Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Common Pool Fishery and Other Measures for Fishing Year 2021, 21961-21964 [2021-08628]

Download as PDF 21961 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 78 / Monday, April 26, 2021 / Rules and Regulations not subject to U.S. jurisdiction (although this activity would still be subject to CITES requirements). Separate from its final listing as an endangered species, as a CITES-listed species, all international trade of Yangtze sturgeon by persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States must also comply with CITES requirements pursuant to section 9(c) and 9(g) of the Act and to 50 CFR part 23. Applicable wildlife import/export requirements established under section 9(d) through 9(f) of the Act, the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 (16 U.S.C. 3371 et seq.), and 50 CFR part 14 must also be met for Yangtze sturgeon imports and exports. Questions regarding whether specific activities would constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act should be directed to the Branch of Delisting and Foreign Species (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Required Determinations National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) We have determined that environmental assessments and Common name Scientific name * environmental impact statements, as defined under the authority of the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), need not be prepared in connection with listing a species as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244). References Cited A complete list of references cited in this rulemaking is available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the Branch of Delisting and Foreign Species, Ecological Services (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Authors The primary authors of this final rule are the staff members of the Branch of Delisting and Foreign Species, Ecological Services, Falls Church, VA. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17 Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and Where listed * Status * recordkeeping requirements, Transportation. Regulation Promulgation Accordingly, we amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below: PART 17—ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS 1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361–1407; 1531– 1544; and 4201–4245, unless otherwise noted. 2. Amend § 17.11(h) by adding an entry for ‘‘Sturgeon, Yangtze’’ to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in alphabetical order under FISHES to read as follows: ■ § 17.11 Endangered and threatened wildlife. * * * (h) * * * * * Listing citations and applicable rules * * * * FISHES * Sturgeon, Yangtze. * Acipenser dabryanus. * * Wherever found .. * * Martha Williams, Principal Deputy Director, Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2021–08466 Filed 4–23–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 200723–0199; RTID 0648– XA979] Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Common Pool Fishery and Other Measures for Fishing Year 2021 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and AGENCY: 16:01 Apr 23, 2021 * * * 86 FR [insert Federal Register page where the document begins], 4/ 26/2021. * * Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. Temporary rule; possession and trip limit implementation. ACTION: This action implements measures for the Northeast multispecies fishery for the 2021 fishing year. This action is necessary to ensure that the Northeast multispecies common pool fishery may achieve the optimum yield for the relevant stocks, while controlling catch to help prevent in-season closures or quota overages. These measures include possession and trip limits, the allocation of zero trips into the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock Special Access Program for common pool vessels to target yellowtail flounder, and the closure of the Regular B Days-at-Sea Program. SUMMARY: DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE VerDate Sep<11>2014 * E ............ Jkt 253001 Effective at 0001 hours on May 1, 2021, through April 30, 2022. DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 * * FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Spencer Talmage, Fishery Management Specialist, 978–281–9232. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) regulations give the Regional Administrator the authority to implement certain types of management measures for the common pool fishery, the U.S./Canada Management Area, and Special Management Programs. This action implements a number of these management measures for the 2021 fishing year, effective May 1, 2021. Common Pool Trip Limits The regulations at § 648.86(o) give the Regional Administrator the authority to implement or adjust a per-Day-at-Sea (DAS) possession limit and/or a maximum trip limit in order to prevent exceeding the common pool sub-annual catch limit (sub-ACL) in that fishing E:\FR\FM\26APR1.SGM 26APR1 21962 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 78 / Monday, April 26, 2021 / Rules and Regulations year. The possession and trip limits implemented for the start of the 2021 fishing year are included in Tables 1 and 2 below. These possession and trip limits were developed based on the common pool sub-ACLs set by Framework Adjustment 59 to the FMP (85 FR 45794, July 30, 2020) that will be in effect on May 1, 2021. We considered preliminary 2021 sector rosters, expected common pool participation, and common pool fishing activity in previous fishing years. We also took into account uncertainty arising from our pending consideration of Framework 61 for potential approval. Based on that information, we project that these adjustments will facilitate optimized harvest of the common pool quotas, while preventing early trimester closures, and preventing catch from exceeding the 2021 fishing year subACLs. For Handgear A and Handgear B vessels, possession and trip limits for Georges Bank (GB) and Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod are tied to the possession and trip limits for groundfish DAS vessels. The default cod trip limit is 300 lb (136 kg) for Handgear A vessels and 75 lb (34 kg) for Handgear B vessels. If the GOM or GB cod limit for vessels fishing on a groundfish DAS drops below 300 lb (136 kg), then the respective Handgear A cod trip limit must be reduced to the same limit. Similarly, the Handgear B trip limit must be adjusted proportionally to the DAS limit (rounded up to the nearest 25 lb (11 kg)). In accordance with this process, the Handgear A and Handgear B possession and trip limits for GB and GOM cod are as listed below in Table 2. Vessels with a Small Vessel category permit can possess up to 300 lb (136 kg) of cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder, combined, per trip. Additionally, for these vessels, the trip limit for all stocks is equal to the landing limits per DAS applicable to multispecies DAS vessels. This is necessary to ensure that the trip limit applicable to the Small Vessel category permit is consistent with the trip limits for other common pool vessels, as described above. Weekly quota monitoring reports for the common pool fishery can be found on our website at: https:// www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/ ro/fso/reports/h/nemultispecies.html. We will continue to monitor common pool catch through vessel trip reports, dealer-reported landings, vessel monitoring system catch reports, and other available information and, if necessary, we will make additional adjustments to common pool management measures. TABLE 1—2021 FISHING YEAR COMMON POOL POSSESSION AND TRIP LIMITS Stock 2021 trip limit GB Cod (outside Eastern U.S./Canada Area); GB Cod (inside Eastern U.S./Canada Area). GB Cod [Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP (for targeting haddock)]. GOM Cod ................................................................................................. GB Haddock ............................................................................................. GOM Haddock .......................................................................................... GB Yellowtail Flounder ............................................................................. Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) Yellowtail Flounder ....... Cape Cod (CC)/GOM Yellowtail Flounder ............................................... American plaice ........................................................................................ Witch Flounder ......................................................................................... GB Winter Flounder .................................................................................. GOM Winter Flounder .............................................................................. SNE/MA Winter Flounder ......................................................................... Redfish ...................................................................................................... White hake ................................................................................................ Pollock ...................................................................................................... Atlantic Halibut .......................................................................................... Windowpane Flounder .............................................................................. Ocean Pout Atlantic Wolffish. 400 lb (181.4 kg) per DAS, up to 800 lb (362.9 kg) per trip. 500 lb (226.8 kg) per trip. 100 lb (45.4 kg) per DAS, up to 200 lb (90.7 kg) per trip. 100,000 lb (45,359.2 kg) per trip. 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) per DAS, up to 4,000 lb (1,814.4 kg) per trip. 100 lb (45.4 kg) per trip. 100 lb (45.4 kg) per DAS, up to 200 lb (90.7 kg) per trip. 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) per DAS, up to 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) per trip. 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) per DAS, up to 4,000 lb (1,814.4 kg) per trip. 1,500 lb (680.4 kg) per trip. 250 lb (113.4 kg) per trip. 250 lb (113.4 kg) per trip. 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) per DAS, up to 4,000 lb (1,814.4 kg) per trip. Unlimited. 1,500 lb (680.4 kg) per trip. Unlimited. 1 fish per trip. Possession Prohibited. Note: Minimum fish sizes apply for many groundfish species, but are not included in this rule. Please see 50 CFR 648.83 for applicable minimum fish sizes. TABLE 2—2021 FISHING YEAR COD TRIP LIMITS FOR HANDGEAR A, HANDGEAR B, AND SMALL VESSEL CATEGORY PERMITS Permit Initial 2021 trip limit Handgear A GOM Cod ............................................................................. Handgear A GB Cod ................................................................................ Handgear B GOM Cod ............................................................................. Handgear B GB Cod ................................................................................ Small Vessel Category ............................................................................. 100 lb (45.4 kg) per trip. 300 lb (136.1 kg) per trip. 25 lb (11 kg) per trip. 25 lb (11 kg) per trip. 300 lb (136.1 kg) of cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder combined; additionally, vessels are limited to the common pool DAS limit for all stocks. Table 3 includes the initial common pool trimester total allowable catches (TAC) for fishing year 2021. These VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:01 Apr 23, 2021 Jkt 253001 trimester TACs are based on preliminary sector rosters. However, individual permit holders have until the end of the PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2020 fishing year (April 30, 2021) to drop out of a sector and fish in the common pool fishery for the 2021 E:\FR\FM\26APR1.SGM 26APR1 21963 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 78 / Monday, April 26, 2021 / Rules and Regulations fishing year. Therefore, it is possible that the sector and common pool catch limits, including the trimester TACs, may change due to changes in sector rosters. If changes to sector rosters occur, updated catch limits and/or possession and trip limits will be announced as soon as possible in the 2021 fishing year to reflect the final sector rosters as of May 1, 2021. We are working to publish a proposed rule to request comment on updated 2021 specifications as recommended by the New England Fishery Management Council in Framework Adjustment 61. If approved, that rule would make additional changes to common pool subACLs. There could be additional changes to common pool possession and trip limits as a result. TABLE 3—INITIAL COMMON POOL TRIMESTER TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCHES FOR FISHING YEAR 2021 [Mt, live weight] Trimester total allowable catches Stock Trimester 1 GB Cod ........................................................................................................................................ GOM Cod ..................................................................................................................................... GB Haddock ................................................................................................................................ GOM Haddock ............................................................................................................................. GB Yellowtail Flounder ................................................................................................................ SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder ....................................................................................................... CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder ...................................................................................................... American Plaice ........................................................................................................................... Witch Flounder ............................................................................................................................. GB Winter Flounder ..................................................................................................................... GOM Winter Flounder ................................................................................................................. Redfish ......................................................................................................................................... White Hake .................................................................................................................................. Pollock ......................................................................................................................................... Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/ Haddock Special Access Program The regulations at § 648.85(b)(3)(vii) provide the Regional Administrator with authority to determine the total number of common pool trips that may be declared into the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock Special Access Program (SAP) to target yellowtail flounder. This action allocates zero trips for common pool vessels to target yellowtail flounder within the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP for fishing year 2021. As a result, this SAP is only open to target haddock, from August 1, 2021, through January 31, 2022. Northeast multispecies vessels fishing in the SAP must fish with a haddock separator trawl, a Ruhle trawl, or hook gear. Vessels may not fish in this SAP using flounder trawl nets. The Regional Administrator has the authority to determine the allocation of the total number of trips into the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP based on several criteria, including the GB yellowtail flounder catch limit and the amount of GB yellowtail flounder caught outside of the SAP. Allocating trips to target yellowtail flounder in the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is discretionary if the available GB yellowtail flounder catch is insufficient to support at least 150 trips with a 15,000-lb (6,804-kg) trip limit, for a total catch of 2,250,000 lb (1,020,600 kg). This calculation considers projected catch from all vessels from the area outside the SAP. Based on the fishing year 2021 GB yellowtail flounder groundfish sub-ACL implemented by Framework Adjustment 59 of 209,439 lb (95,000 kg), there is insufficient GB yellowtail flounder to allocate any trips to the SAP. Further, given the low GB yellowtail flounder catch limit, catch rates outside of this SAP are more than adequate to fully harvest the 2021 GB yellowtail flounder allocation. We are working to publish a proposed rule to request comments on Framework 61 measures. If approved, Framework 61 would implement a 2021 GB yellowtail flounder sub-ACL that is reduced compared to the Framework 59 subACL. A reduction in the GB yellowtail Trimester 2 8.8 4.3 385.5 69.8 0.6 0.6 18.0 52.6 19.5 1.7 1.9 12.8 9.3 53.2 10.7 2.9 471.2 67.2 1.0 0.8 8.2 5.7 7.1 5.0 1.9 15.8 7.6 66.5 Trimester 3 11.9 1.6 571.1 121.5 1.7 1.5 5.4 12.8 8.9 14.2 1.3 22.4 7.6 70.3 flounder sub-ACL would reduce the number of potential trips in the Closed Area II yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP. As a result, we do not expect that the final rule implementing Framework 61 would allocate trips to the SAP to target yellowtail flounder. Regular B DAS Program The regulations at § 648.85(b)(6)(vi) authorize the Regional Administrator to close the Regular B DAS program by prohibiting the use of Regular B DAS when the continuation of the program would undermine the achievement of the objectives of the Northeast Multispecies FMP or the Regular B DAS Program. One reason for terminating the program is an inability to constrain common pool catches to the Incidental Catch TACs. Framework Adjustment 59 implemented Common Pool Incidental Catch TACs for the Regular B DAS Program for the 2021 fishing year (Table 4). These TACs are further divided into Quarterly Incidental Catch TACs to be monitored and managed during each calendar quarter. TABLE 4—FISHING YEAR TOTAL AND QUARTERLY INCIDENTAL CATCH TACS FOR THE REGULAR B DAS PROGRAM [Mt, live weight] Total incidental catch TAC Stock Quarterly incidental catch TAC 1st quarter (13%) 2021 GB Cod ................................................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:01 Apr 23, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00047 0.32 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2nd quarter (29%) 0.04 E:\FR\FM\26APR1.SGM 0.09 26APR1 3rd quarter (29%) 0.09 4th quarter (29%) 0.09 21964 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 78 / Monday, April 26, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 4—FISHING YEAR TOTAL AND QUARTERLY INCIDENTAL CATCH TACS FOR THE REGULAR B DAS PROGRAM— Continued [Mt, live weight] Total incidental catch TAC Stock Quarterly incidental catch TAC 1st quarter (13%) 2021 GOM Cod ............................................................................. GB Yellowtail Flounder ........................................................ CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder ............................................... American Plaice ................................................................... Witch Flounder ..................................................................... SNE/MA Winter Flounder .................................................... Given that the Incidental Catch TACs allocated to the Regular B DAS Program for several stocks are very small, inseason management of the Regular B DAS Program is likely to be extremely difficult and impractical. Implementation of an in-season action to close the Regular B DAS Program once a Quarterly Incidental Catch TAC for a stock has been reached would not be possible to complete quickly enough to prevent further catch of that stock. As a result, it is unlikely that we can effectively limit catch to the Incidental Catch TACs during fishing year 2021, and project that continuation of the program would undermine the achievement of the objectives of the Northeast Multispecies FMP and the Regular B DAS Program. The Regular B DAS Program will be closed and use of Regular B DAS is prohibited for the 2021 fishing year, through April 30, 2022. This applies to all vessels issued a limited access Northeast multispecies permit. Classification This action is authorized by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment and the 30-day delayed effectiveness period because it would be contrary to the public interest. The regulations at § 648.86(o) authorize the Regional Administrator to adjust the Northeast multispecies possession and trip limits for common VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:01 Apr 23, 2021 Jkt 253001 0.09 0.03 0.32 3.56 1.77 0.00 0.01 0.00 0.04 0.46 0.23 0.00 pool vessels in order to prevent the overharvest or underharvest of the pertinent common pool quotas. This action sets the initial common pool possession and trip limits on May 1, 2021, for the 2021 fishing year. The possession and trip limits implemented through this action help to ensure that the Northeast multispecies common pool fishery may achieve the optimum yield for the relevant stocks, while controlling catch to help prevent inseason closures or quota overages. Delay of this action would leave the common pool fishery with the possession and trip limits found in § 648.86, which are too high to control catch. This would likely lead to early closure of a trimester and quota overages. Any overage of the quota for either of the first two trimesters must be deducted from the Trimester 3 quota, which could substantially disrupt the trimester structure and intent to distribute the fishery across the entire fishing year. An overage reduction in Trimester 3 would further reduce fishing opportunities for common pool vessels and likely result in early closure of Trimester 3. Additionally, any overage of the annual quota would be deducted from common pool’s quota for the next fishing year, to the detriment of this stock. The regulations at § 648.85(b)(3)(vii) require that the Regional Administrator announce the total number of allowed trips by common pool vessels that may be declared into the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP on or about June 1. We have included the announcement in this in-season action to meet this regulatory requirement. Doing so ensures that the fishing PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 2nd quarter (29%) 3rd quarter (29%) 0.03 0.01 0.09 1.03 0.51 0.00 4th quarter (29%) 0.03 0.01 0.09 1.03 0.51 0.00 0.03 0.01 0.09 1.03 0.51 0.00 industry has sufficient notice in order to plan their activities in the new fishing year. This action occurs annually, and industry participants are accustomed to it and expect its timely implementation. Given the low quota for GB yellowtail flounder in recent years, no trips have been allocated to this SAP from fishing year 2010 to fishing year 2021. The regulations at § 648.85(b)(6)(vi) authorize the Regional Administrator to close the Regular B DAS program by prohibiting the use of Regular B DAS when the continuation of the program would undermine the achievement of the objectives of the Northeast Multispecies FMP or the Regular B DAS Program. The Regular B DAS program closure implemented through this action will prevent an overage of the Incidental Catch TACs. Delay of this action would provide vessel owners an opportunity to participate in the Regular B DAS Program, but participation and catch in the program may cause the allocation to be exceeded. For the reasons above, delay of this action for prior notice and the opportunity for public comment and the 30-day delayed effectiveness period would undermine management objectives of the FMP and cause unnecessary negative economic impacts to the common pool fishery. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: April 21, 2021. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–08628 Filed 4–21–21; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\26APR1.SGM 26APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 78 (Monday, April 26, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 21961-21964]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-08628]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 200723-0199; RTID 0648-XA979]


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery; Common Pool Fishery and Other Measures for 
Fishing Year 2021

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; possession and trip limit implementation.

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

SUMMARY: This action implements measures for the Northeast multispecies 
fishery for the 2021 fishing year. This action is necessary to ensure 
that the Northeast multispecies common pool fishery may achieve the 
optimum yield for the relevant stocks, while controlling catch to help 
prevent in-season closures or quota overages. These measures include 
possession and trip limits, the allocation of zero trips into the 
Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock Special Access Program for 
common pool vessels to target yellowtail flounder, and the closure of 
the Regular B Days-at-Sea Program.

DATES: Effective at 0001 hours on May 1, 2021, through April 30, 2022.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Spencer Talmage, Fishery Management 
Specialist, 978-281-9232.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Northeast Multispecies Fishery 
Management Plan (FMP) regulations give the Regional Administrator the 
authority to implement certain types of management measures for the 
common pool fishery, the U.S./Canada Management Area, and Special 
Management Programs. This action implements a number of these 
management measures for the 2021 fishing year, effective May 1, 2021.

Common Pool Trip Limits

    The regulations at Sec.  648.86(o) give the Regional Administrator 
the authority to implement or adjust a per-Day-at-Sea (DAS) possession 
limit and/or a maximum trip limit in order to prevent exceeding the 
common pool sub-annual catch limit (sub-ACL) in that fishing

[[Page 21962]]

year. The possession and trip limits implemented for the start of the 
2021 fishing year are included in Tables 1 and 2 below. These 
possession and trip limits were developed based on the common pool sub-
ACLs set by Framework Adjustment 59 to the FMP (85 FR 45794, July 30, 
2020) that will be in effect on May 1, 2021. We considered preliminary 
2021 sector rosters, expected common pool participation, and common 
pool fishing activity in previous fishing years. We also took into 
account uncertainty arising from our pending consideration of Framework 
61 for potential approval. Based on that information, we project that 
these adjustments will facilitate optimized harvest of the common pool 
quotas, while preventing early trimester closures, and preventing catch 
from exceeding the 2021 fishing year sub-ACLs.
    For Handgear A and Handgear B vessels, possession and trip limits 
for Georges Bank (GB) and Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod are tied to the 
possession and trip limits for groundfish DAS vessels. The default cod 
trip limit is 300 lb (136 kg) for Handgear A vessels and 75 lb (34 kg) 
for Handgear B vessels. If the GOM or GB cod limit for vessels fishing 
on a groundfish DAS drops below 300 lb (136 kg), then the respective 
Handgear A cod trip limit must be reduced to the same limit. Similarly, 
the Handgear B trip limit must be adjusted proportionally to the DAS 
limit (rounded up to the nearest 25 lb (11 kg)). In accordance with 
this process, the Handgear A and Handgear B possession and trip limits 
for GB and GOM cod are as listed below in Table 2.
    Vessels with a Small Vessel category permit can possess up to 300 
lb (136 kg) of cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder, combined, per 
trip. Additionally, for these vessels, the trip limit for all stocks is 
equal to the landing limits per DAS applicable to multispecies DAS 
vessels. This is necessary to ensure that the trip limit applicable to 
the Small Vessel category permit is consistent with the trip limits for 
other common pool vessels, as described above.
    Weekly quota monitoring reports for the common pool fishery can be 
found on our website at: https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/ro/fso/reports/h/nemultispecies.html. We will continue to monitor common pool catch 
through vessel trip reports, dealer-reported landings, vessel 
monitoring system catch reports, and other available information and, 
if necessary, we will make additional adjustments to common pool 
management measures.

    Table 1--2021 Fishing Year Common Pool Possession and Trip Limits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Stock                           2021 trip limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod (outside Eastern U.S./Canada      400 lb (181.4 kg) per DAS, up
 Area); GB Cod (inside Eastern U.S./      to 800 lb (362.9 kg) per trip.
 Canada Area).
GB Cod [Closed Area II Yellowtail        500 lb (226.8 kg) per trip.
 Flounder/Haddock SAP (for targeting
 haddock)].
GOM Cod................................  100 lb (45.4 kg) per DAS, up to
                                          200 lb (90.7 kg) per trip.
GB Haddock.............................  100,000 lb (45,359.2 kg) per
                                          trip.
GOM Haddock............................  2,000 lb (907.2 kg) per DAS, up
                                          to 4,000 lb (1,814.4 kg) per
                                          trip.
GB Yellowtail Flounder.................  100 lb (45.4 kg) per trip.
Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/  100 lb (45.4 kg) per DAS, up to
 MA) Yellowtail Flounder.                 200 lb (90.7 kg) per trip.
Cape Cod (CC)/GOM Yellowtail Flounder..  1,000 lb (453.6 kg) per DAS, up
                                          to 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) per
                                          trip.
American plaice........................  2,000 lb (907.2 kg) per DAS, up
                                          to 4,000 lb (1,814.4 kg) per
                                          trip.
Witch Flounder.........................  1,500 lb (680.4 kg) per trip.
GB Winter Flounder.....................  250 lb (113.4 kg) per trip.
GOM Winter Flounder....................  250 lb (113.4 kg) per trip.
SNE/MA Winter Flounder.................  2,000 lb (907.2 kg) per DAS, up
                                          to 4,000 lb (1,814.4 kg) per
                                          trip.
Redfish................................  Unlimited.
White hake.............................  1,500 lb (680.4 kg) per trip.
Pollock................................  Unlimited.
Atlantic Halibut.......................  1 fish per trip.
Windowpane Flounder....................  Possession Prohibited.
Ocean Pout
Atlantic Wolffish.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Minimum fish sizes apply for many groundfish species, but are not
  included in this rule. Please see 50 CFR 648.83 for applicable minimum
  fish sizes.


 Table 2--2021 Fishing Year Cod Trip Limits for Handgear A, Handgear B,
                    and Small Vessel Category Permits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Permit                      Initial 2021 trip limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Handgear A GOM Cod.....................  100 lb (45.4 kg) per trip.
Handgear A GB Cod......................  300 lb (136.1 kg) per trip.
Handgear B GOM Cod.....................  25 lb (11 kg) per trip.
Handgear B GB Cod......................  25 lb (11 kg) per trip.
Small Vessel Category..................  300 lb (136.1 kg) of cod,
                                          haddock, and yellowtail
                                          flounder combined;
                                          additionally, vessels are
                                          limited to the common pool DAS
                                          limit for all stocks.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 3 includes the initial common pool trimester total allowable 
catches (TAC) for fishing year 2021. These trimester TACs are based on 
preliminary sector rosters. However, individual permit holders have 
until the end of the 2020 fishing year (April 30, 2021) to drop out of 
a sector and fish in the common pool fishery for the 2021

[[Page 21963]]

fishing year. Therefore, it is possible that the sector and common pool 
catch limits, including the trimester TACs, may change due to changes 
in sector rosters. If changes to sector rosters occur, updated catch 
limits and/or possession and trip limits will be announced as soon as 
possible in the 2021 fishing year to reflect the final sector rosters 
as of May 1, 2021. We are working to publish a proposed rule to request 
comment on updated 2021 specifications as recommended by the New 
England Fishery Management Council in Framework Adjustment 61. If 
approved, that rule would make additional changes to common pool sub-
ACLs. There could be additional changes to common pool possession and 
trip limits as a result.

              Table 3--Initial Common Pool Trimester Total Allowable Catches for Fishing Year 2021
                                                [Mt, live weight]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         Trimester total allowable catches
                              Stock                              -----------------------------------------------
                                                                    Trimester 1     Trimester 2     Trimester 3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod..........................................................             8.8            10.7            11.9
GOM Cod.........................................................             4.3             2.9             1.6
GB Haddock......................................................           385.5           471.2           571.1
GOM Haddock.....................................................            69.8            67.2           121.5
GB Yellowtail Flounder..........................................             0.6             1.0             1.7
SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder......................................             0.6             0.8             1.5
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder......................................            18.0             8.2             5.4
American Plaice.................................................            52.6             5.7            12.8
Witch Flounder..................................................            19.5             7.1             8.9
GB Winter Flounder..............................................             1.7             5.0            14.2
GOM Winter Flounder.............................................             1.9             1.9             1.3
Redfish.........................................................            12.8            15.8            22.4
White Hake......................................................             9.3             7.6             7.6
Pollock.........................................................            53.2            66.5            70.3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock Special Access Program

    The regulations at Sec.  648.85(b)(3)(vii) provide the Regional 
Administrator with authority to determine the total number of common 
pool trips that may be declared into the Closed Area II Yellowtail 
Flounder/Haddock Special Access Program (SAP) to target yellowtail 
flounder. This action allocates zero trips for common pool vessels to 
target yellowtail flounder within the Closed Area II Yellowtail 
Flounder/Haddock SAP for fishing year 2021. As a result, this SAP is 
only open to target haddock, from August 1, 2021, through January 31, 
2022. Northeast multispecies vessels fishing in the SAP must fish with 
a haddock separator trawl, a Ruhle trawl, or hook gear. Vessels may not 
fish in this SAP using flounder trawl nets.
    The Regional Administrator has the authority to determine the 
allocation of the total number of trips into the Closed Area II 
Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP based on several criteria, including 
the GB yellowtail flounder catch limit and the amount of GB yellowtail 
flounder caught outside of the SAP. Allocating trips to target 
yellowtail flounder in the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock 
SAP is discretionary if the available GB yellowtail flounder catch is 
insufficient to support at least 150 trips with a 15,000-lb (6,804-kg) 
trip limit, for a total catch of 2,250,000 lb (1,020,600 kg). This 
calculation considers projected catch from all vessels from the area 
outside the SAP. Based on the fishing year 2021 GB yellowtail flounder 
groundfish sub-ACL implemented by Framework Adjustment 59 of 209,439 lb 
(95,000 kg), there is insufficient GB yellowtail flounder to allocate 
any trips to the SAP. Further, given the low GB yellowtail flounder 
catch limit, catch rates outside of this SAP are more than adequate to 
fully harvest the 2021 GB yellowtail flounder allocation.
    We are working to publish a proposed rule to request comments on 
Framework 61 measures. If approved, Framework 61 would implement a 2021 
GB yellowtail flounder sub-ACL that is reduced compared to the 
Framework 59 sub-ACL. A reduction in the GB yellowtail flounder sub-ACL 
would reduce the number of potential trips in the Closed Area II 
yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP. As a result, we do not expect that the 
final rule implementing Framework 61 would allocate trips to the SAP to 
target yellowtail flounder.

Regular B DAS Program

    The regulations at Sec.  648.85(b)(6)(vi) authorize the Regional 
Administrator to close the Regular B DAS program by prohibiting the use 
of Regular B DAS when the continuation of the program would undermine 
the achievement of the objectives of the Northeast Multispecies FMP or 
the Regular B DAS Program. One reason for terminating the program is an 
inability to constrain common pool catches to the Incidental Catch 
TACs.
    Framework Adjustment 59 implemented Common Pool Incidental Catch 
TACs for the Regular B DAS Program for the 2021 fishing year (Table 4). 
These TACs are further divided into Quarterly Incidental Catch TACs to 
be monitored and managed during each calendar quarter.

          Table 4--Fishing Year Total and Quarterly Incidental Catch TACs for the Regular B DAS Program
                                                [Mt, live weight]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Total                      Quarterly  incidental catch TAC
                                    incidental   ---------------------------------------------------------------
              Stock                  catch TAC
                                 ----------------   1st quarter     2nd quarter     3rd quarter     4th quarter
                                       2021            (13%)           (29%)           (29%)           (29%)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod..........................            0.32            0.04            0.09            0.09            0.09

[[Page 21964]]

 
GOM Cod.........................            0.09            0.01            0.03            0.03            0.03
GB Yellowtail Flounder..........            0.03            0.00            0.01            0.01            0.01
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder......            0.32            0.04            0.09            0.09            0.09
American Plaice.................            3.56            0.46            1.03            1.03            1.03
Witch Flounder..................            1.77            0.23            0.51            0.51            0.51
SNE/MA Winter Flounder..........            0.00            0.00            0.00            0.00            0.00
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Given that the Incidental Catch TACs allocated to the Regular B DAS 
Program for several stocks are very small, in-season management of the 
Regular B DAS Program is likely to be extremely difficult and 
impractical. Implementation of an in-season action to close the Regular 
B DAS Program once a Quarterly Incidental Catch TAC for a stock has 
been reached would not be possible to complete quickly enough to 
prevent further catch of that stock.
    As a result, it is unlikely that we can effectively limit catch to 
the Incidental Catch TACs during fishing year 2021, and project that 
continuation of the program would undermine the achievement of the 
objectives of the Northeast Multispecies FMP and the Regular B DAS 
Program. The Regular B DAS Program will be closed and use of Regular B 
DAS is prohibited for the 2021 fishing year, through April 30, 2022. 
This applies to all vessels issued a limited access Northeast 
multispecies permit.

Classification

    This action is authorized by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause 
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive prior 
notice and the opportunity for public comment and the 30-day delayed 
effectiveness period because it would be contrary to the public 
interest.
    The regulations at Sec.  648.86(o) authorize the Regional 
Administrator to adjust the Northeast multispecies possession and trip 
limits for common pool vessels in order to prevent the overharvest or 
underharvest of the pertinent common pool quotas. This action sets the 
initial common pool possession and trip limits on May 1, 2021, for the 
2021 fishing year. The possession and trip limits implemented through 
this action help to ensure that the Northeast multispecies common pool 
fishery may achieve the optimum yield for the relevant stocks, while 
controlling catch to help prevent in-season closures or quota overages. 
Delay of this action would leave the common pool fishery with the 
possession and trip limits found in Sec.  648.86, which are too high to 
control catch. This would likely lead to early closure of a trimester 
and quota overages. Any overage of the quota for either of the first 
two trimesters must be deducted from the Trimester 3 quota, which could 
substantially disrupt the trimester structure and intent to distribute 
the fishery across the entire fishing year. An overage reduction in 
Trimester 3 would further reduce fishing opportunities for common pool 
vessels and likely result in early closure of Trimester 3. 
Additionally, any overage of the annual quota would be deducted from 
common pool's quota for the next fishing year, to the detriment of this 
stock.
    The regulations at Sec.  648.85(b)(3)(vii) require that the 
Regional Administrator announce the total number of allowed trips by 
common pool vessels that may be declared into the Closed Area II 
Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP on or about June 1. We have included 
the announcement in this in-season action to meet this regulatory 
requirement. Doing so ensures that the fishing industry has sufficient 
notice in order to plan their activities in the new fishing year. This 
action occurs annually, and industry participants are accustomed to it 
and expect its timely implementation. Given the low quota for GB 
yellowtail flounder in recent years, no trips have been allocated to 
this SAP from fishing year 2010 to fishing year 2021.
    The regulations at Sec.  648.85(b)(6)(vi) authorize the Regional 
Administrator to close the Regular B DAS program by prohibiting the use 
of Regular B DAS when the continuation of the program would undermine 
the achievement of the objectives of the Northeast Multispecies FMP or 
the Regular B DAS Program. The Regular B DAS program closure 
implemented through this action will prevent an overage of the 
Incidental Catch TACs. Delay of this action would provide vessel owners 
an opportunity to participate in the Regular B DAS Program, but 
participation and catch in the program may cause the allocation to be 
exceeded.
    For the reasons above, delay of this action for prior notice and 
the opportunity for public comment and the 30-day delayed effectiveness 
period would undermine management objectives of the FMP and cause 
unnecessary negative economic impacts to the common pool fishery.

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

    Dated: April 21, 2021.
Jennifer M. Wallace,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-08628 Filed 4-21-21; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P