Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region and Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico; Possession Limits for Federally-Permitted Charter Vessels and Headboats, 45363-45366 [2020-15522]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 145 / Tuesday, July 28, 2020 / Proposed Rules with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action. Regulatory Findings The FAA has determined that this proposed AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD will not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this proposed regulation: (1) Is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866, (2) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and (3) Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39 Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by reference, Safety. The Proposed Amendment Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposed to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows: PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES 1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701. § 39.13 [Amended] 2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): ■ khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Robinson Helicopter Company: Docket No. FAA–2017–0682; Product Identifier 2017–SW–028–AD. (a) Applicability This AD applies to Robinson Helicopter Company (Robinson) Model R66 helicopters with a tail rotor (T/R) drive shaft assembly part number (P/N) D224–3 without B900–11 modification installed, certificated in any category. Note 1 to paragraph (a) of this AD: Helicopters with S/Ns 0753 and subsequent had T/R drive shaft forward yoke assembly P/N D224–5 installed during production. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:17 Jul 27, 2020 Jkt 250001 (b) Unsafe Condition DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE This AD defines the unsafe condition as failure of a T/R drive shaft forward hanger bearing. This condition could result in failure of the T/R drive shaft and subsequent loss of helicopter control. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 (c) Comments Due Date [Docket No. 200714–0190] The FAA must receive comments by September 11, 2020. RIN 0648–BJ60 (d) Compliance You are responsible for performing each action required by this AD within the specified compliance time unless it has already been accomplished prior to that time. (e) Required Actions (1) Within 100 hours time-in-service, do one of the following: (i) Install Robinson kit P/N KI–235 using KI–235 R66 TRDS Forward Yoke Assembly and Hanger Installation Kit Instructions, Revision A, dated June 23, 2015, except you are not required to discard nuts or palnuts, or (ii) Replace the entire T/R drive shaft assembly with T/R drive shaft assembly P/N D224–4. (2) As of the effective date of this AD, do not install a T/R drive shaft assembly P/N D224–3 without B900–11 modification on any helicopter. (f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs) (1) The Manager, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Danny Nguyen, Aerospace Engineer, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, California 90712; telephone 562–627–5247; email 9ANM-LAACO-AMOC-REQUESTS@faa.gov. (2) For operations conducted under a 14 CFR part 119 operating certificate or under 14 CFR part 91, subpart K, the FAA suggests that you notify your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office or certificate holding district office, before operating any aircraft complying with this AD through an AMOC. (g) Additional Information For service information identified in this AD, contact Robinson Helicopter Company, 2901 Airport Drive, Torrance, CA 90505; telephone 310–539–0508; fax 310–539–5198; or at https://www.robinsonheli.com. You may view a copy of information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N–321, Fort Worth, TX 76177. (h) Subject Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6510, Tail Rotor Drive Shaft. Issued on July 22, 2020. Lance T. Gant, Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. 2020–16188 Filed 7–27–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 45363 Sfmt 4702 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region and Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico; Possession Limits for Federally-Permitted Charter Vessels and Headboats National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes to implement management measures as described in an abbreviated framework action to the Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Reef Fish FMP) and the Coastal Migratory Pelagic (CMP) Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region (CMP FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council). This proposed rule would modify the on-board multi-day recreational possession limit regulations for Federal charter vessel and headboat (for-hire) trips in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf). This proposed rule would also make an administrative change to the reporting requirement for Gulf’s individual fishing quota (IFQ) program during catastrophic conditions. The purposes of this proposed rule are to promote efficiency in the utilization of the reef fish and CMP resources and reduce regulatory discards, and to update the IFQ reporting requirements. DATES: Written comments must be received by August 27, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2020–0065,’’ by either of the following methods: • Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20200065 click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Rich Malinowski, NMFS Southeast SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28JYP1.SGM 28JYP1 45364 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 145 / Tuesday, July 28, 2020 / Proposed Rules Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. • Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of the framework action that contain an environmental assessment and a regulatory flexibility analysis (RFA) may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office website at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/ framework-amendment-modify-multiday-trip-possession-limits-federalpermitted-charter. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rich Malinowski, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727–824–5305, or email: rich.malinowski@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Gulf Council manage reef fish resources in the Gulf exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under the Reef Fish FMP. The CMP fishery in the Gulf and Atlantic regions is managed jointly by the Gulf Council and South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Councils). The Gulf Council prepared the Reef Fish FMP and the Councils jointly prepared the CMP FMP. NMFS implements the FMPs through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) (16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq.). khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Background In Gulf Federal waters, each person aboard a vessel with a Federal Gulf charter vessel/headboat permit for reef fish or CMP species (for-hire permit) that is on a for-hire trip greater than 24 hours in duration is allowed to possess two daily recreational bag limits for species in the Reef Fish FMP and CMP FMP, except for speckled hind, warsaw grouper, and Gulf migratory group cobia (50 CFR 622.38(c) and 50 CFR 622.382(a)(2)). Speckled hind and warsaw grouper have daily recreational bag limits of one fish per vessel per day; therefore, the possession limit is two vessel limits, or two fish per vessel on VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:17 Jul 27, 2020 Jkt 250001 a trip that exceeds 24 hours (50 CFR 622.38(c)). Gulf migratory group cobia is a limited harvest species under 50 CFR 622.383(b), which specifies that no person may possess more than two cobia per person per day regardless of the duration of a trip, and this proposed rule would not revise that provision. A trip begins with departure from a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp and terminates with return to a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp (50 CFR 622.2). Currently, for the reef fish or CMP possession limit to apply, the for-hire vessel must have two licensed captains on board, and every passenger must have a receipt for the fishing trip which verifies the length of the trip (50 CFR 622.38(c) and 50 CFR 622.382(a)(2)). In addition, the possession limit does not apply until after the first 24 hours of the trip (50 CFR 622.11). Therefore, during the first 24 hours of a trip, each person (or vessel in the case of speckled hind and warsaw grouper) may only possess one daily recreational bag limit. No more than two daily bag or vessel limits may be possessed per person (or vessel) for reef fish and CMP species. The Gulf Council heard public testimony at its June 2019 meeting that some for-hire vessel captains may have misinterpreted the current regulations as allowing the possession of two daily recreational bag limits at any time during a trip that lasts more than 24 hours. Additionally, there was testimony that allowing recreational forhire fishers the ability to retain the possession limit at any time during a multi-day trip could increase the efficiency of the trip and reduce regulatory discards. For example, some vessel operators would prefer to target one species at a time in locations in which that species is abundant, fishing until the possession limit for the planned multi-day trip has been retained. After fishers harvest the possession limit, the vessel’s operator would attempt to avoid that species for the remainder of the multi-day trip. However, because the current possession limit does not apply until after the first 24 hours of the trip, vessel operators cannot plan a trip in this manner, but must resume fishing for the target species after the first 24-hours if they want to allow fishers to obtain the second daily bag limit. Management Measure Contained in This Proposed Rule This proposed rule would modify the requirements to retain the possession limit on-board vessels that have been issued valid Gulf reef fish or CMP forhire permits. The proposed rule would increase the trip duration threshold to PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 greater than 30 hours, but would allow fishers to retain a second daily bag limit at any time during a trip of at least that duration. The Council determined that since fishers would be allowed to possess the second daily bag limit at any time during the trip, the trip duration should clearly exceed 24 hours. All other requirements to retain the recreational possession limit would be unchanged through this proposed rule. The for-hire vessel must have two licensed operators aboard, and each passenger must be issued and have in their possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel that verifies the length of the trip. The proposed rule would require that the receipt specify the date and time of departure, and clarifies that the entire trip must occur on days when the harvest and possession of the applicable reef fish species are allowed. Measure Contained in This Proposed Rule Not in the Framework Action In addition to the measure described in the framework action, this proposed rule would revise language related to reporting under the Gulf’s individual fishing quota program (IFQ) during catastrophic conditions. The Gulf currently has two IFQ programs, one for commercial harvest of red snapper and one for commercial harvest of groupers and tilefishes. These programs require participants to record information electronically. However, both programs include a provision that allow for the use of some paper-based forms if catastrophic conditions occur (50 CFR 622.21(a)(3)(iii) and 622.22(a)(3)(iii)). This provision states that if the Regional Administrator (RA) determines that catastrophic conditions exist, NMFS will provide each IFQ dealer in the affected areas the necessary paper forms, sequentially coded, and instructions for submission of the forms to the RA. NMFS initially required the use of sequentially numbered paper forms as a method intended to prevent fraud. However, to date, these forms have not been used and NMFS has determined that maintaining them in this manner is not practical or cost effective. Therefore, NMFS proposes to remove the references to sequentially coded paper forms in both 50 CFR 622.21(a)(3)(iii) and 622.22(a)(3)(iii) that. If catastrophic conditions occur, NMFS will provide the affected IFQ dealers blank forms, which they can complete with the required IFQ transaction information. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Assistant E:\FR\FM\28JYP1.SGM 28JYP1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 145 / Tuesday, July 28, 2020 / Proposed Rules Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the framework amendment, the Reef Fish and CMP FMPs, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. This rule is expected to be an Executive Order 13771 deregulatory action. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) for purposes of the RFA that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this determination is as follows and differs from the basis provided in the RFA analysis included in the framework action. The analysis included in the framework action concluded that no for-hire fishing vessels would be directly regulated by this rule. However, NMFS subsequently determined that some for-hire fishing businesses would be directly regulated by this rule, and the factual basis for that determination is explained here. A description of the proposed rule and its purpose are contained at the beginning of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. The MagnusonStevens Act provides the statutory basis for this rule. No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been identified. In addition, NMFS believes that the proposed requirement for a receipt showing departure date and time involves no new reporting, record keeping, or other compliance burden beyond current practices under the existing rule. Accordingly, the Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply to this proposed rule. NMFS invites comments on the burden associated with issuing receipts that verify trip length. The objectives of this proposed rule are to promote efficiency in the utilization of the reef fish and CMP resources and decrease regulatory discards. This proposed rule would increase the minimum trip duration required to retain the possession limit on Federal for-hire vessels in the Gulf from greater than 24 hours to greater than 30 hours, and would also allow the possession limit to be retained anytime during such a trip rather than only after the first 24 hours of the trip. This proposed rule applies to the recreational sector of the Gulf reef fish and CMP fisheries. Recreational fishers fishing for reef fish and CMP species would be directly VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:17 Jul 27, 2020 Jkt 250001 affected by the proposed rule but are not considered entities under the RFA and thus are not directly regulated by this rule. This proposed rule is expected to directly regulate certain businesses (vessels) that possess a valid or renewable Federal charter vessel/ headboat Gulf reef fish or Federal charter vessel/headboat Gulf CMP permit. As of August 29, 2019, there were 1,274 valid (non-expired) or renewable Federal charter vessel/ headboat Gulf reef fish permits and 1,284 valid or renewable Federal charter vessel/headboat Gulf CMP permits. Most businesses possess both permits. Only some vessels with these permits would be directly regulated by this proposed rule. Vessels with valid or renewable Federal charter vessel/ headboat Gulf reef fish permits that harvest speckled hind or warsaw grouper and take trips longer than 24 hours would be directly regulated by this proposed rule because the bag limits for those species apply to the vessel rather than the fisher. Any vessel with a valid or renewable Federal charter vessel/headboat Gulf reef fish permit may harvest speckled hind or warsaw grouper. Further, captains and crew on for-hire vessels are allowed to retain several reef fish species harvested under the respective bag limits for those species, with some notable exceptions (e.g., greater amberjack, groupers, and red snapper). Similarly, vessels with valid or renewable Federal charter vessel/headboat Gulf CMP permits that take trips longer than 24 hours would also be directly regulated by this proposed rule because captains and crew are allowed to retain king and Spanish mackerel harvested under the respective bag limits for those species. For federally permitted charter vessels that were active in the for-hire reef fish or CMP fishing industries, average annual gross revenue is $88,111 per vessel and economic profit is $26,053 per vessel in 2018 dollars. For federally permitted headboats that were active in the for-hire reef fish or CMP fishing industries, the average annual gross revenue is $267,067 per vessel and economic profit is $77,960 per vessel in 2018 dollars. The SBA has established size standards for all major industry sectors in the U.S. including for-hire fishing businesses (NAICS code 487210). A business primarily involved in the forhire fishing industry is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has annual receipts (revenue) not in excess of $8 million for PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 45365 all its affiliated operations worldwide. In 2017, the maximum annual gross revenue for a single headboat in the Gulf was about $1.3 million. On average, annual gross revenue for headboats in the Gulf is about three times greater than annual gross revenue for charter vessels. Thus, it is assumed the maximum annual gross revenue for charter vessels is less than $1.3 million. Based on this information, all directly regulated businesses are determined, for the purpose of this analysis, to be small entities. Available data indicate that 32 headboats with valid or renewable Federal charter vessel/headboat Gulf reef fish or CMP permits harvested reef fish or CMP species on at least one trip that lasted longer than 24 hours between 2014 and 2018. An exact estimate of how many charter vessels with valid or renewable Federal charter vessel/ headboat Gulf reef fish or CMP permits harvested reef fish or CMP species cannot be determined based on available data, as current data collections do not record the U.S. Coast Guard documentation number or state boat registration number of the vessel. However, available data indicate that at least 47 charter vessels harvested some type of finfish species on at least one trip that lasted longer than 24 hours between 2014 and 2018. Based on the available data, it is assumed that this proposed rule would directly regulate at least 79 businesses in the Gulf for-hire reef fish and CMP industries. This proposed rule would increase the minimum trip duration required to retain the possession limit on Federal for-hire trips in the Gulf from greater than 24 hours to greater than 30 hours, but would also allow the possession limit to be retained anytime during a trip meeting the minimum trip duration. Increasing the minimum trip duration required to retain the possession limit would affect less than 0.1 percent of the total for-hire trips in the Gulf, and at least 14 for-hire vessels that are currently known to take trips between 24 and 30 hours long. Some and possibly all of these 14 for-hire vessels are expected to offer longer for-hire trips in order to meet the possession limit minimum trip duration requirement, and this would serve to reduce any negative effects from passengers switching to vessels that already offer for-hire trips longer than 30 hours. Thus, any adverse effects from this provision would be minimal. Allowing the second daily bag limit to be retained anytime during a trip meeting the minimum trip duration would be expected to benefit directly regulated for-hire vessels. According to E:\FR\FM\28JYP1.SGM 28JYP1 45366 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 145 / Tuesday, July 28, 2020 / Proposed Rules public testimony, allowing passengers to possess the second bag limit at the time of chumming or baiting fish at the initial fishing location could increase trip efficiency and potentially reduce discards. In addition, enabling anglers to spend relatively more time fishing and less time in transit between fishing locations is expected to enhance angler satisfaction and potentially increase gross revenues and profit from future for-hire trips longer than 30 hours. The information provided above supports a determination that this proposed rule would not adversely affect for-hire entities in the Gulf reef fish or CMP fisheries. Therefore, this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Because this proposed rule, if implemented, is not expected to have a significant economic impact on any small entities, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622 Charter vessels, Coastal migratory pelagics, Fisheries, Fishing, Gulf of Mexico, Headboats, Recreational bag and possession limits. Dated: July 14, 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 622 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 622.21, revise paragraph (a)(1)(iii) to read as follows: ■ khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS § 622.21 Individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for Gulf red snapper. (a) * * * (1) * * * (iii) During catastrophic conditions only, the IFQ program provides for use of paper-based components for basic required functions as a backup. The RA will determine when catastrophic conditions exist, the duration of the catastrophic conditions, and which participants or geographic areas are deemed affected by the catastrophic conditions. The RA will provide timely notice to affected participants via publication of notification in the Federal Register, NOAA weather radio, VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:17 Jul 27, 2020 Jkt 250001 fishery bulletins, and other appropriate means and will authorize the affected participants’ use of paper-based components for the duration of the catastrophic conditions. NMFS will provide each IFQ dealer the necessary paper forms and instructions for submission of the forms to the RA. The paper forms will also be available from the RA. The program functions available to participants or geographic areas deemed affected by catastrophic conditions will be limited under the paper-based system. There will be no mechanism for transfers of IFQ shares or allocation under the paper-based system in effect during catastrophic conditions. Assistance in complying with the requirements of the paper-based system will be available via IFQ Customer Service 1–866–425–7627 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. eastern time. * * * * * ■ 3. In § 622.22, revise paragraph (a)(1)(iii) to read as follows: ■ § 622.22 Individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for Gulf groupers and tilefishes. § 622.382 (a) * * * (1) * * * (iii) During catastrophic conditions only, the IFQ program provides for use of paper-based components for basic required functions as a backup. The RA will determine when catastrophic conditions exist, the duration of the catastrophic conditions, and which participants or geographic areas are deemed affected by the catastrophic conditions. The RA will provide timely notice to affected participants via publication of notification in the Federal Register, NOAA weather radio, fishery bulletins, and other appropriate means and will authorize the affected participants’ use of paper-based components for the duration of the catastrophic conditions. NMFS will provide each IFQ dealer the necessary paper forms and instructions for submission of the forms to the RA. The paper forms will also be available from the RA. The program functions available to participants or geographic areas deemed affected by catastrophic conditions will be limited under the paper-based system. There will be no mechanism for transfers of IFQ shares or allocation under the paper-based system in effect during catastrophic conditions. Assistance in complying with the requirements of the paper-based system will be available via IFQ Customer Service 1–866–425–7627 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. eastern time. * * * * * PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 4. In § 622.38, revise paragraph (c) to read as follows: § 622.38 Bag and possession limits. * * * * * (c) Possession limits for vessels with a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for reef fish. A person, or a vessel in the case of speckled hind or Warsaw grouper, on a trip that spans more than 30 hours may possess, at any time during the trip, no more than two daily bag limits, provided such trip is on a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat, the vessel has two licensed operators aboard, each passenger is issued and has in possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel that verifies the date and time of departure and length of the trip, and the entire trip occurs on days when the harvest and possession of the applicable reef fish species are allowed. ■ 5. In § 622.382, revise paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows: Bag and possession limits. * * * * * (a) * * * (2) Possession limits. (i) Possession limits for vessels with a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Atlantic coastal migratory pelagic fish. A person who is on a trip that spans more than 24 hours may possess no more than two daily bag limits, provided such trip is on a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat, the vessel has two licensed operators aboard, and each passenger is issued and has in possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel that verifies the length of the trip. (ii) Possession limits for vessels with a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf coastal migratory pelagic fish. A person who is on a trip that spans more than 30 hours may possess, at any time during the trip, no more than two daily bag limits of Gulf king and Spanish mackerel, provided such trip is on a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat, the vessel has two licensed operators aboard, each passenger is issued and has in possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel that verifies the date and time of departure and length of the trip, and the entire trip occurs on days when the harvest and possession of the applicable coastal migratory pelagic species are allowed. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2020–15522 Filed 7–27–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\28JYP1.SGM 28JYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 145 (Tuesday, July 28, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 45363-45366]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-15522]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 200714-0190]
RIN 0648-BJ60


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic 
Region and Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico; Possession Limits 
for Federally-Permitted Charter Vessels and Headboats

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to implement management measures as described in 
an abbreviated framework action to the Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) 
for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Reef Fish FMP) and 
the Coastal Migratory Pelagic (CMP) Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and 
Atlantic Region (CMP FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery 
Management Council (Gulf Council). This proposed rule would modify the 
on-board multi-day recreational possession limit regulations for 
Federal charter vessel and headboat (for-hire) trips in the Gulf of 
Mexico (Gulf). This proposed rule would also make an administrative 
change to the reporting requirement for Gulf's individual fishing quota 
(IFQ) program during catastrophic conditions. The purposes of this 
proposed rule are to promote efficiency in the utilization of the reef 
fish and CMP resources and reduce regulatory discards, and to update 
the IFQ reporting requirements.

DATES: Written comments must be received by August 27, 2020.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by 
``NOAA-NMFS-2020-0065,'' by either of the following methods:
     Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-
NMFS-2020-0065 click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required 
fields, and enter or attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Rich Malinowski, NMFS 
Southeast

[[Page 45364]]

Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
     Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any 
other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment 
period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part 
of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).
    Electronic copies of the framework action that contain an 
environmental assessment and a regulatory flexibility analysis (RFA) 
may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office website at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/framework-amendment-modify-multi-day-trip-possession-limits-federal-permitted-charter.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rich Malinowski, NMFS Southeast 
Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, or email: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Gulf Council manage reef fish 
resources in the Gulf exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under the Reef Fish 
FMP. The CMP fishery in the Gulf and Atlantic regions is managed 
jointly by the Gulf Council and South Atlantic Fishery Management 
Council (Councils).
    The Gulf Council prepared the Reef Fish FMP and the Councils 
jointly prepared the CMP FMP. NMFS implements the FMPs through 
regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) 
(16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq.).

Background

    In Gulf Federal waters, each person aboard a vessel with a Federal 
Gulf charter vessel/headboat permit for reef fish or CMP species (for-
hire permit) that is on a for-hire trip greater than 24 hours in 
duration is allowed to possess two daily recreational bag limits for 
species in the Reef Fish FMP and CMP FMP, except for speckled hind, 
warsaw grouper, and Gulf migratory group cobia (50 CFR 622.38(c) and 50 
CFR 622.382(a)(2)). Speckled hind and warsaw grouper have daily 
recreational bag limits of one fish per vessel per day; therefore, the 
possession limit is two vessel limits, or two fish per vessel on a trip 
that exceeds 24 hours (50 CFR 622.38(c)). Gulf migratory group cobia is 
a limited harvest species under 50 CFR 622.383(b), which specifies that 
no person may possess more than two cobia per person per day regardless 
of the duration of a trip, and this proposed rule would not revise that 
provision. A trip begins with departure from a dock, berth, beach, 
seawall, or ramp and terminates with return to a dock, berth, beach, 
seawall, or ramp (50 CFR 622.2).
    Currently, for the reef fish or CMP possession limit to apply, the 
for-hire vessel must have two licensed captains on board, and every 
passenger must have a receipt for the fishing trip which verifies the 
length of the trip (50 CFR 622.38(c) and 50 CFR 622.382(a)(2)). In 
addition, the possession limit does not apply until after the first 24 
hours of the trip (50 CFR 622.11). Therefore, during the first 24 hours 
of a trip, each person (or vessel in the case of speckled hind and 
warsaw grouper) may only possess one daily recreational bag limit. No 
more than two daily bag or vessel limits may be possessed per person 
(or vessel) for reef fish and CMP species.
    The Gulf Council heard public testimony at its June 2019 meeting 
that some for-hire vessel captains may have misinterpreted the current 
regulations as allowing the possession of two daily recreational bag 
limits at any time during a trip that lasts more than 24 hours. 
Additionally, there was testimony that allowing recreational for-hire 
fishers the ability to retain the possession limit at any time during a 
multi-day trip could increase the efficiency of the trip and reduce 
regulatory discards. For example, some vessel operators would prefer to 
target one species at a time in locations in which that species is 
abundant, fishing until the possession limit for the planned multi-day 
trip has been retained. After fishers harvest the possession limit, the 
vessel's operator would attempt to avoid that species for the remainder 
of the multi-day trip. However, because the current possession limit 
does not apply until after the first 24 hours of the trip, vessel 
operators cannot plan a trip in this manner, but must resume fishing 
for the target species after the first 24-hours if they want to allow 
fishers to obtain the second daily bag limit.

Management Measure Contained in This Proposed Rule

    This proposed rule would modify the requirements to retain the 
possession limit on-board vessels that have been issued valid Gulf reef 
fish or CMP for-hire permits. The proposed rule would increase the trip 
duration threshold to greater than 30 hours, but would allow fishers to 
retain a second daily bag limit at any time during a trip of at least 
that duration. The Council determined that since fishers would be 
allowed to possess the second daily bag limit at any time during the 
trip, the trip duration should clearly exceed 24 hours. All other 
requirements to retain the recreational possession limit would be 
unchanged through this proposed rule. The for-hire vessel must have two 
licensed operators aboard, and each passenger must be issued and have 
in their possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel that 
verifies the length of the trip. The proposed rule would require that 
the receipt specify the date and time of departure, and clarifies that 
the entire trip must occur on days when the harvest and possession of 
the applicable reef fish species are allowed.

Measure Contained in This Proposed Rule Not in the Framework Action

    In addition to the measure described in the framework action, this 
proposed rule would revise language related to reporting under the 
Gulf's individual fishing quota program (IFQ) during catastrophic 
conditions. The Gulf currently has two IFQ programs, one for commercial 
harvest of red snapper and one for commercial harvest of groupers and 
tilefishes. These programs require participants to record information 
electronically. However, both programs include a provision that allow 
for the use of some paper-based forms if catastrophic conditions occur 
(50 CFR 622.21(a)(3)(iii) and 622.22(a)(3)(iii)). This provision states 
that if the Regional Administrator (RA) determines that catastrophic 
conditions exist, NMFS will provide each IFQ dealer in the affected 
areas the necessary paper forms, sequentially coded, and instructions 
for submission of the forms to the RA.
    NMFS initially required the use of sequentially numbered paper 
forms as a method intended to prevent fraud. However, to date, these 
forms have not been used and NMFS has determined that maintaining them 
in this manner is not practical or cost effective. Therefore, NMFS 
proposes to remove the references to sequentially coded paper forms in 
both 50 CFR 622.21(a)(3)(iii) and 622.22(a)(3)(iii) that. If 
catastrophic conditions occur, NMFS will provide the affected IFQ 
dealers blank forms, which they can complete with the required IFQ 
transaction information.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
Assistant

[[Page 45365]]

Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with 
the framework amendment, the Reef Fish and CMP FMPs, other provisions 
of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to 
further consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866. This rule is expected to be an 
Executive Order 13771 deregulatory action.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) for purposes of the RFA that this proposed rule, 
if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this 
determination is as follows and differs from the basis provided in the 
RFA analysis included in the framework action. The analysis included in 
the framework action concluded that no for-hire fishing vessels would 
be directly regulated by this rule. However, NMFS subsequently 
determined that some for-hire fishing businesses would be directly 
regulated by this rule, and the factual basis for that determination is 
explained here.
    A description of the proposed rule and its purpose are contained at 
the beginning of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section and in the 
SUMMARY section of the preamble. The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the 
statutory basis for this rule. No duplicative, overlapping, or 
conflicting Federal rules have been identified. In addition, NMFS 
believes that the proposed requirement for a receipt showing departure 
date and time involves no new reporting, record keeping, or other 
compliance burden beyond current practices under the existing rule. 
Accordingly, the Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply to this 
proposed rule. NMFS invites comments on the burden associated with 
issuing receipts that verify trip length. The objectives of this 
proposed rule are to promote efficiency in the utilization of the reef 
fish and CMP resources and decrease regulatory discards.
    This proposed rule would increase the minimum trip duration 
required to retain the possession limit on Federal for-hire vessels in 
the Gulf from greater than 24 hours to greater than 30 hours, and would 
also allow the possession limit to be retained anytime during such a 
trip rather than only after the first 24 hours of the trip. This 
proposed rule applies to the recreational sector of the Gulf reef fish 
and CMP fisheries. Recreational fishers fishing for reef fish and CMP 
species would be directly affected by the proposed rule but are not 
considered entities under the RFA and thus are not directly regulated 
by this rule.
    This proposed rule is expected to directly regulate certain 
businesses (vessels) that possess a valid or renewable Federal charter 
vessel/headboat Gulf reef fish or Federal charter vessel/headboat Gulf 
CMP permit. As of August 29, 2019, there were 1,274 valid (non-expired) 
or renewable Federal charter vessel/headboat Gulf reef fish permits and 
1,284 valid or renewable Federal charter vessel/headboat Gulf CMP 
permits. Most businesses possess both permits.
    Only some vessels with these permits would be directly regulated by 
this proposed rule. Vessels with valid or renewable Federal charter 
vessel/headboat Gulf reef fish permits that harvest speckled hind or 
warsaw grouper and take trips longer than 24 hours would be directly 
regulated by this proposed rule because the bag limits for those 
species apply to the vessel rather than the fisher. Any vessel with a 
valid or renewable Federal charter vessel/headboat Gulf reef fish 
permit may harvest speckled hind or warsaw grouper. Further, captains 
and crew on for-hire vessels are allowed to retain several reef fish 
species harvested under the respective bag limits for those species, 
with some notable exceptions (e.g., greater amberjack, groupers, and 
red snapper). Similarly, vessels with valid or renewable Federal 
charter vessel/headboat Gulf CMP permits that take trips longer than 24 
hours would also be directly regulated by this proposed rule because 
captains and crew are allowed to retain king and Spanish mackerel 
harvested under the respective bag limits for those species.
    For federally permitted charter vessels that were active in the 
for-hire reef fish or CMP fishing industries, average annual gross 
revenue is $88,111 per vessel and economic profit is $26,053 per vessel 
in 2018 dollars. For federally permitted headboats that were active in 
the for-hire reef fish or CMP fishing industries, the average annual 
gross revenue is $267,067 per vessel and economic profit is $77,960 per 
vessel in 2018 dollars.
    The SBA has established size standards for all major industry 
sectors in the U.S. including for-hire fishing businesses (NAICS code 
487210). A business primarily involved in the for-hire fishing industry 
is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and 
operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its 
affiliates), and has annual receipts (revenue) not in excess of $8 
million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. In 2017, the 
maximum annual gross revenue for a single headboat in the Gulf was 
about $1.3 million. On average, annual gross revenue for headboats in 
the Gulf is about three times greater than annual gross revenue for 
charter vessels. Thus, it is assumed the maximum annual gross revenue 
for charter vessels is less than $1.3 million. Based on this 
information, all directly regulated businesses are determined, for the 
purpose of this analysis, to be small entities.
    Available data indicate that 32 headboats with valid or renewable 
Federal charter vessel/headboat Gulf reef fish or CMP permits harvested 
reef fish or CMP species on at least one trip that lasted longer than 
24 hours between 2014 and 2018. An exact estimate of how many charter 
vessels with valid or renewable Federal charter vessel/headboat Gulf 
reef fish or CMP permits harvested reef fish or CMP species cannot be 
determined based on available data, as current data collections do not 
record the U.S. Coast Guard documentation number or state boat 
registration number of the vessel. However, available data indicate 
that at least 47 charter vessels harvested some type of finfish species 
on at least one trip that lasted longer than 24 hours between 2014 and 
2018. Based on the available data, it is assumed that this proposed 
rule would directly regulate at least 79 businesses in the Gulf for-
hire reef fish and CMP industries.
    This proposed rule would increase the minimum trip duration 
required to retain the possession limit on Federal for-hire trips in 
the Gulf from greater than 24 hours to greater than 30 hours, but would 
also allow the possession limit to be retained anytime during a trip 
meeting the minimum trip duration. Increasing the minimum trip duration 
required to retain the possession limit would affect less than 0.1 
percent of the total for-hire trips in the Gulf, and at least 14 for-
hire vessels that are currently known to take trips between 24 and 30 
hours long. Some and possibly all of these 14 for-hire vessels are 
expected to offer longer for-hire trips in order to meet the possession 
limit minimum trip duration requirement, and this would serve to reduce 
any negative effects from passengers switching to vessels that already 
offer for-hire trips longer than 30 hours. Thus, any adverse effects 
from this provision would be minimal.
    Allowing the second daily bag limit to be retained anytime during a 
trip meeting the minimum trip duration would be expected to benefit 
directly regulated for-hire vessels. According to

[[Page 45366]]

public testimony, allowing passengers to possess the second bag limit 
at the time of chumming or baiting fish at the initial fishing location 
could increase trip efficiency and potentially reduce discards. In 
addition, enabling anglers to spend relatively more time fishing and 
less time in transit between fishing locations is expected to enhance 
angler satisfaction and potentially increase gross revenues and profit 
from future for-hire trips longer than 30 hours.
    The information provided above supports a determination that this 
proposed rule would not adversely affect for-hire entities in the Gulf 
reef fish or CMP fisheries. Therefore, this proposed rule would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. Because this proposed rule, if implemented, is not expected 
to have a significant economic impact on any small entities, an initial 
regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been 
prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Charter vessels, Coastal migratory pelagics, Fisheries, Fishing, 
Gulf of Mexico, Headboats, Recreational bag and possession limits.

    Dated: July 14, 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 622 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 622--FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH 
ATLANTIC

0
1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows:

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

0
2. In Sec.  622.21, revise paragraph (a)(1)(iii) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.21   Individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for Gulf red 
snapper.

    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iii) During catastrophic conditions only, the IFQ program provides 
for use of paper-based components for basic required functions as a 
backup. The RA will determine when catastrophic conditions exist, the 
duration of the catastrophic conditions, and which participants or 
geographic areas are deemed affected by the catastrophic conditions. 
The RA will provide timely notice to affected participants via 
publication of notification in the Federal Register, NOAA weather 
radio, fishery bulletins, and other appropriate means and will 
authorize the affected participants' use of paper-based components for 
the duration of the catastrophic conditions. NMFS will provide each IFQ 
dealer the necessary paper forms and instructions for submission of the 
forms to the RA. The paper forms will also be available from the RA. 
The program functions available to participants or geographic areas 
deemed affected by catastrophic conditions will be limited under the 
paper-based system. There will be no mechanism for transfers of IFQ 
shares or allocation under the paper-based system in effect during 
catastrophic conditions. Assistance in complying with the requirements 
of the paper-based system will be available via IFQ Customer Service 1-
866-425-7627 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. eastern 
time.
* * * * *
0
3. In Sec.  622.22, revise paragraph (a)(1)(iii) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.22   Individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for Gulf groupers 
and tilefishes.

    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iii) During catastrophic conditions only, the IFQ program provides 
for use of paper-based components for basic required functions as a 
backup. The RA will determine when catastrophic conditions exist, the 
duration of the catastrophic conditions, and which participants or 
geographic areas are deemed affected by the catastrophic conditions. 
The RA will provide timely notice to affected participants via 
publication of notification in the Federal Register, NOAA weather 
radio, fishery bulletins, and other appropriate means and will 
authorize the affected participants' use of paper-based components for 
the duration of the catastrophic conditions. NMFS will provide each IFQ 
dealer the necessary paper forms and instructions for submission of the 
forms to the RA. The paper forms will also be available from the RA. 
The program functions available to participants or geographic areas 
deemed affected by catastrophic conditions will be limited under the 
paper-based system. There will be no mechanism for transfers of IFQ 
shares or allocation under the paper-based system in effect during 
catastrophic conditions. Assistance in complying with the requirements 
of the paper-based system will be available via IFQ Customer Service 1-
866-425-7627 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. eastern 
time.
* * * * *
0
4. In Sec.  622.38, revise paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.38   Bag and possession limits.

* * * * *
    (c) Possession limits for vessels with a valid Federal charter 
vessel/headboat permit for reef fish. A person, or a vessel in the case 
of speckled hind or Warsaw grouper, on a trip that spans more than 30 
hours may possess, at any time during the trip, no more than two daily 
bag limits, provided such trip is on a vessel that is operating as a 
charter vessel or headboat, the vessel has two licensed operators 
aboard, each passenger is issued and has in possession a receipt issued 
on behalf of the vessel that verifies the date and time of departure 
and length of the trip, and the entire trip occurs on days when the 
harvest and possession of the applicable reef fish species are allowed.
0
5. In Sec.  622.382, revise paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.382   Bag and possession limits.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (2) Possession limits. (i) Possession limits for vessels with a 
valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Atlantic coastal 
migratory pelagic fish. A person who is on a trip that spans more than 
24 hours may possess no more than two daily bag limits, provided such 
trip is on a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat, 
the vessel has two licensed operators aboard, and each passenger is 
issued and has in possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel 
that verifies the length of the trip.
    (ii) Possession limits for vessels with a valid Federal charter 
vessel/headboat permit for Gulf coastal migratory pelagic fish. A 
person who is on a trip that spans more than 30 hours may possess, at 
any time during the trip, no more than two daily bag limits of Gulf 
king and Spanish mackerel, provided such trip is on a vessel that is 
operating as a charter vessel or headboat, the vessel has two licensed 
operators aboard, each passenger is issued and has in possession a 
receipt issued on behalf of the vessel that verifies the date and time 
of departure and length of the trip, and the entire trip occurs on days 
when the harvest and possession of the applicable coastal migratory 
pelagic species are allowed.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2020-15522 Filed 7-27-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P