Revised Management Measures for the 2020 Guided Sport Pacific Halibut Fisheries in International Pacific Halibut Commission Regulatory Areas 2A, 2C, and 3A, 37023-37026 [2020-13287]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 119 / Friday, June 19, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 54.626(b), 54.627(b), and 54.631(d), published at 84 FR 54952, October 11, 2019, are effective June 19, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bryan Boyle, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau at (202) 418–7400 or TTY: (202) 418–0484 or via email: Bryan.Boyle@fcc.gov. For additional information concerning the Paperwork Reduction Act information collection requirements, contact Nicole Ongele at (202) 418–2991 or via email: Nicole.Ongele@fcc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Commission submitted new information collection requirements for review and approval by OMB, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, on April 7, 2020, which were approved by the OMB on May 22, 2020. The information collection requirements are contained in the Commission’s Promoting Telehealth in Rural America Report and Order, FCC 19–78, published at 84 FR 54952, October 11, 2019. The OMB Control Number is 3060–0804. The Commission publishes this document as an announcement of the effective date of the rules published on October 11, 2019. If you have any comments on the burden estimates listed herein, or how the Commission can improve the collection and reduce any burdens caused thereby, the Commission will accept your comments via email at PRA@fcc.gov. Please include the OMB Control Number, 3060–0804, in your correspondence. Due to the COVID–19 pandemic, the Commission’s headquarters will be closed to the general public and will only be accepting electronic submissions until further notice. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@ fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418–0530 (voice), (202) 418–0432 (TTY). khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Synopsis As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507), the Commission is notifying the public that it received OMB approval on May 22, 2020 for the information collection requirements contained in 47 CFR 54.622(d) and (e)(2), (4), and (5), 54.623(a)(2) through (4), 54.624, 54.626(b), 54.627(b), and 54.631(d) published at 84 FR 54952, October 11, 2019. Under 5 CFR part 1320, an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a current, valid OMB Control Number. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Jun 18, 2020 Jkt 250001 No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act that does not display a current, valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number is 3060–0804. The foregoing notice is required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13, October 1, 1995, and 44 U.S.C. 3507. The total annual reporting burdens and costs for the respondents are as follows: OMB Control Number: 3060–0804. OMB Approval Date: May 22, 2020. OMB Expiration Date: May 31, 2023. Title: Universal Service—Rural Health Care Program. Form Nos.: FCC Forms 460, 461, 462, 463, 465, 466, and 467. Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection. Respondents: Business or other forprofit; Not-for-profit institutions; Federal Government; and State, Local, or Tribal governments. Number of Respondents and Responses: 10,494 unique respondents; 93,687 responses. Estimated Time per Response: 0.30– 17 hours. Frequency of Response: On occasion, one-time, annual, quarterly, and monthly reporting requirements. Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for this collection of information is contained in sections 1– 4, 201–205, 214, 254, 303(r), and 403 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151–154, 201–205, 214, 254, 303(r), and 403, unless otherwise noted. Total Annual Burden: 382,741 hours. Total Annual Cost: No Cost. Privacy Impact Assessment: No Impact(s). Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no assurance of confidentiality provided to respondents concerning this information collection. Information submitted on FCC Forms for the RHC Program is subject to public inspection and is used by USAC to update and expand the RHC Program dataset as part of its Open Data Platform. However, respondents may request materials or information submitted to the Commission or to USAC be withheld from public inspection under 47 CFR 0.459 of the Commission’s rules. Needs and Uses: This collection is utilized for the RHC support mechanism of the Commission’s universal service fund (USF). The Commission and the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) will use the information collected to determine if PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 37023 entities are eligible for funding pursuant to the RHC universal service support mechanism, to determine whether entities are complying with the Commission’s rules, and to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. This information also allows the Commission to evaluate the extent to which the RHC Program is meeting the statutory objectives specified in section 254(h) of the 1996 Act, and the Commission’s performance goals for the RHC Program. To aid in collecting this information, the public will use the Commission’s forms to provide the necessary information and certifications. This revision modifies the existing information collection requirements applicable to both the Healthcare Connect Fund and Telecommunications (Telecom) Programs as a result of the 2019 Promoting Telehealth Report and Order. The revisions, where applicable, are intended to make the RHC Program information requests consistent between the programs, to the extent possible, and help to ensure and verify that RHC Program participants are not engaging in fraudulent conduct or otherwise violating the Commission’s rules. Federal Communications Commission. Cecilia Sigmund, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary. [FR Doc. 2020–12844 Filed 6–18–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 300 [Docket No. 200616–0161] RIN 0648–BJ89 Revised Management Measures for the 2020 Guided Sport Pacific Halibut Fisheries in International Pacific Halibut Commission Regulatory Areas 2A, 2C, and 3A National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This action revises the 2020 regulations for guided Pacific halibut sport fishing in International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Regulatory Areas 2A, 2C, and 3A. The revised regulations supersede the vessel application deadline previously published in Section 15 Paragraph 9, and guided halibut sport fishing SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19JNR1.SGM 19JNR1 37024 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 119 / Friday, June 19, 2020 / Rules and Regulations management measures previously published in Section 29 of the 2020 annual management measures. No other regulations of the 2020 Pacific halibut management measures are changed by this action. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on behalf of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), publishes regulations governing the Pacific halibut fishery that have been recommended by the IPHC and accepted by the Secretary of State. The revisions in this action are intended to enhance the conservation of Pacific halibut and further the goals and objectives of the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) and North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC). The revisions to IPHC’s annual management measures are valid May 28, 2020. These revisions, and all other management measures previously published and not revised, are effective until superseded. ADDRESSES: Additional requests for information regarding this action may be obtained by contacting the International Pacific Halibut Commission, 2320 W Commodore Way, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98199–1287; or Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS Alaska Region, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802; or Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS West Coast Region, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115. This final rule also is accessible via the internet at the Federal eRulemaking portal at http:// www.regulations.gov, identified by docket number NOAA–NMFS–2020– 0833. DATES: For waters off Alaska, Kurt Iverson, 907– 586–7210; or, for waters off the U.S. West Coast, Kathryn Blair, 503–231– 6858. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Background The IPHC has recommended regulations that would govern the Pacific halibut fishery in 2020, pursuant to the Convention between Canada and the United States for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea (Convention), signed at Ottawa, Ontario, on March 2, 1953, as amended by a Protocol Amending the Convention (signed at Washington, DC, on March 29, 1979). As provided by the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut Act) at 16 U.S.C. 773b, the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce, may accept or reject, on VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Jun 18, 2020 Jkt 250001 behalf of the United States, regulations recommended by the IPHC in accordance with the Convention (Halibut Act, Sections 773–773k). The Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce, accepted the 2020 IPHC regulations as provided by the Halibut Act. The Halibut Act provides the Secretary of Commerce with the authority and general responsibility to carry out the requirements of the Convention and the Halibut Act. The Regional Fishery Management Councils may develop, and the Secretary of Commerce may implement, regulations governing harvesting privileges among U.S. fishermen in U.S. waters that are in addition to, and not in conflict with, approved IPHC regulations. The NPFMC has exercised this authority in developing halibut management programs for three fisheries that harvest halibut in Alaska: The subsistence, sport, and commercial fisheries. The PFMC has exercised this authority by developing a catch sharing plan governing the allocation of halibut and management of sport fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Subsistence and sport halibut fishery regulations for Alaska are codified at 50 CFR part 300. Commercial halibut fisheries off Alaska are subject to the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program and Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program (50 CFR part 679) regulations, and the area-specific catch sharing plans (CSPs) for Areas 2C, 3A, and Areas 4C, 4D, and 4E. The NPFMC recommended and NMFS implemented through rulemaking a CSP for guided sport (charter) and commercial IFQ halibut fisheries in IPHC Regulatory Area 2C and Area 3A (Areas 2C and 3A) on January 13, 2014 (78 FR 75844; December 12, 2013). The Area 2C and 3A CSP regulations are codified at 50 CFR 300.65. The CSP defines an annual process for allocating halibut between the commercial and charter fisheries so that each sector’s allocation varies in proportion to halibut abundance, specifies a public process for setting annual management measures, and authorizes limited annual leases of commercial IFQ for use in the charter fishery as guided angler fish (GAF). The IPHC held its annual meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, February 3–7, 2020, and recommended a number of changes to the previous IPHC regulations (84 FR 9243; March 14, 2019). The Secretary of State accepted the 2020 annual management measures. Pursuant to regulations at 50 CFR 300.62, the 2020 IPHC annual management measures were published in the Federal Register PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (85 FR 14586; March 13, 2020) to provide notice of their immediate regulatory effectiveness and to inform persons subject to the regulations of their restrictions and requirements. Because NMFS publishes the regulations applicable to the entire Convention area, these regulations include some provisions relating to and affecting Canadian fishing and fisheries. NMFS may implement more restrictive regulations for the fishery for halibut or components of it in waters of the United States; therefore, anglers are advised to check the current Federal and IPHC regulations prior to fishing. On May 20, 2020, the IPHC held an intersessional meeting to address stakeholder proposals, including a proposal from U.S. Commissioners regarding the Area 2A sablefish fishery, and a recommendation by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) to revise guided sport (charter) halibut management measures for Areas 2C and 3A. The proposed revisions for Areas 2C and 3A were prompted by an unexpected decline in charter fishing effort for the 2020 season. The NPFMC and IPHC reviewed the best available information on the status of charter fishing effort supported by an analysis from the State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) on the likely charter effort in Areas 2C and 3A and the relative effectiveness of various charter halibut management measures to maintain charter harvests within their allocations. The proposal for the incidental catch in the Area 2A sablefish fishery was for an extension to the application deadline. The IPHC adopted revisions to Section 15, Licensing Vessels for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A, and Section 29, Recreational (Sport) Fishing for Pacific Halibut—IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, of the charter fishing management measures. In a similar process as described above, the Secretaries of State and Commerce accepted the revised IPHC regulations. The revised Section 15 and Section 29 management measures published herein supersede the 2020 Section 15 and Section 29 regulations previously published in the Federal Register (85 FR 14586; March 13, 2020). The IPHC did not recommend any other changes to the 2020 Pacific halibut management measures. The revised management measures, and all other management measures previously published and not revised, are effective until superseded. E:\FR\FM\19JNR1.SGM 19JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 119 / Friday, June 19, 2020 / Rules and Regulations Revised Application Deadline for Incidental Catch in the Sablefish Fishery in Area 2A At the May 20, 2020 IPHC intersessional meeting, the Commissioners adopted a regulatory proposal amending the deadline for when a vessel operating in the incidental catch fishery during the sablefish fishery in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A must have submitted its ‘‘Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery’’ form. The regulatory change modified the deadline for submission from March 15 to May 29, 2020. This one-time modification was in response to potential negative impacts that current events may have had on a licensee’s ability to submit an application and does not set a precedent for future years. Fishery participants were informed of this regulatory change via IPHC media release, NMFS’ contact list for sablefish tier permit holders, a bulletin posted to the NMFS website, as well as other directed outreach to potentially affected public. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Revised Management Measures for Charter Vessel Fishing in Area 2C The two primary management measures previously established for 2020 in Area 2C were a daily bag limit of one halibut per charter angler, and size limits prohibiting retention of halibut that are greater than 40 inches (101.6 cm) or less than 80 inches (203.2 cm). The effect of these regulations is to limit both the number and pounds of retained halibut. At the May 20, 2020 intersessional meeting, the IPHC recommended the continuation of a one-fish daily bag limit with a revision to the size limits. Specifically, the new regulations prohibit a person on board a charter vessel referred to in 50 CFR 300.65 and fishing in Area 2C from taking or possessing any halibut, with head on, that is greater than 45 inches (114.3 cm) and less than 80 inches (203.2 cm), as measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the tail. The analysis prepared by ADF&G indicates that, under the revised size limits, total harvests in Area 2C are expected to be less than the Area 2C charter halibut allocation. Under the current and expected charter fishing conditions in Area 2C, charter fishing effort has declined, and is expected to decline further later in the fishing season relative to previous years. The total amount of decline in fishing effort throughout the year is difficult to VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Jun 18, 2020 Jkt 250001 predict. Therefore, the revised charter management measures are conservative and intended to provide additional harvest opportunity while maintaining total charter harvests within the current allocation. The analysis prepared by ADF&G indicates that if charter fishing removals in Area 2C decline by approximately 12 percent or more compared the removals originally projected in December of 2019 for the 2020 season, the revised management measures are projected to maintain charter halibut harvests within the current allocation. Revised Management Measures for Charter Vessel Fishing in Area 3A For 2020, the IPHC previously recommended the following management measures for Area 3A: (1) A two-fish bag limit with a 26-inch (66.0 cm) size limit on one of the halibut; (2) a one-trip per day limit for charter vessels and for charter halibut permits for the entire season; (3) an annual limit of four fish, with a reporting requirement; and, (4) prohibition on halibut retention by charter vessel anglers on all Tuesdays and all Wednesdays (85 FR 14586; March 13, 2020). At the May 20, 2020 intersessional meeting, the IPHC recommended retaining the one-trip per day limits for halibut charter vessels and for charter halibut permits. The IPHC also recommended revising the management measures as follows: Size Limit for Halibut Retained on a Charter Vessel in Area 3A The revised 2020 charter halibut fishery regulations in Area 3A will include a two-fish daily bag limit in which one of the retained halibut may be of any size and one of the retained halibut must be 32 inches (81.3 cm) or less, as measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw to the extreme end of the middle of the tail. Retention of Halibut Allowed on All Days of the Week in Area 3A The 2020 Area 3A charter fishing regulations are revised to allow retention of halibut by charter vessel anglers during any day of the week. Withdraw the Annual Limit on Halibut Retained by Charter Vessels Anglers in Area 3A The 2020 Area 3A charter fishing regulations are revised to withdraw the annual limit of four retained halibut for anglers on charter vessels. The revised regulations do not impose an annual limit on retained halibut for anglers on PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 37025 charter vessel fishing trips in Area 3A during the 2020 calendar year. To enforce the previous annual limit, each charter vessel angler was required to record the date and location of each halibut harvested within a calendar year on the back of their fishing license or on a nontransferable Sport Harvest Record Card obtained from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The revised regulations withdraw this reporting requirement for Area 3A charter vessel fishing trips. All other reporting requirements remain in effect. The analysis prepared by ADF&G indicates that, under the revised size limits, total harvests in Area 3A are expected to be less than the Area 3A charter halibut allocation. Under the current and expected charter fishing conditions in Area 3A, charter fishing effort has declined, and is expected to decline further later in the fishing season relative to previous years. The total amount of decline in fishing effort throughout the year is difficult to predict. Therefore, the revised charter management measures are conservative and intended to provide additional harvest opportunity while maintaining total charter harvests within the current allocation. The analysis prepared by ADF&G indicates that if charter fishing removals in Area 3A decline by approximately 38 percent or more compared the removals originally projected in December of 2019 for the 2020 season, the revised management measures are projected to maintain charter halibut harvests within the current allocation. Revised Halibut Management Measures The following revised management measures apply to Section 15 Paragraph 9 and Section 29 of the 2020 IPHC regulations. They are recommended by the IPHC and have been accepted by the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce. These management measures supersede Section 15 Paragraph 9 and Section 29 regulations of the Commission previously published. The IPHC did not recommend any other changes to the 2020 Pacific halibut management measures. All other 2020 management measures adopted by the IPHC and previously published in the Federal Register (85 FR 14586; March 13, 2020) remain unchanged and are effective until superseded. 15. Licensing Vessels for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A (9) A vessel operating in the incidental catch fishery during the sablefish fishery in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A must have submitted its E:\FR\FM\19JNR1.SGM 19JNR1 37026 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 119 / Friday, June 19, 2020 / Rules and Regulations ‘‘Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery’’ form no later than 2359 local time on 29 May, or the next weekday in May if 29 May is a Saturday or Sunday. 29. Recreational (Sport) Fishing for Pacific Halibut—IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES (1) In Convention waters in and off Alaska.1 2 (a) The recreational (sport) fishing season is from 1 February to 31 December. (b) The daily bag limit is two Pacific halibut of any size per day per person unless a more restrictive bag limit applies in Commission regulations or Federal regulations at 50 CFR 300.65. (c) No person may possess more than two daily bag limits. (d) No person shall possess on board a vessel, including charter vessels and pleasure craft used for fishing, Pacific halibut that have been filleted, mutilated, or otherwise disfigured in any manner, except that each Pacific halibut may be cut into no more than 2 ventral pieces, 2 dorsal pieces, and 2 cheek pieces, with a patch of skin on each piece, naturally attached. (e) Pacific halibut in excess of the possession limit in paragraph (1)(c) of this section may be possessed on a vessel that does not contain recreational (sport) fishing gear, fishing rods, hand lines, or gaffs. (f) Pacific halibut harvested on a charter vessel fishing trip in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C or 3A must be retained on board the charter vessel on which the Pacific halibut was caught until the end of the charter vessel fishing trip as defined at 50 CFR 300.61. (g) Guided angler fish (GAF), as described at 50 CFR 300.65, may be used to allow a charter vessel angler to harvest additional Pacific halibut up to the limits in place for unguided anglers, and are exempt from the requirements in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this section. (2) For guided recreational (sport) fishing (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.65) in IPHC Regulatory Area 2C: 1 NOAA Fisheries could implement more restrictive regulations for the recreational (sport) fishery or components of it, therefore, anglers are advised to check the current Federal or State regulations prior to fishing. 2 Charter vessels are prohibited from harvesting Pacific halibut in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C and 3A during one charter vessel fishing trip under regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries at 50 CFR 300.66. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Jun 18, 2020 Jkt 250001 (a) No person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.65) shall catch and retain more than one Pacific halibut per calendar day. (b) No person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.65) shall catch and retain any Pacific halibut that with head on is greater than 45 inches (114.3 cm) and less than 80 inches (203.2 cm) as measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the tail. (3) For guided recreational (sport) fishing (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.65) in IPHC Regulatory Area 3A: (a) No person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.65) shall catch and retain more than two Pacific halibut per calendar day. (b) At least one of the retained Pacific halibut must have a head-on length of no more than 32 inches (81.3 cm) as measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the tail. If a person recreational (sport) fishing on a charter vessel in IPHC Regulatory Area 3A retains only one Pacific halibut in a calendar day, that Pacific halibut may be of any length. (c) A ‘‘charter halibut permit’’ (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.67) may only be used for one charter vessel fishing trip in which Pacific halibut are caught and retained per calendar day. A charter vessel fishing trip is defined at 50 CFR 300.61 as the time period between the first deployment of fishing gear into the water by a charter vessel angler (as defined at 50 CFR 300.61) and the offloading of one or more charter vessel anglers or any Pacific halibut from that vessel. For purposes of this trip limit, a charter vessel fishing trip ends at 2359 (Alaska local time) on the same calendar day that the fishing trip began, or when any anglers or Pacific halibut are offloaded, whichever comes first. (d) A charter vessel on which one or more anglers catch and retain Pacific halibut may only make one charter vessel fishing trip per calendar day. A charter vessel fishing trip is defined at 50 CFR 300.61 as the time period between the first deployment of fishing gear into the water by a charter vessel angler (as defined at 50 CFR 300.61) and the offloading of one or more charter vessel anglers or any Pacific halibut from that vessel. For purposes of this trip limit, a charter vessel fishing trip PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 ends at 2359 (Alaska local time) on the same calendar day that the fishing trip began, or when any anglers or Pacific halibut are offloaded, whichever comes first. Classification IPHC Regulations These IPHC revised management measures are a product of an agreement between the United States and Canada and are published in the Federal Register to provide notice of their effectiveness and content. Pursuant to section 4 of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, 16 U.S.C. 773b, the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce, may ‘‘accept or reject’’ but not modify these recommendations of the IPHC. The notice-and-comment and delay-ineffectiveness date provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553(b) and (d), are inapplicable to IPHC management measures because this regulation involves a foreign affairs function of the United States, 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1). As stated above, the Secretary of State has no discretion to modify the recommendations of the IPHC. The additional time necessary to comply with the notice-and-comment and delay-in-effectiveness requirements of the APA would disrupt coordinated international conservation and management of the halibut fishery pursuant to the Convention. Furthermore, no other law requires prior notice and public comment for this rule. Because prior notice and an opportunity for public comment are not required to be provided for these portions of this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., are not applicable. Accordingly, no Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is required for this portion of the rule and none has been prepared. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866. Because this is not a significant rule, the provisions of Executive Order 13771 are inapplicable. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq. Dated: June 16, 2020. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–13287 Filed 6–18–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\19JNR1.SGM 19JNR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 119 (Friday, June 19, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 37023-37026]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-13287]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 300

[Docket No. 200616-0161]
RIN 0648-BJ89


Revised Management Measures for the 2020 Guided Sport Pacific 
Halibut Fisheries in International Pacific Halibut Commission 
Regulatory Areas 2A, 2C, and 3A

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This action revises the 2020 regulations for guided Pacific 
halibut sport fishing in International Pacific Halibut Commission 
(IPHC) Regulatory Areas 2A, 2C, and 3A. The revised regulations 
supersede the vessel application deadline previously published in 
Section 15 Paragraph 9, and guided halibut sport fishing

[[Page 37024]]

management measures previously published in Section 29 of the 2020 
annual management measures. No other regulations of the 2020 Pacific 
halibut management measures are changed by this action. The Assistant 
Administrator for Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), on behalf of the International Pacific Halibut 
Commission (IPHC), publishes regulations governing the Pacific halibut 
fishery that have been recommended by the IPHC and accepted by the 
Secretary of State. The revisions in this action are intended to 
enhance the conservation of Pacific halibut and further the goals and 
objectives of the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) and North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC).

DATES: The revisions to IPHC's annual management measures are valid May 
28, 2020. These revisions, and all other management measures previously 
published and not revised, are effective until superseded.

ADDRESSES: Additional requests for information regarding this action 
may be obtained by contacting the International Pacific Halibut 
Commission, 2320 W Commodore Way, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98199-1287; or 
Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS Alaska Region, P.O. Box 21668, 
Juneau, AK 99802; or Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS West Coast 
Region, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115. This final rule also 
is accessible via the internet at the Federal eRulemaking portal at 
http://www.regulations.gov, identified by docket number NOAA-NMFS-2020-
0833.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For waters off Alaska, Kurt Iverson, 
907-586-7210; or, for waters off the U.S. West Coast, Kathryn Blair, 
503-231-6858.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The IPHC has recommended regulations that would govern the Pacific 
halibut fishery in 2020, pursuant to the Convention between Canada and 
the United States for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the 
North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea (Convention), signed at Ottawa, 
Ontario, on March 2, 1953, as amended by a Protocol Amending the 
Convention (signed at Washington, DC, on March 29, 1979).
    As provided by the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut 
Act) at 16 U.S.C. 773b, the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of 
the Secretary of Commerce, may accept or reject, on behalf of the 
United States, regulations recommended by the IPHC in accordance with 
the Convention (Halibut Act, Sections 773-773k). The Secretary of 
State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce, accepted the 
2020 IPHC regulations as provided by the Halibut Act.
    The Halibut Act provides the Secretary of Commerce with the 
authority and general responsibility to carry out the requirements of 
the Convention and the Halibut Act. The Regional Fishery Management 
Councils may develop, and the Secretary of Commerce may implement, 
regulations governing harvesting privileges among U.S. fishermen in 
U.S. waters that are in addition to, and not in conflict with, approved 
IPHC regulations. The NPFMC has exercised this authority in developing 
halibut management programs for three fisheries that harvest halibut in 
Alaska: The subsistence, sport, and commercial fisheries. The PFMC has 
exercised this authority by developing a catch sharing plan governing 
the allocation of halibut and management of sport fisheries on the U.S. 
West Coast.
    Subsistence and sport halibut fishery regulations for Alaska are 
codified at 50 CFR part 300. Commercial halibut fisheries off Alaska 
are subject to the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program and Community 
Development Quota (CDQ) Program (50 CFR part 679) regulations, and the 
area-specific catch sharing plans (CSPs) for Areas 2C, 3A, and Areas 
4C, 4D, and 4E.
    The NPFMC recommended and NMFS implemented through rulemaking a CSP 
for guided sport (charter) and commercial IFQ halibut fisheries in IPHC 
Regulatory Area 2C and Area 3A (Areas 2C and 3A) on January 13, 2014 
(78 FR 75844; December 12, 2013). The Area 2C and 3A CSP regulations 
are codified at 50 CFR 300.65. The CSP defines an annual process for 
allocating halibut between the commercial and charter fisheries so that 
each sector's allocation varies in proportion to halibut abundance, 
specifies a public process for setting annual management measures, and 
authorizes limited annual leases of commercial IFQ for use in the 
charter fishery as guided angler fish (GAF).
    The IPHC held its annual meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, February 3-
7, 2020, and recommended a number of changes to the previous IPHC 
regulations (84 FR 9243; March 14, 2019). The Secretary of State 
accepted the 2020 annual management measures. Pursuant to regulations 
at 50 CFR 300.62, the 2020 IPHC annual management measures were 
published in the Federal Register (85 FR 14586; March 13, 2020) to 
provide notice of their immediate regulatory effectiveness and to 
inform persons subject to the regulations of their restrictions and 
requirements. Because NMFS publishes the regulations applicable to the 
entire Convention area, these regulations include some provisions 
relating to and affecting Canadian fishing and fisheries. NMFS may 
implement more restrictive regulations for the fishery for halibut or 
components of it in waters of the United States; therefore, anglers are 
advised to check the current Federal and IPHC regulations prior to 
fishing.
    On May 20, 2020, the IPHC held an intersessional meeting to address 
stakeholder proposals, including a proposal from U.S. Commissioners 
regarding the Area 2A sablefish fishery, and a recommendation by the 
North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) to revise guided sport 
(charter) halibut management measures for Areas 2C and 3A. The proposed 
revisions for Areas 2C and 3A were prompted by an unexpected decline in 
charter fishing effort for the 2020 season. The NPFMC and IPHC reviewed 
the best available information on the status of charter fishing effort 
supported by an analysis from the State of Alaska Department of Fish 
and Game (ADF&G) on the likely charter effort in Areas 2C and 3A and 
the relative effectiveness of various charter halibut management 
measures to maintain charter harvests within their allocations. The 
proposal for the incidental catch in the Area 2A sablefish fishery was 
for an extension to the application deadline.
    The IPHC adopted revisions to Section 15, Licensing Vessels for 
IPHC Regulatory Area 2A, and Section 29, Recreational (Sport) Fishing 
for Pacific Halibut--IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 
4E, of the charter fishing management measures. In a similar process as 
described above, the Secretaries of State and Commerce accepted the 
revised IPHC regulations. The revised Section 15 and Section 29 
management measures published herein supersede the 2020 Section 15 and 
Section 29 regulations previously published in the Federal Register (85 
FR 14586; March 13, 2020). The IPHC did not recommend any other changes 
to the 2020 Pacific halibut management measures. The revised management 
measures, and all other management measures previously published and 
not revised, are effective until superseded.

[[Page 37025]]

Revised Application Deadline for Incidental Catch in the Sablefish 
Fishery in Area 2A

    At the May 20, 2020 IPHC intersessional meeting, the Commissioners 
adopted a regulatory proposal amending the deadline for when a vessel 
operating in the incidental catch fishery during the sablefish fishery 
in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A must have submitted its ``Application for 
Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery'' form. The regulatory 
change modified the deadline for submission from March 15 to May 29, 
2020. This one-time modification was in response to potential negative 
impacts that current events may have had on a licensee's ability to 
submit an application and does not set a precedent for future years.
    Fishery participants were informed of this regulatory change via 
IPHC media release, NMFS' contact list for sablefish tier permit 
holders, a bulletin posted to the NMFS website, as well as other 
directed outreach to potentially affected public.

Revised Management Measures for Charter Vessel Fishing in Area 2C

    The two primary management measures previously established for 2020 
in Area 2C were a daily bag limit of one halibut per charter angler, 
and size limits prohibiting retention of halibut that are greater than 
40 inches (101.6 cm) or less than 80 inches (203.2 cm). The effect of 
these regulations is to limit both the number and pounds of retained 
halibut.
    At the May 20, 2020 intersessional meeting, the IPHC recommended 
the continuation of a one-fish daily bag limit with a revision to the 
size limits. Specifically, the new regulations prohibit a person on 
board a charter vessel referred to in 50 CFR 300.65 and fishing in Area 
2C from taking or possessing any halibut, with head on, that is greater 
than 45 inches (114.3 cm) and less than 80 inches (203.2 cm), as 
measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip 
of the lower jaw with mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of 
the tail.
    The analysis prepared by ADF&G indicates that, under the revised 
size limits, total harvests in Area 2C are expected to be less than the 
Area 2C charter halibut allocation. Under the current and expected 
charter fishing conditions in Area 2C, charter fishing effort has 
declined, and is expected to decline further later in the fishing 
season relative to previous years. The total amount of decline in 
fishing effort throughout the year is difficult to predict. Therefore, 
the revised charter management measures are conservative and intended 
to provide additional harvest opportunity while maintaining total 
charter harvests within the current allocation. The analysis prepared 
by ADF&G indicates that if charter fishing removals in Area 2C decline 
by approximately 12 percent or more compared the removals originally 
projected in December of 2019 for the 2020 season, the revised 
management measures are projected to maintain charter halibut harvests 
within the current allocation.

Revised Management Measures for Charter Vessel Fishing in Area 3A

    For 2020, the IPHC previously recommended the following management 
measures for Area 3A: (1) A two-fish bag limit with a 26-inch (66.0 cm) 
size limit on one of the halibut; (2) a one-trip per day limit for 
charter vessels and for charter halibut permits for the entire season; 
(3) an annual limit of four fish, with a reporting requirement; and, 
(4) prohibition on halibut retention by charter vessel anglers on all 
Tuesdays and all Wednesdays (85 FR 14586; March 13, 2020).
    At the May 20, 2020 intersessional meeting, the IPHC recommended 
retaining the one-trip per day limits for halibut charter vessels and 
for charter halibut permits. The IPHC also recommended revising the 
management measures as follows:

Size Limit for Halibut Retained on a Charter Vessel in Area 3A

    The revised 2020 charter halibut fishery regulations in Area 3A 
will include a two-fish daily bag limit in which one of the retained 
halibut may be of any size and one of the retained halibut must be 32 
inches (81.3 cm) or less, as measured in a straight line, passing over 
the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw to the extreme end of 
the middle of the tail.

Retention of Halibut Allowed on All Days of the Week in Area 3A

    The 2020 Area 3A charter fishing regulations are revised to allow 
retention of halibut by charter vessel anglers during any day of the 
week.

Withdraw the Annual Limit on Halibut Retained by Charter Vessels 
Anglers in Area 3A

    The 2020 Area 3A charter fishing regulations are revised to 
withdraw the annual limit of four retained halibut for anglers on 
charter vessels. The revised regulations do not impose an annual limit 
on retained halibut for anglers on charter vessel fishing trips in Area 
3A during the 2020 calendar year.
    To enforce the previous annual limit, each charter vessel angler 
was required to record the date and location of each halibut harvested 
within a calendar year on the back of their fishing license or on a 
nontransferable Sport Harvest Record Card obtained from the Alaska 
Department of Fish and Game. The revised regulations withdraw this 
reporting requirement for Area 3A charter vessel fishing trips. All 
other reporting requirements remain in effect.
    The analysis prepared by ADF&G indicates that, under the revised 
size limits, total harvests in Area 3A are expected to be less than the 
Area 3A charter halibut allocation. Under the current and expected 
charter fishing conditions in Area 3A, charter fishing effort has 
declined, and is expected to decline further later in the fishing 
season relative to previous years. The total amount of decline in 
fishing effort throughout the year is difficult to predict. Therefore, 
the revised charter management measures are conservative and intended 
to provide additional harvest opportunity while maintaining total 
charter harvests within the current allocation. The analysis prepared 
by ADF&G indicates that if charter fishing removals in Area 3A decline 
by approximately 38 percent or more compared the removals originally 
projected in December of 2019 for the 2020 season, the revised 
management measures are projected to maintain charter halibut harvests 
within the current allocation.

Revised Halibut Management Measures

    The following revised management measures apply to Section 15 
Paragraph 9 and Section 29 of the 2020 IPHC regulations. They are 
recommended by the IPHC and have been accepted by the Secretary of 
State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce. These 
management measures supersede Section 15 Paragraph 9 and Section 29 
regulations of the Commission previously published. The IPHC did not 
recommend any other changes to the 2020 Pacific halibut management 
measures. All other 2020 management measures adopted by the IPHC and 
previously published in the Federal Register (85 FR 14586; March 13, 
2020) remain unchanged and are effective until superseded.

15. Licensing Vessels for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A

    (9) A vessel operating in the incidental catch fishery during the 
sablefish fishery in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A must have submitted its

[[Page 37026]]

``Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery'' form 
no later than 2359 local time on 29 May, or the next weekday in May if 
29 May is a Saturday or Sunday.

29. Recreational (Sport) Fishing for Pacific Halibut--IPHC Regulatory 
Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E

    (1) In Convention waters in and off Alaska.1 2
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ NOAA Fisheries could implement more restrictive regulations 
for the recreational (sport) fishery or components of it, therefore, 
anglers are advised to check the current Federal or State 
regulations prior to fishing.
    \2\ Charter vessels are prohibited from harvesting Pacific 
halibut in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C and 3A during one charter vessel 
fishing trip under regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries at 50 
CFR 300.66.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (a) The recreational (sport) fishing season is from 1 February to 
31 December.
    (b) The daily bag limit is two Pacific halibut of any size per day 
per person unless a more restrictive bag limit applies in Commission 
regulations or Federal regulations at 50 CFR 300.65.
    (c) No person may possess more than two daily bag limits.
    (d) No person shall possess on board a vessel, including charter 
vessels and pleasure craft used for fishing, Pacific halibut that have 
been filleted, mutilated, or otherwise disfigured in any manner, except 
that each Pacific halibut may be cut into no more than 2 ventral 
pieces, 2 dorsal pieces, and 2 cheek pieces, with a patch of skin on 
each piece, naturally attached.
    (e) Pacific halibut in excess of the possession limit in paragraph 
(1)(c) of this section may be possessed on a vessel that does not 
contain recreational (sport) fishing gear, fishing rods, hand lines, or 
gaffs.
    (f) Pacific halibut harvested on a charter vessel fishing trip in 
IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C or 3A must be retained on board the charter 
vessel on which the Pacific halibut was caught until the end of the 
charter vessel fishing trip as defined at 50 CFR 300.61.
    (g) Guided angler fish (GAF), as described at 50 CFR 300.65, may be 
used to allow a charter vessel angler to harvest additional Pacific 
halibut up to the limits in place for unguided anglers, and are exempt 
from the requirements in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this section.
    (2) For guided recreational (sport) fishing (as referred to in 50 
CFR 300.65) in IPHC Regulatory Area 2C:
    (a) No person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 
300.65) shall catch and retain more than one Pacific halibut per 
calendar day.
    (b) No person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 
300.65) shall catch and retain any Pacific halibut that with head on is 
greater than 45 inches (114.3 cm) and less than 80 inches (203.2 cm) as 
measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip 
of the lower jaw with mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of 
the tail.
    (3) For guided recreational (sport) fishing (as referred to in 50 
CFR 300.65) in IPHC Regulatory Area 3A:
    (a) No person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 
300.65) shall catch and retain more than two Pacific halibut per 
calendar day.
    (b) At least one of the retained Pacific halibut must have a head-
on length of no more than 32 inches (81.3 cm) as measured in a straight 
line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with 
mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the tail. If a person 
recreational (sport) fishing on a charter vessel in IPHC Regulatory 
Area 3A retains only one Pacific halibut in a calendar day, that 
Pacific halibut may be of any length.
    (c) A ``charter halibut permit'' (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.67) 
may only be used for one charter vessel fishing trip in which Pacific 
halibut are caught and retained per calendar day. A charter vessel 
fishing trip is defined at 50 CFR 300.61 as the time period between the 
first deployment of fishing gear into the water by a charter vessel 
angler (as defined at 50 CFR 300.61) and the offloading of one or more 
charter vessel anglers or any Pacific halibut from that vessel. For 
purposes of this trip limit, a charter vessel fishing trip ends at 2359 
(Alaska local time) on the same calendar day that the fishing trip 
began, or when any anglers or Pacific halibut are offloaded, whichever 
comes first.
    (d) A charter vessel on which one or more anglers catch and retain 
Pacific halibut may only make one charter vessel fishing trip per 
calendar day. A charter vessel fishing trip is defined at 50 CFR 300.61 
as the time period between the first deployment of fishing gear into 
the water by a charter vessel angler (as defined at 50 CFR 300.61) and 
the offloading of one or more charter vessel anglers or any Pacific 
halibut from that vessel. For purposes of this trip limit, a charter 
vessel fishing trip ends at 2359 (Alaska local time) on the same 
calendar day that the fishing trip began, or when any anglers or 
Pacific halibut are offloaded, whichever comes first.

Classification

IPHC Regulations

    These IPHC revised management measures are a product of an 
agreement between the United States and Canada and are published in the 
Federal Register to provide notice of their effectiveness and content. 
Pursuant to section 4 of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, 16 
U.S.C. 773b, the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the 
Secretary of Commerce, may ``accept or reject'' but not modify these 
recommendations of the IPHC. The notice-and-comment and delay-in-
effectiveness date provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act 
(APA), 5 U.S.C. 553(b) and (d), are inapplicable to IPHC management 
measures because this regulation involves a foreign affairs function of 
the United States, 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1). As stated above, the Secretary 
of State has no discretion to modify the recommendations of the IPHC. 
The additional time necessary to comply with the notice-and-comment and 
delay-in-effectiveness requirements of the APA would disrupt 
coordinated international conservation and management of the halibut 
fishery pursuant to the Convention. Furthermore, no other law requires 
prior notice and public comment for this rule. Because prior notice and 
an opportunity for public comment are not required to be provided for 
these portions of this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other law, the 
analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 
et seq., are not applicable. Accordingly, no Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis is required for this portion of the rule and none has been 
prepared. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
the purposes of Executive Order 12866. Because this is not a 
significant rule, the provisions of Executive Order 13771 are 
inapplicable.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.

    Dated: June 16, 2020.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-13287 Filed 6-18-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P