Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; 2020 Specifications, 68871-68874 [2019-27152]

Download as PDF jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 242 / Tuesday, December 17, 2019 / Proposed Rules Washington, DC. The EPA will begin pre-registering speakers for the hearings on December 17, 2019. The last day to pre-register to speak at either hearing will be January 9, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. (ET). The EPA will not provide audiovisual equipment for presentations. Any media presentations should be submitted to the public docket at https://www.regulations.gov/, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OAR–2018–0746. If you require the service of a translator such as audio description, please pre-register for the hearings and describe your needs by January 9, 2020. We may not be able to arrange accommodations without advanced notice. Please refer to the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for additional information on the public hearings. ADDRESSES: The hearing in Houston, Texas, will be held in the Harris County Commissioners Courtroom, 1001 Preston Street, Suite 934, Houston, Texas. The hearing will convene at 9:00 a.m. (local time) and will conclude at 5:00 p.m. Lunch breaks will be scheduled as time will allow depending on the number of registered speakers. The hearing in Washington, DC, will be held in the William Jefferson Clinton East Building (WJC East), 1201 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 1117, Washington, DC 20004. The hearing will convene at 9:00 a.m. (local time) and will conclude at 5:00 p.m. Lunch breaks will be scheduled as time will allow depending on the number of registered speakers. The EPA’s website for this rulemaking, which includes the proposal and information about the hearing, can be found at: https:// www.epa.gov/stationary-sources-airpollution/miscellaneous-organicchemical-manufacturing-nationalemission. Written comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to the EPA electronically, by mail, facsimile, or through hand delivery/courier. Please refer to the proposal for the addresses and detailed instructions. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To register to speak at the hearings, please use the online registration form available at https://www.epa.gov/ stationary-sources-air-pollution/ miscellaneous-organic-chemicalmanufacturing-national-emission or contact Ms. Virginia Hunt at (919) 541– 0832 or at hunt.virginia@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Because both of these hearings are being held at government facilities, individuals planning to attend the hearings should be prepared to show valid picture identification to the security staff to gain VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:54 Dec 16, 2019 Jkt 250001 access to the meeting room. Please note that the REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, established new requirements for entering federal facilities. For purposes of the REAL ID Act, the EPA will accept governmentissued IDs, including driver’s licenses, from the District of Columbia and all states and territories except from American Samoa. If your identification is issued by American Samoa, you must present an additional form of identification to enter the federal building where the public hearing will be held. Acceptable alternative forms of identification include: Federal employee badges, passports, enhanced driver’s licenses, and military identification cards. For additional information on the status of your state regarding REAL ID, go to: https:// www.dhs.gov/real-id. Any objects brought into the building need to fit through the security screening system, such as a purse, laptop bag, or small backpack. The EPA will not allow demonstrations during the public hearing. On January 13, 2020, the EPA will post general agendas for the hearings that will list pre-registered speakers in approximate order at https:// www.epa.gov/stationary-sources-airpollution/miscellaneous-organicchemical-manufacturing-nationalemission. The EPA will make every effort to follow the schedules as closely as possible on the day of each hearing; however, please plan for the hearings to run either ahead of schedule or behind schedule. Additionally, requests to speak will be taken the day of each hearing at the hearing registration desk. The EPA will make every effort to accommodate all speakers who arrive and register, although preferences on speaking times may not be able to be fulfilled. Each commenter will have 5 minutes to provide oral testimony. The EPA encourages commenters to provide the EPA with a copy of their oral testimony electronically or in hard copy form. Please refer to the ADDRESSES section for additional information on how to provide written comments on the proposed rule. The EPA may ask clarifying questions during the oral presentations, but will not respond to the presentations at that time. Written statements and supporting information submitted during the comment period will be considered with the same weight as oral comments and supporting information presented at the public hearings. Verbatim transcripts of the hearings and written statements will be included in the docket for the rulemaking. PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 68871 Please note that any updates made to any aspect of the hearings will be posted online at https://www.epa.gov/ stationary-sources-air-pollution/ miscellaneous-organic-chemicalmanufacturing-national-emission. While the EPA expects the hearings to go forward as set forth above, please monitor our website or contact Ms.Virginia Hunt at (919) 541–0832 or hunt.virginia@epa.gov to determine if there are any updates. The EPA does not intend to publish a document in the Federal Register announcing updates. Dated: December 12, 2019. Panagiotis Tsirigotis, Director, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. [FR Doc. 2019–27154 Filed 12–16–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 191211–0108; RTID 0648– XX019] Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; 2020 Specifications National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes to maintain Illex squid, longfin squid, and butterfish specifications for the 2020 fishing year and maintain the 2019 Atlantic mackerel ABC for 2020 and adjust the recreational deduction based on updated scientific advice. This action is required to promote the sustainable utilization and conservation of the Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish resources. DATES: Public comments must be received by January 16, 2020. ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents used by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, including the Environmental Assessments (EA), the Supplemental Information Report (SIR), the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis are available from: Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901, SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\17DEP1.SGM 17DEP1 68872 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 242 / Tuesday, December 17, 2019 / Proposed Rules telephone (302) 674–2331. The analys is also accessible via the internet at www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20190122. You may submit comments, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2019–0122, by any 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-20190122, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘Comments on 2020 MSB Specifications.’’ 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). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alyson Pitts, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281–9352. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Background This rule proposes specifications, which are the combined suite of commercial and recreational catch levels established for one or more fishing years, for Atlantic mackerel, Illex squid, longfin squid, and butterfish. Section 302(g)(1)(B) of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act states that the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) for each regional fishery management council shall provide its Council ongoing scientific advice for fishery management decisions, including recommendations for acceptable biological catch (ABC), preventing overfishing, ensuring maximum sustainable yield, and achieving rebuilding targets. The ABC is a level of catch that accounts for the scientific uncertainty in the estimate of the stock’s defined overfishing level (OFL). The regulations implementing the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) require the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Monitoring Committee to develop specification recommendations for each species based upon the ABC advice of the Council’s SSC. The FMP regulations also require the specification of annual catch limits (ACL) and accountability measure (AM) provisions for butterfish and Atlantic mackerel. Both squid species are exempt from the ACL/AM requirements because they have a life cycle of less than one year. In addition, the regulations require the specification of domestic annual harvest (DAH), domestic annual processing (DAP), the butterfish mortality cap in the longfin squid fishery, and initial optimum yield (IOY) for both squid species. On August 1, 2019 (84 FR 37778), we published a final rule in the Federal Register implementing Illex squid, longfin squid, and butterfish specifications for 2019. On October 29, 2019 (84 FR 58053), we published a final fule in the Federal Register implementing the Atlantic mackerel specifications for 2019–2021. The Council’s SSC met in May 2019, to reevaluate the 2020 specifications based upon the latest information. At that meeting, the SSC concluded that no adjustments to the Illex squid, longfin squid, and butterfish specifications were warranted. However, the the SSC recommended a change to the Atlantic mackerel ABC, an update of the recreational catch, and a modification of the river herring and shad catch cap. The Council did not recommend changes to any other regulations in place for the Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries. Therefore, any other fishery management measures in place would remain unchanged for the 2020 fishing year. The Council submitted its recommendations, as summarized below, along with the required analyses, for initial agency review on September 30, 2019. NMFS must review the Council’s recommendations for compliance with the FMP and applicable law, and conduct notice-and-comment rulemaking to propose and implement the final specifications. Until new specifications are implemented, the existing Atlantic mackerel, Illex squid, longfin squid, and butterfish specifications, as described below, will continue to remain in place. 2020 Atlantic Mackerel Specifications The Atlantic mackerel specifications for 2019–2021 were developed in May 2018 as part of Framework 13 to the Atlantic Mackerel Squid, and Butterfish FMP, by which the 2020 ABC for Atlantic mackerel was set to increase from the 2019 level (29,184 mt) (Table 1). The 2020 ABC recommended by the SSC for Framework 13 was based on projections that recognized a strong 2015 year class from the 2016 assessment results, which was the most recent data available for the assessment. However, at its May 2019 meeting, the SSC considered preliminary results from the 2019 Canadian Atlantic mackerel assessment, which indicated lower than expected recruitment. The SSC determined that it would not be prudent to implement the original higher 2020 ABC level based on the preliminary information from the Canadian assessment and instead, recommended maintaining the 2019 ABC for 2020 (29,184 mt). There is an Atlantic mackerel stock assessment update scheduled for 2020 that will inform future ABC specifications, so only a 1-year ABC for 2020 was recomended. The Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Monitoring Committee met in May 2019 and recommended changing the deduction for recreational catch based on an updated recreational catch accounting methodology. The monitoring committee recommended a new recreational deduction of 1,270 mt versus the previous 1,209 mt established in Framework 13. Using this updated value affects the other Atlantic mackerel specifications compared to 2019, as described in Table 1 below, which compares the implemented 2019 measures with the 2020 measures that are proposed in this action. TABLE 1—2019 ATLANTIC MACKEREL SPECIFICATIONS COMPARED TO PROPOSED 2020 SPECIFICATIONS (mt) Specification 2019 OFL .......................................................................................................................................................................... ABC .......................................................................................................................................................................... Canadian Deduction ................................................................................................................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:54 Dec 16, 2019 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\17DEP1.SGM 17DEP1 31,764 29,184 10,000 2020 NA 29,184 10,000 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 242 / Tuesday, December 17, 2019 / Proposed Rules 68873 TABLE 1—2019 ATLANTIC MACKEREL SPECIFICATIONS COMPARED TO PROPOSED 2020 SPECIFICATIONS (mt)—Continued Specification 2019 U.S. ABC ................................................................................................................................................................. Recreational Allocation ............................................................................................................................................ Commerical Allocation ............................................................................................................................................. Management Uncertainty Buffer (3 percent) ........................................................................................................... Commercial Annual Catch Target ........................................................................................................................... DAH ......................................................................................................................................................................... River Herring and Shad Catch Cap in the Atlantic Mackerel Fishery Consistent with maintaining the Atlantic mackerel ABC in 2020 as in 2019, this action proposes to maintain the 2019 river herring and shad catch cap (129 mt) for 2020. The Council had previously adopted an increase in the river herring and shad catch cap to 152 mt for 2020. This action proposes to eliminate the 89-mt trigger provision that was implemented in Framework 13. If the 89 mt trigger was met, a 20,000 lb (9,071.84 kg) possession limit for limited access permitholders would be effective. Eliminating the initial 89 mt trigger would allow for additional landings by the Atlantic mackerel fishery, without compromising the 129mt catch cap, which serves as an incentive to avoid river herring and shad. Longfin Squid Specifications This action maintains the existing projected longfin squid ABC of 23,400 mt for 2020, as implemented on March 1, 2018 (83 FR 8764). The background 2020 19,184 1,209 17,975 539 17,436 17,371 19,184 1,270 17,914 537 17,377 17,312 for this ABC is discussed in the proposed rule to implement the 2018– 2020 squid and butterfish specifications (December 13, 2017; 82 FR 58583) and is not repeated here. The IOY, DAH, and DAP are calculated by deducting an estimated discard rate (2 percent) from the ABC (Table 2). This action also maintains the existing allocation of longfin squid DAH among trimesters according to percentages specified in the FMP (Table 3). The Council will make recommendations for 2021 and beyond in 2020. TABLE 2—2020 LONGFIN SQUID SPECIFICATIONS IN METRIC TONS (mt) OFL ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... ABC ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... IOY ....................................................................................................................................................................................................... DAH/DAP ............................................................................................................................................................................................. Unknown 23,400 22,932 22,932 TABLE 3—2020 LONGFIN QUOTA TRIMESTER ALLOCATIONS Trimester Percent I (Jan–Apr) ............................................................................................................................................................... II (May–Aug) ............................................................................................................................................................ III (Sep–Dec) ............................................................................................................................................................ 2020 Butterfish Specifications This action also maintains the previously approved projected 2020 butterfish specifications outlined in Table 4, as initially implemented on March 1, 2018 (83 FR 8764). The background for these specifications is discussed in the proposed rule to implement 2019 squid and butterfish specifications (December 13, 2017; 82 FR 58583) and is not repeated here. In summary, the 2020 butterfish specifications are based on long-term recruitment estimates and include a 7.5 percent management uncertainty buffer Metric tons 43 17 40 9,861 3,898 9,173 and an estimated discard rate of 2.4 percent. These specifications maintain the existing butterfish mortality cap in the longfin squid fishery (3,884 mt) and the existing allocation of the butterfish mortality cap among longfin squid trimesters (Table 5). TABLE 4—2020 BUTTERFISH SPECIFICATIONS IN METRIC TONS (mt) jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS OFL ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... ACL = ABC .......................................................................................................................................................................................... Commercial ACT (ABC¥management uncertainty buffers for each year) ........................................................................................ DAH (ACT minus butterfish cap and discards) ................................................................................................................................... Directed Fishery closure limit (DAH¥1,000 mt incidental landings buffer) ........................................................................................ Butterfish Cap (in the longfin squid fishery) ........................................................................................................................................ 39,592 32,063 28,857 23,752 22,752 3,884 TABLE 5—TRIMESTER ALLOCATION OF BUTTERFISH MORTALITY CAP ON THE LONGFIN SQUID FISHERY FOR 2020 Trimester Percent I (Jan–Apr) ............................................................................................................................................................... II (May–Aug) ............................................................................................................................................................ III (Sep–Dec) ............................................................................................................................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:54 Dec 16, 2019 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\17DEP1.SGM 17DEP1 Metric tons 43 17 40 1,670 660 1,554 68874 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 242 / Tuesday, December 17, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 5—TRIMESTER ALLOCATION OF BUTTERFISH MORTALITY CAP ON THE LONGFIN SQUID FISHERY FOR 2020— Continued Trimester Percent Total .................................................................................................................................................................. 2020 Illex Squid Specifications Table 6, as implemented on August 2, 2019 (84 FR 37778). The background for these specifications is discussed in the proposed rule to implement the 2019 Illex squid, longfin squid, and butterfish This action also maintains the previously approved 2019 Illex squid specifications for 2020, outlined in Metric tons 100 3,844 specifications (May 1, 2019, 84 FR 18471). The Council will set specifications for 2021 and beyond in 2020. TABLE 6—PROPOSED 2020 ILLEX SQUID SPECIFICATIONS IN METRIC TONS (mt) OFL ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... ABC ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... IOY ....................................................................................................................................................................................................... DAH/DAP ............................................................................................................................................................................................. Classification jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS 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 Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This action is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. This proposed rule is not subject to Executive Order 13771 because this proposed rule is exempt from Executive Order 12866. 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 purpose, context, and statutory basis for this action is described above and not repeated here. Business entities VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:54 Dec 16, 2019 Jkt 250001 affected by this action include vessels that are issued limited access Atlantic mackerel, longfin squid, Illex squid, and butterfish permits. Although vessels issued open access incidental catch permits for these species are also potentially affected by this action, because these vessels land only small amounts of squid and butterfish and this action would not revise the amount of squid and butterfish that these vessels can land, these entities would not be affected by this proposed rule. For purposes of complying with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, commercial fishing entities with combined annual fishery landing receipts less than $11 million are considered to be small entities (80 FR 81194, December 29, 2015). The changes to existing mackerel specifications proposed in this action apply to the vessels that hold limited access permits for Atlantic mackerel. There were 126 separate vessels that held limited access Atlantic mackerel permits in 2018, owned by 100 entities. PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 Unknown 26,000 24,825 24,825 Ninety-three of those are small business entities, four of which had no revenues. For the remainder, the average revenue was $1.6 million in 2018. Based on recent squid and butterfish landings, the proposed measures would not reduce fishing opportunities, change any entity’s access to these resources, or impose any costs to affected entities. Therefore, this action would not reduce revenues or profit for affected entities compared to recent levels. Based on the above justification, the proposed action is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: December 12, 2019. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–27152 Filed 12–16–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\17DEP1.SGM 17DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 242 (Tuesday, December 17, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 68871-68874]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-27152]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 191211-0108; RTID 0648-XX019]


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, 
Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; 2020 Specifications

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to maintain Illex squid, longfin squid, and 
butterfish specifications for the 2020 fishing year and maintain the 
2019 Atlantic mackerel ABC for 2020 and adjust the recreational 
deduction based on updated scientific advice. This action is required 
to promote the sustainable utilization and conservation of the Atlantic 
mackerel, squid, and butterfish resources.

DATES: Public comments must be received by January 16, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents used by the Mid-Atlantic 
Fishery Management Council, including the Environmental Assessments 
(EA), the Supplemental Information Report (SIR), the Regulatory Impact 
Review (RIR), and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis are 
available from: Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, Mid-
Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, 
Dover, DE 19901,

[[Page 68872]]

telephone (302) 674-2331. The analys is also accessible via the 
internet at www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2019-0122.
    You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2019-0122, by any 
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-2019-0122, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to NMFS, Greater Atlantic 
Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 
01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ``Comments on 2020 MSB 
Specifications.''
    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).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alyson Pitts, Fishery Management 
Specialist, (978) 281-9352.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    This rule proposes specifications, which are the combined suite of 
commercial and recreational catch levels established for one or more 
fishing years, for Atlantic mackerel, Illex squid, longfin squid, and 
butterfish. Section 302(g)(1)(B) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act states that the Scientific and 
Statistical Committee (SSC) for each regional fishery management 
council shall provide its Council ongoing scientific advice for fishery 
management decisions, including recommendations for acceptable 
biological catch (ABC), preventing overfishing, ensuring maximum 
sustainable yield, and achieving rebuilding targets. The ABC is a level 
of catch that accounts for the scientific uncertainty in the estimate 
of the stock's defined overfishing level (OFL).
    The regulations implementing the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and 
Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) require the Mid-Atlantic 
Fishery Management Council's Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish 
Monitoring Committee to develop specification recommendations for each 
species based upon the ABC advice of the Council's SSC. The FMP 
regulations also require the specification of annual catch limits (ACL) 
and accountability measure (AM) provisions for butterfish and Atlantic 
mackerel. Both squid species are exempt from the ACL/AM requirements 
because they have a life cycle of less than one year. In addition, the 
regulations require the specification of domestic annual harvest (DAH), 
domestic annual processing (DAP), the butterfish mortality cap in the 
longfin squid fishery, and initial optimum yield (IOY) for both squid 
species.
    On August 1, 2019 (84 FR 37778), we published a final rule in the 
Federal Register implementing Illex squid, longfin squid, and 
butterfish specifications for 2019. On October 29, 2019 (84 FR 58053), 
we published a final fule in the Federal Register implementing the 
Atlantic mackerel specifications for 2019-2021. The Council's SSC met 
in May 2019, to reevaluate the 2020 specifications based upon the 
latest information. At that meeting, the SSC concluded that no 
adjustments to the Illex squid, longfin squid, and butterfish 
specifications were warranted. However, the the SSC recommended a 
change to the Atlantic mackerel ABC, an update of the recreational 
catch, and a modification of the river herring and shad catch cap.
    The Council did not recommend changes to any other regulations in 
place for the Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries. 
Therefore, any other fishery management measures in place would remain 
unchanged for the 2020 fishing year. The Council submitted its 
recommendations, as summarized below, along with the required analyses, 
for initial agency review on September 30, 2019. NMFS must review the 
Council's recommendations for compliance with the FMP and applicable 
law, and conduct notice-and-comment rulemaking to propose and implement 
the final specifications.
    Until new specifications are implemented, the existing Atlantic 
mackerel, Illex squid, longfin squid, and butterfish specifications, as 
described below, will continue to remain in place.

2020 Atlantic Mackerel Specifications

    The Atlantic mackerel specifications for 2019-2021 were developed 
in May 2018 as part of Framework 13 to the Atlantic Mackerel Squid, and 
Butterfish FMP, by which the 2020 ABC for Atlantic mackerel was set to 
increase from the 2019 level (29,184 mt) (Table 1). The 2020 ABC 
recommended by the SSC for Framework 13 was based on projections that 
recognized a strong 2015 year class from the 2016 assessment results, 
which was the most recent data available for the assessment. However, 
at its May 2019 meeting, the SSC considered preliminary results from 
the 2019 Canadian Atlantic mackerel assessment, which indicated lower 
than expected recruitment. The SSC determined that it would not be 
prudent to implement the original higher 2020 ABC level based on the 
preliminary information from the Canadian assessment and instead, 
recommended maintaining the 2019 ABC for 2020 (29,184 mt). There is an 
Atlantic mackerel stock assessment update scheduled for 2020 that will 
inform future ABC specifications, so only a 1-year ABC for 2020 was 
recomended.
    The Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Monitoring Committee 
met in May 2019 and recommended changing the deduction for recreational 
catch based on an updated recreational catch accounting methodology. 
The monitoring committee recommended a new recreational deduction of 
1,270 mt versus the previous 1,209 mt established in Framework 13. 
Using this updated value affects the other Atlantic mackerel 
specifications compared to 2019, as described in Table 1 below, which 
compares the implemented 2019 measures with the 2020 measures that are 
proposed in this action.

Table 1--2019 Atlantic Mackerel Specifications Compared to Proposed 2020
                           Specifications (mt)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Specification                    2019            2020
------------------------------------------------------------------------
OFL.....................................          31,764              NA
ABC.....................................          29,184          29,184
Canadian Deduction......................          10,000          10,000

[[Page 68873]]

 
U.S. ABC................................          19,184          19,184
Recreational Allocation.................           1,209           1,270
Commerical Allocation...................          17,975          17,914
Management Uncertainty Buffer (3                     539             537
 percent)...............................
Commercial Annual Catch Target..........          17,436          17,377
DAH.....................................          17,371          17,312
------------------------------------------------------------------------

River Herring and Shad Catch Cap in the Atlantic Mackerel Fishery

    Consistent with maintaining the Atlantic mackerel ABC in 2020 as in 
2019, this action proposes to maintain the 2019 river herring and shad 
catch cap (129 mt) for 2020. The Council had previously adopted an 
increase in the river herring and shad catch cap to 152 mt for 2020. 
This action proposes to eliminate the 89-mt trigger provision that was 
implemented in Framework 13. If the 89 mt trigger was met, a 20,000 lb 
(9,071.84 kg) possession limit for limited access permitholders would 
be effective. Eliminating the initial 89 mt trigger would allow for 
additional landings by the Atlantic mackerel fishery, without 
compromising the 129-mt catch cap, which serves as an incentive to 
avoid river herring and shad.

Longfin Squid Specifications

    This action maintains the existing projected longfin squid ABC of 
23,400 mt for 2020, as implemented on March 1, 2018 (83 FR 8764). The 
background for this ABC is discussed in the proposed rule to implement 
the 2018-2020 squid and butterfish specifications (December 13, 2017; 
82 FR 58583) and is not repeated here. The IOY, DAH, and DAP are 
calculated by deducting an estimated discard rate (2 percent) from the 
ABC (Table 2). This action also maintains the existing allocation of 
longfin squid DAH among trimesters according to percentages specified 
in the FMP (Table 3). The Council will make recommendations for 2021 
and beyond in 2020.

     Table 2--2020 Longfin Squid Specifications in Metric Tons (mt)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
OFL.....................................................         Unknown
ABC.....................................................          23,400
IOY.....................................................          22,932
DAH/DAP.................................................          22,932
------------------------------------------------------------------------


            Table 3--2020 Longfin Quota Trimester Allocations
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Trimester                     Percent       Metric tons
------------------------------------------------------------------------
I (Jan-Apr).............................              43           9,861
II (May-Aug)............................              17           3,898
III (Sep-Dec)...........................              40           9,173
------------------------------------------------------------------------

2020 Butterfish Specifications

    This action also maintains the previously approved projected 2020 
butterfish specifications outlined in Table 4, as initially implemented 
on March 1, 2018 (83 FR 8764). The background for these specifications 
is discussed in the proposed rule to implement 2019 squid and 
butterfish specifications (December 13, 2017; 82 FR 58583) and is not 
repeated here. In summary, the 2020 butterfish specifications are based 
on long-term recruitment estimates and include a 7.5 percent management 
uncertainty buffer and an estimated discard rate of 2.4 percent. These 
specifications maintain the existing butterfish mortality cap in the 
longfin squid fishery (3,884 mt) and the existing allocation of the 
butterfish mortality cap among longfin squid trimesters (Table 5).

       Table 4--2020 Butterfish Specifications in Metric Tons (mt)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
OFL.....................................................          39,592
ACL = ABC...............................................          32,063
Commercial ACT (ABC-management uncertainty buffers for            28,857
 each year).............................................
DAH (ACT minus butterfish cap and discards).............          23,752
Directed Fishery closure limit (DAH-1,000 mt incidental           22,752
 landings buffer).......................................
Butterfish Cap (in the longfin squid fishery)...........           3,884
------------------------------------------------------------------------


Table 5--Trimester Allocation of Butterfish Mortality Cap on the Longfin
                         Squid Fishery for 2020
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Trimester                     Percent       Metric tons
------------------------------------------------------------------------
I (Jan-Apr).............................              43           1,670
II (May-Aug)............................              17             660
III (Sep-Dec)...........................              40           1,554
                                         -------------------------------

[[Page 68874]]

 
    Total...............................             100           3,844
------------------------------------------------------------------------

2020 Illex Squid Specifications

    This action also maintains the previously approved 2019 Illex squid 
specifications for 2020, outlined in Table 6, as implemented on August 
2, 2019 (84 FR 37778). The background for these specifications is 
discussed in the proposed rule to implement the 2019 Illex squid, 
longfin squid, and butterfish specifications (May 1, 2019, 84 FR 
18471). The Council will set specifications for 2021 and beyond in 
2020.

  Table 6--Proposed 2020 Illex Squid Specifications in Metric Tons (mt)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
OFL.....................................................         Unknown
ABC.....................................................          26,000
IOY.....................................................          24,825
DAH/DAP.................................................          24,825
------------------------------------------------------------------------

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 Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP, other 
provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, 
subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This action is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. This 
proposed rule is not subject to Executive Order 13771 because this 
proposed rule is exempt from Executive Order 12866.
    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 purpose, context, and statutory basis for this action is described 
above and not repeated here. Business entities affected by this action 
include vessels that are issued limited access Atlantic mackerel, 
longfin squid, Illex squid, and butterfish permits. Although vessels 
issued open access incidental catch permits for these species are also 
potentially affected by this action, because these vessels land only 
small amounts of squid and butterfish and this action would not revise 
the amount of squid and butterfish that these vessels can land, these 
entities would not be affected by this proposed rule.
    For purposes of complying with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 
commercial fishing entities with combined annual fishery landing 
receipts less than $11 million are considered to be small entities (80 
FR 81194, December 29, 2015). The changes to existing mackerel 
specifications proposed in this action apply to the vessels that hold 
limited access permits for Atlantic mackerel. There were 126 separate 
vessels that held limited access Atlantic mackerel permits in 2018, 
owned by 100 entities. Ninety-three of those are small business 
entities, four of which had no revenues. For the remainder, the average 
revenue was $1.6 million in 2018.
    Based on recent squid and butterfish landings, the proposed 
measures would not reduce fishing opportunities, change any entity's 
access to these resources, or impose any costs to affected entities. 
Therefore, this action would not reduce revenues or profit for affected 
entities compared to recent levels. Based on the above justification, 
the proposed action is not expected to have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities.

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

    Dated: December 12, 2019.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-27152 Filed 12-16-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P