[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 90 (Thursday, May 9, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 27088-27112]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-10937]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 121129661-3389-02]
RIN 0648-BC81


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea Scallop 
Fishery and Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 24 and 
Framework Adjustment 49

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This action approves and implements Framework Adjustment 24 to 
the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan (Framework 24) and 
Framework Adjustment 49 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery 
Management Plan (Framework 49), which the New England Fishery 
Management Council (Council) adopted and submitted to NMFS for 
approval. Framework 24 sets specifications for the Atlantic sea scallop 
fishery for the 2013 fishing year, including days-at-sea allocations, 
individual fishing quotas, and sea scallop access area trip 
allocations. This action also sets default fishing year 2014 
specifications, in case the New England Fishery Management Council 
delays the development of the next framework, resulting in 
implementation after the March 1, 2014, start of the 2014 fishing year, 
and transitional measures are needed. In addition, Framework 24 adjusts 
the Georges Bank scallop access area seasonal closure schedules, and 
because that changes exemptions to areas closed to fishing specified in 
the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, Framework 24 must 
be a joint action with that plan (Framework 49). Framework 24 also 
continues the closures of the Delmarva and Elephant Trunk scallop 
access areas, refines the management of yellowtail flounder 
accountability measures in the scallop fishery, makes adjustments to 
the industry-funded observer program, and provides more flexibility in 
the management of the individual fishing quota program.

DATES: Effective May 20, 2013, except for the amendment to Sec.  
648.58(b), which is effective May 9, 2013.

ADDRESSES: The New England Fishery Management Council developed an 
environmental assessment (EA) for this action that describes the action 
and other considered alternatives, and provides a thorough analysis of 
the impacts of these final measures and alternatives. Copies of the 
Joint Frameworks, the EA, and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis (IRFA), are available upon request from Thomas Nies, Executive 
Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, 
Newburyport, MA 01950. The EA/IRFA is also accessible via the Internet 
at http://www.nefmc.org/scallops/index.html.
    Copies of the small entity compliance guide are available from John 
K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Northeast Regional Office, 55 
Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930-2298, or available on the 
Internet at http://www.nero.noaa.gov/nr/.
    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
final rule may be submitted to the Regional Administrator, at the 
address above, and by email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov, or fax to 
(202) 395-7285.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily Gilbert, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
978-281-9244; fax 978-281-9135.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The management unit of the Atlantic sea scallop fishery (scallop) 
ranges from the shorelines of Maine through North Carolina to the outer 
boundary of the Exclusive Economic Zone. The Atlantic Sea Scallop 
Fishery Management Plan (Scallop FMP), first established in 1982, 
includes a number of amendments and framework adjustments that have 
revised and refined the fishery's management. The Council sets scallop 
fishery specifications through framework adjustments that occur 
annually or biennially. This action includes allocations for fishing 
year (FY) 2013, as well as other scallop fishery management measures.
    The Council adopted Framework 24/Framework 49 on November 15, 2012, 
initially submitted it to NMFS on January 22, 2013, for review and 
approval, and submitted a revised final framework document on February 
15, 2013. This action is a joint framework with the Northeast (NE) 
Multispecies FMP because it includes a single measure that adjusts the 
Georges Bank scallop access area seasonal closure schedules, thus 
changing exemptions to areas closed to fishing specified in the NE 
Multispecies FMP. However, the majority of measures contained within 
this action are specific to the Scallop FMP and, as such, this final 
rule refers to this action primarily as Framework 24, unless otherwise 
noted. Framework 24 specifies measures for FY 2013, but includes FY 
2014 measures that will go into place as a default, should the next 
specifications-setting framework be delayed beyond the start of FY 
2014. NMFS is implementing Framework 24 after the start of FY 2013; FY 
2013 default measures have been in place since March 1, 2013. Because 
some of the FY 2013 default allocations are higher than what are set 
under Framework 24, the Council included ``payback'' measures, which 
are identified and described below, to address unintended consequences 
of the late implementation of this action. This action includes some 
measures that are not explicitly in Framework 24, but NMFS is approving 
them under the authority of section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), which provides that the 
Secretary of Commerce may promulgate regulations necessary to ensure 
that amendments to an FMP are carried out in accordance with the FMP 
and the MSA. These measures, which are identified and described below, 
are necessary to address unintended consequences of late implementation 
of this action, as well as to clarify implied measures that may not 
have been explicitly included in Framework 24. The Council reviewed 
Framework 24 proposed rule regulations as drafted by NMFS, and deemed 
them to be necessary and appropriate as specified in section 303(c) of 
the MSA. The proposed rule for Framework 24 published in the Federal 
Register on March 15, 2013 (78 FR 16574), with a 15-day public comment 
period that ended April 1, 2013. NMFS received eight comments on the 
proposed measures.
    The final Framework 24 management measures are described below. 
NMFS presented details concerning the Council's development of and 
rationale for these measures in the preamble of

[[Page 27089]]

the proposed rule and they are not repeated here.

Specification of Scallop Overfishing Limit (OFL), Acceptable Biological 
Catch (ABC), Annual Catch Limits (ACLs), Annual Catch Targets (ACTs), 
and Set-asides for FY 2013 and Default Specifications for FY 2014

    The Council sets the OFL based on a fishing mortality rate (F) of 
0.38, equivalent to the F threshold updated through the most recent 
scallop stock assessment. The Council sets the ABC and the equivalent 
total ACL for each FY based on an F of 0.32, which is the F associated 
with a 25-percent probability of exceeding the OFL. The Council's 
Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) recommended scallop fishery 
ABCs for FYs 2013 and 2014 of 46.3 M lb (21,004 mt) and 52.2 M lb 
(23,697 mt), respectively, after accounting for discards and incidental 
mortality. The SSC will reevaluate an ABC for FY 2014 in conjunction 
with the next biennial framework adjustment.
    Table 1 outlines the various scallop fishery catch limits that are 
derived from these ABC values. After deducting the incidental target 
total allowable catch (TAC) and the research and observer set-asides, 
the Council proportions the remaining ACL available to the fishery 
according to Amendment 11 to the Scallop FMP (Amendment 11; 72 FR 
20090; April 14, 2008) fleet allocations, with 94.5 percent allocated 
to the limited access (LA) scallop fleet (i.e., the larger ``trip 
boat'' fleet), 5 percent allocated to the limited access general 
category (LAGC) individual fishing quota (IFQ) fleet (i.e., the smaller 
``day boat'' fleet), and the remaining 0.5 percent allocated to LA 
scallop vessels that also have LAGC IFQ permits. These separate ACLs 
and their corresponding ACTs are referred to as sub-ACLs and sub-ACTs, 
respectively, throughout this action. Amendment 15 (76 FR 43746; July 
21, 2011) specified that no buffers to account for management 
uncertainty are necessary in setting the LAGC sub-ACLs, meaning that 
the LAGC sub-ACL would equal the LAGC sub-ACT. As a result, the LAGC 
sub-ACL values in Table 1, based on an F of 0.32, represent the amount 
of catch from which IFQ percent shares will be applied to calculate 
each vessel's IFQ for a given FY. The sub-ACLs/ACTs for FYs 2013 and 
2014 (default) do not include LAGC IFQ carryover, and NMFS recommends 
that the Council revisit its LAGC IFQ carryover policy and see what 
effect carryover has had on the IFQ fishery and if adjustments are 
necessary. NMFS believes it may be appropriate to consider a buffer 
between the LAGC sub-ACLs and sub-ACTs to incorporate annual carryover, 
similar to how the LA fishery's buffer operates. In FY 2011, the 
scallop fishery did not exceed its ABC/ACL. NMFS has not finished 
tallying the final FY 2012 landings, but based on data to date, NMFS 
does not expect that the scallop fishery exceeded its FY 2012 ABC/ACL.
    For the LA fleet, the Council set a management uncertainty buffer 
based on the F associated with a 75-percent probability of remaining 
below the F associated with ABC/ACL, which results in an F of 0.28.

 Table 1--Scallop Catch Limits for FYs 2013 and 2014 for Both the LA and
                             LAGC IFQ Fleets
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      2013                  2014
------------------------------------------------------------------------
OFL.........................  31,555 mt...........  31,110 mt
                              (69,566,867 lb).....  (68,585,801 lb)
ABC/ACL.....................  21,004 mt...........  23,697 mt
                              (46,305,894 lb).....  (52,242,952 lb)
Incidental TAC..............  22.7 mt.............  22.7 mt
                               (50,000 lb)........  (50,000 lb)
Research Set-Aside (RSA)....  567 mt..............  567 mt
                              (1,250,000 lb)......  (1,250,000 lb)
Observer Set-aside (1         210 mt..............  237 mt
 percent of ABC/ACL).         (463,059 lb)........  (522,429 lb)
LA sub-ACL(94.5 percent of    19,093 mt...........  21,612 mt
 total ACL, after deducting   (42,092,979 lb).....  (47,647,385 lb)
 set-asides and incidental
 catch).
LA sub-ACT (adjusted for      15,324 mt...........  15,428 mt
 management uncertainty).     (33,783,637 lb).....  (34,012,918 lb)
LAGC IFQ sub-ACL (5.0         1,010 mt............  1,144 mt
 percent of total ACL, after  (2,227,142 lb)......  (2,521,026 lb)
 deducting set-asides and
 incidental catch).
LAGC IFQ sub-ACL for vessels  101 mt..............  114 mt
 with LA scallop permits      (222,714 lb)........  (252,103 lb)
 (0.5 percent of total ACL,
 after deducting set-asides
 and incidental catch).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    These allocations do not account for any adjustments that NMFS 
would make year-to-year if annual landings exceeded the scallop 
fishery's ACLs, resulting in triggering accountability measures (AMs).
    This action deducts 1.25 M lb (567 mt) of scallops annually for FYs 
2013 and 2014 from the ABC and sets it aside as the Scallop RSA to fund 
scallop research and to compensate participating vessels through the 
sale of scallops harvested under RSA projects. Currently, vessels 
involved with FY 2013 RSA-funded projects can harvest RSA from open 
areas and from the Hudson Canyon (HC) Access Area. Once this action is 
effective, these vessels will be able to harvest RSA from other access 
areas (i.e., Closed Area 1 (CA1), Closed Area 2 (CA2), and Nantucket 
Lightship (NLS)).
    This action also removes 1 percent from the ABC and sets it aside 
for the industry-funded observer program to help defray the cost of 
carrying an observer. The observer set-aside for FYs 2013 and 2014 are 
210 mt (463,059 lb) and 237 mt (522,429 lb), respectively.

Open Area Days-at-Sea (DAS) Allocations

    This action implements vessel-specific DAS allocations for each of 
the three LA scallop DAS permit categories (i.e., full-time, part-time, 
and occasional) for FYs 2013 and 2014 (Table 2). FY 2014 DAS 
allocations are precautionary, and are set at 75 percent of what 
current biomass projections indicate could be allocated to each LA 
scallop vessel for the entire FY so as to avoid over-allocating DAS to 
the fleet in the event that the framework that would set those 
allocations, if delayed past the

[[Page 27090]]

start of FY 2014, estimates that DAS should be less than currently 
projected.

    Table 2--Scallop Open Area DAS Allocations for FYs 2013 and 2014
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Permit category                    FY 2013    FY 2014
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Full-Time.........................................         33         23
Part-Time.........................................         13          9
Occasional........................................          3          2
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Upon implementation of this action, the DAS allocations for full-
time, part-time, and occasional vessels will increase from the 
allocations set at the start of FY 2013 (i.e., 26, 11, and 3 DAS, 
respectively), to the values assigned in Table 2.

LA Trip Allocations, the Random Allocation Process, and Possession 
Limits for Scallop Access Areas

    Framework 24 closes both the Elephant Trunk (ET) area and the 
Delmarva Access Area (DMV) for FYs 2013 and 2014, continuing the 
current closures of these areas implemented through MSA emergency 
actions (77 FR 64915 (October 24, 2012) and 77 FR 73957 (December 12, 
2012)). By closing the ET, this action effectively re-establishes the 
ET as a scallop access area for future controlled access.
    For FY 2013, full-time LA vessels will receive two 13,000-lb 
(5,897-kg) access area trips. Each of these trips will take place in 
one of two access areas available for fishing (e.g., HC, NLS, CA1, and 
CA2), although the specific areas to which each vessel will have access 
will differ (Table 3).

     Table 3--Total Number of FY 2013 Full-time Trips by Access Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Number of
                       Access area                           full-time
                                                           vessel trips
------------------------------------------------------------------------
HC......................................................             210
DMV.....................................................               0
ET......................................................               0
CA1.....................................................             118
CA2.....................................................             182
NLS.....................................................             116
    Total...............................................           * 626
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* There are a total of 313 full-time vessels and each vessel will
  receive 2 trips.

    Part-time vessels will receive one FY 2013 access area trip 
allocation in FY 2013 equivalent to 10,400 lb (4,717 kg), and vessels 
with limited access occasional permits will receive one 2,080-lb (943-
kg) trip. These trips can be taken in any single access area that is 
open to the fishery for FY 2013 (i.e., all areas, except ET and DMV).
    In order to preserve appropriate access area allocations, there 
will be no access area trips allocated under FY 2014 default measures. 
The next framework that would replace these FY 2014 default measures 
(i.e., Framework 25) would include the FY 2014 access area allocations 
based on updated scallop projections. If Framework 25 is delayed past 
March 1, 2014, scallop vessels would be restricted to fishing in open 
areas until final FY 2014 specifications are implemented. However, 
vessels would be able to fish FY 2013 compensation trips in the access 
areas that were open in FY 2013 (e.g., HC, NLS, CA1, and CA2) for the 
first 60 days that those areas are open in FY 2014, or until Framework 
25 is approved and implemented, whichever occurs first. Although the 
Council did not consider this detail in how FY 2013 compensation trips 
carried over into FY 2014 would be handled, NMFS specifies the measure 
under section 305(d) authority of the MSA to provide some level of 
flexibility to vessel owners at the start of FY 2014.
    In order to avoid allocating trips into access areas with scallop 
biomass levels not large enough to support a full trip by all 313 LA 
full-time vessels, Framework 24 allocates ``split-fleet'' trips into 
certain access areas. Framework 24 randomly allocates two trips to each 
full-time vessel so that no full-time vessel has more than one trip in 
a given access area. In order to facilitate trading trips between 
vessels, NMFS has already specified the Framework 24 access area trip 
allocations for full-time vessels. These allocations are listed in 
Section 2.1.3 of the Framework 24 document (see ADDRESSES), as well as 
NMFS's Web site. NMFS will update these preliminary allocations, with 
any changes in vessel ownership and/or vessel replacements prior to the 
effective date of this action.
    Because these measures will be implemented after March 1, 2013, and 
the FY 2013 default access area allocations are inconsistent with 
Framework 24 allocations, it is possible that during the interim 
between the start of FY 2013 and the implementation of the proposed 
measures, a scallop vessel could take too many access area trips and/or 
land too many pounds of scallops. For example, when Framework 22 set 
the FY 2013 default allocations, it projected that more scallop biomass 
would be available to harvest than updated estimates indicate. As a 
result, the FY 2013 default access area allocations allow for a full-
time vessel fish four access area trips at 18,000 lb (8,165 kg) a trip. 
Although vessels have not been able to fish all four access area trips 
prior to Framework 24's implementation because the Georges Bank access 
areas (i.e., CA1, CA2, and NLS) will not open until Framework 24 
becomes effective, full-time vessels could fish one or two trips in HC. 
All full-time vessels have one HC trip, and half the full-time fleet 
has an additional HC trip under current measures. If all full-time 
vessels took their assigned HC trips prior to the implementation of 
Framework 24, up to 8.44 M lb (3,829 mt) of scallops could be harvested 
from HC, which is 5.71 M lb (2,591 mt) more than Framework 24 intends 
to remove from that area. Because HC has a large number of small 
scallops in the area, such a dramatic and unintended increase in 
fishing mortality in that area could have very negative impacts on the 
scallop resource and the future fishery. To avoid this overharvest and 
to prevent a FY 2013 ACL overage due to this discrepancy, the Council 
developed a ``payback'' measure for vessels that fish default FY 2013 
allocations before Framework 24 is implemented to replace those 
measures. Specifically, if a vessel takes FY 2013 access area trips 
authorized by Framework 22, it will have to give up all FY 2013 access 
area trips authorized to that vessel under Framework 24, plus 12 FY 
2013 open area DAS. However, vessels that take trips into HC at reduced 
possession limits (i.e., 13,000 lb; 5,897 kg) that are ultimately 
allocated those trips through Framework 24 will not be penalized if the 
trips are made before implementation of Framework 24. Examples on how 
these payback measures would be applied are available in the preamble 
to the proposed rule. NMFS has notified all limited access scallop 
permit holders of these potential payback provisions.
    Although the Council did not discuss the payback measures for part-
time and occasional vessels, there is still be the potential for those 
vessels to fish more scallops from HC than allocated under Framework 
24. To make measures consistent with the full-time HC payback measures, 
NMFS specifies, under its MSA section 305(d) authority, similar payback 
measures for part-time and occasional vessels that are proportional to 
those specified by the Council for full-time vessels.
    At the start of FY 2013 under default measures, part-time and 
occasional vessels have been allocated two trips at 14,400 lb (6,532 
kg) and one trip at 6,000 lb (2,722 kg), respectively. These trips can 
be taken in any open area, and it is possible that some vessels may 
choose to take all their access area trips in HC at the start of the 
FY, rather than

[[Page 27091]]

wait for Framework 24's implementation, which allocates one trip at 
10,400 lb (4,717 kg) for part-time vessels and one trip at 2,080 lb 
(943 kg) for occasional vessels. If vessels choose to take a trip(s) 
into HC above their ultimate trip and possession limit specified under 
Framework 24, they will receive a reduced DAS allocation once Framework 
24 is implemented. Proportionally similar to what is set for full-time 
vessels, part-time vessels would receive 5 fewer DAS (i.e., total FY 
2013 allocation of 8 DAS, rather than 13 DAS) and occasional vessels 
would receive 1 less DAS (i.e., total FY 2013 allocation of 2 DAS, 
rather than 3 DAS).
    This payback measure does not apply to carryover HC trips from FY 
2012 (i.e., trips broken during the last 60 days of FY 2012).
    This action also removes the measures that limit fishing effort in 
the Mid-Atlantic during times when sea turtle distribution overlaps 
with scallop fishing activity. As a result of the updated Biological 
Opinion, which includes updated reasonable and prudent measures, the 
Council is no longer required to develop those effort limitation 
measures through the specification-setting frameworks. Once Framework 
24 is effective, the access area effort-limitation measures specified 
in Framework 22 will cease to exist.

LAGC Measures

    1. Sub-ACL for LAGC vessels with IFQ permits. For LAGC vessels with 
IFQ permits, this action sets a 2,227,142-lb (1,010-mt) ACL for FY 2013 
and an initial ACL of 2,521,026 lb (1,144 mt) for FY 2014 (Table 1). 
NMFS calculates IFQ allocations by applying each vessel's IFQ 
contribution percentage to these ACLs. These allocations assume that no 
LAGC IFQ AMs are triggered. If a vessel exceeds its IFQ in a given FY, 
its IFQ for the subsequent FY would be deducted by the amount of the 
overage. Because Framework 24 will not go into effect until after the 
March 1 start of FY 2013, the default FY 2013 IFQ allocations, which 
are higher than those specified in Framework 24, have rolled over until 
Framework 24 is implemented. It is possible that scallop vessels could 
exceed their Framework 24 IFQ allocations during this interim period 
between March 1, 2013, and NMFS's implementation of the IFQ allocations 
in Framework 24. Therefore, Framework 24 specifies the following 
payback measure for LAGC IFQ vessels: If a vessel transfers (i.e., 
temporary lease or permanent transfer) all of its allocation to other 
vessels prior to Framework 24's implementation (i.e., transfers more 
than it is ultimately allocated for FY 2013), the vessel(s) that 
transferred in the pounds will receive a pound-for-pound deduction in 
FY 2013 (not the vessel that leased out the IFQ). In situations where a 
vessel leases out its IFQ to multiple vessels, only the vessel(s) that, 
in turn, leased in quota resulting in an overage would have to pay back 
that quota. A vessel that incurs such an overage can either lease in 
more quota to make up for that overage during FY 2013, or will have 
that overage, along with any other overages incurred in FY 2013, 
applied against its FY 2014 IFQ allocation as part of the individual AM 
applied to the LAGC IFQ fleet. Examples on how these payback measures 
would be applied are available in the preamble to the proposed rule. As 
with the limited access scallop permit holders, LAGC permit holders 
have been notified of these potential payback provisions.
    The onus is on the vessel owners to have a business plan to account 
for the mid-year adjustments in lieu of these payback measures. Prior 
to the start of FY 2013, NMFS sent a letter to IFQ permit holders 
providing both March 1, 2013, IFQ allocations and Framework 24 IFQ 
allocations so that vessel owners would know how much they could lease 
to avoid any overages incurred through leasing full allocations prior 
to the implementation of Framework 24.
    2. Sub-ACL for LA scallop vessels with IFQ permits. For LA scallop 
vessels with IFQ permits, this action sets a 222,714-lb (101-mt) ACL 
for FY 2013 and an initial 252,103-lb (114-mt) ACL for FY 2014 (Table 
1). NMFS calculates IFQ allocations by applying each vessel's IFQ 
contribution percentage to these ACLs. These allocations assume that no 
LAGC IFQ AMs are triggered. If a vessel exceeds its IFQ in a given FY, 
its IFQ for the subsequent FY would be reduced by the amount of the 
overage.
    If a vessel fishes all of the scallop IFQ it receives at the start 
of FY 2013, it would incur a pound-for-pound overage that would be 
applied against its FY 2014 IFQ allocation, along with any other 
overages incurred in FY 2013, as part of the individual AM applied to 
the LA vessels with LAGC IFQ permits. These vessels cannot participate 
in the IFQ transfer program, so leasing quota is not an option.
    3. LAGC IFQ trip allocations and possession limits for scallop 
access areas. Table 4 outlines the total number of FY 2013 LAGC IFQ 
fleetwide access area trips. Once the total number of trips is 
projected to be fished, NMFS will close that access area to LAGC IFQ 
vessels for the remainder of FY 2013.

    Table 4--LAGC Fleet-Wide Access Area Trip Allocations for FY 2013
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Access area                            FY 2013
------------------------------------------------------------------------
CA1.....................................................             212
CA2.....................................................               0
NLS.....................................................             206
HC......................................................             317
ETA.....................................................               0
DMV.....................................................               0
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In previous years, the Council did not allocate trips for LAGC IFQ 
vessels into CA2, because the Council and NMFS do not expect many of 
these vessels to fish in that area due to its distance from shore, and 
the total number of fleetwide trips only reflected 5.5 percent of each 
open access area. The Council specified in Framework 24 that 5.5 
percent of the CA2 available TAC will be included in setting LAGC IFQ 
fleetwide access area trip allocations, essentially shifting those CA2 
trips to other access areas closer to shore, so that LAGC IFQ vessels 
have the opportunity to harvest up to 5.5 percent of the overall access 
area TAC, not just that available in areas open to them. As a result, 
because the LAGC fishery could have been allocated 217 trips in CA2 in 
FY 2013 (i.e., 5.5 percent of CA2's TAC), those trips are divided 
equally among the other access areas, adding about 72 additional trips 
per area.
    In order to preserve appropriate access area allocations, there 
will be no access area trips allocated to LAGC IFQ vessels under FY 
2014 default measures. The next framework that would replace these FY 
2014 default measures (i.e., Framework 25) would include the FY 2014 
access area allocations based on updated scallop projections. If 
Framework 25 is delayed past March 1, 2014, LAGC IFQ scallop vessels 
will be restricted to fishing their IFQ allocations in open areas until 
final FY 2014 specifications are implemented.
    4. NGOM TAC. This action sets a 70,000-lb (31,751-kg) annual NGOM 
TAC for FYs 2013 and 2014. The allocation for FY 2014 assumes that 
there are no overages in FY 2013, which would trigger a pound-for-pound 
deduction in FY 2014 to account for the overage.
    5. Scallop incidental catch target TAC. This action sets a 50,000-
lb (22,680-kg) scallop incidental catch target TAC for FYs 2013 and 
2014 to account for mortality from this component of the fishery, and 
to ensure that F-targets are not exceeded.

[[Page 27092]]

Adjustments to Georges Bank (GB) Access Area Closure Schedules

    Framework 24 adjusts the time of year when scallop vessels may fish 
in the GB access areas (CA1, CA2, and NLS). Because this changes 
exemptions to areas closed to fishing specified in the NE Multispecies 
FMP, this action is also a joint framework with that plan (Framework 49 
to the NE Multispecies FMP). To date, vessels may fish in the areas 
from June 15 through January 31 and are prohibited from fishing in 
these areas from February 1 through June 14 of each FY. Framework 24 
moves the CA2 closure to August 15-November 15, and eliminates the 
seasonal closures from CA1 and NLS. Once Framework 24 is effective, all 
access areas will open.

Addition of LAGC Yellowtail Flounder (YTF) Accountability Measures 
(AMs)

    This action requires AMs for the LAGC fishery, one for the LAGC 
dredge fishery and the other for the LAGC trawl fishery in the Southern 
New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) YTF stock area. To date, the LAGC 
fishery does not have associated AMs for any overages to the YTF sub-
ACLs, but the fleet is catching more YTF in the Southern New England/
Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) YTF stock area than previously expected. The 
Council did not specify AMs for LAGC vessels in the GB YTF stock area 
because catch of YTF by these vessels is negligible.
    For LAGC vessels that use dredges, if the SNE/MA YTF sub-ACL is 
exceeded and an AM is triggered for the LA scallop fishery, the LAGC 
dredge fishery will not have an AM triggered unless their estimated 
catch is more than 3 percent of the SNE/MA sub-ACL by the scallop 
fishery. AMs in SNE/MA will not trigger on this fishery if dredge 
vessels exceed 3 percent of the SNE/MA sub-ACL unless the total SNE/MA 
sub-ACL and SNE/MA ACL are exceeded. For example, if the total SNE/MA 
sub-ACL for the scallop fishery is 50 mt (110,231 lb) of YTF, and NMFS 
estimates that the LAGC dredge fishery will catch 1 mt (2,205 lb) of 
YTF, 2 percent of the SNE/MA sub-ACL, AMs will not trigger for this 
fleet even if the total SNE/MA sub-ACL was exceeded and LA AMs were 
triggered. However, if the catch is more than 3 percent of the SNE/MA 
YTF sub-ACL (i.e., 1.5 mt (3,307 lb) of YTF), and both the overall 
scallop fishery's YTF sub-ACL and the YTF LA AM is triggered, an AM 
will also trigger for the LAGC dredge fishery. The Council designed 
this threshold as a way to relieve the LAGC dredge fishery from AMs if 
they are triggered for LA vessels, since the YTF catch from the LAGC 
dredge segment of the fishery is such a small percentage of the total.
    The AM closure area for LAGC dredge vessels is identical to that 
currently in place for the LA fishery (statistical areas 537, 539, and 
613), but the closure schedule (based on the level of the YTF SNE/MA 
sub-ACL overage) differs. The Council developed a closure schedule that 
leaves some of the AM area open for parts of the year when traditional 
LAGC dredge fishing has occurred, but closes the areas during months 
when YTF bycatch is higher (Table 5).

           Table 5--LAGC Dredge Fishery's AM Closure Schedule for Statistical Areas 537, 539, and 613
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             AM closure area and duration
              Overage               ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               539                     537                       613
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2 percent or less..................  Mar-Apr...............  Mar-Apr...............  Mar-Apr.
2.1-7 percent......................  Mar-May, Feb..........  Mar-May, Feb..........  Mar-May, Feb.
7.1-12 percent.....................  Mar-May, Dec-Feb......  Mar-May, Dec-Feb......  Mar-May, Feb.
12.1-16 percent....................  Mar-Jun, Nov-Feb......  Mar-Jun, Nov-Feb......  Mar-May, Feb.
16.1 percent or greater............  All year..............  Mar-Jun, Nov-Feb......  Mar-May, Feb.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For LAGC trawl vessels, the AM closure areas are statistical areas 
612 and 613. The Council specified that the SNE/MA YTF AM for LAGC 
trawl vessels will trigger two different ways:
    First, the AM will trigger if the estimated catch of SNE/MA YTF by 
the LAGC trawl fishery is more than 10 percent of the SNE/MA YTF sub-
ACL for the scallop fishery. In this case, the AM closure season for 
LAGC trawl vessels will be March-June and again from December-February, 
a total of 7 months (i.e., the most restrictive closure in Table 6 
below). For example, if the total scallop fishery SNE/MA YTF sub-ACL 
was 50 mt (2,205 lb), AMs will trigger for the LAGC trawl fishery if 
the estimated catch by that segment is more than 5 mt (11,023 lb), 10 
percent of the SNE/MA YTF sub-ACL for the scallop fishery for that FY. 
Because the LAGC trawl fishery will meet the 10-percent threshold, 
based on the example above, the AM will be a 7-month closure of 
statistical areas 612 and 613, regardless of whether or not the scallop 
fishery's SNE/MA YTF sub-ACL was triggered. This measure is more 
restrictive than what the Council specified for LAGC dredge vessels, 
because the LAGC trawl fishery is catching much more SNE/MA YTF than 
anticipated (i.e., in FY 2012, NMFS estimated that the LAGC trawl 
fishery caught 22.5 percent of the total SNE/MA YTF sub-ACL, and the 
LAGC dredge fishery only caught 1.5 percent).
    Second, if the scallop fishery exceeds its SNE/MA sub-ACL overall, 
and total SNE/MA YTF ACL is exceeded, triggering AMs in the LA fleet, 
LAGC trawl vessels will be subject to their AM closure, with the length 
of the closure based on the extent of the YTF SNE/MA sub-ACL overage of 
the entire scallop fishery (See Table 6). Continuing the example above, 
if the scallop fishery exceeds its 50-mt YTF SNE/MA sub-ACL and the LA 
AM is triggered, and the LAGC trawl portion of the scallop fishery 
catches an estimated 2 mt (i.e., less than the 10-percent threshold), 
LAGC vessels will be prohibited from using trawl gear in statistical 
areas 612 and 613 from March through April of a following FY, based on 
Table 6 (See the ``Modification to the Timing of YTF AM 
Implementation'' section below for more information on when AMs will be 
triggered for the scallop fishery overall).
    If both of these caveats are triggered (i.e., the trawl fishery 
catches more than 10 percent of the total SNE/MA YTF sub-ACL and the 
overall SNE/MA YTF sub-ACL is exceeded, triggering AMs for the LA 
scallop fishery), the most restrictive AM applies (i.e., the 7-month 
closure from March-June, and December-February).
    In order to reduce the economic impacts on this fleet, vessels may 
fish in the AM area during the months of July through November to 
enable LAGC trawl vessels to fish for scallops in that area during part 
of the year that they have historically fished (i.e., summer and fall). 
In addition, if the LAGC trawl AM is triggered, a trawl vessel could 
still covert to dredge gear and continue fishing for scallops. If a 
vessel chooses to switch gears, it must follow all dredge gear 
regulations, including that fishery's

[[Page 27093]]

AM schedule if it has also been triggered.

 Table 6--LAGC Trawl Fishery's AM Closure Schedule for Statistical Areas
                               612 and 613
------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Overage                            AM Closure
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2 percent or less...................  Mar-Apr.
2.1-3 percent.......................  Mar-Apr, and Feb.
3.1-7 percent.......................  Mar-May, and Feb.
7.1-9 percent.......................  Mar-May, and Jan-Feb.
9.1-12 percent......................  Mar-May, and Dec-Feb.
12.1or greater......................  Mar-June, and Dec-Feb.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Modification to the Timing of YTF AM Implementation

    Under current regulations, on or about January 15 of each FY, NMFS 
determines whether the scallop fishery is expected to exceed the YTF 
flounder sub-ACLs for that FY. This determination is based on a 
projection that includes assumptions of expected scallop catch for the 
remainder of the FY, as well as YTF bycatch rates from the previous 
year's observer data if those data for the current FY are not 
available. Before the start of the next FY, NMFS announces if AMs are 
triggered, based on the January projection, and predefined areas close 
to the limited access scallop fishery based on the AM schedule in 
Framework 23 (77 FR 20728; April 6, 2012) and the AM trigger thresholds 
outlined in Framework 47 to the NE Multispecies FMP (Groundfish 
Framework 47) (77 FR 26104; May 2, 2012). Once all the data are 
available for the previous year (i.e., full FY scallop landings, full 
FY observer data), NMFS re-estimates YTF catch and, if the new estimate 
shows a different conclusion when compared to the sub-ACLs than the 
initial projection, could re-evaluate the decision to trigger AMs.
    Because NMFS must determine whether or not the total YTF ACL has 
been exceeded before the end of the NE multispecies FY (April 30) when 
information on YTF catch is fully available, the preliminary 
determination to trigger an AM may be problematic. Moreover, 
administering this YTF AM is extremely complex and has resulted in 
continuously re-evaluating the AM determination, depending on data 
variability.
    To streamline the process of implementing YTF AMs in the scallop 
fishery, and to alleviate industry confusion caused by preliminary 
determinations of the need to trigger an AM, Framework 24 specifies 
that the respective AM for each YTF stock area will be implemented at 
the start of the next FY (i.e., the current way YTF AMs are to be 
triggered) only if reliable information is available that a YTF sub-ACL 
has been exceeded during a FY. This approach could be used in 
situations where the ACL for a stock is low, an overage is known early 
in the FY, and AM determinations are based on actual catch and landings 
rather than projections.
    However, if reliable information is not available to make a mid-
year determination of the need to implement an AM for the YTF sub-ACL, 
NMFS must wait until enough information is available (i.e., when the 
total observer and catch data is available for that FY for both the 
groundfish and scallop fisheries) before making a decision to implement 
an AM. Under this scenario, the AMs will be implemented in Year 3 
(e.g., for an overage in FY 2013, the AM will be implemented in FY 
2015).

Additional Flexibility for the LAGC IFQ Leasing Program

    At the request of the LAGC IFQ fleet, the Council developed 
measures that provide more flexibility to the LAGC IFQ leasing program 
by allowing transfer of quota after an LAGC IFQ vessel landed scallops 
in a given FY and will allow IFQ to be transferred more than once, or 
``re-transferred''. In the proposed rule, NMFS referred to subsequent 
transfers as ``sub-transfers'', but NMFS determined that the term ``re-
transfer'' better describes the process. These provisions do not apply 
to vessels that have both an LAGC IFQ and LA scallop permit. Those 
vessels are prohibited from leasing or permanently transferring LAGC 
IFQ.
    Currently, an IFQ vessel is not allowed to transfer IFQ to another 
vessel for the remainder of a FY if it has already landed part of its 
scallop IFQ for that year. This restriction was part of the original 
design of the scallop IFQ program implemented through Amendment 11. At 
the time, because the IFQ program was new, Amendment 11 limited the IFQ 
transfer program this way in order to avoid potential administrative 
mistakes related to the accounting of IFQ scallop landings. Because the 
Council has determined that this restriction unnecessarily hinders 
flexibility in the LAGC fishery, this action removes this prohibition, 
allowing a vessel to utilize its IFQ throughout the FY. For example, if 
an IFQ vessel that has a base allocation of 10,000 lb (4,536 kg) only 
lands 2,000 lb (907 kg) before deciding to stop fishing for scallops 
for the remainder of the year, the vessel will now be able to transfer 
(temporarily or permanently) its remaining 8,000 lb (3,629 kg) of 
scallops to other IFQ vessels during the FY. NMFS will implement this 
provision along with other Framework 24 measures upon this action's 
effective date.
    Currently, IFQ can only be transferred once during a FY, a 
restriction that was also part of the original design of the scallop 
IFQ program implemented through Amendment 11. For similar reasons as 
those stated above, Amendment 11 limited the IFQ transfer program this 
way in order to avoid too much complexity and potential administrative 
mistakes related to multiple transfers to and from multiple vessels. 
This action changes that restriction by enabling an IFQ vessel to re-
transfer IFQ that it received through a previous transfer to another 
IFQ vessel or vessels during the same fishing year to allow for more 
flexibility in managing IFQs.
    Because re-transfers will add more complexity to IFQ monitoring, 
and because NMFS is currently making a number of programming changes to 
the databases to improve monitoring in this fishery, NMFS cannot make 
the full suite of necessary changes upon the effective date of the 
final rule. Instead, NMFS will implement this re-transfer allowance in 
two stages. Upon the effective date of this final rule, vessels will be 
able to permanently transfer in IFQ and then temporarily re-transfer 
(i.e., lease out) that IFQ to another vessel(s) within the same fishing 
year. The proposed rule proposed to delay implementation of this 
provision for a year to allow time for programming changes to account 
for these transfers. Upon further consideration, however, because this 
is a relatively minor adjustment to how NMFS monitors the fishery, and 
does not involve extensive programming changes, NMFS is able to 
implement this portion of the measure along with other Framework 24 
measures upon this action's effective date. Starting March 1, 2014, 
following the completion of other programming adjustments, vessels will 
also be able to re-transfer IFQ, both permanently and temporarily, that 
they obtained through a permanent or temporary transfer in the same 
fishing year There is no limit on the number of times an IFQ may re-
transferred in a given FY.
    In order to process IFQ re-transfer applications, NMFS requires 
that both parties involved in a re-transferring request (i.e., the 
transferor and the transferee) must be up-to-date with their data 
reporting (i.e., all VMS catch reports, VTR, and dealer data must be 
up-to-date).

[[Page 27094]]

    Because this action increases the complexity of NMFS IFQ 
monitoring, cost recovery fees will likely increase.
    This action also requires adjustments to how NMFS applies scallop 
IFQ towards the ownership and vessel caps, which are held at 5 percent 
and 2.5 percent of the total LAGC IFQ sub-ACLs, respectively. Re-
transfers complicate the ownership/vessel cap accounting, requiring 
stronger controls. To ensure accurate accounting and to avoid the 
potential for abuse of the IFQ cap restriction, all pounds that have 
been on a vessel during a given FY will be counted towards ownership or 
vessel caps, no matter how long the pounds were ``on'' the vessel 
(i.e., even if a vessel leases in 100 lb (45.4 kg) and transfers out 
those pounds 2 days later, those 100 lb (45.4 kg) will count towards 
the caps).
    For example, Owner A has an IFQ permit on Vessel 1 with an 
allocation consisting of 2.5 percent of the total IFQ allocation and 
also has a permit on Vessel 2 with an allocation of 2.0 percent, for a 
total of 4.5 percent ownership of the total IFQ allocation. If Owner A 
leases an additional 0.5 percent to Vessel 2 and then re-leases that 
0.5 percent to another vessel owned by a separate entity (Owner B), 
because those pounds were under the ownership of Owner A at one point 
during the given FY, he will still have reached his ownership cap, as 
well as the vessel caps for both vessels. As such, Owner A could 
continue to lease out (or permanently transfer) IFQ pounds to other 
owners, but could not transfer in any more IFQ until the next FY.

Modifications to the Observer Set-Aside Program

    1. Inclusion of LAGC open area trips into the industry-funded 
observer set-aside program. Framework 24 expands the observer set-aside 
(OBS) program to include LAGC IFQ vessels in open areas in order to 
increase the amount of coverage of that fleet compared to current 
levels. Currently, if an LAGC IFQ vessel is required to carry an 
observer on an open area trip (i.e., a non-access area trip), NMFS 
covers the cost of that observer. All other scallop trips (LAGC trips 
in access areas, and LA trips in both open and access areas) are under 
the industry-funded scallop OBS program. Under the industry-funded OBS 
program, if a vessel is selected to carry an observer, the vessel is 
responsible to pay for that observer on that trip. The vessel is 
compensated from the OBS program in either additional pounds in access 
areas or DAS in open areas to help defray the cost of the observer.
    In order to incorporate LAGC open area trips into the OBS Program, 
Framework 24 specifies that LAGC vessels will be compensated in a 
manner similar to how access area IFQ trips are handled: If an IFQ 
vessel is selected for an open area observed trip, that vessel will 
receive compensation of a certain number of pounds per trip. The exact 
compensation rate is determined by NMFS at the start of each FY. For 
the remainder of FY 2013, the compensation rate for LAGC open area IFQ 
trips will be 150 lb/trip (68 kg/trip), resulting in a coverage rate 
for LAGC open area trips of about 8 percent. If a vessel is selected 
for an open area trip, that vessel will receive a credit of 150 lb (68 
kg) towards its IFQ account to account for the observer coverage, so 
long as the OBS set-aside has not been fully harvested. Those 
additional pounds can be fished on the observed IFQ trip above the 
regular possession limit, or can be fished on a subsequent trip that FY 
(but must be harvested within the current possession limit requirements 
if fished on a future trip).
    The LAGC call-in requirements for open area trips are identical to 
those currently in place for LAGC IFQ access area trips: All LAGC 
vessels are required to call in to NMFS's Northeast Fisheries Observer 
Program weekly with their expected trip usage: Vessel operators must 
call by Thursday if they expect to make any open area (or access area) 
trips from Sunday through Saturday of the following week. Observer 
providers should charge LAGC IFQ vessels on open area trips in the same 
way that they charge LAGC access area trips: Providers should charge 
dock-to-dock, where a ``day'' is considered a 24-hr period, and 
portions of other days should be pro-rated at an hourly charge.
    2. Adjustments to applying the OBS TAC by area. Framework 24 
adjusts how the OBS is allocated (i.e., removing the need for it to be 
area-specific), in order to allow for more flexibility in adjusting 
compensation rates by area mid-year. One-percent of the total ACL for 
the scallop fishery is set aside annually to help compensate vessels 
for the cost of carrying an observer, and currently this amount is 
divided proportionally into access areas and open areas in order to set 
the compensation and coverage rates and monitor this set-aside harvest 
by area. These area-specific OBS allocations are then set in the 
regulations, along with all other specifications set through the 
framework process. If the set-aside for a given area is fully 
harvested, based on the TACs in the regulations, there is currently no 
mechanism to transfer OBS TAC from one area to another and, as a 
result, any vessel with an observed trip in an area with no remaining 
OBS has to pay for the observer without compensation. Under the 
Framework 24 measure, although the specification-setting frameworks 
would still divide up the OBS proportionally by access and open areas 
in order to set the compensation and coverage rates and for monitoring 
purposes (i.e., in order to determine if fishing activity in one area 
is using up more of the set-aside compensation than anticipated when 
the compensation rate was set), these TACs will not be officially set 
in the regulations. Instead, set-aside can be transferred from one area 
to another, based on NMFS in-house area-level monitoring that 
determines whether one area will likely have excess set-aside while 
another may not. The set-aside will be considered completely harvested 
when the full 1 percent is landed, at which point there would be no 
more compensation for any observed scallop trip, regardless of area. 
NMFS will continue to proactively adjust compensation rates mid-year, 
if necessary, to minimize the chance that the set-aside will be 
harvested prior to the end of the FY. Allowing set-aside to be flexible 
by area will help reduce the chance that vessels would have to pay for 
observers without compensation when fishing in a given area.

Other Clarifications and Modifications

    This rule includes several revisions to the regulations to address 
text that is duplicative and unnecessary, outdated, unclear, or which 
otherwise could be improved. NMFS sets these changes consistent with 
section 305(d) of the MSA. There are terms and cross references in the 
current regulations that are now inaccurate due to the regulatory 
adjustments made through past rulemakings (e.g., measures related to 
the YTF access area TACs are no longer necessary because Framework 47 
to the NE Multispecies FMP removed those TACs in May 2012). NMFS 
revises the regulations to remove measures intended by previous 
rulemaking, and to provide more ease in locating these regulations by 
updating cross references.
    This action also makes revisions that would clarify the intent of 
certain regulations. For example, NMFS clarifies the Turtle Deflector 
Dredge regulations at Sec.  648.51 to more clearly indicate the gear 
requirements intended through Framework Adjustment 23 to the Scallop 
FMP (77 FR 20728; April 6, 2012). It came to NMFS's attention that some 
dredge manufacturers were building non-compliant TDDs, so the 
regulations were clarified to avoid

[[Page 27095]]

further confusion. For example, to assist with compliance, NMFS 
clarified where the flaring bar may be located along the dredge frame 
and clarified from where the 45 degree angle described at 
648.51(b)(5)(ii)(A)(2) should be measured. NMFS considered comments 
from the Coast Guard in the final clarifications to the TDD 
regulations. Additionally, prohibitions in Sec.  648.14 imply that 
vessels cannot land scallops up to the incidental scallop possession 
limit when declared out of the fishery and that IFQ vessels cannot land 
up to 600 lb (272 kg) of their IFQ scallops on NE multispecies, 
surfclam, ocean quahog, or other trip requiring a VMS declaration. This 
was not the intent of Amendment 11, and conflict with other regulations 
in part 648, subpart D. As such, NMFS clarifies these regulations. NMFS 
also adds more description to some access area and habitat closed area 
coordinates to clarify the boundaries of those areas.

Comments and Responses

    NMFS received seven comment letters in response to the proposed 
rule from: Congressman William R. Keating, the executive director of 
the Community Development Partnership (CDP) of Lower Cape Cod, an 
organization that promotes environmental and economic sustainability 
for the Lower Cape region of Massachusetts; the Cape Cod Commercial 
Hook Fishermen's Association (CCCHFA), writing on behalf of LAG IFQ 
fishermen residing on Cape Cod, Massachusetts; twelve other Cape Cod 
LAGC IFQ fishermen; and three individuals. Two relevant issues relating 
to the proposed Framework 24 measures were raised; responses are 
provided below. NMFS may only approve, disapprove, or partially approve 
measures in Framework 24, and cannot substantively amend, add, or 
delete measures beyond what is necessary under section 305(d) of the 
MSA to discharge its responsibility to carry out such measures.
    Comment 1: One commenter stated that various FY 2014 scallop quotas 
should be reduced because they are too high, and suggested reductions 
from 3 percent to 52 percent. The commenter provided no rationale for 
why the selected quotas should be reduced in the manner suggested.
    Response: The reasons presented by the Council and NMFS for 
recommending the quota allocations for FYs 2013 and 2014, which are 
discussed in the preambles to both the proposed and final rules, are 
based on the best scientific information available and are consistent 
with the control rules outlined in Amendment 15's ACL process. Scallops 
are currently not considered overfished or subject to overfishing. 
Sufficient analysis and scientific justification for NMFS's action in 
this final rule are contained within the supporting documents. In 
addition, FY 2014 quotas represent default quotas that would be 
reconsidered by the Council in a future framework action.
    Comment 2: NMFS received comment letters from Congressman Keating, 
the CDP, CCCHFA, twelve IFQ LAGC fishermen, and two individuals 
requesting that NMFS allow for a quicker implementation of the proposed 
re-transfer provisions, specifically for one type of LAGC IFQ re-
transfer. During the development of Framework 24 and in the Framework 
24 proposed rule, NMFS stated that due to the complexity of programming 
to account for re-transfers during the same fishing year, NMFS would be 
unable to implement re-transfer procedures until March 1, 2014. These 
commenters requested that NMFS allow at least the re-transfer of IFQ 
through a lease in the same fishing year after a sale of IFQ through a 
permanent transfer. In addition, the commenters stated that the Council 
was clear in its intent to allow this provision to be effective in FY 
2013.
    Response: NMFS disagrees with the commenters' statements that the 
Council was clear in its intent to distinguish between different types 
of re-transfers in Framework 24 and allow for the scenario outlined 
above to occur in FY 2013. However, NMFS understands the request to 
implement as soon as possible more flexibility in the IFQ transfer 
program. As a result, NMFS will, upon the effective date of this 
action, allow a vessel to permanently transfer in IFQ and then 
subsequently lease that permanently transferred IFQ to another 
vessel(s) in the same FY.
    In order to ensure that NMFS can accurately monitor ownership cap 
restrictions and incorporate real-time landings into the IFQ transfer 
program, NMFS will still need more time to develop the full suite of 
re-transfer programming procedures. Thus, we will allow for leased IFQ 
to be leased again in the same FY, and allow for permanent transfers to 
be permanently transferred again in the same FY beginning March 1, 
2014.

Changes from Proposed Rule to Final Rule

    In Sec.  648.53(h)(5), the regulations are updated to reflect 
NMFS's intent to allow a vessel to permanently transfer IFQ and then 
subsequently lease that permanently transferred IFQ to another 
vessel(s) in the same FY, beginning with the effectiveness of this 
action, rather than March 1, 2014.
    In Sec.  648.51(b)(5)(ii)(A)(3), the words ``so that it [the 
flaring bar] does not interfere with the space created by the bump 
out'' have been removed, to alleviate any potential confusion.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, has determined 
that this rule is consistent with the national standards and other 
provisions of the MSA and other applicable laws.
    The Office of Management and Budget has determined that this rule 
is not significant according to Executive Order 12866.
    This final rule does not contain policies with federalism or 
``takings'' implications, as those terms are defined in E.O. 1312 and 
E.O. 12630, respectively.
    This action contains a collection-of-information requirement 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The requirement was 
approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the NMFS 
Northeast Region Observer Providers Family of Forms (OMB Control No. 
0648-0546). Under Framework 24, all LAGC IFQ vessels are required to 
call in weekly with their expected open area trip usage, similar to 
current requirements for LAGC IFQ trips in access areas. The public 
reporting burden for this collection of information has already been 
analyzed under this family of forms and is estimated to average 15 
minutes per response with an associated cost of $1.50, that includes 
the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, 
gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing 
the collection information.
    Based on FY 2011 permit data, there are 259 active LAGC IFQ-
permitted scallop vessels that are subject to this information 
collection. These vessels are required to notify observer providers if 
they plan on fishing in an open area in the following week. This 
information collection adds a burden to a small portion of the fleet. 
While this is a new requirement, vessels would never be obligated to 
call in more than once a week. Since the 2011 renewal of this 
information collection already estimated the burden at once a week for 
all active vessels, there are no additional burden hours compared to 
the previous renewal.
    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has determined that the 
need to implement these measures in an expedited manner in order to 
help achieve conservation objectives for the scallop fishery and 
certain fish stocks

[[Page 27096]]

constitutes good cause, under authority contained in 5 U.S.C. 
553(d)(3), to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness and to make the 
majority of Framework 24 final measures effective May 20, 2013. The 
only exception to this would be to make the continued closure of the 
Delmarva access area effective May 9, 2013, in order to continue to 
protect small scallops.
    If there is a 30-day delay in implementing the measures in 
Framework 24, the scallop fleet will continue under the current access 
area schedule, as well as access area trip, DAS, IFQ, RSA and OBS 
allocations.
    The current access area allocations are higher than the measures in 
Framework 24, which were developed to reflect an updated estimate of 
the annual catch that can be harvested without resulting in 
overfishing. As a result, vessel owners and operators are likely to 
exceed the catch levels specified in Framework 24 for FY 2013 if the 
Framework 24 measures are not implemented soon. Constraining the 
implementation of Framework 24 by instituting a 30-day delay in 
effectiveness would be contrary to the public interest because 
continuing with these higher allocations would likely result in 
localized overfishing in access areas, and would negatively impact the 
access area rotation program, as well as future scallop allocations.
    In addition, the emergency action that closed the DMV access area 
to protect scallop recruitment will expire by May 14, 2013. If 
Framework 24, which continues this closure, is not effective prior to 
May 14, 2013, the DMV will reopen and vessels would be able to fish 
trips in that area. This could also jeopardize the success of the 
access area program in future years by reducing the long-term biomass 
and economic yield from this area. FY 2012 survey results show that 
there are a high number of small scallops in the DMV that need to be 
protected from harvest in order to grow to a commercially viable size. 
If this area opens to scallop fishing due to a delay in implementing 
Framework 24 measures, these scallops would be removed from the DMV, 
which would result in smaller future scallop allocations and fewer 
economic benefits to fishery participants.
    Expediting the implementation of Framework 24 measures will also 
have greater public benefit because enacting the DAS allocations and 
implementing the new GB access area seasonal closures would have 
positive impacts on the economics of the fishery, thereby furthering 
the intent of the rule. Currently, limited access vessels are fishing 
under lower DAS allocations than will be implemented by Framework 24. 
In addition, the CA1, CA2, and NLS access areas will open immediately 
once Framework 24 is implemented, rather than opening on June 15, 2013. 
Scallop vessels are limited to which access area they can fish until 
Framework 24 is effective and these openings will take the pressure off 
of vessel owners/operators from fishing their open area DAS or HC 
access area trips, allowing for more flexibility on when and where to 
fish for scallops.
    NMFS was unable to incorporate the 30-day delay in effectiveness 
into the timeline for Framework 24 rulemaking due to the Council's 
February 2013 submission of Framework 24, which was only two weeks 
before the March 1 start of the 2013 scallop FY. However, NMFS must 
also considers the need of the scallop industry to have prior notice in 
order to make the necessary preparations to begin fishing under these 
finalized measures (e.g., time to notify the observer program; collect 
the necessary equipment and notify crew; plan for the steam time to get 
to an area once it opens; or return from a trip started prior to the 
effective date of this action, should the vessel owner/operator want to 
fish in a more preferable area during this time of year). For these 
reasons, NMFS has determined that implementing these measures with a 
10-day delay in effectiveness, and immediately continuing the closure 
of the Delmarva access area, would have the greatest public benefit.
    NMFS, pursuant to section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act 
(RFA), has completed a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) in 
support of Framework 24 in this final rule. The FRFA incorporates the 
IRFA, a summary of the significant issues raised by the public comments 
in response to the IRFA, NMFS responses to those comments, a summary of 
the analyses completed in the Framework 24 EA, and this portion of the 
preamble. A summary of the IRFA was published in the proposed rule for 
this action and is not repeated here. A description of why this action 
was considered, the objectives of, and the legal basis for this rule is 
contained in Framework 24 and in the preamble to the proposed and this 
final rule, and is not repeated here. All of the documents that 
constitute the FRFA are available from NMFS and a copy of the IRFA, the 
RIR, and the EA are available upon request (see ADDRESSES).
    Because Framework 24 includes an alternative to modify the GB 
access area seasonal restrictions (Section 2.2.1), this action is also 
a joint framework with the NE Multispecies FMP (Framework 49). However, 
this specific alternative is not expected to have direct economic 
impacts to the groundfish fishery (i.e., groundfish vessels currently 
have no access to these areas and should that change, Framework 
Adjustment 48 to the NE Multispecies FMP would include a full analysis 
of the economic impacts for the groundfish fishery) and thus impacts of 
such a measure on groundfish small business entities is expected to be 
negligible. Therefore, this FRFA focuses on the scallop fishery.

Summary of the Significant Issues Raised by the Public Comments in 
Response to the IRFA, a Summary of the Assessment of the Agency of Such 
Issues, and a Statement of Any Changes Made in the Proposed Rule as a 
Result of Such Comments

    Although NMFS received no public comments directly in response to 
the IRFA summary in the proposed rule, six more general public comments 
were received regarding the impacts of the LAGC IFQ transfer measures 
on small businesses.
    Comment A: As noted above in Comment 2, several commenters 
requested that NMFS allow for one type of re-transfer to occur upon the 
effectiveness of Framework 24: Allowing for a sale of IFQ through a 
permanent transfer and then allowing for that IFQ to be temporarily 
transferred (i.e., leased) in the same FY. Commenters mentioned that 
their inability to re-transfer causes undue financial hardship and, 
although many commenters noted that they could wait until FY 2014 for 
the broader re-transfer program to be effective, they would appreciate 
the ability to at least allow for leasing after a permanent transfer 
(i.e., ``sale'' of IFQ).
    Response: As noted in our responses to Comment 2, NMFS appreciates 
the need for LAGC IFQ fishermen to have more flexibility in the IFQ 
transfer program and want to support this request in order to mitigate 
any economic hardship in FY 2013 for LAGC IFQ vessels. Although NMFS 
still need more time to develop the full re-transfer programming 
procedures (e.g., allowing for leased IFQ to be leased again in the 
same FY, allowing for permanent transfers to be permanently transferred 
again in the same FY), NMFS will, upon the effectiveness of this 
action, allow a vessel to permanently transfer IFQ and then 
subsequently lease that permanently transferred IFQ to another 
vessel(s) in the same FY.

[[Page 27097]]

Description and Estimate of Number of Small Entities to Which the Final 
Rule Will Apply

    Framework 24 measures affect all vessels with LA and LAGC scallop 
permits. The Framework 24 document provides extensive information on 
the number and size of vessels and small businesses that will be 
affected by these regulations, by port and state. There were 313 
vessels that obtained full-time LA permits in 2011, including 250 
dredge, 52 small-dredge, and 11 scallop trawl permits. In the same 
year, there were also 34 part-time LA permits in the sea scallop 
fishery. No vessels were issued occasional scallop permits. In FY 2011, 
NMFS issued 288 IFQ permits (including 40 IFQ permits issued to vessels 
with a LA scallop permit), 103 NGOM, and 279 incidental catch permits. 
Of these, 169 IFQ, 14 NOGM, and over 76 incidental permitted vessels 
were active. Since all scallop permits are limited access, vessel 
owners would only cancel permits if they decide to stop fishing for 
scallops on the permitted vessel permanently, or if they transfer IFQ 
to another IFQ vessel and permanently relinquish the vessel's scallop 
permit. This is likely to be infrequent due to the value of retaining 
the permit. As such, the number of scallop permits could decline over 
time, but would likely be fewer than 10 permits per year.
    For the purposes of the RFA, the Small Business Administration 
(SBA) defines a small business entity in any fish-harvesting or 
hatchery business as a firm that is independently owned and operated 
and not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), 
with receipts of up to $4 M annually. In prior Scallop FMP actions, 
each vessel was considered a small business entity and was treated 
individually for the purposes of the RFA analyses. In this action, the 
Council recognized ownership affiliations and made very basic 
connections between multiple vessels to single owners and has made 
distinctions between large business entities and small business 
entities, as defined by the RFA. Although several vessels are owned by 
a single owner (i.e., 68 vessels out of a total of 343 LA vessels), the 
majority of the limited access vessels are owned by affiliated entities 
comprised of several individuals having ownership interest in multiple 
vessels (i.e., 275 vessels out of a total of 343 LA vessels). The sum 
of annual gross receipts from all scallop vessels operated by the 
majority of the multiple boat owners (but not all) would exceed $4 M in 
business revenue in 2011 and 2012, qualifying them as ``large'' 
entities. In FY 2010, 190 vessels, including LA and LAGC permitted-
vessels, belonged to 27 large business entities that each grossed more 
than $4 M annually in scallop revenue. In the same year, 153 vessels 
belonged to 105 small business entities (ownership ranged from 1 to 4 
vessels) that each grossed less than $4 M a year in scallop revenue. In 
FY 2011, scallop revenue greatly increased as the scallop ex-vessel 
prices increased by 20 percent from 2010 prices. As a result, more 
business entities fell in the large entity category (i.e., the number 
of LA permits that grossed more than $4 M annually increased to 34, and 
the number of small entities decreased to 97). It is likely that the 
number of large and small entities in FY 2012 were similar to those in 
FY 2011.
    The Office of Advocacy at the SBA suggests two criteria to consider 
in determining the significance of regulatory impacts; namely, 
disproportionality and profitability. The disproportionality criterion 
compares the effects of the regulatory action on small versus large 
entities (using the SBA-approved size definition of ``small entity''), 
not the difference between segments of small entities. The changes in 
profits, costs, and net revenues due to Framework 24 are not expected 
to be disproportional for small versus large entities since each vessel 
will receive the same number of open areas DAS and access area trips 
allocations according to the categories they belong to (i.e., the 
allocations for all full-time vessels are identical, and the 
allocations for the part-time and occasional vessels are proportional 
to the full-time allocations, 40 percent and 8.33 percent of the full-
time allocations, respectively). As a result, this action will have 
proportionally similar impacts on revenues and profits of each vessel 
and each multi-vessel owner compared both to status quo (i.e., FY 2012) 
and no action levels. Therefore, this action is not expected to have 
disproportionate impacts or place a substantial number of small 
entities at a competitive disadvantage relative to large entities. A 
summary of the economic impacts relative to the profitability criterion 
is provided in the proposed rule under ``Economic Impacts of Proposed 
Measures and Alternatives.''

Description of the Steps the Agency Has Taken To Minimize the 
Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities Consistent With the 
Stated Objectives of Applicable Statutes, Including a Statement of the 
Factual, Policy, and Legal Reasons for Selecting the Alternative 
Adopted in the Final Rule and Why Each One of the Other Significant 
Alternatives to the Rule Considered by the Agency Which Affect the 
Impact on Small Entities Was Rejected

    During the development of Framework 24, NMFS and the Council 
considered ways to reduce the regulatory burden on, and provide 
flexibility for, the regulated entities in this action. Proposed 
actions and alternatives are described in detail in Framework 24, which 
includes an EA, RIR, and IRFA (available at ADDRESSES). The measures 
implemented by this final rule minimize the long-term economic impacts 
on small entities to the extent practicable. Reasonable alternatives, 
particularly for the prescribed catch limits, are limited because of 
the legal requirements to implement effective conservation measures 
which necessarily may result in negative impacts that cannot be 
effectively mitigated. Catch limits are fundamentally a scientific 
calculation based on the scallop FMP control rules and SSC approval, 
and, therefore are legally limited to the numbers contained in this 
rule. Moreover, the limited number of alternatives available for this 
action must be evaluated in the context of an ever-changing fishery 
management plan that has considered numerous alternatives over the 
years and have provided many mitigating measures applicable every 
fishing year.
    Overall, this rule minimizes adverse long-term impacts by ensuring 
that management measures and catch limits result in sustainable fishing 
mortality rates that promote stock rebuilding, and as a result, 
maximize yield. The measures implemented by this final rule also 
provide additional flexibility for fishing operations in the short-
term. This final rule implements several measures that enable small 
entities to offset some portion of the estimated economic impacts. 
These measure include: Prorating LAGC IFQ access area trips to 
incorporate CA2; adjusting the GB access area seasonal closures; 
ensuring that LAGC vessels can fish at least part of the year within 
the AM closures; revising the scallop fishery AM trigger; allowing for 
more flexibility in the IFQ leasing program; and modifying the OBS set-
aside.

[[Page 27098]]

    This final action prorates LAGC IFQ trips proportionally in all 
open access areas excluding CA2, with positive economic impacts on the 
LAGC vessels because they will be able to use CA2 trips in areas closer 
to the shore with lower trip costs, and will offset some of the 
negative impacts of the reduced FY 2013 allocation.
    This action also modifies the GB seasonal restrictions to provide 
access during months with highest scallop meat weights and to minimize 
yellowtail bycatch. As a result, this provides higher flexibility to 
vessels than the current seasonal closure schedule (i.e., 4.5 months in 
length), since NLS and CA1 would have no closures, and CA2 would only 
close for 3 months.
    Unlike the current limited access AMs that closure areas for up to 
a full FY, the LAGC fishery YTF AMs that will be implemented with this 
final rule allow for fishing to continue part of the year within part 
of the AM closure areas (i.e., some of the closure areas would be open 
for parts of the year when traditional fishing has occurred). The 
Council developed this measure to recognize that LAGC vessels are more 
limited in terms of the areas where they can fish for scallops. For 
LAGC vessels using trawls, the AM provides additional flexibility by 
allowing these vessels to switch to dredge gear during the trawl 
closure period. These LAGC AM measures mitigate the potential economic 
impacts of the AM closures on these smaller vessels.
    If reliable information is not available to make a mid-year 
determination of the need to implement an AM for the YTF sub-ACL, NMFS 
will wait until enough information is available before making a 
decision to implement an AM. This will avoid confusing situations where 
an AM is implemented, then reconsidered and partially revoked based on 
updated data, allowing for more management stability with which to make 
solid business decisions for a given FY.
    This final rule also allows transfer of quota after an LAGC IFQ 
vessel landed scallops in a given FY and will allow IFQ to be 
transferred more than once (i.e., re-transfers). This measure will 
enable vessels to fully harvest their quotas with more ease, thus 
mitigating some of the negative impacts of the reduced FY 2013 
allocation.
    The adjustment from area-specific OBS to allowing for OBS to be 
transferred from one area to another will enable the more efficient use 
of this set-aside. OBS set-aside will be more fully utilized by 
vessels, which will support better observer coverage and monitoring 
efforts.

Small Entity Compliance Guide

    Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness 
Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for 
which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency will publish 
one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, 
and will designate such publications as ``small entity compliance 
guides.'' The agency will explain the actions a small entity is 
required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. As part of 
this rulemaking process, a letter to permit holders that also serves as 
a small entity compliance guide (the guide) was prepared. Copies of 
this final rule are available from the Northeast Regional Office, and 
the guide (i.e., permit holder letter) will be sent to all holders of 
permits for the scallop fishery. The guide and this final rule will be 
available upon request.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and other Compliance 
Requirements

    One measure in this rulemaking imposes new reporting, recordkeeping 
or other compliance requirements upon the small entities that 
participate in the fishery.
    Under this final action, all LAGC IFQ vessels are required to call 
in weekly with their expected open area trip usage, similar to current 
requirements for LAGC IFQ trips in access areas. This measure is 
intended to improve observer coverage for LAGC open area trips by 
incorporating them into the industry-funded observer program, rather 
than continuing to fund them under NMFS's Northeast Fisheries Observer 
Program, which results in lower coverage levels due to competing 
interests with funding observers in other target fisheries. Observer 
coverage in the LAGC scallop fishery is necessary to monitor the 
bycatch of finfish, including YTF, skates, monkfish, cod, and other 
species. Monitoring of YTF and windowpane flounder is of particular 
concern because the scallop fishery is constrained by a fishery-
specific sub-Annual Catch Limit (ACL) for these stocks. Observer 
coverage is also needed to monitor interactions of the LAGC scallop 
fishery with endangered and threatened sea turtles in open areas.
    Notification requires the dissemination of the following 
information: Gear type (dredge or trawl); specification of LA or LAGC; 
area to be fished (for FY 2013, these areas include NLS, CA1, CA2, HC, 
Mid-Atlantic open areas, or GB open areas); phone number; Federal 
fishery permit number; name; vessel name; port and state of departure; 
and estimated date of sail. This information will be used to place 
observers on LAGC scallop vessels to monitor catch, discards, and 
potential sea turtle interactions on open area trips. While this is a 
new requirement, vessels would never be obligated to call in more than 
once a week and already have a weekly call-in requirement for access 
area trips. As a result of the current collection of information 
requirements, there will be no additional burden hours compared to what 
has already been analyzed. The burden estimates, including the new 
requirement, applies to all LA and LAGC IFQ vessels and assumed that 
each vessel would call in to the observer program a total of 50 times 
in a given FY. NMFS estimates each response to take about 10 min, with 
an associated cost of $1.00. NMFS has estimated the cost to observer 
providers to respond to each vessel request to take about 5 min, with 
an associated cost of $0.50. In 2011, there were 259 LAGC IFQ vessels. 
Therefore, 12,950 requests (50 calls x 259 vessels) will impose total 
compliance costs of $19,425. These estimates are likely over-estimates, 
as an LAGC IFQ vessel would likely not call in 50 times a year.
    This action contains no other compliance costs. It does not 
duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other Federal law.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: May 3, 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.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is amended 
as follows:

PART 648--FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows:

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


0
2. In Sec.  648.10, paragraph (f)(1) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  648.10  VMS and DAS requirements for vessel owners/operators.

* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (1) IFQ scallop vessels. An IFQ scallop vessel that has crossed the 
VMS Demarcation Line specified under

[[Page 27099]]

paragraph (a) of this section is deemed to be fishing under the IFQ 
program, unless prior to the vessel leaving port, the vessel's owner or 
authorized representative declares the vessel out of the scallop 
fishery by notifying the Regional Administrator through the VMS. If the 
vessel has not fished for any fish (i.e., steaming only), after 
declaring out of the fishery, leaving port, and steaming to another 
location, the owner or authorized representative of an IFQ scallop 
vessel may declare into the IFQ fishery without entering another port 
by making a declaration before first crossing the VMS Demarcation Line. 
An IFQ scallop vessel that is fishing north of 42[deg]20' N. lat. is 
deemed to be fishing under the NGOM scallop fishery unless prior to the 
vessel leaving port, the vessel's owner or authorized representative 
declares the vessel out of the scallop fishery, as specified in 
paragraphs (e)(5)(i) and (ii) of this section. After declaring out of 
the fishery, leaving port, and steaming to another location, if the IFQ 
scallop vessel has not fished for any fish (i.e., steaming only), the 
vessel may declare into the NGOM fishery without entering another port 
by making a declaration before first crossing the VMS Demarcation Line.
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  648.11, paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2)(ii), (g)(5)(i)(B), 
(g)(5)(ii), and the introductory text to paragraphs (g)(5) and 
(g)(5)(i), are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  648.11  At-sea sea sampler/observer coverage.

* * * * *
    (g) * * *
    (1) General. Unless otherwise specified, owners, operators, and/or 
managers of vessels issued a Federal scallop permit under Sec.  
648.4(a)(2), and specified in paragraph (a) of this section, must 
comply with this section and are jointly and severally responsible for 
their vessel's compliance with this section. To facilitate the 
deployment of at-sea observers, all sea scallop vessels issued limited 
access and LAGC IFQ permits are required to comply with the additional 
notification requirements specified in paragraph (g)(2) of this 
section. When NMFS notifies the vessel owner, operator, and/or manager 
of any requirement to carry an observer on a specified trip in either 
an Access Area or Open Area as specified in paragraph (g)(3) of this 
section, the vessel may not fish for, take, retain, possess, or land 
any scallops without carrying an observer. Vessels may only embark on a 
scallop trip in open areas or Access Areas without an observer if the 
vessel owner, operator, and/or manager has been notified that the 
vessel has received a waiver of the observer requirement for that trip 
pursuant to paragraphs (g)(3) and (g)(4)(ii) of this section.
    (2) * * *
    (ii) LAGC IFQ vessels. LAGC IFQ vessel owners, operators, or 
managers must notify the NMFS/NEFOP by telephone by 0001 hr of the 
Thursday preceding the week (Sunday through Saturday) that they intend 
to start any scallop trip, and must include the port of departure, open 
area or specific Sea Scallop Access Area to be fished, and whether 
fishing as a scallop dredge, scallop trawl vessel. If selected, up to 
two trips that start during the specified week (Sunday through 
Saturday) can be selected to be covered by an observer. NMFS/NEFOP must 
be notified by the owner, operator, or vessel manager of any trip plan 
changes at least 48 hr prior to vessel departure.
* * * * *
    (5) Owners of scallop vessels shall be responsible for paying the 
cost of the observer for all scallop trips on which an observer is 
carried onboard the vessel, regardless of whether the vessel lands or 
sells sea scallops on that trip, and regardless of the availability of 
set-aside for an increased possession limit or reduced DAS accrual 
rate. The owners of vessels that carry an observer may be compensated 
with a reduced DAS accrual rate for open area scallop trips or 
additional scallop catch per day in Sea Scallop Access Areas or 
additional catch per trip for LAGC IFQ trips in order to help defray 
the cost of the observer, under the program specified in Sec. Sec.  
648.53 and 648.60.
    (i) Observer service providers shall establish the daily rate for 
observer coverage on a scallop vessel on an Access Area trip or open 
area DAS or IFQ scallop trip consistent with paragraphs (g)(5)(i)(A) 
and (B), respectively, of this section.
* * * * *
    (B) Open area scallop trips. For purposes of determining the daily 
rate for an observed scallop trip for DAS or LAGC IFQ open area trips, 
regardless of the status of the industry-funded observer set-aside, a 
service provider shall charge dock to dock where ``day'' is defined as 
a 24-hr period, and portions of the other days would be pro-rated at an 
hourly charge (taking the daily rate divided by 24). For example, if a 
vessel with an observer departs on the July 1st at 10 p.m. and lands on 
July 3rd at 1 a.m., the time at sea equals 27 hr, so the provider would 
charge 1 day and 3 hr.
    (ii) NMFS shall determine any reduced DAS accrual rate and the 
amount of additional pounds of scallops per day fished in a Sea Scallop 
Access Area or on an open area LAGC IFQ trips for the applicable 
fishing year based on the economic conditions of the scallop fishery, 
as determined by best available information. Vessel owners and observer 
service providers shall be notified through the Small Entity Compliance 
Guide of any DAS accrual rate changes and any changes in additional 
pounds of scallops determined by the Regional Administrator to be 
necessary. NMFS shall notify vessel owners and observer providers of 
any adjustments.
* * * * *

0
4. In Sec.  648.14, paragraphs (i)(2)(vi)(F), (i)(2)(vi)(G), 
(i)(4)(i)(G), and (i)(4)(iii)(E) are removed and reserved, and 
paragraphs (i)(1)(iii)(A)(1)(iii), (i)(1)(iii)(A)(2)(iii), 
(i)(3)(i)(B), (i)(4)(i)(A), and (i)(4)(iii)(D) are revised to read as 
follows:


Sec.  648.14  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (i) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (A) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iii) The scallops were harvested by a vessel that has been issued 
and carries on board an IFQ scallop permit and is properly declared 
into the IFQ scallop fishery or is properly declared into the NE 
multispecies, Atlantic surfclam or quahog fishery, or other fishery 
requiring a VMS declaration, and is not fishing in a sea scallop access 
area.
* * * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iii) The scallops were harvested by a vessel that has been issued 
and carries on board an IFQ scallop permit issued pursuant to Sec.  
648.4(a)(2)(ii)(A), is fishing outside of the NGOM scallop management 
area, and is properly declared into the general category scallop 
fishery or is properly declared into the NE multispecies, or Atlantic 
surfclam or quahog fishery, or other fishery requiring a VMS 
declaration, and is not fishing in a sea scallop access area.
* * * * *
    (3) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (B) Fish for, possess, or land scallops on a vessel that is 
declared out of scallop fishing unless the vessel has been issued an 
Incidental scallop permit, or is an IFQ scallop vessel that is properly 
declared into the IFQ scallop, NE multispecies, Atlantic

[[Page 27100]]

surfclam or quahog, or other fishery requiring a VMS declaration.
* * * * *
    (4) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (A) Fish for or land per trip, or possess at any time, in excess of 
600 lb (272.2 kg) of shucked, or 75 bu (26.4 hL) of in-shell scallops 
per trip, or 100 bu (35.2 hL) in-shell scallops seaward of the VMS 
Demarcation Line, unless the vessel is carrying an observer as 
specified in Sec.  648.11 and an increase in the possession limit is 
authorized by the Regional Administrator and not exceeded by the 
vessel, as specified in Sec. Sec.  648.52(g) and 648.60(d).
* * * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (D) Prior to March 1, 2014, request to transfer IFQ that has 
already been temporarily transferred from an IFQ scallop vessel in the 
same fishing year.
* * * * *

0
5. In Sec.  648.51, the introductory text to paragraph (b), and 
paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(5)(ii), are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  648.51  Gear and crew restrictions.

* * * * *
    (b) Dredge vessel gear restrictions. All vessels issued limited 
access and General Category scallop permits and fishing with scallop 
dredges, with the exception of hydraulic clam dredges and mahogany 
quahog dredges in possession of 600 lb (181.44 kg), or less, of 
scallops, must comply with the following restrictions, unless otherwise 
specified:
    (1) Maximum dredge width. The combined dredge width in use by or in 
possession on board such vessels shall not exceed 31 ft (9.4 m), 
measured at the widest point in the bail of the dredge, except as 
provided under paragraph (e) of this section, in Sec.  648.60(g)(2), 
and the scallop dredge exemption areas specified in Sec.  648.80. 
However, component parts may be on board the vessel such that they do 
not conform with the definition of ``dredge or dredge gear'' in Sec.  
648.2, i.e., the metal ring bag and the mouth frame, or bail, of the 
dredge are not attached, and such that no more than one complete spare 
dredge could be made from these component's parts.
* * * * *
    (5) * * *
    (ii) Requirement to use a turtle deflector dredge (TDD) frame--(A) 
From May 1 through October 31, any limited access scallop vessel using 
a dredge, regardless of dredge size or vessel permit category, or any 
LAGC IFQ scallop vessel fishing with a dredge with a width of 10.5 ft 
(3.2 m) or greater, that is fishing for scallops in waters west of 
71[deg] W long., from the shoreline to the outer boundary of the EEZ, 
must use a TDD. The TDD requires five modifications to the rigid dredge 
frame, as specified in paragraphs (b)(5)(ii)(A)(1) through 
(b)(5)(ii)(A)(5) of this section. See paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(E) of this 
section for more specific descriptions of the dredge elements mentioned 
below.
    (1) The cutting bar must be located in front of the depressor 
plate.
    (2) The acute angle between the plane of the bale and the strut 
must be less than or equal to 45 degrees.
    (3) All bale bars must be removed, except the outer bale (single or 
double) bars and the center support beam, leaving an otherwise 
unobstructed space between the cutting bar and forward bale wheels, if 
present. The center support beam must be less than 6 inches (15.24 cm) 
wide. For the purpose of flaring and safe handling of the dredge, a 
minor appendage not to exceed 12 inches (30.5 cm) in length may be 
attached to each of the outer bale bars. Only one side of the flaring 
bar may be attached to the dredge frame. The appendage should at no 
point be closer than 12 inches (30.5 cm) to the cutting bar.
    (4) Struts must be spaced 12 inches (30.5 cm) apart or less from 
each other, along the entire length of the frame.
    (5) Unless exempted, as specified in paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(B) of 
this section, the TDD must include a straight extension (``bump out'') 
connecting the outer bale bars to the dredge frame. This ``bump out'' 
must exceed 12 inches (30.5 cm) in length, as measured along the inside 
of the bale bar from the front of the cutting bar to the first bend in 
the bale bar.
    (B) A limited access scallop vessel that uses a dredge with a width 
less than 10.5 ft (3.2 m) is required to use a TDD, except that such a 
vessel is exempt from the ``bump out'' requirement specified in 
paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(A)(5) of this section. This exemption does not 
apply to LAGC vessels that use dredges with a width of less than 10.5 
ft (3.2 m), because such vessels are exempted from the requirement to 
use a TDD, as specified in paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of this section.
    (C) Vessels subject to the requirements in paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of 
this section transiting waters west of 71[deg] W. long., from the 
shoreline to the outer boundary of the EEZ, are exempted from the 
requirement to only possess and use TDDs, provided the dredge gear is 
stowed in accordance with Sec.  648.23(b) and not available for 
immediate use.
    (D) TDD-related definitions. (1) The cutting bar refers to the 
lowermost horizontal bar connecting the outer bails at the dredge 
frame.
    (2) The depressor plate, also known as the pressure plate, is the 
angled piece of steel welded along the length of the top of the dredge 
frame.
    (3) The struts are the metal bars connecting the cutting bar and 
the depressor plate.
* * * * *

0
6. In Sec.  648.52, paragraphs (a) and (g) are revised to read as 
follows:


Sec.  648.52  Possession and landing limits.

    (a) A vessel issued an IFQ scallop permit that is declared into the 
IFQ scallop fishery as specified in Sec.  648.10(b), or on a properly 
declared NE multispecies, surfclam, or ocean quahog trip (or other 
fishery requiring a VMS declaration) and not fishing in a scallop 
access area, unless as specified in paragraph (g) of this section or 
exempted under the state waters exemption program described in Sec.  
648.54, may not possess or land, per trip, more than 600 lb (272.2 kg) 
of shucked scallops, or possess more than 75 bu (26.4 hL) of in-shell 
scallops shoreward of the VMS Demarcation Line. Such a vessel may land 
scallops only once in any calendar day. Such a vessel may possess up to 
100 bu (35.2 hL) of in-shell scallops seaward of the VMS Demarcation 
Line on a properly declared IFQ scallop trip, or on a properly declared 
NE multispecies, surfclam, or ocean quahog trip, or other fishery 
requiring a VMS declaration, and not fishing in a scallop access area.
* * * * *
    (g) Possession limit to defray the cost of observers for LAGC IFQ 
vessels. An LAGC IFQ vessel with an observer on board may retain, per 
observed trip, up to 1 day's allowance of the possession limit 
allocated to limited access vessels, as established by the Regional 
Administrator in accordance with Sec.  648.60(d), provided the observer 
set-aside specified in Sec.  648.60(d)(1) has not been fully utilized. 
For example, if the limited access vessel daily possession limit to 
defray the cost of an observer is 180 lb (82 kg), the LAGC IFQ 
possession limit to defray the cost of an observer would be 180 lb (82 
kg) per trip, regardless of trip length.

0
7. In Sec.  648.53, paragraph (b)(5) is removed and reserved and 
paragraphs (a), (b)(1), (b)(4), (c), (g), (h)(3)(i)(B), and (h)(5) are 
revised to read as follows:


Sec.  648.53  Acceptable biological catch (ABC), annual catch limits 
(ACL), annual catch targets (ACT), DAS allocations, and individual 
fishing quotas (IFQ).

    (a) Scallop fishery ABC. The ABC for the scallop fishery shall be 
established

[[Page 27101]]

through the framework adjustment process specified in Sec.  648.55 and 
is equal to the overall scallop fishery ACL. The ABC/ACL shall be 
divided as sub-ACLs between limited access vessels, limited access 
vessels that are fishing under a LAGC permit, and LAGC vessels as 
specified in paragraphs (a)(3) and (a)(4) of this section, after 
deducting the scallop incidental catch target TAC specified in 
paragraph (a)(2) of this section, observer set-aside specified in 
paragraph (g)(1) of this section, and research set-aside specified in 
Sec.  648.56(d). The ABC/ACL for the 2014 fishing year is subject to 
change through a future framework adjustment.
    (1) ABC/ACL for fishing years 2013 through 2014 shall be:
    (i) 2013: 21,004 mt (46,305,894 lb).
    (ii) 2014: 23,697 mt (52,242,942 lb).
    (iii) [Reserved]
    (2) Scallop incidental catch target TAC. The annual incidental 
catch target TAC for vessels with incidental catch scallop permits is 
50,000 lb (22.7 mt).
    (3) Limited access fleet sub-ACL and ACT. The limited access 
scallop fishery shall be allocated 94.5 percent of the ACL specified in 
paragraph (a)(1) of this section, after deducting incidental catch, 
observer set-aside, and research set-aside, as specified in this 
paragraph (a). ACT for the limited access scallop fishery shall be 
established through the framework adjustment process described in Sec.  
648.55. DAS specified in paragraph (b) of this section shall be based 
on the ACTs specified in paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section. The 
limited access fleet sub-ACL and ACT for the 2014 fishing year are 
subject to change through a future framework adjustment.
    (i) The limited access fishery sub-ACLs for fishing years 2013 and 
2014 are:
    (A) 2013: 19,093 mt (42,092,979 lb).
    (B) 2014: 21,612 mt (47,647,385 lb).
    (C) [Reserved]
    (ii) The limited access fishery ACTs for fishing years 2013 and 
2014 are:
    (A) 2013: 15,324 mt (33,783,637 lb).
    (B) 2014: 15,428 mt (34,012,918 lb).
    (C) [Reserved]
    (4) LAGC fleet sub-ACL. The sub-ACL for the LAGC IFQ fishery shall 
be equal to 5.5 percent of the ACL specified in paragraph (a)(1) of 
this section, after deducting incidental catch, observer set-aside, and 
research set-aside, as specified in this paragraph (a). The LAGC IFQ 
fishery ACT shall be equal to the LAGC IFQ fishery's ACL. The ACL for 
the LAGC IFQ fishery for vessels issued only a LAGC IFQ scallop permit 
shall be equal to 5 percent of the ACL specified in paragraph (a)(1) of 
this section, after deducting incidental catch, observer set-aside, and 
research set-aside, as specified in this paragraph (a). The ACL for the 
LAGC IFQ fishery for vessels issued only both a LAGC IFQ scallop permit 
and a limited access scallop permit shall be 0.5 percent of the ACL 
specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, after deducting 
incidental catch, observer set-aside, and research set-aside, as 
specified in this paragraph (a).
    (i) The ACLs for fishing years 2013 and 2014 for LAGC IFQ vessels 
without a limited access scallop permit are:
    (A) 2013: 1,010 mt (2,227,142 lb).
    (B) 2014: 1,144 mt (2,521,026 lb).
    (C) [Reserved]
    (ii) The ACLs for fishing years 2013 and 2014 for vessels issued 
both a LAGC and a limited access scallop permits are:
    (A) 2013: 101 mt (222,714 lb).
    (B) 2014: 114 mt (252,103 lb).
    (C) [Reserved]
    (b) * * *
    (1) Landings per unit effort (LPUE). LPUE is an estimate of the 
average amount of scallops, in pounds, that the limited access scallop 
fleet lands per DAS fished. The estimated LPUE is the average LPUE for 
all limited access scallop vessels fishing under DAS, and shall be used 
to calculate DAS specified in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, the DAS 
reduction for the AM specified in paragraph (b)(4)(ii) of this section, 
and the observer set-aside DAS allocation specified in paragraph (g)(1) 
of this section. LPUE shall be:
    (i) 2013 fishing year: 2,550 lb/DAS (1,157 kg/DAS).
    (ii) 2014 fishing year: 2,600 lb/DAS (1,179 kg/DAS).
    (iii) [Reserved]
* * * * *
    (4) Each vessel qualifying for one of the three DAS categories 
specified in the table in this paragraph (b)(4) (full-time, part-time, 
or occasional) shall be allocated the maximum number of DAS for each 
fishing year it may participate in the open area limited access scallop 
fishery, according to its category, excluding carryover DAS in 
accordance with paragraph (d) of this section. DAS allocations shall be 
determined by distributing the portion of ACT specified in paragraph 
(a)(3)(ii) of this section, as reduced by access area allocations 
specified in Sec.  648.59, and dividing that amount among vessels in 
the form of DAS calculated by applying estimates of open area LPUE 
specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. Allocation for part-time 
and occasional scallop vessels shall be 40 percent and 8.33 percent of 
the full-time DAS allocations, respectively. The annual open area DAS 
allocations for each category of vessel for the fishing years indicated 
are as follows:

                    Scallop Open Area DAS Allocations
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Permit category                     2013         2014
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Full-Time.....................................           33           26
Part-Time.....................................           13            9
Occasional....................................            3            2
------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (i) [Reserved]
    (ii) Accountability measures (AM). Unless the limited access AM 
exception is implemented in accordance with the provision specified in 
paragraph (b)(4)(iii) of this section, if the ACL specified in 
paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section is exceeded for the applicable 
fishing year, the DAS specified in paragraph (b)(4) of this section for 
each limited access vessel shall be reduced by an amount equal to the 
amount of landings in excess of the ACL divided by the applicable LPUE 
for the fishing year in which the AM will apply as specified in 
paragraph (b)(1) of this section, then divided by the number of scallop 
vessels eligible to be issued a full-time limited access scallop 
permit. For example, assuming a 300,000-lb (136-mt) overage of the ACL 
in 2011, an open area LPUE of 2,500 lb (1.13 mt) per DAS in 2012, and 
313 full-time vessels, each full-time vessel's DAS would be reduced by 
0.38 DAS (300,000 lb (136 mt)/2,500 lb (1.13 mt) per DAS = 120 lb (0.05 
mt) per DAS/313 vessels = 0.38 DAS per vessel). Deductions in DAS for 
part-time and occasional scallop vessels shall be 40 percent and 8.33 
percent of the full-time DAS deduction, respectively, as calculated 
pursuant to this paragraph (b)(4)(ii). The AM shall take effect in the 
fishing year following the fishing year in which the overage occurred. 
For example, landings in excess of the ACL in fishing year 2011 would 
result in the DAS reduction AM in fishing year 2012. If the AM takes 
effect, and a limited access vessel uses more open area DAS in the 
fishing year in which the AM is applied, the vessel shall have the DAS 
used in excess of the allocation after applying the AM deducted from 
its open area DAS allocation in the subsequent fishing year. For 
example, a vessel initially allocated 32 DAS in 2011 uses all 32 DAS 
prior to application of the AM. If, after application of the AM, the 
vessel's DAS allocation is reduced to 31 DAS, the vessel's DAS in 2012 
would be reduced by 1 DAS.
    (iii) Limited access AM exception --If NMFS determines, in 
accordance with paragraph (b)(4)(ii) of this section, that the fishing 
mortality rate associated

[[Page 27102]]

with the limited access fleet's landings in a fishing year is less than 
0.28, the AM specified in paragraph (b)(4)(ii) of this section shall 
not take effect. The fishing mortality rate of 0.28 is the fishing 
mortality rate that is one standard deviation below the fishing 
mortality rate for the scallop fishery ACL, currently estimated at 
0.32.
    (iv) Limited access fleet AM and exception provision timing. The 
Regional Administrator shall determine whether the limited access fleet 
exceeded its ACL specified in paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section by 
July of the fishing year following the year for which landings are 
being evaluated. On or about July 1, the Regional Administrator shall 
notify the New England Fishery Management Council (Council) of the 
determination of whether or not the ACL for the limited access fleet 
was exceeded, and the amount of landings in excess of the ACL. Upon 
this notification, the Scallop Plan Development Team (PDT) shall 
evaluate the overage and determine if the fishing mortality rate 
associated with total landings by the limited access scallop fleet is 
less than 0.28. On or about September 1 of each year, the Scallop PDT 
shall notify the Council of its determination, and the Council, on or 
about September 30, shall make a recommendation, based on the Scallop 
PDT findings, concerning whether to invoke the limited access AM 
exception. If NMFS concurs with the Scallop PDT's recommendation to 
invoke the limited access AM exception, in accordance with the APA, the 
limited access AM shall not be implemented. If NMFS does not concur, in 
accordance with the APA, the limited access AM shall be implemented as 
soon as possible after September 30 each year.
* * * * *
    (c) Adjustments in annual DAS allocations. Annual DAS allocations 
shall be established for up to 3 fishing years through biennial 
framework adjustments as specified in Sec.  648.55. If a biennial 
framework action is not undertaken by the Council and implemented by 
NMFS before the beginning of the third year of each biennial 
adjustment, the third-year measures specified in the biennial framework 
adjustment shall remain in effect for the next fishing year. If a new 
biennial or other framework adjustment is not implemented by NMFS by 
the conclusion of the third year, the management measures from that 
third year would remain in place until a new action is implemented. The 
Council may also recommend adjustments to DAS allocations or other 
measures through a framework adjustment at any time.
* * * * *
    (g) Set-asides for observer coverage. (1) To help defray the cost 
of carrying an observer, 1 percent of the ABC/ACL specified in 
paragraph (a)(1) of this section shall be set aside to be used by 
vessels that are assigned to take an at-sea observer on a trip. The 
total TAC for observer set aside is 210 mt (463,054 lb) in fishing year 
2013, and 237 mt (522,429 lb) in fishing year 2014.
    (2) At the start of each scallop fishing year, the observer set-
aside specified in paragraph (g)(1) of this section initially shall be 
divided proportionally by access and open areas, based on the amount of 
effort allocated into each area, in order to set the compensation and 
coverage rates. NMFS shall monitor the observer set-aside usage and may 
transfer set-aside from one area to another if one area is using more 
or less set-aside than originally anticipated. The set-aside may be 
transferred from one area to another, based on NMFS in-house area-level 
monitoring that determines whether one area will likely have excess 
set-aside while another may not. The set-aside shall be considered 
completely harvested when the full one percent is landed, at which 
point there would be no more compensation for any observed scallop 
trip, regardless of area. NMFS shall continue to proactively adjust 
compensation rates and/or observer coverage levels mid-year in order to 
minimize the chance that the set-aside would be harvested prior to the 
end of the FY. Utilization of the set-aside shall be on a first-come, 
first-served basis. When the set-aside for observer coverage has been 
utilized, vessel owners shall be notified that no additional scallop 
catch or DAS remain available to offset the cost of carrying observers. 
The obligation to carry and pay for an observer shall not be waived if 
set-aside is not available.
    (3) DAS set-aside for observer coverage. A limited access scallop 
vessel carrying an observer in open areas shall be compensated with 
reduced DAS accrual rates for each trip on which the vessel carries an 
observer. For each DAS that a vessel fishes for scallops with an 
observer on board, the DAS shall be charged at a reduced rate, based on 
an adjustment factor determined by the Regional Administrator on an 
annual basis, dependent on the cost of observers, catch rates, and 
amount of available set-aside. The Regional Administrator shall notify 
vessel owners of the cost of observers and the DAS adjustment factor 
through a permit holder letter issued prior to the start of each 
fishing year. This DAS adjustment factor may also be changed during the 
fishing year if fishery conditions warrant such a change. The number of 
DAS that are deducted from each trip based on the adjustment factor 
shall be deducted from the observer set-aside amount in the applicable 
fishing year.
* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (B) A vessel may be initially issued more than 2.5 percent of the 
ACL allocated to the IFQ scallop vessels as described in paragraph 
(a)(4)(i) of this section, if the initial determination of its 
contribution factor specified in accordance with Sec.  
648.4(a)(2)(ii)(E) and paragraph (h)(2)(ii) of this section, results in 
an IFQ that exceeds 2.5 percent of the ACL allocated to the IFQ scallop 
vessels as described in paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this section. A vessel 
that is allocated an IFQ that exceeds 2.5 percent of the ACL allocated 
to the IFQ scallop vessels as described in paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this 
section, in accordance with this paragraph (h)(3)(i)(B), may not 
receive IFQ through an IFQ transfer, as specified in paragraph (h)(5) 
of this section. All scallops that have been allocated as part of the 
original IFQ allocation or transferred to a vessel during a given 
fishing year shall be counted towards the vessel cap.
* * * * *
    (5) Transferring IFQ --(i) Temporary IFQ transfers. Subject to the 
restrictions in paragraph (h)(5)(iii) of this section, the owner of an 
IFQ scallop vessel not issued a limited access scallop permit may 
temporarily transfer (e.g. lease) its entire IFQ allocation, or a 
portion of its IFQ allocation, to another IFQ scallop vessel. Temporary 
IFQ transfers shall be effective only for the fishing year in which the 
temporary transfer is requested and processed. For the remainder of the 
2013 fishing year, IFQ, once temporarily transferred, cannot be 
temporarily transferred again to another vessel. Beginning on March 1, 
2014, IFQ can be temporarily transferred more than once (i.e., re-
transferred). For example, if a vessel temporarily transfers IFQ to a 
vessel, the transferee vessel may re-transfer any portion of that IFQ 
to another vessel. There is no limit on how many times IFQ can be re-
transferred in a fishing year after March 1, 2014. Temporary IFQ 
transfers must be in the amount of at least 100 lb (45 kg) up to the 
entire allocation, unless the transfer reflects the total IFQ amount 
remaining on the transferor's vessel, or

[[Page 27103]]

the entire IFQ allocation. The Regional Administrator has final 
approval authority for all temporary IFQ transfer requests.
    (ii) Permanent IFQ transfers. (A) Subject to the restrictions in 
paragraph (h)(5)(iii) of this section, the owner of an IFQ scallop 
vessel not issued a limited access scallop permit may transfer IFQ 
permanently to or from another IFQ scallop vessel. Any such transfer 
cannot be limited in duration and is permanent as to the transferee, 
unless the IFQ is subsequently permanently transferred to another IFQ 
scallop vessel. For the remainder of the 2013 fishing year, IFQ 
permanently transferred to a vessel during the 2013 fishing year may 
then be temporarily transferred (i.e., leased) to another vessel(s) in 
any amount not to exceed the original permanent transfer. For the 
remainder of 2013 fishing year, such IFQ may not be permanently re-
transferred to another vessel. Beginning March 1, 2014, IFQ may be 
permanently transferred to a vessel and then be re-transferred 
(temporarily transferred (i.e., leased) or permanently transferred) by 
such vessel to another vessel in the same fishing year. There is no 
limit on how many times IFQ can be re-transferred in a fishing year 
after March 1, 2014.
    (B) If a vessel owner permanently transfers the vessel's entire IFQ 
to another IFQ vessel, the LAGC IFQ scallop permit shall remain valid 
on the transferor vessel, unless the owner of the transferor vessel 
cancels the IFQ scallop permit. Such cancellation shall be considered 
voluntary relinquishment of the IFQ permit, and the vessel shall be 
ineligible for an IFQ scallop permit unless it replaces another vessel 
that was issued an IFQ scallop permit. The Regional Administrator has 
final approval authority for all IFQ transfer requests.
    (iii) IFQ transfer restrictions. The owner of an IFQ scallop vessel 
not issued a limited access scallop permit may transfer that vessel's 
IFQ to another IFQ scallop vessel, regardless of whether or not the 
vessel has fished under its IFQ in the same fishing year. Requests for 
IFQ transfers cannot be less than 100 lb (46.4 kg), unless that the 
transfer reflects the total IFQ amount remaining on the transferor's 
vessel, or the entire IFQ allocation. For the remainder of the 2013 
fishing year, a vessel owner can permanently transfer portions of his/
her vessel's IFQ to another vessel(s) during the 2013 fishing year, and 
such vessel(s) may then temporarily transfer (i.e., lease) such IFQ to 
another vessel(s) in any amount not to exceed the original permanent 
transfer(s). Beginning on March 1, 2014, IFQ may be temporarily or 
permanently transferred to a vessel and then temporarily re-transferred 
(i.e., leased) or permanently re-transferred by such vessel to another 
vessel in the same fishing year. There is no restriction on how many 
times IFQ can be re-transferred. A transfer of an IFQ may not result in 
the sum of the IFQs on the receiving vessel exceeding 2.5 percent of 
the ACL allocated to IFQ scallop vessels. A transfer of an IFQ, whether 
temporary or permanent, may not result in the transferee having a total 
ownership of, or interest in, general category scallop allocation that 
exceeds 5 percent of the ACL allocated to IFQ scallop vessels. Limited 
access scallop vessels that are also issued an IFQ scallop permit may 
not transfer to or receive IFQ from another IFQ scallop vessel.
    (iv) Application for an IFQ transfer. The owners of vessels 
applying for a transfer of IFQ must submit a completed application form 
obtained from the Regional Administrator. The application must be 
signed by both parties (transferor and transferee) involved in the 
transfer of the IFQ, and must be submitted to the NMFS Northeast 
Regional Office at least 30 days before the date on which the 
applicants desire to have the IFQ effective on the receiving vessel. 
The Regional Administrator shall notify the applicants of any 
deficiency in the application pursuant to this section. Applications 
may be submitted at any time during the scallop fishing year, provided 
the vessel transferring the IFQ to another vessel has not utilized any 
of its own IFQ in that fishing year. Applications for temporary 
transfers received less than 45 days prior to the end of the fishing 
year may not be processed in time for a vessel to utilize the 
transferred IFQ, if approved, prior to the expiration of the fishing 
year.
    (A) Application information requirements. An application to 
transfer IFQ must contain at least the following information: 
Transferor's name, vessel name, permit number, and official number or 
state registration number; transferee's name, vessel name, permit 
number, and official number or state registration number; total price 
paid for purchased IFQ; signatures of transferor and transferee; and 
date the form was completed. In addition, applications to transfer IFQ 
must indicate the amount, in pounds, of the IFQ allocation transfer, 
which may not be less than 100 lb (45 kg), unless that value reflects 
the total IFQ amount remaining on the transferor's vessel or the entire 
IFQ allocation. Information obtained from the transfer application will 
be held confidential, and will be used only in summarized form for 
management of the fishery. If the applicants are requesting a transfer 
of IFQ that has already been transferred in a given fishing year, both 
parties must be up-to-date with all data reporting requirements (e.g., 
all necessary VMS catch reports, VTR, and dealer data must be 
submitted) in order for the application to be processed.
    (B) Approval of IFQ transfer applications. Unless an application to 
transfer IFQ is denied according to paragraph (h)(5)(iii)(C) of this 
section, the Regional Administrator shall issue confirmation of 
application approval to both parties involved in the transfer within 30 
days of receipt of an application.
    (C) Denial of transfer application. The Regional Administrator may 
reject an application to transfer IFQ for any of the following reasons: 
The application is incomplete; the transferor or transferee does not 
possess a valid limited access general category permit; the 
transferor's or transferee's vessel or IFQ scallop permit has been 
sanctioned, pursuant to a final administrative decision or settlement 
of an enforcement proceeding; the transfer will result in the 
transferee's vessel having an allocation that exceeds 2.5 percent of 
the ACL allocated to IFQ scallop vessels; the transfer will result in 
the transferee having a total ownership of, or interest in, a general 
category scallop allocation that exceeds 5 percent of the ACL allocated 
to IFQ scallop vessels; or any other failure to meet the requirements 
of the regulations in 50 CFR part 648. Upon denial of an application to 
transfer IFQ, the Regional Administrator shall send a letter to the 
applicants describing the reason(s) for the rejection. The decision by 
the Regional Administrator is the final agency decision, and there is 
no opportunity to appeal the Regional Administrator's decision. An 
application that was denied can be resubmitted if the discrepancy(ies) 
that resulted in denial are resolved.
    (D) If an LAGC IFQ vessel transfers (i.e., temporary lease or 
permanent transfer) all of its allocation to other IFQ vessels prior to 
Framework 24's implementation (i.e., transfers more than what it is 
allocated for fishing year 2013 pursuant to the implantation of 
Framework 24), the vessel(s) to which the scallops were transferred 
(i.e., the transferee) shall receive a pound-for-pound deduction in 
fishing year 2013 equal to the difference between the amount of 
scallops transferred and the amount allocated to the transferring 
vessel for 2013 pursuant to Framework 24. The vessel that transferred 
the

[[Page 27104]]

scallops shall not be assessed this deduction. For example, Vessel A is 
allocated 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) of scallops at the start of fishing year 
2013, but would receive 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) of scallops once Framework 
24 is implemented. If Vessel A transfers its full March 1, 2013, 
allocation of 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) to Vessel B prior to Framework 24's 
implementation, Vessel B would lose 1,500 lb (680 kg) of that transfer 
once Framework 24 is implemented. In situations where a vessel leases 
out its IFQ to multiple vessels, the deduction of the difference 
between the original amount of scallops allocated and the amount 
allocated pursuant to Framework 24 shall begin to apply only to the 
transfer(s) that exceed the original allocation. Using the example 
above, if Vessel A first leases 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) of scallops to 
Vessel B and then leases 2,000 lb (907 kg) of scallops to Vessel C, 
only Vessel C would have to pay back IFQ in excess of Vessel A's 
ultimate fishing year 2013 allocation (i.e., Vessel C would have to 
give up 1,500 lb (680 kg) of that quota because Vessel A ultimately 
only had 500 lb (227 kg) of IFQ to lease out). If a vessel has already 
fished its leased-in quota in excess of the amount ultimately allocated 
pursuant to Framework 24, the vessel must either lease in more quota to 
make up for that overage during fishing year 2013, or the overage, 
along with any other overages incurred in fishing year 2013, shall be 
deducted from its fishing year 2014 IFQ allocation as part of the 
individual AM applied to the LAGC IFQ fleet, as specified in paragraph 
(h)(2)(vi) of this section.


0
8. In Sec.  648.54, paragraph (c) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  648.54  State waters exemption.

* * * * *
    (c) Gear and possession limit restrictions. Any vessel issued a 
limited access scallop permit, an LAGC NGOM, or an LAGC IFQ scallop 
permit is exempt from the minimum twine top mesh size for scallop 
dredge gear specified in Sec.  648.51(b)(2) and (b)(4)(iv) while 
fishing exclusively landward of the outer boundary of the waters of the 
State of Maine under the state waters exemption specified in paragraph 
(a)(4) of this section, provided the vessel is in compliance with 
paragraphs (d) through (g) of this section.
* * * * *

0
8. In Sec.  648.58, paragraphs (a) and (b) are added to read as 
follows:


Sec.  648.58  Rotational Closed Areas.

    (a) Elephant Trunk Closed Area. No vessel may fish for scallops in, 
or possess or land scallops from, the area known as the Elephant Trunk 
Closed Area. No vessel may possess scallops in the Elephant Trunk 
Closed Area, unless such vessel is only transiting the area as provided 
in paragraph (c) of this section. The Elephant Trunk Closed Area is 
defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order 
stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the 
Regional Administrator upon request):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
ETAA1............................  38[deg]50' N        74[deg]20' W
ETAA2............................  38[deg]10' N        74[deg]20' W
ETAA3............................  38[deg]10' N        73[deg]30' W
ETAA4............................  38[deg]50' N        73[deg]30' W
ETAA1............................  38[deg]50' N        74[deg]20' W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (b) Delmarva Closed Area. No vessel may fish for scallops in, or 
possess or land scallops from, the area known as the Delmarva Closed 
Area. No vessel may possess scallops in the Delmarva Closed Area, 
unless such vessel is only transiting the area as provided in paragraph 
(c) of this section. The Delmarva Closed Area is defined by straight 
lines connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a 
chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator 
upon request):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
DMV1.............................  38[deg]10' N        74[deg]50' W
DMV2.............................  38[deg]10' N        74[deg]00' W
DMV3.............................  37[deg]15' N        74[deg]00' W
DMV4.............................  37[deg]15' N        74[deg]50' W
DMV1.............................  38[deg]10' N        74[deg]50' W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

0
9. Revise Sec.  648.59 to read as follows:


Sec.  648.59  Sea Scallop Access Areas.

    (a) [Reserved]
    (b) Closed Area I Access Area--(1) From March 1, 2014, through 
February 28, 2015 (i.e., fishing year 2014), vessels issued scallop 
permits may not fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from, the 
area known as the Closed Area I Access Area, described in paragraph 
(b)(3) of this section, unless transiting pursuant to paragraph (f) of 
this section. Vessels issued both a NE Multispecies permit and an LAGC 
scallop permit may fish in an approved SAP under Sec.  648.85 and under 
multispecies DAS in the scallop access area, provided they comply with 
restrictions in paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(C) of this section.
    (2) From March 1, 2013, through February 28, 2014 (i.e., fishing 
year 2013), a vessel issued a scallop permit may fish for, possess, and 
land scallops in or from the area known as the Closed Area I Access 
Area, described in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, only if the vessel 
is participating in, and complies with the requirements of, the area 
access program described in Sec.  648.60.
    (3) The Closed Area I Access Area is defined by straight lines 
connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart 
depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon 
request), and so that the line connecting points CAIA3 and CAIA4 is the 
same as the portion of the western boundary line of Closed Area I, 
defined in Sec.  648.81(a)(1), that lies between points CAIA3 and 
CAIA4:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                     Latitude            Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
CAIA1..........................  41[deg]26' N         68[deg]30' W
CAIA2..........................  40[deg]58' N         68[deg]30' W
CAIA3..........................  40[deg]54.95' N      68[deg]53.40' W
CAIA4..........................  41[deg]04.30' N      69[deg]01.29' W
CAIA1..........................  41[deg]26' N         68[deg]30' W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) [Reserved]
    (5) Number of trips--(i) Limited access vessels. Based on its 
permit category, a vessel issued a limited access scallop permit may 
fish no more than the maximum number of trips in the Closed Area I 
Access Area, unless the vessel owner has made an exchange with another 
vessel owner whereby the vessel gains a Closed Area I Access Area trip 
and gives up a trip into another Sea Scallop Access Area, as specified 
in Sec.  648.60(a)(3)(ii), or unless the vessel is taking a 
compensation trip for a prior Closed Area I Access Area trip that was 
terminated early, as specified in Sec.  648.60(c). The number of trips 
allocated to limited access vessels in the Closed Area I Access Area 
shall be based on the TAC for the access area, which will be determined 
through the annual framework process and specified in paragraph 
(c)(5)(i) of this section. The number of trips allocated to limited 
access vessels in the Closed Area I Access Area shall be based on the 
TAC for the access area, which shall be determined through the annual 
framework process and specified in this paragraph (b)(5)(i). The Closed 
Area I Access Area scallop TAC for limited access scallop vessels is 
1,534,000 lb (695.8 mt) in fishing year 2013. Limited access scallop 
vessels shall not receive Closed Area I Access Area trip allocations in 
fishing year 2014.
    (ii) LAGC scallop vessels. (A) The percentage of the Closed Area I 
Access Area TAC to be allocated to LAGC scallop vessels shall be 
specified through the framework adjustment process and shall determine 
the number of trips allocated to LAGC scallop

[[Page 27105]]

vessels as specified in paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(B) of this section. The 
TAC applies to both LAGC IFQ vessels and limited access vessels with 
LAGC IFQ permits that are fishing under the provisions of the LAGC IFQ 
permit. LAGC IFQ vessels will be allocated 5.5 percent of the Closed 
Area I Access Area TAC in fishing year 2013. The Closed Area I Access 
Area is closed to LAGC IFQ vessels in fishing year 2014.
    (B) LAGC IFQ vessels are allocated a total of 212 trips in fishing 
year 2013 in the Closed Area I Access Area. This trip allocation is 
based on 5.5 percent of the Closed Area I Access Area TAC, and also 
includes 72 trips that have been set aside from the Closed Area II 
Access Area and evenly distributed to access areas available to LAGC 
IFQ vessels in the 2013 fishing year. No LAGC IFQ trips will be 
allocated in Closed Area I Access Area in fishing year 2014. The 
Regional Administrator shall notify all LAGC scallop vessels of the 
date when the maximum number of allowed trips for the applicable 
fishing year have been, or are projected to be, taken by providing 
notification in the Federal Register, in accordance with Sec.  
648.60(g)(4). Except as provided in paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(C) of this 
section, and subject to the seasonal restrictions specified in 
paragraph (b)(4) of this section, an LAGC scallop vessel may not fish 
for, possess, or land sea scallops in or from the Closed Area I Access 
Area, or enter the Closed Area I Access Area on a declared LAGC scallop 
trip after the effective date published in the Federal Register, unless 
transiting pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section.
    (C) A vessel issued a NE Multispecies permit and a LAGC scallop 
permit that is fishing in an approved SAP under Sec.  648.85 under 
multispecies DAS may fish in the Scallop Access Areas without being 
subject to the restrictions of paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(A) of this section, 
provided that it has not enrolled in the Scallop Area Access program. 
Such vessel is prohibited from fishing for, possessing, or landing 
scallops.
    (D) Scallops landed by each LAGC IFQ vessel on a Closed Area I 
Access Area trip shall count against that vessel's IFQ.
    (iii) Limited access vessels. Based on its permit category, a 
vessel issued a limited access scallop permit may fish no more than the 
maximum number of trips in the Closed Area I Access Area, unless the 
vessel owner has made an exchange with another vessel owner whereby the 
vessel gains a Closed Area I Access Area trip and gives up a trip into 
another Sea Scallop Access Area, as specified in Sec.  
648.60(a)(3)(ii), or unless the vessel is taking a compensation trip 
for a prior Closed Area I Access Area trip that was terminated early, 
as specified in Sec.  648.60(c).
    (c) Closed Area II Access Area--(1) From March 1, 2014, through 
February 28, 2015 (i.e., fishing year 2014), vessels issued scallop 
permits may not fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from, the 
area known as the Closed Area II Access Area, described in paragraph 
(c)(3) of this section, unless transiting pursuant to paragraph (f) of 
this section. Vessels issued both a NE Multispecies permit and an LAGC 
scallop permit may fish in an approved SAP under Sec.  648.85 and under 
multispecies DAS in the scallop access area, provided they comply with 
restrictions in paragraph (c)(5)(ii)(C) of this section.
    (2) From March 1, 2013, through February 28, 2014 (i.e., fishing 
year 2013), subject to the seasonal restrictions specified in paragraph 
(c)(4) of this section, a vessel issued a scallop permit may fish for, 
possess, or land scallops in or from the area known as the Closed Area 
II Sea Scallop Access Area, described in paragraph (c)(3) of this 
section, only if the vessel is participating in, and complies with the 
requirements of, the area access program described in Sec.  648.60.
    (3) The Closed Area II Sea Scallop Access Area is defined by 
straight lines, except where noted, connecting the following points in 
the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available 
from the Regional Administrator upon request):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                     Latitude            Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
CAIIA1.........................  41[deg]00' N.        67[deg]20' W.
CAIIA2.........................  41[deg]00' N.        66[deg]35.8' W.
CAIIA3.........................  41[deg]18.6' N.      (\1\) (\2\)
CAIIA4.........................  41[deg]30' N.        (\3\)
CAIIA5.........................  41[deg]30' N.        67[deg]20' W.
CAIIA1.........................  41[deg]00' N.        67[deg]20' W.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The intersection of 41[deg]18.6 N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada maritime
  boundary.
\2\ From Point CAIIA3 connected to Point CAIIA4 along the U.S.-Canada
  maritime. boundary
\3\ The intersection of 41[deg]30 N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada maritime
  boundary.

    (4) Season. A vessel issued a scallop permit may not fish for, 
possess, or land scallops in or from the area known as the Closed Area 
II Sea Scallop Access Area, described in paragraph (c)(3) of this 
section, during the period of August 15 through November 15 of each 
year the Closed Area II Access Area is open to scallop vessels, unless 
transiting pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section.
    (5) Number of trips --(i) Limited access vessels. Based on its 
permit category, a vessel issued a limited access scallop permit may 
fish no more than the maximum number of trips in the Closed Area II 
Access Area, unless the vessel owner has made an exchange with another 
vessel owner whereby the vessel gains a Closed Area II Access Area trip 
and gives up a trip into another Sea Scallop Access Area, as specified 
in Sec.  648.60(a)(3)(ii), or unless the vessel is taking a 
compensation trip for a prior Closed Area II Access Area trip that was 
terminated early, as specified in Sec.  648.60(c). The number of trips 
allocated to limited access vessels in the Closed Area II Access Area 
shall be based on the TAC for the access area, which will be determined 
through the annual framework process and specified in this paragraph 
(c)(5)(i). The Closed Area II Access Area scallop TAC for limited 
access scallop vessels is 2,366,000 lb (1,073.2 mt) in fishing year 
2013. Limited access scallop vessels shall not receive Closed Area II 
Access Area trip allocations in fishing year 2014.
    (ii) LAGC scallop vessels. (A) The percentage of the total Closed 
Area II Access Area TAC to be allocated to LAGC IFQ scallop vessels 
shall be specified through the framework adjustment process and shall 
determine the number of trips allocated to IFQ LAGC scallop vessels as 
specified in paragraph (c)(5)(ii)(B) of this section. The TAC applies 
to both LAGC IFQ vessels and limited access vessels with LAGC IFQ 
permits. The Closed Area II Access Area is closed to LAGC IFQ vessels 
in the 2013 fishing year.
    (B) The Regional Administrator shall notify all LAGC scallop 
vessels of the date when the maximum number of allowed trips for the 
applicable fishing year have been, or are projected to be, taken by 
providing notification in the Federal Register, in accordance with 
Sec.  648.60(g)(4). Except as provided in paragraph (c)(5)(ii)(C) of 
this section, and subject to the seasonal restrictions specified in 
paragraph (c)(4) of this section, an LAGC scallop vessel may not fish 
for, possess, or land sea scallops in or from the Closed Area II Access 
Area, or enter the Closed Area II Access Area on a declared LAGC 
scallop trip after the effective date published in the Federal Register 
unless transiting pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section.
    (C) A vessel issued a NE Multispecies permit and an LAGC scallop 
permit that is fishing in an approved SAP under Sec.  648.85 under 
multispecies DAS may fish in the Scallop Access Areas without being 
subject to the restrictions of paragraph (c)(5)(ii)(A) of this section, 
provided that it has not enrolled in the Scallop Area Access program. 
Such vessel is prohibited from fishing for, possessing, or landing 
scallops.

[[Page 27106]]

    (D) Scallops landed by each LAGC IFQ vessel on a Closed Area II 
Access Area trip shall count against that vessel's IFQ.
    (d) Nantucket Lightship Access Area --(1) From March 1, 2014, 
through February 28, 2015 (i.e., fishing year 2014), vessels issued 
scallop permits may not fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from 
the area known as the Nantucket Lightship Access Area, described in 
paragraph (d)(3) of this section, unless transiting pursuant to 
paragraph (f) of this section. Vessels issued both a NE multispecies 
permit and an LAGC scallop permit may fish in an approved SAP under 
Sec.  648.85 and under multispecies DAS in the scallop access area, 
provided they comply with restrictions in paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(C) of 
this section.
    (2) From March 1, 2013, through February 28, 2014 (i.e., fishing 
year 2013), a vessel issued a scallop permit may fish for, possess, or 
land scallops in or from the area known as the Nantucket Lightship Sea 
Scallop Access Area, described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, 
only if the vessel is participating in, and complies with the 
requirements of, the area access program described in Sec.  648.60.
    (3) The Nantucket Lightship Sea Scallop Access Area is defined by 
straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated 
(copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional 
Administrator upon request):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                    Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
NLAA1...........................  40[deg]50' N       69[deg]30' W
NLAA2...........................  40[deg]50' N       69[deg]00' W
NLAA3...........................  40[deg]20' N       69[deg]00' W
NLAA4...........................  40[deg]20' N       69[deg]30' W
NLAA1...........................  40[deg]50' N       69[deg]30' W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) [Reserved]
    (5) Number of trips --(i) Limited access vessels. Based on its 
permit category, a vessel issued a limited access scallop permit may 
fish no more than the maximum number of trips in the Nantucket 
Lightship Access Area, unless the vessel owner has made an exchange 
with another vessel owner whereby the vessel gains a Nantucket 
Lightship Access Area trip and gives up a trip into another Sea Scallop 
Access Area, as specified in Sec.  648.60(a)(3)(ii), or unless the 
vessel is taking a compensation trip for a prior Nantucket Lightship 
Access Area trip that was terminated early, as specified in Sec.  
648.60(c). The number of trips allocated to limited access vessels in 
the Nantucket Lightship Access Area shall be based on the TAC for the 
access area. The Nantucket Lightship Access Area scallop TAC for 
limited access scallop vessels is 1,508,000 lb (684.0 mt) in fishing 
year 2013. Limited access scallop vessels shall not receive Nantucket 
Lightship Access Area trip allocations in fishing year 2014.
    (ii) LAGC scallop vessels. (A) The percentage of the Nantucket 
Lightship Access Area TAC to be allocated to LAGC IFQ scallop vessels 
shall be specified through the framework adjustment process and shall 
determine the number of trips allocated to LAGC IFQ scallop vessels as 
specified in paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(B) of this section. The TAC applies 
to both LAGC IFQ vessels and limited access vessels with LAGC IFQ 
permits that are fishing under the provisions of the LAGC IFQ permit. 
LAGC IFQ vessels are allocated 5.5 percent of the Nantucket Lightship 
Access Area TAC in fishing year 2013. The Nantucket Lightship Access 
Area is closed to LAGC IFQ vessels in fishing year 2014.
    (B) LAGC scallop vessels are allocated 206 trips to the Nantucket 
Lightship Access Area in fishing year 2013. This trip allocation is 
based on 5.5 percent of the Nantucket Lightship Access Area TAC, and 
also includes 72 trips that have been set aside from the Closed Area II 
Access Area and evenly distributed to access areas available to LAGC 
IFQ vessels in the 2013 fishing year. This fleet-wide trip allocation 
applies to both LAGC IFQ vessels and limited access vessels with LAGC 
IFQ permits that are fishing under the provisions of the LAGC IFQ 
permit. The Regional Administrator shall notify all LAGC IFQ scallop 
vessels of the date when the total number of trips have been, or are 
projected to be, taken by providing notification in the Federal 
Register, in accordance with Sec.  648.60(g)(4). Except as provided in 
paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(C) of this section, an LAGC IFQ scallop vessel may 
not fish for, possess, or land sea scallops in or from the Nantucket 
Lightship Access Area, or enter the Nantucket Lightship Access Area on 
a declared LAGC IFQ scallop trip after the effective date published in 
the Federal Register, unless transiting pursuant to paragraph (f) of 
this section.
    (C) A vessel issued a NE Multispecies permit and an LAGC scallop 
permit that is fishing in an approved SAP under Sec.  648.85 under 
multispecies DAS may fish in the Scallop Access Areas without being 
subject to the restrictions of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A) of this section, 
provided that it has not enrolled in the Scallop Area Access program. 
Such vessel is prohibited from fishing for, possessing, or landing 
scallops.
    (D) Scallops landed by each LAGC IFQ vessel on a Nantucket 
Lightship Access Area trip shall count against that vessel's IFQ.
    (e) Hudson Canyon Sea Scallop Access Area. (1) From March 1, 2014, 
through February 28, 2015 (i.e., fishing year 2014), vessels issued 
scallop permits may not fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from 
the area known as the Hudson Canyon Access Area, described in paragraph 
(e)(3) of this section, unless transiting pursuant to paragraph (f) of 
this section.
    (2) From March 1, 2013, through February 28, 2014 (i.e., fishing 
year 2013), a vessel issued a scallop permit may fish for, possess, or 
land scallops in or from the area known as the Hudson Canyon Sea 
Scallop Access Area, described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section, 
only if the vessel is participating in, and complies with the 
requirements of, the area access program described in Sec.  648.60.
    (3) The Hudson Canyon Sea Scallop Access Area is defined by 
straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated 
(copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional 
Administrator upon request):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
H1...............................  39[deg]30' N        73[deg]10' W
H2...............................  39[deg]30' N        72[deg]30' W
H3...............................  38[deg]30' N        73[deg]30' W
H4...............................  38[deg]50' N        73[deg]30' W
H5...............................  38[deg]50' N        73[deg]42' W
H1...............................  39[deg]30' N        73[deg]10' W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (4) Number of trips --(i) Limited access vessels. Based on its 
permit category, a vessel issued a limited access scallop permit may 
fish no more than the maximum number of trips in the Hudson Canyon Sea 
Scallop Access Area, unless the vessel owner has made an exchange with 
another vessel owner whereby the vessel gains a Hudson Canyon Sea 
Scallop Access Area trip and gives up a trip into another Sea Scallop 
Access Area, as specified in Sec.  648.60(a)(3)(ii), or unless the 
vessel is taking a compensation trip for a prior Hudson Canyon Access 
Area trip that was terminated early, as specified in Sec.  648.60(c). 
The Hudson Canyon Access Area scallop TAC for limited access scallop 
vessels is 2,730,000 lb (1,238.3 mt) in fishing year 2013. Limited 
access scallop vessels shall not receive Hudson Canyon Access Area trip 
allocations in fishing year 2014.
    (ii) LAGC IFQ scallop vessels--(A) The percentage of the Hudson 
Canyon Access Area TAC to be allocated to LAGC scallop vessels shall be 
specified through the framework adjustment process and shall determine 
the number

[[Page 27107]]

of trips allocated to LAGC IFQ scallop vessels as specified in 
paragraph (e)(4)(ii)(B) of this section. The TAC applies to both LAGC 
IFQ vessels and limited access vessels with LAGC IFQ permits that are 
fishing under the provisions of the LAGC IFQ permit. LAGC IFQ vessels 
shall be allocated 5.5 percent of the Hudson Canyon Access Area TAC in 
fishing year 2013. The Hudson Canyon Access Area is closed to LAGC IFQ 
vessels in fishing year 2014.
    (B) LAGC IFQ vessels are allocated a total of 317 trips in the 
Hudson Canyon Access Area in fishing year 2013. This trip allocation is 
based on 5.5 percent of the Hudson Canyon Access Area TAC, and also 
includes 72 trips that have been set aside from the Closed Area II 
Access Area and evenly distributed to access areas available to LAGC 
IFQ vessels in the 2013 fishing year. This fleet-wide trip allocation 
applies to both LAGC IFQ vessels and limited access vessels with LAGC 
IFQ permits that are fishing under the provisions of the LAGC IFQ 
permit. The Regional Administrator shall notify all LAGC IFQ scallop 
vessels of the date when the maximum number of allowed trips have been, 
or are projected to be taken by providing notification in the Federal 
Register, in accordance with Sec.  648.60(g)(4). An LAGC IFQ scallop 
vessel may not fish for, possess, or land sea scallops in or from the 
Hudson Canyon Access Area, or enter the Hudson Canyon Access Area on a 
declared LAGC IFQ scallop trip after the effective date published in 
the Federal Register, unless transiting pursuant to paragraph (f) of 
this section.
    (C) Scallops landed by each LAGC IFQ vessel on a Hudson Canyon 
Access Area trip shall count against that vessel's IFQ.
    (f) Transiting. A sea scallop vessel that has not declared a trip 
into the Sea Scallop Area Access Program may enter the Sea Scallop 
Access Areas described in paragraphs (a), (b), (d), and (e), of this 
section, and possess scallops not caught in the Sea Scallop Access 
Areas, for transiting purposes only, provided the vessel's fishing gear 
is stowed in accordance with Sec.  648.23(b). A scallop vessel that has 
declared a trip into the Sea Scallop Area Access Program may transit a 
Scallop Access Area while steaming to or from another Scallop Access 
Area, provided the vessel's fishing gear is stowed in accordance with 
Sec.  648.23(b), or there is a compelling safety reason to be in such 
areas without such gear being stowed. A vessel may only transit the 
Closed Area II Access Area, as described in paragraph (c) of this 
section, if there is a compelling safety reason for transiting the area 
and the vessel's fishing gear is stowed in accordance with Sec.  
648.23(b).

0
10. In Sec.  648.60, paragraphs (a)(3)(ii)(A), (a)(4)(i), 
(c)(5)(ii)(A), and (e)(3) are removed and reserved, and paragraphs 
(a)(3)(i), (a)(5)(i), (d), (e)(1), and (g)(4)(ii) are revised to read 
as follows:


Sec.  648.60  Sea scallop area access program requirements.

    (a) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (i) Limited access vessel trips. (A) Except as provided in 
paragraph (c) of this section, paragraphs (a)(3)(i)(B) through (E) of 
this section specify the total number of trips that a limited access 
scallop vessel may take into Sea Scallop Access Areas during applicable 
seasons specified in Sec.  648.59. The number of trips per vessel in 
any one Sea Scallop Access Area may not exceed the maximum number of 
trips allocated for such Sea Scallop Access Area as specified in Sec.  
648.59, unless the vessel owner has exchanged a trip with another 
vessel owner for an additional Sea Scallop Access Area trip, as 
specified in paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section, or has been 
allocated a compensation trip pursuant to paragraph (c) of this 
section. No access area trips are allocated for fishing year 2014.
    (B) Full-time scallop vessels. In fishing year 2013, each full-time 
vessel shall have a total of two access area trips in two of the 
following areas: Hudson Canyon Access Area, Closed Area I Access Area, 
Closed Area II Access Area, and Nantucket Lightship Access Area. These 
allocations shall be determined by the Regional Administrator through a 
random assignment and shall be made publically available on the NMFS 
Northeast Region Web site prior to the start of the 2013 fishing year. 
If, prior to the implementation of Framework 24, a full-time vessel 
lands more scallops from the Hudson Canyon Access Area than ultimately 
allocated for fishing year 2013, that vessel is not eligible to take 
any additional access area trips in fishing year 2013 and NMFS shall 
deduct 12 open area DAS in fishing year 2013 from that vessel's 
allocation.
    (C) Part-time scallop vessels. (1) For the 2013 fishing year, a 
part-time scallop vessel is allocated two trips that may be distributed 
between access areas as follows: One trip in the Closed Area I Access 
Area and one trip in the Closed Area II Access Area; one trip in the 
Closed Area I Access Area and one trip in the Hudson Canyon Access 
Area; one trip in the Closed Area I Access Area and one trip in the 
Nantucket Lightship Access Area; one trip in the Closed Area II Access 
Area and one trip in the Hudson Canyon Access Area; one trip in the 
Closed Area II Access Area and one trip in the Nantucket Lightship 
Access Area; or one trip in the Hudson Canyon Access Area and one trip 
in the Nantucket Lightship Access Area.
    (i) If, prior to the implementation of Framework 24, a part-time 
vessel lands more scallops from the Hudson Canyon Access Area than 
ultimately allocated for fishing year 2013, NMFS shall deduct five open 
area DAS in fishing year 2013 from that vessel's allocation.
    (ii) [Reserved]
    (2) For the 2014 fishing year, part-time scallop vessels shall not 
receive access area trip allocations.
    (D) Occasional scallop vessels. For the 2013 fishing year, an 
occasional scallop vessel may take one trip in the Closed Area I Access 
Area, or one trip in the Closed Area II Access Area, or one trip in the 
Nantucket Lightship Access Area, or one trip in the Hudson Canyon 
Access Area. If, prior to the implementation of Framework 24, an 
occasional vessel lands more scallops from the Hudson Canyon Access 
Area than ultimately allocated for fishing year 2013, NMFS shall deduct 
one open area DAS in fishing year 2013 from that vessel's allocation.
* * * * *
    (5) * * *
    (i) Scallop possession limits. Unless authorized by the Regional 
Administrator, as specified in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, 
after declaring a trip into a Sea Scallop Access Area, a vessel owner 
or operator of a limited access scallop vessel may fish for, possess, 
and land, per trip, scallops, up to the maximum amounts specified in 
the table in this paragraph (a)(5). No vessel declared into the Access 
Areas as described in Sec.  648.59(a) through (e) may possess more than 
50 bu (17.62 hL) of in-shell scallops outside of the Access Areas 
described in Sec.  648.59(a) through (e).

[[Page 27108]]



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Permit category possession limit
             Fishing year             --------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              Full-time                Part-time                Occasional
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2013.................................  13,000 lb (5,897 kg)...  10,400 lb (4,717 kg)...  2,080 lb (943 kg).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
    (d) Increase in possession limit to defray costs of observers--The 
Regional Administrator may increase the sea scallop possession limit 
specified in paragraph (a)(5) of this section to defray costs of at-sea 
observers deployed on area access trips subject to the limits specified 
Sec.  648.53(g). An owner of a scallop vessel shall be notified of the 
increase in the possession limit through a permit holder letter issued 
by the Regional Administrator. If the observer set-aside is fully 
utilized prior to the end of the fishing year, the Regional 
Administrator shall notify owners of scallop vessels that, effective on 
a specified date, the increase in the possession limit is no longer 
available to offset the cost of observers. Unless otherwise notified by 
the Regional Administrator, vessel owners shall be responsible for 
paying the cost of the observer, regardless of whether the vessel lands 
or sells sea scallops on that trip, and regardless of the availability 
of set-aside for an increased possession limit.
    (e) * * *
    (1) Access Areas available for harvest of research set-aside (RSA). 
RSA may be harvested in any access area that is open in a given fishing 
year, as specified through a framework adjustment and pursuant to Sec.  
648.56. The amount of pounds that can be harvested in each access area 
by vessels participating in approved RSA projects shall be determined 
through the RSA application review and approval process. The access 
areas open for RSA harvest for fishing years 2013 and 2014 are:
    (i) 2013: Hudson Canyon Access Area, Nantucket Lightship Access 
Area, Closed Area I Access Area, and Closed Area II Access Area.
    (ii) 2014: None.
* * * * *
    (g) * * *
    (4) * * *
    (ii) Other species. Unless issued an LAGC scallop permit and 
fishing under an approved NE multispecies SAP under NE multispecies 
DAS, an LAGC IFQ vessel fishing in the Access Areas specified in Sec.  
648.59(b) through (d) is prohibited from possessing any species of fish 
other than scallops and monkfish, as specified in Sec.  
648.94(c)(8)(i).
* * * * *

0
11. In Sec.  648.61, paragraphs (a)(1) and (5) are revised to read as 
follows.


Sec.  648.61  EFH closed areas.

    (a) * * *
    (1) Western GOM Habitat Closure Area. The restrictions specified in 
this paragraph (a) apply to the Western GOM Habitat Closure Area, which 
is the area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points 
in the order stated:

                    Western GOM Habitat Closure Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                      N. lat.            W. long.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
WGM1.............................  43[deg]15'          70[deg]15'
WGM2.............................  42[deg]15'          70[deg]15'
WGM3.............................  42[deg]15'          70[deg]00'
WGM4.............................  43[deg]15'          70[deg]00'
WGM1.............................  43[deg]15'          70[deg]15'
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
    (5) Closed Area II Habitat Closure Area. The restrictions specified 
in this paragraph (a) apply to the Closed Area II Habitat Closure Area 
(also referred to as the Habitat Area of Particular Concern), which is 
the area bounded by straight lines, except where noted, connecting the 
following points in the order stated:

                   Closed Area II Habitat Closure Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                      N. lat.            W. long.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
CIIH1............................  42[deg]10'          67[deg]20'
CIIH2............................  42[deg]10'          (\1\) (\2\)
CIIH3............................  42[deg]00'          (\3\)
CIIH4............................  42[deg]00'          67[deg]10'
CIIH5............................  41[deg]50'          67[deg]10'
CIIH6............................  41[deg]50'          67[deg]20'
CIIH1............................  42[deg]10'          67[deg]20'
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The intersection of 42[deg]10 N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada maritime
  boundary.
\2\ From Point CAIIA3 connected to Point CAIIA4 along the U.S.-Canada
  maritime boundary.
\3\ The intersection of 42[deg]00 N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada maritime
  boundary.

* * * * *

0
12. In Sec.  648.62, paragraph (b)(1) is revised to read as follows.


Sec.  648.62  Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) Management Program.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) NGOM annual hard TACs. The annual hard TAC for the NGOM is 
70,000 lb (31.8 mt) for the 2013 and 2014 fishing years.
* * * * *

0
13. In Sec.  648.64, paragraph (d) is removed and reserved, and 
paragraphs (a), (b)(1), (c), and (e) are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  648.64  Yellowtail flounder sub-ACLs and AMs for the scallop 
fishery.

    (a) As specified in Sec.  648.55(d), and pursuant to the biennial 
framework adjustment process specified in Sec.  648.90, the scallop 
fishery shall be allocated a sub-ACL for the Georges Bank and Southern 
New England/Mid-Atlantic stocks of yellowtail flounder. The sub-ACLs 
for the 2013 fishing year are specified in Sec.  648.90(a)(4)(iii)(C) 
of the NE multispecies regulations.
    (b) * * *
    (1) Unless otherwise specified in Sec.  648.90(a)(5)(iv) of the NE 
multispecies regulations, if the Georges Bank yellowtail flounder sub-
ACL for the scallop fishery is exceeded, the area defined by the 
following coordinates, bounded in the order stated by straight lines 
except where noted, shall be closed to scallop fishing by vessels 
issued a limited access scallop permit for the period of time specified 
in paragraph (b)(2) of this section:

         Georges Bank Yellowtail Accountability Measure Closure
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                      N. lat.            W. long.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
GBYT AM 1........................  41[deg]50'          (\1\) (\2\)
GBYT AM 2........................  40[deg]30.75'       (\3\)
GBYT AM 3........................  40[deg]30'          66[deg]40'
GBYT AM 4........................  40[deg]40'          66[deg]40'
GBYT AM 5........................  40[deg]40'          66[deg]50'
GBYT AM 6........................  40[deg]50'          66[deg]50'
GBYT AM 7........................  40[deg]50'          67[deg]00'
GBYT AM 8........................  41[deg]00'          67[deg]00'
GBYT AM 9........................  41[deg]00'          67[deg]20'
GBYT AM 10.......................  41[deg]10'          67[deg]20'
GBYT AM 11.......................  41[deg]10'          67[deg]40'
GBYT AM 12.......................  41[deg]50'          67[deg]40'
GBYT AM 1........................  41[deg]50'          66[deg]51.94'
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The intersection of 41[deg]50 N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada maritime
  boundary.
\2\ From Point CAIIA3 connected to Point CAIIA4 along the U.S.-Canada
  maritime boundary.
\3\ The intersection of 41[deg]30.75 N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada
  maritime boundary.

* * * * *
    (c) Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic accountability measures--(1) 
Limited access scallop vessels. (i) Unless otherwise specified in Sec.  
648.90(a)(5)(iv) of the NE multispecies regulations, if the Southern 
New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail

[[Page 27109]]

flounder sub-ACL for the scallop fishery is exceeded, the area defined 
by the following coordinates, bounded in the order stated by straight 
lines except where noted, shall be closed to scallop fishing by vessels 
issued a limited access scallop permit for the period of time specified 
in paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section. The Southern New England 
Yellowtail Accountability Measure Closure Area for Limited Access 
Scallop Vessels is comprised of Northeast Region Statistical Areas 
537, 539 and 613, and is defined by the 
following coordinates, connected in the order listed by straight lines, 
unless otherwise noted:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Point                    N. lat.              W. long.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
LA SNEYT AM 1...............  (\1\)                 73[deg]00'
LA SNEYT AM 2...............  40[deg]00'            73[deg]00'
LA SNEYT AM 3...............  40[deg]00'            71[deg]40'
LA SNEYT AM 4...............  39[deg]50'            71[deg]40'
LA SNEYT AM 5...............  39[deg]50'            70[deg]00'
LA SNEYT AM 6...............  (\2\) (\3\)           70[deg]00'
LA SNEYT AM 7 (\4\).........  41[deg]16.76'         70[deg]13.47'
LA SNEYT AM 8 (\5\).........  41[deg]18.01'         70[deg]15.47'
LA SNEYT AM 9 (\6\).........  41[deg]20.26'         70[deg]18.30'
LA SNEYT AM 10 (\7\)........  41[deg]21.09' (\8\)   70[deg]27.03'
LA SNEYT AM 11..............  41[deg]20'            (\9\)
LA SNEYT AM 12..............  41[deg]20'            71[deg]10'
LA SNEYT AM 13..............  (\10\) (\11\)         71[deg]10'
LA SNEYT AM 14..............  (\12\)                71[deg]40'
LA SNEYT AM 15..............  41[deg]00'            71[deg]40'
LA SNEYT AM 16..............  41[deg]00' (\13\)     (\14\)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The south facing mainland coastline of Long Island.
\2\ The southern coastline of Nantucket.
\3\ From Point F to Point G along the southern coastline of Nantucket.
\4\ Point G represents Esther Island, Nantucket, Massachusetts.
\5\ Point H represents Tuckernuck Island, Nantucket, Massachusetts.
\6\ Point I represents Muskeget Island, Nantucket, Massachusetts.
\7\ Point J represents Wasque Point, Chappaquiddick Island,
  Massachusetts.
\8\ From Point J to Point K along the southern coastline of Martha's
  Vineyard.
\9\ The western coastline of Martha's Vineyard.
\10\ The southern coastline of Rhode Island.
\11\ From Point M to Point B following the mainland coastline of Rhode
  Island.
\12\ The southern coastline of Rhode Island.
\13\ From Point P back to Point A along the southern mainland coastline
  of Long Island.
\14\ Southeast facing coastline of Long Island.

    (ii) Duration of closure. The Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic 
yellowtail flounder accountability measure closed area for limited 
access vessels shall remain closed for the period of time, not to 
exceed 1 fishing year, as specified for the corresponding percent 
overage of the Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder 
sub-ACL, as follows:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   Percent overage of YTF sub-ACL                                  Length of closure
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2 or less...........................  March through April.
2.1-3...............................  March through April, and February.
3.1-7...............................  March through May, and February.
7.1-9...............................  March through May and January through February.
9.1-12..............................  March through May and December through February.
12.1-15.............................  March through June and December through February.
15.1-16.............................  March through June and November through February.
16.1-18.............................  March through July and November through February.
18.1-19.............................  March through August and October through February.
19.1 or more........................  March through February.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (2) Limited access general category IFQ scallop vessels using 
dredges--(i) Unless otherwise specified in Sec.  648.90(a)(5)(iv) of 
the NE multispecies regulations, if the Southern New England/Mid-
Atlantic yellowtail flounder sub-ACL for the scallop fishery is 
exceeded, and the criteria in paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section are 
met, the Southern New England Yellowtail Accountability Measure Closure 
Areas described in paragraphs (c)(2)(ii) through (iv) of this section 
shall be closed to scallop fishing by vessels issued an LAGC IFQ 
scallop permit and using dredges for the period of time specified in 
paragraph (c)(2)(v) of this section.
    (ii) Closure Area 1 is comprised of Northeast Region Statistical 
Area 537, and is defined by the following coordinates, 
connected in the order listed by straight lines, unless otherwise 
noted:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Point                                   N. lat.                        W. long.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 A...........................  41[deg]20'                     (\1\)
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 B...........................  41[deg]20'                     71[deg]10'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 C...........................  41[deg]10'                     71[deg]10'

[[Page 27110]]

 
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 D...........................  41[deg]10'                     71[deg]20'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 E...........................  40[deg]50'                     71[deg]20'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 F...........................  40[deg]50'                     71[deg]40'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 G...........................  39[deg]50'                     71[deg]40'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 H...........................  39[deg]50'                     70[deg]00'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 I...........................  (\2\)(\3\)                     70[deg]00'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 J (\4\).....................  41[deg]16.76'                  70[deg]13.47'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 K (\5\).....................  41[deg]18.01'                  70[deg]15.47'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 L (\6\).....................  41[deg]20.26'                  70[deg]18.30'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM1 M (\7\).....................  41[deg]21.09' (\8\)            70[deg]27.03'
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The western coastline of Martha's Vineyard.
\2\ The southern coastline of Nantucket.
\3\ From Point I to Point J along the southern coastline of Nantucket.
\4\ Point J represents Esther Island, Nantucket, Massachusetts.
\5\ Point K represents Tuckernuck Island, Nantucket, Massachusetts.
\6\ Point L represents Muskeget Island, Nantucket, Massachusetts.
\7\ Point M represents Wasque Point, Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts.
\8\ From Point M back to Point A along the southern coastline of Martha's Vineyard.

    (iii)  Closure Area 2 is comprised of Northeast Region Statistical 
Area 613, and is defined by the following coordinates, 
connected in the order listed by straight lines, unless otherwise 
noted:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Point                    N. lat.              W. long.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM2 A.....  (\1\)                 73[deg]00'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM2 B.....  40[deg]00'            73[deg]00'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM2 C.....  40[deg]00'            71[deg]40'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM2 D.....  41[deg]00'            71[deg]40'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM2 E.....  41[deg]00' (\2\)      (\3\)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The south facing mainland coastline of Long Island.
\2\ Southeast facing coastline of Long Island.
\3\ From Point E back to Point A along the southern mainland coastline
  of Long Island.

    (iv) Closure Area 3 is comprised of Northeast Region Statistical 
Area 539, and is defined by the following coordinates, 
connected in the order listed by straight lines, unless otherwise 
noted:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Point                    N. lat.              W. long.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM3 A.....  (\1\)                 71[deg]40'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM3 B.....  40[deg]50' N          71[deg]40'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM3 C.....  40[deg]50' N          71[deg]20'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM3 D.....  41[deg]10' N          71[deg]20'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM3 E.....  41[deg]10' N          71[deg]10'
LAGC Dredge SNEYT AM3 F.....  (\1\) (\2\)           71[deg]10'
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The southern coastline of Rhode Island.
\2\ From Point F back to Point A following the southern mainland
  coastline of Rhode Island.

    (v) Duration of closure. The Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic 
yellowtail flounder accountability measure closure areas for LAGC IFQ 
vessels using dredge gear shall remain closed for the period of time, 
not to exceed 1 fishing year, as specified for the corresponding 
percent overage of the Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail 
flounder sub-ACL, as follows:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            AM closure area and duration
  Percent overage of YTF sub-ACL   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      AM Closure Area 1      AM Closure Area 2          AM Closure Area 3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2 or less.........................  Mar-Apr..............  Mar-Apr.............  Mar-Apr.
2.1-7.............................  Mar-May, Feb.........  Mar-May, Feb........  Mar-May, Feb.
7.1-12............................  Mar-May, Dec-Feb.....  Mar-May, Feb........  Mar-May, Dec-Feb.
12.1-16...........................  Mar-Jun, Nov-Feb.....  Mar-May, Feb........  Mar-Jun, Nov-Feb.
16.1 or greater...................  Mar-Jun, Nov-Feb.....  Mar-May, Feb........  All year.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (vi) The Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder 
accountability measure for LAGC IFQ vessels using dredge gear shall 
only be triggered if the Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail 
flounder sub-ACL is exceeded, an accountability measure is triggered 
for the limited access scallop fishery, and the catch of yellowtail 
flounder by LAGC IFQ vessels using dredge gear was estimated to be more 
than 3 percent of the total catch of yellowtail flounder in the scallop 
fishery. For example, in a given fishing year, if the total sub-ACL for 
the

[[Page 27111]]

scallop fishery was 50 mt of yellowtail flounder and LAGC IFQ vessels 
using dredge gear caught an estimated 1 mt, accountability measures for 
IFQ vessels using dredges would not trigger because the fishery did not 
catch more than 3 percent of the Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic 
yellowtail flounder sub-ACL (1.5 mt), even if the total sub-ACL was 
exceeded. If LAGC IFQ vessels using dredge gear caught more than 3 
percent of the Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder, 
but the sub-ACL is not exceeded and the limited access accountability 
measure is not triggered, LAGC IFQ vessels using dredge gear would not 
trigger their own accountability measure.
    (3) Limited access general category IFQ scallop vessels using 
trawls--(i) Unless otherwise specified in Sec.  648.90(a)(5)(iv) of the 
NE multispecies regulations, if the Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic 
yellowtail flounder sub-ACL for the scallop fishery is exceeded, and 
the criteria in paragraph (c)(3)(iii) of this section are met, the area 
defined by the following coordinates shall be closed to LAGC vessels 
fishing with trawl for the period of time specified in paragraph 
(c)(3)(ii) of this section. Southern New England Yellowtail 
Accountability Measure Closure Area for Limited Access General Category 
IFQ Scallop Vessels using Trawl Gear is comprised of Northeast Region 
Statistical Areas 612 and 613, and is defined by the 
following coordinates, connected in the order listed by straight lines, 
unless otherwise noted:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Point                    N. lat.              W. long.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
LAGC Trawl SNEYT AM A.......  40[deg]00'            (\1\)
LAGC Trawl SNEYT AM B.......  40[deg]00'            71[deg]40'
LAGC Trawl SNEYT AM C.......  41[deg]00'            71[deg]40'
LAGC Trawl SNEYT AM D.......  41[deg]00' (\2\)      (\3\)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ New Jersey mainland coastline.
\2\ From Point D back to Point A along the southern mainland coastline
  of Long Island and New York, and the eastern coastline of New Jersey.
\3\ Southeast facing coastline of Long Island, NY.

    (ii) Duration of closure. The Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic 
yellowtail flounder accountability measure closure area for LAGC IFQ 
vessels using trawl gear shall remain closed for the period of time, 
not to exceed 1 fishing year, as specified for the corresponding 
percent overage of the Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail 
flounder sub-ACL, as follows:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   Percent overage of YTF sub-ACL                                  Length of closure
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2 or less...........................  March through April.
2.1-3...............................  March through April, and February.
3.1-7...............................  March through May, and February.
7.1-9...............................  March through May and January through February.
9.1-12..............................  March through May and December through February.
12.1-15.............................  March through June and December through February.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (iii) The accountability measure for LAGC vessels using trawl gear 
shall be triggered under the following conditions:
    (A) If the estimated catch of Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic 
yellowtail flounder by LAGC IFQ vessels using trawl gear is more than 
10 percent of the total Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail 
flounder sub-ACL, the accountability measure for LAGC IFQ vessels using 
trawl gear shall be triggered, regardless of whether or not the scallop 
fishery's Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder sub-ACL 
was exceeded in a given fishing year. In this case, the accountability 
measure closure season shall be from March-June and again from 
December-February (a total of 7 months). For example, if the scallop 
fishery's Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder sub-ACL 
for a given fishing year is 50 mt, LAGC IFQ vessels using trawl gear 
would trigger a 7-month closure, the most restrictive closure duration 
specified in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section, if they caught 5 mt 
or more of yellowtail flounder.
    (B) If the scallop fishery's Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic 
yellowtail flounder sub-ACL for a given fishing year is exceeded, 
resulting in an accountability measure for the limited access fleet as 
specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, LAGC IFQ vessels using 
trawl gear shall be subject to a seasonal closure accountability 
measure, as specified in paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section, based on 
the total scallop fishery's sub-ACL overage, as specified in paragraph 
(c)(3)(ii) of this section.
    (C) If both of these conditions are triggered, (i.e., LAGC IFQ 
vessels using trawl gear catch more than 10 percent of the total 
Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder sub-ACL and the 
overall Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder sub-ACL 
is exceeded, triggering limited access scallop fishery accountability 
measures), the most restrictive accountability measure shall apply to 
LAGC IFQ vessels using trawl gear (i.e., the closure season would be 
from March-June and again from December-February).
    (iv) If the LAGC accountability measure for vessels using trawl 
gear is triggered, a vessel can switch to dredge gear to continue 
fishing in the LAGC trawl closure areas, as specified in paragraph 
(c)(3)(i) of this section, during the time of year when trawl gear is 
prohibited, as specified in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section. If 
such a vessel does switch to dredge gear, it is subject to any 
yellowtail flounder accountability measures that may be in place for 
that gear type, as specified in paragraph (c)(3) of this section.
* * * * *
    (e) Process for implementing the AM--(1) If reliable information is 
available to make a mid-year determination: On or about January 15 of 
each year, based upon catch and other information available to NMFS, 
the Regional Administrator shall determine whether a yellowtail 
flounder sub-ACL was exceeded, or is projected to be exceeded, by 
scallop vessels prior to the end of the scallop fishing year ending on 
February 28/29. The determination shall include the amount

[[Page 27112]]

of the overage or projected amount of the overage, specified as a 
percentage of the overall sub-ACL for the applicable yellowtail 
flounder stock, in accordance with the values specified in paragraph 
(a) of this section. Based on this initial projection in mid-January, 
the Regional Administrator shall implement the AM in accordance with 
the APA and notify owners of limited access and LAGC scallop vessels by 
letter identifying the length of the closure and a summary of the 
yellowtail flounder catch, overage, and projection that resulted in the 
closure.
    (2) If reliable information is not available to make a mid-year 
determination: Once NMFS has compiled the necessary information (e.g., 
when the previous fishing year's observer and catch data are fully 
available), the Regional Administrator shall determine whether a 
yellowtail flounder sub-ACL was exceeded by scallop vessels following 
the end of the scallop fishing year ending on February 28/29. The 
determination shall include the amount of the overage, specified as a 
percentage of the overall sub-ACL for the applicable yellowtail 
flounder stock, in accordance with the values specified in paragraph 
(a) of this section. Based on this information, the Regional 
Administrator shall implement the AM in accordance with the APA in Year 
3 (e.g., an accountability measure would be implemented in fishing year 
2016 for an overage that occurred in fishing year 2014) and notify 
owners of limited access and LAGC scallop vessels by letter identifying 
the length of the closure and a summary of the yellowtail flounder 
catch and overage information.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2013-10937 Filed 5-8-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P