81 FR 95492 - Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Possession and Trip Limit Modifications for the Common Pool Fishery

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 249 (December 28, 2016)

Page Range95492-95493
FR Document2016-31403

This action increases the possession and trip limits for Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder and reduces the possession and trip limits for Georges Bank cod in place for Northeast multispecies common pool vessels for the remainder of the 2016 fishing year. The Regional Administrator is authorized to adjust possession and trip limits for common pool vessels to facilitate harvesting, or prevent exceeding, the pertinent common pool quotas during the fishing year. Increasing the possession and trip limits on Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder is intended to provide additional fishing opportunities and help allow the common pool fishery to catch its allowable quota for the stock, while reducing the possession and trip limits for Georges Bank cod is necessary to prevent overharvest of the common pool quota for that stock.

Federal Register, Volume 81 Issue 249 (Wednesday, December 28, 2016)
[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 249 (Wednesday, December 28, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 95492-95493]
From the Federal Register Online  [www.thefederalregister.org]
[FR Doc No: 2016-31403]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

RIN 0648-XF074


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery; Possession and Trip Limit Modifications for the 
Common Pool Fishery

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason adjustment.

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SUMMARY: This action increases the possession and trip limits for 
Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder and reduces the 
possession and trip limits for Georges Bank cod in place for Northeast 
multispecies common pool vessels for the remainder of the 2016 fishing 
year. The Regional Administrator is authorized to adjust possession and 
trip limits for common pool vessels to facilitate harvesting, or 
prevent exceeding, the pertinent common pool quotas during the fishing 
year. Increasing the possession and trip limits on Southern New 
England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder is intended to provide 
additional fishing opportunities and help allow the common pool fishery 
to catch its allowable quota for the stock, while reducing the 
possession and trip limits for Georges Bank cod is necessary to prevent 
overharvest of the common pool quota for that stock.

DATES: The action increasing the possession and trip limits for 
Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder is effective 
December 22, 2016, through April 30, 2017. The action decreasing the 
possession and trip limits for Georges Bank cod is effective January 1, 
2017, through April 30, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kyle Molton, Fishery Management 
Specialist, 978-281-9236.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The regulations at 50 CFR 648.86(o) 
authorize the Regional Administrator to adjust the possession and trip 
limits for common pool vessels in order to

[[Page 95493]]

prevent the overharvest and facilitate utilization of the common pool 
quotas. As of December 1, 2016, the common pool had caught less than 5 
percent of its sub-annual catch limit (ACL) of Southern New England/
Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) yellowtail flounder. We project that a moderate 
increase in the possession and trip limit for SNE/MA yellowtail 
flounder will result in greater fishing opportunities and little risk 
of exceeding the common pool sub-ACL of that stock in the current 
fishing year. To allow the common pool fishery to catch more of its 
quota for this stock, effective December 22, 2016, the possession and 
trip limit of SNE/MA yellowtail flounder for all common pool vessels of 
250 lb (113.4 kg) per day-at-sea (DAS), and 500 lb (226.8 kg) per trip 
is increased, to 500 lb (226.8 kg) per DAS, and 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) per 
trip. It is unlawful for any common pool vessel to exceed the new 
possession and trip limits.
    On November 15, 2016, we reduced possession and trip limits for 
Georges Bank (GB) cod to prevent an overage of the common pool's quota 
for the stock. These reduced possession and trip limits were set to 
expire on December 31, 2016, and return to the initial limits set by 
Framework Adjustment 55 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery 
Management Plan (FMP). We project that if the current possession and 
trip limits were to expire there will likely be a significant overage 
of the common pool quota for this stock before the end of the fishing 
year. As of December 1, 2016, the common pool had caught approximately 
76 percent of its sub-ACL of GB cod. To prevent the common pool fishery 
from exceeding its quota for this stock during the remainder of the 
fishing year, effective January 1, 2017, the possession and trip limits 
for GB cod will remain at the current limits (see Table 1) instead of 
returning to the initial limits set by Framework Adjustment 55 to the 
Northeast Multispecies FMP. We are also setting a new 25-lb (11.3-kg) 
per trip GB cod trip limit on common pool vessels fishing with a small 
vessel category permit. As a result, effective January 1, 2017, it is 
unlawful for a common pool vessel to exceed the possession and trip 
limits listed in Table 1.

 Table 1--Current and Updated Common Pool Possession and Trip Limits for
                                 GB Cod
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               Current limits (as      Updated limits
           Permit                of November 15,     (effective January
                                      2016)               1, 2017)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A DAS* (outside of the        25 lb (11.3 kg) per   25 lb (11.3 kg) per
 Eastern U.S./Canada Area).    DAS up to 50 lb       DAS up to 50 lb
                               (22.7 kg) per trip.   (22.7 kg) per trip
                                                     (unchanged).
A DAS (Eastern U.S./Canada    25 lb (11.3 kg) per   25 lb (11.3 kg) per
 Area).                        DAS up to 50 lb       DAS up to 50 lb
                               (22.7 kg) per trip.   (22.7 kg) per trip
                                                     (unchanged).
A DAS (Special Access         50 lb (22.7 kg) per   50 lb (22.7 kg) per
 Programs).                    trip.                 trip (unchanged).
Handgear A..................  25 lb (11.3 kg) per   25 lb (11.3 kg) per
                               trip.                 trip (unchanged).
Handgear B..................  25 lb (11.3 kg) per   25 lb (11.3 kg) per
                               trip.                 trip (unchanged).
Regular B DAS Program.......  25 lb (11.3 kg) per   25 lb (11.3 kg) per
                               DAS up to 50 lb       DAS up to 50 lb
                               (22.7 kg) per trip.   (22.7 kg) per trip
                                                     (unchanged).
Small Vessel Category (<=30   300 lb (136.1 kg) of  300 lb (136.1 kg) of
 ft).                          cod, haddock, and     cod, haddock, and
                               yellowtail flounder   yellowtail flounder
                               combined.             combined.
                              Maximum of 25 lb      Maximum of 25 lb
                               (11.3 kg) of GOM      (11.3 kg) of cod
                               cod and 200 lb        and 200 lb (90.7
                               (90.7 kg) of GOM      kg) of GOM haddock
                               haddock within the    within the 300-lb
                               300-lb (136.1-kg)     (136.1-kg) combined
                               combined trip limit.  trip limit.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Day-at-sea (DAS).

    Weekly quota monitoring reports for the common pool fishery can be 
found on our Web site at: http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/ro/fso/MultiMonReports.htm. 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.

Classification

    This action is required 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 impracticable and 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 to prevent the overharvest and 
facilitate utilization of common pool sub-ACLs. The catch data used to 
justify increasing the SNE/MA yellowtail flounder possession and trip 
limits and maintaining current possession and trip limits for GB cod 
only recently became available. The possession and trip limit increase 
implemented through this action allows for increased harvest of SNE/MA 
yellowtail flounder, to help ensure that the fishery may achieve the 
optimum yield (OY) for this stock. As a result, the time necessary to 
provide for prior notice and comment, and a 30-day delay in 
effectiveness, would prevent us from increasing the possession and trip 
limit for SNE/MA yellowtail flounder in a timely manner, which could 
prevent the fishery from achieving the OY. Further, the same delay 
would prevent us from implementing measures to prevent overutilization 
of the GB cod sub-ACL, leading to further negative impacts on the 
fishery. Either outcome would undermine management objectives of the 
Northeast Multispecies FMP and cause unnecessary negative economic 
impacts to the common pool fishery. There is additional good cause to 
waive the delayed effective period because this action in part relieves 
restrictions on fishing vessels by increasing a trip limit on SNE/MA 
yellowtail flounder and also limits regulatory confusion by maintaining 
status quo restrictions to more effectively prevent overharvest of the 
GB cod sub-ACL.

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

    Dated: December 22, 2016.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-31403 Filed 12-22-16; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P


81_FR_95741
Current View
CategoryRegulatory Information
CollectionFederal Register
sudoc ClassAE 2.7:
GS 4.107:
AE 2.106:
PublisherOffice of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration
SectionRules and Regulations
ActionTemporary rule; inseason adjustment.
DatesThe action increasing the possession and trip limits for Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder is effective December 22, 2016, through April 30, 2017. The action decreasing the possession and trip limits for Georges Bank cod is effective January 1, 2017, through April 30, 2017.
ContactKyle Molton, Fishery Management Specialist, 978-281-9236.
FR Citation81 FR 95492 
RIN Number0648-XF07

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