[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 40 (Friday, February 28, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11343-11344]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-04376]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 130822744-4144-02]
RIN 0648-BD63


Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species 
Fisheries; Change to Start of Pacific Sardine Fishing Year

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: NMFS issues this final rule to change the starting date of the 
annual Pacific sardine fishery from January 1 to July 1. This changes 
the annual fishing season from one based on the calendar year to one 
based on a July 1 through the following June 30th schedule. No other 
changes to the annual allocation structure are being made and the 
existing seasonal allocation percentages will remain as specified in 
the FMP, as would the current quota roll-over provisions. This rule 
also establishes a one-time interim harvest allocation period from 
January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014 to allow for continued fishing 
during the transition from a January to July start of the fishing 
season. The purpose of this final rule is to better align the timing of 
the research and science that is used in the annual stock assessments 
with the annual management schedule. To enable this transition in 
fishing years, this action also establishes a one-time interim harvest 
period for the 6 months from January 1, 2014, through June 30, 2014.

DATES: Effective March 31, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joshua Lindsay, West Coast Region, 
NMFS, (562) 980-4034.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This final rule changes the start date of 
the 12-month Pacific sardine fishery from January 1 to July 1, thus 
changing the fishing season for Pacific sardine from one based on the 
calendar year to one beginning on July 1 and continuing through June 
30th of the following year. The purpose of this change is to better 
align the timing of the research and science used in the annual stock 
assessments with the annual management schedule, as the present 
schedule imposes substantial challenges in terms of survey data 
availability relative to the timing of stock assessments.

[[Page 11344]]

    Because the 2013 fishing season ended on December 31, 2013, this 
rule also establishes a one-time interim harvest allocation period from 
January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014 to allow for continued fishing 
during the transition from a January to July start of the fishing 
season. At the November 2013 Pacific Fishery Management Council 
(Council) meeting, the Council took action on setting the quota for the 
January 2014 through June 2014 period. The harvest specifications for 
this interim allocation period are being implemented through a separate 
rulemaking action, for which a proposed rule published on February 4, 
2014. (79 FR 6527) Although the interim harvest specifications will 
include an Overfishing Limit (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) 
and Annual Catch Limit (ACL) for calendar year 2014, those 
specifications are expected to be replaced based on the new stock 
assessment and Council action in April 2014.
    On December 23, 2013, a proposed rule was published for this action 
and public comments solicited (78 FR 77413). NMFS received no comments 
on the proposed rule. For further background about this rule, please 
refer to the proposed rule.
Classification
    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act, the Assistant Administrator, NMFS, has 
determined that this final rule is consistent with the CPS FMP, other 
provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management 
Act, and other applicable laws.
    This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of 
Executive Order 12866.
    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 rule 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 rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received 
regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility 
analysis was not required and none was prepared.
    This action does not contain a collection-of-information 
requirement for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Indians.

    Dated: February 21, 2014.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 
660 as follows:

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows:

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


0
2. In Sec.  660.510, paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  660.510  Fishing seasons.

* * * * *
    (a) Pacific sardine. July 1 to June 30, or until closed under Sec.  
660.509.
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  660.511, paragraphs (f) through (h) are revised to read as 
follows:


Sec.  660.511  Catch restrictions.

* * * * *
    (f) On July 1, 40 percent of the initial harvest guideline for 
Pacific sardine is allocated coastwide within the fishery management 
area.
    (g) On September 15, 25 percent of the initial harvest guideline 
for Pacific sardine plus the remaining unharvested portion of the July 
1 allocation in paragraph (f) of this section is allocated coastwide 
within the fishery management area.
    (h) On January 1, 35 percent of the initial harvest guideline for 
Pacific sardine plus the remaining unharvested portion of the September 
15 allocation is allocated coastwide within the fishery management 
area.

[FR Doc. 2014-04376 Filed 2-27-14; 8:45 am]
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