Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 63812-63814 [2019-25014]

Download as PDF 63812 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 223 / Tuesday, November 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations § 78.18 Frequency assignment. [CORRECTION] * * * (a) * * * (5) * * * (ii) * * * * * Receive (or transmit) (MHz) Transmit (or receive MHz) * 6446.0 * * 6496.0 * * * * * * * * * * * 6446.0 * * 6496.0 * * * * * * * * * Receive (or transmit) (MHz) Transmit (or receive MHz) * * * * ■ 8. In § 101.803, amend the table in paragraph (e)(2) by revising entry for ‘‘6446.0’’ to the table to read as follows: § 101.803 * * PART 101—FIXED MICROWAVE SERVICES Frequencies. * * (e) * * * (2) * * * * * Receive (or transmit) (MHz) Transmit (or receive MHz) 5. The authority citation for part 101 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303. 6. In § 101.115, amend the table in paragraph (b)(2) by revising the text of footnote 7 to read as follows: * * 6446.0 * * 6496.0 * * * * * * ■ § 101.115 Directional antennas. * * * * * (b) * * * (2) * * * 7 For stations authorized or pending on April 1, 2003, the minimum radiation suppression for Category B is 35dB in the 10,550–10,680 MHz band and 36 dB in the 21,200–23,600 MHz band for discrimination angles from 100° to 180°. * * * * * 7. In § 101.147, amend table 3 in paragraph (b)(2) by revising entry for 928.36875’’ and in the table in paragraph (j)(2) by revising the entry for ‘‘6446.0’’ to read as follows: ■ § 101.147 * Frequency assignments. * * (b) * * * (2) * * * * TABLE 3—PAIRED FREQUENCIES (MHz) [12.5 kHz bandwidth] khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES * * 928.36875 * * * * * (j) * * * (2) * * * VerDate Sep<11>2014 Master transmit * * * 928.36875 * * * * 15:51 Nov 18, 2019 Jkt 250001 [FR Doc. 2019–24669 Filed 11–18–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 180117042–8884–02] RTID 0648–XT027 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: * Remote transmit Federal Communications Commission. Marlene Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary. * NMFS is transferring 53.2 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) quota from the Reserve category to the General category, to account for an accrued overharvest of 33.7 mt from previous time period subquotas. This action is intended to provide opportunities for General category fishermen to participate in the December General category fishery, which is scheduled to reopen on December 1, 2019, and is based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 inseason adjustments. This action would affect 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. Effective November 18, 2019 through December 31, 2019. DATES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin or Nicholas Velseboer, 978–281–9260, or Larry Redd, 301–427–8503. 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) and as implemented by the United States 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 from one time period to the next and is available for use in subsequent time periods. To date for 2019, NMFS has taken seven actions that resulted in adjustments to the Reserve category, leaving 65.3 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; 84 FR E:\FR\FM\19NOR1.SGM 19NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 223 / Tuesday, November 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES 52806, October 3, 2019; and 84 FR 55507, October 17, 2019.) For the January 2019 subquota period, NMFS transferred 19.5 mt of BFT quota from the December 2019 subquota period, and transferred 51 mt from the Reserve category, resulting in an adjusted subquota of 100 mt for the January 2019 period and a subquota of 9.4 mt for the December 2019 period (83 FR 67140, December 28, 2018, 83 FR 3724, February 13, 2019, and 84 FR 6701, February 28, 2019). NMFS closed the October through November General category fishery when the subquota (172.2 mt) was projected to be reached, effective October 13, 2019 (84 FR 55507, October 17, 2019). The 2019 General category fishery reopens December 1, 2019, and will remain open until December 31, 2019, or until the General category quota is reached, whichever comes first. Transfer of 53.2 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 BFT dealers continue to provide valuable data for ongoing scientific studies of BFT age and growth, migration, and reproductive status. Additional opportunity to land BFT in the General category would support the 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 (including during the summer/fall and winter fisheries in the last several years), and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made (§ 635.27(a)(8)(ii) and (ix)). Preliminary landings data as of November 13, 2019, indicate that the General category has landed 791.1 mt this year, which exceeds the overall General category adjusted quota of 766.8 mt. For all commercial categories, however, approximately 17 percent (189.9 mt) of the total of the BFT category quotas remains available as of November 13, 2019 (i.e., 978.1 mt of VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:51 Nov 18, 2019 Jkt 250001 1167.99 mt has been harvested), and NMFS anticipates that some amount of quota may remain unused by the end of the year even with the transfer. Absent a transfer, the December General category fishery would remain closed, even though quota remains available within the overall quota for the year and NMFS anticipates that commercial-sized BFT will be readily available on the fishing grounds when the fishery is otherwise scheduled to re-open December 1, 2019. Transferring 53.2 mt of BFT quota from the Reserve category would allow the General category fishery to resume as scheduled and would result in 28.9 mt being available to the General category in December after accounting for 33.7 mt of accrued overharvest. It would also leave 12.1 mt in the Reserve category to account for any BFT mortalities associated with research and/or any overharvests that may occur in December. Regarding the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the particular category quota (here, the General category) to harvest the additional amount of BFT quota transferred before the end of the fishing year (§ 635.27(a)(8)(iii)), NMFS considered General category landings over the last several years and landings to date this year. Landings are highly variable and depend on access to commercial-sized BFT and fishing conditions, among other factors. A portion of the transferred quota covers the 33.7 mt overharvest in the category to date, and NMFS anticipates that General category participants will be able to harvest the remaining 28.9 mt of transferred BFT quota by 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 this 53.2 mt transfer to the General category. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 63813 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. Based on the considerations above, NMFS is transferring 53.2 mt from the Reserve category to the General category. Therefore, NMFS adjusts the General category December 2019 subquota quota to 28.9 mt and adjusts the Reserve category quota to 12.1 mt. The General category fishery reopens December 1, 2019, and will remain open until December 31, 2019, or until the adjusted General category quota is reached, whichever comes first. 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 or by 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 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 E:\FR\FM\19NOR1.SGM 19NOR1 63814 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 223 / Tuesday, November 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations quota monitoring and inseason adjustments. NMFS reminds General category participants that when the fishery reopens December 1, 2019, the BFT General category daily retention limit will be one large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day/trip. 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 for the remainder of 2019 is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as such a delay would result in continued closure of the General category fishery (because the available quota has been exceeded) and the need to re-open the fishery later in the December time period, rather than the fishery automatically reopening on December 1, 2019. The delay would preclude the fishery from harvesting BFT that are available on the fishing grounds and that might otherwise become unavailable during a delay. 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 these 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) (Inseason adjustments) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Dated: November 14, 2019. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–25014 Filed 11–18–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:51 Nov 18, 2019 Jkt 250001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 RTID 0648–XX025 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder Fishery; Quota Transfer From MD to NJ National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Announcement of quota transfer. AGENCY: NMFS announces that the State of Maryland is transferring a portion of its 2019 commercial summer flounder quota to the State of New Jersey. This quota adjustment is necessary to comply with the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan quota transfer provisions. This announcement informs the public of the revised 2019 commercial quotas for Maryland and New Jersey. DATES: Effective November 18, 2019, through December 31, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Hansen, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281–9225. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery are found in 50 CFR 648.100 through 648.110. These regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned among the coastal states from Maine through North Carolina. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state is described in § 648.102 and final 2019 allocations were published on May 17, 2019 (84 FR 22392). The final rule implementing Amendment 5 to the Summer Flounder Fishery Management Plan (FMP), as published in the Federal Register on December 17, 1993 (58 FR 65936), provided a mechanism for transferring summer flounder commercial quota from one state to another. Two or more states, under mutual agreement and with the concurrence of the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator, can transfer or combine summer flounder commercial quota under § 648.102(c)(2). The Regional Administrator is required to consider three criteria in the evaluation of requests for quota transfers or combinations: The transfer or combinations would preclude the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 overall annual quota from being fully harvested; the transfer addresses an unforeseen variation or contingency in the fishery; and, the transfer is consistent with the objectives of the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Maryland is transferring 15,220 lb (6,904 kg) of summer flounder commercial quota to New Jersey. This transfer was requested to repay landings made by a Maryland-permitted vessel in New Jersey under a safe harbor agreement. Based on the revised Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Specifications, the summer flounder quotas for fishing year 2019 are now: Maryland, 208,734 lb (94,680 kg); and, New Jersey, 1,855,396 lb (841,593 kg). Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: November 14, 2019. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–25053 Filed 11–18–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 180831813–9170–02] RIN 0648–XY025 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Greater Than or Equal to 50 Feet Length Overall Using Hookand-Line Gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. AGENCY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels greater than or equal to 50 feet length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2019 Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to catcher vessels greater than or equal to 50 feet LOA using hookand-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), November 16, 2019, through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Keaton, 907–586–7228. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19NOR1.SGM 19NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 223 (Tuesday, November 19, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 63812-63814]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-25014]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 180117042-8884-02]
RTID 0648-XT027


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 is transferring 53.2 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin 
tuna (BFT) quota from the Reserve category to the General category, to 
account for an accrued overharvest of 33.7 mt from previous time period 
subquotas. This action is intended to provide opportunities for General 
category fishermen to participate in the December General category 
fishery, which is scheduled to reopen on December 1, 2019, and is based 
on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding 
inseason adjustments. This action would affect 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 November 18, 2019 through December 31, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin or Nicholas 
Velseboer, 978-281-9260, or Larry Redd, 301-427-8503.

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) and as implemented by the United States 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 from one time period to the next and is available for use 
in subsequent time periods. To date for 2019, NMFS has taken seven 
actions that resulted in adjustments to the Reserve category, leaving 
65.3 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; 84 FR

[[Page 63813]]

52806, October 3, 2019; and 84 FR 55507, October 17, 2019.)
    For the January 2019 subquota period, NMFS transferred 19.5 mt of 
BFT quota from the December 2019 subquota period, and transferred 51 mt 
from the Reserve category, resulting in an adjusted subquota of 100 mt 
for the January 2019 period and a subquota of 9.4 mt for the December 
2019 period (83 FR 67140, December 28, 2018, 83 FR 3724, February 13, 
2019, and 84 FR 6701, February 28, 2019). NMFS closed the October 
through November General category fishery when the subquota (172.2 mt) 
was projected to be reached, effective October 13, 2019 (84 FR 55507, 
October 17, 2019). The 2019 General category fishery reopens December 
1, 2019, and will remain open until December 31, 2019, or until the 
General category quota is reached, whichever comes first.

Transfer of 53.2 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 
BFT dealers continue to provide valuable data for ongoing scientific 
studies of BFT age and growth, migration, and reproductive status. 
Additional opportunity to land BFT in the General category would 
support the 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 (including during the summer/fall and winter fisheries in the last 
several years), and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the 
fishery if no adjustment is made (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(ii) and (ix)). 
Preliminary landings data as of November 13, 2019, indicate that the 
General category has landed 791.1 mt this year, which exceeds the 
overall General category adjusted quota of 766.8 mt. For all commercial 
categories, however, approximately 17 percent (189.9 mt) of the total 
of the BFT category quotas remains available as of November 13, 2019 
(i.e., 978.1 mt of 1167.99 mt has been harvested), and NMFS anticipates 
that some amount of quota may remain unused by the end of the year even 
with the transfer. Absent a transfer, the December General category 
fishery would remain closed, even though quota remains available within 
the overall quota for the year and NMFS anticipates that commercial-
sized BFT will be readily available on the fishing grounds when the 
fishery is otherwise scheduled to re-open December 1, 2019. 
Transferring 53.2 mt of BFT quota from the Reserve category would allow 
the General category fishery to resume as scheduled and would result in 
28.9 mt being available to the General category in December after 
accounting for 33.7 mt of accrued overharvest. It would also leave 12.1 
mt in the Reserve category to account for any BFT mortalities 
associated with research and/or any overharvests that may occur in 
December.
    Regarding the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the 
particular category quota (here, the General category) to harvest the 
additional amount of BFT quota transferred before the end of the 
fishing year (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(iii)), NMFS considered General 
category landings over the last several years and landings to date this 
year. Landings are highly variable and depend on access to commercial-
sized BFT and fishing conditions, among other factors. A portion of the 
transferred quota covers the 33.7 mt overharvest in the category to 
date, and NMFS anticipates that General category participants will be 
able to harvest the remaining 28.9 mt of transferred BFT quota by 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 this 53.2 mt transfer to the General category.
    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 53.2 mt 
from the Reserve category to the General category. Therefore, NMFS 
adjusts the General category December 2019 subquota quota to 28.9 mt 
and adjusts the Reserve category quota to 12.1 mt. The General category 
fishery reopens December 1, 2019, and will remain open until December 
31, 2019, or until the adjusted General category quota is reached, 
whichever comes first.

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 
or by 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 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

[[Page 63814]]

quota monitoring and inseason adjustments.
    NMFS reminds General category participants that when the fishery 
reopens December 1, 2019, the BFT General category daily retention 
limit will be one large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day/trip.

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 for the remainder of 2019 is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest as such a delay would 
result in continued closure of the General category fishery (because 
the available quota has been exceeded) and the need to re-open the 
fishery later in the December time period, rather than the fishery 
automatically re-opening on December 1, 2019. The delay would preclude 
the fishery from harvesting BFT that are available on the fishing 
grounds and that might otherwise become unavailable during a delay. 
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 these 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.  635.27(a)(9) (Inseason 
adjustments) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: November 14, 2019.
Jennifer M. Wallace,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-25014 Filed 11-18-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P