[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 42 (Monday, March 4, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 14069-14070]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04918]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

RIN 0648-BC58


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Shrimp Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 9

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

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has 
submitted Amendment 9 (Amendment 9) to the Fishery Management Plan for 
the Shrimp Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP) for review, 
approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 9 would revise the 
criteria and procedures by which South Atlantic states may request a 
concurrent closure of the penaeid shrimp (brown, pink, and white 
shrimp) commercial sector in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in order 
to protect overwintering white shrimp. Amendment 9 would also update 
the current overfished and overfishing status determination criteria 
for pink shrimp.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before May 3, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the amendment identified by 
``NOAA-NMFS-2012-0227'' by any of the following methods:
     Electronic submissions: Submit electronic comments via the 
Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Kate Michie, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 
13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record 
and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without 
change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, 
address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly 
accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information.
    To submit comments through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, enter ``NOAA-NMFS-2012-0227'' in the search field 
and click on ``search''. After you located the notice of availability, 
click on ``Submit a Comment'' link in that row. This will display the 
comment Web form. You can enter your submitter information (unless you 
prefer to remain anonymous), and type your comment on the Web form. You 
can also attach additional files (up to 10 MB) in Microsoft Word, 
Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Comments received through means not specified in this rule will not 
be considered.
    For further assistance with submitting a comment, see the 
``Commenting'' section at http://www.regulations.gov/#!faqs or the Help 
section at http://www.regulations.gov.
    Electronic copies of Amendment 9 may be obtained from the Southeast 
Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov. Amendment 9 
includes a Regulatory Impact Review and a Fishery Impact Statement.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kate Michie, telephone: 727-824-5305, 
or email: Kate.Michie@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires each regional 
fishery management council to submit any fishery management plan or 
amendment to NMFS for review and approval, partial approval, or 
disapproval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon 
receiving a plan or amendment, publish an announcement in the Federal 
Register notifying the public that the plan or amendment is available 
for review and comment.
    The penaeid shrimp fishery of the South Atlantic is managed under 
the

[[Page 14070]]

FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and is implemented through 
regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act.

Background

    Currently, a South Atlantic state may close its state waters to 
trawling by the penaeid shrimp commercial sector following severe 
winter weather to protect the spawning stock of white shrimp that has 
been depleted by cold weather conditions. The existing process to 
concurrently close the adjacent EEZ can be lengthy because it requires 
a review of a state's request and accompanying shrimp abundance data by 
both the Council and the Council's Shrimp Review Panel before the NMFS 
Regional Administrator (RA) can make a determination as to whether or 
not a concurrent closure of Federal waters is warranted.
    Amendment 9 would revise the criteria and procedures by which a 
South Atlantic state may request a concurrent closure of the penaeid 
shrimp commercial sector in the EEZ in order to protect overwintering 
white shrimp. Amendment 9 would also update the current overfished 
status determination criteria for pink shrimp.

Criteria Used To Trigger a State's Ability To Request a Concurrent 
Closure of the EEZ to Penaeid Shrimp Commercial Harvest

    Amendment 9 would revise the criteria that must be met for a state 
to request NMFS to close the commercial penaeid shrimp harvest in the 
EEZ, following severe winter weather and a closure of state waters. 
Amendment 9 would require that a state must demonstrate either at least 
an 80-percent reduction in the population of overwintering white shrimp 
or that water temperatures were 9 [deg]C (48[emsp14][deg]F) or less, 
for at least one week (7 days). Additional details regarding the 
sampling methods a state may use for these determinations may be found 
in Amendment 9 and the FMP.

Process for a State To Request a Concurrent Closure of the EEZ to 
Penaeid Shrimp Commercial Harvest

    Amendment 9 would also revise and streamline the procedures for a 
state to request a closure of the penaeid shrimp commercial sector in 
the EEZ concurrent with a closure in state waters. Under the current 
procedures, a state may request a concurrent closure of penaeid shrimp 
harvest in the EEZ once a state has determined that specific conditions 
have been met. Following that determination, the state sends a request 
to the Council, then the Council convenes its Shrimp Review Panel to 
review the state's request. If the review panel's recommendation is 
affirmative, the panel forwards its recommendation to the Council. If 
the Council approves the state's request, they send a letter to NMFS to 
request a concurrent closure of penaeid shrimp harvest in the EEZ 
waters adjacent to the requesting state. Once NMFS has determined the 
recommended closure is in accordance with the procedures and criteria 
specified in the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS implements the 
closure through a notification (temporary rule) in the Federal 
Register.
    The revised procedures would allow a state to send its request with 
its supporting documentation for a concurrent closure of the EEZ to 
penaeid shrimp commercial harvest directly to NMFS. The RA would review 
the available information and confirm that the criteria and procedures 
are in accordance with the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act before 
implementing a concurrent closure.

Overfished and Overfishing Status Determination Criteria for Pink 
Shrimp

    Amendment 9 would update the overfished and overfishing status 
determination criteria (biomass at maximum sustainable yield 
(BMSY)) proxy for pink shrimp based on recent catch per unit 
effort (CPUE) data for the stock. Specifically, Amendment 9 would 
revise the BMSY proxy for pink shrimp using the lowest CPUE 
value from the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program during 
the period 1990-2011 (0.089 individuals per hectare).
    The Council has submitted Amendment 9 for Secretarial review, 
approval, and implementation. NMFS' decision to approve, partially 
approve, or disapprove Amendment 9 will be based, in part, on 
consideration of comments, recommendations, and information received 
during the comment period on this notice of availability. After 
consideration of these factors, and consistent with the Magnuson-
Stevens Act and other applicable law, NMFS will publish a notice of 
agency action in the Federal Register announcing the Agency's decision 
to approve, partially approve, or disapprove Amendment 9, and the 
associated rationale.

Proposed Rule for Amendment 9

    A proposed rule that would implement Amendment 9 has been drafted. 
In accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS is evaluating the 
proposed rule to determine whether it is consistent with the FMP, the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. If that determination 
is affirmative, NMFS will publish the proposed rule in the Federal 
Register for public review and comment.

Consideration of Public Comments

    Comments received by May 3, 2013, whether specifically directed to 
the amendment or the proposed rule, will be considered by NMFS in its 
decision to approve, disapprove, or partially approve the amendment. 
Comments received after that date will not be considered by NMFS in 
this decision.
    All comments received by NMFS on the amendment or the proposed rule 
during their respective comment periods will be addressed in the final 
rule.

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

    Dated: February 27, 2013.
Kara Meckley,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-04918 Filed 3-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P