[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 41 (Monday, March 3, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 11748-11749]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-04628]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

RIN 0648-BD83


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic 
Region; Amendment 20A

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

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) and South Atlantic Fishery 
Management Councils (Councils) have submitted Amendment 20A to the 
Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources 
(CMP) in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region (FMP) (Amendment 20A) 
for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 20A 
proposes actions to restrict sale of king and Spanish mackerel caught 
under the bag limit and to remove the income qualification requirement 
for king and Spanish mackerel commercial vessel permits.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before May 2, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on Amendment 20A, identified by 
``NOAA-NMFS-2013-0168'' by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0168, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Susan Gerhart, Southeast 
Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
    Instructions: 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 by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in 
Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Electronic copies of Amendment 20A, which includes an environmental 
assessment, a Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, and a regulatory 
impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web 
site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_sa/cmp/index.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Gerhart, Southeast Regional 
Office, NMFS, telephone: 727-824-5305; email: Susan.Gerhart@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires each regional 
fishery management council to submit any fishery management plan or 
amendment to NMFS for review and approval, partial approval, or 
disapproval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon 
receiving a plan or amendment, publish an announcement in the Federal 
Register notifying the public that the plan or amendment is available 
for review and comment.
    The FMP being revised by Amendment 20A was prepared by the Councils 
and implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the 
authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Actions Contained in Amendment 20A

    Currently, no Federal permits are required to sell CMP species, 
although commercial vessel permits are required to exceed the bag limit 
for king and Spanish mackerel. All fish harvested in Federal waters 
that are sold are considered commercial harvest and count towards a 
species' commercial quota, whether or not the fisherman has a Federal 
commercial permit. The Councils and NMFS are concerned that landings 
sold from recreational trips may contribute to the commercial quota and 
lead to early closures in the commercial sector. Reducing the sale of 
fish caught under the bag limit should improve the accuracy of data by 
reducing ``double counting'', i.e., harvest from a single trip that is 
counted towards both the commercial quota and recreational allocation. 
This practice occurs when the same catches are reported through 
recreational surveys and commercial trip tickets and logbooks.
    For the Gulf region, Amendment 20A would prohibit the sale of bag-
limit-caught king and Spanish mackerel except in two limited 
circumstances. First, bag-limit-caught king and Spanish mackerel could 
be sold when harvested during a for-hire trip on a vessel with both a 
Gulf Charter/Headboat Coastal Migratory Pelagic Fish Permit and either 
a King Mackerel Commercial Permit or a Spanish Mackerel Commercial 
Permit, as appropriate to the species harvested or possessed. Second, 
king and Spanish mackerel harvested during state-permitted tournaments 
may be donated to a dealer who has a state or Federal permit and then 
sold by that dealer, if the proceeds are donated to charity. Dealers 
receiving such fish must report them as tournament-caught fish. In the 
Gulf, these sales from dually-permitted vessels or tournaments would 
only occur in Florida because all other Gulf

[[Page 11749]]

states prohibit the sale of any bag-limit caught fish.
    Currently, there is no Federal dealer permit for king or Spanish 
mackerel. However, a proposed rule published on January 2, 2014 (79 FR 
81), that would implement the Generic Dealer Amendment, includes an 
action to implement a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit which would 
add king and Spanish mackerel onto the Federal dealer permit. 
Therefore, if the Generic Dealer Amendment is approved and a final rule 
is implemented, there would be a Federal dealer permit for king and 
Spanish mackerel.
    For the Atlantic region, Amendment 20A would prohibit the sale of 
bag-limit-caught king and Spanish mackerel except those harvested 
during a state-permitted tournament. As in the Gulf, king and Spanish 
mackerel harvested during state-permitted tournaments may be donated to 
a dealer with a state or Federal permit and then sold by that dealer, 
if the proceeds are donated to charity. Dealers receiving such fish 
must report them as tournament-caught fish.
    Amendment 20A would also remove the income qualification 
requirement for king and Spanish mackerel commercial vessel permits. To 
obtain or renew a king or Spanish mackerel commercial vessel permit, a 
minimum amount of the applicant's earned income must be derived from 
commercial or charter fishing. This requirement is difficult to enforce 
and has recently been removed as a requirement to obtain or renew a 
Gulf reef fish permit. No other Federal permit in the Southeast Region 
has an income qualification requirement except the Federal commercial 
spiny lobster permit, which mirrors requirements by Florida. This 
action would not affect the number of king mackerel permits issued, 
which are limited access, but could increase the number of Spanish 
mackerel permits issued, which are open access.
    Amendment 20A also contained an action to eliminate or restrict 
latent permits; however, the Councils chose not to take action on that 
issue at this time.
    A proposed rule that would implement measures outlined in Amendment 
20A has been drafted. In accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS 
is evaluating the proposed rule to determine whether it is consistent 
with the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. If 
that determination is affirmative, NMFS will publish the proposed rule 
in the Federal Register for public review and comment.

Consideration of Public Comments

    The Council submitted Amendment 20A for Secretarial review, 
approval, and implementation on November 26, 2013. Comments received by 
May 2, 2014, whether specifically directed to the amendment or the 
proposed rule, will be considered by NMFS in its decision to approve, 
disapprove, or partially approve the amendment. Comments received after 
that date will not be considered by NMFS in this decision. All comments 
received by NMFS on the amendment or the proposed rule during their 
respective comment periods will be addressed in the final rule.

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

    Dated: February 25, 2014.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-04628 Filed 2-28-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P