[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 181 (Wednesday, September 18, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 57340-57341]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-22736]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 120328229-3656-01]
RIN 0648-BC09


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; 2006 Consolidated Highly 
Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan; Amendment 7; Extension of 
Comment Period

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; extension of comment period.

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SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is amending the 
2006 Consolidated HMS FMP to address bluefin tuna management due to 
recent trends and characteristics of the bluefin fishery. This action 
is necessary to meet domestic management objectives of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act including preventing 
overfishing, achieving optimal yield, and minimizing bycatch to the 
extent practicable, as well as the objectives of the Atlantic Tunas 
Convention Act (ATCA) and obligations pursuant to binding 
recommendations of the International Commission for the Conservation of 
Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). NMFS takes these actions to reduce bluefin dead 
discards and account for dead discards in all categories; optimize 
fishing opportunities in all categories; enhance reporting and 
monitoring; and adjust other aspects of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP 
as necessary. The proposed measures include Allocation measures, Area-
Based measures, Bluefin Quota Controls, Enhanced Reporting measures, 
and other measures with respect to how the various quota categories 
utilize quota. In the proposed rule that published on August 21, 2013, 
NMFS announced the end of the comment period as October 23, 2013, which 
allowed an approximately 60-day comment period. Given the length and 
complexity of the rule, and to provide additional time for constituents 
to consider the proposed rule in light of any new recommendations 
adopted by ICCAT at its November 2013 meeting, NMFS is extending the 
comment period for this action until December 10, 2013, to provide 
additional opportunities for public comment.

DATES: The public comment period for the proposed rule published at 78 
FR 52032, August 21, 2013, is extended from October 23, 2013, until 
December 10, 2013. Comments must be received no later than December 10, 
2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, as published 
on August 21, 2013 (78 FR 52032), identified by ``NOAA-NMFS-2013-
0101,'' by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0101, click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, 
complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. Do not 
submit electronic comments to individual NMFS staff.
     Mail: Submit written comments to: Thomas Warren, Highly 
Migratory Species Management Division, NMFS, 55 Great Republic Drive, 
Gloucester, MA 01930. Please mark the outside of the envelope 
``Comments on Amendment 7 to the HMS FMP.''
     Fax: 978-281-9347, Attn: Thomas Warren.
    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 
methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and 
considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered. All comments received are part of the public 
record and generally will be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying 
Information (for example, name, address, etc.),

[[Page 57341]]

confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information 
submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. Do not 
submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or 
protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/
A'' in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may 
submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word or Excel, 
WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Supporting documents including the draft Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS), Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), and Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) for this action are available from the 
Highly Migratory Species Management Division Web site at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/FMP/AM7.htm or by sending your request to 
Thomas Warren at the mailing address or phone numbers specified above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Warren or Brad McHale at 978-
281-9260; Craig Cockrell or Jennifer Cudney at 301-427-8503.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The North Atlantic tuna fisheries are 
managed under the dual authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) and the Atlantic 
Tunas Convention Act (ATCA). Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS must 
manage fisheries to maintain optimum yield on a continuing basis while 
preventing overfishing. ATCA authorizes the Secretary of Commerce 
(Secretary) to promulgate regulations, as may be necessary and 
appropriate to carry out recommendations of the International 
Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The 
authority to issue regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and ATCA 
has been delegated from the Secretary to the Assistant Administrator 
for Fisheries, NMFS. Management of these species is described in the 
2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, which is implemented by regulations at 50 
CFR part 635. Copies of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and previous 
amendments are available from the Highly Migratory Species Management 
Division Web page at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/hmsdocument_files/FMPs.htm or from NMFS on request (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).
    NMFS is amending the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP to address bluefin 
tuna management due to recent trends and characteristics of the bluefin 
fishery (78 FR 52032). This action is necessary to meet domestic 
management objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act including preventing overfishing, achieving optimal 
yield, and minimizing bycatch to the extent practicable, as well as the 
objectives of the ATCA and obligations pursuant to binding 
recommendations of ICCAT. NMFS takes these actions to reduce bluefin 
dead discards and account for dead discards in all categories; optimize 
fishing opportunities in all categories; enhance reporting and 
monitoring; and adjust other aspects of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP 
as necessary. As described in the proposed rule, the proposed 
management measures include: (1) Allocation measures that would modify 
how the U.S. bluefin quota is allocated among the quota categories; (2) 
area-based measures that restrict the use of pelagic longline gear in 
various time and area combinations, modify gear restrictions, or 
provide conditional access to current pelagic longline closed areas; 
(3) bluefin quota controls that would strictly limit the total catch 
(landings and dead discards) of bluefin in the Longline category using 
different strategies; (4) enhanced reporting measures that would 
implement a variety of new bluefin reporting requirements; and (5) 
other measures that would modify to the rules that control how the 
various quota categories utilize quota, and codify a northern albacore 
tuna quota.

Public Comment Extension

    In the proposed rule, NMFS announced the end of the comment period 
as October 23, 2013, which allowed an approximately 60-day comment 
period. Given the length and complexity of the rule, and to provide 
additional time for constituents to consider the proposed rule in light 
of any new recommendations by ICCAT at its November 2013 meeting, NMFS 
is extending the comment period for this action until December 10, 
2013, to provide additional opportunities for public comment.
    These comments will assist NMFS in determining final management 
measures to conserve and manage the BFT resource and fisheries, 
consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, ATCA, and the 2006 
Consolidated HMS FMP.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: September 12, 2013.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and 
duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-22736 Filed 9-17-13; 8:45 am]
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