Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment, 44596-44597 [2019-18307]

Download as PDF 44596 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 165 / Monday, August 26, 2019 / Proposed Rules (4) Ridership estimates, including operating plan; and (5) Where applicable, the status of local efforts to enhance ridership when estimates are contingent, in part, upon the success of such efforts. (d) A recipient shall submit current data on a major capital project’s budget and schedule to the Administrator on a quarterly basis for the purpose of reviewing compliance with the project management plan, except that the Administrator may require submission more frequently than on a quarterly basis if the recipient fails to meet the requirements of the project management plan and the project is at risk of materially exceeding its budget or falling behind schedule. Oversight of projects monitored more frequently than quarterly will revert to quarterly oversight once the recipient has demonstrated compliance with the project management plan and the project is no longer at risk of materially exceeding its budget or falling behind schedule. § 633.29 [Reserved] [FR Doc. 2019–18286 Filed 8–23–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 RIN 0648–BH67 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Announcement of availability of omnibus amendment; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS announces that the New England Fishery Management Council has submitted the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment, incorporating the Environmental Assessment and the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, for review by the Secretary of Commerce, and is requesting comments from the public. This action would protect deep-sea corals from the impacts of commercial fishing gear on Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine. These proposed management measures are intended to reduce, to the extent practicable, impacts of fishing gear on deep-sea khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:54 Aug 23, 2019 Jkt 247001 corals in New England while balancing their costs to commercial fisheries. DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 25, 2019. ADDRESSES: The Council has prepared a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for this action that describes the proposed measures in the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment and other considered alternatives and analyzes the impacts of the proposed measures and alternatives. The Council submitted a draft of the amendment to NMFS that includes the draft EA, a description of the Council’s preferred alternatives, the Council’s rationale for selecting each alternative, and a Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA). Copies of supporting documents used by the New England Fishery Management Council, including the EA and RIR/IRFA, are available from: Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Newburyport, MA 01950 and accessible via the internet in documents available at: https://www.nefmc.org/ library/omnibus-deep-sea-coralamendment. You may submit comments, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2019–0092, 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-20190092, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘Comments on Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment NOA.’’ 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 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). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Travis Ford, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9233. PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires that each Regional Fishery Management Council submit any amendment it prepares to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial approval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving an amendment, immediately publish notification in the Federal Register that the amendment is available for public review and comment. The Council submitted its final version of Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment to NMFS for review on June 25, 2019. NMFS has declared a transmittal date of August 20, 2019. The Council has reviewed the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment proposed rule regulations as drafted by NMFS and deemed them to be necessary and appropriate as specified in section 303(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The coral protection zones included in this amendment were initially developed during 2010 and 2011 as part of the Council’s Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2 (OHA2), finalized April 9, 2018 (83 FR 15240; April 9, 2018). In September 2012, the Council split the coral protection zones and associated management measures out of OHA2 into a separate omnibus amendment. On March 13 and 15, 2017, the Council held workshops in New Bedford, MA, and Portsmouth, NH, to discuss the coral zone boundaries, considering the canyon and slope zones on Georges Bank (broad zone) at the first meeting and the offshore Gulf of Maine zones at the second. On April 18, 2017, the Council chose preferred alternatives for the coral zones to go out to public hearing. The Council held public hearings throughout New England in May of 2017, and revisited its preferred alternatives at its June 2017 meeting. On June 22, 2017, the Council took final action on the Gulf of Maine portions of the amendment, but did not select final preferred alternatives for the broad coral protection zone on Georges Bank. Instead, the Council added a new alternative for analysis that was suggested during the public hearings. Finally, on January 30, 2018, the Council selected a final preferred alternative for the broad zone and adopted the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment. The Council submitted the Amendment to NMFS for initial review on December 21, 2018. Due to the lapse in Federal appropriations, NMFS’s review of the document was delayed. The Council submitted a revised draft of E:\FR\FM\26AUP1.SGM 26AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 165 / Monday, August 26, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS the Amendment on June 25, 2019, for final review by NMFS, acting on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce. The Council developed this action, and the measures described in this proposed rule, under the discretionary provisions for deep-sea coral protection in section 303(b) of the MagnusonStevens Act. This provision gives the Regional Fishery Management Councils the authority to: (A) Designate zones where, and periods when, fishing shall be limited, or shall not be permitted, or shall be permitted only by specified types of fishing vessels or with specified types and quantities of fishing gear; and (B) Designate such zones in areas where deep-sea corals are identified under section 408 (this section describes the deep-sea coral research and technology program), to protect deepsea corals from physical damage from fishing gear or to prevent loss or damage to such fishing gear from interactions with deep-sea corals, after considering long-term sustainable uses of fishery resources in such areas. Consistent with these provisions, the Council proposed the measures in the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment. These measures are designed to identify and protect concentrations of corals in select areas and restrict the expansion of fishing effort into areas where corals are likely to be present. The measures also take into account long-term sustainable uses of fishery resources in the areas and the economic impacts to commercial fisheries. Measures recommended by the Council would: • Establish a deep-sea coral protection area on the outer continental shelf in New England waters. It would complement the Frank R. Lautenberg Deep-Sea Coral Protection Area established by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council in Amendment 16 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (81 FR 90246; December 14, 2016) as described in § 648.372. The area would run along the outer continental shelf in waters no shallower than 600 m and VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:54 Aug 23, 2019 Jkt 247001 extend to the outer limit of U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone boundary to the east and north, and south to the intercouncil boundary as described in § 600.105(a); • Restrict the use of bottom-tending commercial fishing gear within the designated deep-sea coral area, including: Bottom-tending otter trawls; bottom-tending beam trawls; hydraulic dredges; non-hydraulic dredges; bottomtending seines; bottom longlines; pots and traps; and sink or anchored gillnets. The prohibition on these gears would protect deep-sea corals from interaction with and damage from bottom-tending fishing gear. Red crab pot gear would be exempt from the prohibition; • Designate a coral protection area in an 8-mi2 (21-km2) area southwest of Mount Desert Rock, a small, rocky island off the eastern Maine coast, about 20 nm (37 km) south of Mount Desert Island, encompassing depths of 100–200 m. Vessels would be prohibited from fishing with bottom-tending mobile gear in this area. Bottom-tending mobile gear includes but is not limited to: Bottomtending otter trawls; bottom-tending beam trawls; hydraulic dredges; nonhydraulic dredges; and seines (with the exception of a purse seine); • Designate a coral protection area in a 31-mi2 (79-km2) area on the Outer Schoodic Ridge, roughly 25 nm (46 km) southeast of Mount Desert Island, encompassing depths of 104–248 m. Vessels would be prohibited from fishing in this area with the same bottom-tending mobile gears as identified in the Mount Desert Rock area; • Establish provisions for vessels transiting through the coral protection areas; • Designate the area around Jordan Basin in the Gulf of Maine as a dedicated habitat research area; and • Expand framework adjustment provisions in the New England fishery management plans (FMP) for future modifications to the deep-sea coral protection measures. PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 44597 The Magnuson-Stevens Act allows us to approve, partially approve, or disapprove measures recommended by the Council in an amendment based on whether the measures are consistent with the FMPs, plan amendment, the Magnuson-Stevens Act and its National Standards, and other applicable law. The Council develops policy for its fisheries and we defer to the Council on policy decisions unless those policies are inconsistent with the MagnusonSteven Act or other applicable law. As such, we are seeking comment on whether measures in Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment are consistent with the FMPs, the Magnuson-Stevens Act and its National Standards, and other applicable law. Through this notice, NMFS seeks comments on Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment and its incorporated documents through the end of the comment period stated in the DATES section of this notice of availability (NOA). Following the publication of this NOA a rule proposing the implementation of measures in this amendment is anticipated to be published in the Federal Register for public comment. Public comments must be received by the end of the comment period provided in this NOA of the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment to be considered in the approval/disapproval decision. All comments received by the end of the comment period on the NOA, whether specifically directed to the NOA or the proposed rule, will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision. Comments received after the end of the comment period for the NOA will not be considered in the approval/disapproval decision of the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: August 21, 2019. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–18307 Filed 8–23–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\26AUP1.SGM 26AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 165 (Monday, August 26, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 44596-44597]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-18307]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

RIN 0648-BH67


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Omnibus Deep-Sea 
Coral Amendment

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

ACTION: Announcement of availability of omnibus amendment; request for 
comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS announces that the New England Fishery Management Council 
has submitted the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment, incorporating the 
Environmental Assessment and the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, for 
review by the Secretary of Commerce, and is requesting comments from 
the public. This action would protect deep-sea corals from the impacts 
of commercial fishing gear on Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine. 
These proposed management measures are intended to reduce, to the 
extent practicable, impacts of fishing gear on deep-sea corals in New 
England while balancing their costs to commercial fisheries.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 25, 2019.

ADDRESSES: The Council has prepared a draft Environmental Assessment 
(EA) for this action that describes the proposed measures in the 
Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment and other considered alternatives and 
analyzes the impacts of the proposed measures and alternatives. The 
Council submitted a draft of the amendment to NMFS that includes the 
draft EA, a description of the Council's preferred alternatives, the 
Council's rationale for selecting each alternative, and a Regulatory 
Impact Review (RIR)/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA). 
Copies of supporting documents used by the New England Fishery 
Management Council, including the EA and RIR/IRFA, are available from: 
Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management 
Council, 50 Water Street, Newburyport, MA 01950 and accessible via the 
internet in documents available at: https://www.nefmc.org/library/omnibus-deep-sea-coral-amendment.
    You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2019-0092, 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-2019-0092, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to NMFS, Greater Atlantic 
Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 
01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ``Comments on Omnibus Deep-Sea 
Coral Amendment NOA.''
    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 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).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Travis Ford, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
(978) 281-9233.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires that each Regional 
Fishery Management Council submit any amendment it prepares to NMFS for 
review and approval, disapproval, or partial approval. The Magnuson-
Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving an amendment, 
immediately publish notification in the Federal Register that the 
amendment is available for public review and comment. The Council 
submitted its final version of Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment to NMFS 
for review on June 25, 2019. NMFS has declared a transmittal date of 
August 20, 2019. The Council has reviewed the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral 
Amendment proposed rule regulations as drafted by NMFS and deemed them 
to be necessary and appropriate as specified in section 303(c) of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Background

    The coral protection zones included in this amendment were 
initially developed during 2010 and 2011 as part of the Council's 
Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2 (OHA2), finalized April 9, 
2018 (83 FR 15240; April 9, 2018). In September 2012, the Council split 
the coral protection zones and associated management measures out of 
OHA2 into a separate omnibus amendment. On March 13 and 15, 2017, the 
Council held workshops in New Bedford, MA, and Portsmouth, NH, to 
discuss the coral zone boundaries, considering the canyon and slope 
zones on Georges Bank (broad zone) at the first meeting and the 
offshore Gulf of Maine zones at the second. On April 18, 2017, the 
Council chose preferred alternatives for the coral zones to go out to 
public hearing. The Council held public hearings throughout New England 
in May of 2017, and revisited its preferred alternatives at its June 
2017 meeting. On June 22, 2017, the Council took final action on the 
Gulf of Maine portions of the amendment, but did not select final 
preferred alternatives for the broad coral protection zone on Georges 
Bank. Instead, the Council added a new alternative for analysis that 
was suggested during the public hearings. Finally, on January 30, 2018, 
the Council selected a final preferred alternative for the broad zone 
and adopted the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment.
    The Council submitted the Amendment to NMFS for initial review on 
December 21, 2018. Due to the lapse in Federal appropriations, NMFS's 
review of the document was delayed. The Council submitted a revised 
draft of

[[Page 44597]]

the Amendment on June 25, 2019, for final review by NMFS, acting on 
behalf of the Secretary of Commerce.
    The Council developed this action, and the measures described in 
this proposed rule, under the discretionary provisions for deep-sea 
coral protection in section 303(b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This 
provision gives the Regional Fishery Management Councils the authority 
to:
    (A) Designate zones where, and periods when, fishing shall be 
limited, or shall not be permitted, or shall be permitted only by 
specified types of fishing vessels or with specified types and 
quantities of fishing gear; and
    (B) Designate such zones in areas where deep-sea corals are 
identified under section 408 (this section describes the deep-sea coral 
research and technology program), to protect deep-sea corals from 
physical damage from fishing gear or to prevent loss or damage to such 
fishing gear from interactions with deep-sea corals, after considering 
long-term sustainable uses of fishery resources in such areas.
    Consistent with these provisions, the Council proposed the measures 
in the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment. These measures are designed to 
identify and protect concentrations of corals in select areas and 
restrict the expansion of fishing effort into areas where corals are 
likely to be present. The measures also take into account long-term 
sustainable uses of fishery resources in the areas and the economic 
impacts to commercial fisheries. Measures recommended by the Council 
would:
     Establish a deep-sea coral protection area on the outer 
continental shelf in New England waters. It would complement the Frank 
R. Lautenberg Deep-Sea Coral Protection Area established by the Mid-
Atlantic Fishery Management Council in Amendment 16 to the Atlantic 
Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (81 FR 90246; 
December 14, 2016) as described in Sec.  648.372. The area would run 
along the outer continental shelf in waters no shallower than 600 m and 
extend to the outer limit of U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone boundary to 
the east and north, and south to the intercouncil boundary as described 
in Sec.  600.105(a);
     Restrict the use of bottom-tending commercial fishing gear 
within the designated deep-sea coral area, including: Bottom-tending 
otter trawls; bottom-tending beam trawls; hydraulic dredges; non-
hydraulic dredges; bottom-tending seines; bottom longlines; pots and 
traps; and sink or anchored gillnets. The prohibition on these gears 
would protect deep-sea corals from interaction with and damage from 
bottom-tending fishing gear. Red crab pot gear would be exempt from the 
prohibition;
     Designate a coral protection area in an 8-mi\2\ (21-km\2\) 
area southwest of Mount Desert Rock, a small, rocky island off the 
eastern Maine coast, about 20 nm (37 km) south of Mount Desert Island, 
encompassing depths of 100-200 m. Vessels would be prohibited from 
fishing with bottom-tending mobile gear in this area. Bottom-tending 
mobile gear includes but is not limited to: Bottom-tending otter 
trawls; bottom-tending beam trawls; hydraulic dredges; non-hydraulic 
dredges; and seines (with the exception of a purse seine);
     Designate a coral protection area in a 31-mi\2\ (79-km\2\) 
area on the Outer Schoodic Ridge, roughly 25 nm (46 km) southeast of 
Mount Desert Island, encompassing depths of 104-248 m. Vessels would be 
prohibited from fishing in this area with the same bottom-tending 
mobile gears as identified in the Mount Desert Rock area;
     Establish provisions for vessels transiting through the 
coral protection areas;
     Designate the area around Jordan Basin in the Gulf of 
Maine as a dedicated habitat research area; and
     Expand framework adjustment provisions in the New England 
fishery management plans (FMP) for future modifications to the deep-sea 
coral protection measures.
    The Magnuson-Stevens Act allows us to approve, partially approve, 
or disapprove measures recommended by the Council in an amendment based 
on whether the measures are consistent with the FMPs, plan amendment, 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act and its National Standards, and other 
applicable law. The Council develops policy for its fisheries and we 
defer to the Council on policy decisions unless those policies are 
inconsistent with the Magnuson-Steven Act or other applicable law. As 
such, we are seeking comment on whether measures in Omnibus Deep-Sea 
Coral Amendment are consistent with the FMPs, the Magnuson-Stevens Act 
and its National Standards, and other applicable law. Through this 
notice, NMFS seeks comments on Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment and its 
incorporated documents through the end of the comment period stated in 
the DATES section of this notice of availability (NOA). Following the 
publication of this NOA a rule proposing the implementation of measures 
in this amendment is anticipated to be published in the Federal 
Register for public comment. Public comments must be received by the 
end of the comment period provided in this NOA of the Omnibus Deep-Sea 
Coral Amendment to be considered in the approval/disapproval decision. 
All comments received by the end of the comment period on the NOA, 
whether specifically directed to the NOA or the proposed rule, will be 
considered in the approval/disapproval decision. Comments received 
after the end of the comment period for the NOA will not be considered 
in the approval/disapproval decision of the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral 
Amendment.

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

    Dated: August 21, 2019.
Jennifer M. Wallace,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-18307 Filed 8-23-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P