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Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Small-Mesh Multispecies Fishery; Adjustment to the Northern Red Hake Inseason Possession Limit

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


Temporary rule; inseason adjustment.


We announce the reduction of the commercial per-trip possession limit for northern red hake for the remainder of the 2016 fishing year. This action is required to prevent the northern red hake total allowable landing limit from being exceeded. This announcement informs the public that the northern red hake possession limit is reduced.


Effective August 16, 2016, through April 30, 2017.

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Reid Lichwell, Fishery Management Specialist, 978-675-9112.

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Regulations governing the red hake fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The small-mesh multispecies fishery is managed primarily through a series of exemptions from the Northeast Multispecies Fisheries Management Plan. The regulations describing the process to adjust inseason commercial possession limits of northern red hake are described in § 648.86(d)(4) and (5). These regulations require the National Marine Fisheries Service Regional Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region, to reduce the northern red hake possession limit from 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) to 1,500 lb (680 kg) when landings have been projected to reach or exceed 45 percent of the total allowable landings (TAL). The possession limit is required to be further reduced from 1,500 lb (680 kg) to 400 lb (181 kg) if landings are projected to reach or exceed 62.5 percent of the TAL, unless such a reduction would be expected to prevent the TAL from being reached. The final rule implementing the small-mesh multispecies specifications for 2016-2017, which published in the Federal Register on June 28, 2016 (81 FR 41866), set these inseason adjustment thresholds for the 2016 fishing year. These trip limit adjustment thresholds are accountability measures put in place because the annual catch limits (ACL) for northern red hake were exceeded for the 2012 and 2013 fishing years, and the northern red hake stock was experiencing overfishing.

Inseason Action

On August 8, 2016, the northern red hake commercial possession limit was reduced from 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) to 1,500 lb (680 kg) because the overall commercial landings reached 45 percent of the TAL. Based on commercial landings data reported through July 27, 2016, the northern red hake fishery is projected to reach 65.2 percent of the TAL on August 6, 2016. Based on this projection, we are required to reduce the commercial northern red hake possession limit from 1,500 lb (680 kg) to 400 lb (181 kg) to prevent the TAL from being exceeded. On the effective date of this action, no person may possess on board or land more than 400 lb (181 kg) of northern red hake per trip for the remainder of the fishing year (i.e., through April 30, 2017).


This action is taken under 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

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Dated: August 11, 2016.

Emily H. Menashes,

Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 2016-19503 Filed 8-15-16; 8:45 am]