Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Recreational Management Measures for the Summer Flounder Fishery; Fishing Year 2020, 36802-36803 [2020-12069]

Download as PDF 36802 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 118 / Thursday, June 18, 2020 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 200529–0151] RIN 0648–BJ66 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Recreational Management Measures for the Summer Flounder Fishery; Fishing Year 2020 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: NMFS announces management measures for the 2020 summer flounder recreational fishery. The implementing regulations for this fishery require NMFS to publish recreational measures for the fishing year. The intent of this action is to achieve, but not exceed, the 2020 summer flounder recreational harvest limit and thereby prevent overfishing on the summer flounder stock. DATES: This rule is effective June 18, 2020. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily Keiley, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9116. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The MidAtlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) jointly manage summer flounder. The Council and Commission’s Summer Flounder Management Board meet jointly each year to recommend recreational management measures for summer flounder. In this final rule, NMFS is implementing conservation equivalency to manage the 2020 summer flounder recreational fishery, as proposed on April 6, 2020 (85 FR 19126). The approval of conservation equivalency means that we are waiving Federal summer flounder recreational measures in Federal waters and to all federally permitted summer flounder party/ charter vessels, regardless of where they fish. States, through the Commission, are collectively implementing measures designed to constrain landings to the 2020 recreational harvest limit. Vessels fishing in Federal waters, and Federal party/charter vessels are subject to the regulations in the state they land. These measures are consistent with the recommendations of the Council and the Commission. Additional VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:26 Jun 17, 2020 Jkt 250001 information on the development of these measures is provided in the proposed rule and not repeated here. Conservation equivalency, as established by Framework Adjustment 2 (66 FR 36208; July 11, 2001), allows each state to establish its own recreational management measures (possession limits, fish size, and fishing seasons) to achieve its state harvest limit established by the Commission from the coastwide recreational harvest limit, as long as the combined effect of all of the states’ management measures achieves the same level of conservation as Federal coastwide measures. Framework Adjustment 6 (71 FR 42315; July 26, 2006) allows states to form regions for conservation equivalency in order to minimize differences in regulations for anglers fishing in adjacent waters. Similar to the 2016–2019 program, the 2020 management program adopted by the Commission divides the recreational fishery into six management regions: (1) Massachusetts; (2) Rhode Island; (3) Connecticut-New York; (4) New Jersey; (5) Delaware-Virginia; and (6) North Carolina. Each state within a region must implement identical or equivalent measures (fish size, bag limit, and fishing season length), and the combination of those measures must be sufficient to achieve, but not exceed, the recreational harvest limit. Based on the Commission’s recommendation, we find that the 2020 recreational fishing measures required to be implemented in state waters are, collectively, the conservation equivalent of the season, fish size, and possession limit prescribed in 50 CFR 648.104(b), 648.105, and 648.106(a). According to § 648.107(a)(1), vessels subject to the recreational fishing measures are not subject to Federal measures, and instead are subject to the recreational fishing measures implemented by the state in which they land. Section 648.107(a) is amended through this final rule to recognize state-implemented measures as the conservation equivalent of the Federal coastwide recreational management measures for 2020. Given the anticipated lower recreational fishery participation this spring, the Commission made additional revisions to state/regional 2020 recreational measures to afford additional fishing opportunity in late summer and fall. Any changes considered would be required to maintain projected harvest levels consistent with the state harvest limits. In addition, this action reaffirms the default coastwide measures (a 19-inch (48.3-cm) minimum size, four-fish possession limit, and May 15 through September 15 open fishing season), that PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 becomes effective January 1, 2021, upon the expiration of the 2020 conservation equivalency program. Regulatory Corrections Additionally, this final rule makes a revision, consistent with section 305(d) of the Magnson-Stevens Act, which provides authority to the Secretary of Commerce to implement regulations that are necessary to ensure they are consistent with the fishery management plan (FMP) and Magnuson-Stevens Act. The regulation at § 648.102(d)(2) describes conservationally equivalent measures that states or regions would develop for summer flounder. In a prior action issuing regulations for Framework Adjustment 14 (84 FR 65699; November 29, 2019), we intended to replace ‘‘minimum fish sizes’’ in this regulation with ‘‘minimum and/or maximum fish sizes’’ to reflect Framework Adjustment 14’s addition of maximum size limits as a management measure available for summer flounder recreational fisheries. This change was inadvertently left out of the rule. To correct this error this action replaces ‘‘minimum fish sizes’’ with ‘‘minimum and/or maximum fish sizes.’’ Changes From the Proposed Rule There are no changes from the proposed rule. Comments and Responses NMFS received four comments on the proposed rule. Two comments were related to state-specific measures outside the scope of this action, offered concerns over commercial fishing limits, and relayed general complaints over the management of summer flounder. One comment supported the previously approved addition of ‘‘maximum fish size’’ to the potential management measures that states may implement under conservation equivalency. The final comment was not relevant to the proposed rule. No changes to the final rule are made based on the submitted comments. Classification The Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, determined that these management measures are necessary for the conservation and management of the summer flounder fishery and are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. This final rule is not an Executive Order 13771 regulatory action because E:\FR\FM\18JNR1.SGM 18JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 118 / Thursday, June 18, 2020 / Rules and Regulations this action is not significant under Executive Order 12866. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay of effectiveness period for this rule, to ensure that the final management measures are in place as soon as possible. The Federal coastwide regulatory measures for recreational summer flounder fishing that were codified last year (84 FR 31743; July 3, 2019) remain in effect until the decision to waive Federal measures for 2020 is made effective by this final rule. Many states have already implemented their conservationally equivalent 2020 measures; a delay in implementing the measures of this rule will increase confusion on what measures are in place in Federal waters. Inconsistencies between the states’ measures and the Federal measures could lead to potential confusion and misunderstanding of the applicable regulations and could increase the likelihood of noncompliant landings. Additionally, the Federal measures currently in place are more restrictive than many of the measures in state waters, which unnecessarily disadvantages federally permitted vessels who are subject to these more restrictive measures until this final rule is effective. In response to this action, unlike actions that require an adjustment period to comply with new rules, recreational and charter/party operators will not have to purchase new equipment or otherwise expend time or money to comply with these management measures. Rather, complying with this final rule simply means adhering to the published management measures for summer flounder while the recreational and charter/party operators are engaged in fishing activities. For these reasons, the Assistant Administrator finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay of effectiveness period and to implement this rule upon publication in the Federal Register. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. A final regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:26 Jun 17, 2020 Jkt 250001 36803 List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Dated: June 1, 2020. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is amended as follows: PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 648.102, paragraph (d)(2) introductory text is revised to read as follows: ■ § 648.102 Summer flounder specifications. * * * * * (d) * * * (2) Conservation equivalent measures. Individual states, or regions formed voluntarily by adjacent states (i.e., multi-state conservation equivalency regions), may implement different combinations of minimum and/or maximum fish sizes, possession limits, and closed seasons that achieve equivalent conservation as the coastwide measures established under paragraph (e)(1) of this section. Each state or multi-state conservation equivalency region may implement measures by mode or area only if the proportional standard error of recreational landing estimates by mode or area for that state is less than 30 percent. * * * * * 3. In § 648.107, paragraph (a) introductory text is revised to read as follows: ■ § 648.107 Conservation equivalent measures for the summer flounder fishery. (a) The Regional Administrator has determined that the recreational fishing measures proposed to be implemented by the states of Maine through North Carolina for 2020 are the conservation equivalent of the season, size limits, and possession limit prescribed in §§ 648.104(b), 648.105, and 648.106. This determination is based on a recommendation from the Summer Flounder Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2020–12069 Filed 6–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 200610–0156] RIN 0648–BJ53 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2020 Harvest Specifications for Pacific Whiting, Cowcod and Shortbelly Rockfish and 2020 Pacific Whiting Tribal Allocation National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: NMFS issues this final rule to establish 2020 harvest specifications and management measures for Pacific whiting, shortbelly rockfish, and cowcod caught in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006, and other applicable laws. For Pacific whiting, this rule establishes the 2020 adjusted U.S. Total Allowable Catch level, tribal and non-tribal allocations, and research and bycatch set-asides. This final rule also adjusts the 2020 harvest specifications for shortbelly rockfish and cowcod. The catch limits in this rule are intended to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Pacific whiting, shortbelly rockfish, and cowcod stocks. DATES: Effective June 18, 2020. ADDRESSES: This final rule is accessible via the internet at the Office of the Federal Register website at https:// www.federalregister.gov. Background information and documents including an integrated analysis for this action (Analysis), which addresses the statutory requirements of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the National Environmental Policy Act, Presidential Executive Order 12866, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act are available at the NMFS website at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ action/2020-harvest-specificationspacific-whiting-cowcod-and-shortbellyrockfish-and-2020-pacific and at the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s website at http://www.pcouncil.org/. The final environmental impact statement regarding Harvest SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\18JNR1.SGM 18JNR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 118 (Thursday, June 18, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 36802-36803]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-12069]



[[Page 36802]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 200529-0151]
RIN 0648-BJ66


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Recreational 
Management Measures for the Summer Flounder Fishery; Fishing Year 2020

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS announces management measures for the 2020 summer 
flounder recreational fishery. The implementing regulations for this 
fishery require NMFS to publish recreational measures for the fishing 
year. The intent of this action is to achieve, but not exceed, the 2020 
summer flounder recreational harvest limit and thereby prevent 
overfishing on the summer flounder stock.

DATES: This rule is effective June 18, 2020.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council 
(Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission 
(Commission) jointly manage summer flounder. The Council and 
Commission's Summer Flounder Management Board meet jointly each year to 
recommend recreational management measures for summer flounder.
    In this final rule, NMFS is implementing conservation equivalency 
to manage the 2020 summer flounder recreational fishery, as proposed on 
April 6, 2020 (85 FR 19126). The approval of conservation equivalency 
means that we are waiving Federal summer flounder recreational measures 
in Federal waters and to all federally permitted summer flounder party/
charter vessels, regardless of where they fish. States, through the 
Commission, are collectively implementing measures designed to 
constrain landings to the 2020 recreational harvest limit. Vessels 
fishing in Federal waters, and Federal party/charter vessels are 
subject to the regulations in the state they land. These measures are 
consistent with the recommendations of the Council and the Commission. 
Additional information on the development of these measures is provided 
in the proposed rule and not repeated here.
    Conservation equivalency, as established by Framework Adjustment 2 
(66 FR 36208; July 11, 2001), allows each state to establish its own 
recreational management measures (possession limits, fish size, and 
fishing seasons) to achieve its state harvest limit established by the 
Commission from the coastwide recreational harvest limit, as long as 
the combined effect of all of the states' management measures achieves 
the same level of conservation as Federal coastwide measures. Framework 
Adjustment 6 (71 FR 42315; July 26, 2006) allows states to form regions 
for conservation equivalency in order to minimize differences in 
regulations for anglers fishing in adjacent waters.
    Similar to the 2016-2019 program, the 2020 management program 
adopted by the Commission divides the recreational fishery into six 
management regions: (1) Massachusetts; (2) Rhode Island; (3) 
Connecticut-New York; (4) New Jersey; (5) Delaware-Virginia; and (6) 
North Carolina. Each state within a region must implement identical or 
equivalent measures (fish size, bag limit, and fishing season length), 
and the combination of those measures must be sufficient to achieve, 
but not exceed, the recreational harvest limit.
    Based on the Commission's recommendation, we find that the 2020 
recreational fishing measures required to be implemented in state 
waters are, collectively, the conservation equivalent of the season, 
fish size, and possession limit prescribed in 50 CFR 648.104(b), 
648.105, and 648.106(a). According to Sec.  648.107(a)(1), vessels 
subject to the recreational fishing measures are not subject to Federal 
measures, and instead are subject to the recreational fishing measures 
implemented by the state in which they land. Section 648.107(a) is 
amended through this final rule to recognize state-implemented measures 
as the conservation equivalent of the Federal coastwide recreational 
management measures for 2020.
    Given the anticipated lower recreational fishery participation this 
spring, the Commission made additional revisions to state/regional 2020 
recreational measures to afford additional fishing opportunity in late 
summer and fall. Any changes considered would be required to maintain 
projected harvest levels consistent with the state harvest limits.
    In addition, this action reaffirms the default coastwide measures 
(a 19-inch (48.3-cm) minimum size, four-fish possession limit, and May 
15 through September 15 open fishing season), that becomes effective 
January 1, 2021, upon the expiration of the 2020 conservation 
equivalency program.

Regulatory Corrections

    Additionally, this final rule makes a revision, consistent with 
section 305(d) of the Magnson-Stevens Act, which provides authority to 
the Secretary of Commerce to implement regulations that are necessary 
to ensure they are consistent with the fishery management plan (FMP) 
and Magnuson-Stevens Act. The regulation at Sec.  648.102(d)(2) 
describes conservationally equivalent measures that states or regions 
would develop for summer flounder. In a prior action issuing 
regulations for Framework Adjustment 14 (84 FR 65699; November 29, 
2019), we intended to replace ``minimum fish sizes'' in this regulation 
with ``minimum and/or maximum fish sizes'' to reflect Framework 
Adjustment 14's addition of maximum size limits as a management measure 
available for summer flounder recreational fisheries. This change was 
inadvertently left out of the rule. To correct this error this action 
replaces ``minimum fish sizes'' with ``minimum and/or maximum fish 
sizes.''

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    There are no changes from the proposed rule.

Comments and Responses

    NMFS received four comments on the proposed rule. Two comments were 
related to state-specific measures outside the scope of this action, 
offered concerns over commercial fishing limits, and relayed general 
complaints over the management of summer flounder. One comment 
supported the previously approved addition of ``maximum fish size'' to 
the potential management measures that states may implement under 
conservation equivalency. The final comment was not relevant to the 
proposed rule. No changes to the final rule are made based on the 
submitted comments.

Classification

    The Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, determined that 
these management measures are necessary for the conservation and 
management of the summer flounder fishery and are consistent with the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    This final rule is not an Executive Order 13771 regulatory action 
because

[[Page 36803]]

this action is not significant under Executive Order 12866.
    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause 
under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay of effectiveness 
period for this rule, to ensure that the final management measures are 
in place as soon as possible.
    The Federal coastwide regulatory measures for recreational summer 
flounder fishing that were codified last year (84 FR 31743; July 3, 
2019) remain in effect until the decision to waive Federal measures for 
2020 is made effective by this final rule. Many states have already 
implemented their conservationally equivalent 2020 measures; a delay in 
implementing the measures of this rule will increase confusion on what 
measures are in place in Federal waters. Inconsistencies between the 
states' measures and the Federal measures could lead to potential 
confusion and misunderstanding of the applicable regulations and could 
increase the likelihood of noncompliant landings. Additionally, the 
Federal measures currently in place are more restrictive than many of 
the measures in state waters, which unnecessarily disadvantages 
federally permitted vessels who are subject to these more restrictive 
measures until this final rule is effective.
    In response to this action, unlike actions that require an 
adjustment period to comply with new rules, recreational and charter/
party operators will not have to purchase new equipment or otherwise 
expend time or money to comply with these management measures. Rather, 
complying with this final rule simply means adhering to the published 
management measures for summer flounder while the recreational and 
charter/party operators are engaged in fishing activities.
    For these reasons, the Assistant Administrator finds good cause to 
waive the 30-day delay of effectiveness period and to implement this 
rule upon publication in the Federal Register.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the 
proposed rule and is not repeated here. A final regulatory flexibility 
analysis is not required and none has been prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: June 1, 2020.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is amended 
as follows:

PART 648--FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows:

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


0
2. In Sec.  648.102, paragraph (d)(2) introductory text is revised to 
read as follows:


Sec.  648.102  Summer flounder specifications.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (2) Conservation equivalent measures. Individual states, or regions 
formed voluntarily by adjacent states (i.e., multi-state conservation 
equivalency regions), may implement different combinations of minimum 
and/or maximum fish sizes, possession limits, and closed seasons that 
achieve equivalent conservation as the coastwide measures established 
under paragraph (e)(1) of this section. Each state or multi-state 
conservation equivalency region may implement measures by mode or area 
only if the proportional standard error of recreational landing 
estimates by mode or area for that state is less than 30 percent.
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  648.107, paragraph (a) introductory text is revised to read 
as follows:


Sec.  648.107  Conservation equivalent measures for the summer flounder 
fishery.

    (a) The Regional Administrator has determined that the recreational 
fishing measures proposed to be implemented by the states of Maine 
through North Carolina for 2020 are the conservation equivalent of the 
season, size limits, and possession limit prescribed in Sec. Sec.  
648.104(b), 648.105, and 648.106. This determination is based on a 
recommendation from the Summer Flounder Board of the Atlantic States 
Marine Fisheries Commission.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2020-12069 Filed 6-17-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P