Skip to Content

Rule

Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Possession and Trip Limit Increases for the Common Pool Fishery

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Document Statistics
Document page views are updated periodically throughout the day and are cumulative counts for this document including its time on Public Inspection. Counts are subject to sampling, reprocessing and revision (up or down) throughout the day.
Published Document

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

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; inseason adjustment.

SUMMARY:

This action increases the possession and trip limits of Georges Bank cod, Gulf of Maine cod, Gulf of Maine haddock, Cape Cod/Gulf of Maine yellowtail flounder, American plaice, and witch flounder for Northeast multispecies common pool vessels for the remainder of the 2019 fishing year. This action will provide the common pool fishery greater opportunity to harvest, but not exceed, the annual quotas for these stocks.

DATES:

These possession and trip limit adjustments are effective March 23, 2020, through April 30, 2020.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Spencer Talmage, Fishery Management Specialist, 978-281-9232.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The regulations at § 648.86(o) authorize the Regional Administrator to adjust the possession and trip limits for common pool vessels in order to help avoid overharvest or underharvest of the common pool quotas.

Based on most recent catch information, the common pool fishery has caught low amounts of the following species relative to the annual quotas for each of these stocks (Table 1): Georges Bank (GB) cod, Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod, GOM haddock, Cape Cod (CC)/GOM yellowtail flounder, American plaice, and witch flounder. At the current rate of fishing, we project that the common pool fishery will not fully harvest the annual quotas for these stocks by the end of the 2019 fishing year. Providing vessels an opportunity to possess and land greater amounts of catch should provide greater incentive to fish and more opportunity to catch available quota. Based on our review of past fishing effort, we project that increases in the possession and trip limit for these stocks should provide additional fishing opportunities and flexibility to catch available quota while ensuring that the common pool does not exceed its annual quotas.

Table 1—Summary of Common Pool Catch

StockFY 2019 catch (mt)Sub-ACL (mt)Percent caught
GB cod1.453.82.5
GOM cod4.710.943.1
GOM haddock6.996.17.1
CC/GOM yellowtail flounder4.521.421
American plaice3.831.412.2
Witch flounder2.623.111.2

Effective March 23, 2020, until April 30, 2020, NMFS increases the possession and trip limits summarized in Tables 2 and 3.

Table 2—Previous Possession and Trip Limits

StockA days-at-seaHandgear AHandgear BSmall vessel category
GB cod250 lb (113.4 kg) per DAS, up to 500 lb (226.8 kg) per trip250 lb (113.4 kg) per trip25 lb (11.3 kg) per trip250 lb (113.4 kg) per trip.
GOM cod50 lb (22.7 kg) per DAS, up to 100 lb (45.4 kg) per trip50 lb (22.7 kg) per trip25 lb (11.3 kg) per trip50 lb (22.7 kg) per trip.
Start Printed Page 16571
GOM haddock500 lb (226.8 kg) per DAS, up to 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) per trip500 lb (226.8 kg) per trip.
CC/GOM yellowtail flounder750 lb (340.2 kg) per DAS, up to 1,500 lb (680.4 kg) per trip750 lb (340.2 kg) per trip.
American plaice750 lb (340.2 kg) per DAS, up to 1,500 lb (680.4 kg) per trip750 lb (340.2 kg) per trip.
Witch flounder600 lb (272.2 kg) per trip.
Note: The Small Vessel Category trip limit of 300 lb (136 kg) of cod, yellowtail flounder, and haddock combined remains in place.

Table 3—New Possession and Trip Limits

StockA days-at-seaHandgear AHandgear BSmall vessel category
GB cod500 lb (226.8 kg) per DAS, up to 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) per trip500 lb (226.8 kg) per trip25 lb (11.3 kg) per trip300 lb (136.1 kg) per trip.
GOM cod100 lb (45.4 kg) per DAS, up to 200 lb (90.7 kg) per trip100 lb (45.4 kg) per trip25 lb (11.3 kg) per trip100 lb (45.4 kg) per trip.
GOM haddock1,500 lb (680.4 kg) per DAS, up to 3,000 lb (1,360.8 kg) per trip1,500 lb (680.4 kg) per trip300 lb (136.1 kg) per trip.
CC/GOM yellowtail flounder1,000 lb (453.6 kg) per DAS, up to 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) per trip1,000 lb (453.6 kg) per trip300 lb (136.1 kg) per trip.
American plaice1,500 lb (680.4 kg) per DAS, up to 3,000 lb (1,360.8 kg) per trip1,500 lb (680.4 kg) per trip.
Witch flounder1,200 lb (544.3 kg) per trip.

Weekly quota monitoring reports for the common pool fishery can be found on our website at: https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/​ro/​fso/​reports/​h/​nemultispecies.html. 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 this action relieves possession and landing restrictions, and delayed implementation would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest.

The regulations at § 648.86(o) authorize the Regional Administrator to adjust the possession and trip limits for common pool vessels in order to help avoid overharvest or underharvest of the common pool quotas. The available analysis indicates that the increased possession and trip limit adjustments for these stocks should help the fishery achieve the optimum yields (OY) for each stock. Any delay in this action would limit the benefits to common pool vessels that the increased landing and possession limits are intended to provide.

The time necessary to provide for prior notice and comment, and a 30-day delay in effectiveness, would keep NMFS from implementing the necessary possession and trip limit before the end of the fishing year on April 30, 2020, which could prevent the fishery from achieving OY and cause negative economic impacts to the common pool fishery. This would undermine management objectives of the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan and cause unnecessary negative economic impacts to the common pool fishery. The public received prior notice and an opportunity to comment on the Regional Administrator's exercise of this authority. The fishing industry participants have experienced these adjustments and have become accustomed to this process. There is additional good cause to waive the delayed effective period because this action relieves restrictions on fishing vessels by increasing a trip limit.

Start Authority

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

End Authority Start Signature

Dated: March 19, 2020.

Hélène M.N. Scalliet,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2020-06183 Filed 3-23-20; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-P