Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; Revised 2020 and Projected 2021 Black Sea Bass and Scup Specifications, 29345-29347 [2020-08829]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 95 / Friday, May 15, 2020 / Rules and Regulations Commodity Parts per million * * * Caneberry subgroup 13– 0.01 07A. * * * * * Hop, dried cones ............ 0.01 * * * * * * * * * * * * [FR Doc. 2020–08962 Filed 5–14–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 200420–0118] RIN 0648–XH043 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; Revised 2020 and Projected 2021 Black Sea Bass and Scup Specifications National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This action approves revised 2020 and projected 2021 specifications for the scup and black sea bass fisheries. Changes to the specifications are necessary to better achieve optimum yield within the fishery while controlling overfishing, consistent with recent stock assessment updates and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. This rule informs the public of the changes to the specifications for the remainder of the 2020 fishing year and announces projected 2021 specifications. SUMMARY: Effective May 15, 2020, through December 31, 2020. ADDRESSES: Copies of the revised specifications, including the DATES: Environment Assessment, and other supporting documents for the action, are available upon request from Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 800 N State Street, Dover, DE 19901. These documents are also accessible via the internet at https://www.mafmc.org. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily Keiley, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9116. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission jointly manage the scup and black sea bass fisheries as part of the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Scup and black sea bass annual catch and landings limits do not roll over from one year to the next. To meet the FMP objectives and requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, commercial quotas and recreational harvest limits (RHL) must be in place by January 1 of each year. At a joint meeting in October 2019, the Council and the Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Board adopted interim 2020 catch and landings limits for scup and black sea bass in late 2019 (84 FR 54041, October 9, 2019). The interim limits were identical to 2019 limits and intended to be replaced as soon as possible following operational stock assessments for both species conducted in the fall of 2019. Interim 2020 specifications were necessary because there was not sufficient time to complete the specification development and rulemaking between the stock assessment peer review and January 1, 2020. This action implements the updated 2020 specifications replacing the interim measures and announces projected 2021 specifications for scup and black sea bass. The Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Monitoring Committee (MC) met in October 2019 to review the operational 29345 stock assessment results and make recommendations to the Council for revised catch and landings limits. The SSC applied the Council’s risk policy and acceptable biological catch (ABC) control rule to derive recommended overfishing limits (OFL) and ABC values for fishing years 2020 and 2021. The Council and Board reviewed the new operational stock assessment information and the SSC and MCrecommended specifications at their joint meeting in October 2019, and took final action on revised 2020 and projected 2021 specifications. This action implements the Council and Board’s preferred alternatives. This action is being published without prior notice and a formal public comment period. The revised 2020 scup and black sea bass specifications included in this action were anticipated during development of the interim specifications, which were the subject of a notice and comment rulemaking process. Prior to our rulemaking, the Council and Board discussed that the interim measures would be replaced as quickly as possible once the operational stock assessment process was complete. The public was also notified of our intent to publish revised specifications in the proposed and final rules of the interim scup and black sea bass specifications action (84 FR 54041, October 9, 2019). Revised Specifications Black Sea Bass Specifications The Council and Board recommended 2020–2021 black sea bass catch and landings limits are shown in Table 1. The recommendations are based on the averaged 2020–2021 ABCs recommended by the SSC. This approach allows for constant catch and landings limits across both years. The ABCs are based on an SSC-modified OFL and the Council’s risk policy for a species with a typical life history and biomass level above BMSY, resulting in a 40-percent probability of overfishing. The final 2020 commercial quota and RHL are 59 percent higher than the interim 2020 limits. TABLE 1—2020–2021 BLACK SEA BASS CATCH AND LANDINGS LIMITS * Measure Mil lb. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES OFL .......................................................................................................................................................................... ABC .......................................................................................................................................................................... ABC Landings Portion ............................................................................................................................................. ABC Discards Portion .............................................................................................................................................. Expected Commercial Discards .............................................................................................................................. Expected Recreational Discards ............................................................................................................................. Commercial ACL = ACT .......................................................................................................................................... Commercial Quota ................................................................................................................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:12 May 14, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\15MYR1.SGM 15MYR1 2020: 19.39 2021: 17.68 15.07 11.39 3.68 1.4 2.28 6.98 5.58 Metric ton 2020: 8,795 2021: 8,021 6,835 5,164 1,671 637 1,034 3,167 2,530 29346 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 95 / Friday, May 15, 2020 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1—2020–2021 BLACK SEA BASS CATCH AND LANDINGS LIMITS *—Continued Measure Mil lb. Recreational ACL = ACT ......................................................................................................................................... RHL .......................................................................................................................................................................... Metric ton 8.09 5.81 3,668 2,634 * All values except OFL are the same for both years. Scup Specifications The Council and Board recommended 2020–2021 scup catch and landings limits are shown in Table 2. The history and biomass level above BMSY, resulting in a 40-percent probability of overfishing. The final 2020 commercial quota and RHL are 7 percent lower than the interim 2020 limits. recommendations are based on the 2020–2021 ABCs recommended by the SSC. The ABCs are based on an SSCmodified OFL and the Council’s risk policy for a species with a typical life TABLE 2—2020–2021 SCUP CATCH AND LANDINGS LIMITS 2020–2021 varying ABC approach Measure 2020 mil lb OFL .................................................................................................................. ABC .................................................................................................................. ABC Discards .................................................................................................. Commercial ACL = ACT .................................................................................. Projected Commercial Discards ...................................................................... Commercial Quota ........................................................................................... Recreational ACL = ACT ................................................................................. Projected Recreational Discards ..................................................................... RHL .................................................................................................................. 41.17 35.77 7.03 27.90 5.67 22.23 7.87 1.36 6.51 2021 mt mil lb 18,674 16,227 3,190 12,657 2,574 10,083 3,570 616 2,954 mt 35.30 30.67 7.26 23.92 5.86 18.06 6.75 1.40 5.34 16,012 13,913 3,295 10,852 2,659 8,194 3,061 636 2,424 The 2020 scup commercial quota is divided into three commercial fishery quota periods, as outlined in Table 3. TABLE 3—COMMERCIAL SCUP QUOTA ALLOCATIONS FOR 2020 BY QUOTA PERIOD Quota period Percent share lb mt Winter I ........................................................................................................................................ Summer ....................................................................................................................................... Winter II ....................................................................................................................................... 45.11 38.95 15.94 10,027,597 8,658,277 3,543,336 4,548 3,927 1,607 Total ...................................................................................................................................... 100.0 22,229,210 10,083 The current quota period possession limits are not changed by this action, and are outlined in Table 4. TABLE 4—COMMERCIAL SCUP POSSESSION LIMITS BY QUOTA PERIOD Quota period Percent share Federal possession limits (per trip) jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES lb kg Winter I ........................................................................................................................................ Summer ....................................................................................................................................... Winter II ....................................................................................................................................... 45.11 38.95 15.94 50,000 N/A 12,000 22,680 N/A 5,443 Total ...................................................................................................................................... 100.0 N/A N/A The Winter I possession limit will drop to 1,000 lb (454 kg) when 80 percent of that period’s allocation is landed. If the Winter I quota is not fully harvested, the remaining quota is VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:12 May 14, 2020 Jkt 250001 transferred to Winter II. The Winter II possession limit may be adjusted (in association with a transfer of unused Winter I quota to the Winter II period) via notice in the Federal Register. The PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 regulations specify that the Winter II possession limit increases consistent with the increase in the quota, as described in Table 5. E:\FR\FM\15MYR1.SGM 15MYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 95 / Friday, May 15, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 29347 TABLE 5—POTENTIAL INCREASE IN WINTER II POSSESSION LIMITS BASED ON THE AMOUNT OF UNUSED SCUP ROLLED OVER FROM WINTER I TO WINTER II Initial Winter II possession limit lb Rollover from Winter I to Winter II kg lb 12,000 ............ 12,000 ............ 5,443 5,443 12,000 ............ 5,443 12,000 ............ 5,443 12,000 ............ 5,443 Increase in Initial Winter II possession limit kg 0–499,999 500,000– 999,999 1,000,000– 1,499,999 1,500,000– 1,999,999 * 2,000,000– 2,500,000 lb 0–226,796 226,796– 453,592 453,592– 680,388 680,389– 907,184 907,185– 1,133,981 Final Winter II possession limit after rollover from Winter I to Winter II kg lb kg 0 1,500 0 680 12,000 13,500 5,443 6,123 3,000 1,361 15,000 6,804 4,500 2,041 16,500 7,484 6,000 2,722 18,000 8,165 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES * This process of increasing the possession limit in 1,500 lb (680 kg) increments would continue past 2,500,000 lb (1,122,981 kg), but we end here for the purpose of this example. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is consistent with the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass FMP, the national standards and other provisions of the MagnusonStevens Act, and other applicable law. This final rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866 because this action contains no implementing regulations. This final rule does not duplicate, conflict, or overlap with any existing Federal rules. This action does not contain a collection of information requirement for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act. This final rule is exempt from the procedures of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the rule is issued without opportunity for prior notice and opportunity for public comment. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause to waive the otherwise applicable requirement for notice and an opportunity and comment because it would be contrary to the public interest. Additionally, the Assistant Administrator finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay of effectiveness period for this rule. This action revises the existing 2020 specifications (i.e., annual catch limits) for the scup and black sea bass fisheries to account for new stock assessment results. The black sea bass commercial and recreational harvest limits increase by 59 percent based on the updated stock assessment. A delay VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:12 May 14, 2020 Jkt 250001 in effectiveness would unnecessarily disadvantage fishermen who wish to take advantage of the increased quotas. A delay would be contrary to the public interest for this loss of potential economic opportunity, and it could create confusion in the black sea bass fishery. This rule should be effective as soon as possible to fully realize the intended benefits to the fishery. This action is necessary to adjust the scup quotas based on the newest stock assessment. The commercial scup quota is decreasing by 19 percent, and the recreational quota is being reduced by 18 percent. A delay in its effectiveness would unnecessarily increase the probability of overfishing the stock. This rule should be effective as soon as possible to ensure that the catch limits are consistent with the most recent assessment of the stock. This action, revising 2020 scup and black sea bass specifications to account for the stock assessment results, was anticipated during development and implementation of the interim specifications put in place to start the fishing year. Because of this, the public was notified of our intent to publish revised specifications in the proposed and final rules on that action (84 FR 54041, October 9, 2019). The information for and development of this action was discussed and subject to public comment following the assessment results at a public monitoring committee meeting in October 2019, and at the joint MidAtlantic Council and Board meeting in October 2019. This rule is being issued at the earliest possible date. The results of the PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 assessment became available in October 2019, and while the Council and Board also took final action on the revised specifications in October, we did not receive the Council’s recommendations and supporting analysis until January 2020. A delay in implementing the new catch limits would be contrary to the public interest. Furthermore, there exists good cause to waive the otherwise applicable requirement of a 30-day delay before this rule becomes effective. Unlike actions that require an adjustment period to comply with new rules, fishery participants will not be required to purchase new equipment or otherwise expend time or money to comply with these management measures. Rather, complying with this rule simply means adhering to the catch limits and management measures set for the remainder of the fishing year. Fishery stakeholders have been involved in the development of this action and are anticipating this rule. For the reasons explained above any further delay would be contrary to the public interest because it would undermine the intended effect of the rule. For these reasons, there is good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness and these specifications shall be made effective on May 15, 2020. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: April 20, 2020. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–08829 Filed 5–14–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\15MYR1.SGM 15MYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 95 (Friday, May 15, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 29345-29347]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-08829]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 200420-0118]
RIN 0648-XH043


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, 
Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; Revised 2020 and Projected 2021 
Black Sea Bass and Scup Specifications

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This action approves revised 2020 and projected 2021 
specifications for the scup and black sea bass fisheries. Changes to 
the specifications are necessary to better achieve optimum yield within 
the fishery while controlling overfishing, consistent with recent stock 
assessment updates and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act. This rule informs the public of the changes to the 
specifications for the remainder of the 2020 fishing year and announces 
projected 2021 specifications.

DATES: Effective May 15, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the revised specifications, including the 
Environment Assessment, and other supporting documents for the action, 
are available upon request from Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive 
Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 800 N 
State Street, Dover, DE 19901. These documents are also accessible via 
the internet at https://www.mafmc.org.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily Keiley, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
(978) 281-9116.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States 
Marine Fisheries Commission jointly manage the scup and black sea bass 
fisheries as part of the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass 
Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Scup and black sea bass annual catch and 
landings limits do not roll over from one year to the next. To meet the 
FMP objectives and requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, commercial 
quotas and recreational harvest limits (RHL) must be in place by 
January 1 of each year. At a joint meeting in October 2019, the Council 
and the Commission's Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Board 
adopted interim 2020 catch and landings limits for scup and black sea 
bass in late 2019 (84 FR 54041, October 9, 2019). The interim limits 
were identical to 2019 limits and intended to be replaced as soon as 
possible following operational stock assessments for both species 
conducted in the fall of 2019. Interim 2020 specifications were 
necessary because there was not sufficient time to complete the 
specification development and rulemaking between the stock assessment 
peer review and January 1, 2020. This action implements the updated 
2020 specifications replacing the interim measures and announces 
projected 2021 specifications for scup and black sea bass.
    The Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and the 
Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Monitoring Committee (MC) met 
in October 2019 to review the operational stock assessment results and 
make recommendations to the Council for revised catch and landings 
limits. The SSC applied the Council's risk policy and acceptable 
biological catch (ABC) control rule to derive recommended overfishing 
limits (OFL) and ABC values for fishing years 2020 and 2021.
    The Council and Board reviewed the new operational stock assessment 
information and the SSC and MC-recommended specifications at their 
joint meeting in October 2019, and took final action on revised 2020 
and projected 2021 specifications. This action implements the Council 
and Board's preferred alternatives.
    This action is being published without prior notice and a formal 
public comment period. The revised 2020 scup and black sea bass 
specifications included in this action were anticipated during 
development of the interim specifications, which were the subject of a 
notice and comment rulemaking process. Prior to our rulemaking, the 
Council and Board discussed that the interim measures would be replaced 
as quickly as possible once the operational stock assessment process 
was complete. The public was also notified of our intent to publish 
revised specifications in the proposed and final rules of the interim 
scup and black sea bass specifications action (84 FR 54041, October 9, 
2019).

Revised Specifications

Black Sea Bass Specifications

    The Council and Board recommended 2020-2021 black sea bass catch 
and landings limits are shown in Table 1. The recommendations are based 
on the averaged 2020-2021 ABCs recommended by the SSC. This approach 
allows for constant catch and landings limits across both years. The 
ABCs are based on an SSC-modified OFL and the Council's risk policy for 
a species with a typical life history and biomass level above 
BMSY, resulting in a 40-percent probability of overfishing. 
The final 2020 commercial quota and RHL are 59 percent higher than the 
interim 2020 limits.

      Table 1--2020-2021 Black Sea Bass Catch and Landings Limits *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Measure                      Mil lb.       Metric ton
------------------------------------------------------------------------
OFL.....................................     2020: 19.39     2020: 8,795
                                             2021: 17.68     2021: 8,021
ABC.....................................           15.07           6,835
ABC Landings Portion....................           11.39           5,164
ABC Discards Portion....................            3.68           1,671
Expected Commercial Discards............             1.4             637
Expected Recreational Discards..........            2.28           1,034
Commercial ACL = ACT....................            6.98           3,167
Commercial Quota........................            5.58           2,530

[[Page 29346]]

 
Recreational ACL = ACT..................            8.09           3,668
RHL.....................................            5.81           2,634
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* All values except OFL are the same for both years.

Scup Specifications

    The Council and Board recommended 2020-2021 scup catch and landings 
limits are shown in Table 2. The recommendations are based on the 2020-
2021 ABCs recommended by the SSC. The ABCs are based on an SSC-modified 
OFL and the Council's risk policy for a species with a typical life 
history and biomass level above BMSY, resulting in a 40-
percent probability of overfishing. The final 2020 commercial quota and 
RHL are 7 percent lower than the interim 2020 limits.

                                Table 2--2020-2021 Scup Catch and Landings Limits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  2020-2021 varying ABC approach
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
                     Measure                                   2020                            2021
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      mil lb            mt            mil lb            mt
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OFL.............................................           41.17          18,674           35.30          16,012
ABC.............................................           35.77          16,227           30.67          13,913
ABC Discards....................................            7.03           3,190            7.26           3,295
Commercial ACL = ACT............................           27.90          12,657           23.92          10,852
Projected Commercial Discards...................            5.67           2,574            5.86           2,659
Commercial Quota................................           22.23          10,083           18.06           8,194
Recreational ACL = ACT..........................            7.87           3,570            6.75           3,061
Projected Recreational Discards.................            1.36             616            1.40             636
RHL.............................................            6.51           2,954            5.34           2,424
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The 2020 scup commercial quota is divided into three commercial 
fishery quota periods, as outlined in Table 3.

                       Table 3--Commercial Scup Quota Allocations for 2020 by Quota Period
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Quota period                             Percent share        lb              mt
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Winter I........................................................           45.11      10,027,597           4,548
Summer..........................................................           38.95       8,658,277           3,927
Winter II.......................................................           15.94       3,543,336           1,607
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................           100.0      22,229,210          10,083
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The current quota period possession limits are not changed by this 
action, and are outlined in Table 4.

                           Table 4--Commercial Scup Possession Limits by Quota Period
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  Federal possession limits (per
                                                                                               trip)
                          Quota period                             Percent share -------------------------------
                                                                                        lb              kg
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Winter I........................................................           45.11          50,000          22,680
Summer..........................................................           38.95             N/A             N/A
Winter II.......................................................           15.94          12,000           5,443
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................           100.0             N/A             N/A
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Winter I possession limit will drop to 1,000 lb (454 kg) when 
80 percent of that period's allocation is landed. If the Winter I quota 
is not fully harvested, the remaining quota is transferred to Winter 
II. The Winter II possession limit may be adjusted (in association with 
a transfer of unused Winter I quota to the Winter II period) via notice 
in the Federal Register. The regulations specify that the Winter II 
possession limit increases consistent with the increase in the quota, 
as described in Table 5.

[[Page 29347]]



          Table 5--Potential Increase in Winter II Possession Limits Based on the Amount of Unused Scup Rolled Over From Winter I to Winter II
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Initial Winter II possession limit                Rollover from Winter I to     Increase in Initial Winter II    Final Winter II possession
---------------------------------------------------------            Winter II                   possession limit            limit after rollover from
                                                         ----------------------------------------------------------------      Winter I to Winter II
                   lb                           kg                                                                       -------------------------------
                                                                lb              kg              lb              kg              lb              kg
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12,000..................................           5,443       0-499,999       0-226,796               0               0          12,000           5,443
12,000..................................           5,443  500,000-999,99  226,796-453,59           1,500             680          13,500           6,123
                                                                       9               2
12,000..................................           5,443  1,000,000-1,49  453,592-680,38           3,000           1,361          15,000           6,804
                                                                   9,999               8
12,000..................................           5,443  1,500,000-1,99  680,389-907,18           4,500           2,041          16,500           7,484
                                                                   9,999               4
12,000..................................           5,443    * 2,000,000-  907,185-1,133,           6,000           2,722          18,000           8,165
                                                               2,500,000             981
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* This process of increasing the possession limit in 1,500 lb (680 kg) increments would continue past 2,500,000 lb (1,122,981 kg), but we end here for
  the purpose of this example.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is 
consistent with the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass FMP, the 
national standards and other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 
and other applicable law.
    This final rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866 
because this action contains no implementing regulations.
    This final rule does not duplicate, conflict, or overlap with any 
existing Federal rules.
    This action does not contain a collection of information 
requirement for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act.
    This final rule is exempt from the procedures of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act because the rule is issued without opportunity for 
prior notice and opportunity for public comment.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause to waive the otherwise applicable 
requirement for notice and an opportunity and comment because it would 
be contrary to the public interest. Additionally, the Assistant 
Administrator finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 
30-day delay of effectiveness period for this rule. This action revises 
the existing 2020 specifications (i.e., annual catch limits) for the 
scup and black sea bass fisheries to account for new stock assessment 
results. The black sea bass commercial and recreational harvest limits 
increase by 59 percent based on the updated stock assessment. A delay 
in effectiveness would unnecessarily disadvantage fishermen who wish to 
take advantage of the increased quotas. A delay would be contrary to 
the public interest for this loss of potential economic opportunity, 
and it could create confusion in the black sea bass fishery. This rule 
should be effective as soon as possible to fully realize the intended 
benefits to the fishery. This action is necessary to adjust the scup 
quotas based on the newest stock assessment. The commercial scup quota 
is decreasing by 19 percent, and the recreational quota is being 
reduced by 18 percent. A delay in its effectiveness would unnecessarily 
increase the probability of overfishing the stock. This rule should be 
effective as soon as possible to ensure that the catch limits are 
consistent with the most recent assessment of the stock.
    This action, revising 2020 scup and black sea bass specifications 
to account for the stock assessment results, was anticipated during 
development and implementation of the interim specifications put in 
place to start the fishing year. Because of this, the public was 
notified of our intent to publish revised specifications in the 
proposed and final rules on that action (84 FR 54041, October 9, 2019). 
The information for and development of this action was discussed and 
subject to public comment following the assessment results at a public 
monitoring committee meeting in October 2019, and at the joint Mid-
Atlantic Council and Board meeting in October 2019.
    This rule is being issued at the earliest possible date. The 
results of the assessment became available in October 2019, and while 
the Council and Board also took final action on the revised 
specifications in October, we did not receive the Council's 
recommendations and supporting analysis until January 2020. A delay in 
implementing the new catch limits would be contrary to the public 
interest.
    Furthermore, there exists good cause to waive the otherwise 
applicable requirement of a 30-day delay before this rule becomes 
effective. Unlike actions that require an adjustment period to comply 
with new rules, fishery participants will not be required to purchase 
new equipment or otherwise expend time or money to comply with these 
management measures. Rather, complying with this rule simply means 
adhering to the catch limits and management measures set for the 
remainder of the fishing year. Fishery stakeholders have been involved 
in the development of this action and are anticipating this rule. For 
the reasons explained above any further delay would be contrary to the 
public interest because it would undermine the intended effect of the 
rule.
    For these reasons, there is good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness and these specifications shall be made effective on May 
15, 2020.

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

    Dated: April 20, 2020.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-08829 Filed 5-14-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P