Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 52806-52808 [2019-21548]

Download as PDF 52806 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 192 / Thursday, October 3, 2019 / Rules and Regulations includes time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The ADF&G Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Trip Logbook, GAF Electronic Landing Report, and GAF Permit Log are mentioned in this final rule. Each of these are reporting requirements specified by NMFS regulations. The requirements apply only to the harvest accounting of charter vessel anglers by charter vessel guides. Under this final rule, the harvests of unguided charter vessel anglers will not be subject to these requirements; therefore, this rulemaking imposes no additional burden or cost on the regulated community. Send comments regarding this burden estimate, or any other aspect of this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to NMFS (see ADDRESSES), and by email to OIRA_ Submission@omb.eop.gov, or fax to (202) 395–5806. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number. All currently approved NOAA collections of information may be viewed at: https://www.cio.noaa.gov/ services_programs/prasubs.html. requirements, Russian Federation, Transportation, Treaties, Wildlife. Small Entity Compliance Guide BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for which an agency is required to prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis, the agency shall publish one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, and shall designate such publications as ‘‘small entity compliance guides.’’ The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. The preambles to the proposed rule and this final rule serve as the small entity compliance guide. Copies of the proposed rule and this final rule are available from the NMFS website at https://fisheries.noaa.gov/ region/alaska. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 300 Administrative practice and procedure, Antarctica, Canada, Exports, Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, Imports, Indians, Labeling, Marine resources, Reporting and recordkeeping VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:33 Oct 02, 2019 Jkt 250001 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, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 300 as follows: PART 300—INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS Subpart E—Pacific Halibut Fisheries 1. The authority citation for part 300, subpart E, continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773–773k. 2. In § 300.65, add paragraph (d)(6) to read as follows: ■ § 300.65 Catch sharing plan and domestic management measures in waters in and off Alaska. * * * * * (d) * * * (6) If a charter vessel angler catches and retains halibut, and that halibut is on board a fishing vessel with halibut caught and retained by persons who are not charter vessel anglers, then the daily bag limit, possession limit, size limit, and carcass retention regulations applicable to charter vessel anglers shall apply to all halibut on board the fishing vessel. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2019–21258 Filed 10–2–19; 8:45 am] DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 180117042–8884–02] RIN 0648–XT023 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; quota transfer. AGENCY: NMFS transfers 100 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) quota from the Reserve category to the General category October through November 2019 subquota period. The quota transfer is intended to provide additional fishing opportunities based on consideration of the regulatory SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments and applies to Atlantic tunas General category (commercial) permitted vessels and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for BFT. DATES: Effective October 1, 2019, through November 30, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin, 978–281–9260, or Larry Redd, 301–420–8503. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006) and amendments. NMFS is required under ATCA and the Magnuson-Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a reasonable opportunity to harvest the ICCATrecommended quota. The current baseline General and Reserve category quotas are 555.7 mt and 29.5 mt, respectively. See § 635.27(a). Each of the General category time periods (January, June through August, September, October through November, and December) is allocated a ‘‘subquota’’ or portion of the annual General category quota. The baseline subquotas for each time period are as follows: 29.5 mt for January; 277.9 mt for June through August; 147.3 mt for September; 72.2 mt for October through November; and 28.9 mt for December. Any unused General category quota rolls forward within the fishing year, which coincides with the calendar year, from one time period to the next, and is available for use in subsequent time periods. To date for 2019, NMFS has taken six actions that resulted in adjustments to the Reserve category, leaving 165.3 mt of quota currently available (84 FR 3724, February 13, 2019; 84 FR 6701, February 28, 2019; 84 FR 35340, July 23, 2019; 84 FR 47440, September 10, 2019; and 84 FR 48566, September 16, 2019). E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 192 / Thursday, October 3, 2019 / Rules and Regulations Transfer of 100 mt From the Reserve Category to the General Category Under § 635.27(a)(9), NMFS has the authority to transfer quota among fishing categories or subcategories, after considering regulatory determination criteria provided under § 635.27(a)(8). NMFS has considered all of the relevant determination criteria and their applicability to this inseason quota transfer. These considerations include, but are not limited to, the following: Regarding the usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock (§ 635.27(a)(8)(i)), biological samples collected from BFT landed by General category fishermen and provided by bluefin tuna dealers continue to provide valuable data for ongoing scientific studies of bluefin tuna age and growth, migration, and reproductive status. Additional opportunity to land bluefin tuna in the General category would support the continued collection of a broad range of data for these studies and for stock monitoring purposes. NMFS also considered the catches of the General category quota to date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made (§ 635.27(a)(8)(ii) and (ix)). NMFS anticipates that the current October through November subquota of 72.2 mt could be reached in a few days, given the high daily landings rates that were occurring when the September fishery closed and that commercial-sized bluefin tuna remain available in the areas where General category permitted vessels operate at this time of year. Without a quota transfer, NMFS would have to close the General category fishery for the remainder of the October through November subquota period very early, while unused quota remains in the Reserve category. Transferring 100 mt of quota from the Reserve category would result in 172.2 mt being available for the October through November 2019 subquota period, thus effectively providing additional opportunities to harvest the U.S. bluefin tuna quota while avoiding exceeding it. Regarding the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the particular category quota (here, the General category) to harvest the additional amount of BFT before the end of the fishing year (§ 635.27(a)(8)(iii)), NMFS anticipates that all of the 100 mt of quota will be used by November 30, based on current figures and the amount of quota being transferred, but this is also subject to weather conditions and bluefin tuna availability. In the unlikely VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:33 Oct 02, 2019 Jkt 250001 event that any of this quota is unused by November 30, such quota will roll forward to the next subperiod within the calendar year (i.e., the December period), and NMFS anticipates that it would be used before the end of the fishing year. NMFS also considered the estimated amounts by which quotas for other gear categories of the fishery might be exceeded (§ 635.27(a)(8)(iv)) and the ability to account for all 2019 landings and dead discards. In the last several years, total U.S. BFT landings have been below the available U.S. quota such that the United States has carried forward the maximum amount of underharvest allowed by ICCAT from one year to the next. NMFS will need to account for 2019 landings and dead discards within the adjusted U.S. quota, consistent with ICCAT recommendations, and anticipates having sufficient quota to do that, even with the 100 mt transfer to the General category for the October through November fishery. NMFS anticipates that General category participants in all areas and time periods will have opportunities to harvest the General category quota in 2019, through active inseason management such as the timing of quota transfers, as practicable. Thus, this quota transfer would allow fishermen to take advantage of the availability of fish on the fishing grounds to the extent consistent with the available amount of transferrable quota and other management objectives, while avoiding quota exceedance. NMFS also considered the effects of the adjustment on the BFT stock and the effects of the transfer on accomplishing the objectives of the FMP (§ 635.27(a)(8)(v) and (vi)). This transfer would be consistent with the current quotas, which were established and analyzed in the 2018 BFT quota final rule (83 FR 51391, October 11, 2018), and with objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments and is not expected to negatively impact stock health or to affect the stock in ways not already analyzed in those documents. Another principal consideration is the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full annual U.S. BFT quota without exceeding it based on the goals of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, including to achieve optimum yield on a continuing basis and to optimize the ability of all permit categories to harvest their full BFT quota allocations (related to § 635.27(a)(8)(x)). Specific to the General category, this includes providing opportunity equitably across all time periods. PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 52807 Based on the considerations above, NMFS is transferring 100 mt of the available 165.3 mt of Reserve category quota to the General category for the October through November 2019 fishery, resulting in a subquota of 172.2 mt for the October through November 2019 fishery and 65.3 mt in the Reserve category. Monitoring and Reporting NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely. Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS’ ability to timely implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustment, as well as closures, and may result in enforcement actions. Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, General and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling (888) 872–8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.). Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional action (e.g., quota adjustment, daily retention limit adjustment, or closure) is necessary to ensure available subquotas are not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. If needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (978) 281–9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments. 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: The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments provide for inseason quota transfers to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment to implement the quota transfer is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as such a delay would likely result in exceedance of the General E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 52808 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 192 / Thursday, October 3, 2019 / Rules and Regulations category October through November fishery subquota or earlier closure of the fishery while fish are available on the fishing grounds. Subquota exceedance may result in the need to reduce quota for the General category later in the year and thus could affect later fishing opportunities. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:33 Oct 02, 2019 Jkt 250001 waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of the above reasons, there also is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under §§ 635.27(a)(9) and 635.28(a)(1), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: September 30, 2019. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–21548 Filed 9–30–19; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 192 (Thursday, October 3, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 52806-52808]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-21548]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 180117042-8884-02]
RIN 0648-XT023


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; quota transfer.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS transfers 100 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin tuna 
(BFT) quota from the Reserve category to the General category October 
through November 2019 subquota period. The quota transfer is intended 
to provide additional fishing opportunities based on consideration of 
the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments 
and applies to Atlantic tunas General category (commercial) permitted 
vessels and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category 
permitted vessels with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing 
commercially for BFT.

DATES: Effective October 1, 2019, through November 30, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin, 978-281-9260, or 
Larry Redd, 301-420-8503.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by 
persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR 
part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by 
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
(ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the 
allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory 
Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 
58058, October 2, 2006) and amendments. NMFS is required under ATCA and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a 
reasonable opportunity to harvest the ICCAT-recommended quota.
    The current baseline General and Reserve category quotas are 555.7 
mt and 29.5 mt, respectively. See Sec.  635.27(a). Each of the General 
category time periods (January, June through August, September, October 
through November, and December) is allocated a ``subquota'' or portion 
of the annual General category quota. The baseline subquotas for each 
time period are as follows: 29.5 mt for January; 277.9 mt for June 
through August; 147.3 mt for September; 72.2 mt for October through 
November; and 28.9 mt for December. Any unused General category quota 
rolls forward within the fishing year, which coincides with the 
calendar year, from one time period to the next, and is available for 
use in subsequent time periods. To date for 2019, NMFS has taken six 
actions that resulted in adjustments to the Reserve category, leaving 
165.3 mt of quota currently available (84 FR 3724, February 13, 2019; 
84 FR 6701, February 28, 2019; 84 FR 35340, July 23, 2019; 84 FR 47440, 
September 10, 2019; and 84 FR 48566, September 16, 2019).

[[Page 52807]]

Transfer of 100 mt From the Reserve Category to the General Category

    Under Sec.  635.27(a)(9), NMFS has the authority to transfer quota 
among fishing categories or subcategories, after considering regulatory 
determination criteria provided under Sec.  635.27(a)(8). NMFS has 
considered all of the relevant determination criteria and their 
applicability to this inseason quota transfer. These considerations 
include, but are not limited to, the following:
    Regarding the usefulness of information obtained from catches in 
the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the 
status of the stock (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(i)), biological samples 
collected from BFT landed by General category fishermen and provided by 
bluefin tuna dealers continue to provide valuable data for ongoing 
scientific studies of bluefin tuna age and growth, migration, and 
reproductive status. Additional opportunity to land bluefin tuna in the 
General category would support the continued collection of a broad 
range of data for these studies and for stock monitoring purposes.
    NMFS also considered the catches of the General category quota to 
date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no 
adjustment is made (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(ii) and (ix)). NMFS anticipates 
that the current October through November subquota of 72.2 mt could be 
reached in a few days, given the high daily landings rates that were 
occurring when the September fishery closed and that commercial-sized 
bluefin tuna remain available in the areas where General category 
permitted vessels operate at this time of year. Without a quota 
transfer, NMFS would have to close the General category fishery for the 
remainder of the October through November subquota period very early, 
while unused quota remains in the Reserve category. Transferring 100 mt 
of quota from the Reserve category would result in 172.2 mt being 
available for the October through November 2019 subquota period, thus 
effectively providing additional opportunities to harvest the U.S. 
bluefin tuna quota while avoiding exceeding it.
    Regarding the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the 
particular category quota (here, the General category) to harvest the 
additional amount of BFT before the end of the fishing year (Sec.  
635.27(a)(8)(iii)), NMFS anticipates that all of the 100 mt of quota 
will be used by November 30, based on current figures and the amount of 
quota being transferred, but this is also subject to weather conditions 
and bluefin tuna availability. In the unlikely event that any of this 
quota is unused by November 30, such quota will roll forward to the 
next subperiod within the calendar year (i.e., the December period), 
and NMFS anticipates that it would be used before the end of the 
fishing year.
    NMFS also considered the estimated amounts by which quotas for 
other gear categories of the fishery might be exceeded (Sec.  
635.27(a)(8)(iv)) and the ability to account for all 2019 landings and 
dead discards. In the last several years, total U.S. BFT landings have 
been below the available U.S. quota such that the United States has 
carried forward the maximum amount of underharvest allowed by ICCAT 
from one year to the next. NMFS will need to account for 2019 landings 
and dead discards within the adjusted U.S. quota, consistent with ICCAT 
recommendations, and anticipates having sufficient quota to do that, 
even with the 100 mt transfer to the General category for the October 
through November fishery. NMFS anticipates that General category 
participants in all areas and time periods will have opportunities to 
harvest the General category quota in 2019, through active inseason 
management such as the timing of quota transfers, as practicable. Thus, 
this quota transfer would allow fishermen to take advantage of the 
availability of fish on the fishing grounds to the extent consistent 
with the available amount of transferrable quota and other management 
objectives, while avoiding quota exceedance.
    NMFS also considered the effects of the adjustment on the BFT stock 
and the effects of the transfer on accomplishing the objectives of the 
FMP (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(v) and (vi)). This transfer would be consistent 
with the current quotas, which were established and analyzed in the 
2018 BFT quota final rule (83 FR 51391, October 11, 2018), and with 
objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments and is not 
expected to negatively impact stock health or to affect the stock in 
ways not already analyzed in those documents. Another principal 
consideration is the objective of providing opportunities to harvest 
the full annual U.S. BFT quota without exceeding it based on the goals 
of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, including to achieve 
optimum yield on a continuing basis and to optimize the ability of all 
permit categories to harvest their full BFT quota allocations (related 
to Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(x)). Specific to the General category, this 
includes providing opportunity equitably across all time periods.
    Based on the considerations above, NMFS is transferring 100 mt of 
the available 165.3 mt of Reserve category quota to the General 
category for the October through November 2019 fishery, resulting in a 
subquota of 172.2 mt for the October through November 2019 fishery and 
65.3 mt in the Reserve category.

Monitoring and Reporting

    NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely. Dealers are 
required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer 
receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS' ability to 
timely implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustment, 
as well as closures, and may result in enforcement actions. 
Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, 
General and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to 
report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours 
of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing 
hmspermits.noaa.gov, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling 
(888) 872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.).
    Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, 
NMFS may determine that additional action (e.g., quota adjustment, 
daily retention limit adjustment, or closure) is necessary to ensure 
available subquotas are not exceeded or to enhance scientific data 
collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. If 
needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal 
Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas 
Information Line at (978) 281-9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for 
updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments.

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:
    The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and 
amendments provide for inseason quota transfers to respond to the 
unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the 
migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the 
BFT fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment 
to implement the quota transfer is impracticable and contrary to the 
public interest as such a delay would likely result in exceedance of 
the General

[[Page 52808]]

category October through November fishery subquota or earlier closure 
of the fishery while fish are available on the fishing grounds. 
Subquota exceedance may result in the need to reduce quota for the 
General category later in the year and thus could affect later fishing 
opportunities. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 
553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. 
For all of the above reasons, there also is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 
553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness.
    This action is being taken under Sec. Sec.  635.27(a)(9) and 
635.28(a)(1), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq.

    Dated: September 30, 2019.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-21548 Filed 9-30-19; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P