[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 53 (Tuesday, March 21, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 14478-14479]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-05550]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 151211999-6343-02]
RIN 0648-XF256


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery; Trip Limit Increase for the Common Pool Fishery

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason adjustment.

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SUMMARY: This action increases the possession and trip limit for Gulf 
of Maine cod and haddock for Northeast multispecies common pool vessels 
for the remainder of the 2016 fishing year. The most recent catch data 
indicate that the common pool is not expected to fully harvest its 
annual quota for these stocks at the current trip limits. Increasing 
the possession and trip limits is intended to provide the common pool 
fishery with additional fishing opportunities through the end of the 
fishing year.

DATES: The possession and trip limit increase is effective March 16, 
2017, through April 30, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Spencer Talmage, Fishery Management 
Specialist, 978-281-9232.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The regulations at Sec.  648.86(o) authorize 
the Regional Administrator to adjust the possession and trip limits for 
common pool vessels in order to help prevent the overharvest or 
underharvest of the common pool quotas.
    Based on information reported through February 18, 2017, the common 
pool fishery has caught approximately 42 and 25 percent of its annual 
quotas for Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod and GOM haddock, respectively. At 
the current rate of fishing, the common pool fishery is not projected 
to fully harvest its annual quota for either stock by the end of the 
2016 fishing year. A moderate increase in the possession and trip 
limits for both stocks will provide additional opportunities with 
little risk of exceeding the common pool sub-ACL of either stock.
    To allow the common pool fishery to catch more of its quota for 
this GOM cod and haddock, effective March 16, 2017, the possession and 
trip limit of GOM cod and GOM haddock are increased, as summarized in 
Table 1 below. Common pool groundfish vessels that have declared their 
trip through the vessel monitoring system (VMS) or interactive voice 
response system, and crossed the VMS demarcation line prior to March 
16, 2017, may land at the new possession and trip limits for that trip.

                   Table 1--New Possession/Trip Limits
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                                            Current
        Stock            Permit type    possession/trip  New possession/
                                             limits        trip limits
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GOM cod..............  Day-At-Sea       25 lb (11.34     100 lb (45.36
                        (DAS).           kg) per DAS,     kg) per trip.
                                         up to 100 lb
                                         (45.36 kg) per
                                         trip.
                       Handgear A.....  25 lb (11.34     100 lb (45.36
                                         kg) per trip.    kg) per trip.
                       Handgear B.....  25 lb (11.34     unchanged.
                                         kg) per trip.
                       Small Vessel     25 lb (11.34     unchanged.
                        Category.        kg) per trip,
                                         within
                                         combined 300
                                         lb trip limit
                                         for GOM cod,
                                         haddock, and
                                         yellowtail
                                         flounder.
GOM haddock..........  ...............  200 lb (90.72    500 lb (226.80
                                         kg) per DAS,     kg) per DAS,
                                         up to 600 lb     up to 1,000 lb
                                         (272.16 kg)      (453.59 kg)
                                         per trip.        per trip.
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[[Page 14479]]

    Weekly quota monitoring reports for the common pool fishery can be 
found on our Web site at: http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/ro/fso/MultiMonReports.htm. We 
will continue to monitor common pool catch through vessel trip reports, 
dealer-reported landings, VMS catch reports, and other available 
information and, if necessary, we will make additional adjustments to 
common pool management measures.

Classification

    This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause 
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive prior 
notice and the opportunity for public comment and the 30-day delayed 
effectiveness period because it would be impracticable and contrary to 
the public interest.
    The regulations at Sec.  648.86(o) authorize the Regional 
Administrator to adjust the Northeast multispecies possession and trip 
limits for common pool vessels in order to help prevent the overharvest 
or underharvest of the pertinent common pool quotas. The catch data 
used as the basis for this action only recently became available. The 
available analysis indicates that the possession and trip limit 
increase for both GOM cod and GOM haddock will help to ensure that the 
fishery may achieve the optimum yield (OY) for these stocks. As a 
result, the time necessary to provide for prior notice and comment, and 
a 30-day delay in effectiveness, would prevent NMFS from implementing 
the necessary possession and trip limit adjustment in a timely manner, 
which could prevent the fishery from achieving the OY, and cause 
negative economic impacts to the common pool fishery.

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

    Dated: March 16, 2017.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-05550 Filed 3-16-17; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P