Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendments 50A-F, 52438-52442 [2019-21259]

Download as PDF 52438 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 191 / Wednesday, October 2, 2019 / Proposed Rules management systems practices) are standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. FMCSA does not intend to adopt its own technical standard, thus there is no need to submit a separate statement to OMB on this matter. The standard being incorporated in this proposed rule is discussed in detail in sections V, Discussion of Proposed Rulemaking, and VII, Section by Section Analysis, and is reasonably available at FMCSA and through the CVSA website. P. Environment (National Environmental Policy Act) FMCSA analyzed this rule consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and determined this action is categorically excluded from further analysis and documentation in an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under FMCSA Order 5610.1 (69 FR 9680, March 1, 2004), Appendix 2, paragraph (6)(b). This Categorical Exclusion (CE) covers minor revisions to regulations. The content in this proposed rule is covered by this CE, there are no extraordinary circumstances present, and the proposed action does not have any effect on the quality of the environment. The CE determination is available for inspection or copying in the Regulations.gov website listed under ADDRESSES. List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 385 Administrative practice and procedure, Highway safety, Incorporation by reference, Mexico, Motor carriers, Motor vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. In consideration of the foregoing, FMCSA proposes to amend 49 CFR chapter III, part 385, as set forth below: PART 385—SAFETY FITNESS PROCEDURES 1. The authority citation for part 385 is revised to read as follows: khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 113, 504, 521(b), 5105(d), 5109, 5113 13901–13905, 13908, 31135, 31136, 31144, 31148, and 31502; Sec. 113(a), Pub. L. 103–311, 108 Stat. 1673, 1676; Sec. 408, Pub. L. 104–88, 109 Stat. 803, 958; Sec. 350 of Pub. L. 107–87, 115 Stat. 833, 864; and 49 CFR 1.87. 2. Revise § 385.4(b)(1) to read as follows: ■ § 385.4 Matter incorporated by reference. * * * * * (b) * * * (1) ‘‘North American Standard Out-ofService Criteria and Level VI Inspection VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:10 Oct 01, 2019 Jkt 250001 Procedures and Out-of-Service Criteria for Commercial Highway Vehicles Transporting Transuranics and Highway Route Controlled Quantities of Radioactive Materials as defined in 49 CFR part 173.403,’’ April 1, 2019, incorporation by reference approved for § 385.415(b). * * * * * Issued under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.87 on: Dated: September 19, 2019. Raymond P. Martinez, Administrator. [FR Doc. 2019–20905 Filed 10–1–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 190925–0045] RIN 0648–BI84 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendments 50A–F National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in Amendments 50A, 50B, 50C, 50D, 50E, and 50F to the Fishery Management Plan for Reef Fish Resources in the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council)(Amendments 50A–F). This proposed rule 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 of Mexico (Gulf) by the private angling component of the recreational sector. The purposes of this proposed rule and 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 November 1, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this proposed rule identified by SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 ‘‘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, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, 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 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 may be obtained from the website: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ action/amendment-50a-f-statemanagement-program-recreational-redsnapper. Amendments 50A–F includes an environmental impact statement, fishery impact statement, regulatory impact review, and a Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lauren Waters, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727–824– 5305; email: lauren.waters@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Council manage the Gulf reef fish fishery, which includes red snapper, under the FMP. The Council prepared the FMP and NMFS implements the FMP through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (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, though 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 2022 (80 FR 22422, April 22, 2015). Within the recreational sector, the recreational ACL E:\FR\FM\02OCP1.SGM 02OCP1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 191 / Wednesday, October 2, 2019 / Proposed Rules 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 fishing season for the for-hire component 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 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:10 Oct 01, 2019 Jkt 250001 management for measures controlling certain harvest activities, red snapper would remain a federally managed species. The Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee would continue to recommend the acceptable biola ogical catch for red snapper, while the Council would determine the total recreational sector, component, and state ACLs. Management Measures Contained in This Proposed Rule This proposed rule would delegate authority to each of the Gulf states to establish specific management measures applicable to private anglers in Gulf Federal waters who are landing red snapper in that state. This rule would also allow Texas, Alabama, and Florida to request that NMFS close areas of Federal waters to the harvest and possession of red snapper by private anglers, consistent with the analysis provided in Amendment 50A. 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. This proposed rule 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 provision ending sector separation after the 2022 fishing year would be removed, and separate ACLs would continue to be set for each recreational component indefinitely. NMFS notes that while Amendments 50A–F and this proposed rule apply to the recreational red snapper private angling component, a vessel with only state-issued for-hire permits, that fishes under a state’s private angling component ACL, may not fish in Federal waters. 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. This proposed rule would delegate some management authority to a Gulf state to regulate recreational harvest of red PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 52439 snapper in Federal waters by private anglers landing in that state. Each state 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. Unless an area of Federal waters is closed to the harvest and possession of red snapper, NMFS expects that enforcement would primarily be conducted in state waters and dockside. However, under the delegation, private anglers would be required to comply with the fishing license or permit requirements of the state in which they intend to land the fish and may possess red snapper in Federal waters only if in compliance with that state’s season, bag limit, and minimum size limit. If NMFS determines that a state’s red snapper private angling-component 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 notice 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 50 CFR 622.2. This proposed rule would add definitions of ‘‘off Alabama,’’ ‘‘off Mississippi,’’ and ‘‘off 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. This proposed rule 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 E:\FR\FM\02OCP1.SGM 02OCP1 52440 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 191 / Wednesday, October 2, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Alabama, proportionally, based on their EFP allocation request. Therefore, this proposed rule would establish 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 (season, size limit, and bag limit) as described previously. Post-Season ACL Adjustments The proposed rule would establish post-season accountability measures (AM). An overage adjustment, or payback provision, is an 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. This 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. This proposed rule would establish postseason 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 total 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:10 Oct 01, 2019 Jkt 250001 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 This proposed rule 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 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 notice 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 their 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 notice 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. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the statutory basis for this proposed rule. No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been identified. A description of this proposed rule and its purpose and need are contained in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this certification is as follows. The rule concerns state management of recreational fishing for red snapper from private/leased vessels in the Gulf exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The only entities that would be directly affected by the rule are the Gulf states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. States are not small entities. Anglers (recreational fishers) who fish for red snapper in the Gulf EEZ would be indirectly affected; however, anglers are not considered small entities as that term is defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6) and the RFA does not consider indirect impacts. For-hire fishing businesses with vessels that are permitted to take anglers into the Gulf EEZ to fish for red snapper would not be affected. Hence, this rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622 Fisheries, Fishing, Gulf, Recreational, Red snapper. Dated: September 25, 2019. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: ■ E:\FR\FM\02OCP1.SGM 02OCP1 52441 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 191 / Wednesday, October 2, 2019 / Proposed Rules Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 622.1, paragraph (d), Table 1, add footnote 9 to the entry for ‘‘FMP for ■ § 622.1 the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico’’, to read as follows: * Purpose and scope. * * (d) * * * * * TABLE 1—FMPS IMPLEMENTED UNDER PART 622 FMP title Responsible fishery management council(s) * * * * * FMP for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico .................................................................... * GMFMC ................... * * * * * * Geographical area * Gulf.1 3 4 7 9 * 9 Certain provisions for the management of the private angling component of recreational red snapper in the Gulf EEZ have been delegated to the Gulf states, as specified in § 622.23. 3. In § 622.2, remove the combined definition of ‘‘Off Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama’’ and in alphabetical order, add specific definitions for ‘‘Off Alabama’’, ‘‘Off Louisiana’’ and ‘‘Off Mississippi’’ and to read as follows: ■ § 622.2 Definitions and acronyms. * * * * * Off Alabama means the waters in the Gulf west of a rhumb line at 87°31.1′ W long., which is a line directly south from the Alabama/Florida boundary, to a rhumb line at 88°23.1′ W long., which is a line directly south from the Mississippi/Alabama boundary. * * * * * Off Louisiana means the waters in the Gulf west of a rhumb line at 89°10.0′ W long., which is a line extending directly south from South Pass Light, to a rhumb line beginning at 29°32.1′ N lat., 93°47.7′ W long. and extending to 26°11.4′ N lat., 92°53.0′ W long., which line is an extension of the boundary between Louisiana and Texas. Off Mississippi means the waters in the Gulf west of a rhumb line at 88°23.1′ W long., which is a line directly south from the Mississippi/Alabama boundary, to a rhumb line at 89°10.0′ W long., which is a line extending directly south from South Pass Light. * * * * * ■ 4. In § 622.3, add paragraph (f) to read as follows: § 622.3 Relation to other laws and regulations. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS * * * * * (f) State management of the Gulf red snapper recreational sector private angling component. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas are delegated the authority to specify certain management measures related to the harvest and possession of red snapper by the private angling component in the Gulf EEZ. See VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:10 Oct 01, 2019 Jkt 250001 § 622.23 for the Gulf recreational red snapper management measures that have been delegated. ■ 5. Section 622.23 is added to read as follows: § 622.23 State management of the red snapper recreational sector private angling component in the Gulf EEZ. (a) Delegation. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas (Gulf states) are delegated the authority to manage certain aspects of recreational red snapper harvest by the private angling component in the Gulf EEZ (i.e., delegation). All other management measures for recreational red snapper in the Gulf EEZ not specified in this section continue to apply during state management. (1) Delegation of authority. As described in the FMP for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico, each Gulf state must specify the red snapper private angling component fishing season start and end dates to maintain harvest levels within the state’s ACL, as stated in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section. Each state must also specify a recreational bag limit and a minimum size limit within the range of 14 to 18 inches (35.6 cm to 45.7 cm), total length. Each state may specify a maximum size limit. If NMFS determines that a state’s red snapper private angling component 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 set forth above, i.e., fishing season start and end dates, a recreational bag limit, and a minimum size limit, then NMFS will publish a notice in the Federal Register stating that the default management measures for the red snapper private angling component, as described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, apply in the EEZ off that state. PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 (i) State management areas. For purposes of the delegation of the authority to establish certain management measures for the red snapper private angling component, five areas in the Gulf EEZ have been established; one off each of the five Gulf states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The boundaries off each state are described in § 622.2. (ii) State private angling component ACLs. All ACLs specified below are in round weight. (A) Alabama regional management area—1,122,662 lb (509,231 kg). (B) Florida regional management area—1,913,451 lb (867,927 kg). (C) Louisiana regional management area—816,233 lb (370,237 kg). (D) Mississippi regional management area—151,550 lb (68,742 kg). (E) Texas regional management area—265,105 lb (120,250 kg). (2) Default management measures. If a state’s delegation is suspended, the Federal management measures for the private angling season, recreational bag limit, and minimum size limit as described in §§ 622.34(b)(seasonal closure), 622.37(a)(1)(size limit), 622.38(b)(3)(bag limit), and 622.41(q)(2)(i)(season length) apply in the EEZ off that state. All other management measures not specified in this section remain in effect. (b) Post-season ACL adjustments for states with an active delegation. If a state’s red snapper private angling component landings exceed the applicable state’s component ACL specified in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, reducing that state’s private angling ACL 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. E:\FR\FM\02OCP1.SGM 02OCP1 52442 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 191 / Wednesday, October 2, 2019 / Proposed Rules (c) Area closures. As described in the FMP, for the red snapper private angling component, a state with an active delegation may request that NMFS establish an area closure in the EEZ off that state that prohibits the private angling component from harvesting or possessing red snapper. If NMFS determines that the request is within the scope of the analysis in the FMP, NMFS will publish a notice in the Federal Register to implement the requested closure for the fishing year. ■ 6. In § 622.34, revise paragraph (b) to read as follows: § 622.34 Seasonal and area closures designed to protect Gulf reef fish. * * * * * (b) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for red snapper. The recreational sector for red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed from January 1 through May 31, each year. During the closure, the bag and possession limit for red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero. See § 622.23(a)(1) regarding the fishing season for states with an active delegation of state management of the red snapper private angling component. A person subject to the private angling component bag limit under an active delegation of state management must be in compliance with the fishing license (permit) requirements of the state in which they intend to land the fish and may not possess red snapper in the Gulf EEZ when that state season is closed. * * * * * ■ 7. In § 622.37, revise paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows: § 622.37 Size limits. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS * * * * * (a) * * * (1) Red snapper—16 inches (40.6 cm), TL, for a fish taken by a person subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.38 (b)(3) and 13 inches (33.0 cm), TL, for a fish taken by a person not subject to the bag limit. See § 622.23(a)(1) regarding the minimum size limit for states with an active delegation of state management of the red snapper private angling component. A person subject to the private angling component bag limit under an active delegation of state management must be in compliance with the fishing license (permit) requirements of the state in which they intend to land the fish and may not possess red snapper in the Gulf EEZ that are smaller than may be possessed in that state. Additionally, fish taken by persons subject to the private angling component bag limit under state VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:10 Oct 01, 2019 Jkt 250001 management may not be less than 14 inches (35.6 cm), TL, in the Gulf EEZ. * * * * * ■ 8. In § 622.38, revise paragraph (b)(3) to read as follows: § 622.38 Bag and possession limits. * * * * * (b) * * * (3) Red snapper—2. However, no red snapper may be retained by the captain or crew of a vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat. The bag limit for such captain and crew is zero. See § 622.23(a)(1) regarding the bag limit applicability for states with an active delegation of state management of the red snapper private angling component. A person subject to the private angling component bag limit under an active delegation of state management must be in compliance with the fishing license (permit) requirements of the state in which they intend to land the fish and may not possess more red snapper in the Gulf EEZ than may be possessed in that state. * * * * * ■ 9. In § 622.39, revise paragraphs (a)(2)(i)(B) and (C) to read as follows: § 622.39 Quotas. * * * * * (a) * * * (2) * * * (i) * * * (B) Federal charter vessel/headboat component quota. The Federal charter vessel/headboat component quota applies to vessels that have been issued a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year. A person aboard a vessel that has been issued a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year may not harvest or possess red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ when the Federal charter vessel/headboat component is closed. The Federal charter vessel/ headboat component quota is 3.130 million lb (1.420 million kg), round weight. (C) Private angling component quota. The private angling component quota applies to vessels that fish under the bag limit and have not been issued a Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year. The private angling component quota is 4.269 million lb (1.936 million kg), round weight. * * * * * ■ 10. In § 622.41, add a sentence to the end of paragraph (q)(2)(i) and revise paragraph (q)(2)(iii) to read as follows: PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 § 622.41 Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and accountability measures (AMs). * * * * * (q) * * * (2) * * * (i) * * * See § 622.23(a)(1) regarding the fishing season for the private angling component for states with an active delegation. * * * * * (iii) * * * (A) [Reserved] (B) Federal charter vessel/headboat component ACT. The Federal charter vessel/headboat component ACT applies to vessels that have been issued a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year. A person aboard a vessel that has been issued a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year may not harvest or possess red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ when the Federal charter vessel/headboat component is closed. For the 2019 fishing year, the component ACT is 2.848 million lb (1.292 million kg), round weight. For the 2020 and subsequent fishing years, the component ACT is 2.504 million lb (1.136 million lb), round weight. (C) Private angling component ACT. The private angling component ACT applies to vessels that fish under the bag limit and have not been issued a Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year. The component ACT is 3.415 million lb (1.549 million kg), round weight. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2019–21259 Filed 10–1–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 190925–0043] RIN 0648–BJ03 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Rockfish Management in the Groundfish Fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and the Gulf of Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\02OCP1.SGM 02OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 191 (Wednesday, October 2, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 52438-52442]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-21259]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 190925-0045]
RIN 0648-BI84


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

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in 
Amendments 50A, 50B, 50C, 50D, 50E, and 50F to the Fishery Management 
Plan for Reef Fish Resources in the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared 
by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council)(Amendments 
50A-F). This proposed rule 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 of Mexico (Gulf) by the private angling component of 
the recreational sector. The purposes of this proposed rule and 
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 November 1, 2019.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this proposed rule 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, NMFS 
Southeast Regional Office, 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 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 may be obtained from the 
website: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/amendment-50a-f-state-management-program-recreational-red-snapper. Amendments 50A-F includes 
an environmental impact statement, fishery impact statement, regulatory 
impact review, and a Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Council manage the Gulf reef 
fish fishery, which includes red snapper, under the FMP. The Council 
prepared the FMP and NMFS implements the FMP through regulations at 50 
CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (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, though 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 2022 (80 FR 
22422, April 22, 2015). Within the recreational sector, the 
recreational ACL

[[Page 52439]]

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 fishing season for the for-hire component 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 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 harvest activities, red snapper would 
remain a federally managed species. The Council's Scientific and 
Statistical Committee would continue to recommend the acceptable biola 
ogical catch for red snapper, while the Council would determine the 
total recreational sector, component, and state ACLs.

Management Measures Contained in This Proposed Rule

    This proposed rule would delegate authority to each of the Gulf 
states to establish specific management measures applicable to private 
anglers in Gulf Federal waters who are landing red snapper in that 
state. This rule would also allow Texas, Alabama, and Florida to 
request that NMFS close areas of Federal waters to the harvest and 
possession of red snapper by private anglers, consistent with the 
analysis provided in Amendment 50A.

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. This proposed rule 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 provision ending sector separation after the 2022 
fishing year would be removed, and separate ACLs would continue to be 
set for each recreational component indefinitely.
    NMFS notes that while Amendments 50A-F and this proposed rule apply 
to the recreational red snapper private angling component, a vessel 
with only state-issued for-hire permits, that fishes under a state's 
private angling component ACL, may not fish in Federal waters.

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. This proposed rule 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 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.
    Unless an area of Federal waters is closed to the harvest and 
possession of red snapper, NMFS expects that enforcement would 
primarily be conducted in state waters and dockside. However, under the 
delegation, private anglers would be required to comply with the 
fishing license or permit requirements of the state in which they 
intend to land the fish and may possess red snapper in Federal waters 
only if in compliance with that state's season, bag limit, and minimum 
size limit.
    If NMFS determines that a state's red snapper private angling-
component 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 notice 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 50 
CFR 622.2. This proposed rule would add definitions of ``off Alabama,'' 
``off Mississippi,'' and ``off 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. This proposed rule 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

[[Page 52440]]

Alabama, proportionally, based on their EFP allocation request. 
Therefore, this proposed rule would establish 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 (season, size limit, and bag limit) as described 
previously.

Post-Season ACL Adjustments

    The proposed rule would establish post-season accountability 
measures (AM). An overage adjustment, or payback provision, is an 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. This 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. This proposed rule 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 total 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

    This proposed rule 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 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 notice 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 their 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 notice 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.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable 
laws, subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the statutory basis for this 
proposed rule. No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal 
rules have been identified. A description of this proposed rule and its 
purpose and need are contained in the SUMMARY section of the preamble.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for this certification is as follows.
    The rule concerns state management of recreational fishing for red 
snapper from private/leased vessels in the Gulf exclusive economic zone 
(EEZ). The only entities that would be directly affected by the rule 
are the Gulf states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and 
Texas. States are not small entities. Anglers (recreational fishers) 
who fish for red snapper in the Gulf EEZ would be indirectly affected; 
however, anglers are not considered small entities as that term is 
defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6) and the RFA does not consider indirect 
impacts. For-hire fishing businesses with vessels that are permitted to 
take anglers into the Gulf EEZ to fish for red snapper would not be 
affected. Hence, this rule would not have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities and an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Fisheries, Fishing, Gulf, Recreational, Red snapper.

    Dated: September 25, 2019.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 622--FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH 
ATLANTIC

0
1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows:


[[Page 52441]]


    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.
0
 2. In Sec.  622.1, paragraph (d), Table 1, add footnote 9 to the entry 
for ``FMP for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico'', to read 
as follows:


Sec.  622.1  Purpose and scope.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *

                                    Table 1--FMPs Implemented Under Part 622
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Responsible  fishery  management
               FMP title                             council(s)                       Geographical area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
FMP for the Reef Fish Resources of the  GMFMC..............................  Gulf.1 3 4 7 9
 Gulf of Mexico.
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\9\ Certain provisions for the management of the private angling component of recreational red snapper in the
  Gulf EEZ have been delegated to the Gulf states, as specified in Sec.   622.23.

0
3. In Sec.  622.2, remove the combined definition of ``Off Louisiana, 
Mississippi, and Alabama'' and in alphabetical order, add specific 
definitions for ``Off Alabama'', ``Off Louisiana'' and ``Off 
Mississippi'' and to read as follows:


Sec.  622.2  Definitions and acronyms.

* * * * *
    Off Alabama means the waters in the Gulf west of a rhumb line at 
87[deg]31.1' W long., which is a line directly south from the Alabama/
Florida boundary, to a rhumb line at 88[deg]23.1' W long., which is a 
line directly south from the Mississippi/Alabama boundary.
* * * * *
    Off Louisiana means the waters in the Gulf west of a rhumb line at 
89[deg]10.0' W long., which is a line extending directly south from 
South Pass Light, to a rhumb line beginning at 29[deg]32.1' N lat., 
93[deg]47.7' W long. and extending to 26[deg]11.4' N lat., 92[deg]53.0' 
W long., which line is an extension of the boundary between Louisiana 
and Texas.
    Off Mississippi means the waters in the Gulf west of a rhumb line 
at 88[deg]23.1' W long., which is a line directly south from the 
Mississippi/Alabama boundary, to a rhumb line at 89[deg]10.0' W long., 
which is a line extending directly south from South Pass Light.
* * * * *
0
4. In Sec.  622.3, add paragraph (f) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.3  Relation to other laws and regulations.

* * * * *
    (f) State management of the Gulf red snapper recreational sector 
private angling component. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, 
and Texas are delegated the authority to specify certain management 
measures related to the harvest and possession of red snapper by the 
private angling component in the Gulf EEZ. See Sec.  622.23 for the 
Gulf recreational red snapper management measures that have been 
delegated.
0
 5. Section 622.23 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  622.23  State management of the red snapper recreational sector 
private angling component in the Gulf EEZ.

    (a) Delegation. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas 
(Gulf states) are delegated the authority to manage certain aspects of 
recreational red snapper harvest by the private angling component in 
the Gulf EEZ (i.e., delegation). All other management measures for 
recreational red snapper in the Gulf EEZ not specified in this section 
continue to apply during state management.
    (1) Delegation of authority. As described in the FMP for the Reef 
Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico, each Gulf state must specify the 
red snapper private angling component fishing season start and end 
dates to maintain harvest levels within the state's ACL, as stated in 
paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section. Each state must also specify a 
recreational bag limit and a minimum size limit within the range of 14 
to 18 inches (35.6 cm to 45.7 cm), total length. Each state may specify 
a maximum size limit. If NMFS determines that a state's red snapper 
private angling component 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 set forth above, i.e., fishing season start and end 
dates, a recreational bag limit, and a minimum size limit, then NMFS 
will publish a notice in the Federal Register stating that the default 
management measures for the red snapper private angling component, as 
described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, apply in the EEZ off 
that state.
    (i) State management areas. For purposes of the delegation of the 
authority to establish certain management measures for the red snapper 
private angling component, five areas in the Gulf EEZ have been 
established; one off each of the five Gulf states: Alabama, Florida, 
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The boundaries off each state are 
described in Sec.  622.2.
    (ii) State private angling component ACLs. All ACLs specified below 
are in round weight.
    (A) Alabama regional management area--1,122,662 lb (509,231 kg).
    (B) Florida regional management area--1,913,451 lb (867,927 kg).
    (C) Louisiana regional management area--816,233 lb (370,237 kg).
    (D) Mississippi regional management area--151,550 lb (68,742 kg).
    (E) Texas regional management area--265,105 lb (120,250 kg).
    (2) Default management measures. If a state's delegation is 
suspended, the Federal management measures for the private angling 
season, recreational bag limit, and minimum size limit as described in 
Sec. Sec.  622.34(b)(seasonal closure), 622.37(a)(1)(size limit), 
622.38(b)(3)(bag limit), and 622.41(q)(2)(i)(season length) apply in 
the EEZ off that state. All other management measures not specified in 
this section remain in effect.
    (b) Post-season ACL adjustments for states with an active 
delegation. If a state's red snapper private angling component landings 
exceed the applicable state's component ACL specified in paragraph 
(a)(1)(ii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the 
Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the 
following fishing year, reducing that state's private angling ACL 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.

[[Page 52442]]

    (c) Area closures. As described in the FMP, for the red snapper 
private angling component, a state with an active delegation may 
request that NMFS establish an area closure in the EEZ off that state 
that prohibits the private angling component from harvesting or 
possessing red snapper. If NMFS determines that the request is within 
the scope of the analysis in the FMP, NMFS will publish a notice in the 
Federal Register to implement the requested closure for the fishing 
year.
0
 6. In Sec.  622.34, revise paragraph (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.34  Seasonal and area closures designed to protect Gulf reef 
fish.

* * * * *
    (b) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for red snapper. 
The recreational sector for red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ is 
closed from January 1 through May 31, each year. During the closure, 
the bag and possession limit for red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ is 
zero. See Sec.  622.23(a)(1) regarding the fishing season for states 
with an active delegation of state management of the red snapper 
private angling component. A person subject to the private angling 
component bag limit under an active delegation of state management must 
be in compliance with the fishing license (permit) requirements of the 
state in which they intend to land the fish and may not possess red 
snapper in the Gulf EEZ when that state season is closed.
* * * * *
0
7. In Sec.  622.37, revise paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.37  Size limits.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (1) Red snapper--16 inches (40.6 cm), TL, for a fish taken by a 
person subject to the bag limit specified in Sec.  622.38 (b)(3) and 13 
inches (33.0 cm), TL, for a fish taken by a person not subject to the 
bag limit. See Sec.  622.23(a)(1) regarding the minimum size limit for 
states with an active delegation of state management of the red snapper 
private angling component. A person subject to the private angling 
component bag limit under an active delegation of state management must 
be in compliance with the fishing license (permit) requirements of the 
state in which they intend to land the fish and may not possess red 
snapper in the Gulf EEZ that are smaller than may be possessed in that 
state. Additionally, fish taken by persons subject to the private 
angling component bag limit under state management may not be less than 
14 inches (35.6 cm), TL, in the Gulf EEZ.
* * * * *
0
 8. In Sec.  622.38, revise paragraph (b)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.38  Bag and possession limits.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (3) Red snapper--2. However, no red snapper may be retained by the 
captain or crew of a vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat. 
The bag limit for such captain and crew is zero. See Sec.  622.23(a)(1) 
regarding the bag limit applicability for states with an active 
delegation of state management of the red snapper private angling 
component. A person subject to the private angling component bag limit 
under an active delegation of state management must be in compliance 
with the fishing license (permit) requirements of the state in which 
they intend to land the fish and may not possess more red snapper in 
the Gulf EEZ than may be possessed in that state.
* * * * *
0
9. In Sec.  622.39, revise paragraphs (a)(2)(i)(B) and (C) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  622.39  Quotas.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (B) Federal charter vessel/headboat component quota. The Federal 
charter vessel/headboat component quota applies to vessels that have 
been issued a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf 
reef fish any time during the fishing year. A person aboard a vessel 
that has been issued a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef 
fish any time during the fishing year may not harvest or possess red 
snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ when the Federal charter vessel/
headboat component is closed. The Federal charter vessel/headboat 
component quota is 3.130 million lb (1.420 million kg), round weight.
    (C) Private angling component quota. The private angling component 
quota applies to vessels that fish under the bag limit and have not 
been issued a Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish 
any time during the fishing year. The private angling component quota 
is 4.269 million lb (1.936 million kg), round weight.
* * * * *
0
10. In Sec.  622.41, add a sentence to the end of paragraph (q)(2)(i) 
and revise paragraph (q)(2)(iii) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.41  Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), 
and accountability measures (AMs).

* * * * *
    (q) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (i) * * * See Sec.  622.23(a)(1) regarding the fishing season for 
the private angling component for states with an active delegation.
* * * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (A) [Reserved]
    (B) Federal charter vessel/headboat component ACT. The Federal 
charter vessel/headboat component ACT applies to vessels that have been 
issued a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef 
fish any time during the fishing year. A person aboard a vessel that 
has been issued a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any 
time during the fishing year may not harvest or possess red snapper in 
or from the Gulf EEZ when the Federal charter vessel/headboat component 
is closed. For the 2019 fishing year, the component ACT is 2.848 
million lb (1.292 million kg), round weight. For the 2020 and 
subsequent fishing years, the component ACT is 2.504 million lb (1.136 
million lb), round weight.
    (C) Private angling component ACT. The private angling component 
ACT applies to vessels that fish under the bag limit and have not been 
issued a Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any 
time during the fishing year. The component ACT is 3.415 million lb 
(1.549 million kg), round weight.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2019-21259 Filed 10-1-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P