Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 43148-43149 [2020-15409]

Download as PDF 43148 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 137 / Thursday, July 16, 2020 / Rules and Regulations recreational ACL of 116,820 lb (52,989 kg), round weight, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the recreational sector for the remainder of the fishing year, unless the RA determines that no closure is necessary based on the best scientific information available. * * * * * * * * (3) The combined commercial and recreational sector ACL (total ACL) is 233,968 lb (106,126 kg), round weight. [FR Doc. 2020–14945 Filed 7–15–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 180117042–8884–02] RTID 0648–XA263 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; quota transfer. AGENCY: NMFS is transferring 30 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) quota from the Reserve category to the Harpoon category. With this transfer, the adjusted Harpoon category quota for the 2020 fishing season is 76 mt. The 2020 Harpoon category fishery is open until November 15, 2020, or until the Harpoon category quota is reached, whichever comes first. The action is based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments, and applies to Atlantic tunas Harpoon category (commercial) permitted vessels. SUMMARY: Effective July 13, 2020, through November 15, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin, 978–281–9260, Nicholas Velseboer, 978–675–2168, or Larry Redd, 301–427–8503. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jul 15, 2020 Jkt 250001 BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and as implemented by the United States among the various domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006), as amended by Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP (Amendment 7) (79 FR 71510, December 2, 2014). NMFS is required under ATCA and the Magnuson-Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a reasonable opportunity to harvest the ICCAT-recommended quota. The current baseline quotas for the Harpoon and Reserve categories are 46 mt and 29.5 mt, respectively. See § 635.27(a). To date for 2020, NMFS has published one action that has augmented the available 2020 Reserve category quota and transferred quota from the Reserve to the General category for the January 2020 Fishery. This resulted in the current available Reserve quota of 143 mt (85 FR 6828, February 6, 2020). Regulations provide that the Harpoon category fishery opens June 1 and closes on November 15 of each year, or until the Harpoon category quota is reached, whichever comes first. Transfer of 30 mt From the Reserve Category to the Harpoon Category Under § 635.27(a)(9), NMFS has the authority to transfer quota among fishing categories or subcategories, after considering regulatory determination criteria provided under § 635.27(a)(8). NMFS has considered all of the relevant determination criteria and their applicability to the Harpoon category fishery. These considerations include, but are not limited to, the following: Regarding the usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock (§ 635.27(a)(8)(i)), biological samples collected from BFT landed by Harpoon category fishermen and provided by tuna dealers provides NMFS with valuable parts and data for ongoing scientific studies of BFT age and growth, migration, and reproductive status. Additional opportunity to land BFT in the Harpoon category would support the continued collection of a broad range of data for these studies and for stock monitoring purposes. NMFS also considered the catches of the Harpoon category quota to date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made (§ 635.27(a)(8)(ii) and (ix)). As of July 13, 2020, the Harpoon category has PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 landed 42.1 mt. Commercial-size BFT are currently readily available to vessels fishing under the Harpoon category quota. Without a quota transfer at this time, Harpoon category participants would have to stop BFT fishing activities with very short notice, while commercial-sized BFT remain available on the fishing grounds in the areas Harpoon category permitted vessels operate. Transferring 30 mt of BFT quota from the Reserve category would result in a total of 76 mt being available for the Harpoon category for the 2020 Harpoon category fishing season. Regarding the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the particular category quota (here, the Harpoon category) to harvest the additional amount of BFT before the end of the fishing year (§ 635.27(a)(8)(iii)), NMFS considered Harpoon category landings over the last several years. Landings are highly variable and depend on access to commercial-sized BFT and fishing conditions, among other factors. NMFS anticipates that the Harpoon category could harvest the transferred 30 mt prior to the end of the Harpoon category fishing season, subject to weather conditions and BFT availability. NMFS may transfer unused Harpoon category quota to other quota categories, as appropriate. NMFS also anticipates that some underharvest of the 2019 adjusted U.S. BFT quota will be carried forward to 2020 and placed in the Reserve category, in accordance with the regulations. Thus, this quota transfer would allow fishermen to take advantage of the availability of fish on the fishing grounds, and provide a reasonable opportunity to harvest the full U.S. BFT quota. NMFS also considered the estimated amounts by which quotas for other gear categories of the bluefin tuna fishery might be exceeded (§ 635.27(a)(8)(iv)) and the ability to account for all 2019 landings and dead discards. In the last several years, total U.S. BFT landings have been below the available U.S. quota such that the United States has carried forward the maximum amount of underharvest allowed by ICCAT from one year to the next. NMFS will need to account for 2020 landings and dead discards within the adjusted U.S. quota, consistent with ICCAT recommendations, and anticipates having sufficient quota to do that. NMFS also considered the effects of the adjustment on the BFT stock and the effects of the transfer on accomplishing the objectives of the FMP (§ 635.27(a)(8)(v) and (vi)). This transfer would be consistent with the current quotas, which were established and analyzed in the 2018 BFT quota final E:\FR\FM\16JYR1.SGM 16JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 137 / Thursday, July 16, 2020 / Rules and Regulations rule (83 FR 51391, October 11, 2018), and with objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, and is not expected to negatively impact stock health or to affect the stock in ways not already analyzed in those documents. Another principal consideration is the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full annual U.S. BFT quota without exceeding it based on the goals of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, including to achieve optimum yield on a continuing basis and to optimize the ability of all permit categories to harvest their full BFT quota allocations (related to § 635.27(a)(8)(x)). Based on the considerations above, NMFS is transferring 30 mt of the available 143 mt of Reserve category quota to the Harpoon category. Therefore, NMFS adjusts the Harpoon category quota to 76 mt for the 2020 Harpoon category fishing season (i.e., through November 15, 2020, or until the Harpoon category quota is reached, whichever comes first), and adjusts the Reserve category quota to 113 mt. Monitoring and Reporting NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely. Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS’ ability to timely implement actions such as quota adjustments and closures, and may result in enforcement actions. Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, Harpoon category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov or by using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling (888) 872–8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.). Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates, NMFS may determine that additional action (i.e., quota adjustment, daily retention limit adjustment, or closure) is necessary to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas, and to ensure available subquotas are not exceeded. If needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (978) 281–9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jul 15, 2020 Jkt 250001 43149 Classification DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This action is required by 50 CFR 635, which was issued pursuant to section 304(c), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons: The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment to implement the quota transfer for the remainder of 2020 is also contrary to the public interest as such a delay would likely result in closure of the Harpoon fishery when the baseline quota is met and the need to reopen the fishery, with attendant administrative costs and costs to the fishery. The delay would preclude the fishery from harvesting BFT that are available on the fishing grounds and that might otherwise become unavailable during a delay. This action does not raise conservation and management concerns. Transferring quota from the Reserve category to the Harpoon category does not affect the overall U.S. BFT quota, and available data show the adjustment would have a minimal risk of exceeding the ICCATallocated quota. NMFS notes that the public had an opportunity to comment on the underlying rulemakings that established the U.S. BFT quota and the inseason adjustment criteria. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: July 13, 2020. He´le`ne M.N. Scalliet, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–15409 Filed 7–13–20; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No.: 200706–0178] RIN 0648–BJ38 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Permitting and Reporting for Private Recreational Tilefish Vessels National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This action establishes permitting and reporting requirements for privately owned and operated recreational vessels fishing for tilefish north of the Virginia/North Carolina border. This action is necessary to implement technical measures for the conceptual permitting and reporting requirements previously approved as part of Amendment 6 to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan. The intended effect of this action is to monitor recreational tilefish effort and catch for this periodic offshore fishery. DATES: This rule is effective August 17, 2020. ADDRESSES: Copies of Amendment 6 and the Environmental Assessment (EA), with its associated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), are available from the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901. The Amendment 6 EA/FONSI/RIR is also accessible online at: www.mafmc.org. Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule may be submitted to the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office and by visiting www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. Find this particular information collection by selecting ‘‘Currently under Review—Open for Public Comments’’ or by using the search function. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Hansen, Fishery Management Specialist, 978–281–9225. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background This rule implements the technical components for the previously approved private recreational tilefish permitting and reporting requirements in Amendment 6 to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) (82 FR 52851; E:\FR\FM\16JYR1.SGM 16JYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 137 (Thursday, July 16, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 43148-43149]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-15409]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 180117042-8884-02]
RTID 0648-XA263


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; quota transfer.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS is transferring 30 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin 
tuna (BFT) quota from the Reserve category to the Harpoon category. 
With this transfer, the adjusted Harpoon category quota for the 2020 
fishing season is 76 mt. The 2020 Harpoon category fishery is open 
until November 15, 2020, or until the Harpoon category quota is 
reached, whichever comes first. The action is based on consideration of 
the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments, 
and applies to Atlantic tunas Harpoon category (commercial) permitted 
vessels.

DATES: Effective July 13, 2020, through November 15, 2020.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by 
persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR 
part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by 
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
(ICCAT) and as implemented by the United States among the various 
domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the 
2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan 
(2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006), as amended 
by Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP (Amendment 7) (79 FR 
71510, December 2, 2014). NMFS is required under ATCA and the Magnuson-
Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a reasonable 
opportunity to harvest the ICCAT-recommended quota.
    The current baseline quotas for the Harpoon and Reserve categories 
are 46 mt and 29.5 mt, respectively. See Sec.  635.27(a). To date for 
2020, NMFS has published one action that has augmented the available 
2020 Reserve category quota and transferred quota from the Reserve to 
the General category for the January 2020 Fishery. This resulted in the 
current available Reserve quota of 143 mt (85 FR 6828, February 6, 
2020). Regulations provide that the Harpoon category fishery opens June 
1 and closes on November 15 of each year, or until the Harpoon category 
quota is reached, whichever comes first.

Transfer of 30 mt From the Reserve Category to the Harpoon Category

    Under Sec.  635.27(a)(9), NMFS has the authority to transfer quota 
among fishing categories or subcategories, after considering regulatory 
determination criteria provided under Sec.  635.27(a)(8). NMFS has 
considered all of the relevant determination criteria and their 
applicability to the Harpoon category fishery. These considerations 
include, but are not limited to, the following:
    Regarding the usefulness of information obtained from catches in 
the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the 
status of the stock (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(i)), biological samples 
collected from BFT landed by Harpoon category fishermen and provided by 
tuna dealers provides NMFS with valuable parts and data for ongoing 
scientific studies of BFT age and growth, migration, and reproductive 
status. Additional opportunity to land BFT in the Harpoon category 
would support the continued collection of a broad range of data for 
these studies and for stock monitoring purposes.
    NMFS also considered the catches of the Harpoon category quota to 
date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no 
adjustment is made (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(ii) and (ix)). As of July 13, 
2020, the Harpoon category has landed 42.1 mt. Commercial-size BFT are 
currently readily available to vessels fishing under the Harpoon 
category quota. Without a quota transfer at this time, Harpoon category 
participants would have to stop BFT fishing activities with very short 
notice, while commercial-sized BFT remain available on the fishing 
grounds in the areas Harpoon category permitted vessels operate. 
Transferring 30 mt of BFT quota from the Reserve category would result 
in a total of 76 mt being available for the Harpoon category for the 
2020 Harpoon category fishing season.
    Regarding the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the 
particular category quota (here, the Harpoon category) to harvest the 
additional amount of BFT before the end of the fishing year (Sec.  
635.27(a)(8)(iii)), NMFS considered Harpoon category landings over the 
last several years. Landings are highly variable and depend on access 
to commercial-sized BFT and fishing conditions, among other factors. 
NMFS anticipates that the Harpoon category could harvest the 
transferred 30 mt prior to the end of the Harpoon category fishing 
season, subject to weather conditions and BFT availability. NMFS may 
transfer unused Harpoon category quota to other quota categories, as 
appropriate. NMFS also anticipates that some underharvest of the 2019 
adjusted U.S. BFT quota will be carried forward to 2020 and placed in 
the Reserve category, in accordance with the regulations. Thus, this 
quota transfer would allow fishermen to take advantage of the 
availability of fish on the fishing grounds, and provide a reasonable 
opportunity to harvest the full U.S. BFT quota.
    NMFS also considered the estimated amounts by which quotas for 
other gear categories of the bluefin tuna fishery might be exceeded 
(Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(iv)) and the ability to account for all 2019 
landings and dead discards. In the last several years, total U.S. BFT 
landings have been below the available U.S. quota such that the United 
States has carried forward the maximum amount of underharvest allowed 
by ICCAT from one year to the next. NMFS will need to account for 2020 
landings and dead discards within the adjusted U.S. quota, consistent 
with ICCAT recommendations, and anticipates having sufficient quota to 
do that.
    NMFS also considered the effects of the adjustment on the BFT stock 
and the effects of the transfer on accomplishing the objectives of the 
FMP (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(v) and (vi)). This transfer would be consistent 
with the current quotas, which were established and analyzed in the 
2018 BFT quota final

[[Page 43149]]

rule (83 FR 51391, October 11, 2018), and with objectives of the 2006 
Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, and is not expected to negatively 
impact stock health or to affect the stock in ways not already analyzed 
in those documents. Another principal consideration is the objective of 
providing opportunities to harvest the full annual U.S. BFT quota 
without exceeding it based on the goals of the 2006 Consolidated HMS 
FMP and amendments, including to achieve optimum yield on a continuing 
basis and to optimize the ability of all permit categories to harvest 
their full BFT quota allocations (related to Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(x)).
    Based on the considerations above, NMFS is transferring 30 mt of 
the available 143 mt of Reserve category quota to the Harpoon category. 
Therefore, NMFS adjusts the Harpoon category quota to 76 mt for the 
2020 Harpoon category fishing season (i.e., through November 15, 2020, 
or until the Harpoon category quota is reached, whichever comes first), 
and adjusts the Reserve category quota to 113 mt.

Monitoring and Reporting

    NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely. Dealers are 
required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer 
receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS' ability to 
timely implement actions such as quota adjustments and closures, and 
may result in enforcement actions. Additionally, and separate from the 
dealer reporting requirement, Harpoon category vessel owners are 
required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead 
within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing 
hmspermits.noaa.gov or by using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling 
(888) 872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.).
    Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates, NMFS may 
determine that additional action (i.e., quota adjustment, daily 
retention limit adjustment, or closure) is necessary to enhance 
scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all 
geographic areas, and to ensure available subquotas are not exceeded. 
If needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal 
Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas 
Information Line at (978) 281-9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for 
updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments.

Classification

    NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act. This action is required by 50 CFR 635, which was issued 
pursuant to section 304(c), and is exempt from review under Executive 
Order 12866.
    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that pursuant to 5 
U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice and an 
opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and comment 
would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide 
prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action 
for the following reasons:
    The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and 
amendments provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond 
to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, 
the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in 
the BFT fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public 
comment to implement the quota transfer for the remainder of 2020 is 
also contrary to the public interest as such a delay would likely 
result in closure of the Harpoon fishery when the baseline quota is met 
and the need to re-open the fishery, with attendant administrative 
costs and costs to the fishery. The delay would preclude the fishery 
from harvesting BFT that are available on the fishing grounds and that 
might otherwise become unavailable during a delay. This action does not 
raise conservation and management concerns. Transferring quota from the 
Reserve category to the Harpoon category does not affect the overall 
U.S. BFT quota, and available data show the adjustment would have a 
minimal risk of exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota. NMFS notes that 
the public had an opportunity to comment on the underlying rulemakings 
that established the U.S. BFT quota and the inseason adjustment 
criteria.

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

    Dated: July 13, 2020.
H[eacute]l[egrave]ne M.N. Scalliet,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-15409 Filed 7-13-20; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P