Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Blacktip Sharks, Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks, and Hammerhead Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico Region; Retention Limit Adjustment, 39774-39776 [2019-17139]

Download as PDF 39774 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 155 / Monday, August 12, 2019 / Rules and Regulations jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES subgroup 4B; and Radish, roots. In addition, EPA is removing the tolerance for pistachio; that individual tolerance is unnecessary since pistachio is included in group 14–12, and the tolerance levels are the same. VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews This action establishes tolerances under FFDCA section 408(d) in response to a petition submitted to the Agency. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted these types of actions from review under Executive Order 12866, entitled ‘‘Regulatory Planning and Review’’ (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993). Because this action has been exempted from review under Executive Order 12866, this action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, entitled ‘‘Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use’’ (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) or Executive Order 13045, entitled ‘‘Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks’’ (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), nor is it considered a regulatory action under Executive Order 13771, entitled ‘‘Reducing Regulations and Controlling Regulatory Costs’’ (82 FR 9339, February 3, 2017). This action does not contain any information collections subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), nor does it require any special considerations under Executive Order 12898, entitled ‘‘Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations’’ (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994). Since tolerances and exemptions that are established on the basis of a petition under FFDCA section 408(d), such as the tolerances in this final rule, do not require the issuance of a proposed rule, the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), do not apply. This action directly regulates growers, food processors, food handlers, and food retailers, not States or tribes, nor does this action alter the relationships or distribution of power and responsibilities established by Congress in the preemption provisions of FFDCA section 408(n)(4). As such, the Agency has determined that this action will not have a substantial direct effect on States or tribal governments, on the relationship between the national government and the States or tribal governments, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government or between the Federal Government and Indian VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Aug 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 tribes. Thus, the Agency has determined that Executive Order 13132, entitled ‘‘Federalism’’ (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and Executive Order 13175, entitled ‘‘Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments’’ (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000) do not apply to this action. In addition, this action does not impose any enforceable duty or contain any unfunded mandate as described under Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.). This action does not involve any technical standards that would require Agency consideration of voluntary consensus standards pursuant to section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note). VII. Congressional Review Act Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. This action is not a ‘‘major rule’’ as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2). List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180 Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Agricultural commodities, Pesticides and pests, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. c. Remove the entry ‘‘Avocado’’ from the table in paragraph (b). The additions read as follows: ■ § 180.434 Propiconazole; tolerances for residues. (a) * * * (1) * * * Commodity Parts per million * * * * Avocado ........................................... * * * * * Brassica, leafy greens, subgroup 4– 16B, except watercress ............... * * * * * Celtuce ............................................ * * * * * Fennel, Florence, fresh leaves and stalk .............................................. * * * * * Leaf petiole vegetable subgroup 22B ............................................... * * * * * Swiss chard ..................................... * * * * * Vegetable, root, except sugar beet, subgroup 1B ................................ * * * * * * * * * 0.2 20 5 5 5 5 0.3 * * [FR Doc. 2019–17143 Filed 8–9–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Dated: August 2, 2019. Michael Goodis, Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows: [Docket No. 170605543–7999–02] RIN 0648–XT005 PART 180—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 180 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 21 U.S.C. 321(q), 346a and 371. 2. In § 180.434, a. Add alphabetically the entries ‘‘Avocado’’; ‘‘Brassica, leafy greens, subgroup 4–16B, except watercress’’; ‘‘Celtuce’’; ‘‘Fennel, Florence, fresh leaves and stalk’’; ‘‘Leaf petiole vegetable subgroup 22B’’; ‘‘Swiss chard’’; and ‘‘Vegetable, root, except sugar beet, subgroup 1B’’ to the table in paragraph (a)(1). ■ b. Remove the entries ‘‘Beet, garden, roots’’; ‘‘Brassica leafy greens, subgroup 5B’’; ‘‘Carrot, roots’’; ‘‘Leaf petioles subgroup 4B’’; ‘‘Pistachio’’; and ‘‘Radish, roots’’ from the table in paragraph (a)(1). ■ ■ PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 50 CFR Part 635 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Blacktip Sharks, Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks, and Hammerhead Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico Region; Retention Limit Adjustment National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason retention limit adjustment. AGENCY: NMFS is adjusting the commercial retention limit for blacktip shark, aggregated large coastal sharks (LCS), and hammerhead shark management groups in the Gulf of Mexico region from 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip to 55 SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\12AUR1.SGM 12AUR1 jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 155 / Monday, August 12, 2019 / Rules and Regulations LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip. This action is based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. The retention limit will remain at 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip in the Gulf of Mexico region through the rest of the 2019 fishing season, or until NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery closure. This retention limit adjustment affects anyone with a directed shark limited access permit fishing for LCS in the Gulf of Mexico region. DATES: The commercial retention limit adjustment is effective on August 12, 2019 through December 31, 2019, or until and if NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery closure, if warranted. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lauren Latchford, Guy DuBeck, or Karyl Brewster-Geisz 301–427–8503; fax 301– 713–1917. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic shark fisheries are managed under the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP), its amendments, and implementing regulations (50 CFR part 635) issued under authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.). Under 50 CFR 635.24(a)(8), NMFS may adjust the commercial retention limits in the Atlantic shark fisheries during the fishing season. Before making any adjustment, NMFS must consider specified regulatory criteria (see § 635.24(a)(8)(i) through (vi)). NMFS considered the inseason retention limit adjustment criteria listed at § 635.24(a)(8)(i) through (vi), which include: • The amount of remaining shark quota in the relevant area, region, or sub-region to date, based on dealer reports. Based on dealer reports through July 12, 2019, 24 percent of the 27.7 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) shark quota for blacktip, 51 percent of the 85.5 mt dw shark quota for aggregated LCS, and 50 percent of the 13.4 mt dw for the hammerhead shark landings have been harvested in the eastern Gulf of Mexico sub-region. In the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, 20 percent of the 255.8 mt dw shark quota for blacktip, 13 percent of the 72.0 mt dw shark quota for aggregated LCS, and less than 5 percent of the 11.9 mt dw for the hammerhead shark landings have been VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Aug 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 harvested. In total across the Gulf of Mexico region (eastern plus western sub-regions), approximately 80 percent of the blacktip, 66 percent of the aggregated LCS quota, and more than 70 percent of the hammerhead shark regional quotas remain available. • The catch rates of the relevant shark species/complexes in the region or subregion, to date, based on dealer reports. Based on the current commercial retention limit and average catch rate of landings data from dealer reports, the amount of overall commercial blacktip shark, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead shark quota that remains available is high. Using current catch rates, projections indicate that the overall Gulf of Mexico landings would not reach 80 percent of any of the quotas before the end of the 2019 fishing year (December 31, 2019). Implementing a higher retention limit will better promote fishing opportunities and utilize available quotas throughout the Gulf of Mexico region. • Estimated date of fishery closure based on when the landings reach or are projected to reach 80 percent of the quota given the realized catch rates. Once the landings reach, or are projected to reach a threshold of 80 percent of the available aggregated LCS or hammerhead shark quotas and are projected to reach 100 percent before the end of the fishing season, NMFS would, as required by the regulations at § 635.28(b)(3), close the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups since they are ‘‘linked’’ quotas. The blacktip shark quotas in the Gulf of Mexico region are not linked to the aggregated LCS or hammerhead shark sub-regional quotas. If blacktip shark landings reach, or are projected to reach a threshold of 80 percent of the available quota and are projected to reach 100 percent before the end of the fishing season, NMFS would close the blacktip management group, consistent with existing regulations. Current overall regional catch rates for blacktip, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead sharks indicate all management groups would likely remain open for the remainder of the year. A higher retention limit should help make it possible to fully utilize the quotas in the Gulf of Mexico region. • Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments. Increasing the retention limit on the blacktip, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead shark management groups in the Gulf of Mexico region from 45 to 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip would increase the PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 39775 fishery catch rates for the rest of the year and allow fishermen to capitalize on underutilized quota, consistent with the FMP’s objective to manage Atlantic HMS fisheries for continuing optimum yield so as to provide the greatest overall benefit to the Nation, with respect to providing food production for commercial fisheries. The science-based quotas for the stocks would remain the same, consistent with previous actions, and ensure that the fisheries are managed consistent with conservation and management objectives in the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, as amended. • Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migratory patterns of the relevant shark species based on scientific and fishery-based knowledge. The directed shark fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico region exhibit a mixed species composition, with a high abundance and distribution of aggregated LCS caught in conjunction with blacktip sharks. As a result, by increasing the harvest and landings on a per-trip basis, fishermen throughout the Gulf of Mexico region will likely experience equitable fishing opportunities and have a chance to fully utilize the available quotas. • Effects of catch rates in one part of a region or sub-region precluding vessels in another part of that region or sub-region from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the relevant quota. NMFS has previously provided notice to the regulated community (83 FR 60777; November 27, 2018) that the goal of this year’s fishery is to ensure fishing opportunities throughout the fishing year, consistent with conservation and management objectives for the stocks. While dealer reports indicate that, under current catch rates, the blacktip, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead shark management groups in the Gulf of Mexico region would remain open for the remainder of the year, the catch rates also indicate that the quotas would likely not be fully harvested under the current retention limit. If the harvest of these species is increased through an increased retention limit, NMFS estimates that the fishery would continue to remain open for the remainder of the year, and fishermen throughout the Gulf of Mexico region would have a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the quota. After considering the criteria discussed above, NMFS concluded that increasing the retention limit of the blacktip shark, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead shark management groups in the Gulf of Mexico region will allow for more utilization of the available quotas a for the rest of the year. Based E:\FR\FM\12AUR1.SGM 12AUR1 jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 39776 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 155 / Monday, August 12, 2019 / Rules and Regulations on landings projections, under the current retention limits the overall Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead shark quotas would not be reached by the end of the year. Therefore, NMFS is increasing the overall commercial blacktip shark, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead shark retention limit in the Gulf of Mexico region from 45 to 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip. On November 27, 2018 (83 FR 60777), NMFS announced that the 2019 commercial eastern Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark sub-regional quota was 27.7 mt dw (61,256 lb dw), the eastern Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS subregional quota was 85.5 mt dw (188,593 lb dw), and the eastern Gulf of Mexico hammerhead shark sub-regional quota was 13.4 mt dw (29,421 lb dw), while the commercial western Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark sub-regional quota was 255.8 mt dw (563,799 lb dw), the western Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS sub-regional quota was 72.0 mt dw (158,724 lb dw), and the western Gulf of Mexico hammerhead shark sub-regional quota was 11.9 mt dw (26,301 lb dw). Thus, the total Gulf of Mexico regional quotas are 283.5 mt dw (625,055 lb dw) for blacktip sharks; 157.5 mt dw (347,317 lb dw) for aggregated LCS; and 25.3 mt dw (55,722 lb dw) for hammerhead sharks. In the final rule, after considering public comment on the proposed rule (83 FR 45866, September 11, 2018), NMFS explained that if it appeared that the quota was being harvested too slowly, NMFS would consider increasing the retention limit, consistent with the applicable regulatory requirements. Dealer reports received through June14, 2019, indicate that 18 percent (50.2 mt dw), 29 percent (45.8 mt dw), and 23 percent (5.9 mt dw) of the available Gulf of Mexico regional blacktip, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead shark quotas, respectively, has been harvested. Increasing the retention limit provides the best opportunity to fully utilize these available quotas. The boundary between the Gulf of Mexico region and the Atlantic region is defined at § 635.27(b)(1) as a line beginning on the East Coast of Florida at the mainland at 25°20.4′ N lat, proceeding due east. Any water and land to the south and west of that boundary is considered for the purposes of monitoring and setting quotas, to be within the Gulf of Mexico region. The boundary between the western and eastern Gulf of Mexico sub-regions is drawn along 88°00′ W long VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Aug 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 (§ 635.27(b)(1)(ii)). Persons fishing aboard vessels issued a commercial shark limited access permit under § 635.4 may still retain blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks management groups in the eastern Gulf of Mexico sub-region (east of 88°00′ W long). Accordingly, as of August 12, 2019, NMFS is increasing the retention limit for the commercial blacktip shark, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead shark management groups in the Gulf of Mexico region for directed shark limited access permit holders from 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip to 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip. This retention limit adjustment does not apply to directed shark limited access permit holders if the vessel is properly permitted in the charter/headboat category and is engaged in a for-hire trip, in which case the recreational retention limits for sharks and ‘‘no sale’’ provisions apply (§ 635.22(a) and (c)); or if the vessel possesses a valid shark research permit under § 635.32 and a NMFS-approved observer is onboard, in which case the restrictions noted on the shark research permit apply. The adjusted retention limit will remain at 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip for the remainder of the 2019 fishing season, or until NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery closure, if warranted. All other retention limits and shark fishery regulations in the Gulf of Mexico region remain unchanged by this adjustment. Classification The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons: Prior notice is impracticable because the regulatory criteria for inseason retention limit adjustments are intended to allow the agency to respond quickly to existing management considerations, including remaining available shark quotas, estimated dates for the fishery closures, the regional variations in the shark fisheries, and allowing fishermen to capitalize on underutilized quota. Additionally, regulations implementing Amendment 6 of the 2006 Atlantic Consolidated HMS FMP (80 FR 50074, August 18, 2015) intended that the LCS retention limit could be adjusted quickly throughout the fishing season to PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 provide management flexibility for the shark fisheries and to allow fishermen to capitalize on underutilized quota, consistent with the FMP’s objective to manage Atlantic HMS fisheries for continuing optimum yield so as to provide the greatest overall benefit to the Nation. Based on available shark quotas and informed by shark landings in previous seasons, responsive adjustment to the LCS commercial retention limit from the incidental level is warranted as quickly as possible to allow fishermen to take advantage of available quotas. For such adjustment to be practicable, it must occur in a timeframe that allows fishermen to take advantage of it. Adjustment of the LCS fisheries retention limit in the Gulf of Mexico region will begin on August 12, 2019. Analysis of available data shows that adjustment of the LCS commercial retention limit upward to 55 would result in minimal risks of exceeding the blacktip shark, aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark quotas in the Gulf of Mexico region based on our consideration of previous years’ data. With quota available and with no measurable impacts to the stocks expected, it would be contrary to the public interest to require vessels to wait to harvest the sharks otherwise allowable through this action. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. Adjustment of the LCS commercial retention limit in the Gulf of Mexico region is effective August 12, 2019, to minimize any unnecessary disruption in fishing patterns and to allow the impacted fishermen to benefit from the adjustment. Foregoing opportunities to harvest the respective quotas could have negative social and economic impacts for U.S. fishermen that depend upon catching the available quotas. Therefore, the AA finds there is also good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under § 635.24(a)(2) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: August 6, 2019. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–17139 Filed 8–9–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\12AUR1.SGM 12AUR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 155 (Monday, August 12, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 39774-39776]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-17139]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 170605543-7999-02]
RIN 0648-XT005


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Blacktip Sharks, 
Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks, and Hammerhead Sharks in the Gulf of 
Mexico Region; Retention Limit Adjustment

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason retention limit adjustment.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is adjusting the commercial retention limit for blacktip 
shark, aggregated large coastal sharks (LCS), and hammerhead shark 
management groups in the Gulf of Mexico region from 45 LCS other than 
sandbar sharks per vessel per trip to 55

[[Page 39775]]

LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip. This action is based 
on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding 
inseason adjustments. The retention limit will remain at 55 LCS other 
than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip in the Gulf of Mexico region 
through the rest of the 2019 fishing season, or until NMFS announces 
via a notice in the Federal Register another adjustment to the 
retention limit or a fishery closure. This retention limit adjustment 
affects anyone with a directed shark limited access permit fishing for 
LCS in the Gulf of Mexico region.

DATES: The commercial retention limit adjustment is effective on August 
12, 2019 through December 31, 2019, or until and if NMFS announces via 
a notice in the Federal Register another adjustment to the retention 
limit or a fishery closure, if warranted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lauren Latchford, Guy DuBeck, or Karyl 
Brewster-Geisz 301-427-8503; fax 301-713-1917.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic shark fisheries are managed 
under the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) 
Fishery Management Plan (FMP), its amendments, and implementing 
regulations (50 CFR part 635) issued under authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et 
seq.).
    Under 50 CFR 635.24(a)(8), NMFS may adjust the commercial retention 
limits in the Atlantic shark fisheries during the fishing season. 
Before making any adjustment, NMFS must consider specified regulatory 
criteria (see Sec.  635.24(a)(8)(i) through (vi)).
    NMFS considered the inseason retention limit adjustment criteria 
listed at Sec.  635.24(a)(8)(i) through (vi), which include:
     The amount of remaining shark quota in the relevant area, 
region, or sub-region to date, based on dealer reports.
    Based on dealer reports through July 12, 2019, 24 percent of the 
27.7 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) shark quota for blacktip, 51 
percent of the 85.5 mt dw shark quota for aggregated LCS, and 50 
percent of the 13.4 mt dw for the hammerhead shark landings have been 
harvested in the eastern Gulf of Mexico sub-region. In the western Gulf 
of Mexico sub-region, 20 percent of the 255.8 mt dw shark quota for 
blacktip, 13 percent of the 72.0 mt dw shark quota for aggregated LCS, 
and less than 5 percent of the 11.9 mt dw for the hammerhead shark 
landings have been harvested. In total across the Gulf of Mexico region 
(eastern plus western sub-regions), approximately 80 percent of the 
blacktip, 66 percent of the aggregated LCS quota, and more than 70 
percent of the hammerhead shark regional quotas remain available.
     The catch rates of the relevant shark species/complexes in 
the region or sub-region, to date, based on dealer reports.
    Based on the current commercial retention limit and average catch 
rate of landings data from dealer reports, the amount of overall 
commercial blacktip shark, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead shark quota 
that remains available is high. Using current catch rates, projections 
indicate that the overall Gulf of Mexico landings would not reach 80 
percent of any of the quotas before the end of the 2019 fishing year 
(December 31, 2019). Implementing a higher retention limit will better 
promote fishing opportunities and utilize available quotas throughout 
the Gulf of Mexico region.
     Estimated date of fishery closure based on when the 
landings reach or are projected to reach 80 percent of the quota given 
the realized catch rates.
    Once the landings reach, or are projected to reach a threshold of 
80 percent of the available aggregated LCS or hammerhead shark quotas 
and are projected to reach 100 percent before the end of the fishing 
season, NMFS would, as required by the regulations at Sec.  
635.28(b)(3), close the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management 
groups since they are ``linked'' quotas. The blacktip shark quotas in 
the Gulf of Mexico region are not linked to the aggregated LCS or 
hammerhead shark sub-regional quotas. If blacktip shark landings reach, 
or are projected to reach a threshold of 80 percent of the available 
quota and are projected to reach 100 percent before the end of the 
fishing season, NMFS would close the blacktip management group, 
consistent with existing regulations. Current overall regional catch 
rates for blacktip, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead sharks indicate all 
management groups would likely remain open for the remainder of the 
year. A higher retention limit should help make it possible to fully 
utilize the quotas in the Gulf of Mexico region.
     Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives 
of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments.
    Increasing the retention limit on the blacktip, aggregated LCS, and 
hammerhead shark management groups in the Gulf of Mexico region from 45 
to 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip would increase 
the fishery catch rates for the rest of the year and allow fishermen to 
capitalize on underutilized quota, consistent with the FMP's objective 
to manage Atlantic HMS fisheries for continuing optimum yield so as to 
provide the greatest overall benefit to the Nation, with respect to 
providing food production for commercial fisheries. The science-based 
quotas for the stocks would remain the same, consistent with previous 
actions, and ensure that the fisheries are managed consistent with 
conservation and management objectives in the 2006 Consolidated HMS 
FMP, as amended.
     Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or 
migratory patterns of the relevant shark species based on scientific 
and fishery-based knowledge.
    The directed shark fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico region exhibit a 
mixed species composition, with a high abundance and distribution of 
aggregated LCS caught in conjunction with blacktip sharks. As a result, 
by increasing the harvest and landings on a per-trip basis, fishermen 
throughout the Gulf of Mexico region will likely experience equitable 
fishing opportunities and have a chance to fully utilize the available 
quotas.
     Effects of catch rates in one part of a region or sub-
region precluding vessels in another part of that region or sub-region 
from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the 
relevant quota.
    NMFS has previously provided notice to the regulated community (83 
FR 60777; November 27, 2018) that the goal of this year's fishery is to 
ensure fishing opportunities throughout the fishing year, consistent 
with conservation and management objectives for the stocks. While 
dealer reports indicate that, under current catch rates, the blacktip, 
aggregated LCS, and hammerhead shark management groups in the Gulf of 
Mexico region would remain open for the remainder of the year, the 
catch rates also indicate that the quotas would likely not be fully 
harvested under the current retention limit. If the harvest of these 
species is increased through an increased retention limit, NMFS 
estimates that the fishery would continue to remain open for the 
remainder of the year, and fishermen throughout the Gulf of Mexico 
region would have a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the 
quota.
    After considering the criteria discussed above, NMFS concluded that 
increasing the retention limit of the blacktip shark, aggregated LCS, 
and hammerhead shark management groups in the Gulf of Mexico region 
will allow for more utilization of the available quotas a for the rest 
of the year. Based

[[Page 39776]]

on landings projections, under the current retention limits the overall 
Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead shark 
quotas would not be reached by the end of the year. Therefore, NMFS is 
increasing the overall commercial blacktip shark, aggregated LCS, and 
hammerhead shark retention limit in the Gulf of Mexico region from 45 
to 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip.
    On November 27, 2018 (83 FR 60777), NMFS announced that the 2019 
commercial eastern Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark sub-regional quota was 
27.7 mt dw (61,256 lb dw), the eastern Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS 
sub-regional quota was 85.5 mt dw (188,593 lb dw), and the eastern Gulf 
of Mexico hammerhead shark sub-regional quota was 13.4 mt dw (29,421 lb 
dw), while the commercial western Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark sub-
regional quota was 255.8 mt dw (563,799 lb dw), the western Gulf of 
Mexico aggregated LCS sub-regional quota was 72.0 mt dw (158,724 lb 
dw), and the western Gulf of Mexico hammerhead shark sub-regional quota 
was 11.9 mt dw (26,301 lb dw). Thus, the total Gulf of Mexico regional 
quotas are 283.5 mt dw (625,055 lb dw) for blacktip sharks; 157.5 mt dw 
(347,317 lb dw) for aggregated LCS; and 25.3 mt dw (55,722 lb dw) for 
hammerhead sharks. In the final rule, after considering public comment 
on the proposed rule (83 FR 45866, September 11, 2018), NMFS explained 
that if it appeared that the quota was being harvested too slowly, NMFS 
would consider increasing the retention limit, consistent with the 
applicable regulatory requirements. Dealer reports received through 
June14, 2019, indicate that 18 percent (50.2 mt dw), 29 percent (45.8 
mt dw), and 23 percent (5.9 mt dw) of the available Gulf of Mexico 
regional blacktip, aggregated LCS, and hammerhead shark quotas, 
respectively, has been harvested. Increasing the retention limit 
provides the best opportunity to fully utilize these available quotas.
    The boundary between the Gulf of Mexico region and the Atlantic 
region is defined at Sec.  635.27(b)(1) as a line beginning on the East 
Coast of Florida at the mainland at 25[deg]20.4' N lat, proceeding due 
east. Any water and land to the south and west of that boundary is 
considered for the purposes of monitoring and setting quotas, to be 
within the Gulf of Mexico region. The boundary between the western and 
eastern Gulf of Mexico sub-regions is drawn along 88[deg]00' W long 
(Sec.  635.27(b)(1)(ii)). Persons fishing aboard vessels issued a 
commercial shark limited access permit under Sec.  635.4 may still 
retain blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks 
management groups in the eastern Gulf of Mexico sub-region (east of 
88[deg]00' W long).
    Accordingly, as of August 12, 2019, NMFS is increasing the 
retention limit for the commercial blacktip shark, aggregated LCS, and 
hammerhead shark management groups in the Gulf of Mexico region for 
directed shark limited access permit holders from 45 LCS other than 
sandbar sharks per vessel per trip to 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks 
per vessel per trip. This retention limit adjustment does not apply to 
directed shark limited access permit holders if the vessel is properly 
permitted in the charter/headboat category and is engaged in a for-hire 
trip, in which case the recreational retention limits for sharks and 
``no sale'' provisions apply (Sec.  635.22(a) and (c)); or if the 
vessel possesses a valid shark research permit under Sec.  635.32 and a 
NMFS-approved observer is onboard, in which case the restrictions noted 
on the shark research permit apply.
    The adjusted retention limit will remain at 55 LCS other than 
sandbar sharks per vessel per trip for the remainder of the 2019 
fishing season, or until NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal 
Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery 
closure, if warranted. All other retention limits and shark fishery 
regulations in the Gulf of Mexico region remain unchanged by this 
adjustment.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior 
notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for 
the following reasons:
    Prior notice is impracticable because the regulatory criteria for 
inseason retention limit adjustments are intended to allow the agency 
to respond quickly to existing management considerations, including 
remaining available shark quotas, estimated dates for the fishery 
closures, the regional variations in the shark fisheries, and allowing 
fishermen to capitalize on underutilized quota. Additionally, 
regulations implementing Amendment 6 of the 2006 Atlantic Consolidated 
HMS FMP (80 FR 50074, August 18, 2015) intended that the LCS retention 
limit could be adjusted quickly throughout the fishing season to 
provide management flexibility for the shark fisheries and to allow 
fishermen to capitalize on underutilized quota, consistent with the 
FMP's objective to manage Atlantic HMS fisheries for continuing optimum 
yield so as to provide the greatest overall benefit to the Nation. 
Based on available shark quotas and informed by shark landings in 
previous seasons, responsive adjustment to the LCS commercial retention 
limit from the incidental level is warranted as quickly as possible to 
allow fishermen to take advantage of available quotas. For such 
adjustment to be practicable, it must occur in a timeframe that allows 
fishermen to take advantage of it.
    Adjustment of the LCS fisheries retention limit in the Gulf of 
Mexico region will begin on August 12, 2019. Analysis of available data 
shows that adjustment of the LCS commercial retention limit upward to 
55 would result in minimal risks of exceeding the blacktip shark, 
aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark quotas in the Gulf of Mexico region 
based on our consideration of previous years' data. With quota 
available and with no measurable impacts to the stocks expected, it 
would be contrary to the public interest to require vessels to wait to 
harvest the sharks otherwise allowable through this action. Therefore, 
the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice 
and the opportunity for public comment. Adjustment of the LCS 
commercial retention limit in the Gulf of Mexico region is effective 
August 12, 2019, to minimize any unnecessary disruption in fishing 
patterns and to allow the impacted fishermen to benefit from the 
adjustment. Foregoing opportunities to harvest the respective quotas 
could have negative social and economic impacts for U.S. fishermen that 
depend upon catching the available quotas. Therefore, the AA finds 
there is also good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day 
delay in effectiveness.
    This action is being taken under Sec.  635.24(a)(2) and is exempt 
from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: August 6, 2019.
Jennifer M. Wallace,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-17139 Filed 8-9-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P