[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 101 (Tuesday, May 27, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 30064-30065]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-11896]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

RIN 0648-BA17


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Environmental Assessment for 
Amendment 6 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species 
Fishery Management Plan

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

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Assessment.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces its intent to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment (EA) for Amendment 6 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic 
Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) instead of 
an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), as previously announced 
through publication of a Notice of Intent published on September 16, 
2011. NMFS intends to prepare the EA as required by the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to assess the potential effects on the 
human environment of proposed alternatives and actions in Amendment 6 
to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP. The EA will analyze potential 
environmental impacts of various proposed alternatives related to the 
Atlantic commercial shark fisheries consistent with the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) 
and other relevant Federal Laws.

DATES: NMFS tentatively expects to release the EA for Amendment 6 to 
the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP in September 2014.

ADDRESSES: Members of the public requesting background material on 
Amendment 6 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP should contact LeAnn Hogan 
by phone or by mail at 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: LeAnn Hogan by phone: (301) 427-8503, 
or by fax: (727) 824-5398.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic shark fisheries are managed 
under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The 2006 Consolidated 
HMS FMP is implemented by regulations at 50 CFR part 635. The NOI 
published on September 16, 2011 (76 FR 57709) that announced NMFS' 
intent to consider catch shares for the Atlantic shark fisheries and 
established a control date for eligibility to participate in any 
potential catch share program. While NMFS received a variety of 
comments on the 2011 NOI, many of the commenters opposed the idea of 
catch shares for the Atlantic shark fisheries. These NOI comments, 
along with recent shark fishery trends and management changes, have led 
NMFS to re-consider whether catch shares are the best management tool 
for the Atlantic shark fisheries at this time. Catch shares remain a 
potential future management tool that could address some of the issues 
in the Atlantic shark fisheries. At this time, short-term management 
measures may better address the current issues facing these fisheries, 
while potentially economically benefitting the Atlantic shark 
fisheries. NMFS therefore intends to move forward with a proposal for 
short-term management measures for the Atlantic shark fisheries that 
will achieve the goals and objectives of increasing management 
flexibility to achieve optimum yield while rebuilding overfished stocks 
and

[[Page 30065]]

ending overfishing. As required under NEPA, NMFS will analyze potential 
environmental impacts of various alternatives regarding proposed 
changes to regional sub-quotas and permit structures for the commercial 
shark fisheries in U.S. waters of the Atlantic Ocean. NMFS anticipates 
that the proposed actions would have a low level of potential 
environmental impact due to the fact that the purpose of Amendment 6 is 
to propose management measures that have the flexibility to maximize 
the sustainable yield of the Atlantic shark fisheries, while staying 
within the acceptable biological catch levels of the various shark 
management groups in order to achieve optimum yield, rebuild overfished 
stocks, and end overfishing, as appropriate. Additionally, any 
potential impacts to protected species would be expected to be minimal. 
Thus, after consideration of substantive comments received on the 2011 
NOI and a preliminary assessment of potential environmental impacts 
associated with management measures other than a catch share program, 
NMFS has determined that that an EA will provide an appropriate level 
of NEPA review to assess the potential effects on the human environment 
of proposed alternatives and actions under Amendment 6 to the 2006 
Consolidated HMS FMP and that preparation of an EIS is not necessary.

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

    Dated: May 16, 2014.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-11896 Filed 5-23-14; 8:45 am]
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