Register document implementing the closure. Neither Louisiana nor Mississippi provided any potential closures to analyze in Amendment 50A and these states would not be able to request Federal waters closures through this process without further action by the Council. Proposed Rule for Amendments 50A–F A proposed rule that would implement Amendments 50A–F has been drafted. In accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS is evaluating the proposed rule to determine whether it is consistent with the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. If that determination is affirmative, NMFS will publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register for public review and comment. Consideration of Public Comments The Council has submitted Amendments 50A–F for Secretarial review, approval, and implementation. E:\FR\FM\06AUP1.SGM 06AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 151 / Tuesday, August 6, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS Comments on Amendments 50A–F must be received by October 7, 2019. Comments received during the respective comment periods, whether specifically directed to Amendments 50A–F or the proposed rule, will be considered by NMFS in its decision to VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Aug 05, 2019 Jkt 247001 approve, partially approve, or disapprove Amendments 50A–F and will be addressed in the final rule. All comments received by NMFS on Amendments 50A–F or the proposed rule during their respective comment periods will be addressed in the final rule. PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 38201 Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: July 31, 2019. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–16657 Filed 8–5–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\06AUP1.SGM 06AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 151 (Tuesday, August 6, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 38198-38201]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-16657]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

RIN 0648-BI84


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; State Management Program; 
Amendments 50A-F

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

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Fishery Management Council (Council) 
has submitted Amendments 50A, 50B, 50C, 50D, 50E, and 50F to the 
Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of 
Mexico (FMP), for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS 
(Amendments 50A-F). Amendments 50A-F would delegate authority to 
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas (Gulf states), to 
establish specific management measures for the harvest of red snapper 
in Federal waters in the Gulf by the private angling component of the 
recreational sector. The purposes of Amendments 50A-F are to increase 
fishing opportunities and economic benefits by allowing each Gulf state 
to establish specific management measures for the recreational harvest 
of red snapper in Federal waters by private anglers landing in that 
state.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before October 7, 2019.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on Amendments 50A-F identified by 
``NOAA-NMFS-2017-0122'' by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2017-0122, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Lauren Waters, Southeast 
Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public

[[Page 38199]]

viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).
    Electronic copies of Amendments 50A-F, which include an 
environmental impact statement, a fishery impact statement, a 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis, and a regulatory impact 
review, may be obtained from the website: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/reef_fish/2017/am46_gray_trigger/documents/pdfs/gulf_reef_am46_gray_trigg_final.pdf.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lauren Waters, Southeast Regional 
Office, NMFS, telephone: 727-824-5305; email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires each regional 
fishery management council to submit any FMP or amendment to NMFS for 
review and approval, partial approval, or disapproval. The Magnuson-
Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving an FMP or 
amendment, publish an announcement in the Federal Register notifying 
the public that the FMP or amendment is available for review and 
comment.
    The FMP being revised by Amendments 50A-F was prepared by the 
Council and implemented by NMFS through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 
under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Background

    The red snapper stock annual catch limit (ACL) is divided into 
commercial (51 percent) and recreational (49 percent) sector 
allocations. In 2015, through Amendment 40 to the FMP, the recreational 
sector was separated into a private angling component and a Federal 
charter vessel and headboat (for-hire) component until the end of 2022 
(80 FR 22422, April 22, 2015). Within the recreational sector, the 
recreational ACL is allocated 57.7 percent to the private angling 
component and 42.3 percent to the for-hire component. Recreational 
harvest of red snapper in Gulf Federal waters is managed through a two-
fish bag limit, a 16-inch (40.6 cm) total length (TL) minimum size 
limit, and fishing seasons for each component that begin on June 1 and 
close when the annual catch target (ACT) of the respective recreational 
component is projected to be reached. However for the 2018 and 2019 
fishing years, NMFS issued exempted fishing permits to each of the five 
Gulf states to allow each state to set the fishing season for private 
anglers landing in that state. The for-hire component fishing season 
continues to be set by NMFS. The Gulf red snapper stock is not 
undergoing overfishing, and is not overfished but continues to be 
managed under a rebuilding plan that ends in 2032.
    From 1996 through 2014, the recreational fishing season for red 
snapper in Gulf Federal waters became progressively shorter, and 
increased catch rates and inconsistent (longer) Gulf state water 
recreational fishing seasons contributed to recreational harvest 
overages. Recreational fishermen throughout the Gulf have requested 
more flexibility from the Council and NMFS in recreational red snapper 
management to provide greater socio-economic benefits to their local 
areas.
    In 2017, the Council began developing Amendments 50A-50F to 
establish state management programs for the harvest of red snapper in 
the Gulf by the recreational sector. State management refers to 
allowing a state to set some regulations applicable to anglers landing 
red snapper in that state (e.g., recreational bag limits and season 
length), or in some circumstances applicable to anglers fishing for red 
snapper in Federal waters off that state (e.g., closed areas). 
Amendment 50A includes actions affecting all Gulf states and the 
overall Federal management of recreational red snapper, regardless of 
whether all Gulf states participate in a state management program. 
Amendments 50B-F are individual amendments for each Gulf state 
(Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas, respectively) and 
contain the Council's selection of preferred alternatives for each 
individual state management plan.
    Management measures under a state's approved state management 
program would have to achieve the same conservation goals as the 
current Federal management measures (e.g., constrain harvest to the 
state's allocated portion of the recreational ACL). Although under 
state management for measures controlling certain harvesting 
activities, red snapper would remain a federally managed species. The 
Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee would continue to 
recommend the acceptable biological catch for red snapper, while the 
Council would determine the total recreational sector, component, and 
state ACLs. Unless area closures off a state are established in Federal 
waters, enforcement would primarily be conducted in state waters and 
dockside.

Actions Contained in Amendments 50A-F

    Amendments 50A-F include measures: Identifying the recreational 
component to include in state management programs; establishing the 
state-specific allocation of the annual catch limit (ACL); delegating 
the authority to the states to establish the recreational fishing 
season, recreational bag limit, and size limits; establishing the post-
season ACL adjustments; and establishing the procedure for states to 
request an area closure in Federal waters off their state.

Recreational Components Included in State Management Programs

    Currently, the Council and NMFS establish all management measures 
for both the Federal private angling and for-hire components in Gulf 
Federal waters. Amendments 50A-F would delegate to each state the 
authority to establish specific management measures applicable to the 
private angling component only. The Council and NMFS would continue to 
specify all management measures applicable to the Federal for-hire 
component. The sunset provision ending sector separation after the 2022 
fishing year would be removed, and separate component ACLs would 
continue to be set for each component indefinitely. The Council decided 
not to pursue state management of the for-hire component at this time 
in order to reduce the administrative burden and potential complication 
of enforcement in developing a program for that component. The Council 
wanted to have Amendments 50A-F implemented for the 2020 fishing year, 
and including the for-hire component may have affected this timeline.

Delegation

    Currently, each Gulf state decides when to open and close their 
respective state waters to fishing for reef fish. These state water 
recreational reef fish seasons may not be consistent with the fishing 
seasons in Federal waters. In state waters, the states establish other 
management measures, such as recreational bag limits and size limits, 
while the Council has the responsibility for reef fish management 
measures applicable in Federal waters. Amendments 50A-F would delegate 
some management authority to a Gulf state to regulate recreational 
harvest of red snapper in Federal waters by private anglers landing in 
that state. Each state

[[Page 38200]]

would be required to establish the private angling season structure for 
harvest of its assigned portion of the ACL, monitor landings, and 
prohibit further landings of red snapper when the state-specific 
component ACL is reached or projected to be reached. Each state would 
also be required to specify a bag limit and a minimum size limit within 
the range of 14 to 18 inches (35.6 cm to 45.7 cm), TL. In combination, 
these measures must be expected to maintain harvest levels within the 
state's ACL. A state could also establish a maximum size limit.
    If NMFS determines that a state's red snapper private angling 
regulations are inconsistent with the FMP and the state fails to 
correct the inconsistency after notice and an opportunity to do so, or 
a state does not specify the required management measures, then NMFS 
would suspend that state's delegation and publish a document in the 
Federal Register stating that the default management measures for the 
red snapper private angling component apply in Federal waters off that 
state. The default management measures are the current season (June 1 
until the projected closure date), bag limit (2 fish per person per 
day), and minimum size limit (16 inches (40.6 cm), TL).
    The areas of Federal waters off Florida and off Texas are currently 
defined in the regulations. Amendment 50A would specify the area of 
Federal waters off Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana so that each 
Gulf state would have a defined Federal water boundary off that state.

Allocation

    Currently, the red snapper private angling component ACL is managed 
as a single unit for all of the Gulf states. Amendment 50A would 
apportion the private angling component ACL to each state. The 
allocation would be based on the allocations requested by each state in 
its EFP application, which totaled 96.22 percent of the overall 
component ACL. The remaining 3.78 percent would be apportioned between 
Florida and Alabama, proportionally, based on their EFP allocation 
request. This results in the apportionment of the private angling ACL 
to each Gulf state as follows: Alabama 26.298 percent (1,122,662 lb 
(509,231 kg)), round weight, Florida 44.822 percent (1,913,451 lb 
(867,927 kg)), round weight, Louisiana 19.120 percent (816,233 lb 
(370,237 kg)), round weight, Mississippi 3.550 percent (151,550 lb 
(68,742 kg)), round weight, and Texas 6.210 percent (265,105 lb 
(120,250 kg)), round weight.
    If NMFS suspends one or more state's delegation, NMFS would project 
the private angling season in Federal waters off the applicable states 
based on the remaining aggregate portion of the ACL reduced by the 
established 20 percent buffer that is used to determine the Federal 
annual catch target. Anglers who fish in Federal waters off a state 
without an active delegation of authority would fish under the default 
Federal regulations described previously.

Post-Season ACL Adjustments

    Amendments 50B-F would establish post-season quota adjustments. An 
overage adjustment, or payback provision, is an accountability measure 
(AM) that reduces the following year's ACL by some specified amount, 
usually the amount the ACL was exceeded. The current recreational red 
snapper post-season AM applies when the stock is classified as 
overfished and an overage of the total recreational sector's ACL 
occurs. The AM requires NMFS to reduce the recreational sector ACL and 
ACT, and applicable component ACL and ACT, in the year following an 
overage of the total recreational ACL by the full amount of the 
overage, unless the best scientific information available determines 
that a greater, lesser, or no overage adjustment is necessary. 
Amendments 50B-F would establish post-season ACL overage adjustments 
for states with an active delegation, regardless of stock status. If 
the landings of a state exceed that state's ACL, then in the following 
fishing year that state's ACL would be reduced by the amount of the ACL 
overage in the prior fishing year, unless the best scientific 
information available determines that a greater, lesser, or no overage 
adjustment is necessary. The total recreational ACL and the private 
angling component ACL would also be reduced.
    In Amendments 50B-F, the Council expressed its intent to allow for 
carryover of a state's unused portion of its ACL to the following 
fishing year if permitted under a separate amendment to the FMP that 
the Council was developing to add a carryover provision to the 
Acceptable Biological Catch Control Rule. In June 2019, the Council 
postponed work on that amendment. Therefore, NMFS is not proposing to 
implement this provision at this time.

Area Closures

    Amendment 50A would allow a Gulf state, consistent with the terms 
of an active delegation, to request that NMFS close all, or an area of, 
Federal waters off that state to the harvest and possession of red 
snapper by private anglers. The state would request the closure by 
letter to NMFS, providing dates and geographic coordinates for the 
closure. If the request is within the scope of the analysis in 
Amendment 50A, NMFS would publish a document in the Federal Register 
implementing the closure in Federal waters off that state for the 
fishing year.
    Based on the analysis in Amendment 50A, Texas would be able to 
request a closure of all Federal waters off the state to allow a year-
round fishing season in state waters and a limited season in Federal 
waters. Florida would be able to request a closure of Federal waters 
off the state seaward of the 20-fathom (36.6-m) depth contour, or 
seaward of the 35-fathom (64.0-m) depth contour, for the duration of 
Florida's open private angling component season. Alabama would be able 
to request a closure of Federal waters off the state seaward of the 20-
fathom (36.6-m) depth contour, or seaward of the 35-fathom (64.0-m) 
depth contour, for the duration of Alabama's open private angling 
component season. Florida and Alabama want the ability to close deeper 
waters to potentially extend their seasons by decreasing the average 
size of fish landed. These areas were chosen because an approximation 
for the 20-fathom depth contour is currently defined in 50 CFR 
622.34(d) for the seasonal shallow-water grouper closure, and an 
approximation of the 35-fathom depth contour is partially defined in 50 
CFR 622.35(b) for the seasonal eastern Gulf longline closure. The 
coordinates for any closure off Texas, Florida, or Alabama are provided 
in Appendix H of Amendment 50A and would be included in the Federal 
Register document implementing the closure. Neither Louisiana nor 
Mississippi provided any potential closures to analyze in Amendment 50A 
and these states would not be able to request Federal waters closures 
through this process without further action by the Council.

Proposed Rule for Amendments 50A-F

    A proposed rule that would implement Amendments 50A-F has been 
drafted. In accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS is 
evaluating the proposed rule to determine whether it is consistent with 
the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. If that 
determination is affirmative, NMFS will publish the proposed rule in 
the Federal Register for public review and comment.

Consideration of Public Comments

    The Council has submitted Amendments 50A-F for Secretarial review, 
approval, and implementation.

[[Page 38201]]

Comments on Amendments 50A-F must be received by October 7, 2019. 
Comments received during the respective comment periods, whether 
specifically directed to Amendments 50A-F or the proposed rule, will be 
considered by NMFS in its decision to approve, partially approve, or 
disapprove Amendments 50A-F and will be addressed in the final rule.
    All comments received by NMFS on Amendments 50A-F or the proposed 
rule during their respective comment periods will be addressed in the 
final rule.

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

    Dated: July 31, 2019.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-16657 Filed 8-5-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P