[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 238 (Tuesday, December 11, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 73608-73610]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-29899]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

RIN 0648-BB29


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; 2006 Consolidated Highly 
Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan; Amendment 5

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

ACTION: Notice of public hearings.

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SUMMARY: On November 26, 2012, NMFS published a proposed rule for 
Amendment 5 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) 
Fishery Management Plan (FMP) in response to several shark stock 
assessments that were completed from 2009 to 2012. As described in the 
proposed rule, NMFS is proposing measures that would reduce fishing 
mortality and effort in order to rebuild overfished Atlantic shark 
species while ensuring that a limited sustainable shark fishery can be 
maintained consistent with our legal obligations. The proposed measures 
include changes to commercial quotas and species groups, the creation 
of several time/area closures, a change to an existing time/area 
closure, an increase in the recreational minimum size restrictions, and 
the establishment of recreational reporting for certain species of 
sharks. Comments received by NMFS will be considered in the development 
and finalization of Amendment 5 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP. This 
notice announces public hearings, conference calls, and an HMS Advisory 
Panel meeting to discuss the proposed rule.

DATES: Written comments will be accepted until February 12, 2013. 
Public hearings, conference calls, and an HMS Advisory Panel meeting 
for the Amendment 5 proposed rule will be held from December 2012 to 
February 2013. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for meeting dates, times, 
and locations.

ADDRESSES: Public hearings will be held in Massachusetts, New Jersey, 
North Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana, and via phone call/webinar. 
NMFS will hold an HMS Advisory Panel meeting in Maryland. See 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for dates, times, and locations.
    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-
2012-0161, by any of the following methods:
     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 NOAA-NMFS-2012-0161 in the keyword search. 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 Peter Cooper, 1315 East-
West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Please mark the outside of the 
envelope ``Comments on the Draft Amendment 5 to the 2006 Consolidated 
HMS FMP.''
     Fax: 301-713-1917; Attn: Peter Cooper.
    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 generally will 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: Peter Cooper, Gu[yacute] DuBeck, 
Michael Clark, or Karyl Brewster-Geisz at 301-427-8503.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic shark fisheries are managed 
under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Management of these species is 
described in the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, which is implemented by 
regulations at 50 CFR part 635. Copies of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP 
and amendments are available from NMFS on request (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT).
    On November 26, 2012 (77 FR 70552), NMFS published a proposed rule 
for draft Amendment 5 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP based on several 
shark stock assessments that were completed from 2009 to 2012. The 
assessments for Atlantic blacknose, dusky, and scalloped hammerhead 
sharks indicated that these species are overfished and experiencing 
overfishing. As described in the proposed rule, NMFS is proposing 
measures that would reduce fishing mortality and effort in order to 
rebuild overfished Atlantic shark species while ensuring that a limited 
sustainable shark fishery can be maintained consistent with our legal 
obligations and the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP. The proposed measures 
include changes to commercial quotas and species groups, the creation 
of several time/area closures, a change to an existing time/area 
closure, an increase in the recreational minimum size restrictions, and 
the establishment of recreational reporting for certain species of 
sharks. Any comments received during the comment period will be 
considered in the development and finalization of Amendment 5 to the 
2006 Consolidated HMS FMP.

Request for Comments

    Six public hearings will be held in Florida (2), Louisiana, 
Massachusetts, New Jersey, and North Carolina to

[[Page 73609]]

provide the opportunity for public comment on the measures described in 
the proposed rule and draft Amendment 5. NMFS will also hold two public 
conference calls/webinars to provide individuals opportunity to submit 
public comment if they are unable to attend a public hearing.
    NMFS expects to consult with the HMS Advisory Panel on January 8, 
2013, on the proposed rule and draft Amendment 5. This HMS Advisory 
Panel meeting will consist of a presentation of the proposed measures 
followed by a discussion with the Advisory Panel. There will also be an 
opportunity for public comment in an open session after the Advisory 
Panel discussion. See Table 1 for times, dates, and location.
    NMFS has also asked to present information on the proposed rule and 
draft Amendment 5 to the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, 
Mid-Atlantic, and New England Fishery Management Councils. Information 
on the date and time of those presentations will be provided on the 
appropriate council agenda.

    Table 1--Dates, Times and Locations of Upcoming Public Hearings, Conference Calls, and HMS Advisory Panel
                                                     Meeting
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                                                                                            Location contact
               Venue                         Date/time            Meeting locations           information
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HMS Advisory Panel Meeting........  January 8, 2013, 10 a.m.-3  Silver Spring, MD....  Silver Spring Civic
                                     p.m..                                              Center, One Veteran's
                                                                                        Place, Silver Spring, MD
                                                                                        20910, (240) 777-5350.
Conference call/Webinar...........  January 9, 2013, 1 p.m.-4   .....................  To participate in
                                     p.m..                                              conference call, call:
                                                                                        (888) 469-2979,
                                                                                        Passcode: 2809363, To
                                                                                        participate in webinar,
                                                                                        RSVP at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/74030603 register/74030603, A
                                                                                        confirmation email with
                                                                                        webinar log-in
                                                                                        information will be sent
                                                                                        after RSVP is
                                                                                        registered.
Public Hearing....................  January 17, 2013, 5 p.m.-8  Vero Beach, FL.......  Vero Beach Community
                                     p.m..                                              Center, 2266 14th
                                                                                        Avenue, Vero Beach, FL
                                                                                        32960, (772) 770-6517.
Public Hearing....................  January 15, 2013, 4 p.m.-7  Madeira Beach, FL....  Gulf Beaches Public
                                     p.m..                                              Library, 100 Municipal
                                                                                        Drive, Madeira Beach, FL
                                                                                        33708, (727) 391-2828.
Public Hearing....................  January 22, 2013, 5 p.m.-8  Manalapan, NJ........  Monmouth County Public
                                     p.m..                                              Library--Headquarters,
                                                                                        125 Symmes Road,
                                                                                        Manalapan, NJ 07726,
                                                                                        (732) 431-7220.
Public Hearing....................  January 24, 2013, 5 p.m.-8  Manteo, NC...........  Commissioner's Meeting
                                     p.m..                                              Room, Dare County
                                                                                        Administration Building,
                                                                                        954 Marshall C. Collins
                                                                                        Drive, Manteo, NC 27954.
Public Hearing....................  January 30, 2013, 5 p.m.-8  Gloucester, MA.......  NOAA Fisheries Service,
                                     p.m..                                              55 Great Republic Drive,
                                                                                        Gloucester, MA.
Public Hearing....................  February 7, 2013, 5 p.m.-8  Belle Chasse, LA.....  Belle Chasse Auditorium,
                                     p.m..                                              8398 Hwy 23, Belle
                                                                                        Chasse, LA 70037.
Conference Call...................  February 5, 2013, 5 p.m.-8  .....................  To participate in
                                     p.m..                                              conference call, call:
                                                                                        (888) 469-2979,
                                                                                        Passcode: 2809363, To
                                                                                        participate in webinar,
                                                                                        RSVP at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/623300105 register/623300105, A
                                                                                        confirmation email with
                                                                                        webinar log-in
                                                                                        information will be sent
                                                                                        after RSVP is
                                                                                        registered.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NMFS welcomes comments on any aspect or alternative considered in 
the proposed rule. NMFS is specifically seeking comments on the 
administration of dusky shark bycatch caps program in select areas 
given limited additional observer program resources; the name of 
reconfigured groupings of sharks that would continue to be managed 
collectively in the reminder of what is currently the large coastal 
shark complex for quota monitoring purposes; suggestions for improving 
angler identification of shark species and reducing dusky shark 
mortality in the recreational fishery; and whether NMFS should permit 
the transit of closed areas if certain otherwise prohibited gear is 
properly stowed and inoperable.

Public Hearing Code of Conduct

    The public is reminded that NMFS expects participants at public 
hearings and on phone conferences to conduct themselves appropriately. 
At the beginning of each meeting, a representative of NMFS will explain 
the ground rules (e.g., alcohol is prohibited from the meeting room; 
attendees will be called to give their comments in the order in which 
they registered to speak; each attendee will have an equal amount of 
time to speak; attendees may not interrupt one another; etc.). The NMFS 
representative will structure the meeting so that all attending members 
of the public will be able to comment, if they so choose, regardless of 
the controversial nature of the subject(s). Attendees are expected to 
respect the ground rules, and those that do not will be asked to leave 
the meeting.

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.


[[Page 73610]]


    Dated: December 5, 2012.
Emily H. Menashes,
Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-29899 Filed 12-10-12; 8:45 am]
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