[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 136 (Monday, July 16, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 41728-41740]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-17257]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Chapters II, III, IV, V, and VI

RIN 0648-XC012


Plan for Periodic Review of Regulations

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires that the 
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) periodically review existing 
regulations that have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities, such as small businesses, small 
organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. This plan 
describes how NMFS will perform this review and describes the 
regulations that are being proposed for review during the current 
review-cycle.

DATES: Written comments must be received by NMFS by August 15, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
0648-XC012 by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal www.regulations.gov. To 
submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the ``submit a 
comment'' icon, then enter 0648-XC012. Locate the document you wish to 
comment on from the resulting list and click on the ``Submit a 
Comment'' icon on the right of that line.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Wendy Morrison, National 
Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, 1315 
East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (mark outside of envelope 
``Comments on 610 review'').
     Fax: 301-713-1193; Attn: Wendy Morrison.
    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 
methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and 
considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered. 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.) submitted voluntarily by the 
sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will 
accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you 
wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be 
accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file 
formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wendy Morrison, (301) 427-8504, for 
questions on rules under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section listed in 
items 1 through 72; and Heather Coll, (301) 427-8455, for questions on 
rules under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section listed in items 73 
through 76.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The RFA, 5 U.S.C. 601, requires that Federal agencies take into 
account how their regulations affect ``small entities,'' including 
small businesses, small

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Governmental jurisdictions and small organizations. For regulations 
proposed after January 1, 1981, the agency must either prepare a 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis or certify that the regulation, if 
promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. Section 602 requires that NMFS 
issue an Agenda of Regulations identifying rules the Agency is 
developing that are likely to have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.
    Section 610 of the RFA requires Federal agencies to review existing 
regulations. It requires that NMFS publish a plan in the Federal 
Register explaining how it will review its existing regulations which 
have or will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities. Regulations that become effective after January 1, 
1981, must be reviewed within 10 years of the publication date of the 
final rule. Section 610(c) requires that NMFS publish annually in the 
Federal Register a list of rules it will review during the succeeding 
12 months. The list must describe the rule, explain the need for it, 
give the legal basis for it, and invite public comment.

Criteria for Review of Existing Regulations

    The purpose of the review is to determine whether existing rules 
should be left unchanged, or whether they should be revised or 
rescinded in order to minimize significant economic impacts on a 
substantial number of small entities, consistent with the objectives of 
other applicable statutes. In deciding whether change is necessary, the 
RFA establishes five factors that NMFS will consider:
    (1) Whether the rule is still needed;
    (2) What type of complaints or comments were received concerning 
the rule from the public;
    (3) The complexity of the rule;
    (4) How much the rule overlaps, duplicates or conflicts with other 
Federal rules, and, to the extent feasible, with State and local 
governmental rules; and
    (5) How long it has been since the rule has been evaluated or how 
much the technology, economic conditions, or other factors have changed 
in the area affected by the rule.

Plan for Periodic Review of Rules

    NMFS will conduct reviews in such a way as to ensure that all rules 
for which a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis was prepared are 
reviewed within 10 years of the year in which they were originally 
issued. By December 31, 2012, NMFS will review all such rules issued 
during 2003 and 2004:
    1. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Steller Sea 
Lion Protection Measures for the Groundfish Fisheries off Alaska. RIN 
0648-AQ08 (68 FR 204, January 2, 2003). NMFS issued a final rule to 
implement Steller sea lion protection measures to avoid the likelihood 
that the groundfish fisheries off Alaska would jeopardize the continued 
existence of the western distinct population segment of Steller sea 
lions or adversely modify its critical habitat. These management 
measures dispersed fishing effort over time and area to provide 
protection from potential competition for important Steller sea lion 
prey species in waters adjacent to rookeries and important haulouts. 
The intended effect of this final rule was to protect the endangered 
western distinct population segment of Steller sea lions, as required 
under the Endangered Species Act, and to conserve and manage the 
groundfish resources in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands management area 
and the Gulf of Alaska in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    2. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Revisions 
to Observer Coverage Requirements for Vessels and Shoreside Processors 
in the North Pacific Groundfish Fisheries. RIN 0648-AM44 (68 FR 715, 
January 7, 2003). NMFS issued a final rule to amend regulations 
governing the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program. This action 
was necessary to refine observer coverage requirements and improve 
support for observers. This action was intended to ensure continued 
collection of high-quality observer data to support the management 
objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for the Groundfish Fishery of 
the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area and the Fishery Management 
Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, and was intended to promote 
the goals and objectives contained in those FMPs.
    3. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Amendment 
69 to Revise American Fisheries Act Inshore Cooperative Requirements. 
RIN 0648-AP71 (68 FR 6833, February 11, 2003). NMFS issued a final rule 
to implement Amendment 69 to the Fishery Management Plan for the 
Groundfish Fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutians Area. This final 
rule allowed an American Fisheries Act inshore cooperative to contract 
with a non-member vessel to harvest a portion of the cooperative's 
pollock allocation. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council 
developed Amendment 69 to provide greater flexibility to inshore 
catcher vessel cooperatives to arrange for the harvest of their pollock 
allocation, and to address potential emergency situations, such as 
vessel breakdowns, that would prevent a cooperative from harvesting its 
entire allocation. This action was designed to be consistent with the 
environmental and socioeconomic objectives of the American Fisheries 
Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Fishery Management Plan, and other 
applicable laws.
    4. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Western 
Alaska Community Development Quota Program. RIN 0648-AL97 (68 FR 9902, 
March 3, 2003). NMFS issued a final rule to amend portions of the 
regulations governing the halibut fishery under the Western Alaska 
Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program. These changes increased the 
Regulatory Area (Area) 4E trip limit from 6,000 lb (2.72 metric tons 
(mt)) to 10,000 lb (4.54 mt) and modified the Area 4 Catch Sharing Plan 
to allow CDQ Program participants to harvest allocations of Area 4D 
halibut CDQ in Area 4E. This action was intended to enhance harvesting 
opportunities for halibut CDQ fishermen and to further the goals and 
objectives of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council with respect 
to the CDQ program and the Pacific halibut fishery, consistent with the 
regulations and resource management objectives of the International 
Pacific Halibut Commission.
    5. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Seasonal 
Area Closure to Trawl, Pot, and Hook-and-Line Fishing in Waters off 
Cape Sarichef. RIN 0648-AQ46 (68 FR 11004, March 7, 2003). NMFS issued 
a final rule to seasonally close a portion of the waters located near 
Cape Sarichef in the Bering Sea subarea to directed fishing for 
groundfish by vessels using trawl, pot, or hook-and-line gear. This 
action was necessary to support NMFS research on the effect of fishing 
on the localized abundance of Pacific cod. It was intended to further 
the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for the 
Groundfish Fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area.
    6. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Opening 
Waters to Pacific Cod Pot Fishing off Cape Barnabas and Caton Island. 
RIN 0648-AQ45 (68 FR 31629, May 28, 2003). NMFS issued a final rule to 
allow use of pot gear in waters around Cape Barnabas and Caton Island 
located in the Gulf of Alaska for directed fishing for Pacific cod. 
Prior to this regulation,

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waters within 3 nautical miles of these sites were closed to Pacific 
cod fishing by vessels using pot gear and named on a Federal fisheries 
permit. This action was necessary to provide consistency between State 
and Federal fishing restrictions and to relieve a potential burden on 
the Pacific cod pot gear fishing sector. This final rule was intended 
to meet the objectives in the Magnuson-Stevens Act and to further the 
goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of 
the Gulf of Alaska.
    7. Individual Fishing Quota Program for Pacific Halibut and 
Sablefish; Amendment 72/64 to Revise Recordkeeping and Reporting 
Requirements. RIN 0648-AP92 (68 FR 44473, July 29, 2003). NMFS issued a 
final rule to implement Amendment 72 to the Fishery Management Plan for 
the Groundfish Fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area and 
Amendment 64 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf 
of Alaska. This action revised certain recordkeeping and reporting 
requirements for the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program for fixed 
gear Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries and the Western Alaska 
Community Development Quota Program for the Pacific halibut fishery. 
This action was necessary to improve IFQ fishing operations, while 
complying with IFQ Program requirements; to improve NMFS' ability to 
efficiently administer the program; and to improve the clarity and 
consistency of IFQ Program regulations. This action was intended to 
meet the conservation and management requirements of the Northern 
Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 with respect to halibut, and of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act with respect to sablefish, and to further the 
goals and objectives of the groundfish Fishery Management Plans.
    8. Fisheries off the Exclusive Economic Zone; Amendment of 
Eligibility Criteria for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management 
Area Pacific Cod Hook-and-Line and Pot Gear Fisheries. RIN 0648-AQ75 
(68 FR 44666, July 30, 2003). NMFS issued a final rule to amend 
eligibility criteria for Pacific cod endorsements to groundfish 
licenses issued under the License Limitation Program. These 
endorsements are necessary to participate in the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) Pacific cod hook-and-line or 
pot gear fisheries with vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet length 
overall. This action was necessary to allow additional participation in 
the BSAI Pacific cod hook-and-line or pot gear fisheries, as intended 
by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. The intended effect of 
this action was to prevent unnecessary restriction on participation in 
the BSAI Pacific cod hook-and-line or pot gear fisheries and to 
conserve and manage the Pacific cod resources in the BSAI in accordance 
with the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    9. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; License 
Limitation Program. RIN 0648-AQ73 (68 FR 46117, August 5, 2003). NMFS 
issued a final rule to amend eligibility criteria for Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands (BSAI) crab species licenses issued under the License 
Limitation Program and required for participation in the BSAI crab 
fisheries. This action was necessary to allow participation in the BSAI 
crab fisheries in a manner intended by the North Pacific Fishery 
Management Council. The intended effect of this action was to allow 
vessels with recent participation in the BSAI crab fisheries to qualify 
for a License Limitation Program crab species license and to conserve 
and manage the crab resources in the BSAI in accordance with the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    10. Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Guideline Harvest Levels for the 
Guided Recreational Halibut Fishery. RIN 0648-AK17 (68 FR 47256, August 
8, 2003). NMFS issued a final rule to implement a guideline harvest 
level for managing the harvest of Pacific halibut in the guided 
recreational fishery in International Pacific Halibut Commission areas 
2C and 3A in and off of Alaska. The guideline harvest level established 
an amount of halibut that would be monitored annually in the guided 
recreational fishery. This action was necessary to allow NMFS to manage 
more comprehensively the Pacific halibut stocks in waters off Alaska. 
It was intended to further the management and conservation goals of the 
Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982.
    11. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Removal of 
Full Retention and Utilization Requirements for Rock Sole and Yellowfin 
Sole. RIN 0648-AQ78 (68 FR 52142, September 2, 2003). NMFS issued 
regulatory changes to implement the partial approval of Amendment 75 to 
the Fishery Management Plan for the Groundfish Fishery of the Bering 
Sea and Aleutian Islands Area. As partially approved, this amendment 
eliminated all reference to the requirements for 100-percent retention 
and utilization of rock sole and yellowfin sole in the groundfish 
fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. This 
action was necessary to amend regulations to maintain consistency with 
the the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act, the 
Fishery Management Plan, and other applicable laws.
    12. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Electronic 
Reporting Requirements. RIN 0648-AP66 (68 FR 58038, October 8, 2003). 
NMFS issued a final rule to amend regulations governing the North 
Pacific Groundfish Observer Program. This action was necessary to 
refine requirements for the facilitation of observer data transmission 
and improve support for observers. The final rule was necessary to 
improve the timely transmission of high-quality observer data for a 
sector of catcher vessels in these fisheries. It was intended to 
support the management objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for 
the Groundfish Fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area and 
the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.
    13. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Allocation 
of Pacific Cod Among Fixed Gear Sectors. RIN 0648-AR31 (68 FR 67086, 
December 1, 2003). NMFS issued a final rule to implement Amendment 77 
to the Fishery Management Plan for the Groundfish Fishery of the Bering 
Sea and Aleutian Islands Area. This action allocated the fixed gear 
portion of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) 
Pacific cod total allowable catch among the fixed gear sectors. In 
addition, this action further split the pot sector share of the total 
allowable catch between pot catcher/processors and pot catcher vessels; 
changed how the 2 percent annual BSAI Pacific cod allocation to jig 
gear was seasonally apportioned; and changed how unused portions were 
reallocated to other gear types. Amendment 77 and its implementing 
regulations were necessary to maintain the stability of the fixed gear 
Pacific cod fishery. This action was intended to promote the goals and 
objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act the Fishery Management Plan, and 
other applicable laws.
    14. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Revision 
to the Management of ``Other Species'' Community Development Quota. RIN 
0648-AQ88 (68 FR 69974, December 16, 2003). NMFS issued a final rule 
that modified the management of the ``other species'' Community 
Development Quota (CDQ) reserve by eliminating specific allocations of 
``other species'' CDQ to individual CDQ managing organizations. The 
action instead allowed NMFS to manage the ``other species'' CDQ reserve 
with the general limitations used to manage the catch of

[[Page 41731]]

non-CDQ groundfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management 
area. This action also eliminated the CDQ non-specific reserve and made 
other changes to improve the clarity and consistency of CDQ Program 
regulations. This action was necessary to improve NMFS' ability to 
effectively administer the CDQ Program. It was intended to further the 
goals and objectives of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council 
with respect to this program.
    15. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Halibut 
Fisheries in U.S. Convention Waters Off Alaska; Management Measures to 
Reduce Seabird Incidental Take in the Hook-and-Line Halibut and 
Groundfish Fisheries. RIN 0648-AM30 (69 FR 1930, January 13, 2004). 
NMFS issued a final rule to revise regulations requiring seabird 
avoidance measures in the hook-and-line groundfish fisheries of the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area and Gulf of Alaska, and 
in the Pacific halibut fishery in U.S. Convention waters off Alaska. 
This action was intended to improve the pre-existing requirements and 
further mitigate interactions with the shorttailed albatross 
(Phoebastria albatrus), an endangered species protected under the 
Endangered Species Act, and with other seabird species in hook-and-line 
fisheries in and off Alaska, and thus further the goals and objectives 
of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, 
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
    16. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish 
Observer Program. RIN 0648-AR32 (69 FR 1951, January 13, 2004). NMFS 
issued a final rule to amend regulations governing the North Pacific 
Groundfish Observer Program. This action was necessary to provide added 
flexibility in the deployment of observers in the Exclusive Economic 
Zone off the coast of Alaska. In addition, this action was intended to 
ensure continued collection of high-quality observer data. It was 
necessary to support the management objectives of the Fishery 
Management Plan for the Groundfish Fishery of the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands Area and the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of 
the Gulf of Alaska, and to promote the goals and objectives contained 
in those Fishery Management Plans.
    17. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Provisions 
of the American Fisheries Act (AFA). RIN 0648-AR13 (69 FR 6198, 
February 10, 2004). NMFS issued a final rule to remove the expiration 
date of regulations published in the Federal Register on December 30, 
2002, implementing the AFA. The AFA final rule inadvertently specified 
a period of effectiveness that would expire December 31, 2007. This 
rule made the amendments to the AFA rule permanent, as originally 
intended. This action was necessary to implement the AFA consistent 
with statutory requirements, and was intended to do so in a manner 
consistent with the objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other 
applicable laws.
    18. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; 
Recordkeeping and Reporting. RIN 0648-AR08 (69 FR 21975, April 23, 
2004). NMFS issued this final rule to revise the descriptions of Gulf 
of Alaska (GOA) reporting areas 620 and 630 in paragraph (b) of Figure 
3 to 50 CFR part 679 to include the entire Alitak/Olga/Deadman's/
Portage Bay complex of Kodiak Island within reporting area 620. This 
action was necessary to improve quota management and fishery 
enforcement in the GOA. This action was intended to meet the 
conservation and management requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act 
and to further the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan 
for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.
    19. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Individual 
Fishing Quota Program; Community Purchase. RIN 0648-AQ98 (69 FR 23681, 
April 30, 2004). NMFS issued a final rule to implement Amendment 66 to 
the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, and 
an amendment to the Pacific halibut commercial fishery regulations for 
waters in and off of Alaska. Amendment 66 to the Fishery Management 
Plan and the regulatory amendment modified the Individual Fishing Quota 
(IFQ) Program by revising the eligibility criteria to receive halibut 
and sablefish IFQ and quota share (QS) by transfer to allow eligible 
communities in the Gulf of Alaska to establish non-profit entities to 
purchase and hold QS for lease to, and use by, community residents as 
defined by specific elements of the proposed action. This action 
improved the effectiveness of the IFQ Program by providing additional 
opportunities for residents of fishery dependent communities and was 
necessary to promote the objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the 
Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 with respect to the IFQ fisheries.
    20. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Skates 
Management in the Groundfish Fisheries of the Gulf of Alaska. RIN 0648-
AR73 (69 FR 26313, May 12, 2004). NMFS issued a final rule to implement 
Amendment 63 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf 
of Alaska. Amendment 63 moved skates from the ``other species'' list to 
the ``target species'' list in the Fishery Management Plan. By listing 
skates as a target species, management of a directed fishery for skates 
in the Gulf of Alaska was improved. The final rule revised the 
definition of ``other species'' and revised the listings for skates and 
``other species'' to allow for the management of incidental catch of 
skates in groundfish fisheries and for groundfish in the skates 
directed fishery. This action was necessary to reduce the potential for 
overfishing skates. This action was intended to promote the goals and 
objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Fishery Management Plan, 
and other applicable laws.
    21. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; General 
Limitations. RIN 0648-AR41 (69 FR 32901, June 14, 2004). NMFS issued a 
final rule amending regulations establishing pollock Maximum Retainable 
Amounts (MRA). This action adjusted the MRA enforcement period for 
pollock harvested in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management 
area from enforcement at anytime during a fishing trip to enforcement 
at the time of offload. This action was necessary to reduce regulatory 
discards of pollock caught incidentally in the directed fisheries for 
non-pollock groundfish species. The intended effect of this action was 
to better use incidentally caught pollock in accordance with the goals 
and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the Fishery Management 
Plan for the Groundfish Fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
Area.
    22. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Revisions 
to the Annual Harvest Specifications Process for the Groundfish 
Fisheries of the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
Management Area. RIN 0648-AR77 (69 FR 64683, November 8, 2004). NMFS 
issued a final rule that implemented Amendment 48 to the Fishery 
Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) and 
Amendment 48 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) (Amendments 48/
48). Amendments 48/48 revised the administrative process used to 
establish annual harvest specifications for the groundfish fisheries of 
the GOA and the BSAI, and updated the Fishery Management Plans by: 
Revising the

[[Page 41732]]

description of the groundfish fisheries and participants, revising the 
name of the BSAI Fishery Management Plan, revising text to simplify 
wording and correct typographical errors, and revising the description 
of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council Groundfish Plan Teams' 
responsibilities. The final rule revised regulations to implement the 
new harvest specifications process in Amendments 48/48 and revised the 
name of the BSAI Fishery Management Plan. This action was intended to 
promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
Fishery Management Plans, and other applicable laws.
    23. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Full 
Retention of Demersal Shelf Rockfish in the Southeast Outside District 
of the Gulf of Alaska. RIN 0648-AP73 (69 FR 68095, November 23, 2004). 
NMFS issued a final rule that requires the operator of a federally 
permitted catcher vessel using hook-and-line or jig gear in the 
Southeast Outside District of the Gulf of Alaska to retain and land all 
demersal shelf rockfish caught while fishing for groundfish or for 
Pacific halibut under the Individual Fishing Quota program. This action 
was necessary to improve estimates of fishing mortality of demersal 
shelf rockfish. This final rule was intended to further the goals and 
objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the Fishery Management Plan 
for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.
    24. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea 
Scallop Fishery; Framework Adjustment 15. RIN 0648-AQ28 (68 FR 9580, 
February 28, 2003). NMFS issued this final rule to implement Framework 
15 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan developed by the 
New England Fishery Management Council. This final rule implemented 
management measures for the 2003 fishing year, including a days-at-sea 
adjustment, and continuation of a Sea Scallop Area Access Program for 
2003. The intent of this action was to achieve the goals and objectives 
of the Fishery Management Plan under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and to 
achieve optimum yield in the scallop fishery. In addition, this final 
rule included regulatory text that codifies an additional gear stowage 
provision for scallop dredge gear that was established by the 
Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS in 2001.
    25. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer 
Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; Summer Flounder, Scup, 
and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan. RIN 0648-AN12 (68 FR 10181, 
March 4, 2003). NMFS issued this final rule to implement approved 
measures contained in Amendment 13 to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and 
Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan. Pursuant to the Magnuson-
Stevens Act and the Fishery Management Plan, this final rule 
established an annual coastwide quota for black sea bass and allowed 
vessels to fish under a Southeast Region Snapper/Grouper permit and to 
retain their Northeast Region Black Sea Bass Permit during a Federal 
fishery closure. Finally, this final rule required that vessels issued 
a Federal moratorium permit for summer flounder, scup, and black sea 
bass be subject to the presumption that any fish of these species on 
board were harvested from the exclusive economic zone.
    26. Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; American 
Lobster Fishery. RIN 0648-AP15 (68 FR14902, March 27, 2003). NMFS 
amended regulations to modify the management measures applicable to the 
American lobster fishery. This action responded to the following 
recommendations made by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission 
(Commission): To control fishing effort as determined by historical 
participation in the American lobster trap fisheries conducted in the 
offshore Lobster Conservation Management Area 3 (Area 3) and in the 
nearshore LCMAs of the Exclusive Economic Zone from New York through 
North Carolina (Areas 4 and 5); to implement a mechanism for 
conservation equivalency and associated trap limits for owners of 
vessels in possession of a Federal lobster permit fishing in New 
Hampshire state waters; and to clarify lobster management area 
boundaries in Massachusetts waters. NMFS included in this final rule a 
mechanism for Federal consideration of future Commission requests to 
implement conservation-equivalent measures and a technical amendment to 
the regulations clarifying that Federal lobster permit holders must 
attach federally approved lobster trap tags to all lobster traps fished 
in any portion of any management area (whether in state or Federal 
waters). This requirement was not new, but was not previously specified 
in the regulatory text. This announcement was intended to make the 
regulations easier to understand.
    27. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 37 to the Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. RIN 0648-AQ35 (68 FR 22333, April 
28, 2003). NMFS issued this final rule to implement measures contained 
in Framework Adjustment 37 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery 
Management Plan to eliminate the Year 4 default measure for whiting in 
both stock areas; reinstate the Cultivator Shoal whiting fishery season 
through October 31 each year; eliminate the 10-percent restriction on 
red hake incidental catch in the Cultivator Shoal whiting fishery; 
adjust the incidental catch allowances in Small Mesh Areas 1 and 2 so 
that they are consistent with those in the Cape Cod Bay raised footrope 
trawl fishery; clarify the transfer-at-sea provisions for small-mesh 
multispecies for use as bait; modify slightly the Cape Cod Bay raised 
footrope trawl fishery area; and retain the 30,000-lb (13.6 mt) trip 
limit for the Cultivator Shoal whiting fishery.
    28. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Monkfish 
Fishery; Framework Adjustment 2. RIN 0648-AQ29 (68 FR 22325, April 28, 
2003). NMFS implemented measures contained in Framework Adjustment 2 to 
the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan. This final rule modified the 
monkfish overfishing definition reference points and optimum yield 
target control rule to be consistent with the best scientific 
information available and the provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. 
This rule also implemented an expedited process for setting annual 
target total allowable catch levels (TACs); established a method for 
adjusting monkfish trip limits and days-at-sea allocations to achieve 
the annual target TACs; and established target TACs and corresponding 
trip limits for the 2003 fishing year. As a result, this rule 
eliminated the default measures adopted in the original Fishery 
Management Plan that would have resulted in the elimination of the 
directed monkfish fishery and reduced incidental catch limits. Finally, 
this final rule clarified the regulations pertaining to the monkfish 
area declaration requirements by specifying that vessels intending to 
fish under either a monkfish, Northeast multispecies, or scallop days-
at-sea, under the less restrictive measures of the Northern Fishery 
Management Area (NFMA), declare their intent to fish in the NFMA for a 
minimum of 30 days.
    29. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 38 to the Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. RIN 0648-AQ76 (68

[[Page 41733]]

FR 40808, July 9, 2003). NMFS issued this final rule to implement 
measures contained in Framework Adjustment 38 to the Northeast (NE) 
Multispecies Fishery Management Plan to exempt a fishery from the Gulf 
of Maine Regulated Mesh Area mesh size regulations. Framework 38 
established an exempted small mesh silver hake (Merluccius bilinearis) 
(whiting) fishery in the inshore Gulf of Maine. The exempted fishery 
was authorized from July 1 through November 30 each year; required the 
use of specific exempted grate-raised footrope trawl gear; established 
a maximum whiting possession limit of 7,500 lb (3,402 kg); and included 
incidental catch restrictions.
    30. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Skate Complex Fisheries; Skate Fishery Management Plan. RIN 0648-AO10 
(68 FR 49693, August 19, 2003). NMFS issued this final rule to 
implement approved measures contained in the Skate Fishery Management 
Plan. These regulations implemented the following measures: A 
possession limit for skate wings; a bait-only exemption to the wing 
possession limit restrictions; a procedure for the development, 
revision, and/or review of management measures on an annual, biennial, 
and interannual basis, including a framework adjustment process; open 
access permitting requirements for fishing vessels, operators, and 
dealers; new species-level reporting requirements for skate vessels and 
dealers; new discard reporting requirements for Federal vessels; and 
prohibitions on possessing smooth skates in the Gulf of Maine Regulated 
Mesh Area, and thorny skates and barndoor skates throughout the 
management unit. This final rule also implemented other measures for 
administration and enforcement. The intended effect of this final rule 
was to implement permanent management measures for the Northeast skate 
fisheries pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the Fishery 
Management Plan, and to prevent overfishing of skate resources. Also, 
NMFS informed the public of the approval by the Office of Management 
and Budget of the collection-of-information requirements contained in 
this final rule and publishes the Office of Management and Budget 
control numbers for these collections.
    31. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, 
Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; Framework Adjustment 3. RIN 0648-
AR43 (68 FR 62250, November 3, 2003). NMFS issued this final rule to 
implement measures contained in Framework Adjustment 3 to the Summer 
Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan to allow the 
rollover of unused commercial scup quota from the Winter I period to 
the Winter II period, and to change the regulations regarding the scup 
commercial quota counting procedures. NMFS also adjusted the 2003 
Winter II commercial scup quota and possession limit.
    32. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic 
Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery; Amendment 13 to the Surfclam and 
Ocean Quahog Fishery Management Plan. RIN 0648-AP57 (68 FR 69970, 
December 16, 2003). NMFS implemented measures contained in Amendment 13 
to the Fishery Management Plan. Amendment 13 established: A new 
surfclam overfishing definition; multi-year fishing quotas; a mandatory 
vessel monitoring system, when such a system was economically viable; 
the ability to suspend or adjust the surfclam minimum size limit 
through a framework adjustment; and an analysis of fishing gear impacts 
on essential fish habitat for surfclams and ocean quahogs. This final 
rule included technical corrections to the regulations implementing the 
Fishery Management Plan, which clarified the Mid-Atlantic Fishery 
Management Council's intent not to restrict allocation ownership to 
only those entities that also own a permitted vessel, and to eliminate 
the restriction on the transfer of allocation tags of amounts less than 
160 bushels (bu) (i.e., 5 cage tags). The primary purpose of Amendment 
13 was to rectify the disapproved surfclam overfishing definition and 
the essential fish habitat analysis and rationale contained in 
Amendment 12 in order to comply with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and to 
simplify the regulatory requirements of the Fishery Management Plan.
    33. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Recordkeeping and 
Reporting Requirements; Regulatory Amendment To Modify Seafood Dealer 
Reporting Requirements. RIN 0648-AR79 (69 FR 13482, March 23, 2004). 
NMFS issued this final rule to implement approved management measures 
contained in a regulatory amendment to modify the reporting and 
recordkeeping regulations for federally permitted seafood dealers 
participating in the summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, Atlantic 
sea scallop, Northeast (NE) multispecies, monkfish, Atlantic mackerel, 
squid, butterfish, Atlantic surfclam, ocean quahog, Atlantic herring, 
Atlantic deep-sea red crab, tilefish, Atlantic bluefish, skates, and/or 
spiny dogfish fisheries in the NE Region. The purpose of this action 
was to improve monitoring of commercial landings by collecting more 
timely and accurate data, enhance enforceability of the existing 
regulations, promote compliance with existing regulations, and ensure 
consistency in reporting requirements among fisheries.
    34. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, 
Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; Framework Adjustment 4. RIN 0648-
AR62 (69 FR 16175, March 29, 2004). NMFS issued a final rule 
implementing measures contained in Framework Adjustment 4 to the Summer 
Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan that allowed 
for the transfer at sea of scup between commercial fishing vessels, and 
clarified the circumstances under which a vessel must operate with the 
specified mesh. Regulations regarding the establishment and 
administration of research set-aside quota were also amended to clarify 
how unused research set-aside quota was to be returned to the fishery.
    35. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Monkfish Fishery. 
RIN 0648-AR89 (69 FR 18291, April 7, 2004). NMFS implemented measures 
to establish target total allowable catch (TAC) levels for the monkfish 
fishery for the 2004 fishing year. The regulation also adjusted trip 
limits and days-at-sea for limited access monkfish vessels fishing in 
the Southern Fishery Management Area based upon the methods established 
in Framework Adjustment 2 to the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan. 
Based on these methods, this final rule established FY 2004 target TACs 
of 16,968 mt for the Northern Fishery Management Area, and 6,772 mt for 
the Southern Fishery Management Area; adjusted the trip limits for 
vessels fishing in the Southern Fishery Management Area to 550 lb (250 
kg) tail weight per days-at-sea for limited access Category A and C 
vessels, and 450 lb (204 kg) tail weight per days-at-sea for limited 
access Category B and D vessels; and restricted the fishing year 2004 
days-at-sea available for monkfish limited access vessels fishing in 
the Southern Fishery Management Area to 28 days-at-sea.
    36. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Tilefish Fishery; 
Reinstatement of Permit Requirements for the Tilefish Fishery. RIN 
0648-AR75 (69 FR 22454, April 26, 2004). NMFS reinstated the permit 
requirements for

[[Page 41734]]

commercial tilefish vessels. These permit requirements were set aside 
in a Federal Court Order on the grounds that the limited access program 
contained in the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan violated National 
Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The Court found that there was 
insufficient support for the various limited access permit criteria in 
the administrative record for the Fishery Management Plan. NMFS 
reinstated these permit requirements based on additional information in 
the form of a supplemental administrative record to the Fishery 
Management Plan provided by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council 
that supported and explained the basis for the limited access permit 
criteria contained in the Fishery Management Plan. This action also 
allocated the remainder of the fishing year 2004 (November 1, 2003-
October 31, 2004) tilefish total allowable landings to the various 
limited access permit categories according to the regulations, based 
upon a projection of tilefish landings through the effective date of 
this rule, and using dealer reports. This action enabled NMFS to manage 
the tilefish fishery in accordance with the provisions of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act by preventing overfishing, and ensuring that the stock 
rebuilding objective of the Fishery Management Plan was achieved.
    37. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast (NE) 
Multispecies Fishery; Amendment 13. RIN 0648-AN17 (69 FR 22906, April 
27, 2004). NMFS implemented approved measures contained in Amendment 13 
to the NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. Amendment 13 was 
developed by the New England Fishery Management Council to end 
overfishing and rebuild NE multispecies (groundfish) stocks managed 
under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and to make other 
changes in the management of the groundfish fishery. This rule 
implemented the following measures: Changes in the days-at-sea baseline 
for determining historical participation in the groundfish fishery; 
days-at-sea reductions from the baseline; creation of new categories of 
days-at-sea and criteria for their allocation and use in the fishery; 
changes in minimum fish size and possession limits for recreationally 
caught fish; a new limited access permit category for Handgear vessels; 
elimination of the northern shrimp fishery exemption line; access to 
groundfish closed areas for tuna purse seiners; an exemption program 
for southern New England scallop dredge vessels; modifications to 
Vessel Monitoring System requirements; changes to procedures for 
exempted fisheries; changes to the process for making periodic 
adjustments to management measures in the groundfish fishery; revisions 
to trip limits for cod and yellowtail flounder; changes in gear 
restrictions, including minimum mesh sizes and gillnet limits; a days-
at-sea Transfer Program; a days-at-sea Leasing Program; implementing 
measures for the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding for cod, 
haddock, and yellowtail flounder on Georges Bank; a Special Access 
Program to allow increased targeting of Georges Bank yellowtail 
flounder; revisions to overfishing definitions and control rules; 
measures to protect essential fish habitat; new reporting requirements; 
sector allocation procedures; and a Georges Bank Cod Hook Gear Sector 
Allocation. The effort-reduction measures in Amendment 13 were intended 
to end overfishing on all stocks and constitute rebuilding programs for 
those groundfish stocks that require rebuilding. Other measures were 
intended to provide flexibility and business options for permit 
holders. Also, NMFS informed the public of the approval by the Office 
of Management and Budget of the collection-of information requirements 
contained in this final rule and publishes the Office of Management and 
Budget control numbers for these collections.
    38. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea 
Scallop Fishery; Amendment 10. RIN 0648-AN16 (69 FR 35194, June 23, 
2004). NMFS implemented approved measures contained in Amendment 10 to 
the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan, developed by the New 
England Fishery Management Council. Amendment 10 included a long-term, 
comprehensive program to manage the sea scallop fishery through an area 
rotation management program to maximize scallop yield. Areas were 
defined and would be closed and reopened to fishing on a rotational 
basis, depending on the condition and size of the scallop resource in 
the areas. This rule included measures to minimize the adverse effects 
of fishing on essential fish habitat to the extent practicable. 
Amendment 10 also included updated days-at-sea allocations, measures to 
minimize bycatch to the extent practicable, and other measures to make 
the management program more effective, efficient, and flexible. In 
addition, NMFS published the Office of Management and Budget control 
numbers for collection of-information requirements contained in this 
final rule.
    39. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, 
Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; Framework Adjustment 5. RIN 0648-
AR50 (69 FR 62818, October 28, 2004). NMFS issued this final rule to 
implement measures contained in Framework Adjustment 5 to the Summer 
Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan that allowed 
for specification of annual Total Allowable Landings for multiple 
years. The intent was to provide flexibility and efficiency to the 
management of the species. In addition, this final rule included 
several administrative modifications to the existing regulations for 
clarification purposes.
    40. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea 
Scallop Fishery and Northeast (NE) Multispecies Fishery; Framework 16 
and Framework 39. RIN 0648-AR55 (69 FR 63460, November 2, 2004). NMFS 
implemented concurrently Framework 16 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop 
Fishery Management Plan and Framework 39 to the Northeast Multispecies 
Fishery Management Plan developed by the New England Fishery Management 
Council. The Joint Frameworks established Scallop Access Areas within 
Northeast multispecies Closed Area I, Closed Area II, and the Nantucket 
Lightship Closed Area. Prior to these regulations, the NE multispecies 
closed areas were closed year-round to all fishing that was capable of 
catching NE multispecies, including scallop fishing. The Joint 
Frameworks allowed the scallop fishery to access the scallop resource 
within portions of the NE multispecies closed areas during specified 
seasons, and ensured that NE multispecies catches by scallop vessels 
were consistent with the Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. The 
Joint Frameworks also revised the essential fish habitat closed areas 
implemented under Amendment 10 to the Scallop Fishery Management Plan 
in order to make the areas consistent with the essential fish habitat 
closures under the Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, as established 
by Amendment 13 to the Multispecies Fishery Management Plan.
    41. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast (NE) 
Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 40-A. RIN 0648-AS34 (69 FR 
67780, November 19, 2004). NMFS implemented approved measures contained 
in Framework Adjustment

[[Page 41735]]

40-A to the NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. Framework 
Adjustment 40-A was developed by the New England Fishery Management 
Council to provide additional opportunities for vessels in the fishery 
to target healthy stocks of groundfish in order to mitigate the 
economic and social impacts resulting from the effort reductions 
required by Amendment 13 to the Fishery Management Plan, and to harvest 
groundfish stocks at levels that approach optimum yield. This rule 
implemented three programs to allow vessels to use Category B Days-at-
Sea (both Regular and Reserve) to target healthy stocks: Regular B 
days-at-sea Pilot Program; Closed Area (CA) I Hook Gear Haddock Special 
Access Program for the Georges Bank Cod Hook Sector; and Eastern U.S./
Canada Haddock Special Access Program Pilot Program. In addition, 
Framework Adjustment 40-A relieved an Amendment 13 restriction that 
prohibited vessels from fishing both in the Western U.S./Canada Area 
and outside that area on the same trip.
    42. Fisheries off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Amendment 17. RIN 0648-AQ68 (68 FR 
52519, September 4, 2003). NMFS issued this final rule to implement 
Amendment 17 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan. 
Amendment 17 changed the Pacific Fishery Management Council's 
(Council's) annual groundfish management process from an annual to a 
biennial process. Amendment 17 was intended to ensure that the 
specifications and management measures process comports with a Federal 
Court ruling, to make the Council's development process for 
specifications and management measures more efficient so that more time 
was available for other management activities, and to streamline the 
NMFS regulatory process for implementing the specifications and 
management measures.
    43. Fisheries off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Vessel Monitoring Systems and 
Incidental Catch Measures. RIN 0648-AQ58 (68 FR62374, November 4, 
2003). NMFS issued a final rule to require vessels registered to 
Pacific Coast groundfish fishery limited entry permits to carry and use 
mobile vessel monitoring system transceiver units while fishing in 
state or Federal waters off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and 
California. This action was necessary to monitor compliance with large-
scale depth-based conservation areas that restrict fishing across much 
of the continental shelf. This final rule also required the operators 
of any vessel registered to a limited entry permit and any open access 
or tribal vessel using trawl gear, including exempted gear used to take 
pink shrimp, spot and ridgeback prawns, California halibut and sea 
cucumber, to declare their intent to fish within a conservation area 
specific to their gear type, in a manner that was consistent with the 
conservation area requirements. This action was intended to further the 
conservation goals and objectives of the Pacific Coast Groundfish 
Fishery Management Plan by allowing fishing to continue in areas and 
with gears that can harvest healthy stocks while reducing the 
incidental catch of low-abundance species.
    44. Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Amendment 16-1. RIN 0648-AR36 (69 
FR8861, February 26, 2004). NMFS issued this final rule to implement 
Amendment 16-1 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan. 
Amendment 16-1 set a process for and standards by which the Council 
would specify rebuilding plans for groundfish stocks declared 
overfished by the Secretary of Commerce. Amendment 16-1 was intended to 
ensure that Pacific Coast groundfish overfished species rebuilding 
plans meet the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, in particular 
national standard 1 on overfishing, which addresses rebuilding 
overfished fisheries. Amendment 16-1 was also intended to partially 
respond to a Court order in which NMFS was ordered to provide Pacific 
Coast groundfish rebuilding plans as Fishery Management Plans, 
amendments, or regulations, per the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    45. Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Amendment 16-2. RIN 0648-AR35 (69 
FR19347, April 13, 2004). NMFS issued this final rule to implement 
Amendment 16-2 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan. 
Amendment 16-2 amended the Fishery Management Plan to include 
overfished species rebuilding plans for lingcod, canary rockfish, 
darkblotched rockfish, and Pacific ocean perch within the Fishery 
Management Plan. This final rule added two rebuilding parameters to the 
Code of Federal Regulations for each overfished stock, the target year 
for rebuilding and the harvest control rule. Amendment 16-2 addressed 
the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to protect and rebuild 
overfished species managed under a Federal Fishery Management Plan. 
Amendment 16-2 also responded to a Court order, in which NMFS was 
ordered to provide Pacific Coast groundfish rebuilding plans as Fishery 
Management Plans, amendments, or regulations, per the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act.
    46. Fisheries off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Groundfish Observer Program. RIN 
0648-AK26 (69 FR31751, June 7, 2004). NMFS published this interim final 
rule to amend the regulations implementing the Pacific Coast Groundfish 
Fishery Management Plan to provide for a mandatory, vessel-financed 
observer program on at-sea processing vessels. This action was 
necessary to satisfy the standardized bycatch reporting methodology 
requirements of the 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act amendments to the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    47. Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Amendment 16-3; Corrections. RIN 
0648-AS26 (69 FR57874, September 28, 2004). NMFS issued this final rule 
to implement Amendment 16-3 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery 
Management Plan. Amendment 16-3 amended the Fishery Management Plan to 
include overfished species rebuilding plans for bocaccio, cowcod, widow 
rockfish, and yelloweye rockfish within the Fishery Management Plan. 
This final rule added two rebuilding parameters to the Code of Federal 
Regulations for each overfished stock, the target year for rebuilding 
and the harvest control rule. Amendment 16-3 addressed the requirements 
of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to protect and rebuild overfished species 
managed under a Federal Fishery Management Plan. Amendment 16-3 also 
responded to a Court order in which NMFS was ordered to provide Pacific 
Coast groundfish rebuilding plans as Fishery Management Plans, 
amendments, or regulations, per the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This rule 
also updated the list of rockfish species defined in the Code of 
Federal Regulations to match those listed in the Fishery Management 
Plan and contained corrections to 50 CFR part 660, subpart G.
    48. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery off the Southern 
Atlantic States; Amendment 5. RIN 0648-AP41 (68 FR 2188, January 16, 
2003). NMFS issued this final rule to implement Amendment 5 to the 
Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery off the Southern 
Atlantic States. This final rule established a limited access program 
for the rock shrimp fishery in the exclusive economic zone off Georgia 
and off the east coast of Florida (limited access

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area), established a minimum mesh size for a rock shrimp trawl net in 
the limited access area, required the use of an approved vessel 
monitoring system by vessels allowed to fish for rock shrimp in the 
limited access program, and required an operator of a vessel in the 
rock shrimp fishery in the exclusive economic zone off the southern 
Atlantic states (North Carolina through the east coast of Florida) to 
have an operator permit. In addition, NMFS informed the public of the 
approval by the Office of Management and Budget of the collection-of-
information requirements contained in this final rule and published the 
Office of Management and Budget control numbers for those collections. 
The intended effects of this final rule were to minimize additional 
increases in harvesting capacity in the rock shrimp fishery; reduce the 
bycatch of small, unmarketable rock shrimp; enhance compliance with 
fishery management regulations; improve protection of essential fish 
habitat, including an area that contains the last 20 acres (8 hectares) 
of intact Oculina coral remaining in the world; and ensure the long-
term economic viability of the rock shrimp industry.
    49. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South 
Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Revision of Charter 
Vessel and Headboat Permit Moratorium Eligibility Criterion. RIN 0648-
AQ70 (68 FR 26230, May 15, 2003). NMFS issued this final rule to 
implement a corrected Amendment for the charter vessel/headboat permit 
moratorium established in Amendment 14 to the Fishery Management Plan 
for the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and 
South Atlantic and in Amendment 20 to the Fishery Management Plan for 
the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico. This final rule revised, 
consistent with the actions taken by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery 
Management Council (Council), one of the eligibility criteria for 
obtaining a charter vessel/headboat permit under the moratorium. This 
final rule also reopened the application process for obtaining Gulf 
charter vessel/headboat moratorium permits and extended the applicable 
deadlines; extended the expiration dates of valid or renewable open 
access permits for these fisheries; clarified, as requested by the 
Council, a constraint on issuance of historical captain permits under 
the moratorium; and extended the expiration date of the moratorium to 
account for the delay in implementation. In addition, NMFS informed the 
public of the approval by the Office of Management and Budget of the 
collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule and 
published the Office of Management and Budget control numbers for those 
collections. The intended effect of this final rule was to implement 
the charter vessel/headboat moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico consistent 
with the actions taken by the Council.
    50. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Pelagic Sargassum Habitat of the South Atlantic Region. RIN 0648-AN87 
(68 FR 57375, October 3, 2003). NMFS issued this final rule to 
implement the Fishery Management Plan for Pelagic Sargassum Habitat of 
the South Atlantic Region. This final rule limited the harvest or 
possession of pelagic sargassum in or from the exclusive economic zone 
off the southern Atlantic states to 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) annually; 
restricted fishing for pelagic sargassum in the South Atlantic 
exclusive economic zone to an area no less than 100 nautical miles 
offshore of North Carolina and to the months of November through June; 
required vessel owners or operators to accommodate NMFS-approved 
observers on all pelagic sargassum fishing trips; and restricted the 
mesh and frame sizes of nets used to harvest pelagic sargassum. The 
Fishery Management Plan also defined the management unit, maximum 
sustainable yield, optimum yield, and overfishing parameters. In 
addition, NMFS informed the public of the approval by the Office of 
Management and Budget of the collection-of-information requirements 
contained in this final rule and published the Office of Management and 
Budget control numbers for those collections. The intended effects were 
to conserve and manage pelagic sargassum and to protect essential fish 
habitat.
    51. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 10. RIN 0648-AM23 (69 
FR 1538, January 9, 2004). NMFS issued this final rule to implement the 
approved measures of Amendment 10 to the Fishery Management Plan for 
the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico, as prepared and submitted by 
the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. This final rule 
required, with limited exceptions, the use of NMFS-certified bycatch 
reduction devices in shrimp trawls in the Gulf of Mexico exclusive 
economic zone (Gulf EEZ) east of 85[deg]30'W longitude (approximately 
Cape San Blas, FL). In addition, this final rule identified the 
certified BRDs authorized for use in the Gulf EEZ east of 85[deg]30'W 
longitude and modified the ``Gulf Of Mexico Bycatch Reduction Device 
Testing Protocol Manual'' to reflect the specific bycatch reduction 
criterion applicable for certification of bycatch reduction devices 
used in this area of the Gulf EEZ. The intended effect of this final 
rule was to reduce bycatch in the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery to the 
extent practicable.
    52. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Snapper-Grouper Fishery off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 
13A. RIN 0648-AP03 (69 FR 15731, March 26, 2004). NMFS issued this 
final rule to implement Amendment 13A to the Fishery Management Plan 
for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region. This 
final rule extended the previous prohibitions on fishing for South 
Atlantic snapper grouper in the experimental closed area and on 
retaining such species in or from the area. The experimental closed 
area included a portion of the Oculina Bank Habitat Area of Particular 
Concern, which is in the exclusive economic zone in the Atlantic Ocean 
off Ft. Pierce, FL. The intended effect was to continue the benefits of 
the closed area--in particular, enhanced stock stability and increased 
recruitment of South Atlantic snapper-grouper by providing an area 
where deepwater snapper-grouper species can grow and reproduce without 
being subjected to fishing mortality.
    53. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Extension of Marine Reserves. 
RIN 0648-AR66 (69 FR 24532, May 4, 2004). NMFS issued final regulations 
to implement Amendment 21 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef 
Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico prepared by the Gulf of Mexico 
Fishery Management Council. These final regulations modified the 
fishing restrictions that apply within the Madison and Swanson sites 
and Steamboat Lumps marine reserves in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and 
these final regulations extended the period of effectiveness of those 
restrictions through June 16, 2010. The intended effect of these final 
regulations was to protect the spawning aggregations of species within 
these areas, prevent overfishing, and aid in the evaluation of the 
effectiveness of marine reserves as a management.
    54. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery Off the Atlantic States. RIN 0648-AO63 (69 FR 
30235, May 27, 2004). NMFS issued this final rule to implement the 
approved

[[Page 41737]]

measures of the Fishery Management Plan for the Dolphin and Wahoo 
Fishery off the Atlantic States. For the dolphin and wahoo fishery in 
the exclusive economic zone off the Atlantic states (Maine through the 
east coast of Florida), this final rule required vessel owners to 
obtain commercial vessel and charter vessel/headboat permits and, if 
selected, submit reports; required operators of commercial vessels, 
charter vessels, and headboats to obtain operator permits; required 
dealers to obtain permits and, if selected, submit reports; established 
bag limits and a minimum size limit (dolphin only); closed the longline 
fisheries in areas closed to the use of such gear for highly migratory 
pelagic species; prohibited sale without a commercial vessel permit; 
specified allowable gear; and established a framework procedure by 
which the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council could establish and 
modify certain management measures in a timely manner. The Fishery 
Management Plan also specified maximum sustainable yield, optimum 
yield, the determinants of overfishing (maximum fishing mortality 
threshold) and overfished (minimum stock size threshold), the 
management unit, the fishing year, and essential fish habitat and 
essential fish habitat habitat areas of particular concern. In 
addition, NMFS informed the public of the approval by the Office of 
Management and Budget of the collection-of-information requirements 
contained in this final rule and publishes the Office of Management and 
Budget control numbers for those collections. The intended effects were 
to conserve and manage dolphin and wahoo and to ensure that no new 
fisheries for dolphin and wahoo develop.
    55. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Red Grouper Rebuilding Plan. 
RIN 0648-AP95 (69 FR 33315, June 15, 2004). NMFS issued this final rule 
to implement Secretarial Amendment 1 to the Fishery Management Plan for 
the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico. Secretarial Amendment 1 
was prepared by the Secretary of Commerce and the Gulf of Mexico 
Fishery Management Council pursuant to the rebuilding requirements of 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This final rule established a quota for red 
grouper, provided for closure of the entire shallow-water grouper 
fishery when either the shallow-water grouper quota or the red grouper 
quota was reached, established a bag limit of two red grouper per 
person per day, reduced the shallow-water grouper quota, reduced the 
deep-water grouper quota, and established a quota for tilefishes. In 
addition, for red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico, Secretarial Amendment 
1 established a 10-year stock rebuilding plan, biological reference 
points, and stock status determination criteria consistent with the 
requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This final rule was designed 
to end overfishing and rebuild the red grouper resource.
    56. Fisheries off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 
Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery; Regulatory Amendment. RIN 0648-AQ94 
(68 FR 52523, September 4, 2003). NMFS issued a final rule to implement 
a regulatory amendment to the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery 
Management Plan that changed the management subareas and the allocation 
process for Pacific sardine. The purpose of this final rule was to 
establish a more effective and efficient allocation process for Pacific 
sardine and increase the possibility of achieving optimum yield.
    57. Taking of Threatened or Endangered Species Incidental to 
Commercial Fishing Operations. RIN 0648-AR53 (69 FR 11540, March 11, 
2004). NMFS issued a final rule to prohibit shallow longline sets of 
the type normally targeting swordfish on the high seas in the Pacific 
Ocean east of 150[deg] W longitude by vessels managed under the Fishery 
Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory 
Species. This action was intended to protect endangered and threatened 
sea turtles from the adverse impacts of shallow longline fishing by 
U.S. longline fishing vessels in the Pacific Ocean and operating out of 
the west coast. This rule supplemented the regulations that implemented 
the Fishery Management Plan that prohibited shallow longline sets on 
the high seas in the Pacific Ocean west of 150[deg] W longitude by 
vessels managed under that Fishery Management Plan. The Fishery 
Management Plan was partially approved by NMFS on February 4, 2004. 
Together, these two regulations are expected to conserve leatherback 
and loggerhead sea turtles as required under the Endangered Species Act 
(ESA).
    58. Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 
Highly Migratory Species Fisheries. RIN 0648-AP42. (69 FR 18444, April 
7, 2004). NMFS published a final rule to implement the approved 
portions of the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries 
for Highly Migratory Species. The intended effect of this final rule 
was to establish Federal management of U.S. fisheries for Pacific 
tunas, sharks, billfish, swordfish, and other highly migratory fish in 
the surface hook and line, drift gillnet, harpoon, pelagic longline, 
purse seine, and recreational fisheries in the U.S. exclusive economic 
zone off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California and (for U.S. 
vessels) in adjacent high seas waters. This final rule was issued to 
prevent overfishing of the fish stocks to the extent practicable and 
achieve optimum yield for the U.S. fisheries involved while minimizing 
bycatch and protected species interactions consistent with the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable law. The final rule 
implemented consistent management of these fisheries with respect to 
the states, other fishery management councils, and international 
agreements. The final rule was intended to promote the long-term 
economic health of the fisheries.
    59. International Fisheries Regulations; Pacific Tuna Fisheries. 
RIN 0648-AQ22. (69 FR 31531, June 4, 2004). NMFS issued regulations to 
implement the 1981 Treaty Between the Government of the United States 
of America and the Government of Canada on Pacific Coast Albacore Tuna 
Vessels and Port Privileges (Treaty) as authorized by recently passed 
legislation. This final rule established vessel marking, recordkeeping, 
and reporting requirements for U.S. albacore tuna fishing vessel 
operators, as well as for vessel marking and reporting requirements for 
Canadian albacore tuna fishing vessel operators fishing under the 
Treaty. The intended effect of this final rule was to allow the United 
States to carry out its obligations under the Treaty by limiting 
fishing by both U.S. and Canadian vessels as provided for in the 
Treaty.
    60. Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 
Coral Reef Ecosystems Fishery Management Plan for the Western Pacific. 
RIN 0648-AM97. (69 FR 8336, February 24, 2004). NMFS published this 
final rule to implement the Fishery Management Plan for Coral Reef 
Ecosystems of the Western Pacific Region. The rule established a coral 
reef ecosystem regulatory area, marine protected areas, permitting and 
reporting requirements, no-anchoring zone, gear restrictions, and a 
framework regulatory process. This rule also pertained to the other 
four western Pacific fishery management plans with respect to fishing 
activities in the U.S. exclusive economic zone of the western Pacific 
region and implemented Amendment 10 to the Fishery Management Plan for 
the Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region, Amendment 11 to 
the Fishery Management Plan for the Crustacean

[[Page 41738]]

Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region, Amendment 7 to the Fishery 
Management Plan for the Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish Fisheries of 
the Western Pacific Region, and Amendment 5 to the Fishery Management 
Plan for the Precious Coral Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region.
    61. Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 
Western Pacific Pelagic Fisheries; Pelagic Longline Fishing 
Restrictions, Seasonal Area Closure, Limit on Swordfish Fishing Effort, 
Gear Restrictions, and Other Sea Turtle Take Mitigation Measures. RIN 
0648-AR84. (69 FR 17329, April 2, 2004). NMFS approved a regulatory 
amendment under the Fishery Management Plan for the Pelagic Fisheries 
of the Western Pacific Region submitted by the Western Pacific Fishery 
Management Council and issued this final rule to establish a number of 
conservation and management measures for the fisheries managed under 
the Fishery Management Plan. This final rule was intended to achieve 
certain objectives of the Fishery Management Plan, including achieving 
optimum yield for managed species while avoiding the likelihood of 
jeopardizing the continued existence of any species listed as 
endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This final 
rule eliminated a seasonal closure for longline fishing in an area 
south of the Hawaiian Islands and reopened the swordfish-directed 
component of the Hawaii-based longline fishery. In order to minimize 
adverse impacts on sea turtles, the swordfish component of the Hawaii-
based longline fishery was subjected to restrictions on the types of 
hooks and bait that may be used, annual fleet-wide limits on fishery 
interactions with leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles, an annual 
fleet-wide limit on fishing effort, and other mitigation measures.
    62. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Incidental Catch 
Requirements of Bluefin Tuna. RIN 0648-AO75. (68 FR 32414, May 30, 
2003). NMFS amended regulations under the framework provisions of the 
Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish, and Sharks 
governing the Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery as they affected landing of 
Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Atlantic pelagic longline fishery. The 
intent of this action was to minimize dead discards of Atlantic bluefin 
tuna and improve management of the Atlantic pelagic longline fishery, 
while complying with the National Standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Act 
and allowing harvest consistent with recommendations of the 
International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.
    63. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Quota 
Specification, General Category Effort Controls, and Permit Revisions. 
RIN 0648-AQ38. (68 FR 56783, October 2, 2003). NMFS announced the final 
initial 2003 fishing year specifications for the Atlantic bluefin tuna 
fishery to set Atlantic bluefin tuna quotas for each of the established 
fishing categories; to set General category effort controls; to 
allocate 25 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin tuna to account for 
incidental catch of Atlantic bluefin tuna by pelagic longline vessels 
``in the vicinity of the management boundary area;'' to define the 
management boundary area and applicable restrictions; and to revise 
permit requirements to allow General registered recreational Highly 
Migratory Species (HMS) fishing tournaments and to allow permit 
applicants a 10-calendar-day period to make permit category changes to 
correct potential errors. The final initial quota specifications, 
including the quota allocation to account for incidental catch of 
Atlantic bluefin tuna by pelagic longline vessels in the vicinity of 
the management boundary area and the General category effort controls, 
were necessary to implement recommendations of the International 
Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, pursuant to the 
Atlantic Tunas Convention Act, and to achieve domestic management 
objectives under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The definition of the 
management boundary area was to assist management, monitoring, and 
enforcement of the 25 mt allocated to the Longline category. The permit 
revisions to allow General category permitted vessels to participate in 
registered recreational HMS fishing tournaments and to allow a time 
period for permit category changes were intended to relieve 
restrictions and help achieve domestic management objectives.
    64. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Shark Management 
Measures. RIN 0648-AQ95. (68 FR 74746, December 24, 2003). This final 
rule was necessary to ensure that shark regulations were based on the 
results of the 2002 stock assessments for large coastal sharks (LCS) 
and small coastal sharks (SCS). The results of these stock assessments 
indicated that the LCS complex continued to be overfished, and 
overfishing was occurring; that sandbar sharks were not overfished, but 
overfishing was occurring; that blacktip sharks were rebuilt and 
healthy; that the SCS complex was healthy; and that finetooth sharks 
were not overfished, but overfishing was occurring. Based on these 
results, NMFS revised the rebuilding timeframe for LCS to 26 years from 
2004; changed some of the commercial regulations; changed some of the 
recreational regulations; implemented measures to reduce bycatch and 
bycatch mortality, including a time/area closure; removed the 
deepwater/other sharks from the management unit; established criteria 
regarding adding or removing sharks from the prohibited species group; 
and established a display permit for fishermen who wish to harvest 
highly migratory species for public display. NMFS also updated 
essential fish habitat identifications for sandbar, blacktip, 
finetooth, dusky, and nurse sharks. NMFS also notified eligible 
participants of the opening and closing dates for the Atlantic large 
coastal, small coastal, and pelagic shark fishing seasons.
    65. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Bluefin Tuna Season and Size 
Limit Adjustments. RIN 0648-AR12. (68 FR 74504, December 24, 2003). 
Under the framework provisions of the Fishery Management Plan for 
Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish, and Sharks governing the Atlantic bluefin 
tuna fishery, NMFS amended the regulations regarding the opening date 
of the Purse seine category, closure dates of the Harpoon and General 
categories, and size tolerances of large-medium Atlantic bluefin tuna 
for the Purse seine and Harpoon categories. The intent of this final 
rule was to further achieve domestic management objectives under the 
HMS Fishery Management Plan and Magnuson-Stevens Act and to implement 
recommendations of the International Commission for the Conservation of 
Atlantic Tunas pursuant to the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act.
    66. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS); Pelagic Longline 
Fishery. RIN 0648-AR80. (69 FR 40734, July 6, 2004). This final rule 
implemented new sea turtle bycatch and bycatch mortality mitigation 
measures for all Atlantic vessels that have pelagic longline (PLL) gear 
onboard and that have been issued, or are required to have, Federal HMS 
limited access permits, consistent with the requirements of the 
Endangered Species Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other domestic 
laws. These measures included mandatory circle hook and bait 
requirements, and mandatory possession and use of sea turtle release 
equipment to reduce bycatch mortality. This final rule also allowed 
vessels with pelagic longline gear onboard that have been issued, or 
are required to have, Federal HMS

[[Page 41739]]

limited access permits to fish in the Northeast Distant Closed Area, if 
they possess and/or use certain circle hooks and baits, sea turtle 
release equipment, and comply with specified sea turtle handling and 
release protocols.
    67. International Fisheries; Atlantic Highly Migratory Species. RIN 
0648-AQ37. (69 FR 67268, November 17, 2004). This final rule 
implemented international trade tracking recommendations of the 
International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas and the 
Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission for bluefin tuna, swordfish, 
and frozen bigeye tuna, regardless of ocean area of origin. Trade 
monitoring requirements for species covered under the recommendations 
and for southern bluefin tuna were established by this rule, including: 
A highly migratory species international trade permit; statistical 
documents and re-export certificates; and recordkeeping, reporting, and 
inspection requirements.
    68. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Commercial Shark 
Management Measures. RIN 0648-AS08. (69 FR 69537, November 30, 2004). 
This final rule adjusted the regional quotas and established new 
trimester season quotas for large coastal sharks and small coastal 
sharks based on updated landings information. This final rule included 
a framework mechanism for the annual adjustment of quotas, a method of 
accounting for over- or under harvests in the transition from semi-
annual to trimester seasons, and a new process for notifying 
participants of season opening and closing dates and quotas. This final 
rule also announced the opening and closing dates for the large coastal 
sharks fishery based on adjustments to the regional and trimester 
quotas. This action was necessary to ensure that the landings quotas in 
the Atlantic commercial shark fishery represent the latest landings 
data and accurately reflected historic fishing effort.
    69. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Trade Restrictive 
Measures. RIN 0648-AR10. (69 FR 70396, December 6, 2004). NMFS adjusted 
the regulations governing the trade of species regulated by the 
International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) 
in the North and South Atlantic Ocean to implement recommendations 
adopted at the 2002 and 2003 meetings of ICCAT. This final rule lifted 
or implemented import prohibitions for bigeye tuna, bluefin tuna, and 
swordfish on Honduras, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Sierra 
Leone, Bolivia, and Georgia. This rule also prohibited imports from 
vessels on the ICCAT illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing list 
and from vessels that are not listed on ICCAT's record of vessels that 
are authorized to fish in the Convention Area. Additionally, this rule 
required issuance of a chartering permit before a vessel begins fishing 
under a chartering arrangement.
    70. Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act 
Provisions; Weakfish Fishery. RIN 0648-AR11. (68 FR 56789, October 2, 
2003). NMFS issued this final rule to increase the incidental catch 
allowance for weakfish caught in the exclusive economic zone from 150 
lb (67 kg) to no more than 300 lb (135 kg) per day or trip, whichever 
was longer in duration; to remove Connecticut from the list of states 
where commercially caught weakfish from the exclusive economic zone can 
be landed; and to add to NMFS' regulations the Director, Office of 
Sustainable Fisheries, as an official who can grant Exempted Fishing 
Permits. The intent of this final rule was to modify regulations for 
the Atlantic coast stock of weakfish to promote the effectiveness of 
the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Interstate Fishery 
Management Plan for weakfish.
    71. Fishing Capacity Reduction Program for the Crab Species Covered 
by the Fishery Management Plan for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King 
and Tanner Crabs. RIN 0648-AP25. (68 FR 69331, December 12, 2003). This 
final rule established a fishing capacity reduction program in the 
fishery for the crab species managed under the Bering Sea/Aleutian 
Islands King and Tanner Crabs Fishery Management Plan. The program 
reduced excess capacity and promoted economic efficiency in the crab 
fishery. It was authorized under both special legislation and existing 
NMFS regulations governing fishing capacity reduction programs. Its 
objectives included: Increasing harvesting productivity for crab 
fishermen who remain after capacity reduction, helping conserve and 
manage fishery resources, and encouraging harvesting effort 
rationalization. Program participation was voluntary. Under the 
program, NMFS paid participants for withdrawing vessels from fishing, 
relinquishing fishing licenses, and surrendering fishing histories. 
NMFS financed the program's $100 million cost with a 30-year loan to be 
repaid by post-reduction fishermen.
    72. Antartic Marine Living Resources; CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring 
Permits; Vessel Monitoring System; Catch Documentation Scheme; Fishing 
Season; Registered Agent; and Disposition of Seized AMLR. RIN 0648-
AP74. (68 FR 23224, May 1, 2003). NMFS issued this final rule to: 
Lengthen the duration of the permit required to enter a Commission for 
the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) 
Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CEMP) site from 1 year to up to 5 years; 
define the CCAMLR fishing season and require the use of an automated 
satellite-linked vessel monitoring system for U.S. vessels harvesting 
Antarctic marine living resources (AMLR) in the area of the Convention 
on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (Convention); 
require foreign entities to designate and maintain a registered agent 
within the United States; prohibit the import of Dissostichus species 
(toothfish) identified as originating from certain high seas areas 
outside the Convention Area; incorporate into the Code of Federal 
Regulations the prohibition on the import of toothfish issued a 
Specially Validated Dissostichus Catch Document; and institute a 
preapproval system for U.S. receivers and importers of Dissostichus 
eleginoides (Patagonian toothfish) and Dissostichus mawsoni (Antarctic 
toothfish). This final rule was intended to implement U.S. obligations 
as a Member of CCAMLR and to conserve Antarctic and Patagonian 
toothfish by preventing and discouraging unlawful harvest and trade in 
these species and streamlining the administration of the Dissostichus 
Catch Document scheme.
    73. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Sea Turtle Conservation 
Requirements. RIN 0648-AN62. (68 FR 8456, February 21, 2003). NMFS 
amended the turtle excluder device (TED) regulations to enhance their 
effectiveness in reducing sea turtle mortality resulting from trawling 
in the southeastern United States. NMFS determined that: Some 
previously approved TED designs did not adequately exclude leatherback 
turtles and large, immature and sexually mature loggerhead and green 
turtles; several approved TED designs were structurally weak and did 
not function properly under normal fishing conditions; and 
modifications to the trynet and bait shrimp exemptions to the TED 
requirements were necessary to decrease lethal take of sea turtles. 
These amendments were necessary to protect endangered and threatened 
sea turtles in the Atlantic Area (all waters of the Atlantic Ocean 
south of the North Carolina/Virginia border and adjacent seas, other 
than the Gulf Area, and all waters shoreward thereof) and Gulf Area 
(all waters of the Gulf of Mexico west of

[[Page 41740]]

81[deg] W longitude and all waters shoreward thereof).
    74. Taking of Threatened or Endangered Species Incidental to 
Commercial Fishing Operations. RIN 0648-AQ13. (68 FR 69962, December 
16, 2003). NMFS issued a final rule prohibiting fishing with drift 
gillnets in the California/Oregon (CA/OR) thresher shark/swordfish 
drift gillnet fishery in U.S. waters off southern California in waters 
east of the 120[deg] W, for the months of June, July, and August, when 
the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries publishes a notice that El 
Nino conditions are forecasted or present off southern California. NMFS 
has determined that the incidental take of loggerhead sea turtles by 
this fishery correlates to the area and season being fished during 
these oceanographic conditions. The intent of this regulation was to 
reduce the take of loggerhead turtles by the fishery and reduce the 
likelihood of the CA/OR drift gillnet fishery jeopardizing the 
continued existence of the loggerhead turtle population.
    75. Taking of Threatened or Endangered Species Incidental to 
Commercial Fishing Operations. RIN 0648-AR53. (69 FR 11540, March 11, 
2004). NMFS issued a final rule to prohibit shallow longline sets of 
the type normally targeting swordfish on the high seas in the Pacific 
Ocean east of 150[deg] W longitude by vessels managed under the Fishery 
Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory 
Species (FMP). This action was intended to protect endangered and 
threatened sea turtles from the adverse impacts of shallow longline 
fishing by U.S. longline fishing vessels in the Pacific Ocean and 
operating out of the west coast. This rule supplemented the regulations 
that implemented the FMP that prohibit shallow longline sets on the 
high seas in the Pacific Ocean west of 150[deg] W longitude by vessels 
managed under that FMP. The FMP was partially approved by NMFS on 
February 4, 2004. Together, these two regulations were expected to 
conserve leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles as required under the 
Endangered Species Act.
    76. Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing 
Operations; Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Regulations. RIN 
0648-AQ04. (68 FR 51195, August 26, 2003). NMFS issued this final rule 
to amend the regulations that implement the Atlantic Large Whale Take 
Reduction Plan to identify gear modifications that sufficiently reduce 
the risk of entanglement to western North Atlantic right whales under 
the dynamic area management program and, as such, allowed NMFS to 
utilize the option of allowing gear with certain modifications within a 
dynamic area management zone. Specifically, NMFS identified anchored 
gillnet and lobster trap/pot gear modifications that could be allowed 
within a dynamic area management zone. This final rule included a 
provision to correct and clarify the regulations implementing the 
seasonal area management program with respect to lobster trap gear in 
northern inshore state lobster waters and northern nearshore lobster 
waters that overlap with a seasonal area management area.

    Dated: July 10, 2012.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and 
duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-17257 Filed 7-13-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P