Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Red Snapper Management Measures, 61003-61004 [2019-24519]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 218 / Tuesday, November 12, 2019 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 191105–0075] RIN 0648–BJ28 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Red Snapper Management Measures 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 a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). This proposed rule would modify the red snapper Federal charter vessel/headboat (for-hire) component’s annual catch target (ACT) for the 2020 and subsequent fishing years. The purpose of the framework action is to allow for greater harvest of red snapper by the Federal for-hire component. DATES: Written comments must be received by December 12, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2019–0108’’ 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-20190108, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit all written comments to Peter Hood, 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 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:51 Nov 08, 2019 Jkt 250001 accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of the framework action, which includes an environmental assessment, a regulatory impact review, and a Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office website at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/ framework-action-fishery-managementplan-reef-fish-resources-gulf-mexicomodification. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Hood, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727–824–5305, email: peter.hood@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Council manage the Gulf reef fish fishery under the FMP. The FMP, which includes red snapper, was prepared by the Council and is implemented by NMFS through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.). The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires NMFS and regional fishery management councils to prevent overfishing and achieve, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from federally managed fish stocks. These mandates are intended to ensure fishery resources are managed for the greatest overall benefit to the nation, particularly with respect to providing food production and recreational opportunities, and protecting marine ecosystems. All weights described in this proposed rule are in round (whole) weight. Background The current red snapper stock ACL is equal to the acceptable biological catch (ABC) of 13.74 million lb (6.23 million kg); 51 percent is allocated to the commercial sector and 49 percent to the recreational sector. The recreational sector’s ACL is further divided into the private angling component (57.7 percent) and Federal for-hire component (42.3 percent). In addition, ACTs are in place for the recreational sector and its respective components. The ACT is a level of catch reduced from the ACL to account for management uncertainty. The separate recreational component ACLs and ACTs were implemented in 2015 and are currently set to expire in 2022 (81 FR 86971, December 2, 2016). However, if approved and implemented, Amendment 50A to the FMP would continue the separation of the private angling and Federal for-hire PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 61003 components. The notice of availability for Amendment 50A published on August 6, 2019 (84 FR 38198) and the proposed rule to implement Amendment 50A published on October 2, 2019 (84 FR 52438). The regulations require NMFS to project the component fishing seasons based on the respective ACTs. The ACTs were implemented to reduce the likelihood of exceeding the private angling or Federal for-hire component ACLs, as well as the total recreational ACL. The commercial sector does not have an ACT because it is managed under an individual fishing quota program that effectively constrains landings to the commercial ACL. Because the Federal for-hire component has not exceeded its ACL, the Council developed a framework action in 2018 to reduce the 20 percent buffer between the Federal for-hire component ACL and ACT for 2019 only (84 FR 7828, March 5, 2019). The 2018 framework action set the Federal forhire component ACT 9 percent less than the component ACL. This buffer was based on the application of the Council’s ACL/ACT Control Rule, which recommends a buffer based on factors such as recent harvest overages, the percent standard error in Federal for-hire landing estimates, stock status, and whether in-season accountability measures are used. The reduction in the Federal for-hire component’s ACL/ACT buffer was effective only for 2019 to coincide with the second year of temporary changes to the management of the private angling component. All five Gulf states received exempted fishing permits (EFPs) from NMFS for the 2018 and 2019 fishing years to allow them to test limited state management of the private angling component. Each state was allocated a percentage of the private angling ACL and each state determined whether to manage to a reduced portion of its ACL. The Council determined that the reduction in the Federal for-hire component ACT buffer should be limited to 2019 because of the increased risk of the recreational sector ACL being exceeded after the EFPs are no longer in effect. Under the EFPs, any overages by the private-angling component are deducted from the subsequent year’s state ACL. In the current framework action, the Council did not consider decreasing the private angling component ACT buffer because the Council recently submitted to NMFS for review Amendments 50A– F to the FMP. These amendments, if implemented, would delegate authority to each of the Gulf states to establish specific management measures E:\FR\FM\12NOP1.SGM 12NOP1 61004 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 218 / Tuesday, November 12, 2019 / Proposed Rules applicable to private anglers in Gulf Federal waters who are landing red snapper in that state, including the length of the fishing season. Similar to the EFPs, these amendments would allocate a percentage of the private angling ACL and each state would determine whether to manage to a reduced portion of its ACL. As stated previously, Amendment 50A would also continue the separation of the private angling and Federal for-hire components that is set to end after the 2022 fishing year. Given the proposed changes in private recreational component management described in Amendments 50A–F, the Council determined that it is appropriate to keep the 9 percent Federal for-hire ACL/ACT buffer beyond 2019. Management Measures Contained in This Proposed Rule For red snapper, this proposed rule would maintain the Federal for-hire component ACL/ACT buffer at 9 percent below the component ACL. Currently, the buffer would return to 20 percent on January 1, 2020, and the Federal for-hire component ACT would be 2.504 million lb (1.136 million kg). This framework action would maintain the ACT at 2.848 million lb (1.292 million kg). Using the 9 percent buffer results in a Federal forhire component ACT that is 344,000 lb (156,036 kg) more than if the 20 percent buffer were used. NMFS expects this increase in the ACT to result in a Federal for-hire season that is approximately 7 to 8 days longer in 2020 than if the lower ACT were used to project the season. NMFS assumes that if Amendments 50A–F are approved, they will be implemented first. Therefore, the regulatory text in this proposed rule reflects certain measures contained in the proposed regulatory text for those amendments. Specifically, the proposed rule for Amendments 50A–F would remove paragraph 50 CFR 622.41(q)(2)(iii)(A), which specifies the red snapper total recreational ACT, because the total recreational ACT would serve no management purpose under the delegation. The proposed rule VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:51 Nov 08, 2019 Jkt 250001 for Amendments 50A–F would also remove text in 50 CFR 622.41(q)(2)(iii)(B) that would end the separation of the recreational sector components and would add text clarifying the harvest restrictions for the Federal for-hire component when the Federal season in closed. If Amendments 50A–F are not implemented, or this proposed rule is implemented first, the regulatory text in the final rule would be revised accordingly. 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 applicable 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 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 recreational fishing for red snapper in the Gulf exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Anglers (recreational fishers) who fish for red snapper in the Gulf EEZ would be directly affected; however, anglers are not considered small entities as that term is defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6). The rule would indirectly impact Federal for-hire fishing vessels if it causes changes in angler demand for Federal for-hire fishing services; however, the RFA does not consider indirect impacts. PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 Hence, it is concluded that the 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: November 6, 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: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 622.41, revise paragraph (q)(2)(iii)(B) to read as follows: ■ § 622.41 Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and accountability measures (AMs). * * * * * (q) * * * (2) * * * (iii) * * * (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. The component ACT is 2.848 million lb (1.292 million kg), round weight. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2019–24519 Filed 11–8–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\12NOP1.SGM 12NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 218 (Tuesday, November 12, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 61003-61004]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-24519]



[[Page 61003]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 191105-0075]
RIN 0648-BJ28


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Red Snapper Management 
Measures

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 a 
framework action to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Reef Fish 
Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf), as prepared by the Gulf of 
Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). This proposed rule would 
modify the red snapper Federal charter vessel/headboat (for-hire) 
component's annual catch target (ACT) for the 2020 and subsequent 
fishing years. The purpose of the framework action is to allow for 
greater harvest of red snapper by the Federal for-hire component.

DATES: Written comments must be received by December 12, 2019.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule identified by 
``NOAA-NMFS-2019-0108'' by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2019-0108, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit all written comments to Peter Hood, 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 the framework action, which includes an 
environmental assessment, a regulatory impact review, and a Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis may be obtained from the Southeast 
Regional Office website at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/framework-action-fishery-management-plan-reef-fish-resources-gulf-mexico-modification.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Council manage the Gulf reef 
fish fishery under the FMP. The FMP, which includes red snapper, was 
prepared by the Council and is implemented by NMFS through regulations 
at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) (16 U.S.C. 1801 
et seq.).
    The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires NMFS and regional fishery 
management councils to prevent overfishing and achieve, on a continuing 
basis, the optimum yield from federally managed fish stocks. These 
mandates are intended to ensure fishery resources are managed for the 
greatest overall benefit to the nation, particularly with respect to 
providing food production and recreational opportunities, and 
protecting marine ecosystems.
    All weights described in this proposed rule are in round (whole) 
weight.

Background

    The current red snapper stock ACL is equal to the acceptable 
biological catch (ABC) of 13.74 million lb (6.23 million kg); 51 
percent is allocated to the commercial sector and 49 percent to the 
recreational sector. The recreational sector's ACL is further divided 
into the private angling component (57.7 percent) and Federal for-hire 
component (42.3 percent). In addition, ACTs are in place for the 
recreational sector and its respective components. The ACT is a level 
of catch reduced from the ACL to account for management uncertainty. 
The separate recreational component ACLs and ACTs were implemented in 
2015 and are currently set to expire in 2022 (81 FR 86971, December 2, 
2016). However, if approved and implemented, Amendment 50A to the FMP 
would continue the separation of the private angling and Federal for-
hire components. The notice of availability for Amendment 50A published 
on August 6, 2019 (84 FR 38198) and the proposed rule to implement 
Amendment 50A published on October 2, 2019 (84 FR 52438).
    The regulations require NMFS to project the component fishing 
seasons based on the respective ACTs. The ACTs were implemented to 
reduce the likelihood of exceeding the private angling or Federal for-
hire component ACLs, as well as the total recreational ACL. The 
commercial sector does not have an ACT because it is managed under an 
individual fishing quota program that effectively constrains landings 
to the commercial ACL.
    Because the Federal for-hire component has not exceeded its ACL, 
the Council developed a framework action in 2018 to reduce the 20 
percent buffer between the Federal for-hire component ACL and ACT for 
2019 only (84 FR 7828, March 5, 2019). The 2018 framework action set 
the Federal for-hire component ACT 9 percent less than the component 
ACL. This buffer was based on the application of the Council's ACL/ACT 
Control Rule, which recommends a buffer based on factors such as recent 
harvest overages, the percent standard error in Federal for-hire 
landing estimates, stock status, and whether in-season accountability 
measures are used.
    The reduction in the Federal for-hire component's ACL/ACT buffer 
was effective only for 2019 to coincide with the second year of 
temporary changes to the management of the private angling component. 
All five Gulf states received exempted fishing permits (EFPs) from NMFS 
for the 2018 and 2019 fishing years to allow them to test limited state 
management of the private angling component. Each state was allocated a 
percentage of the private angling ACL and each state determined whether 
to manage to a reduced portion of its ACL. The Council determined that 
the reduction in the Federal for-hire component ACT buffer should be 
limited to 2019 because of the increased risk of the recreational 
sector ACL being exceeded after the EFPs are no longer in effect. Under 
the EFPs, any overages by the private-angling component are deducted 
from the subsequent year's state ACL.
    In the current framework action, the Council did not consider 
decreasing the private angling component ACT buffer because the Council 
recently submitted to NMFS for review Amendments 50A-F to the FMP. 
These amendments, if implemented, would delegate authority to each of 
the Gulf states to establish specific management measures

[[Page 61004]]

applicable to private anglers in Gulf Federal waters who are landing 
red snapper in that state, including the length of the fishing season. 
Similar to the EFPs, these amendments would allocate a percentage of 
the private angling ACL and each state would determine whether to 
manage to a reduced portion of its ACL. As stated previously, Amendment 
50A would also continue the separation of the private angling and 
Federal for-hire components that is set to end after the 2022 fishing 
year. Given the proposed changes in private recreational component 
management described in Amendments 50A-F, the Council determined that 
it is appropriate to keep the 9 percent Federal for-hire ACL/ACT buffer 
beyond 2019.

Management Measures Contained in This Proposed Rule

    For red snapper, this proposed rule would maintain the Federal for-
hire component ACL/ACT buffer at 9 percent below the component ACL. 
Currently, the buffer would return to 20 percent on January 1, 2020, 
and the Federal for-hire component ACT would be 2.504 million lb (1.136 
million kg). This framework action would maintain the ACT at 2.848 
million lb (1.292 million kg). Using the 9 percent buffer results in a 
Federal for-hire component ACT that is 344,000 lb (156,036 kg) more 
than if the 20 percent buffer were used. NMFS expects this increase in 
the ACT to result in a Federal for-hire season that is approximately 7 
to 8 days longer in 2020 than if the lower ACT were used to project the 
season.
    NMFS assumes that if Amendments 50A-F are approved, they will be 
implemented first. Therefore, the regulatory text in this proposed rule 
reflects certain measures contained in the proposed regulatory text for 
those amendments. Specifically, the proposed rule for Amendments 50A-F 
would remove paragraph 50 CFR 622.41(q)(2)(iii)(A), which specifies the 
red snapper total recreational ACT, because the total recreational ACT 
would serve no management purpose under the delegation. The proposed 
rule for Amendments 50A-F would also remove text in 50 CFR 
622.41(q)(2)(iii)(B) that would end the separation of the recreational 
sector components and would add text clarifying the harvest 
restrictions for the Federal for-hire component when the Federal season 
in closed. If Amendments 50A-F are not implemented, or this proposed 
rule is implemented first, the regulatory text in the final rule would 
be revised accordingly.

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 applicable 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 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 recreational fishing for red snapper in the Gulf 
exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Anglers (recreational fishers) who fish 
for red snapper in the Gulf EEZ would be directly affected; however, 
anglers are not considered small entities as that term is defined in 5 
U.S.C. 601(6). The rule would indirectly impact Federal for-hire 
fishing vessels if it causes changes in angler demand for Federal for-
hire fishing services; however, the RFA does not consider indirect 
impacts. Hence, it is concluded that the 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: November 6, 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:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.
0
2. In Sec.  622.41, revise paragraph (q)(2)(iii)(B) to read as follows:


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

* * * * *
    (q) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (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. The component ACT is 2.848 million lb (1.292 million kg), 
round weight.
* * * * *

[FR Doc. 2019-24519 Filed 11-8-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P