Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Biennial Specifications; 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 Specifications for Pacific Mackerel, 48969-48971 [2021-18851]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 167 / Wednesday, September 1, 2021 / Proposed Rules fishery and 86 percent to the recreational fishery (a 3-percentage point change from the current allocations of 17 percent to the commercial sector and 83 percent to the recreational sector); • Re-allocate bluefish commercial quota to the states from Maine to Florida based on the most recent 10 years of landings data (2009–2018) rather than outdated historical information (1981– 1989), including a 0.1-percent minimum default allocation so no states in the management unit lose quota entirely; • Implement a 7-year rebuilding plan using a constant fishing mortality model where fishing mortality (F) = 0.154; • Revise measures to allow the sector quota transfer to be bi-directional (from commercial to recreational or vice versa), with a revised maximum transfer cap of 10-percent of the Acceptable Biological Catch; and • Revise administrative measures in the specifications process to allow for the accounting of sector-specific management uncertainty. Additional information on these proposed changes can be found in the EA for this amendment and forthcoming proposed rule. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Public Comment Instructions The Magnuson-Stevens Act allows NMFS as the implementing agency to approve, partially approve, or disapprove measures recommended by the Council in a regulatory amendment based on whether the measures are consistent with the FMP, the MagnusonStevens Act and its National Standards, and other applicable law. As such, NMFS is soliciting public comments on whether the measures in Amendment 7 to the Atlantic Bluefish FMP and its supporting documents are consistent with the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. Public comments on this amendment may be submitted through the end of the comment period specified in the DATES section of this notice of availability (NOA). A proposed rule that would implement this amendment, including draft regulatory text, will also be published in the Federal Register for public comment. All comments received by the end of the comment period on this NOA, whether specifically directed to the NOA or the proposed rule, will be considered in the approval/ disapproval decision on Amendment 7. Comments received after the end of the comment period for this NOA will not be considered in the approval/ disapproval decision of this action. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Aug 31, 2021 Jkt 253001 Dated: August 27, 2021. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–18848 Filed 8–31–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 210826–0168] RIN 0648–BK56 Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Biennial Specifications; 2021–2022 and 2022–2023 Specifications for Pacific Mackerel National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: NMFS proposes to implement allowable catch levels, an overfishing limit, an allowable biological catch, and an annual catch limit for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. exclusive economic zone off the West Coast (California, Oregon and Washington) for the fishing seasons 2021–2022 and 2022–2023. This proposed rule is pursuant to the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan. The proposed harvest guideline and annual catch target for the 2021– 2022 fishing season are 8,323 metric tons (mt) and 7,323 mt, respectively. The proposed harvest guideline and annual catch target for the 2022–2023 fishing season are 5,822 mt and 4,822 mt, respectively. If the fishery attains the annual catch target in either fishing season, the directed fishery will close, reserving the 1,000-mt difference between the harvest guideline and annual catch target as a set-aside for incidental landings in other Coastal Pelagic Species fisheries and other sources of mortality. This document is intended to conserve and manage the Pacific mackerel stock off the U.S. West Coast. DATES: Comments must be received by October 1, 2021. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2021–0066, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov and enter NOAA– SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 48969 NMFS–2021–0066 in the Search box. Click on the ‘‘Comment’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method or received after the end of the comment period may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Taylor Debevec, West Coast Region, NMFS, (562) 619–2052, Taylor.Debevec@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., NMFS manages the Pacific mackerel fishery in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the West Coast in accordance with the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The CPS FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS to set annual harvest specifications for the Pacific mackerel fishery based on the annual specification framework and control rules in the FMP. The Pacific mackerel fishing season runs from July 1 to June 30. The purpose of this proposed rule is to implement these harvest specifications, which include allowable harvest levels (i.e., annual catch target (ACT) and harvest guideline (HG)), an annual catch limit (ACL), and annual catch reference points (i.e., overfishing limit (OFL) and acceptable biological catch (ABC)). The uncertainty surrounding the current biomass estimates for Pacific mackerel for the 2021–2022 and 2022–2023 fishing seasons was taken into consideration in the development of these harvest specifications. Any Pacific mackerel harvested between July 1, 2021, and the effective date of the final rule would count toward the 2021–2022 ACT and HG. During public meetings each year, the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) presents biomass estimates for Pacific mackerel to the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Council) CPS Management Team (CPSMT), the Council’s CPS Advisory Subpanel (CPSAS) and the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee E:\FR\FM\01SEP1.SGM 01SEP1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS 48970 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 167 / Wednesday, September 1, 2021 / Proposed Rules (SSC), and the biomass estimates and the status of the fisheries are reviewed and discussed. The CPSMT, CPSAS, and SSC then provide recommendations and comments to the Council regarding the calculated OFL, ABC, ACL, HG and ACT. Following Council review and after hearing public comment, the Council adopts biomass estimates and makes its harvest specification recommendations to NMFS. Biennial specifications published in the Federal Register establish these allowable harvest levels (i.e., ACT/HG) as well as OFL, ABC, and ACL for the upcoming two Pacific mackerel fishing seasons. The control rules in the CPS FMP include the HG control rule, which, in conjunction with the OFL and ABC rules, are used to manage Pacific mackerel. According to the FMP, the quota for the principal commercial fishery, the HG, is determined using the FMP-specified HG formula. The HG is based, in large part, on the estimate of stock biomass for the fishing year. The biomass estimate is an explicit part of the various harvest control rules for Pacific mackerel, and as the estimated biomass decreases or increases from one year to the next, the resulting allowable catch levels similarly trend. The harvest control rule in the CPS FMP is HG = [(Biomass-Cutoff) * Fraction * Distribution] with the parameters described as follows: 1. Biomass. The estimated stock biomass of Pacific mackerel for the 2021–2022 management season is 57,832 metric tons (mt). The estimated stock biomass of Pacific mackerel for the 2022–2023 management season is 45,925 mt. 2. Cutoff. This is the biomass level below which no commercial fishery is allowed. The FMP established this level at 18,200 mt. 3. Fraction. The harvest fraction is the percentage of the biomass above 18,200 mt that may be harvested. This is set in the FMP at 30 percent. 4. Distribution. Pacific mackerel range from Mexico to Alaska and regularly migrate between Mexico and the U.S. West Coast. Because some of the Pacific mackerel stock exists outside of U.S. waters, the Distribution parameter is used to estimate the proportion of the total biomass in U.S. waters and to calculate U.S. catch limits. The average portion of the total Pacific mackerel biomass estimated in the West Coast U.S. EEZ is set in the FMP at 70 percent. The 70 percent distribution estimate is based on the average historical larval distribution obtained from scientific cruises and the distribution of the resource according to the logbooks of aerial fish-spotters. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Aug 31, 2021 Jkt 253001 The Council has recommended, and NMFS is proposing, Pacific mackerel harvest specifications for both the 2021– 2022 and 2022–2023 fishing seasons. For the 2021–2022 Pacific mackerel fishing season these include an OFL of 12,145 mt, an ABC and ACL of 9,446 mt, a HG of 8,323 mt, and an annual ACT of 7,323 mt. For the 2022–2023 Pacific mackerel fishing season these include an OFL of 9,644 mt, and ABC and ACL of 7,501 mt, a HG of 5,822 mt, and an ACT of 4,822 mt. These catch specifications are based on the control rules established in the CPS FMP and biomass estimates of 57,832 mt (2021– 2022) and 45,925 mt (2022–2023). The biomass estimates are the result of a catch-only stock assessment the NMFS SWFSC completed in June 2021. The Council’s SSC and the Council approved this stock assessment and resulting biomass estimates as the best scientific information available for management at the June 2021 Council meeting. Under this proposed action, in the unlikely event that catch reaches the ACT in either fishing season, directed fishing would close, reserving the difference between the HG and ACT (1,000 mt) as a set-aside for incidental landings in other fisheries and other sources of mortality.1 For the remainder of the fishing season, incidental landings in CPS fisheries would be constrained to a 45-percent incidental catch allowance (in other words, no more than 45 percent by weight of the CPS landed per trip may be Pacific mackerel); and in non-CPS fisheries, up to 3 mt of Pacific mackerel may be landed incidentally per fishing trip. The incidental set-aside is intended to allow continued operation of fisheries for other stocks, particularly other CPS stocks that may school with Pacific mackerel. The NMFS West Coast Regional Administrator will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the date of any closure of directed fishing (when harvest levels reach or exceed the ACT). Additionally, to ensure the regulated community is informed of any closure, NMFS will also make announcements through other means available, including email to fishermen, processors, and state fishery management agencies. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined 1 Directed fishing for live bait and minor directed fishing is allowed to continue during a closure of the directed fishery. PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 that this proposed rule is consistent with the CPS 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. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, for the following reasons: For Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. The small entities that would be affected by the proposed action are those vessels that harvest Pacific mackerel as part of the West Coast Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) purse seine fleet and are all considered small businesses under the above size standards. The CPS Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and its implementing regulations requires the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to set an overfishing limit (OFL), acceptable biological catch (ABC), annual catch limit (ACL), harvest guidelines (HG) and annual catch target (ACT) for the Pacific mackerel fishery based on the harvest control rules in the FMP. These specific harvest control rules are applied to the current stock biomass estimate to derive these catch specifications, which are used to manage the commercial take of Pacific mackerel. A component of these control rules is that as the estimated biomass decreases or increases from one year to the next, so do the applicable quotas. Pacific mackerel harvest is one component of CPS fisheries off the U.S. West Coast, which also includes the fisheries for Pacific sardine, northern anchovy and market squid. Pacific mackerel are principally caught off southern California within the limited entry portion (south of 39 degrees N latitude; Point Arena, California) of the fishery. Currently there are 53 vessels permitted in the Federal CPS limited entry fishery off California. The average annual per vessel revenue in 2020 for E:\FR\FM\01SEP1.SGM 01SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 167 / Wednesday, September 1, 2021 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS vessels that landed Pacific mackerel was well below the threshold level of $11 million; therefore, all of these vessels are considered small businesses under the RFA. Because each affected vessel is a small business, this proposed rule is considered to equally affect all of these small entities in the same manner. Therefore, this rule would not create disproportionate costs between small and large vessels/businesses. NMFS used the ex-vessel revenue information for a profitability analysis, as the cost data for the harvesting operations of CPS finfish vessels was limited or unavailable. For the 2019– 2020 fishing year, the HG was 11,109 mt with an ACT of 10,109 mt and an incidental set-aside of 1,000 mt. Approximately 3,840 mt of Pacific mackerel were harvested in the 2019– 2020 fishing year with an estimated exvessel value of approximately $1,299,153. The HG for the 2021–2022 Pacific mackerel fishing season is 8,323 mt, with an ACT of 7,323 mt and an incidental set-aside of 1,000 mt. The HG for the 2022–2023 Pacific mackerel fishing season is 5,822 mt with an ACT of 4,822 mt and an incidental set-aside of 1,000 mt. The proposed ACTs for these fishing years are lower than the prior two fishing years (i.e., 10,109 mt for 2019–2020 and 6,950 mt for 2020– 2021). However, Pacific mackerel landings in the U.S. over the last ten management seasons (2009–2010 through 2019–2020) have averaged only about 3,790 mt. Therefore it is highly unlikely that the ACTs proposed in this VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Aug 31, 2021 Jkt 253001 rule will limit the potential profitability to the fleet from catching Pacific mackerel compared to last season or recent catch levels. Accordingly, vessel income from fishing is not expected to be altered as a result of this rule as it compares to recent catches in the fishery, including under the previous season’s regulations. Based on the disproportionality and profitability analysis above, the proposed action, if adopted, will not have adverse or disproportional economic impact on these small business entities. As a result, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required, and none has been prepared. This action does not contain a collection-of-information requirement for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act. There are no relevant Federal rules that may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the proposed action. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: August 26, 2021. 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 660 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: ■ PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 48971 Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq. 2. In § 660.511, revise paragraphs (i) and (j) to read as follows: ■ § 660.511 Catch restrictions. * * * * * (i) The following harvest specifications apply for Pacific mackerel: (1) For the Pacific mackerel fishing season July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, the harvest guideline is 8,323 mt and the ACT is 7,323 mt; and (2) For the Pacific mackerel fishing season July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023, the harvest guideline is 5,822 mt and the ACT of 4,822 mt. (j) When an ACT in paragraph (i) of this section has been reached or exceeded, then for the remainder of the Pacific mackerel fishing season, Pacific mackerel may not be targeted and landings of Pacific mackerel may not exceed: 45 percent of landings when Pacific mackerel are landed in CPS fisheries (in other words, no more than 45 percent by weight of the CPS landed per trip may be Pacific mackerel), or up to 3 mt of Pacific mackerel when landed in non-CPS fisheries. The Regional Administer shall announce in the Federal Register the date that an ACT is reached or exceeded, and the date and time that the restrictions described in this paragraph go into effect. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2021–18851 Filed 8–31–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\01SEP1.SGM 01SEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 167 (Wednesday, September 1, 2021)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 48969-48971]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-18851]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 210826-0168]
RIN 0648-BK56


Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species 
Fisheries; Biennial Specifications; 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 
Specifications for Pacific Mackerel

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

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to implement allowable catch levels, an 
overfishing limit, an allowable biological catch, and an annual catch 
limit for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. exclusive economic zone off the 
West Coast (California, Oregon and Washington) for the fishing seasons 
2021-2022 and 2022-2023. This proposed rule is pursuant to the Coastal 
Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan. The proposed harvest guideline 
and annual catch target for the 2021-2022 fishing season are 8,323 
metric tons (mt) and 7,323 mt, respectively. The proposed harvest 
guideline and annual catch target for the 2022-2023 fishing season are 
5,822 mt and 4,822 mt, respectively. If the fishery attains the annual 
catch target in either fishing season, the directed fishery will close, 
reserving the 1,000-mt difference between the harvest guideline and 
annual catch target as a set-aside for incidental landings in other 
Coastal Pelagic Species fisheries and other sources of mortality. This 
document is intended to conserve and manage the Pacific mackerel stock 
off the U.S. West Coast.

DATES: Comments must be received by October 1, 2021.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2021-0066, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov 
and enter NOAA-NMFS-2021-0066 in the Search box. Click on the 
``Comment'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach 
your comments.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method or received after 
the end of the comment period may not be considered by NMFS. All 
comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be 
posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All 
personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), 
confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information 
submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS 
will accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if 
you wish to remain anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Taylor Debevec, West Coast Region, 
NMFS, (562) 619-2052, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801 
et seq., NMFS manages the Pacific mackerel fishery in the U.S. 
exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the West Coast in accordance with the 
Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The CPS 
FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS to set annual harvest 
specifications for the Pacific mackerel fishery based on the annual 
specification framework and control rules in the FMP. The Pacific 
mackerel fishing season runs from July 1 to June 30. The purpose of 
this proposed rule is to implement these harvest specifications, which 
include allowable harvest levels (i.e., annual catch target (ACT) and 
harvest guideline (HG)), an annual catch limit (ACL), and annual catch 
reference points (i.e., overfishing limit (OFL) and acceptable 
biological catch (ABC)). The uncertainty surrounding the current 
biomass estimates for Pacific mackerel for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 
fishing seasons was taken into consideration in the development of 
these harvest specifications. Any Pacific mackerel harvested between 
July 1, 2021, and the effective date of the final rule would count 
toward the 2021-2022 ACT and HG.
    During public meetings each year, the NMFS Southwest Fisheries 
Science Center (SWFSC) presents biomass estimates for Pacific mackerel 
to the Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council) CPS Management 
Team (CPSMT), the Council's CPS Advisory Subpanel (CPSAS) and the 
Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee

[[Page 48970]]

(SSC), and the biomass estimates and the status of the fisheries are 
reviewed and discussed. The CPSMT, CPSAS, and SSC then provide 
recommendations and comments to the Council regarding the calculated 
OFL, ABC, ACL, HG and ACT. Following Council review and after hearing 
public comment, the Council adopts biomass estimates and makes its 
harvest specification recommendations to NMFS. Biennial specifications 
published in the Federal Register establish these allowable harvest 
levels (i.e., ACT/HG) as well as OFL, ABC, and ACL for the upcoming two 
Pacific mackerel fishing seasons.
    The control rules in the CPS FMP include the HG control rule, 
which, in conjunction with the OFL and ABC rules, are used to manage 
Pacific mackerel. According to the FMP, the quota for the principal 
commercial fishery, the HG, is determined using the FMP-specified HG 
formula. The HG is based, in large part, on the estimate of stock 
biomass for the fishing year. The biomass estimate is an explicit part 
of the various harvest control rules for Pacific mackerel, and as the 
estimated biomass decreases or increases from one year to the next, the 
resulting allowable catch levels similarly trend. The harvest control 
rule in the CPS FMP is HG = [(Biomass-Cutoff) * Fraction * 
Distribution] with the parameters described as follows:
    1. Biomass. The estimated stock biomass of Pacific mackerel for the 
2021-2022 management season is 57,832 metric tons (mt). The estimated 
stock biomass of Pacific mackerel for the 2022-2023 management season 
is 45,925 mt.
    2. Cutoff. This is the biomass level below which no commercial 
fishery is allowed. The FMP established this level at 18,200 mt.
    3. Fraction. The harvest fraction is the percentage of the biomass 
above 18,200 mt that may be harvested. This is set in the FMP at 30 
percent.
    4. Distribution. Pacific mackerel range from Mexico to Alaska and 
regularly migrate between Mexico and the U.S. West Coast. Because some 
of the Pacific mackerel stock exists outside of U.S. waters, the 
Distribution parameter is used to estimate the proportion of the total 
biomass in U.S. waters and to calculate U.S. catch limits. The average 
portion of the total Pacific mackerel biomass estimated in the West 
Coast U.S. EEZ is set in the FMP at 70 percent. The 70 percent 
distribution estimate is based on the average historical larval 
distribution obtained from scientific cruises and the distribution of 
the resource according to the logbooks of aerial fish-spotters.
    The Council has recommended, and NMFS is proposing, Pacific 
mackerel harvest specifications for both the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 
fishing seasons. For the 2021-2022 Pacific mackerel fishing season 
these include an OFL of 12,145 mt, an ABC and ACL of 9,446 mt, a HG of 
8,323 mt, and an annual ACT of 7,323 mt. For the 2022-2023 Pacific 
mackerel fishing season these include an OFL of 9,644 mt, and ABC and 
ACL of 7,501 mt, a HG of 5,822 mt, and an ACT of 4,822 mt. These catch 
specifications are based on the control rules established in the CPS 
FMP and biomass estimates of 57,832 mt (2021-2022) and 45,925 mt (2022-
2023). The biomass estimates are the result of a catch-only stock 
assessment the NMFS SWFSC completed in June 2021. The Council's SSC and 
the Council approved this stock assessment and resulting biomass 
estimates as the best scientific information available for management 
at the June 2021 Council meeting.
    Under this proposed action, in the unlikely event that catch 
reaches the ACT in either fishing season, directed fishing would close, 
reserving the difference between the HG and ACT (1,000 mt) as a set-
aside for incidental landings in other fisheries and other sources of 
mortality.\1\ For the remainder of the fishing season, incidental 
landings in CPS fisheries would be constrained to a 45-percent 
incidental catch allowance (in other words, no more than 45 percent by 
weight of the CPS landed per trip may be Pacific mackerel); and in non-
CPS fisheries, up to 3 mt of Pacific mackerel may be landed 
incidentally per fishing trip. The incidental set-aside is intended to 
allow continued operation of fisheries for other stocks, particularly 
other CPS stocks that may school with Pacific mackerel.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Directed fishing for live bait and minor directed fishing is 
allowed to continue during a closure of the directed fishery.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The NMFS West Coast Regional Administrator will publish a notice in 
the Federal Register announcing the date of any closure of directed 
fishing (when harvest levels reach or exceed the ACT). Additionally, to 
ensure the regulated community is informed of any closure, NMFS will 
also make announcements through other means available, including email 
to fishermen, processors, and state fishery management agencies.

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 the CPS 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.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, 
for the following reasons:
    For Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) purposes only, NMFS has 
established a small business size standard for businesses, including 
their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 
CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS 
code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently 
owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation 
(including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in 
excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. The 
small entities that would be affected by the proposed action are those 
vessels that harvest Pacific mackerel as part of the West Coast Coastal 
Pelagic Species (CPS) purse seine fleet and are all considered small 
businesses under the above size standards.
    The CPS Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and its implementing 
regulations requires the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to 
set an overfishing limit (OFL), acceptable biological catch (ABC), 
annual catch limit (ACL), harvest guidelines (HG) and annual catch 
target (ACT) for the Pacific mackerel fishery based on the harvest 
control rules in the FMP. These specific harvest control rules are 
applied to the current stock biomass estimate to derive these catch 
specifications, which are used to manage the commercial take of Pacific 
mackerel. A component of these control rules is that as the estimated 
biomass decreases or increases from one year to the next, so do the 
applicable quotas.
    Pacific mackerel harvest is one component of CPS fisheries off the 
U.S. West Coast, which also includes the fisheries for Pacific sardine, 
northern anchovy and market squid. Pacific mackerel are principally 
caught off southern California within the limited entry portion (south 
of 39 degrees N latitude; Point Arena, California) of the fishery. 
Currently there are 53 vessels permitted in the Federal CPS limited 
entry fishery off California. The average annual per vessel revenue in 
2020 for

[[Page 48971]]

vessels that landed Pacific mackerel was well below the threshold level 
of $11 million; therefore, all of these vessels are considered small 
businesses under the RFA. Because each affected vessel is a small 
business, this proposed rule is considered to equally affect all of 
these small entities in the same manner. Therefore, this rule would not 
create disproportionate costs between small and large vessels/
businesses.
    NMFS used the ex-vessel revenue information for a profitability 
analysis, as the cost data for the harvesting operations of CPS finfish 
vessels was limited or unavailable. For the 2019-2020 fishing year, the 
HG was 11,109 mt with an ACT of 10,109 mt and an incidental set-aside 
of 1,000 mt. Approximately 3,840 mt of Pacific mackerel were harvested 
in the 2019-2020 fishing year with an estimated ex-vessel value of 
approximately $1,299,153.
    The HG for the 2021-2022 Pacific mackerel fishing season is 8,323 
mt, with an ACT of 7,323 mt and an incidental set-aside of 1,000 mt. 
The HG for the 2022-2023 Pacific mackerel fishing season is 5,822 mt 
with an ACT of 4,822 mt and an incidental set-aside of 1,000 mt. The 
proposed ACTs for these fishing years are lower than the prior two 
fishing years (i.e., 10,109 mt for 2019-2020 and 6,950 mt for 2020-
2021). However, Pacific mackerel landings in the U.S. over the last ten 
management seasons (2009-2010 through 2019-2020) have averaged only 
about 3,790 mt. Therefore it is highly unlikely that the ACTs proposed 
in this rule will limit the potential profitability to the fleet from 
catching Pacific mackerel compared to last season or recent catch 
levels. Accordingly, vessel income from fishing is not expected to be 
altered as a result of this rule as it compares to recent catches in 
the fishery, including under the previous season's regulations.
    Based on the disproportionality and profitability analysis above, 
the proposed action, if adopted, will not have adverse or 
disproportional economic impact on these small business entities. As a 
result, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required, and 
none has been prepared.
    This action does not contain a collection-of-information 
requirement for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act. There are no 
relevant Federal rules that may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with 
the proposed action.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: August 26, 2021.
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 660 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

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1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 
16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.

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2. In Sec.  660.511, revise paragraphs (i) and (j) to read as follows:


Sec.  660.511  Catch restrictions.

* * * * *
    (i) The following harvest specifications apply for Pacific 
mackerel:
    (1) For the Pacific mackerel fishing season July 1, 2021, through 
June 30, 2022, the harvest guideline is 8,323 mt and the ACT is 7,323 
mt; and
    (2) For the Pacific mackerel fishing season July 1, 2022, through 
June 30, 2023, the harvest guideline is 5,822 mt and the ACT of 4,822 
mt.
    (j) When an ACT in paragraph (i) of this section has been reached 
or exceeded, then for the remainder of the Pacific mackerel fishing 
season, Pacific mackerel may not be targeted and landings of Pacific 
mackerel may not exceed: 45 percent of landings when Pacific mackerel 
are landed in CPS fisheries (in other words, no more than 45 percent by 
weight of the CPS landed per trip may be Pacific mackerel), or up to 3 
mt of Pacific mackerel when landed in non-CPS fisheries. The Regional 
Administer shall announce in the Federal Register the date that an ACT 
is reached or exceeded, and the date and time that the restrictions 
described in this paragraph go into effect.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2021-18851 Filed 8-31-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P