[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 238 (Wednesday, December 11, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 75327-75328]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-29549]


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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; Reopening of 
Comment Period

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; Reopening of comment period.

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SUMMARY: On August 21, 2013, NMFS published the proposed rule for Draft 
Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) 
Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to control bluefin incidental catch 
(landings and dead discards) in the pelagic longline fishery, enhance 
reporting in all categories, and ensure U.S. compliance with the ICCAT-
recommended quota. As described in the proposed rule, the proposed 
measures include Allocation measures, Area-Based measures, Bluefin 
Quota Controls, Enhanced Reporting measures, and other measures that 
modify rules with respect to how the various quota categories utilize 
quota. In the proposed rule, NMFS announced the end of the comment 
period as October 23, 2013, which would allow an approximately 60-day 
comment period. On September 18, 2013, NMFS extended the comment period 
through December 10, 2013, in order to provide additional opportunities 
for the public and other interested parties to comment on the proposed 
rule, and to provide adequate time for constituents to consider 
potential changes to the regulatory environment resulting from any new 
recommendations by the International Commission for the Conservation of 
Atlantic Tunas at its November 2013 meeting. However, due to the 
government shutdown and NMFS' inability to respond to constituents on 
this complex rule during that time frame and based on the comments 
received to date requesting an extension due to the complexity and 
interplay of the measures covered in the DEIS, NMFS is reopening the 
comment period for this action until January 10, 2014, to provide 
additional opportunity for informed public comment.

DATES: The deadline for comments on the proposed rule published at 78 
FR 52032 has been reopened from December 10, 2013 to January 10, 2014.

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 a 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.), 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.

[[Page 75328]]

    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/FMP/AM7.htm or 
from NMFS on request (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    NMFS is amending the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP to address bluefin 
tuna (BFT) 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 
Management Act including preventing overfishing, achieving optimum 
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 make 
modifications to how the U.S. bluefin quota is allocated among the 
quota categories; (2) area-based measures that would implement 
restrictions on 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 make modifications to the rules that control how the various 
quota categories utilize quota, and implement a northern albacore tuna 
quota.

Public Comment Reopening

    In the proposed rule, NMFS announced the end of the comment period 
as October 23, 2013, which allowed an approximate 60-day comment 
period. On September 18, 2013 (78 FR 57340) NMFS extended the comment 
period through December 10, 2013, to provide constituents additional 
time to consider the proposed rule in light of any new recommendations 
by International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas at 
the November 2013 meeting. However, due to the government shut down and 
NMFS' inability to respond to constituents on this complex rule during 
that time frame and based on the comments received to date requesting 
an extension due to the complexity and interplay of the measures 
covered in the DEIS, NMFS is reopening the comment period for this 
action until January 10, 2014, to provide additional opportunity for 
informed 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: December 6, 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. 2013-29549 Filed 12-6-13; 4:15 pm]
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