Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 26365-26368 [2020-09420]

Download as PDF jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 86 / Monday, May 4, 2020 / Rules and Regulations OMB Expiration Date: March 31, 2023. Title: Aeronautical Frequency Notification, FCC Form 321. Form Number: FCC Form 321. Respondents: Business and other forprofit entities; not-for-profit institutions. Number of Respondents: 1,886 respondents, 1,886 responses. Estimated Time per Response: 0.67 hours. Frequency of Response: One time and on occasion reporting requirements. Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection of information is contained in Sections 154(i), 301, 303, 308, 309 and 621 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. Total Annual Burden: 1,264 hours. Total Annual Cost: $132,020. Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s). Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information. Needs and Uses: Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) provide their programming over a closed system and, thus, may use all frequencies to do so. They must, however, prevent leakage of those signals from the system and guard against and minimize any harm to aeronautical communications should leak occur. Part of the regime for protecting aeronautical frequencies from interference and resolving interference is notification of the Commission of use of those frequencies and that proper frequency offsets and other precautions are taken. Form 321 is used for this purpose. The Commission modified this submission to reflect that the Commission adopted a rule, 47 CFR 76.1804, which a new trigger for filing FCC Form 321 (see FCC 17–120, adopted on September 22, 2017). Under 47 CFR 76.1804, an MVPD shall notify the Commission before transmitting any digital signal with average power exceeding 10¥5 watts across a 30 kHz bandwidth in a 2.5 millisecond time period, or for other signal types, any carrier of other signal component with an average power level across a 25 kHz bandwidth in any 160 microsecond time period equal to or greater than 10¥4 watts at any point in the cable distribution system on any new frequency or frequencies in the aeronautical radio frequency bands (108–137 MHz, 225–400 MHz). The notification shall be made on FCC Form 321. OMB Control Number: 3060–0419. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 May 01, 2020 Jkt 250001 OMB Approval Date: March 31, 2020. OMB Expiration Date: March 31, 2023. Title: Network Non-duplication Protection and Syndication Exclusivity: Sections 76.94, Notification; 76.95, Exceptions; 76.105, Notifications; 76.106, Exceptions; 76.107, Exclusivity Contracts; and 76.1609, NonDuplication and Syndicated Exclusivity. Form Number: N/A. Respondents: Business or other forprofit entities. Number of Respondents: 5,980 respondents; 249,880 responses. Estimated Time per Response: 0.5 to 2 hours. Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement; One-time reporting requirement; Third party disclosure requirement. Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this Information collection is contained in Section 4(i) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. Total Annual Burden: 233,420 hours. Total Annual Cost: None. Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s). Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information. Needs and Uses: This information collection was revised to receive approval for a minor revision to 47 CFR 76.105(b), which requires broadcasters entering into contracts that contain syndicated exclusivity protection to notify affected cable systems within 60 calendar days of the signing of such a contract. The revision to 47 CFR 76.105(b) removes outdated language about contracts entered into before August 18, 1988 (see FCC 17–120). OMB Control Number: 3060–1045. OMB Approval Date: March 31, 2020. OMB Expiration Date: March 31, 2023. Title: Section 76.1610, Change of Operational Information; FCC Form 324, Operator, Mail Address, and Operational Status Changes. Form Number: FCC Form 324. Respondents: Business or other forprofit entities; not-for-profit institutions. Number of Respondents: 325 respondents; 325 responses. Estimated Time per Response: 0.5 hours. Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement. Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection of information is contained in 154(i), 303, 308, 309 and 621 of the PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 26365 Communications Act of 1934, as amended. Total Annual Burden: 163 hours. Total Annual Cost: None. Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s). Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information. Needs and Uses: The information collection requirements contained in 47 CFR 76.1610 require that operators shall inform the Commission on FCC Form 324 whenever there is a change of cable television system operator; change of legal name, change of the operator’s mailing address or FCC Registration Number (FRN); or change in the operational status of a cable television system. Notification must be done within 30 days from the date the change occurs and must include the following information, as appropriate: (a) The legal name of the operator and whether the operator is an individual, private association, partnership, corporation, or government entity. See Section 76.5(cc). If the operator is a partnership, the legal name of the partner responsible for communications with the Commission shall be supplied; (b) The assumed name (if any) used for doing business in each community; (c) The physical address, including zip code, and email address, if applicable, to which all communications are to be directed; (d) The nature of the operational status change (e.g., operation terminated, merged with another system, inactive, deleted, etc.); (e) The names and FCC identifiers (e.g., CA 0001) of the system communities affected. The Commission removed 47 CFR 76.1610(f) and (g) from its rules to remove duplication from that rule section (see FCC 17–120, adopted on September 22, 2017). Federal Communications Commission. Cecilia Sigmund, Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. 2020–07583 Filed 5–1–20; 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–XA094] Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\04MYR1.SGM 04MYR1 26366 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 86 / Monday, May 4, 2020 / Rules and Regulations Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason Angling category retention limit adjustment. NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily retention limit that applies to vessels permitted in the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally for BFT) should be adjusted for the remainder of 2020, based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. NMFS is adjusting the Angling category BFT daily retention limit from the default of one school, large school, or small medium BFT to two school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for private vessels with HMS Angling category permits; to three school BFT and one large school/ small medium BFT per vessel per day/ trip for charter boat vessels with HMS Charter/Headboat permits when fishing recreationally; and to six school BFT and two large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for headboat vessels with HMS Charter/Headboat permits when fishing recreationally. These retention limits are effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS prohibits targeted fishing for BFT. DATES: Effective May 2, 2020 through December 31, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin, 978–281–9260, Larry Redd, 301–427–8503, or Nicholas Velseboer, 978–675–2168. 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 SUMMARY: et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (Amendment 7) (79 FR 71510, December 2, 2014), and in accordance with implementing regulations. 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. As a method for limiting fishing mortality on juvenile BFT, ICCAT recommends a tolerance limit on the annual harvest of BFT measuring less than 115 centimeters (cm) (45.3 inches) (straight fork length) to no more than 10 percent by weight of a Contracting Party’s total BFT quota. Any overharvest of such tolerance limit from one year must be subtracted from the tolerance limit applicable in the next year or the year after that. NMFS implements this provision by limiting the harvest of school BFT (measuring 27 to less than 47 inches curved fork length) as appropriate to not exceed the 10-percent limit (127.3 mt) annually. In 2018, NMFS implemented a final rule that established the U.S. BFT quota and subquotas consistent with ICCAT Recommendation 17–06 (83 FR 53191, October 11, 2018). The currently codified baseline U.S. quota is 1,247.86 metric tons (mt) (not including the 25 mt ICCAT allocated to the United States to account for bycatch of BFT in pelagic longline fisheries in the Northeast Distant Gear Restricted Area). See § 635.27(a). The currently codified Angling category quota is 232.4 mt (127.3 mt for school BFT, 99.8 mt for large school/small medium BFT, and 5.3 mt for large medium/giant BFT). The Angling category season opened January 1, 2020, and continues through December 31, 2020. The size classes of BFT are summarized in Table 1. Please note that large school and small medium BFT traditionally have been managed as one size class, as described below, i.e., a limit of one large school/ small medium BFT (measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). Currently, the default Angling category daily retention limit of one school, large school, or small medium BFT applies (§ 635.23(b)(2)). This retention limit applies to HMS Angling and to HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels (when fishing recreationally for BFT). As defined at § 600.10, ‘‘charter boat’’ means a vessel less than 100 gross tons (90.8 mt) that meets the requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard to carry six or fewer passengers for hire (i.e., uninspected) and ‘‘headboat’’ means a vessel that holds a valid Certificate of Inspection issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry passengers for hire (i.e., greater than six). TABLE 1—BFT SIZE CLASSES Size class Curved fork length School ............ 27 to less than 47 inches (68.5 to less than 119 cm). 47 to less than 59 inches (119 to less than 150 cm). 59 to less than 73 inches (150 to less than 185 cm). 73 to less than 81 inches (185 to less than 206 cm). 81 inches or greater (206 cm or greater). Large school .. Small medium Large medium Giant .............. Table 2 summarizes the recreational quota, subquotas, landings, and retention limit information for 2018 and 2019, by size class. TABLE 2—ANGLING CATEGORY QUOTAS (mt), ESTIMATED LANDINGS (mt), AND DAILY RETENTION LIMITS, 2018–2019 2018 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Size class 2019 Amount of subquotas and total quota used Subquotas and total quota (mt) Subquotas and total quota (mt) Subquotas and total quota (mt) Subquotas and total quota (mt) School ...................................................... Large School/Small Medium .................... Trophy: Large Medium/Giant ................... 127.3 99.8 5.3 55.8 45.5 11.3 44% 46% 213% 127.3 99.8 5.3 71 95 15.8 56% 95% 298% Total .................................................. 232.4 112.6 48% 232.4 181.8 78% Daily Retention Limits (per Vessel) ......... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 May 01, 2020 Jkt 250001 January 1 through April 25: 1 school, large school, or small medium (default) PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Landings (mt) January 1 through May 10: 1 school, large school, or small medium (default) E:\FR\FM\04MYR1.SGM 04MYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 86 / Monday, May 4, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 26367 TABLE 2—ANGLING CATEGORY QUOTAS (mt), ESTIMATED LANDINGS (mt), AND DAILY RETENTION LIMITS, 2018–2019— Continued 2018 Size class Subquotas and total quota (mt) 2019 Subquotas and total quota (mt) Subquotas and total quota (mt) jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES April 26 through December 31: (83 FR 18230, April 26, 2018) Private boats: 2 school and 1 large school/small medium Charter/Headboats: 3 school and 1 large school/small medium Adjustment of Angling Category Daily Retention Limit Under § 635.23(b)(3), NMFS may increase or decrease the Angling category retention limit for any size class of BFT after considering regulatory determination criteria provided under § 635.27(a)(8). Also under § 635.23(b)(3), recreational retention limits may be adjusted separately for specific vessel type, such as private vessels, headboats, or charter boats. NMFS has considered all of the relevant determination criteria and their applicability to the change in the Angling category retention limit. The criteria and their application are discussed below. NMFS considered 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 recreational fishermen continue to provide NMFS with valuable parts and data for ongoing scientific studies of BFT age and growth, migration, and reproductive status. Additional opportunity to land BFT would support the collection of a broad range of data for these studies and for stock monitoring purposes. NMFS considered the catches of the Angling category quota to date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made (§ 635.27(a)(8)(ii)). NMFS anticipates that the full 2020 Angling category quota would not be harvested under the default retention limit. As shown in Table 2, Angling category landings in 2018 and 2019 were approximately 48 percent and 78 percent of the 232.4-mt annual Angling category quota, respectively, including landings of 44 percent and 56 percent of the available school BFT quota, respectively. NMFS also considered the effects of the adjustment on the BFT stock and the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 May 01, 2020 Jkt 250001 Subquotas and total quota (mt) Frm 00049 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Amount of subquotas and total quota used May 11 through December 31: (84 FR 20296, May 9, 2010) Private boats: 2 school and 1 large school/small medium Charter boats: 3 school and 1 large school/small medium Headboats: 6 school and 2 large school/small medium effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the FMP (§ 635.27(a)(8)(v) and (vi)). These retention limits would be consistent with the quotas established and analyzed in the 2018 BFT quota final rule, which implemented the ICCAT quota consistent with ATCA, 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. It is also important that NMFS limit landings to the subquotas both to adhere to the FMP quota allocations and to ensure that landings are as consistent as possible with the pattern of fishing mortality (e.g., fish caught at each age) that was assumed in the latest stock assessment. Another principal consideration in setting the retention limit is the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full Angling category 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)). The 2019 school BFT landings represent 6 percent of the total U.S. quota for 2019, well under the ICCAT recommended 10-percent limit. Given that the Angling category landings fell short of the available quota and considering the regulatory criteria above, NMFS has determined that the Angling category retention limit applicable to participants on HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels should be adjusted upwards from the default levels. NMFS has also concluded that implementation of separate limits for private, charter boat, and headboat PO 00000 Landings (mt) vessels is appropriate, recognizing the different nature, socio-economic needs, and recent landings results of the two components of the recreational BFT fishery. For example, charter operators historically have indicated that a multifish retention limit is vital to their ability to attract customers. In addition, Large Pelagics Survey estimates indicate that charter/headboat BFT landings averaged 27 percent of recent recreational landings for 2018 through 2019, with the remaining 73 percent landed by private vessels. NMFS has further concluded that a higher limit for headboats (than charter boats) is appropriate, given the limited number of headboats participating in the bluefin tuna fishery. Given these considerations, for private vessels with HMS Angling category permits, this action adjusts the limit upwards to two school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip (i.e., two BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). For charter boat vessels with HMS Charter/Headboat permits, this action adjusts the limit upwards to three school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip when fishing recreationally for BFT (i.e., three BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). For headboat vessels with HMS Charter/Headboat permits, this action adjusts the limit upwards to six school BFT and two large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip when fishing recreationally for BFT (i.e., three BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). Regardless of the duration of a fishing trip, the daily retention limit applies upon landing. For example, whether a private vessel (fishing under the Angling category retention limit) takes a two-day trip or makes two trips E:\FR\FM\04MYR1.SGM 04MYR1 26368 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 86 / Monday, May 4, 2020 / Rules and Regulations in one day, the day/trip limit of two school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT applies and may not be exceeded upon landing. NMFS anticipates that the BFT daily retention limits in this action will result in landings during 2020 that would not exceed the available subquotas. Lower retention limits could result in substantial underharvest of the codified Angling category subquota, and increasing the daily limits further may risk exceeding the available quota, contrary to the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments. NMFS considered input on recreational limits from the HMS Advisory Panel at its May and September 2019 meetings. NMFS is not setting higher school BFT limits than the adjustments listed in Table 1 due to the potential risk of exceeding the ICCAT tolerance limit on school BFT and other considerations, such as potential effort shifts to BFT fishing as a result of current recreational retention limits for New England groundfish and striped bass. Monitoring and Reporting jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries closely through the mandatory landings and catch reports. HMS Charter/Headboat and Angling category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling (888) 872–8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.). Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional retention limit adjustments or closures are necessary to ensure available quota is 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 May 01, 2020 Jkt 250001 hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments. HMS Angling and HMS Charter/ Headboat category permit holders may catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs at § 635.26. Anglers are also reminded that all BFT that are released must be handled in a manner that will maximize survival, and without removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at § 635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the ‘‘Careful Catch and Release’’ brochure available at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/ outreach-and-education/careful-catchand-release-brochure. 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 retention limit adjustments 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 daily retention limit for the remainder of 2020 at this time is impracticable. Based on available BFT quotas, fishery performance in recent years, and the availability of BFT on the fishing grounds, immediate adjustment to the Angling category BFT daily retention limit from the default levels is warranted to allow fishermen to take advantage of the availability of fish and of quota. NMFS could not have proposed these actions earlier, as it needed to consider and respond to updated data and information from the 2019 Angling category. If NMFS was to offer a public comment period now, PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 after having appropriately considered that data, it would preclude fishermen from harvesting BFT that are legally available consistent with all of the regulatory criteria, and/or could result in selection of a retention limit inappropriately high or low for the amount of quota available for the period. Fisheries under the Angling category daily retention limit are currently underway and thus prior notice would be contrary to the public interest. Delays in increasing daily recreational BFT retention limit would adversely affect those HMS Angling and Charter/ Headboat category vessels that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest more than the default retention limit of one school, large school, or small medium BFT per day/trip and may exacerbate the problem of low catch rates and quota rollovers. Analysis of available data shows that adjustment to the BFT daily retention limit from the default level would result in minimal risks of exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota. NMFS provides notification of retention limit adjustments by publishing the notice in the Federal Register, emailing individuals who have subscribed to the Atlantic HMS News electronic newsletter, and updating the information posted on the Atlantic Tunas Information Line and on hmspermits.noaa.gov. 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 30day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under § 635.23(b)(3), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: April 28, 2020. He´le`ne M.N. Scalliet, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–09420 Filed 4–29–20; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\04MYR1.SGM 04MYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 86 (Monday, May 4, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 26365-26368]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-09420]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 180117042-8884-02; RTID 0648-XA094]


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and

[[Page 26366]]

Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason Angling category retention limit 
adjustment.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily 
retention limit that applies to vessels permitted in the Highly 
Migratory Species (HMS) Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat 
category (when fishing recreationally for BFT) should be adjusted for 
the remainder of 2020, based on consideration of the regulatory 
determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. NMFS is 
adjusting the Angling category BFT daily retention limit from the 
default of one school, large school, or small medium BFT to two school 
BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for 
private vessels with HMS Angling category permits; to three school BFT 
and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for 
charter boat vessels with HMS Charter/Headboat permits when fishing 
recreationally; and to six school BFT and two large school/small medium 
BFT per vessel per day/trip for headboat vessels with HMS Charter/
Headboat permits when fishing recreationally. These retention limits 
are effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS 
prohibits targeted fishing for BFT.

DATES: Effective May 2, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin, 978-281-9260, Larry 
Redd, 301-427-8503, or Nicholas Velseboer, 978-675-2168.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by 
persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR 
part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by 
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
(ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the 
allocations established in Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly 
Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) 
(Amendment 7) (79 FR 71510, December 2, 2014), and in accordance with 
implementing regulations. 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.
    As a method for limiting fishing mortality on juvenile BFT, ICCAT 
recommends a tolerance limit on the annual harvest of BFT measuring 
less than 115 centimeters (cm) (45.3 inches) (straight fork length) to 
no more than 10 percent by weight of a Contracting Party's total BFT 
quota. Any overharvest of such tolerance limit from one year must be 
subtracted from the tolerance limit applicable in the next year or the 
year after that. NMFS implements this provision by limiting the harvest 
of school BFT (measuring 27 to less than 47 inches curved fork length) 
as appropriate to not exceed the 10-percent limit (127.3 mt) annually.
    In 2018, NMFS implemented a final rule that established the U.S. 
BFT quota and subquotas consistent with ICCAT Recommendation 17-06 (83 
FR 53191, October 11, 2018). The currently codified baseline U.S. quota 
is 1,247.86 metric tons (mt) (not including the 25 mt ICCAT allocated 
to the United States to account for bycatch of BFT in pelagic longline 
fisheries in the Northeast Distant Gear Restricted Area). See Sec.  
635.27(a). The currently codified Angling category quota is 232.4 mt 
(127.3 mt for school BFT, 99.8 mt for large school/small medium BFT, 
and 5.3 mt for large medium/giant BFT).
    The Angling category season opened January 1, 2020, and continues 
through December 31, 2020. The size classes of BFT are summarized in 
Table 1. Please note that large school and small medium BFT 
traditionally have been managed as one size class, as described below, 
i.e., a limit of one large school/small medium BFT (measuring 47 to 
less than 73 inches). Currently, the default Angling category daily 
retention limit of one school, large school, or small medium BFT 
applies (Sec.  635.23(b)(2)). This retention limit applies to HMS 
Angling and to HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels (when 
fishing recreationally for BFT).
    As defined at Sec.  600.10, ``charter boat'' means a vessel less 
than 100 gross tons (90.8 mt) that meets the requirements of the U.S. 
Coast Guard to carry six or fewer passengers for hire (i.e., 
uninspected) and ``headboat'' means a vessel that holds a valid 
Certificate of Inspection issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry 
passengers for hire (i.e., greater than six).

                        Table 1--BFT Size Classes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Size class                       Curved fork length
------------------------------------------------------------------------
School....................................  27 to less than 47 inches
                                             (68.5 to less than 119 cm).
Large school..............................  47 to less than 59 inches
                                             (119 to less than 150 cm).
Small medium..............................  59 to less than 73 inches
                                             (150 to less than 185 cm).
Large medium..............................  73 to less than 81 inches
                                             (185 to less than 206 cm).
Giant.....................................  81 inches or greater (206 cm
                                             or greater).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 2 summarizes the recreational quota, subquotas, landings, and 
retention limit information for 2018 and 2019, by size class.

                          Table 2--Angling Category Quotas (mt), Estimated Landings (mt), and Daily Retention Limits, 2018-2019
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                               2018                                            2019
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                             Amount of
                       Size class                          Subquotas and   Subquotas and   Subquotas and   Subquotas and                   subquotas and
                                                            total quota     total quota     total quota     total quota   Landings  (mt)    total quota
                                                               (mt)            (mt)            (mt)            (mt)                            used
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
School..................................................           127.3            55.8             44%           127.3              71             56%
Large School/Small Medium...............................            99.8            45.5             46%            99.8              95             95%
Trophy: Large Medium/Giant..............................             5.3            11.3            213%             5.3            15.8            298%
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................................           232.4           112.6             48%           232.4           181.8             78%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Daily Retention Limits (per Vessel).....................  January 1 through April 25:
                                                          1 school, large school, or small medium
                                                          (default)
                                                          January 1 through May 10:
                                                          1 school, large school, or small medium
                                                          (default)

[[Page 26367]]

 
                                                          April 26 through December 31:
                                                          (83 FR 18230, April 26, 2018)
                                                          Private boats:
                                                          2 school and 1 large school/small medium
                                                          May 11 through December 31:
                                                          (84 FR 20296, May 9, 2010)
                                                          Private boats:
                                                          2 school and 1 large school/small medium
                                                          Charter/Headboats:
                                                          3 school and 1 large school/small medium
                                                          Charter boats:
                                                          3 school and 1 large school/small medium
                                                          Headboats:
                                                          6 school and 2 large school/small medium
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adjustment of Angling Category Daily Retention Limit

    Under Sec.  635.23(b)(3), NMFS may increase or decrease the Angling 
category retention limit for any size class of BFT after considering 
regulatory determination criteria provided under Sec.  635.27(a)(8). 
Also under Sec.  635.23(b)(3), recreational retention limits may be 
adjusted separately for specific vessel type, such as private vessels, 
headboats, or charter boats.
    NMFS has considered all of the relevant determination criteria and 
their applicability to the change in the Angling category retention 
limit. The criteria and their application are discussed below.
    NMFS considered 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 recreational fishermen continue to provide 
NMFS with valuable parts and data for ongoing scientific studies of BFT 
age and growth, migration, and reproductive status. Additional 
opportunity to land BFT would support the collection of a broad range 
of data for these studies and for stock monitoring purposes.
    NMFS considered the catches of the Angling category quota to date 
and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no 
adjustment is made (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(ii)). NMFS anticipates that the 
full 2020 Angling category quota would not be harvested under the 
default retention limit. As shown in Table 2, Angling category landings 
in 2018 and 2019 were approximately 48 percent and 78 percent of the 
232.4-mt annual Angling category quota, respectively, including 
landings of 44 percent and 56 percent of the available school BFT 
quota, respectively.
    NMFS also considered the effects of the adjustment on the BFT stock 
and the effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of 
the FMP (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(v) and (vi)). These retention limits would 
be consistent with the quotas established and analyzed in the 2018 BFT 
quota final rule, which implemented the ICCAT quota consistent with 
ATCA, 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. It is 
also important that NMFS limit landings to the subquotas both to adhere 
to the FMP quota allocations and to ensure that landings are as 
consistent as possible with the pattern of fishing mortality (e.g., 
fish caught at each age) that was assumed in the latest stock 
assessment.
    Another principal consideration in setting the retention limit is 
the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full Angling 
category 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)).
    The 2019 school BFT landings represent 6 percent of the total U.S. 
quota for 2019, well under the ICCAT recommended 10-percent limit. 
Given that the Angling category landings fell short of the available 
quota and considering the regulatory criteria above, NMFS has 
determined that the Angling category retention limit applicable to 
participants on HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted 
vessels should be adjusted upwards from the default levels.
    NMFS has also concluded that implementation of separate limits for 
private, charter boat, and headboat vessels is appropriate, recognizing 
the different nature, socio-economic needs, and recent landings results 
of the two components of the recreational BFT fishery. For example, 
charter operators historically have indicated that a multi-fish 
retention limit is vital to their ability to attract customers. In 
addition, Large Pelagics Survey estimates indicate that charter/
headboat BFT landings averaged 27 percent of recent recreational 
landings for 2018 through 2019, with the remaining 73 percent landed by 
private vessels. NMFS has further concluded that a higher limit for 
headboats (than charter boats) is appropriate, given the limited number 
of headboats participating in the bluefin tuna fishery.
    Given these considerations, for private vessels with HMS Angling 
category permits, this action adjusts the limit upwards to two school 
BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip 
(i.e., two BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT 
measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). For charter boat vessels with HMS 
Charter/Headboat permits, this action adjusts the limit upwards to 
three school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per 
day/trip when fishing recreationally for BFT (i.e., three BFT measuring 
27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 
inches). For headboat vessels with HMS Charter/Headboat permits, this 
action adjusts the limit upwards to six school BFT and two large 
school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip when fishing 
recreationally for BFT (i.e., three BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 
inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). Regardless of 
the duration of a fishing trip, the daily retention limit applies upon 
landing. For example, whether a private vessel (fishing under the 
Angling category retention limit) takes a two-day trip or makes two 
trips

[[Page 26368]]

in one day, the day/trip limit of two school BFT and one large school/
small medium BFT applies and may not be exceeded upon landing.
    NMFS anticipates that the BFT daily retention limits in this action 
will result in landings during 2020 that would not exceed the available 
subquotas. Lower retention limits could result in substantial 
underharvest of the codified Angling category subquota, and increasing 
the daily limits further may risk exceeding the available quota, 
contrary to the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and 
amendments. NMFS considered input on recreational limits from the HMS 
Advisory Panel at its May and September 2019 meetings. NMFS is not 
setting higher school BFT limits than the adjustments listed in Table 1 
due to the potential risk of exceeding the ICCAT tolerance limit on 
school BFT and other considerations, such as potential effort shifts to 
BFT fishing as a result of current recreational retention limits for 
New England groundfish and striped bass.

Monitoring and Reporting

    NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries closely through the 
mandatory landings and catch reports. HMS Charter/Headboat and Angling 
category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT 
retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of 
each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov, using the HMS Catch 
Reporting app, or calling (888) 872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 
a.m. until 4:30 p.m.). Depending on the level of fishing effort and 
catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional retention limit 
adjustments or closures are necessary to ensure available quota is not 
exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing 
opportunities in, all geographic areas. If needed, subsequent 
adjustments will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, 
fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (978) 281-
9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on quota monitoring 
and inseason adjustments.
    HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat category permit holders may 
catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the 
requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs at 
Sec.  635.26. Anglers are also reminded that all BFT that are released 
must be handled in a manner that will maximize survival, and without 
removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at Sec.  
635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the 
``Careful Catch and Release'' brochure available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/outreach-and-education/careful-catch-and-release-brochure.

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 retention limit adjustments 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 daily retention limit for the remainder of 
2020 at this time is impracticable. Based on available BFT quotas, 
fishery performance in recent years, and the availability of BFT on the 
fishing grounds, immediate adjustment to the Angling category BFT daily 
retention limit from the default levels is warranted to allow fishermen 
to take advantage of the availability of fish and of quota. NMFS could 
not have proposed these actions earlier, as it needed to consider and 
respond to updated data and information from the 2019 Angling category. 
If NMFS was to offer a public comment period now, after having 
appropriately considered that data, it would preclude fishermen from 
harvesting BFT that are legally available consistent with all of the 
regulatory criteria, and/or could result in selection of a retention 
limit inappropriately high or low for the amount of quota available for 
the period.
    Fisheries under the Angling category daily retention limit are 
currently underway and thus prior notice would be contrary to the 
public interest. Delays in increasing daily recreational BFT retention 
limit would adversely affect those HMS Angling and Charter/Headboat 
category vessels that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest 
more than the default retention limit of one school, large school, or 
small medium BFT per day/trip and may exacerbate the problem of low 
catch rates and quota rollovers. Analysis of available data shows that 
adjustment to the BFT daily retention limit from the default level 
would result in minimal risks of exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota. 
NMFS provides notification of retention limit adjustments by publishing 
the notice in the Federal Register, emailing individuals who have 
subscribed to the Atlantic HMS News electronic newsletter, and updating 
the information posted on the Atlantic Tunas Information Line and on 
hmspermits.noaa.gov. 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.  635.23(b)(3), and is exempt 
from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: April 28, 2020.
H[eacute]l[egrave]ne M.N. Scalliet,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-09420 Filed 4-29-20; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P