National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; reduction of possession limit.
Federal Illex squid vessel permit holders are prohibited from fishing for, catching, possessing, transferring or landing more than 10,000 lb (4,535 kg) of Illex squid per trip, and from landing Illex squid more than once per calendar day. This prohibition is required when NMFS projects that 95 percent of the 2020 annual catch limit will have been caught by the effective date. This action is intended to prevent over-harvest of Illex squid for the fishing year.
Effective 0001 hr local time, August 31, 2020, through December 31, 2020.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Alyson Pitts, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281-9352.
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Regulations for the Illex squid fishery are at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations at § 648.24(a)(2) require that when the Regional Administrator projects that Illex squid catch will reach 95 percent of the domestic annual harvest (DAH) quota, NMFS must prohibit Federal Illex squid vessel permit holders from directed fishing. Vessels may not catch, possess, transfer, or land more than 10,000 lb (4,535 kg) of Illex squid per trip, or land Illex squid more than once per calendar day. The Regional Administrator monitors the Illex squid fishery catch based on dealer reports, state data, and other available information. When 95 percent of the DAH has been reached, NMFS must provide at least 72 hours of notice to the public that it made this determination. NMFS must also publish the date that the catch is projected to reach 95 percent of the quota, and the date when prohibitions on catch and landings for the remainder of the fishing year become effective.
The Regional Administrator has determined, based on dealer reports and other available information, that the Illex squid fleet will catch 95 percent of the total Illex squid DAH quota for the 2020 season through December 31, 2020, by August 31, 2020. Therefore, effective 0001 August 31, 2020, federally permitted vessels may not fish for, catch, possess, transfer, or land more than 10,000 lb (4,535 kg) of Illex squid, and may not land Illex squid more than once per calendar day. Vessels that have entered port before 0001 hr on August 31, 2020, may offload and sell more than 10,000 lb (4,535 kg) of Illex squid from that trip. Also, federally permitted dealers may not receive Illex squid from federally permitted Illex squid vessels that harvest more than 10,000 lb (4,535 kg) of Illex squid through 2400 hr, December 31, 2020, unless it is from a trip landed by a vessel that entered port before 0001 hr on August 31, 2020.
NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This action is required by 50 CFR part 648, which was issued pursuant to section 304(b), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
NMFS 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 delayed effectiveness because it would be contrary to the public interest and impracticable. Data and other information indicating the Illex squid fleet will have landed at least 95 percent of the 2019 DAH quota have only recently become available. Landings data are updated on a weekly basis, and NMFS monitors catch data on a daily basis as catch increases toward the limit. Further, high-volume catch and landings in this fishery increases total catch relative to the quota quickly. The regulations at § 648.24(a)(2) require such action to ensure that Illex squid vessels do not exceed the 2020 DAH quota. If implementation of this action is delayed, the quota for the 2020 fishing year may be exceeded, thereby undermining the conservation objectives of the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan. Also, the public had prior notice and full opportunity to comment on this process when the provisions regarding closures and the 2020 quota levels were put in place.
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Dated: August 28, 2020.
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-19372 Filed 8-28-20; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P