Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Aggregated Large Coastal Shark and Hammerhead Shark Management Group in the Atlantic Region; Retention Limit Adjustment, 54522-54524 [2019-21896]

Download as PDF 54522 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 197 / Thursday, October 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations Community No. State and location Marion County, Unincorporated Areas ................. 410154 Newport, City of, Lincoln County .......................... 410131 Salem, City of, Marion and Polk Counties. .......... 410167 Siletz, City of, Lincoln County. ............................. 410132 Toledo, City of, Lincoln County. ........................... 410133 Turner, City of, Marion County. ............................ 410171 Waldport, City of, Lincoln County. ........................ 410134 Yachats, City of, Lincoln County. ......................... 410135 Date certain Federal assistance no longer available in SFHAs Effective date authorization/cancellation of sale of flood insurance in community Current effective map date December 10, 1971, Emerg; August 15, 1979, Reg; October 18, 2019, Susp. October 18, 1974, Emerg; April 15, 1980, Reg; October 18, 2019, Susp. December 3, 1971, Emerg; June 15, 1979, Reg; October 18, 2019, Susp. May 30, 1975, Emerg; March 1, 1979, Reg; October 18, 2019, Susp. April 19, 1973, Emerg; March 1, 1979, Reg; October 18, 2019, Susp. August 1, 1975, Emerg; April 2, 1979, Reg; October 18, 2019, Susp. November 1, 1974, Emerg; March 15, 1979, Reg; October 18, 2019, Susp. July 18, 1975, Emerg; March 1, 1979, Reg; October 18, 2019, Susp. ......do ................... Do. ......do ................... Do. ......do ................... Do. October 18, 2019 October 18, 2019. ......do ................... Do. ......do ................... Do. ......do ................... Do. ......do ................... Do. *......do = Ditto. Code for reading third column: Emerg.—Emergency; Reg.—Regular; Susp.—Suspension. Dated: October 3, 2019. Katherine B. Fox, Assistant Administrator for Mitigation, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration—FEMA Resilience, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency. [FR Doc. 2019–22123 Filed 10–9–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–12–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 150413357–5999–02] RIN 0648–XT024 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Aggregated Large Coastal Shark and Hammerhead Shark Management Group in the Atlantic Region; Retention Limit Adjustment National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason retention limit adjustment. AGENCY: NMFS is adjusting the commercial aggregated large coastal shark (LCS) and hammerhead shark management group retention limit for directed shark limited access permit holders in the Atlantic region from 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip to 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip. This action is based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. The retention limit will remain at 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip in the Atlantic region through the SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:03 Oct 09, 2019 Jkt 250001 rest of the 2019 fishing season or until NMFS announces via a notification in the Federal Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery closure. This retention limit adjustment affects anyone with a directed shark limited access permit fishing for LCS in the Atlantic region. DATES: This retention limit adjustment is effective on October 9, 2019, through December 31, 2019, or until NMFS announces via a notification in the Federal Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery closure, if warranted. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Guy DuBeck, Ian Miller, or Karyl BrewsterGeisz 301–427–8503; fax 301–713–1917. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Atlantic shark fisheries are managed under the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP), its amendments, and implementing regulations (50 CFR part 635) issued under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.). Atlantic shark fisheries have separate regional (Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic) quotas for all management groups except those for blue shark, porbeagle shark, pelagic sharks (other than porbeagle or blue sharks), and the shark research fishery for LCS and sandbar sharks. The boundary between the Gulf of Mexico region and the Atlantic region is defined at § 635.27(b)(1) as a line beginning on the East Coast of Florida at the mainland at 25°20.4′ N lat, proceeding due east. Any water and land to the north and east of that boundary is considered, for the purposes of setting and monitoring quotas, to be within the Atlantic region. This inseason action only affects the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 management groups in the Atlantic region. Under § 635.24(a)(8), NMFS may adjust the commercial retention limits in the shark fisheries during the fishing season. Before making any adjustment, NMFS must consider specified regulatory criteria (see § 635.24(a)(8)(i) through (vi)). After considering these criteria as discussed below, NMFS has concluded that increasing the retention limit of the Atlantic aggregated LCS and hammerhead management groups for directed shark limited access permit holders in the Atlantic region will allow use of available aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management group quotas and will provide fishermen throughout the region equitable fishing opportunities for the rest of the year. Therefore, NMFS is increasing the commercial Atlantic aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark retention limit in the Atlantic region from 45 to 55 LCS other than sandbar shark per vessel per trip. NMFS considered the inseason retention limit adjustment criteria listed at § 635.24(a)(8)(i) through (vi), which includes: • The amount of remaining shark quota in the relevant area, region, or sub-region to date, based on dealer reports. Based on dealer reports through September 13, 2019, 34.5 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (76,011 lb dw), or 20 percent, of the 168.9 mt dw shark quota for aggregated LCS and 9.3 mt dw (20,479 lb dw), or 34 percent, of the 27.1 mt dw shark quota for the hammerhead management groups have been harvested in the Atlantic region. This means that approximately 80 percent of the aggregated LCS quota remains available and approximately 66 percent of the hammerhead shark quota remains available. NMFS took action on April 2, E:\FR\FM\10OCR1.SGM 10OCR1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 197 / Thursday, October 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations 2019, to reduce the retention limit from 25 to 3 after considering the relevant inseason adjustment criteria, particularly the need for all regions to have an equitable opportunity to utilize the quota (84 FR 12524). NMFS increased the retention limit to 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip on June 25, 2019 (84 FR 29808), and increased the retention limit to 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip on August 18, 2019 (84 FR 42827), to promote use of the available quota. • The catch rates of the relevant shark species/complexes in the region or subregion, to date, based on dealer reports. Based on the current commercial retention limit and average catch rate of landings data from dealer reports, the amount of Atlantic aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark quota available is high, while harvest in the Atlantic region on a daily basis is low. Using current catch rates, projections indicate that landings would not reach the quota before the end of the 2019 fishing season (December 31, 2019). A higher retention limit authorized under this action will promote increased fishing opportunities and utilization of available quota in the Atlantic region. • Estimated date of fishery closure based on when the landings are projected to reach 80 percent of the available overall, regional, and/or subregional quota, if the fishery’s landings are not projected to reach 100 percent of the applicable quota before the end of the season. Once the landings reach 80 percent of either the aggregated LCS or hammerhead shark quotas, NMFS would, as required by the regulations at § 635.28(b)(3), close the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups since they are ‘‘linked quotas.’’ However, current catch rates would likely result in the fisheries remaining open for the remainder of the year. The higher retention limit should increase the likelihood of full utilization of the quota in the Atlantic region, while also allowing the fisheries to operate for the remainder of the year. • Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments. Increasing the retention limit on the aggregated LCS and hammerhead management groups in the Atlantic region from 45 to 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip would continue to allow for fishing opportunities throughout the rest of the year consistent with objectives established in the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, including rebuilding requirements for overfished stocks. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:03 Oct 09, 2019 Jkt 250001 • Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migratory patterns of the relevant shark species based on scientific and fishery-based knowledge. The directed shark fisheries in the Atlantic region are composed of a mix of species, with a high abundance of aggregated LCS caught in conjunction with hammerhead sharks. Migratory patterns of many LCS in the Atlantic region indicate that sharks move farther north in the summer and then return south in the fall. Taking these migration patterns into account, NMFS increased the retention limit on June 25, 2019, from 3 to 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip (84 FR 29808), then from 36 to 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip on August 18, 2019 (84 FR 42827), to provide additional fishing opportunities for fishermen in the Mid-Atlantic and New England areas. However, based on dealer reports through September 13, 2019, harvest in the Atlantic region on a daily basis has been low. Therefore, NMFS is increasing the retention limit from 45 to 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip in order to provide additional opportunity for fishermen to fully utilize the quota in the entire Atlantic region. • Effects of catch rates in one part of a region or sub-region precluding vessels in another part of that region or sub-region from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the relevant quota. NMFS’ goal for the 2019 commercial shark fishery is to ensure fishing opportunities throughout the fishing season and the Atlantic region (83 FR 60777; November 27, 2018, 84 FR 12524; April 2, 2019, 84 FR 29808; June 25, 2019, and 84 FR 42827; August 18, 2019). While dealer reports indicate that, under current catch rates, the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups in the Atlantic region would remain open for the remainder of the year, the catch rates also indicate that the quotas would likely not be fully harvested under the current retention limit. If the harvest of these species is increased through an increased retention limit, NMFS estimates that the fishery would remain open for the remainder of the year and fishermen throughout the Atlantic region would have a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the quota. On November 27, 2018 (83 FR 60777), NMFS announced in a final rule that the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark fisheries management groups for the Atlantic region would open on January 1 with a quota of 168.9 mt dw (372,552 lb dw) and 27.1 mt dw (59,736 lb dw), PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 54523 respectively, and a commercial retention limit of 25 LCS other than sandbar sharks per trip for directed shark limited access permit holders in those fisheries. NMFS published a proposed rule on September 11, 2018 (83 FR 45866), and invited and considered public comment. In the final rule, NMFS explained that if it appeared that the quota is being harvested too quickly, thus precluding fishing opportunities throughout the entire region (e.g., if approximately 20 percent of the quota is caught at the beginning of the year), NMFS would consider reducing the commercial retention limit to 3 or fewer LCS other than sandbar sharks and then later consider increasing the retention limit, perhaps to 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip around July 15, 2019, consistent with the applicable regulatory requirements. In April 2019, dealer reports indicated that landings had reached 21 percent of the quota, and NMFS therefore reduced the commercial Atlantic aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark retention limit from 25 to 3 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip on April 2, 2019 (84 FR 12524; April 2, 2019), after considering the inseason retention limit adjustment criteria listed in § 635.24(a)(8). NMFS increased the retention limit to 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip on June 25, 2019 (84 FR 29808), and increased the retention limit to 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip on August 18, 2019 (84 FR 42827). Based on dealer reports through September 13, 2019, approximately 80 percent and 66 percent of the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark quotas remain unharvested, respectively. Commercial shark landings in the Atlantic region at this point in the season are uncharacteristically low. A higher retention limit should increase the likelihood of full utilization of the quota in the Atlantic region, while also allowing the fisheries to operate for the remainder of the year. Accordingly, as of October 9, 2019, NMFS is increasing the retention limit for the commercial aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups in the Atlantic region for directed shark limited access permit holders from 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip to 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip. This retention limit adjustment does not apply to directed shark limited access permit holders if the vessel is properly permitted to operate as a charter vessel or headboat for HMS and is engaged in a for-hire trip, in which case the E:\FR\FM\10OCR1.SGM 10OCR1 54524 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 197 / Thursday, October 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations recreational retention limits for sharks and ‘‘no sale’’ provisions apply (§ 635.22(a) and (c)); or if the vessel possesses a valid shark research permit under § 635.32 and a NMFS-approved observer is onboard, in which case the restrictions noted on the shark research permit apply. All other retention limits and shark fisheries in the Atlantic region remain unchanged. This retention limit will remain at 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip for the rest of the 2019 fishing season, or until NMFS announces another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery closure via a notification in the Federal Register, if warranted. Classification The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons: Prior notice is impracticable because the regulatory criteria for inseason retention limit adjustments are intended to allow the agency to respond quickly to existing management considerations, including remaining available shark quotas, estimated dates for the fishery closures, the regional variations in the shark fisheries, and equitable fishing opportunities. Additionally, regulations implementing Amendment 6 of the 2006 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:03 Oct 09, 2019 Jkt 250001 Atlantic Consolidated HMS FMP (80 FR 50074, August 18, 2015) intended that the LCS retention limit could be adjusted quickly throughout the fishing season to provide management flexibility for the shark fisheries and provide equitable fishing opportunities to fishermen throughout a region. Based on available shark quotas and informed by shark landings in previous seasons, responsive adjustment to the LCS commercial retention limit from the incidental level is warranted as quickly as possible to allow fishermen to take advantage of available quotas while sharks are present in their region. For such adjustment to be practicable, it must occur in a timeframe that allows fishermen to take advantage of it. Adjustment of the LCS fisheries retention limit in the Atlantic region will begin on October 9, 2019. Prior notice would result in delays in increasing the retention limit and would adversely affect those shark fishermen that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest more than the current retention limit of 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip and could result in low catch rates and underutilized quotas. Analysis of available data shows that adjustment of the LCS commercial retention limit upward to 55 would result in minimal risks of exceeding the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark quotas in the Atlantic region based on our PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 consideration of previous years’ data, in which the fisheries have opened in July. With quota available and with no measurable impacts to the stocks expected, it would be contrary to the public interest to require vessels to wait to harvest the sharks otherwise available through this action. Therefore, NMFS finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. Adjustment of the LCS commercial retention limit in the Atlantic region is effective October 9, 2019, to minimize any unnecessary disruption in fishing patterns and to allow fishermen to benefit from the adjustment. Foregoing opportunities to harvest the respective quotas could have negative social and economic impacts for U.S. fishermen that depend upon catching the available quotas. Therefore, there is also good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under § 635.24(a)(2) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: October 3, 2019. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–21896 Filed 10–9–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\10OCR1.SGM 10OCR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 197 (Thursday, October 10, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 54522-54524]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-21896]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 150413357-5999-02]
RIN 0648-XT024


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Aggregated Large 
Coastal Shark and Hammerhead Shark Management Group in the Atlantic 
Region; Retention Limit Adjustment

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason retention limit adjustment.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS is adjusting the commercial aggregated large coastal 
shark (LCS) and hammerhead shark management group retention limit for 
directed shark limited access permit holders in the Atlantic region 
from 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip to 55 LCS 
other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip. This action is based on 
consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding 
inseason adjustments. The retention limit will remain at 55 LCS other 
than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip in the Atlantic region through 
the rest of the 2019 fishing season or until NMFS announces via a 
notification in the Federal Register another adjustment to the 
retention limit or a fishery closure. This retention limit adjustment 
affects anyone with a directed shark limited access permit fishing for 
LCS in the Atlantic region.

DATES: This retention limit adjustment is effective on October 9, 2019, 
through December 31, 2019, or until NMFS announces via a notification 
in the Federal Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a 
fishery closure, if warranted.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Atlantic shark fisheries are managed under 
the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management 
Plan (FMP), its amendments, and implementing regulations (50 CFR part 
635) issued under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).
    Atlantic shark fisheries have separate regional (Gulf of Mexico and 
Atlantic) quotas for all management groups except those for blue shark, 
porbeagle shark, pelagic sharks (other than porbeagle or blue sharks), 
and the shark research fishery for LCS and sandbar sharks. The boundary 
between the Gulf of Mexico region and the Atlantic region is defined at 
Sec.  635.27(b)(1) as a line beginning on the East Coast of Florida at 
the mainland at 25[deg]20.4' N lat, proceeding due east. Any water and 
land to the north and east of that boundary is considered, for the 
purposes of setting and monitoring quotas, to be within the Atlantic 
region. This inseason action only affects the aggregated LCS and 
hammerhead shark management groups in the Atlantic region.
    Under Sec.  635.24(a)(8), NMFS may adjust the commercial retention 
limits in the shark fisheries during the fishing season. Before making 
any adjustment, NMFS must consider specified regulatory criteria (see 
Sec.  635.24(a)(8)(i) through (vi)). After considering these criteria 
as discussed below, NMFS has concluded that increasing the retention 
limit of the Atlantic aggregated LCS and hammerhead management groups 
for directed shark limited access permit holders in the Atlantic region 
will allow use of available aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark 
management group quotas and will provide fishermen throughout the 
region equitable fishing opportunities for the rest of the year. 
Therefore, NMFS is increasing the commercial Atlantic aggregated LCS 
and hammerhead shark retention limit in the Atlantic region from 45 to 
55 LCS other than sandbar shark per vessel per trip.
    NMFS considered the inseason retention limit adjustment criteria 
listed at Sec.  635.24(a)(8)(i) through (vi), which includes:

     The amount of remaining shark quota in the relevant area, 
region, or sub-region to date, based on dealer reports.

    Based on dealer reports through September 13, 2019, 34.5 metric 
tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (76,011 lb dw), or 20 percent, of the 
168.9 mt dw shark quota for aggregated LCS and 9.3 mt dw (20,479 lb 
dw), or 34 percent, of the 27.1 mt dw shark quota for the hammerhead 
management groups have been harvested in the Atlantic region. This 
means that approximately 80 percent of the aggregated LCS quota remains 
available and approximately 66 percent of the hammerhead shark quota 
remains available. NMFS took action on April 2,

[[Page 54523]]

2019, to reduce the retention limit from 25 to 3 after considering the 
relevant inseason adjustment criteria, particularly the need for all 
regions to have an equitable opportunity to utilize the quota (84 FR 
12524). NMFS increased the retention limit to 36 LCS other than sandbar 
sharks per vessel per trip on June 25, 2019 (84 FR 29808), and 
increased the retention limit to 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per 
vessel per trip on August 18, 2019 (84 FR 42827), to promote use of the 
available quota.
     The catch rates of the relevant shark species/complexes in 
the region or sub-region, to date, based on dealer reports.
    Based on the current commercial retention limit and average catch 
rate of landings data from dealer reports, the amount of Atlantic 
aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark quota available is high, while 
harvest in the Atlantic region on a daily basis is low. Using current 
catch rates, projections indicate that landings would not reach the 
quota before the end of the 2019 fishing season (December 31, 2019). A 
higher retention limit authorized under this action will promote 
increased fishing opportunities and utilization of available quota in 
the Atlantic region.
     Estimated date of fishery closure based on when the 
landings are projected to reach 80 percent of the available overall, 
regional, and/or sub-regional quota, if the fishery's landings are not 
projected to reach 100 percent of the applicable quota before the end 
of the season.
    Once the landings reach 80 percent of either the aggregated LCS or 
hammerhead shark quotas, NMFS would, as required by the regulations at 
Sec.  635.28(b)(3), close the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark 
management groups since they are ``linked quotas.'' However, current 
catch rates would likely result in the fisheries remaining open for the 
remainder of the year. The higher retention limit should increase the 
likelihood of full utilization of the quota in the Atlantic region, 
while also allowing the fisheries to operate for the remainder of the 
year.
     Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives 
of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments.
    Increasing the retention limit on the aggregated LCS and hammerhead 
management groups in the Atlantic region from 45 to 55 LCS other than 
sandbar sharks per vessel per trip would continue to allow for fishing 
opportunities throughout the rest of the year consistent with 
objectives established in the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, including 
rebuilding requirements for overfished stocks.
     Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or 
migratory patterns of the relevant shark species based on scientific 
and fishery-based knowledge.
    The directed shark fisheries in the Atlantic region are composed of 
a mix of species, with a high abundance of aggregated LCS caught in 
conjunction with hammerhead sharks. Migratory patterns of many LCS in 
the Atlantic region indicate that sharks move farther north in the 
summer and then return south in the fall. Taking these migration 
patterns into account, NMFS increased the retention limit on June 25, 
2019, from 3 to 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip 
(84 FR 29808), then from 36 to 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per 
vessel per trip on August 18, 2019 (84 FR 42827), to provide additional 
fishing opportunities for fishermen in the Mid-Atlantic and New England 
areas. However, based on dealer reports through September 13, 2019, 
harvest in the Atlantic region on a daily basis has been low. 
Therefore, NMFS is increasing the retention limit from 45 to 55 LCS 
other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip in order to provide 
additional opportunity for fishermen to fully utilize the quota in the 
entire Atlantic region.
     Effects of catch rates in one part of a region or sub-
region precluding vessels in another part of that region or sub-region 
from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the 
relevant quota.
    NMFS' goal for the 2019 commercial shark fishery is to ensure 
fishing opportunities throughout the fishing season and the Atlantic 
region (83 FR 60777; November 27, 2018, 84 FR 12524; April 2, 2019, 84 
FR 29808; June 25, 2019, and 84 FR 42827; August 18, 2019). While 
dealer reports indicate that, under current catch rates, the aggregated 
LCS and hammerhead shark management groups in the Atlantic region would 
remain open for the remainder of the year, the catch rates also 
indicate that the quotas would likely not be fully harvested under the 
current retention limit. If the harvest of these species is increased 
through an increased retention limit, NMFS estimates that the fishery 
would remain open for the remainder of the year and fishermen 
throughout the Atlantic region would have a reasonable opportunity to 
harvest a portion of the quota.
    On November 27, 2018 (83 FR 60777), NMFS announced in a final rule 
that the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark fisheries management 
groups for the Atlantic region would open on January 1 with a quota of 
168.9 mt dw (372,552 lb dw) and 27.1 mt dw (59,736 lb dw), 
respectively, and a commercial retention limit of 25 LCS other than 
sandbar sharks per trip for directed shark limited access permit 
holders in those fisheries. NMFS published a proposed rule on September 
11, 2018 (83 FR 45866), and invited and considered public comment. In 
the final rule, NMFS explained that if it appeared that the quota is 
being harvested too quickly, thus precluding fishing opportunities 
throughout the entire region (e.g., if approximately 20 percent of the 
quota is caught at the beginning of the year), NMFS would consider 
reducing the commercial retention limit to 3 or fewer LCS other than 
sandbar sharks and then later consider increasing the retention limit, 
perhaps to 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip around 
July 15, 2019, consistent with the applicable regulatory requirements. 
In April 2019, dealer reports indicated that landings had reached 21 
percent of the quota, and NMFS therefore reduced the commercial 
Atlantic aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark retention limit from 25 to 
3 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip on April 2, 2019 
(84 FR 12524; April 2, 2019), after considering the inseason retention 
limit adjustment criteria listed in Sec.  635.24(a)(8). NMFS increased 
the retention limit to 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per 
trip on June 25, 2019 (84 FR 29808), and increased the retention limit 
to 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip on August 18, 
2019 (84 FR 42827). Based on dealer reports through September 13, 2019, 
approximately 80 percent and 66 percent of the aggregated LCS and 
hammerhead shark quotas remain unharvested, respectively. Commercial 
shark landings in the Atlantic region at this point in the season are 
uncharacteristically low. A higher retention limit should increase the 
likelihood of full utilization of the quota in the Atlantic region, 
while also allowing the fisheries to operate for the remainder of the 
year.
    Accordingly, as of October 9, 2019, NMFS is increasing the 
retention limit for the commercial aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark 
management groups in the Atlantic region for directed shark limited 
access permit holders from 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel 
per trip to 55 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip. This 
retention limit adjustment does not apply to directed shark limited 
access permit holders if the vessel is properly permitted to operate as 
a charter vessel or headboat for HMS and is engaged in a for-hire trip, 
in which case the

[[Page 54524]]

recreational retention limits for sharks and ``no sale'' provisions 
apply (Sec.  635.22(a) and (c)); or if the vessel possesses a valid 
shark research permit under Sec.  635.32 and a NMFS-approved observer 
is onboard, in which case the restrictions noted on the shark research 
permit apply.
    All other retention limits and shark fisheries in the Atlantic 
region remain unchanged. This retention limit will remain at 55 LCS 
other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip for the rest of the 2019 
fishing season, or until NMFS announces another adjustment to the 
retention limit or a fishery closure via a notification in the Federal 
Register, if warranted.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior 
notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for 
the following reasons:
    Prior notice is impracticable because the regulatory criteria for 
inseason retention limit adjustments are intended to allow the agency 
to respond quickly to existing management considerations, including 
remaining available shark quotas, estimated dates for the fishery 
closures, the regional variations in the shark fisheries, and equitable 
fishing opportunities. Additionally, regulations implementing Amendment 
6 of the 2006 Atlantic Consolidated HMS FMP (80 FR 50074, August 18, 
2015) intended that the LCS retention limit could be adjusted quickly 
throughout the fishing season to provide management flexibility for the 
shark fisheries and provide equitable fishing opportunities to 
fishermen throughout a region. Based on available shark quotas and 
informed by shark landings in previous seasons, responsive adjustment 
to the LCS commercial retention limit from the incidental level is 
warranted as quickly as possible to allow fishermen to take advantage 
of available quotas while sharks are present in their region. For such 
adjustment to be practicable, it must occur in a timeframe that allows 
fishermen to take advantage of it.
    Adjustment of the LCS fisheries retention limit in the Atlantic 
region will begin on October 9, 2019. Prior notice would result in 
delays in increasing the retention limit and would adversely affect 
those shark fishermen that would otherwise have an opportunity to 
harvest more than the current retention limit of 45 LCS other than 
sandbar sharks per vessel per trip and could result in low catch rates 
and underutilized quotas. Analysis of available data shows that 
adjustment of the LCS commercial retention limit upward to 55 would 
result in minimal risks of exceeding the aggregated LCS and hammerhead 
shark quotas in the Atlantic region based on our consideration of 
previous years' data, in which the fisheries have opened in July. With 
quota available and with no measurable impacts to the stocks expected, 
it would be contrary to the public interest to require vessels to wait 
to harvest the sharks otherwise available through this action. 
Therefore, NMFS finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive 
prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. Adjustment of the 
LCS commercial retention limit in the Atlantic region is effective 
October 9, 2019, to minimize any unnecessary disruption in fishing 
patterns and to allow fishermen to benefit from the adjustment. 
Foregoing opportunities to harvest the respective quotas could have 
negative social and economic impacts for U.S. fishermen that depend 
upon catching the available quotas.
    Therefore, there is also good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to 
waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness.
    This action is being taken under Sec.  635.24(a)(2) and is exempt 
from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: October 3, 2019.
Jennifer M. Wallace,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-21896 Filed 10-9-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P