Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 81837-81838 [2020-27794]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 243 / Thursday, December 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations Species 1 Common name Scientific name * Citation(s) for listing determination(s) Description of listed entity * * * * * Critical habitat 81837 ESA rules * 1 Species includes taxonomic species, subspecies, distinct population segments (DPSs) (for a policy statement, see 61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996), and evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) (for a policy statement, see 56 FR 58612, November 20, 1991). * * * * * [FR Doc. 2020–26287 Filed 12–16–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 180117042–8884–02; RTID 0648–XA672] Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. AGENCY: NMFS closes the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) General category fishery for the December subquota period, and thus for the remainder of 2020. The intent of this closure is to prevent further overharvest of the adjusted December subquota, and the overall adjusted General category quota. DATES: Effective 11:30 p.m., local time, December 14, 2020, through December 31, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin, 978–281–9260, Nicholas Velseboer 978–675–2168, or Larry Redd, 301–427–8503. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006) and amendments, and in SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Dec 16, 2020 Jkt 253001 accordance with implementing regulations. Under § 635.28(a)(1), NMFS files a closure notice with the Office of the Federal Register for publication when a BFT quota (or subquota) is reached or is projected to be reached. Retaining, possessing, or landing BFT under that quota category is prohibited on and after the effective date and time of a closure notice for that category, for the remainder of the fishing year, until the opening of the subsequent quota period or until such date as specified. The baseline General category quota is 555.7 mt. See § 635.27(a). Each of the General category time periods (January, June through August, September, October through November, and December) is allocated a ‘‘subquota’’ or portion of the annual General category quota. The baseline subquotas for each time period are as follows: 29.5 mt for January; 277.9 mt for June through August; 147.3 mt for September; 72.2 mt for October through November; and 28.9 mt for December. Closure of the December 2020 General Category Fishery NMFS has determined that the General category December subquota of 28.9 mt has been reached and exceeded (i.e., 32.7 mt have been landed as of December 14, 2020), as has the overall adjusted General category quota of 846.5 mt, and that the fishery should be closed. Through this action, we are closing the General category BFT fishery effective 11:30 p.m., December 14, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Therefore, retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or giant BFT by persons aboard vessels permitted in the Atlantic tunas General category and HMS Charter/ Headboat category (while fishing commercially) must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on December 14, 2020. The General category will reopen automatically on January 1, 2021, for the January 2021 subquota period. This action applies to those vessels permitted in the General category, as well as to those HMS Charter/Headboat permitted vessels with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for BFT, and is taken consistent with the regulations at § 635.28(a)(1). The intent of this closure is to prevent further overharvest of the PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 adjusted December subquota, and the adjusted 2020 General category quota. Fishermen may catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the requirements of the catch-andrelease and tag-and-release programs at § 635.26. All BFT that are released must be handled in a manner that will maximize their survival, and without removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at § 635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the ‘‘Careful Catch and Release’’ brochure available at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/ outreach-and-education/careful-catchand-release-brochure/. Monitoring and Reporting Dealers are required to submit landings reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS’ ability to timely implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustment, as well as closures, and may result in enforcement actions. Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, General and HMS Charter/ Headboat category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling (888) 872–8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.). NMFS will need to account for 2020 landings and dead discards within the adjusted U.S. quota, consistent with ICCAT recommendations, and anticipates having sufficient quota to do that based on anticipated underharvest due to landings of some quota categories being substantially less than the available quotas for those categories.’’ Could add ‘‘(e.g., the Purse Seine, Trap, and Longline categories). Classification NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This action is taken pursuant to regulations at 50 CFR part 635, which were issued pursuant to section 304(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act, and is E:\FR\FM\17DER1.SGM 17DER1 81838 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 243 / Thursday, December 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. The Assistant Administrator for NMFS finds that pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, for the following reasons: The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments provide for inseason retention limit adjustments and fishery closures to respond to the unpredictable VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Dec 16, 2020 Jkt 253001 nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. This fishery is currently underway, and delaying this action would be contrary to the public interest as it could result in BFT landings exceeding the adjusted December 2020 General category quota and the adjusted 2020 General category quota. For all of the above reasons, there PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: December 14, 2020. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–27794 Filed 12–14–20; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\17DER1.SGM 17DER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 243 (Thursday, December 17, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 81837-81838]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-27794]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 180117042-8884-02; RTID 0648-XA672]


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS closes the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) General category 
fishery for the December subquota period, and thus for the remainder of 
2020. The intent of this closure is to prevent further overharvest of 
the adjusted December subquota, and the overall adjusted General 
category quota.

DATES: Effective 11:30 p.m., local time, December 14, 2020, through 
December 31, 2020.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by 
persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR 
part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by 
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
(ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the 
allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory 
Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 
58058, October 2, 2006) and amendments, and in accordance with 
implementing regulations.
    Under Sec.  635.28(a)(1), NMFS files a closure notice with the 
Office of the Federal Register for publication when a BFT quota (or 
subquota) is reached or is projected to be reached. Retaining, 
possessing, or landing BFT under that quota category is prohibited on 
and after the effective date and time of a closure notice for that 
category, for the remainder of the fishing year, until the opening of 
the subsequent quota period or until such date as specified.
    The baseline General category quota is 555.7 mt. See Sec.  
635.27(a). Each of the General category time periods (January, June 
through August, September, October through November, and December) is 
allocated a ``subquota'' or portion of the annual General category 
quota. The baseline subquotas for each time period are as follows: 29.5 
mt for January; 277.9 mt for June through August; 147.3 mt for 
September; 72.2 mt for October through November; and 28.9 mt for 
December.

Closure of the December 2020 General Category Fishery

    NMFS has determined that the General category December subquota of 
28.9 mt has been reached and exceeded (i.e., 32.7 mt have been landed 
as of December 14, 2020), as has the overall adjusted General category 
quota of 846.5 mt, and that the fishery should be closed. Through this 
action, we are closing the General category BFT fishery effective 11:30 
p.m., December 14, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Therefore, 
retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or giant BFT by persons 
aboard vessels permitted in the Atlantic tunas General category and HMS 
Charter/Headboat category (while fishing commercially) must cease at 
11:30 p.m. local time on December 14, 2020. The General category will 
reopen automatically on January 1, 2021, for the January 2021 subquota 
period. This action applies to those vessels permitted in the General 
category, as well as to those HMS Charter/Headboat permitted vessels 
with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for BFT, 
and is taken consistent with the regulations at Sec.  635.28(a)(1). The 
intent of this closure is to prevent further overharvest of the 
adjusted December subquota, and the adjusted 2020 General category 
quota.
    Fishermen may catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all 
sizes, subject to the requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-
and-release programs at Sec.  635.26. All BFT that are released must be 
handled in a manner that will maximize their survival, and without 
removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at Sec.  
635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the 
``Careful Catch and Release'' brochure available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/outreach-and-education/careful-catch-and-release-brochure/.

Monitoring and Reporting

    Dealers are required to submit landings reports within 24 hours of 
a dealer receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS' 
ability to timely implement actions such as quota and retention limit 
adjustment, as well as closures, and may result in enforcement actions. 
Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, 
General and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to 
report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours 
of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing 
hmspermits.noaa.gov, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling 
(888) 872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.).
    NMFS will need to account for 2020 landings and dead discards 
within the adjusted U.S. quota, consistent with ICCAT recommendations, 
and anticipates having sufficient quota to do that based on anticipated 
underharvest due to landings of some quota categories being 
substantially less than the available quotas for those categories.'' 
Could add ``(e.g., the Purse Seine, Trap, and Longline categories).

Classification

    NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act. This action is taken pursuant to regulations at 50 CFR 
part 635, which were issued pursuant to section 304(c) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act and the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act, and is

[[Page 81838]]

exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS finds that pursuant to 5 
U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice of, and an 
opportunity for public comment on, for the following reasons: The 
regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments 
provide for inseason retention limit adjustments and fishery closures 
to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the 
fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional 
variations in the BFT fishery. This fishery is currently underway, and 
delaying this action would be contrary to the public interest as it 
could result in BFT landings exceeding the adjusted December 2020 
General category quota and the adjusted 2020 General category quota. 
For all of the above reasons, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) 
to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness.

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

    Dated: December 14, 2020.
Jennifer M. Wallace,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-27794 Filed 12-14-20; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P