Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Fixed-Gear Commercial Halibut and Sablefish Fisheries; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program; Cost Recovery Authorized Payment Methods
NMFS issues a proposed rule to revise the authorized methods for payment of cost recovery fees for the Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota Program and the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program. This proposed rule is necessary to improve data security procedures and to reduce administrative costs of processing cost recovery fee payments. The proposed rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs, and other applicable laws.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Trawl Rationalization Program; 2016 Cost Recovery
This action provides participants in the Pacific coast groundfish trawl rationalization program with the 2016 fee percentages and ``MS pricing'' needed to calculate the required payments for trawl rationalization program cost recovery fees due in 2016. For calendar year 2016, NMFS announces the following fee percentages by sector: 3.0 percent for the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program; 2.5 percent for the MS Coop Program; and 0.7 percent for the Catcher/ Processer (C/P) Coop Program. For 2016, the MS pricing to be used as a proxy by the C/P Coop Program is: $0.11/lb for Pacific whiting.
National Estuarine Research Reserve System
Under 15 CFR 921.33(d), notice is hereby given that the Stewardship Division, Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce approves the Mission-Aransas, Texas National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Plan revision. The Mission- Aransas Reserve revised plan will replace the plan approved in 2006. The revised management plan outlines the administrative structure; the research/monitoring, stewardship, education, and training programs of the reserve; and the plans for future land acquisition and facility development to support reserve operations. The Mission-Aransas Reserve takes an integrated approach to management, linking research, education, coastal training, and stewardship functions. The Reserve has outlined how it will manage administration and its core program providing detailed actions that will enable it to accomplish specific goals and objectives. Since the last management plan, the Reserve has built out its core programs and monitoring infrastructure; constructed several facilities including a L.E.E.D. certified Estuarine Research Center that serves as the reserve headquarters and includes laboratories, offices, classrooms, interpretative areas and dormitories; and built new partnerships with organizations along the Coastal Bend of Texas. On October 1, 2015, NOAA issued a notice of a thirty day public comment period for the Mission-Aransas Reserve revised plan (80 FR 59138). Responses to the written and oral comments received, and an explanation of how comments were incorporated into the final revised plan, are available in Appendix K to the revised plan (http:// missionaransas.org/sites/default/files/manerr/files/final_201 5- 2020_manerr_management_plan_appendices_dec_2015.pdf). With the approval of this management plan, the Mission-Aransas Reserve will increase their total acreage from 185,708 acres to 186,189. The change is attributable to the recent acquisitions of several parcels by Reserve partners, totaling 481 acres. All of the proposed additions are owned by existing Reserve partners and will be managed for long-term protection and conservation value. These parcels have high ecological value and will enhance the Reserve's ability to provide increased opportunities for research, education, and stewardship. The revised management plan will serve as the guiding document for the expanded 186,189 acre Mission-Aransas Reserve for the next five years. The 2015-2020 Mission-Aransas, Texas Reserve Management Plan, which contains a more detailed description of the boundary change and acquired parcels, is available at (https:// sites.cns.utexas.edu/manerr/about/management-plan). The impacts of the revised management plan have not changed and the initial Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared at the time of designation is still valid. NOAA has made the determination that the revision of the management plan will not have a significant effect on the human environment and therefore qualifies for a categorical exclusion under NOAA Administrative Order 216-6. An environmental assessment will not be prepared.
Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings and Hearings
The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) has begun its annual preseason management process for the 2016 ocean salmon fisheries. This document announces the availability of Pacific Council documents as well as the dates and locations of Pacific Council meetings and public hearings comprising the Pacific Council's complete schedule of events for determining the annual proposed and final modifications to ocean salmon fishery management measures. The agendas for the March and April 2016 Pacific Council meetings will be published in subsequent Federal Register documents prior to the actual meetings.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2015-2016 Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments
This final rule announces inseason changes to management measures in the Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. This action, which is authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (PCGFMP), is intended to allow fisheries to access more abundant groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted stocks. This document also announces a prohibition on the use of midwater trawl gear in the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program shoreward of the boundary line approximating the 150 fm (274 m) depth contour via automatic action, with actual notice (by phone and email) to participants, at noon local time, November 26, 2015 in order to reduce the risk of exceeding the canary rockfish annual catch limit (ACL).
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; North Atlantic Swordfish Fishery
NMFS is adjusting the Swordfish (SWO) General Commercial permit retention limits for the Northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. Caribbean regions for January through June of the 2016 fishing year, unless otherwise noticed. The SWO General Commercial permit retention limits in each of these regions are increased from the default limits to six SWO per vessel per trip. The SWO General Commercial permit retention limit in the Florida SWO Management Area will remain unchanged at the default limit of zero SWO per vessel per trip. This adjustment applies to SWO General Commercial permitted vessels and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat permitted vessels when on a non for-hire trip. This action is based upon consideration of the applicable inseason regional retention limit adjustment criteria.