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Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

NMFS issues this final rule to implement the annual harvest guideline (HG) for Pacific sardine in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Pacific coast (California, Oregon, and Washington) for the fishing season of January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2007. This HG has been calculated according to the regulations implementing the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and establishes allowable harvest levels for Pacific sardine off the Pacific coast.

DATES:

Effective November 26, 2007 through December 31. 2007.

ADDRESSES:

Copies of the report Assessment of Pacific Sardine Stock for U.S. Management in 2007 may be obtained from the Southwest Regional Office by contacting Rodney R. McInnis, Regional Administrator, Southwest Region, NMFS, 501 West Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802-4213.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Joshua Lindsay, Southwest Region, NMFS, (562) 980-4034.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The CPS FMP, which was implemented by publication of the final rule in the Federal Register on December 15, 1999 (64 FR 69888), divides management unit species into two categories: actively managed and monitored. The HG for actively managed species (Pacific sardine and Pacific mackerel) is based on formulas applied to current biomass estimates. Biomass estimates are not calculated for species that are only monitored (jack mackerel, northern anchovy, and market squid).

During public meetings each year, the biomass for each actively managed species within the CPS FMP is presented to the Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council) CPS Management Team (Team) and the Council's CPS Advisory Subpanel (Subpanel). At that time, the biomass, the HG, and the status of the fisheries are reviewed and discussed. This information is then presented to the Council along with recommendations and comments from the Team and Subpanel. Following review by the Council and after hearing public comments, the Council makes its recommendation to NMFS.

Public meetings of the Team, Subpanel and CPS Subcommitee of the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) were held in October 2006. During these meetings the current stock assessment update for Pacific sardine, which included a preliminary biomass estimate and HG, was presented and reviewed in accordance with the procedures of the FMP. In November, the Council held a public meeting in San Diego, California (71 FR 62998) during which time the Council reviewed the current stock assessment, biomass numbers and proposed HG. Following the Team and Subpanel reports and hearing public comments, the Council adopted the Team's recommended HG for the 2007 Pacific sardine fishing season (January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007) of 152,564 metric tons (mt). Although this HG is 28 percent higher than the HG for 2006, it is over 50,000 mt greater than the largest recent harvest by U.S. west coast fisheries. The Council also adopted the Subpanel recommendation of an incidental catch allowance for Pacific sardine of up to 45 percent by weight in other CPS fisheries in the event that the coastwide harvest of Pacific sardine exceeds a seasonal allocation prior to the next scheduled reallocation.

The Pacific sardine HG is apportioned based on the following allocation scheme established by Amendment 11 (71 FR 36999) to the CPS FMP: 35 percent (53,397 mt) is allocated coastwide on January 1; 40 percent (61,025 mt), plus any portion not harvested from the initial allocation is reallocated coastwide on July 1; and on September 15 the remaining 25 percent (38,141 mt), plus any portion not harvested from earlier allocations is released.

If the total harvest guideline or these apportionment levels for Pacific sardine are reached at any time, the Pacific sardine fishery shall be closed until either it re-opens per the allocation scheme or the beginning of the next fishing season. The Regional Administrator shall publish in the Federal Register, through appropriate rulemaking procedures, the date of the closure of the directed fishery for Pacific sardine.

Classification

The Administrator, Southwest Region, NMFS, determined that this final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the CPS fishery and that it is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other applicable laws.

This final rule is exempt from OMB review under Executive Order 12866.

The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule (72 FR 35419) and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared.

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

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Dated: October 18, 2007.

Samuel D. Rauch III,

Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. E7-20927 Filed 10-24-07; 8:45 am]

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