[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 56 (Friday, March 22, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 17625-17626]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-06541]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 600 and 635

RIN 0648-BC31

Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; 2006 Consolidated Atlantic 
Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan; Amendment 8

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

ACTION: Notice of public hearings; extension of comment period.


SUMMARY: On February 22, 2013, NMFS published a proposed rule for Draft 
Amendment 8 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species 
(HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to address several new proposed 
North Atlantic swordfish commercial fishery management measures, 
including a new open access permit that would allow the retention and 
sale of swordfish caught with certain handgears. We announced the date 
and location for six public hearings and a comment period ending on 
April 23, 2013. In this notice, NMFS announces the dates and logistics 
for two additional public hearings, and an extension of the comment 
period from April 23, 2013, to May 8, 2013, to provide additional 
opportunities for the five Fishery Management Councils, the Atlantic 
and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commissions, and other interested 
parties to comment on the swordfish management measures proposed in 
Draft Amendment 8.

DATES: The deadline for comments has been extended from April 23, 2013, 
to May 8, 2013. Two additional public hearings will be held, one on 
April 10, 2013 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., and the second on April 30, 2013 
from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., via public conference call and webinar.

ADDRESSES: Addresses for the two additional public hearings are: 
Stafford Branch Library, 129 North Main Street, Manahawkin, NJ 08050 
and via public conference call and webinar. To participate in the 
conference call dial 1-800-779-0686 and enter the passcode 2132689.
    As published on February 22, 2013 (78 FR 12273), written comments 
on this action may be submitted, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2013-0026, 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-2013-0026, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to the Highly Migratory 
Species Management Division, NMFS Office of Sustainable Fisheries, 1315 
East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Please mark on the outside 
of the envelope ``Comments on Amendment 8 to the HMS FMP.''
     Fax: 301-713-1917; Attn: Jennifer Cudney.
    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 generally will 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. 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, Excel, or Adobe PDF file 
formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Pearson at 727-824-5399 or 
Jennifer Cudney at 301-427-8503.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  Atlantic tunas and swordfish are managed 
under the dual authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) and the Atlantic Tunas 
Convention Act (ATCA). Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the National 
Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) must, consistent with the National 
Standards, prevent overfishing while achieving, on

[[Page 17626]]

a continuing basis, the optimum yield (OY) from each fishery and 
rebuild overfished fisheries. Under ATCA, the Secretary of Commerce 
(Secretary) shall promulgate regulations as may be necessary and 
appropriate to carry out recommendations by the International 
Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The 
authority to issue regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and ATCA 
has been delegated from the Secretary to the Assistant Administrator 
for Fisheries, NOAA (AA). Atlantic HMS regulations are found at 50 CFR 
part 635.
    Consistent with these legal obligations and based on the rebuilt 
status of North Atlantic swordfish, the renewed interest in commercial 
handgears, and the goal to more fully utilize the U.S. ICCAT-
recommended swordfish quota allocation, NMFS proposed fishery 
management measures for Draft Amendment 8 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS 
FMP in a proposed rule published on February 22, 2013 (78 FR 12273). 
The proposed rule provides additional details.
    The preferred alternatives in Amendment 8 would establish a new 
open-access commercial swordfish vessel permit to allow for the 
retention and sale of a limited number (zero to six fish) of swordfish 
caught on rod and reel, handline, harpoon, bandit gear, or green-stick. 
HMS Charter/Headboat vessel permit holders would also be authorized to 
fish with rod and reel and handline under open-access swordfish 
commercial retention limits when they are not on a for-hire trip. In 
addition, the preferred alternatives would establish swordfish 
management regions. We have proposed an initial one-fish retention 
limit for the Florida Swordfish Management Area, a two-fish retention 
limit for the Caribbean region (to be consistent with the newly created 
HMS Commercial Caribbean Handgear Permit), and a three-fish retention 
limit for the Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions.

Dates and Locations of Public Meetings

    The two additional public meetings dates and locations are as 

 April 10, 2013, 5:00-8:00 p.m., Stafford Branch Library, 129 
North Main Street, Manahawkin, NJ 08050
 April 30, 2013, 2:30-4:30 p.m., Conference Call and Webinar, 
To participate in conference call, call: (800) 779-0686, Passcode: 

    To participate in webinar, RSVP at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/656686320.
    A confirmation email with webinar log-in information will be sent 
after RSVP is registered.

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

    Dated: March 18, 2013.
Kara Meckley,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-06541 Filed 3-21-13; 8:45 am]