International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Extension of Emergency Decisions of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, 48916-48917 [2021-18846]

Download as PDF 48916 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 167 / Wednesday, September 1, 2021 / Rules and Regulations Management Contract Opportunities at https://www.sam.gov’’ in its place. [FR Doc. 2021–18847 Filed 8–31–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820–61–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 300 [Docket No. 210603–0121; RTID 0648– XB334] International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Extension of Emergency Decisions of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary specifications. AGENCY: NMFS is extending the effective date of temporary specifications that implement three short-notice decisions of the Commission on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Commission or WCPFC). NMFS issued temporary specifications on June 11, 2021, to implement shortnotice WCPFC decisions regarding purse seine observer coverage, purse seine transshipments at sea, and transshipment observer coverage. NMFS is extending the effective date of those temporary specifications until January 13, 2022. NMFS is undertaking this action under the authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFC Implementation Act) to satisfy the obligations of the United States as a Contracting Party to the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention). DATES: The temporary specifications are in effect from September 1, 2021 until January 13, 2022. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rini Ghosh, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office, 808–725–5033. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under authority of the WCPFC Implementation Act (16 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.), NMFS published an interim final rule that established a framework to implement short-notice WCPFC decisions. Also in this rule, NMFS simultaneously issued khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:01 Aug 31, 2021 Jkt 253001 temporary specifications to implement three short-notice WCPFC decisions; those temporary specifications are in effect until September 14, 2021. Additional background information on the Commission, the Convention, the interim final rule, and temporary specifications, is available in the Federal Register document that includes the interim final rule and temporary specifications (86 FR 31178; June 11, 2021). Background on WCPFC Emergency Decisions On April 8, 2020, in response to the international concerns over the health of observers and vessel crews due to COVID–19, the Commission made an intersessional decision to suspend the requirements for observer coverage on purse seine vessels on fishing trips in the Convention Area through May 31, 2020. The Commission subsequently extended that decision several times, and the current extension is effective until December 15, 2021. On April 20, 2020, in response to the international concerns over the health of vessel crews and port officials due to COVID–19, the Commission made an intersessional decision to modify the prohibition on at-sea transshipment for purse seine vessels as follows—purse seine vessels can conduct at-sea transshipment in an area under the jurisdiction of a port State, if transshipment in port cannot be conducted, in accordance with the domestic laws and regulations of the port State. The Commission subsequently extended that decision and the current extension is effective until December 15, 2021. On May 13, 2020, in response to the international concerns over the health of observers and vessel crews due to COVID–19, the Commission made an intersessional decision to suspend the requirements for observer coverage for at-sea transshipments. The Commission subsequently extended that decision and the current extension is effective until December 15, 2021. Extension of Temporary Specifications NMFS is using the framework as set forth at 50 CFR 300.228 to extend the effective date of the temporary specifications implementing the three recent WCPFC intersessional decisions (WCPFC decisions dated April 8, 2020, April 20, 2020, and May 13, 2020), described above, that are in effect until December 15, 2021. The regulations to implement short-notice WCPFC decisions at 50 CFR 300.228 provide that temporary specifications to implement such short-notice decisions PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 will remain in effect no longer than 30 days after the expiration of the underlying Commission decision. Accordingly, the requirements of the following regulations are waived. Such waiver shall remain in effect until January 13, 2022, unless NMFS earlier rescinds or extends this waiver by publication in the Federal Register: • 50 CFR 300.223(e)(1). During the term of this waiver, U.S. purse seine vessels are not required to carry WCPFC observers 1 on all fishing trips in the Convention Area. However, the regulations at 50 CFR 300.215(c)(1) that require all vessels with WCPFC Area Endorsements or for which WCPFC Area Endorsements are required to carry WCPFC observers when directed by NMFS remain in effect; • 50 CFR 300.216(b)(1). During the term of this waiver, U.S. purse seine fishing vessels are not prohibited from at-sea transshipment conducted within the national waters of the coastal state, in accordance with applicable national laws. Transshipment on the high seas remains prohibited; and • 50 CFR 300.216(b)(2) and 50 CFR 300.215(d). During the term of this waiver, owners and operators of U.S. commercial fishing vessels fishing for highly migratory species in the Convention Area are not prohibited from at-sea transshipment without a WCPFC observer on board the offloading or receiving vessel. Classification NMFS issues this action pursuant to the WCPFC Implementation Act and the regulations at 50 CFR 300.228. This action is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. There is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment on the interim final rule and temporary measures included in this action, because prior notice and the opportunity for public comment is unnecessary and would be contrary to the public interest. Opportunity for public comment is unnecessary because the regulations establishing the framework and providing notice of the Commission’s decisions described above have already been subject to notice and public comment, and all that 1 A WCPFC Observer means a person authorized by the Commission in accordance with any procedures established by the Commission to undertake vessel observer duties as part of the Commission’s Regional Observer Programme, including an observer deployed as part of a NMFSadministered observer program or as part of another national or sub-regional observer program, provided that such program is authorized by the Commission to be part of the Commission’s Regional Observer Programme. See 50 CFR 300.211. E:\FR\FM\01SER1.SGM 01SER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 167 / Wednesday, September 1, 2021 / Rules and Regulations remains is to notify the public of the extension of those Commission decisions. NMFS will be responding to public comments received on the framework and those Commission decisions in a separate rule. In addition, the opportunity for public comment is unnecessary because the extensions of effective date of three short-notice WCPFC decisions have already gone into effect and as a contracting party to the Convention, NMFS is obligated to carry out those extensions. For the reasons articulated above, there is also good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in effective dates for the temporary measures. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 6901 et seq. Dated: August 27, 2021. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–18846 Filed 8–31–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 210217–0022; RTID 0648– XB372] Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; modification of a closure; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS is opening directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters) length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line or pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI). This action is necessary to fully use the 2021 total allowable catch of Pacific cod allocated to catcher vessels less than 60 feet LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear in the BSAI. DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), September 1, 2021, through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2021. Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., September 16, 2021. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:01 Aug 31, 2021 Jkt 253001 Submit your comments, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2020–0141, by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to https://www.regulations.gov and enter NOAA–NMFS–2020–0141 in the Search box. Click on the ‘‘Comment’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Records Office. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments if they are sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the comment period ends. All comments received are a part of the public record, and NMFS will post the comments 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 is publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Krista Milani, 907–581–2062. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR parts 600 and 679. NMFS closed directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 feet LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear in the BSAI under § 679.20(d)(1)(iii) on January 26, 2021 (86 FR 7818, February 2, 2021). NMFS has determined that as of August 23, 2021, approximately 797 metric tons of Pacific cod remain in the 2021 Pacific cod apportionment for catcher vessels less than 60 feet LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear in the BSAI. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(i), (a)(2)(i)(C), and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to fully use the 2021 ADDRESSES: PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 48917 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific cod in the BSAI, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is opening directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 feet LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear in the BSAI. The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, (Regional Administrator) considered the following factors in reaching this decision: (1) The current catch of Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 feet LOA using hook-andline or pot gear in the BSAI and, (2) the harvest capacity and stated intent on future harvesting patterns of vessels in participating in this fishery. Classification NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This action is required by 50 CFR part 679, which was issued pursuant to section 304(b), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest, as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the opening of directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 feet LOA using hook-andline or pot gear in the BSAI. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of August 26, 2021. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice. Without this inseason adjustment, NMFS could not allow the fishery for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 feet LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear in the BSAI to be harvested in an expedient manner and in accordance with the regulatory schedule. Under § 679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action to the above address until September 16, 2021. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: August 27, 2021. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–18855 Filed 8–31–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\01SER1.SGM 01SER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 167 (Wednesday, September 1, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 48916-48917]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-18846]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 300

[Docket No. 210603-0121; RTID 0648-XB334]


International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries 
for Highly Migratory Species; Extension of Emergency Decisions of the 
Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission

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

ACTION: Temporary specifications.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is extending the effective date of temporary 
specifications that implement three short-notice decisions of the 
Commission on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish 
Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Commission or WCPFC). 
NMFS issued temporary specifications on June 11, 2021, to implement 
short-notice WCPFC decisions regarding purse seine observer coverage, 
purse seine transshipments at sea, and transshipment observer coverage. 
NMFS is extending the effective date of those temporary specifications 
until January 13, 2022. NMFS is undertaking this action under the 
authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention 
Implementation Act (WCPFC Implementation Act) to satisfy the 
obligations of the United States as a Contracting Party to the 
Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish 
Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention).

DATES: The temporary specifications are in effect from September 1, 
2021 until January 13, 2022.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rini Ghosh, NMFS Pacific Islands 
Regional Office, 808-725-5033.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under authority of the WCPFC Implementation 
Act (16 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.), NMFS published an interim final rule that 
established a framework to implement short-notice WCPFC decisions. Also 
in this rule, NMFS simultaneously issued temporary specifications to 
implement three short-notice WCPFC decisions; those temporary 
specifications are in effect until September 14, 2021. Additional 
background information on the Commission, the Convention, the interim 
final rule, and temporary specifications, is available in the Federal 
Register document that includes the interim final rule and temporary 
specifications (86 FR 31178; June 11, 2021).

Background on WCPFC Emergency Decisions

    On April 8, 2020, in response to the international concerns over 
the health of observers and vessel crews due to COVID-19, the 
Commission made an intersessional decision to suspend the requirements 
for observer coverage on purse seine vessels on fishing trips in the 
Convention Area through May 31, 2020. The Commission subsequently 
extended that decision several times, and the current extension is 
effective until December 15, 2021.
    On April 20, 2020, in response to the international concerns over 
the health of vessel crews and port officials due to COVID-19, the 
Commission made an intersessional decision to modify the prohibition on 
at-sea transshipment for purse seine vessels as follows--purse seine 
vessels can conduct at-sea transshipment in an area under the 
jurisdiction of a port State, if transshipment in port cannot be 
conducted, in accordance with the domestic laws and regulations of the 
port State. The Commission subsequently extended that decision and the 
current extension is effective until December 15, 2021.
    On May 13, 2020, in response to the international concerns over the 
health of observers and vessel crews due to COVID-19, the Commission 
made an intersessional decision to suspend the requirements for 
observer coverage for at-sea transshipments. The Commission 
subsequently extended that decision and the current extension is 
effective until December 15, 2021.

Extension of Temporary Specifications

    NMFS is using the framework as set forth at 50 CFR 300.228 to 
extend the effective date of the temporary specifications implementing 
the three recent WCPFC intersessional decisions (WCPFC decisions dated 
April 8, 2020, April 20, 2020, and May 13, 2020), described above, that 
are in effect until December 15, 2021. The regulations to implement 
short-notice WCPFC decisions at 50 CFR 300.228 provide that temporary 
specifications to implement such short-notice decisions will remain in 
effect no longer than 30 days after the expiration of the underlying 
Commission decision.
    Accordingly, the requirements of the following regulations are 
waived. Such waiver shall remain in effect until January 13, 2022, 
unless NMFS earlier rescinds or extends this waiver by publication in 
the Federal Register:
     50 CFR 300.223(e)(1). During the term of this waiver, U.S. 
purse seine vessels are not required to carry WCPFC observers \1\ on 
all fishing trips in the Convention Area. However, the regulations at 
50 CFR 300.215(c)(1) that require all vessels with WCPFC Area 
Endorsements or for which WCPFC Area Endorsements are required to carry 
WCPFC observers when directed by NMFS remain in effect;
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    \1\ A WCPFC Observer means a person authorized by the Commission 
in accordance with any procedures established by the Commission to 
undertake vessel observer duties as part of the Commission's 
Regional Observer Programme, including an observer deployed as part 
of a NMFS-administered observer program or as part of another 
national or sub-regional observer program, provided that such 
program is authorized by the Commission to be part of the 
Commission's Regional Observer Programme. See 50 CFR 300.211.
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     50 CFR 300.216(b)(1). During the term of this waiver, U.S. 
purse seine fishing vessels are not prohibited from at-sea 
transshipment conducted within the national waters of the coastal 
state, in accordance with applicable national laws. Transshipment on 
the high seas remains prohibited; and
     50 CFR 300.216(b)(2) and 50 CFR 300.215(d). During the 
term of this waiver, owners and operators of U.S. commercial fishing 
vessels fishing for highly migratory species in the Convention Area are 
not prohibited from at-sea transshipment without a WCPFC observer on 
board the offloading or receiving vessel.

Classification

    NMFS issues this action pursuant to the WCPFC Implementation Act 
and the regulations at 50 CFR 300.228. This action is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    There is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice 
and the opportunity for public comment on the interim final rule and 
temporary measures included in this action, because prior notice and 
the opportunity for public comment is unnecessary and would be contrary 
to the public interest. Opportunity for public comment is unnecessary 
because the regulations establishing the framework and providing notice 
of the Commission's decisions described above have already been subject 
to notice and public comment, and all that

[[Page 48917]]

remains is to notify the public of the extension of those Commission 
decisions. NMFS will be responding to public comments received on the 
framework and those Commission decisions in a separate rule. In 
addition, the opportunity for public comment is unnecessary because the 
extensions of effective date of three short-notice WCPFC decisions have 
already gone into effect and as a contracting party to the Convention, 
NMFS is obligated to carry out those extensions.
    For the reasons articulated above, there is also good cause under 5 
U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in effective dates for the 
temporary measures.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.

    Dated: August 27, 2021.
Jennifer M. Wallace,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-18846 Filed 8-31-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P