[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 213 (Monday, November 4, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 65888-65889]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-26318]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 130219149-3397-02]
RIN 0648- XC897


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery; Trip Limit Adjustments for the Common Pool 
Fishery

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason adjustment of landing limits.

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SUMMARY: This temporary rule increases the possession limits for Gulf 
of Maine cod, Cape Cod/Gulf of Maine yellowtail flounder, Gulf of Maine 
winter flounder, white hake, and pollock for Northeast multispecies 
common pool vessels for the remainder of the 2013 fishing year. This 
action is being taken because catch rates of these stocks are low. 
Increasing these possession limits is intended to provide additional 
fishing opportunities and help allow the common pool fishery to catch 
more of its quota for these stocks.

DATES: Effective October 30, 2013, through April 30, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Liz Sullivan, Fishery Management 
Specialist, 978-282-8493.

[[Page 65889]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the Northeast (NE) 
multispecies fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648, subpart F. The 
regulations at Sec.  648.86(o) authorize the NE Regional Administrator 
(RA) to adjust the possession limits for common pool vessels in order 
to facilitate harvest of, or prevent exceeding the pertinent common 
pool quotas during the fishing year. Based on data reported through 
October 16, 2013, the common pool fishery has caught less than 20 
percent of its quota for Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod, Cape Cod (CC)/GOM 
yellowtail flounder, GOM winter flounder, white hake, and pollock.
    Table 2 contains the adjustments to the possession limits that are 
implemented in this action for Category A days-at-sea (DAS) common pool 
vessels. The regulations also require that the cod possession limits 
for Handgear A, Handgear B, and Small Vessel Category permits be 
adjusted relative to the cod trip limits for DAS vessels, and these 
adjustments are specified in Table 3. These trip limit adjustments for 
all vessels is effective October 30, 2013, through April 30, 2014. 
Common pool groundfish vessels that are already at sea when this action 
becomes effective may land fish at the increased trip limit levels. 
Catch will continue to be monitored through dealer-reported landings, 
vessel monitoring system catch reports, and other available information 
and, if necessary, additional adjustments to common pool management 
measures may be made.

    Table 2--Common Pool Possession Limits for Five Groundfish Stocks
------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Stock                 Old DAS limit         New DAS limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
GOM Cod.....................  100 lb (45.4 kg) per  650 lb (294.8 kg)
                               DAS, up to 300 lb     per DAS up to 2,000
                               (136.1 kg) per trip.  lb (907.2 kg) per
                                                     trip.
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder..  500 lb (226.8 kg)     2,000 lb (907.2 kg)
                               per DAS, up to        per trip.
                               2,000 lb (907.2 kg)
                               per trip.
GOM Winter Flounder.........  500 lb (226.8 kg)     2,000 lb (907.2 kg)
                               per trip.             per trip.
White Hake..................  500 lb (226.8 kg)     1,000 lb (453.6 kg)
                               per trip.             per DAS up to 3,000
                                                     lb (1,361 kg) per
                                                     trip.
Pollock.....................  10,000 lb (4,536 kg)  Unlimited.
                               per trip.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


   Table 3--GOM Cod Trip Limits for Handgear A and B and Small Vessel
                            Category Permits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Permit category           Old trip limit        New trip limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Handgear A..................  100 lb (45.4 kg) per  300 lb (136.1 kg)
                               trip.                 per trip.
Handgear B..................  25 lb (11.3 kg) per   75 lb (34.0 kg) per
                               trip.                 trip.
Small Vessel Category.......  Maximum of 100 lb     Up to 300 lb (136.1
                               (45.4 kg) of GOM      kg) of GOM cod
                               cod within the 300-   within the 300-lb
                               lb (136.1-kg)         combined cod/
                               combined cod/         yellowtail trip
                               yellowtail flounder   limit.
                               trip limit.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Classification

    This action is required by 50 CFR part 648, and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good 
cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the 
opportunity for public comment because it would be impracticable and 
contrary to the public interest for the reasons stated below. Pursuant 
to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day 
delayed effectiveness period for the same reasons.
    The regulations at Sec.  648.86(o) authorize the RA to adjust the 
NE multispecies trip limits for common pool vessels in order to prevent 
the overharvest or underharvest of the common pool quotas. The catch 
data used as the basis for this action only recently became available, 
and the trip limit increases implemented through this action reduces 
the probability of underharvesting the common pool quotas. As a result, 
the time necessary to provide for prior notice and comment, and a 30-
day delay in effectiveness, would prevent NMFS from implementing the 
necessary trip limit adjustments for these five stocks in a timely 
manner, which could undermine management objectives of the NE 
Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, and cause negative economic 
impacts to the common pool fishery. There is additional good cause to 
waive the delayed effective period because this action relieves 
restrictions on fishing vessels by increasing trip limits.

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

    Dated: October 30, 2013.
Emily H. Menashes,
Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-26318 Filed 10-30-13; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P