Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Shrimp Fishery Off the South Atlantic States; Amendment 11, 49355-49358 [2020-16434]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 157 / Thursday, August 13, 2020 / Proposed Rules provided in 18 U.S.C. 2250(c) and § 72.8(a)(2). § 72.8 Liability for violations. (a) Criminal liability—(1) Offense. (i) A sex offender who knowingly fails to register or update a registration as required by SORNA may be liable to criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C. 2250(a). (ii) A sex offender who knowingly fails to provide information required by SORNA relating to intended travel outside the United States may be liable to criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C. 2250(b). (iii) As a condition of liability under 18 U.S.C. 2250(a)–(b) for failing to comply with a requirement of SORNA, a sex offender must have been aware of the requirement he is charged with violating, but need not have been aware that the requirement is imposed by SORNA. (2) Defense. A sex offender may have an affirmative defense to liability, as provided in 18 U.S.C. 2250(c), if uncontrollable circumstances prevented the sex offender from complying with SORNA, where the sex offender did not contribute to the creation of those circumstances in reckless disregard of the requirement to comply and complied as soon as the circumstances preventing compliance ceased to exist. Example 1. A sex offender changes residence from one jurisdiction to another, bringing into play SORNA’s requirement to register in each jurisdiction where the sex offender resides and SORNA’s requirement to appear in person and report changes of residence within three business days. See 34 U.S.C. 20913(a), (c). The sex offender attempts to comply with these requirements by contacting the local sheriff’s office, which is responsible for sex offender registration in the destination jurisdiction. The sheriff’s office advises that it cannot schedule an appointment for him to register within three business days but that he should come by in a week. The sex offender would have a defense to liability if he appeared at the sheriff’s office at the appointed time and registered as required. The sex offender’s temporary inability to register and inability to report the change of residence within three business days in the new residence jurisdiction was due to a circumstance beyond his control—the sheriff office’s refusal to meet with him until a week had passed—and he complied with the requirement to register as soon as the circumstance preventing compliance ceased to exist. Example 2. A sex offender cannot register in a state in which he resides VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:27 Aug 12, 2020 Jkt 250001 because its registration authorities will not register offenders on the basis of the offense for which the sex offender was convicted. The sex offender would have a defense to liability because the state’s unwillingness to register sex offenders like him is a circumstance beyond his control. However, if the sex offender failed to register after becoming aware of a change in state policy or practice allowing his registration, the 18 U.S.C. 2250(c) defense would no longer apply, because in such a case the circumstance preventing compliance with the registration requirement would no longer exist. Example 3. A sex offender needs to travel to a foreign country on short notice—less than 21 days—because of an unforeseeable family or work emergency. The sex offender would have a defense to liability for failing to report the intended travel 21 days in advance, as required by § 72.7(f), because it is impossible to report an intention to travel outside the United States before the intention exists. However, if the sex offender failed to inform the registration jurisdiction (albeit on short notice) once he intended to travel, 18 U.S.C. 2250(c) would not excuse that failure, because the preventing circumstance—absence of an intent to travel abroad—would no longer exist. (b) Supervision condition. For a sex offender convicted of a Federal offense, compliance with SORNA is a mandatory condition of probation, supervised release, and parole. The release of such an offender who does not comply with SORNA may be revoked. Dated: July 15, 2020. William P. Barr, Attorney General. [FR Doc. 2020–15804 Filed 8–12–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410–18–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 200723–0200] RIN 0648–BJ76 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Shrimp Fishery Off the South Atlantic States; Amendment 11 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 49355 Proposed rule; request for comments. ACTION: NMFS proposes regulations to implement Amendment 11 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Shrimp Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Shrimp FMP), as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). This proposed rule would modify the transit provisions for shrimp trawl vessels with penaeid shrimp, i.e., brown, pink, and white shrimp, on board in Federal waters of the South Atlantic that have been closed to shrimp trawling to protect white shrimp as a result of cold weather events. The purpose of this proposed rule is to update the regulations to more closely align with current fishing practices, reduce the socio-economic impacts for fishermen who transit these closed areas, and improve safety at sea while maintaining protection for overwintering white shrimp. SUMMARY: Written comments must be received on or before September 14, 2020. DATES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2020–0066,’’ by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20200066, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Frank Helies, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 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), 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 the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of Amendment 11, which includes a fishery impact statement, a Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis, and a regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office website at ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\13AUP1.SGM 13AUP1 49356 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 157 / Thursday, August 13, 2020 / Proposed Rules https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/ amendment-11-shrimp-trawl-transitprovisions/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Frank Helies, telephone: 727–824–5305, or email: Frank.Helies@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The penaeid shrimp fishery of the South Atlantic is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Background Amendment 9 to the Shrimp FMP revised the criteria and procedures by which a South Atlantic state may request that NMFS implement a concurrent closure to the harvest of penaeid shrimp (brown, pink, and white shrimp) in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) when state waters close as a result of severe winter weather (78 FR 35571; June 13, 2013). The Shrimp FMP provides that if a state has determined there is at least an 80-percent reduction in the population of overwintering white shrimp, or that state water temperatures were 9 °C (48 °F) or less for at least 7 consecutive days, the state can request NMFS to close the EEZ adjacent to that state’s closed waters to the harvest of penaeid shrimp to protect the white shrimp spawning stock that has been severely depleted by cold weather. The Shrimp FMP procedures allow a state, after determining that the concurrent closure criteria have been met, to submit a letter directly to the NMFS Regional Administrator (RA) with the request and supporting data for a concurrent closure of penaeid shrimp harvest in the EEZ adjacent to the closed state waters. After a review of the request and supporting information, if the RA determines the recommended closure is in accordance with the procedures and criteria specified in the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS would implement the closure through a notification in the Federal Register. The closure will usually remain effective until the ending date of the state’s closure, but may be ended earlier based upon a request from the state. Currently, shrimp trawl vessels transiting these EEZ cold weather closed areas with penaeid shrimp on board are required to stow a trawl net with a mesh size of less than 4 inches (10.2 cm) below deck. Since the most recent cold weather EEZ closures off South Carolina (83 FR 2931; January 22, 2018) and Georgia (83 FR 3404; January 25, 2018), VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:27 Aug 12, 2020 Jkt 250001 fishermen requested that the Council update these transit provisions. Fishermen requested this change to increase their ability to transit the closed areas, as more recent vessel design changes have limited access to below deck storage. Also, requirements for a larger turtle excluder device (TED) in the trawl net to protect leatherback sea turtles have increased the size of a net that would need to be folded and stored below deck. Fishermen also stated that having to disassemble trawl gear for below deck stowage in rough sea conditions is a safety-at-sea concern. Additionally, some fishermen stated that they avoid the closed areas entirely as they were not able to meet the transit requirements. Amendment 11 and the proposed rule are expected to update the regulations to better match the current design of the vessels in the fishery, reduce the socioeconomic impact for fishermen who have difficulty transiting the cold weather closed areas under the current regulations, and improve safety at sea for fishermen through reduced travel time around the closed areas and by not having to disassemble fishing gear in rough weather for stowage below deck, while maintaining protection for overwintering white shrimp and enforceability of the regulations for the cold weather closed areas. Management Measures Contained in This Proposed Rule This proposed rule would revise the transit provisions for shrimp trawl vessels with penaeid shrimp on board transiting through cold weather closed areas in Federal waters of the South Atlantic. The proposed rule would allow a vessel to transit South Atlantic cold weather closed areas while possessing penaeid shrimp provided the vessel is in transit and fishing gear is appropriately stowed. Transit would be defined as non-stop progression through the area with fishing gear appropriately stowed. Fishing gear appropriately stowed would be defined as trawl doors are in the rack (cradle) on deck, nets would be in the rigging and tied down, and the try net would be on the deck. Doors in the rack means the trawl doors are stowed in their storage racks out of the water on the vessel’s deck. Nets in the rigging means the trawl nets are out of the water and are tied to the trawl vessel’s rigging. The proposed transit provision was developed and recommended to the Council by the Council’s Law Enforcement, Shrimp, and Deep-water Shrimp Advisory Panels. Doors in the rack (cradle), nets in the rigging and tied down, and try net on the deck would PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 enable law enforcement on the water or in the air to see from a distance if fishermen are complying with the transit provisions without having to actually board the vessel, thereby saving time and reducing the safety risks associated with a vessel boarding. The proposed rule would reduce the time needed to stow gear because fishermen would no longer need to disassemble the trawl gear (remove nets from the rigging and the doors) prior to stowing nets with mesh sizes less than 4 inches (10.2 cm) below deck. The proposed rule is expected to reduce adverse socio-economic and safety at sea impacts associated with the current transit provisions through reduced travel time around the closed areas and reduced time on the water for fishermen by not requiring gear stowage below deck. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with Amendment 11, the Shrimp FMP, other provisions of the MagnusonStevens 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 Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the legal basis for this proposed rule. No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been identified. In addition, no new reporting and recordkeeping requirements are introduced by this proposed rule. Accordingly, the Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply to this proposed rule. A description of this proposed rule, why it is being considered, and the purposes of this proposed rule are contained in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. The objectives of this proposed rule are to ensure transit regulations are consistent with current fishing vessel designs, reduce the adverse social and economic effects on commercial shrimp fishing businesses that have not been able to transit closed areas due to an inability to comply with the current transit regulations, improve safety at sea and the enforceability of transit regulations, and maintain protection for overwintering white shrimp. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce has certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this rule, if E:\FR\FM\13AUP1.SGM 13AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 157 / Thursday, August 13, 2020 / Proposed Rules adopted, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. A description of the factual basis for this determination follows. All monetary estimates in the following analysis are in 2018 dollars. This proposed rule, if implemented, would allow vessels possessing penaeid shrimp, i.e., brown, white, or pink shrimp, to transit through cold weather closed areas in affected portions of the South Atlantic EEZ provided that the vessel remains in transit, gear is stowed with trawl doors in the rack, and nets in the rigging are tied down with the try net on the deck. Thus, this proposed rule is expected to directly regulate federally permitted vessels in the commercial South Atlantic shrimp fishing industry that harvest penaeid shrimp and transit through cold weather closed areas in affected portions of the South Atlantic EEZ. Only permitted vessels that harvest penaeid shrimp would be directly regulated by this proposed rule. From 2014 through 2018, the average number of vessels with valid South Atlantic penaeid or rock shrimp permits was 594. From 2014 through 2018, the average number of vessels with valid permits that actively fished (i.e., had landings) in the South Atlantic penaeid shrimp fishery was 262. Because it is not currently feasible to accurately determine affiliations between businesses that possess South Atlantic shrimp permits, for purposes of this analysis it is assumed each of these vessels is independently owned by a single business; however, this assumption likely leads to an overestimate of the actual number of businesses directly regulated by this proposed rule. Thus, this proposed rule is estimated to directly regulate 262 businesses in the commercial South Atlantic shrimp fishing industry, or about 44 percent of the average number of businesses that held valid South Atlantic penaeid or rock shrimp permits from 2014 through 2018. For vessels with South Atlantic penaeid or rock shrimp permits, annual gross revenue was about $404,810 on average from 2014 through 2018, of which approximately $169,240 (about 42 percent) came from South Atlantic shrimp landings on average. Almost all trips that harvest rock shrimp also harvest penaeid shrimp. Many vessels are also relatively dependent on revenue from other Atlantic fisheries (e.g., scallops and flounder) as well revenue from the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery. Based on average economic return estimates from 2011 through 2014, which are the most recent available, net VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:27 Aug 12, 2020 Jkt 250001 cash flow for these vessels is estimated to be about $61,770 per year on average, and net revenue from commercial fishing operations is estimated to be approximately $35,030 per year on average from 2014 to 2018. The maximum annual gross revenue earned by a single vessel (business) was approximately $2.6 million from 2014 to 2018. On December 29, 2015, NMFS issued a final rule establishing a small business size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts (revenue) for all businesses primarily engaged in the commercial fishing industry (NAICS code 11411) for RFA compliance purposes only (50 CFR 200.1 and 200.2). In addition to this gross revenue standard, a business primarily involved in commercial fishing is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, and is not dominant in its field of operations (including its affiliates). Based on the information above, all 262 businesses directly regulated by this proposed rule are determined to be small entities for the purpose of this analysis. Therefore, it is determined that this proposed rule will affect a substantial number of small entities. Under the current regulations, shrimp trawl vessels transiting cold weather closed areas in the EEZ with penaeid shrimp on board are required to stow trawl nets with a mesh size of less than 4 inches (10.2 cm) below deck. Because many vessels are now required to use larger TEDS, they also use larger nets compared to when the current transit regulations were implemented. Shrimp fishermen also typically stow their spare nets on the wheelhouse roof because there is little room below deck to stow their gear. In addition, cold weather closures are implemented more quickly now than when the transit regulations were initially established. While the reduced time to implement closures has enhanced protection of over-wintering white shrimp, shrimp vessel captains with homeports in states north of Florida can be caught unaware if they are operating off Florida when a closure is implemented. Furthermore, shoals extending into the EEZ off Georgia and South Carolina cause transiting through state waters to be dangerous and increase the risk to the vessel and crew. Thus, traveling back to a vessel’s homeport can be risky for shrimp vessels that cannot comply with the current stowage requirements. Shrimp vessels that have been unable to store fishing gear according to the current transit regulations have been forced to land their shrimp in Florida PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 49357 rather than at their homeport. Based on landings data during the most recent cold weather closures (i.e., January through June of 2018), 33 vessels with homeports in states north of Florida offloaded shrimp in Florida during that time. This proposed rule would make it easier for these vessels to comply with the gear stowage requirements and, as a result, more easily return to their homeport with penaeid shrimp on board. Although the economic effects of the proposed rule on commercial shrimp vessels cannot be quantified given available data and models, they are expected to be positive. Specifically, if vessels are able to land shrimp at their homeport with their homeport dealer, their profits would potentially increase as a result of expected cost reductions. Shrimp vessels would not incur additional offloading costs if they could offload their shrimp at their homeport dealer, and they would no longer have to absorb the costs of shipping shrimp back to their homeport dealer. Finally, shrimp vessels’ fuel costs are expected to decrease as they would no longer need to take longer routes back to their homeports to avoid transiting through the cold water closed areas in the EEZ. Based on the information above, although a substantial number of small entities would be affected by this proposed rule, this rule would not have a significant economic impact on those entities. Because this proposed rule, if implemented, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622 Commercial, Fisheries, Fishing, Shrimp, South Atlantic. Dated: July 24, 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 § 622.206, revise paragraph (a)(2)(iii) to read as follows: ■ § 622.206 Area and seasonal closures. (a) * * * E:\FR\FM\13AUP1.SGM 13AUP1 49358 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 157 / Thursday, August 13, 2020 / Proposed Rules (2) * * * (iii) Brown shrimp, pink shrimp, or white shrimp may be possessed on board a fishing vessel in a closed area, provided the vessel is in transit and that the shrimp fishing gear with trawl nets having a mesh size less than 4 inches VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:27 Aug 12, 2020 Jkt 250001 (10.2 cm), as measured between the centers of opposite knots when pulled taut, is appropriately stowed. For the purposes of this paragraph (a), transit means a non-stop progression through a closed area and appropriately stowed means trawl doors out of the water and PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 in the rack/cradle on deck, the nets must be out of the water and in the rigging and tied down, and any try net must be on deck. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2020–16434 Filed 8–12–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\13AUP1.SGM 13AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 157 (Thursday, August 13, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 49355-49358]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-16434]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 200723-0200]
RIN 0648-BJ76


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Shrimp Fishery Off the South Atlantic States; Amendment 11

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations to implement Amendment 11 to the 
Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Shrimp Fishery of the South 
Atlantic Region (Shrimp FMP), as prepared and submitted by the South 
Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). This proposed rule would 
modify the transit provisions for shrimp trawl vessels with penaeid 
shrimp, i.e., brown, pink, and white shrimp, on board in Federal waters 
of the South Atlantic that have been closed to shrimp trawling to 
protect white shrimp as a result of cold weather events. The purpose of 
this proposed rule is to update the regulations to more closely align 
with current fishing practices, reduce the socio-economic impacts for 
fishermen who transit these closed areas, and improve safety at sea 
while maintaining protection for overwintering white shrimp.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before September 14, 
2020.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by 
``NOAA-NMFS-2020-0066,'' by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2020-0066, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Frank Helies, Southeast 
Regional Office, NMFS, 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), 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 the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).
    Electronic copies of Amendment 11, which includes a fishery impact 
statement, a Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis, and a 
regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional 
Office website at

[[Page 49356]]

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/amendment-11-shrimp-trawl-transit-provisions/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Frank Helies, telephone: 727-824-5305, 
or email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The penaeid shrimp fishery of the South 
Atlantic is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council 
and implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the 
authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management 
Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

Background

    Amendment 9 to the Shrimp FMP revised the criteria and procedures 
by which a South Atlantic state may request that NMFS implement a 
concurrent closure to the harvest of penaeid shrimp (brown, pink, and 
white shrimp) in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) when state waters 
close as a result of severe winter weather (78 FR 35571; June 13, 
2013). The Shrimp FMP provides that if a state has determined there is 
at least an 80-percent reduction in the population of overwintering 
white shrimp, or that state water temperatures were 9 [deg]C (48 
[deg]F) or less for at least 7 consecutive days, the state can request 
NMFS to close the EEZ adjacent to that state's closed waters to the 
harvest of penaeid shrimp to protect the white shrimp spawning stock 
that has been severely depleted by cold weather.
    The Shrimp FMP procedures allow a state, after determining that the 
concurrent closure criteria have been met, to submit a letter directly 
to the NMFS Regional Administrator (RA) with the request and supporting 
data for a concurrent closure of penaeid shrimp harvest in the EEZ 
adjacent to the closed state waters. After a review of the request and 
supporting information, if the RA determines the recommended closure is 
in accordance with the procedures and criteria specified in the FMP and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS would implement the closure through a 
notification in the Federal Register. The closure will usually remain 
effective until the ending date of the state's closure, but may be 
ended earlier based upon a request from the state.
    Currently, shrimp trawl vessels transiting these EEZ cold weather 
closed areas with penaeid shrimp on board are required to stow a trawl 
net with a mesh size of less than 4 inches (10.2 cm) below deck. Since 
the most recent cold weather EEZ closures off South Carolina (83 FR 
2931; January 22, 2018) and Georgia (83 FR 3404; January 25, 2018), 
fishermen requested that the Council update these transit provisions. 
Fishermen requested this change to increase their ability to transit 
the closed areas, as more recent vessel design changes have limited 
access to below deck storage. Also, requirements for a larger turtle 
excluder device (TED) in the trawl net to protect leatherback sea 
turtles have increased the size of a net that would need to be folded 
and stored below deck. Fishermen also stated that having to disassemble 
trawl gear for below deck stowage in rough sea conditions is a safety-
at-sea concern. Additionally, some fishermen stated that they avoid the 
closed areas entirely as they were not able to meet the transit 
requirements.
    Amendment 11 and the proposed rule are expected to update the 
regulations to better match the current design of the vessels in the 
fishery, reduce the socio-economic impact for fishermen who have 
difficulty transiting the cold weather closed areas under the current 
regulations, and improve safety at sea for fishermen through reduced 
travel time around the closed areas and by not having to disassemble 
fishing gear in rough weather for stowage below deck, while maintaining 
protection for overwintering white shrimp and enforceability of the 
regulations for the cold weather closed areas.

Management Measures Contained in This Proposed Rule

    This proposed rule would revise the transit provisions for shrimp 
trawl vessels with penaeid shrimp on board transiting through cold 
weather closed areas in Federal waters of the South Atlantic. The 
proposed rule would allow a vessel to transit South Atlantic cold 
weather closed areas while possessing penaeid shrimp provided the 
vessel is in transit and fishing gear is appropriately stowed. Transit 
would be defined as non-stop progression through the area with fishing 
gear appropriately stowed. Fishing gear appropriately stowed would be 
defined as trawl doors are in the rack (cradle) on deck, nets would be 
in the rigging and tied down, and the try net would be on the deck. 
Doors in the rack means the trawl doors are stowed in their storage 
racks out of the water on the vessel's deck. Nets in the rigging means 
the trawl nets are out of the water and are tied to the trawl vessel's 
rigging.
    The proposed transit provision was developed and recommended to the 
Council by the Council's Law Enforcement, Shrimp, and Deep-water Shrimp 
Advisory Panels. Doors in the rack (cradle), nets in the rigging and 
tied down, and try net on the deck would enable law enforcement on the 
water or in the air to see from a distance if fishermen are complying 
with the transit provisions without having to actually board the 
vessel, thereby saving time and reducing the safety risks associated 
with a vessel boarding.
    The proposed rule would reduce the time needed to stow gear because 
fishermen would no longer need to disassemble the trawl gear (remove 
nets from the rigging and the doors) prior to stowing nets with mesh 
sizes less than 4 inches (10.2 cm) below deck. The proposed rule is 
expected to reduce adverse socio-economic and safety at sea impacts 
associated with the current transit provisions through reduced travel 
time around the closed areas and reduced time on the water for 
fishermen by not requiring gear stowage below deck.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with Amendment 11, the Shrimp FMP, 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 Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the legal basis for this proposed 
rule. No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have 
been identified. In addition, no new reporting and record-keeping 
requirements are introduced by this proposed rule. Accordingly, the 
Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply to this proposed rule. A 
description of this proposed rule, why it is being considered, and the 
purposes of this proposed rule are contained in the preamble and in the 
SUMMARY section of the preamble. The objectives of this proposed rule 
are to ensure transit regulations are consistent with current fishing 
vessel designs, reduce the adverse social and economic effects on 
commercial shrimp fishing businesses that have not been able to transit 
closed areas due to an inability to comply with the current transit 
regulations, improve safety at sea and the enforceability of transit 
regulations, and maintain protection for over-wintering white shrimp.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce has 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this rule, if

[[Page 49357]]

adopted, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. A description of the factual basis for this 
determination follows. All monetary estimates in the following analysis 
are in 2018 dollars. This proposed rule, if implemented, would allow 
vessels possessing penaeid shrimp, i.e., brown, white, or pink shrimp, 
to transit through cold weather closed areas in affected portions of 
the South Atlantic EEZ provided that the vessel remains in transit, 
gear is stowed with trawl doors in the rack, and nets in the rigging 
are tied down with the try net on the deck. Thus, this proposed rule is 
expected to directly regulate federally permitted vessels in the 
commercial South Atlantic shrimp fishing industry that harvest penaeid 
shrimp and transit through cold weather closed areas in affected 
portions of the South Atlantic EEZ.
    Only permitted vessels that harvest penaeid shrimp would be 
directly regulated by this proposed rule. From 2014 through 2018, the 
average number of vessels with valid South Atlantic penaeid or rock 
shrimp permits was 594. From 2014 through 2018, the average number of 
vessels with valid permits that actively fished (i.e., had landings) in 
the South Atlantic penaeid shrimp fishery was 262. Because it is not 
currently feasible to accurately determine affiliations between 
businesses that possess South Atlantic shrimp permits, for purposes of 
this analysis it is assumed each of these vessels is independently 
owned by a single business; however, this assumption likely leads to an 
overestimate of the actual number of businesses directly regulated by 
this proposed rule. Thus, this proposed rule is estimated to directly 
regulate 262 businesses in the commercial South Atlantic shrimp fishing 
industry, or about 44 percent of the average number of businesses that 
held valid South Atlantic penaeid or rock shrimp permits from 2014 
through 2018.
    For vessels with South Atlantic penaeid or rock shrimp permits, 
annual gross revenue was about $404,810 on average from 2014 through 
2018, of which approximately $169,240 (about 42 percent) came from 
South Atlantic shrimp landings on average. Almost all trips that 
harvest rock shrimp also harvest penaeid shrimp. Many vessels are also 
relatively dependent on revenue from other Atlantic fisheries (e.g., 
scallops and flounder) as well revenue from the Gulf of Mexico shrimp 
fishery. Based on average economic return estimates from 2011 through 
2014, which are the most recent available, net cash flow for these 
vessels is estimated to be about $61,770 per year on average, and net 
revenue from commercial fishing operations is estimated to be 
approximately $35,030 per year on average from 2014 to 2018. The 
maximum annual gross revenue earned by a single vessel (business) was 
approximately $2.6 million from 2014 to 2018.
    On December 29, 2015, NMFS issued a final rule establishing a small 
business size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts 
(revenue) for all businesses primarily engaged in the commercial 
fishing industry (NAICS code 11411) for RFA compliance purposes only 
(50 CFR 200.1 and 200.2). In addition to this gross revenue standard, a 
business primarily involved in commercial fishing is classified as a 
small business if it is independently owned and operated, and is not 
dominant in its field of operations (including its affiliates). Based 
on the information above, all 262 businesses directly regulated by this 
proposed rule are determined to be small entities for the purpose of 
this analysis. Therefore, it is determined that this proposed rule will 
affect a substantial number of small entities.
    Under the current regulations, shrimp trawl vessels transiting cold 
weather closed areas in the EEZ with penaeid shrimp on board are 
required to stow trawl nets with a mesh size of less than 4 inches 
(10.2 cm) below deck. Because many vessels are now required to use 
larger TEDS, they also use larger nets compared to when the current 
transit regulations were implemented. Shrimp fishermen also typically 
stow their spare nets on the wheelhouse roof because there is little 
room below deck to stow their gear.
    In addition, cold weather closures are implemented more quickly now 
than when the transit regulations were initially established. While the 
reduced time to implement closures has enhanced protection of over-
wintering white shrimp, shrimp vessel captains with homeports in states 
north of Florida can be caught unaware if they are operating off 
Florida when a closure is implemented. Furthermore, shoals extending 
into the EEZ off Georgia and South Carolina cause transiting through 
state waters to be dangerous and increase the risk to the vessel and 
crew. Thus, traveling back to a vessel's homeport can be risky for 
shrimp vessels that cannot comply with the current stowage 
requirements.
    Shrimp vessels that have been unable to store fishing gear 
according to the current transit regulations have been forced to land 
their shrimp in Florida rather than at their homeport. Based on 
landings data during the most recent cold weather closures (i.e., 
January through June of 2018), 33 vessels with homeports in states 
north of Florida offloaded shrimp in Florida during that time. This 
proposed rule would make it easier for these vessels to comply with the 
gear stowage requirements and, as a result, more easily return to their 
homeport with penaeid shrimp on board.
    Although the economic effects of the proposed rule on commercial 
shrimp vessels cannot be quantified given available data and models, 
they are expected to be positive. Specifically, if vessels are able to 
land shrimp at their homeport with their homeport dealer, their profits 
would potentially increase as a result of expected cost reductions. 
Shrimp vessels would not incur additional offloading costs if they 
could offload their shrimp at their homeport dealer, and they would no 
longer have to absorb the costs of shipping shrimp back to their 
homeport dealer. Finally, shrimp vessels' fuel costs are expected to 
decrease as they would no longer need to take longer routes back to 
their homeports to avoid transiting through the cold water closed areas 
in the EEZ.
    Based on the information above, although a substantial number of 
small entities would be affected by this proposed rule, this rule would 
not have a significant economic impact on those entities. Because this 
proposed rule, if implemented, would not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities, an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Commercial, Fisheries, Fishing, Shrimp, South Atlantic.

    Dated: July 24, 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.  622.206, revise paragraph (a)(2)(iii) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.206   Area and seasonal closures.

    (a) * * *

[[Page 49358]]

    (2) * * *
    (iii) Brown shrimp, pink shrimp, or white shrimp may be possessed 
on board a fishing vessel in a closed area, provided the vessel is in 
transit and that the shrimp fishing gear with trawl nets having a mesh 
size less than 4 inches (10.2 cm), as measured between the centers of 
opposite knots when pulled taut, is appropriately stowed. For the 
purposes of this paragraph (a), transit means a non-stop progression 
through a closed area and appropriately stowed means trawl doors out of 
the water and in the rack/cradle on deck, the nets must be out of the 
water and in the rigging and tied down, and any try net must be on 
deck.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2020-16434 Filed 8-12-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P