[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 2 (Thursday, January 3, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 279-280]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-31629]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

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 and the 2006 
Consolidated HMS FMP as amended. 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 the 
rescheduling of the Louisiana public hearing and the addition of two 
public hearings in Maryland and Texas.

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: Additional and rescheduled public hearings will be held in 
Maryland, Texas, and Louisiana. 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:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0161, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Peter Cooper, SF1/NMFS/
NOAA, Highly Migratory Species Management Division, 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

[[Page 280]]

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, 
Jennifer Cudney 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 and its amendments, which 
are 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, NMFS published a proposed rule (77 FR 70552) 
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

    Public hearings in Florida (2), Louisiana, Massachusetts, New 
Jersey, and North Carolina were recently announced in the Federal 
Register to provide the opportunity for public comment on the measures 
described in the proposed rule and draft Amendment 5 (77 FR 73608; 
December 11, 2012). NMFS will also hold two public conference calls/
webinars to provide individuals opportunities to submit public comment 
if they are unable to attend a public hearing. NMFS has rescheduled the 
public hearing in Louisiana due to a previously scheduled event in the 
New Orleans area, which may affect constituent traveling to the public 
hearing location. Also, NMFS announces two additional public hearings 
that will be held in Maryland and Texas. The Maryland public hearing 
will be held in conjunction with a state stakeholder meeting being held 
by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on Draft Amendment 5.

           Table 1--Dates, Times and Locations of Upcoming Additional and Rescheduled Public Hearings.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                           Location contact
               Venue                        Date/time           Meeting locations            information
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Public Hearing.....................  January 15, 2013......  Belle Chasse, LA......  Belle Chasse Auditorium,
                                     5 p.m.-8 p.m..........                           8398 Hwy 23, Belle Chasse,
                                                                                      LA 70037.
Public Hearing.....................  January 30, 2013......  Ocean Pines, MD.......  Ocean Pines Branch,
                                     5 p.m.-8 p.m..........                           Worcester County Library,
                                                                                      11107 Cathell Road, Ocean
                                                                                      Pines, MD 21811, (410) 208-
                                                                                      4014.
Public Hearing.....................  February 7, 2013......  Houston, TX...........  Clear Lake City-County
                                     5 p.m.-8 p.m..........                           Freeman Branch Library,
                                                                                      16616 Diana Lane, Houston,
                                                                                      Texas 77062, 281-488-1906
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NMFS welcomes comments on any aspect of, 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 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.

    Dated: December 27, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-31629 Filed 12-28-12; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P