[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 248 (Thursday, December 26, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 78322-78324]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-30643]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

RIN 0648-BC09

Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; 2006 Consolidated Highly 
Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan; Amendment 7

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

ACTION: Notice of additional public hearing conference call and 


SUMMARY: On August 22, 2013, NMFS published a notice of public hearings 
for Draft Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species 
(HMS) Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP), which 
included 10 public hearings. Due to the government shut down and NMFS' 
inability to respond to constituents on this complex rule during that 
time frame and based on the comments received to date requesting an 
extension due to the complexity and interplay of the measures covered 
in the DEIS, NMFS extended the comment period for this action until 
January 10, 2014. To provide an additional opportunity for interested 
members of the public from all geographic areas to submit verbal 
comments, NMFS will host a public hearing conference call and webinar. 
In this notice, NMFS announces the date, time, and call-in information 
for the conference call and webinar for management measures proposed in 
Draft Amendment 7. On August 21, 2013, NMFS published the proposed rule 
for Draft Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS Fishery Management 
Plan to control bluefin incidental catch

[[Page 78323]]

(landings and dead discards) in the pelagic longline fishery, enhance 
reporting in all categories, and ensure U.S. compliance with the ICCAT-
recommended quota.

DATES: An operator-assisted, public conference call and webinar will be 
held on January 8, 2014, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., EST. Written 
comments will be accepted until January 10, 2014.

ADDRESSES: The conference call information is phone number 800-619-
7481; participant pass code 5246202. Participants are strongly 
encouraged to log/dial in fifteen minutes prior to the meeting. NMFS 
will show a brief presentation via webinar followed by public comment. 
RSVP at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/470946448. A confirmation 
email with webinar log-in information will be sent after your RSVP has 
been registered.
    You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by ``NOAA-
NMFS-2013-0101,'' 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-2013-101, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments. Do not submit electronic comments to individual 
NMFS staff.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Thomas Warren, Highly 
Migratory Species Management Division, NMFS, 55 Great Republic Drive, 
Gloucester, MA 01930. Please mark the outside of the envelope 
``Comments on Amendment 7 to the HMS FMP.''
     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 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). You may submit attachments to 
electronic comments in Microsoft Word or Excel, or Adobe PDF file 
formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Warren or Brad McHale at 978-
281-9260; Craig Cockrell or Jennifer Cudney at 301-427-8503.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The North Atlantic tuna fisheries 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, NMFS must 
manage fisheries to maintain optimum yield on a continuing basis while 
preventing overfishing. ATCA authorizes the Secretary of Commerce 
(Secretary) to promulgate regulations as may be necessary and 
appropriate to carry out recommendations of 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, NMFS. Management of these species is described in the 
2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, which is implemented by regulations at 50 
CFR part 635. Copies of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and previous 
amendments are available from NMFS on request (see FOR FURTHER 
    On August 21, 2013 (78 FR 52032), NMFS published proposed 
regulations to implement Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMSFMP to 
control bluefin landings and dead discards in the pelagic longline 
fishery, enhance reporting in all categories, and ensure U.S. 
compliance with the ICCAT-recommended quota. As described in the 
proposed rule, the proposed management measures include: (1) Allocation 
measures that would make modifications to how the U.S. bluefin quota is 
allocated among the quota categories; (2) Area based measures that 
would implement restrictions on the use of pelagic longline gear in 
various time and area combinations, modify gear restrictions, or 
provide conditional access to current pelagic longline closed areas; 
(3) Bluefin quota controls that would strictly limit the total catch 
(landings and dead discards) of bluefin in the Longline category using 
different strategies; (4) Enhanced reporting measures that would 
implement a variety of new bluefin reporting requirements; and (5) 
Other measures that would make modifications to the rules that control 
how the various quota categories utilize quota, and implement a 
northern albacore tuna quota. Although the Amendment 7 proposed rule 
set the end of the comment period to October 23, 2013, NMFS 
subsequently extended the end of the comment period December 10, 2013 
(78 FR 57340; September 18, 2013) and then again to January 10, 2014 
(78 FR 75327; December 11, 2013), in order to provide additional time 
for the public to consider the proposed rule, given its length and 

Status of Public Hearings and Request for Comments

    Ten public hearings have been held to date: San Antonio, TX; 
Gloucester, MA; Manteo, NC; Charleston, SC; Belle Chasse, LA; Portland, 
ME; Panama City, FL; Fort Pierce, FL; St. Petersburg, FL; and Toms 
River, NJ. NMFS also conducted consultations with the New England 
Fishery Management Council, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management 
Council, and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

Additional Public Hearing Conference Call and Webinar

    The additional public hearing conference call and webinar will be 
held on January 8, 2014, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST. NMFS is 
holding this call to allow for an additional opportunity for interested 
members of the public from all geographic areas to submit verbal 
comments on the Amendment 7 proposed rule.

Public Hearing Code of Conduct

    The public is reminded that NMFS expects participants at public 
hearings, council meetings, and phone conferences to conduct themselves 
appropriately. At the beginning of each meeting, a representative of 
NMFS will explain the ground rules (e.g., all comments are to be 
directed to the agency on the proposed action; attendees will be called 
to give their comments in the order in which they registered to speak; 
each attendee will have an equal amount of time to speak; attendees may 
not interrupt one another; etc.). NMFS representative(s) will structure 
the meeting so that all attending members of the public will be able to 
comment, if they so choose, regardless of the controversial nature of 
the subject(s). Attendees are expected to respect the ground rules, and 
those that do not may be asked to leave the meeting.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

[[Page 78324]]

    Dated: December 19, 2013.
Sean F. Corson,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-30643 Filed 12-24-13; 8:45 am]