[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 53 (Wednesday, March 19, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 15253-15254]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-06063]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 130919816-4205-02]
RIN 0648-BD70


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring 
Fishery; Adjustments to 2014 Annual Catch Limits

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This action adjusts 2014 annual catch limits (ACLs) for the 
Atlantic herring (herring) fishery to account for catch overages and 
underharvest in 2012. NMFS is decreasing three of the four ACLs and 
increasing one ACL. This results in a reduction to the overall catch 
available to the herring fleet.

DATES: Effective March 19, 2014, through December 31, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents, 2013-2015 Specifications/
Framework 2 and Amendment 4 to the Herring Fishery Management Plan 
(FMP), are available from: Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New 
England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, 
Newburyport, MA 01950, telephone (978) 465-0492. These documents are 
also accessible via the Internet at http://www.nero.nmfs.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Travis Ford, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
978-281-9233.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The herring harvest in the United States is managed under the 
Herring FMP developed by the New England Fishery Management Council 
(Council), and implemented by NMFS. The Herring FMP divides the stock-
wide herring ACL among three management areas, one of which has two 
sub-areas. It divides Area 1 (located in the Gulf of Maine (GOM)) into 
an inshore section (Area 1A) and an offshore section (Area 1B). Area 2 
is located in the coastal waters between Massachusetts and North 
Carolina, and Area 3 is on Georges Bank (GB). The Herring FMP considers 
the herring stock complex to be a single stock, but there are inshore 
(GOM) and offshore (GB) stock components. The GOM and GB stock 
components segregate during spawning and mix during feeding and 
migration. Each management area has its own sub-ACL to allow greater 
control of the fishing mortality on each stock component.
    Amendment 4 to the Herring FMP (76 FR 11373, March 2, 2011) revised 
the Herring FMP to address ACL and accountability measure (AM) 
requirements. As a way to account for ACL overages in the herring 
fishery, Amendment 4 established an AM that provided for overage 
deductions in the year immediately following the catch overage 
determination. If the catch of herring exceeds any ACL or sub-ACL, NMFS 
will subsequently deduct the overage from the corresponding ACL/sub-ACL 
in the year following the catch overage determination. Amendment 4 also 
specified that NMFS will announce overage deductions in the Federal 
Register prior to the start of the fishing year, if possible.
    We published a final rule for Framework 2 and the 2013-15 
specifications on October 4, 2013 (78 FR 61828). Among other measures, 
Framework 2 allows for the carryover of unharvested catch in the year 
immediately following the catch determination. Up to 10 percent of each 
sub-ACL may be carried over, provided catch did not exceed the stock-
wide ACL. The carryover provision allows a sub-ACL increase for a 
management area, but it does not allow a corresponding increase to the 
stock-wide ACL. The management area sub-ACLs established in the 
specifications for 2014 are: 31,200 mt for Area 1A, 4,600 mt for Area 
1B, 30,000 mt for Area 2, and 42,000 mt for Area 3 (Table 1).

Final Adjustment to the 2014 Annual Catch Limits

    In accordance with regulations at Sec.  648.201(a)(3), this action 
adjusts 2014 sub-ACLs for the herring fishery to account for catch 
overages and underharvest in 2012. We completed the 2012 catch 
determination in August 2013, so we will apply the adjustments for any 
overharvests or carryover in 2012 to the 2014 sub-ACLs. In 2012, the 
herring fleet underharvested the stockwide ACL of 90,683 mt by 122 mt. 
However, the fleet overharvested the sub-ACLs in herring management 
Areas 1B (overage of 1,584 mt); 2 (overage of 336 mt); and 3 (overage 
of 1,325 mt). In 2014, after deducting each 2012 overage, the sub-ACL 
for Area 1B will be 3,016 mt (4,600 mt reduced by 1,584 mt); the sub-
ACL for Area 2 will be 29,664 mt (30,000 mt reduced by 336); and the 
sub-ACL for Area 3 will be 40,675 mt (42,000 mt reduced by 1,325 mt) 
(Table 1).
    The herring fleet underharvested the sub-ACL from Area 1A by 3,366 
mt (approximately 12 percent of the 2012 Area 1A sub-ACL of 27,668 mt). 
Since the fleet did not exceed the stock-wide ACL in 2012, we will 
carry over 10 percent of the 2012 Area 1A sub-ACL to the 2014 Area 1A 
sub-ACL. After adding the carryover from the 2012 sub-ACL, 2014 Area 1A 
sub-ACL will be 33,967 mt (increased by 2,767 mt, equal to 10 percent 
of the 2012 Area 1A sub-ACL of 27,668 mt) (Table 1).

[[Page 15254]]



        Table 1--Herring Management Area 2014 Herring Quotas (mt)
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                Area                        2014         2014 adjustment
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Area 1A.............................            31,200            33,967
Area 1B.............................             4,600             3,016
Area 2..............................            30,000            29,664
Area 3..............................            42,000            40,675
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After deducting the overages and adding the carryover amount to the 
sub-ACLs, the total catch available to the herring fleet is reduced by 
477 mt. The summary of the proposed rule incorrectly stated it was 
increased. The background section clearly noted, however, the overall 
catch may not increase as a result of carryover. The methods for 
determining the final 2012 catch rates and subsequent 2014 adjustments 
were discussed in detail in the proposed rule and are not repeated here 
(78 FR 70009, November 22, 2013).

Comments and Responses

    NMFS received no comments on this action.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    There are no changes from the proposed rule.

Classification

    The Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS, determined that this 
final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the 
herring fishery and that it is consistent with the MSA and other 
applicable law.
    The National Environmental Policy Act analyses to support this 
action were completed in Amendment 4 (76 FR 11373, March 2, 2011) and 
2013-2015 Specifications/Framework 2 (78 FR 46897, August 2, 2013).
    There is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day 
delay in effectiveness for this rule and establish the date of 
publication in the Federal Register as the effective date for this 
action because delaying the effectiveness of the rule is contrary to 
the public interest and impracticable. The 2014 herring fishing year 
began on January 1, 2014. To prevent confusion and potential 
overharvests, it is in the best interest of the fleet and the herring 
resource to have the proper sub-ACLs in place immediately. Accordingly, 
any delay in the rule's effectiveness would undermine the conservation 
objectives of the MSA and the Herring FMP, which would be contrary to 
the public interest.
    This final 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 Council for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) at the proposed rule stage that this rule, if 
adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. No comments were received on this 
certification, and no other information has been received that would 
change the determination. As a result, a Final Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis is not required, and none was prepared.

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

    Dated: March 13, 2014.
Eileen Sobeck,
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-06063 Filed 3-18-14; 8:45 am]
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