Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 50
NMFS partially approves Framework Adjustment 50 (Framework 50) to the Northeast (NE) Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP), and implements the approved measures. NMFS also implements three parallel emergency actions to set fishing year (FY) 2013 catch limits for Georges Bank (GB) yellowtail flounder and white hake, and to modify the maximum Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod carryover available to sectors from FY 2012 to FY 2013. Framework 50 sets specifications for FYs 2013-2015, including 2013 total allowable catches (TACs) for U.S./Canada stocks, and revises the rebuilding program and management measures for Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) winter flounder. This final rule also implements FY 2013 management measures for the recreational and common pool fisheries and clarifies how to account for sector carryover for FY 2013 and for FY 2014 and beyond. These actions are necessary to prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, achieve optimum yield (OY), and ensure that management measures are based on the best available scientific information.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 2013 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for South Atlantic Golden Tilefish
NMFS implements accountability measures for the commercial sector for golden tilefish in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic. Commercial landings for golden tilefish, as estimated by the Science and Research Director (SRD), are projected to reach the commercial annual catch limit (ACL) for golden tilefish on May 5, 2013. Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial sector for golden tilefish in the South Atlantic EEZ on May 5, 2013, and it will remain closed until the start of the next fishing season, January 1, 2014. This closure is necessary to protect the golden tilefish resource.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast (NE) Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 48
Through this interim final rule, NMFS announces that it partially approves Framework Adjustment 48 to the NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and implements the approved measures in the regulations. Framework 48 is the first of two parallel and related actions developed by the New England Fishery Management Council (Council) to respond to updated stock status information and to adjust other management measures in the NE multispecies (groundfish) fishery beginning in fishing year (FY) 2013. This action implements new status determination criteria for Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod, Georges Bank (GB) cod, Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) yellowtail flounder, and white hake based on new benchmark assessments completed for these stocks in 2012 and 2013. NMFS is approving and implementing updated status determination criteria for white hake through this interim final rule and accepting further comment on this measure since it was not available for comment in the Framework 48 proposed rule. NMFS will publish a subsequent final rule to respond to any comments received, if necessary. Through this action, NMFS has also approved and is implementing the following Framework 48 measures: Elimination of dockside monitoring requirements for the groundfish fishery; lower minimum fish sizes for several groundfish stocks; clarified goals and performance standard for groundfish monitoring programs; revisions to the allocation of GB yellowtail flounder to the scallop fishery; and establishment of sub-annual catch limits (ACLs) of GB yellowtail flounder and SNE/MA windowpane flounder for the scallop and other non- groundfish fisheries. NMFS also approved revisions to recreational and commercial accountability measures (AMs), including amendments to existing AMs for windowpane flounder, ocean pout, and Atlantic halibut, and new ``reactive'' AMs for Atlantic wolffish and SNE/MA winter flounder, to address a remand by the U.S. District Court of Appeals. NMFS disapproved some measures in Framework 48: A provision for cost- sharing of monitoring costs between the industry and NMFS; a provision to delay industry-funded monitoring to FY 2014; finer scale discard rate strata for GB yellowtail flounder; and a provision to remove requirements for groundfish trawlers to stow their gear when transiting closed areas. Through this interim final rule, NMFS also withdraws a proposed correction to the regulations specific to monitoring of the Eastern U.S./Canada quotas, and will be accepting additional public comment on this issue. These measures are necessary to meet the requirements of the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act, most notably preventing overfishing, ensuring that management measures are based on the best available science, and mitigating, to the extent practicable, potential negative economic impacts from reductions in catch limits anticipated for fishing year FY 2013.
Final Notice of Applicability of Special Use Permit Requirements to Certain Categories of Activities Conducted Within the National Marine Sanctuary System
In accordance with a requirement of Public Law 106-513 (16 U.S.C. 1441(b)), NOAA hereby gives public notice of the final revised list of categories of activities subject to the special use permit requirements of Section 310 of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Fisheries Research
NMFS' Office of Protected Resources has received a request from the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) for authorization to take small numbers of marine mammals incidental to conducting fisheries research, over the course of five years from the date of issuance. Pursuant to regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing receipt of SWFSC's request under section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA for the development and implementation of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals. We invite information, suggestions, and comments on SWFSC's application and request.
Notice of Availability of a Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment for Fisheries Research Conducted and Funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Fisheries Science Center
NMFS announces the availability of the ``Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (DPEA) for Fisheries Research Conducted and Funded by the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC).'' Publication of this notice begins the official public comment period for this DPEA. The purpose of the DPEA is to evaluate, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of conducting and funding fisheries and ecosystem research along the U.S. West Coast, throughout the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean, and in the Scotia Sea area off Antarctica.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Implementation of the Shark Conservation Act of 2010
NMFS proposes a rule to implement the provisions of the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 (SCA) and prohibit any person from removing any of the fins of a shark at sea, possessing shark fins on board a fishing vessel unless they are naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, transferring or receiving fins from one vessel to another at sea unless the fins are naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, landing shark fins unless they are naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, or landing shark carcasses without their fins naturally attached. NMFS proposes this action to amend existing regulations and make them consistent with the SCA.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; 2013 Sector Operations Plans and Contracts and Allocation of Northeast Multispecies Annual Catch Entitlements
We are partially approving 17 sector operations plans and contracts for fishing year (FY) 2013, providing allocations of Northeast (NE) multispecies to these sectors, and granting 23 regulatory exemptions. Approval of sector operations plans is necessary to allocate quotas to the sectors and for the sectors to operate. The NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) allows limited access permit holders to form sectors, and requires sectors to submit their operations plans and contracts to us, NMFS, for approval or disapproval. Approved sectors are exempt from certain effort control regulations and receive allocation of NE multispecies (groundfish) based on their members' fishing history. We are accepting additional public comment on the revised explanation of at-sea monitoring (ASM) coverage for FY 2013 for a 30-day period, and revisions to the exemption from the limits on the number of gillnets imposed on Day gillnet vessels for a 15-day period.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; American Fisheries Act, Amendment 80 Program, Western Alaska Community Development Quota Program; Public Workshops
NMFS announces two workshops to solicit input from participants in the pollock fishery in the Bering Sea authorized under the American Fisheries Act (AFA), the Aleutian Islands pollock fishery, the Amendment 80 trawl fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, and the Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program. The workshops will address (1) The applicability of cost recovery fees mandated under section 304(d)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) to the AFA, Aleutian Islands pollock fishery, Amendment 80 Program, and CDQ Program, (2) an overview of the potential impacts of cost recovery programs, and (3) an overview of proposed regulatory approaches to implement cost recovery programs. The meeting is open to the public, but NMFS is particularly seeking participation by people who are knowledgeable about the AFA, Aleutian Islands pollock fishery, Amendment 80, and CDQ programs and who can discuss with NMFS the potential impacts of cost recovery programs and proposed regulatory approaches.
Marine Mammals; File No. 16388
Notice is hereby given that a permit has been issued to Mark Baumgartner, Ph.D., Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MS33 Biology Department, Woods Hole, MA 02543, to conduct research on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), blue whales (B. musculus), sei whales (B. borealis), bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus), North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), North Pacific right whales (E. japonica), and Eastern North Pacific gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus).