[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 17 (Monday, January 27, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 4276-4279]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-01508]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 665

[Docket No. 131028907-4042-02]
RIN 0648-XC954


Pacific Island Fisheries; 2014 Annual Catch Limits and 
Accountability Measures

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

ACTION: Final specifications.

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SUMMARY: In this rule, NMFS specifies the 2014 annual catch limits for 
Pacific Island bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef 
ecosystem fisheries, and accountability measures to correct or mitigate 
any overages of catch limits. The catch limits and accountability 
measures support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of 
the U.S. Pacific Islands.

DATES: The final specifications are effective February 26, 2014, 
through December 31, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the fishery ecosystem plans are available from the 
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), 1164 Bishop St., 
Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel 808-522-8220, fax 808-522-8226, or 
www.wpcouncil.org. Copies of the environmental assessments and findings 
of no significant impact for this action, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2013-
0156, are available from www.regulations.gov, or from Michael D. 
Tosatto, Regional

[[Page 4277]]

Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1601 Kapiolani Blvd. 
1110, Honolulu, HI 96814.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jarad Makaiau, NMFS PIR Sustainable 
Fisheries, 808-944-2108.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS is specifying the 2014 annual catch 
limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for bottomfish, 
crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem fishery management 
unit species (MUS) in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ, generally 
3-200 nm from shore) around American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of 
the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Hawaii. NMFS proposed these 
specifications on December 20, 2013 (78 FR 77089), and the final 
specifications do not differ from that proposal. The 2014 fishing year 
begins on January 1, and ends on December 31, except for precious coral 
fisheries, for which the fishing year began on July 1, 2013, and ends 
on June 30, 2014. The ACLs and AMs are identical to those that NMFS 
specified for these fisheries in 2013.
    NMFS is not specifying ACLs for MUS that are currently subject to 
Federal fishing moratoria or prohibitions. These MUS include all 
species of gold coral (78 FR 32181, May 29, 2013), the three Hawaii 
seamount groundfish, that is, pelagic armorhead, alfonsin, and raftfish 
(75 FR 69015, November 10, 2010), and deepwater precious corals at the 
Westpac Bed Refugia (75 FR 2198, January 14, 2010). The current 
prohibitions on fishing for these MUS serve as the functional 
equivalent of an ACL of zero.
    Additionally, NMFS is not specifying ACLs for bottomfish, 
crustacean, precious coral, or coral reef ecosystem MUS identified in 
the Pacific Remote Islands Area (PRIA) FEP. On June 3, 2013, NMFS 
published a final rule (78 FR 32996), implementing fishing requirements 
for the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (Monument), 
which include a prohibition on all fishing in the EEZ within 12 nm of 
emergent land, unless authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 
NMFS is not proposing ACLs for PRIA FEP bottomfish, crustacean, 
precious coral, or coral reef ecosystem fisheries because there is no 
suitable habitat for these fisheries beyond the 12-nm no-fishing zone, 
except at Kingman Reef, where fishing for these resources does not 
occur. Therefore, the current prohibitions on fishing serve as the 
functional equivalent of an ACL of zero. However, NMFS will continue to 
monitor authorized fishing within the Monument in consultation with the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and may develop additional fishing 
requirements, including Monument-specific catch limits for species that 
may require them.
    NMFS is also not proposing ACLs for pelagic MUS at this time, 
because NMFS previously determined that pelagic species are subject to 
international fishery agreements or have a life cycle of approximately 
one year and, therefore, are statutorily excepted from the ACL 
requirements.

2014 Annual Catch Limit Specifications

    The ACL specifications for Pacific Island fisheries are listed in 
Tables 1-4.

                         Table 1--American Samoa
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Final ACL
            Fishery              Management unit species   specification
                                                               (lb)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bottomfish.....................  Bottomfish multi-               101,000
                                  species stock complex.
Crustacean.....................  Deepwater Shrimp.......          80,000
                                 Spiny Lobster..........           2,300
                                 Slipper Lobster........              30
                                 Kona Crab..............           3,200
Precious Coral.................  Black Coral............             790
                                 Precious Corals in the            2,205
                                  American Samoa
                                  Exploratory Area.
Coral Reef Ecosystem...........  Acanthuridae--surgeonfi          19,516
                                  sh.
                                 Lutjanidae--snappers...          18,839
                                 Selar crumenophthalmus--          8,396
                                  atule or bigeye scad.
                                 Mollusks--turbo snail;           16,694
                                  octopus; giant clams.
                                 Carangidae--jacks......           9,490
                                 Lethrinidae--emperors..           7,350
                                 Scaridae--parrotfish...           8,145
                                 Serranidae--groupers...           5,600
                                 Holocentridae--squirrel           2,585
                                  fish.
                                 Mugilidae--mullets.....           2,857
                                 Crustaceans--crabs.....           2,248
                                 Bolbometopon muricatum--            235
                                  bumphead parrotfish.
                                 Cheilinus undulatus--             1,743
                                  Humphead (Napoleon)
                                  wrasse.
                                 Carcharhinidae--Reef              1,309
                                  Sharks.
                                 All Other CREMUS                 18,910
                                  combined.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                   Table 2--Mariana Archipelago--Guam
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Final ACL
            Fishery              Management unit species   specification
                                                               (lb)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bottomfish.....................  Bottomfish multi-                66,800
                                  species stock complex.
Crustaceans....................  Deepwater Shrimp.......          48,488
                                 Spiny Lobster..........           2,700
                                 Slipper Lobster........              20
                                 Kona Crab..............           1,900
Precious Coral.................  Black Coral............             700
                                 Precious Corals in the            2,205
                                  Guam Exploratory Area.

[[Page 4278]]

 
Cora Reef Ecosystem............  Acanthuridae--surgeonfi          70,702
                                  sh.
                                 Carangidae--jacks......          45,377
                                 Selar crumenophthalmus--         56,514
                                  atulai or bigeye scad.
                                 Lethrinidae--emperors..          38,720
                                 Scaridae--parrotfish...          28,649
                                 Mullidae--goatfish.....          25,367
                                 Mollusks--turbo snail;           21,941
                                  octopus; giant clams.
                                 Siganidae--rabbitfish..          26,120
                                 Lutjanidae--snappers...          17,726
                                 Serranidae--groupers...          17,958
                                 Mugilidae--mullets.....          15,032
                                 Kyphosidae--chubs/               13,247
                                  rudderfish.
                                 Crustaceans--crabs.....           5,523
                                 Holocentridae--squirrel           8,300
                                  fish.
                                 Algae..................           5,329
                                 Labridae--wrasses......           5,195
                                 Bolbometopon muricatum--        \1\ 797
                                  bumphead parrotfish.
                                 Cheilinus undulatus--             1,960
                                  Humphead (Napoleon)
                                  wrasse.
                                 Carcharhinidae--Reef              6,942
                                  Sharks.
                                 All Other CREMUS                 83,214
                                  combined.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ (CNMI and Guam combined)


                   Table 3--Mariana Archipelago--CNMI
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Final ACL
            Fishery              Management unit species   specification
                                                               (lb)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bottomfish.....................  Bottomfish multi-               228,000
                                  species stock complex.
Crustacean.....................  Deepwater Shrimp.......         275,570
                                 Spiny Lobster..........           5,500
                                 Slipper Lobster........              60
                                 Kona Crab..............           6,300
Precious Coral.................  Black Coral............           2,100
                                 Precious Corals in the            2,205
                                  CNMI Exploratory Area.
Coral Reef Ecosystem...........  Lethrinidae--emperors..          27,466
                                 Carangidae--jacks......          21,512
                                 Acanthuridae--surgeonfi           6,884
                                  sh.
                                 Selar crumenophthalmus--          7,459
                                  atulai or bigeye scad.
                                 Serranidae--groupers...           5,519
                                 Lutjanidae--snappers...           3,905
                                 Mullidae--goatfish.....           3,670
                                 Scaridae--parrotfish...           3,784
                                 Mollusks--turbo snail;            4,446
                                  octopus; giant clams.
                                 Mugilidae--mullets.....           3,308
                                 Siganidae--rabbitfish..           2,537
                                 Bolbometopon muricatum--        \1\ 797
                                  bumphead parrotfish.
                                 Cheilinus undulatus               2,009
                                  Humphead (Napoleon)
                                  wrasse.
                                 Carcharhinidae--Reef              5,600
                                  Sharks.
                                 All Other CREMUS                  9,820
                                  combined.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ (CNMI and Guam combined).


                             Table 4--Hawaii
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Final ACL
            Fishery              Management unit species   specification
                                                               (lb)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bottomfish.....................  Non-Deep 7 Bottomfish..         140,000
Crustacean.....................  Deepwater Shrimp.......         250,773
                                 Spiny Lobster..........          10,000
                                 Slipper Lobster........             280
                                 Kona Crab..............          27,600
Precious Coral.................  Auau Channel Black                5,512
                                  Coral.
                                 Makapuu Bed--Pink Coral           2,205
                                 Makapuu Bed--Bamboo                 551
                                  Coral.
                                 180 Fathom Bank--Pink               489
                                  Coral.
                                 180 Fathom Bank--Bamboo             123
                                  Coral.
                                 Brooks Bank--Pink Coral             979

[[Page 4279]]

 
                                 Brooks Bank--Bamboo                 245
                                  Coral.
                                 Kaena Point Bed--Pink               148
                                  Coral.
                                 Kaena Point Bed--Bamboo              37
                                  Coral.
                                 Keahole Bed--Pink Coral             148
                                 Keahole Bed--Bamboo                  37
                                  Coral.
                                 Precious Corals in the            2,205
                                  Hawaii Exploratory
                                  Area.
Coral Reef Ecosystem...........  Selar crumenophthalmus--        651,292
                                  akule or bigeye scad.
                                 Decapterus macarellus--         393,563
                                  opelu or mackerel scad.
                                 Carangidae--jacks......         193,423
                                 Mullidae--goatfish.....         125,813
                                 Acanthuridae--surgeonfi          80,545
                                  sh.
                                 Lutjanidae--snappers...          65,102
                                 Holocentridae--squirrel          44,122
                                  fish.
                                 Mugilidae--mullets.....          41,112
                                 Mollusks--turbo snails;          28,765
                                  octopus.
                                 Scaridae--parrotfish...          33,326
                                 Crustaceans--crabs.....          20,686
                                 Carcharhinidae--Reef            111,566
                                  Sharks.
                                 All Other CREMUS                142,282
                                  combined.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Accountability Measures

    NMFS and the Council, relying on information from local resource 
management agencies in American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI, and Hawaii, will 
conduct a post-season accounting of the annual catch for each stock and 
stock complex immediately after the end of the fishing year. If an ACL 
is exceeded, the Council will take action in accordance with 50 CFR 
600.310(g), which may include a recommendation that NMFS reduce the ACL 
for the subsequent fishing year by the amount of the overage, or other 
measure, as appropriate.
    Additional background information on this action is found in the 
preamble to the proposed specifications, and is not repeated here.

Comments and Responses

    On December 20, 2013, NMFS published a request for public comments 
(78 FR 77089) on proposed specifications that are finalized here. The 
public comment period ended on January 6, 2014. NMFS received no public 
comments.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, NMFS PIR, determined that this action 
is necessary for the conservation and management of Pacific Island 
fishery resources, and that it is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other applicable laws.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration during the proposed specification stage that this action 
would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published 
in the proposed specifications and is not repeated here. NMFS received 
no comments regarding this certification; as a result, a regulatory 
flexibility analysis was not required, and none was prepared.
    This action is exempt from review under E.O. 12866.

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

    Dated: January 22, 2014.
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. 2014-01508 Filed 1-24-14; 8:45 am]
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