[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 7 (Thursday, January 10, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 2249-2250]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-00345]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 120813331-2562-01]
RIN 0648-XC164


Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern 
United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Proposed Rule To 
Implement a Targeted Acadian Redfish Fishery for Sector Vessels; 
Reopening of Comment Period

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; correction and reopening of comment period.

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SUMMARY: This action reopens the comment period for an Acadian redfish-
related proposed rule that published on November 8, 2012. The original 
comment period closed on November 23, 2012. This action clarifies a 
bycatch threshold incorrectly explained in the proposed rule. The 
public comment period is being reopened to solicit additional public 
comment on this correction.

DATES: The comment period for the proposed rule published November 8, 
2012 (77 FR 66947), is reopened. Written comments must be received on 
or before January 22, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2012-0183, by any one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0183, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Fax: (978) 281-9135, Attn: William Whitmore.
     Mail: Paper, disk, or CD-ROM comments should be sent to 
John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries 
Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the 
outside of the envelope: ``Comments on Redfish Rule.''
    Instructions: 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 by NMFS. 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.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to

[[Page 2250]]

remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted 
in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Whitmore, Fisheries Policy 
Analyst, phone (978) 281-9182, fax (978) 281-9135.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A proposed rule published on November 8, 
2012 (77 FR 66947) that would implement addenda to fishing year (FY) 
2012 Northeast (NE) multispecies sector operations plans and contracts 
to add additional exemptions from Federal fishing regulations for FY 
2012 sectors. Specifically, the action would expand on a previously 
approved sector exemption by allowing groundfish sector trawl vessels 
to target redfish using nets with codend mesh as small as 4.5 inches 
(11.4 cm). In addition, the action proposed to implement an industry-
funded at-sea monitoring program for sector trips targeting redfish 
with trawl nets with mesh sizes that are less than the regulated mesh 
size requirement.
    The proposed rule published in the Federal Register with a 15-day 
comment period that closed on November 23, 2012. At the request of the 
New England Fishery Management Council (Council) and industry, we 
extended the comment period through December 31, 2012.
    After further review of the proposed rule, it was found that one of 
the threshold measures was incorrectly explained. The proposed rule 
included a bycatch threshold to help mitigate catches of sub-legal 
sized groundfish. The rule proposed that ``total groundfish discards 
(excluding redfish discards), may not exceed 5 percent of all 
groundfish caught when directing on redfish with small mesh nets.'' 
This is incorrect. The bycatch threshold would account for total 
regulated groundfish discards, including redfish discards. This is how 
the threshold was explained and analyzed in the supplemental 
environmental assessment. Further, a December 19, 2012, presentation on 
the exemption to the Council's Groundfish Committee also explained the 
threshold as including redfish discards. To clarify, the incorrect 
language would be replaced with ``Additionally, to help mitigate 
catches of sub-legal sized groundfish, total groundfish discards 
(including redfish discards), may not exceed 5 percent of all 
groundfish caught when directing on redfish with small-mesh nets.''
    Because the language in the proposed rule is exactly opposite of 
what was intended, we are reopening the public comment period for 15 
days to allow for additional public comment specifically on the 
correction to the proposed rule.

    Dated: January 4, 2013.
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. 2013-00345 Filed 1-7-13; 4:15 pm]
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