[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 58 (Wednesday, March 26, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 16752-16753]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-06480]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

RIN 0648-BC77


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Spiny Dogfish 
Fishery; Amendment 3 to the Spiny Dogfish Fishery Management Plan

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and

[[Page 16753]]

Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability of a fishery management plan amendment; 
request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces that the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery 
Management Councils have submitted Amendment 3 to the Spiny Dogfish 
Fishery Management Plan for review by the Secretary of Commerce. NMFS 
is requesting comments from the public on the Amendment, which was 
developed by the Councils to improve the efficiency of the spiny 
dogfish fishery. Amendment 3 would implement a research set-aside 
program, update essential fish habitat definitions for spiny dogfish, 
allow carryover of management measures from one year to the next, and 
remove the seasonal allocation of the commercial quota.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 27, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the amendment, including the Environmental 
Assessment and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/IRFA) and 
other supporting documents for the action are available from Dr. 
Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery 
Management Council, Suite 201, 800 N. State Street, Dover, DE 19901. 
The amendment is also accessible via the Internet at: http://www.nero.noaa.gov.
    You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2014-0036, by any 
one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0036, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 
Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the 
envelope ``Comments on Spiny Dogfish Amendment 3.''
    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 will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address) 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). Attachments to electronic comments will be 
accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF formats 
only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tobey Curtis, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
(978) 281-9273.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The Atlantic spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) fishery is jointly 
managed by the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils 
(Councils). The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission 
(Commission) also manages the spiny dogfish fishery in state waters 
from Maine to North Carolina through an interstate fishery management 
plan (FMP). The Federal Spiny Dogfish FMP was implemented in 2000, when 
spiny dogfish were determined to be overfished. The spiny dogfish stock 
was declared to be successfully rebuilt in 2010, and it continues to be 
above its target biomass.
    The regulations implementing the FMP at 50 CFR part 648, subpart L, 
outline the management procedures and measures for the spiny dogfish 
fishery. The Councils have developed and submitted Amendment 3, which 
is intended to update the FMP and improve management of the spiny 
dogfish fishery. Specifically, the Councils have recommended: (1) 
Adding an option for allocation of a small percentage (up to 3 percent) 
of the commercial quota for use in the Research Set-Aside (RSA) 
Program; (2) updating the definitions of essential fish habitat (EFH) 
for all life stages of spiny dogfish; (3) maintaining existing annual 
management measures until replaced via rulemaking (e.g., quota 
rollover); and (4) eliminating the seasonal allocation of the 
commercial quota in order to minimize conflicts with spiny dogfish 
fishing operations that occur in both state and Federal waters.
    This last action would improve alignment with the Commission's 
Interstate FMP for spiny dogfish. The Commission's FMP allocates the 
commercial quota by state/region, in contrast to the Federal FMP, which 
currently allocates the commercial quota to two semi-annual seasons. 
These different management approaches have occasionally resulted in 
misaligned in-season fishery closures between Federal and state waters, 
and confusion within the industry regarding where they can fish. This 
amendment is expected to help alleviate these issues by removing the 
Federal FMP's quota allocation scheme.
    Public comments are solicited on Amendment 3 and its incorporated 
documents through the end of the comment period (see DATES). A proposed 
rule that would implement Amendment 3 will be published in the Federal 
Register for public comment. Public comments on the proposed rule must 
be received by the end of the comment period provided in this notice of 
availability of Amendment 3 to be considered in the approval/
disapproval decision on the amendment. All comments received by May 27, 
2014, whether specifically directed to Amendment 3 or the proposed rule 
for Amendment 3, will be considered in the approval/disapproval 
decision on Amendment 3. Comments received after that date will not be 
considered in the decision to approve or disapprove Amendment 3. To be 
considered, comments must be received by close of business on the last 
day of the comment period.

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

    Dated: March 19, 2014.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-06480 Filed 3-25-14; 8:45 am]
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