[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 34 (Wednesday, February 20, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 11809-11813]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-03781]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 130104009-3099-01]
RIN 0648-XC432


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish 
Fishery; 2013-2014 Atlantic Bluefish Specifications

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

ACTION: Proposed specifications; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes specifications for the 2013 and 2014 Atlantic 
bluefish fishery, including an annual catch limit, total allowable 
landings, a commercial quota and recreational harvest limit, and a 
recreational possession limit. The intent of this action is to 
establish the allowable 2013 and 2014 harvest levels and other 
management measures to achieve the target fishing mortality rate, 
consistent with the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 7, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2013-0006, 
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-2013-0006, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to John Bullard, Regional 
Administrator, NMFS, Northeast Regional Office, 55 Great Republic 
Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930.
     Fax: (978) 281-9135, Attn: Carly Bari.
    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 publically accessible. 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, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Copies of the specifications document, including the Environmental 
Assessment and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/IRFA) and 
other supporting documents for the specifications, are available from 
Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery 
Management Council, Suite 201, 800 N. State Street, Dover, DE 19901. 
The specifications document is also accessible via the Internet at: 
http://www.nero.noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carly Bari, Fishery Management 
Specialist, (978) 281-9224.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Atlantic bluefish fishery is managed cooperatively by the Mid-
Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States 
Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission). The management unit for 
bluefish specified in the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan 
(FMP) is U.S. waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. Regulations 
implementing the FMP appear at 50 CFR part 648, subparts A and J. The 
regulations requiring annual specifications are found at Sec.  648.162.

[[Page 11810]]

    The FMP requires the Council to recommend, on an annual basis, the 
annual catch limit (ACL), annual catch target (ACT), and total 
allowable landings (TAL) that will control fishing mortality (F). An 
estimate of annual discards is deducted from the ACT to calculate the 
TAL that can be harvested during the year by the commercial and 
recreational fishing sectors. The FMP requires that 17 percent of the 
ACT be allocated to the commercial fishery, with the remaining 83 
percent allocated to the recreational fishery. The Council may also 
recommend a research set-aside (RSA) quota, which is deducted from the 
bluefish TAL (after any applicable transfer) in an amount proportional 
to the percentage of the overall TAL as allocated to the commercial and 
recreational sectors.
    The annual review process for bluefish requires that the Council's 
Bluefish Monitoring Committee and Scientific and Statistical Committee 
(SSC) review and make recommendations based on the best available 
scientific information, including, but not limited to, commercial and 
recreational catch/landing statistics, current estimates of fishing 
mortality, stock abundance, discards for the recreational fishery, and 
juvenile recruitment. Based on the recommendations of the Monitoring 
Committee and SSC, the Council makes a recommendation to the NMFS 
Northeast Regional Administrator. Because this FMP is a joint plan, the 
Commission also meets during the annual specification process to adopt 
complementary measures.
    The Council's recommendations must include supporting documentation 
concerning the environmental, economic, and social impacts of the 
recommendations. NMFS is responsible for reviewing these 
recommendations to ensure that they achieve the FMP objectives, and may 
modify them if they do not. NMFS then publishes proposed specifications 
in the Federal Register, and after considering public comment, NMFS 
will publish final specifications in the Federal Register.

Proposed Specifications

Updated Model Estimates

    According to Amendment 1 to the FMP, overfishing for bluefish 
occurs when F exceeds the fishing mortality rate that allows maximum 
sustainable yield (FMSY), or the maximum F threshold to be 
achieved. The stock is considered overfished if the biomass (B) falls 
below the minimum biomass threshold, which is defined as \1/2\ 
BMSY. Amendment 1 also established that the long-term target 
F is 90 percent of FMSY (FMSY = 0.19; therefore 
Ftarget = 90 percent of FMSY, or 0.17), and the 
long-term target B is BMSY = 324 million lb (147,052 mt).
    An age-structured assessment program (ASAP) model for bluefish was 
approved by the 41st Stock Assessment Review Committee (SARC 41) in 
2005 to estimate F and annual biomass. In June 2012, the ASAP model was 
updated in order to estimate the current status of the bluefish stock 
(i.e., 2011 biomass and F estimates) and enable the Monitoring 
Committee and SSC to recommend 2013 and 2014 specifications using 
landings information and survey indices through the 2011 fishing year. 
The results of the assessment update were as follows: (1) An estimated 
stock biomass for 2011, B2011 = 292.972 million lb (132,890 
mt); and (2) an estimated fishing mortality rate for 2011, 
F2011 = 0.114. Based on the updated 2011 estimate of 
bluefish stock biomass, the bluefish stock is not considered 
overfished: B2011 is slightly less than BMSY, but 
well above the minimum biomass threshold, \1/2\ BMSY, of 162 
million lb (73,526 mt). Estimates of F have declined from 0.41 in 1991 
to 0.114 in 2011. The updated model results also conclude that the 
Atlantic bluefish stock is not experiencing overfishing; i.e., the most 
recent F (F2011 = 0.114) is less than the maximum F 
overfishing threshold specified by SARC 41 (FMSY = 0.19). 
Bluefish was declared rebuilt in 2009.

2013 and 2014 Catch Limits

    Following the framework implemented by the Council's ACL Omnibus 
Amendment, the Council recommended that ACL be set to acceptable 
biological catch (ABC) for 2013 (27.472 million lb, 12,461 mt) and for 
2014 (27.057 million lb, 12,273 mt). No deductions were recommended to 
account for management uncertainty; therefore, ABC=ACL=ACT for both 
years. The ACT is initially allocated between the recreational fishery 
(83 percent) and the commercial fishery (17 percent). After deducting 
an estimate of recreational discards (commercial discards are 
considered negligible), the recreational harvest limit (RHL) would be 
19.190 million lb (8,704 mt) for 2013 and 18.846 million lb (8,548 mt) 
for 2014 and the commercial quota would be 4.670 million lb (2,118 mt) 
for 2013 and 4.60 million lb (2,087 mt) for 2014.
    The FMP specifies that, if 17 percent of the TAL is less than 10.5 
million lb, and the recreational fishery is not projected to land its 
harvest limit for the upcoming year, the commercial fishery may be 
allocated up to 10.5 million lb as its quota, provided that the 
combination of the projected recreational landings and the commercial 
quota does not exceed the TAL. The RHL would then be adjusted downward 
so that the TAL would be unchanged.
    The Council projected an estimated annual recreational harvest for 
2013 and 2014 of 14.069 million lb (6,381 mt). As such, it is expected 
that a transfer of up to 4.686 million lb (2,125 mt) for 2013 and 4.342 
million lb (1,969 mt) for 2014 from the recreational sector to the 
commercial sector could be approved. These options represent the 
preferred alternatives recommended by the Council in its specifications 
document. The actual transfer amount in the final rule, if any, will 
depend on the final 2012 recreational landings data.

RSA

    For 2013, the Council preliminarily approved two research projects 
that would utilize bluefish RSA quota and forwarded them to NOAA's 
Grants Management Division. The Council preliminarily approved 715,819 
lb (325 mt) of RSA quota for use by these projects during 2013. For 
2014, the Council preliminarily approved 703,385 lb (319 mt) of RSA 
quota for future research projects. Proportional adjustments of these 
amounts to the commercial and recreational allocations would result in 
a final commercial quota of 9.076 million lb (4,117 mt) for 2013 and 
8.674 million lb (3,934 mt) for 2014, and a final RHL of 14.069 million 
lb (6,381 mt) for both 2013 and 2014. NMFS staff will update the 
commercial and recreational allocations based on the final 2013 RSA 
awards as part of the final rule for the 2013 specifications.

Proposed Recreational Possession Limit

    The Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, to maintain the current 
recreational possession limit of up to 15 fish per person to achieve 
the RHL for both 2013 and 2014.

Proposed State Commercial Allocations

    The proposed state commercial allocations for the recommended 2013 
and 2014 commercial quota are shown in Table 1, based on the 
percentages specified in the FMP. These quotas do not reflect any 
adjustments for quota overages that may have occurred in some states in 
2012. Any potential deductions for states that exceeded their quota in 
2012 will be accounted for in the final rule.

[[Page 11811]]



  Table 1--Proposed Bluefish Commercial State-by-State Allocations for 2013 and 2014 (Including RSA Deductions)
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                                               2013 Council-    2013 Council-    2014 Council-    2014 Council-
                                    Percent       proposed         proposed         proposed         proposed
              State                  share       commercial       commercial       commercial       commercial
                                                 quota (lb)       quota (kg)       quota (lb)       quota (kg)
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ME...............................     0.6685           60,673           27,521           57,985           26,302
NH...............................     0.4145           37,620           17,064           35,953           16,308
MA...............................     6.7167          609,606          276,513          582,603          264,264
RI...............................     6.8081          617,902          280,276          590,531          267,860
CT...............................     1.2663          114,929           52,131          109,838           49,822
NY...............................    10.3851          942,549          427,533          900,797          408,595
NJ...............................    14.8162        1,344,715          609,953        1,285,148          582,933
DE...............................     1.8782          170,465           77,322          162,914           73,897
MD...............................     3.0018          272,443          123,578          260,374          118,104
VA...............................    11.8795        1,078,181          489,055        1,030,421          467,391
NC...............................    32.0608        2,909,831        1,319,878        2,780,935        1,261,411
SC...............................     0.0352            3,195            1,449            3,053            1,385
GA...............................     0.0095              862              391              824              374
FL...............................    10.0597          913,016          414,137          872,572          395,792
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    Total........................   100.0001        9,075,976        4,116,795        8,673,941        3,934,435
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Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the NMFS 
Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with the Atlantic Bluefish FMP, other provisions of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further 
consideration after public comment.
    These proposed specifications are exempt from review under 
Executive Order 12866.
    An IRFA was prepared, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA), which describes the economic impact this 
proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A description 
of the action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this 
action are contained at the beginning of this preamble and in the 
SUMMARY. A summary of the analysis follows. A copy of this analysis is 
available from the Council (see ADDRESSES).
    Small businesses operating in commercial and recreational (i.e., 
party and charter vessel operations) fisheries have been defined by the 
Small Business Administration as firms with gross revenues of up to 
$4.0 and $6.5 million, respectively. The categories of small entities 
likely to be affected by this action include commercial and charter/
party vessel owners holding an active Federal permit for Atlantic 
bluefish, as well as owners of vessels that fish for Atlantic bluefish 
in state waters. All federally permitted vessels fall into the 
definition of small businesses; thus, there would be no 
disproportionate impacts between large and small entities as a result 
of the proposed rule.
    An active participant in the commercial sector was defined as any 
vessel that reported having landed 1 or more lb (0.45 kg) in the 
Atlantic bluefish fishery in 2011 (the most recent year for which there 
are complete data). The active participants in the commercial sector 
were defined using two sets of data. The Northeast seafood dealer 
reports were used to identify 742 vessels that landed bluefish in 
states from Maine through North Carolina in 2011. However, the 
Northeast dealer database does not provide information about fishery 
participation in South Carolina, Georgia or Florida. South Atlantic 
Trip Ticket reports were used to identify 768 vessels that landed 
bluefish in North Carolina and 791 vessels that landed bluefish on 
Florida's east coast in 2011.\1\ Bluefish landings in South Carolina 
and Georgia were near zero in 2011, representing a negligible 
proportion of the total bluefish landings along the Atlantic Coast. 
Therefore, this analysis assumed that no vessel activity for these two 
states took place in 2011. In recent years, approximately 2,000 party/
charter vessels may have been active in the bluefish fishery and/or 
have caught bluefish.
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    \1\ Some of these vessels were also identified in the Northeast 
dealer data; therefore, double counting is possible.
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    There are no new reporting or recordkeeping requirements contained 
in any of the alternatives considered for this action. In addition, 
NMFS is not aware of any relevant Federal rules that may duplicate, 
overlap, or conflict with this proposed rule.
    The IRFA in the Draft EA addressed three alternatives (including a 
no action/status quo alternative) for the 2013 and 2014 Atlantic 
bluefish fishing years. All quota alternatives considered in this 
analysis are based on various commercial harvest levels for bluefish (a 
low, medium, and high level of harvest). For analysis of impacts of 
Alternatives 1 and 2 for both 2013 and 2014, the maximum potential RSA 
quota of 3 percent of the TAL (715,819 lb (324 mt) for 2013 and 703,385 
lb (319 mt) for 2014) was used. For analysis of impacts of Alternative 
3 for both years, the status quo RSA quota of 491,672 lb (223 mt) was 
used. For analysis of impacts of Alternative 1 for 2013, the 
recommended transfer of 4.686 million lb (2,125 mt) from the 
recreational sector to the commercial sector were used. Alternative 1 
for 2014, the recommended transfer of 4.342 million lb (1,969 mt) was 
used. For analysis of impacts of Alternative 3 for 2013 and 2014, the 
transfer of 5.052 million lb (2,291 mt) from the recreational sector to 
the commercial sector was used, which is the same as the 2012 transfer 
amount. Under Alternative 2 for both 2013 and 2014, no transfer of 
bluefish would be made from the recreational sector to the commercial 
sector, and the allocation of the TAL would be based strictly on the 
percentages specified in the FMP (17 percent commercial, 83 percent 
recreational).
    For 2013, Alternatives 1 and 2 would implement a TAL of 23.861 
million lb (10,823 mt). For 2014, Alternatives 1 and 2 would implement 
a TAL of 23.446 million lb (10,635 mt). Alternative 3, for 2013 and 
2014, would implement status quo management measures for both

[[Page 11812]]

years, which would result in a TAL identical to the 2012 TAL, or 28.267 
million lb (12,822 mt). The proposed 2013 and 2014 Atlantic bluefish 
specification alternatives are shown in Table 2, along with the 
resulting commercial quota and RHL after any applicable transfer 
described earlier in the preamble and after deduction of the RSA quota. 
Alternative 1 (Council's preferred) would allocate 9.076 million lb 
(4,117 mt) for 2013 and 8.674 million lb (3,934 mt) for 2014 to the 
commercial sector, and 14.096 million lb (6,381 mt) to the recreational 
sector for both 2013 and 2014. For 2013, Alternative 2 would result in 
the most restrictive commercial quota and would allocate 4.530 million 
lb (2,055 mt) to the commercial sector and leave 18.615 million lb 
(8,444 mt) available to the recreational sector. For 2014, Alternative 
2 would also result in the most restrictive commercial quota and would 
allocate 4.462 million lb (2,024 mt) to the commercial sector and leave 
18.281 million lb (8,292 mt) available to the recreational sector. For 
both 2013 and 2014, Alternative 3 (status quo) would allocate 10.317 
million lb (4,680 mt) to the commercial sector and 17.457 million lb 
(7,918 mt) to the recreational sector. This alternative would also 
implement the status quo RSA level, which is currently approved for 
491,672 lb (223 mt).

 Table 2--Proposed 2013 and 2014 Atlantic Bluefish Specification Alternatives for TAL, Commercial Quota, and RHL
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                                                           Commercial
    Year        Alternatives     TAL  (million    TAL         quota        Commercial     RHL  (million    RHL
                                      lb)         (mt)    (million lb)     quota (mt)          lb)         (mt)
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2013.......  Alternative 1....          23.861   10,823           9.076           4,117          14.096    6,381
             Alternative 2....          23.861   10,823           4.530           2,044          18.615    8,444
             Alternative 3....          28.267   12,822          10.317           4,680          17.457    7,918
2014.......  Alternative 1....          23.446   10,635           8.674           3,934          14.096    6,381
             Alternative 2....          23.446   10,635           4.462           2,024          18.281    8,292
             Alternative 3....          28.267   12,822          10.317           4,680          17.457    7,918
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Commercial Fishery Impacts

    To assess the impact of the alternatives on commercial fisheries, 
the Council conducted a threshold analysis and analysis of potential 
changes in ex-vessel gross revenue that would result from each 
alternative, using Northeast dealer reports and South Atlantic Trip 
Ticket reports.
    Under Alternative 1, the recommended commercial quota for 2013 is 
approximately 79 percent higher than 2011 commercial landings. When 
this commercial quota is distributed to the states from Maine to 
Florida (based on the percentages specified in the FMP), except for New 
York, each state's 2013 quota is higher than its 2011 landings. For New 
York, 2013 commercial landings would be constrained by the 2013 
commercial quota under Alternative 1. The threshold analysis projected 
that 147 vessels could incur revenue losses of less than 5 percent and 
9 vessels could incur revenue losses of 5 percent or more. Of the 
vessels likely to be impacted with revenue reductions of 5 percent or 
more, 22 percent had gross sales of $1,000 or less and 44 percent had 
gross sales of $10,000 or less, which may indicate that the dependence 
on fishing for some of these vessels is small. If commercial quota is 
transferred from a state or states that do not land their entire 
bluefish quota for 2013, as was done in 2011 and frequently in previous 
years, the number of affected entities could change, thus changing the 
adverse economic impact on vessels landing in the state(s) receiving 
quota transfers.
    For 2013, Alternative 2 would result in a commercial quota 11 
percent below the 2011 commercial landings. Although the overall 
commercial quota is lower than 2011 commercial landings, except for 
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina, 
each state's 2013 quota is higher than its 2011 landings. For these 
states (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and North 
Carolina), 2013 commercial landings would be constrained by the 2013 
commercial quota under Alternative 2. The threshold analysis projected 
that 596 vessels could incur revenue losses of less than 5 percent and 
67 vessels could incur revenue losses of 5 percent or more. Of the 
vessels likely to be impacted with revenue reductions of 5 percent or 
more, 19 percent had gross sales of $1,000 or less and 55 percent had 
gross sales of $10,000 or less, which may indicate that the dependence 
on fishing for some of these vessels is small.
    Under Alternative 3, the 2013 commercial quota is approximately 103 
percent higher than the 2011 commercial landings. Most states show a 
similar increase in fishing opportunities under this alternative; 
however, New York's 2013 commercial quota would be lower than its 2011 
commercial landings. Analysis of Alternative 3 concluded that 586 
vessels would likely have no change in revenue relative to 2011, 154 
vessels were projected to incur revenue losses of less than 5 percent, 
and 2 vessels were projected to incur revenue loss of 5 percent or 
more.
    Under Alternative 1, the recommended commercial quota for 2014 is 
approximately 71 percent higher than 2011 commercial landings. When 
this commercial quota is distributed to the states from Maine to 
Florida (based on the percentages specified in the FMP), except for New 
York, each state's 2014 quota is higher than its 2011 landings. For New 
York, 2014 commercial landings would be constrained by the 2014 
commercial quota under Alternative 1. The threshold analysis projected 
that 147 vessels could incur revenue losses of less than 5 percent and 
13 vessels could incur revenue losses of 5 percent or more. Of the 
vessels likely to be impacted with revenue reductions of 5 percent or 
more, 22 percent had gross sales of $1,000 or less and 56 percent had 
gross sales of $10,000 or less, which may indicate that the dependence 
on fishing for some of these vessels is small. If commercial quota is 
transferred from a state or states that do not land their entire 
bluefish quota for 2014, as was done in 2011 and frequently in previous 
years, the number of affected entities could change, thus changing the 
adverse economic impact on vessels landing in the state(s) receiving 
quota transfers.
    For 2014, Alternative 2 would result in a commercial quota 12 
percent below the 2011 commercial landings. Although the overall 
commercial quota is lower than 2011 commercial landings,

[[Page 11813]]

except for Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and North 
Carolina, each state's 2014 quota is higher than its 2011 landings. For 
these states (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and 
North Carolina), 2014 commercial landings would be constrained by the 
2014 commercial quota under Alternative 2. The threshold analysis 
projected that 594 vessels could incur revenue losses of less than 5 
percent and 69 vessels could incur revenue losses of 5 percent or more. 
It is expected that the description of the impacted vessels under non-
preferred Alternative 2 for 2013 would also apply to this alternative.
    The commercial impacts under Alternative 3 for 2014 would be 
identical to the impacts described in Alternative 3 for 2013.

Recreational Fishery Impacts

    In Alternative 1 for 2013, the recommended RHL for the recreational 
sector (14.096 million lb, 6,381 mt) is approximately 22 percent above 
the recreational landings for 2011 (11.499 million lb, 5,216 mt) and 21 
percent below the RHL implemented for 2012 (17.457 million lb, 7,919 
mt). It is not anticipated that the recommend RHL will result in 
decreased demand for party/charter boat trips or affect angler 
participation in a negative manner. At the present time, there are 
neither behavioral or demand data available to estimate how sensitive 
party/charter boat anglers might be to proposed fishing regulations. 
However, given the level of the adjusted recreational harvest limit for 
2013 and 2014 and recreational landings in recent years, it is likely 
that given the proposed recreational harvest limits under all 
alternatives evaluated, the demand for party/charter boat trips may not 
be negatively impacted. Overall, it is not expected that the final 
recreational management measures will affect gross revenues of 
businesses providing goods and services to anglers participating in the 
party/charter boat, private/rental boat, and shore fisheries for 
bluefish. For 2013, the impacts under Alternative 2 and 3 are expected 
to be similar to the recreational impacts under Alternative 1. The IRFA 
analyzed the maximum transfer amount from the recreational sector to 
the commercial sector, but future updates of recreational harvest 
projections could result in a smaller transfer amount, resulting in a 
higher RHL.
    The 2013 RHL under Alternative 2 would be 62 percent higher than 
the recreational landings in 2011 and 7 percent higher than the 2012 
RHL. Under Alternative 3, the 2013 RHL would be 52 percent higher than 
2011 recreational landings and the same as the 2012 RHL. Thus, 
Alternatives 2 and 3 are not expected to have any negative effects on 
recreational fishermen or the demand for party/charter boat trips. In 
addition, neither of these alternatives are expected to result in 
recreational landings in excess of the RHL.
    The recreational impacts for the 2014 alternatives are the same as 
those for the respective alternatives for 2013.

RSA Quota Impacts

    For analysis of each alternative, the maximum RSA quota amount (3 
percent of the TAL) was deducted from the initial overall TAL for 2013 
and 2014 to derive the adjusted 2013 and 2014 commercial quotas and 
RHLs under each alternative. Thus, the threshold analyses for each 
alternative accounted for overall reductions in fishing opportunities 
due to RSA. Specifications of RSA quota for 2013 and 2014 are expected 
to benefit all participants in the fishery as a result of improved data 
and information for management or stock assessment purposes.

Summary

    The Council recommended Alternative 1 for both 2013 and 2014, over 
Alternatives 2 and 3, because it is projected to achieve the target F 
in 2013 and 2014, respectively, while providing the second least 
restrictive commercial quota among the alternatives analyzed. 
Alternative 2 was not recommended by the Council because it would yield 
the lowest commercial fishing opportunities among the alternatives due 
to an absence of a quota transfer under this alternative. Alternative 3 
was not selected because it would be inconsistent with the advice of 
the SSC and the Monitoring Committee due to failing to make an effort 
to prevent overfishing.

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

    Dated: February 12, 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. 2013-03781 Filed 2-19-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P