2013 Plan for Periodic Review of Regulations

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) periodically review existing regulations that have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, such as small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. This plan describes how NMFS will perform this review and describes the regulations that are being proposed for review during the current review-cycle.

Written comments must be received by NMFS by July 22, 2013.

 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 

 

NOAA-NMFS-2012-0160, by any of the following methods:

     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 

comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 

www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0160, click the 

``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 

attach your comments.

     Mail: Submit written comments to Wendy Morrison, National 

Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, 1315 

East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (mark outside of envelope 

``Comments on 610 review'').

     Fax: 301-713-1193; Attn: Wendy Morrison.

    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 

methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and 

considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other 

address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 

may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public 

record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 

www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 

information

 

[[Page 37187]]

 

(e.g., name, address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be 

publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information, 

or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept 

anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to 

remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted 

in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats 

only.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wendy Morrison, (301) 427-8504.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

 

Background

 

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601, requires that 

Federal agencies take into account how their regulations affect ``small 

entities,'' including small businesses, small Governmental 

jurisdictions and small organizations. For regulations proposed after 

January 1, 1981, the agency must either prepare a Regulatory 

Flexibility Analysis or certify that the regulation, if promulgated, 

will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 

small entities. Section 602 requires that NMFS issue an Agenda of 

Regulations identifying rules the Agency is developing that are likely 

to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 

entities.

    Section 610 of the RFA requires Federal agencies to review existing 

regulations. It requires that NMFS publish a plan in the Federal 

Register explaining how it will review its existing regulations which 

have or will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number 

of small entities. Regulations that become effective after January 1, 

1981, must be reviewed within 10 years of the publication date of the 

final rule. Section 610(c) requires that NMFS publish annually in the 

Federal Register a list of rules it will review during the succeeding 

12 months. The list must describe the rule, explain the need for it, 

give the legal basis for it, and invite public comment.

 

Criteria for Review of Existing Regulations

 

    The purpose of the review is to determine whether existing rules 

should be left unchanged, or whether they should be revised or 

rescinded in order to minimize significant economic impacts on a 

substantial number of small entities, consistent with the objectives of 

other applicable statutes. In deciding whether change is necessary, the 

RFA establishes five factors that NMFS will consider:

    (1) Whether the rule is still needed;

    (2) What type of complaints or comments were received concerning 

the rule from the public;

    (3) The complexity of the rule;

    (4) How much the rule overlaps, duplicates or conflicts with other 

Federal rules, and, to the extent feasible, with State and local 

governmental rules; and

    (5) How long it has been since the rule has been evaluated or how 

much the technology, economic conditions, or other factors have changed 

in the area affected by the rule.

 

Plan for Periodic Review of Rules

 

    NMFS will conduct reviews in such a way as to ensure that all rules 

for which a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis was prepared are 

reviewed within 10 years of the year in which they were originally 

issued. By December 31, 2013, NMFS will review all such rules issued 

during 2005 and 2006:

    1. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Allocating 

Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab Fishery Resources. 

RIN 0648-AS47 (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005). NMFS issued a final rule 

implementing Amendments 18 and 19 to the FMP for Bering Sea/Aleutian 

Islands King and Tanner Crabs. Amendments 18 and 19 amended the FMP to 

include the Voluntary Three-Pie Cooperative Program (hereinafter 

referred to as the Crab Rationalization Program). Congress amended the 

Magnuson-Stevens Act to require the Secretary of Commerce to approve 

and implement the Program. The action was necessary to increase 

resource conservation, improve economic efficiency, and improve safety. 

This action was intended to promote the goals and objectives of the 

Magnuson-Stevens Act, the FMP, and other applicable law.

    2. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Revisions 

to Western Alaska Community Development Quota Program. RIN 0648-AS00 

(70 FR 15010, March 24, 2005). NMFS issued a final rule to revise 

regulations governing the Western Alaska Community Development Quota 

Program. These regulatory amendments simplified the processes for 

making quota transfers, for authorizing vessels as eligible to 

participate in the Community Development Quota fisheries, and for 

obtaining approval of alternative fishing plans. This action was 

necessary to improve NMFS's ability to effectively administer the 

Community Development Quota Program. It was intended to further the 

goals and objectives of the FMP for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and 

Aleutian Islands Management Area.

    3. Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Subsistence Fishing. RIN 0648-AR88 

(70 FR 16742, April 1, 2005). NMFS issued a final rule to amend the 

subsistence fishery rules for Pacific halibut in waters off Alaska. 

This action was necessary to address subsistence halibut management 

concerns in densely populated areas. This action was intended to meet 

the conservation and management requirements of the Northern Pacific 

Halibut Act of 1982 and the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    4. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; License 

Limitation Program for the Scallop Fishery. RIN 0648-AS90 (70 FR 39664, 

July 11, 2005). NMFS issued a final rule to implement Amendment 10 to 

the FMP for the Scallop Fishery off Alaska, which modified the gear 

endorsements under the License Limitation Program for the scallop 

fishery. This action was necessary to allow increased participation by 

License Limitation Program license holders in the scallop fisheries off 

Alaska. This action was intended to promote the goals and objectives of 

the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws.

    5. Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic 

Zone Off Alaska; Individual Fishing Quota Program; Community 

Development Quota Program. RIN 0648-AT03 (70 FR 43328, July 27, 2005). 

NMFS issued a final rule to amend the Pacific halibut regulations for 

waters in and off Alaska. This action was necessary to modify the 

Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program and the Western Alaska Community 

Development Quota (CDQ) Program to allow quota share holders in 

International Pacific Halibut Commission Regulatory Area 4C to fish 

their Area 4C IFQ or CDQ in Area 4D. This action was intended to 

enhance harvesting opportunities for halibut by IFQ and CDQ fishermen 

and was necessary to promote the objectives of the Northern Pacific 

Halibut Act of 1982 with respect to the IFQ and CDQ Pacific halibut 

fisheries, consistent with the regulations and resource management 

objectives of the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the 

North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

    6. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fishing Capacity Reduction 

Program; Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs; Industry 

Fee System for Fishing Capacity Reduction Loan. RIN 0648-AS46 (70 FR 

54652, September 16, 2005). NMFS established regulations to implement 

an industry fee system for repaying a $97,399,357.11 Federal loan 

financing a fishing capacity reduction

 

[[Page 37188]]

 

program in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab 

fishery. This action was necessary for implementing the fee system.

    7. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Total 

Allowable Catch Amount for ``Other Species'' in the Groundfish 

Fisheries of the Gulf of Alaska. RIN 0648-AT92 (71 FR 12626, March 13, 

2006). NMFS issued a final rule that implements Amendment 69 to the FMP 

for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. Amendment 69 amended the manner 

in which the total allowable catch for the ``other species'' complex 

was annually determined in the Gulf of Alaska. The amendment allowed 

the total allowable catch amount for the ``other species'' complex to 

be set less than or equal to 5 percent of the sum of groundfish targets 

species in the Gulf of Alaska. This final rule also raised the maximum 

retainable amount of ``other species'' in the directed arrowtooth 

flounder fishery from 0 percent to 20 percent. This action was 

necessary to reduce the potential for overfishing those species in the 

``other species'' complex in the Gulf of Alaska and to reduce the 

amount of ``other species'' required to be discarded in the arrowtooth 

flounder fishery. This action was intended to promote the goals and 

objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the FMP, and other applicable 

laws.

    8. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish 

Retention Standard. RIN 0648-AT04 (71 FR 17362, April 6, 2006). NMFS 

issued a final rule to implement a groundfish retention standard 

program in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area for 

trawl catcher/processor vessels that are 125 ft (38.1 m) length overall 

or greater and that are not listed American Fisheries Act catcher/

processors vessels. This action was necessary to reduce bycatch and 

improve utilization of groundfish harvested by these non-American 

Fisheries Act trawl catcher/processor vessels. This action was intended 

to promote the management objectives of the Improved Retention/Improved 

Utilization program, the FMP for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and 

Aleutian Islands Management Area, and the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    9. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish 

Observer Program. RIN 0648-AS93 (71 FR 20346, April 20, 2006). NMFS 

issued a final rule to amend regulations supporting the North Pacific 

Groundfish Observer Program. This action was necessary to revise 

requirements facilitating observer data transmission, improve support 

for observers, and provide consistency with current regulations. The 

final rule promoted the goals and objectives of the FMP for Groundfish 

of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area and the FMP for 

Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.

    10. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Allocating 

Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab Fishery Resources. 

RIN 0648-AU06 (71 FR 32862, June 7, 2006). NMFS issued a final rule 

implementing Amendment 20 to the FMP for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands 

King and Tanner crabs. This action amends the Crab Rationalization 

Program to modify the allocation of harvesting shares and processing 

shares for Bering Sea Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) to allow this 

species to be managed as two separate stocks. This action was necessary 

to increase resource conservation and economic efficiency in the crab 

fisheries that were subject to the Program. This action was intended to 

promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the FMP, 

and other applicable law.

    11. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; 

Recordkeeping and Reporting; Tagged Pacific Halibut and Tagged 

Sablefish. RIN 0648-AR09 (71 FR 36489, June 27, 2006). NMFS issued a 

final rule to exclude tagged halibut and tagged sablefish catches from 

deduction from fishermen's Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) and from 

Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) accounts. This action 

was necessary to ensure that only halibut and sablefish that are tagged 

with an external research tag are excluded from IFQ deduction, and to 

extend the same exclusion to halibut and sablefish harvested under the 

CDQ Program. This action was intended to improve administration of the 

IFQ and CDQ Programs, to enhance collection of scientific data from 

external tags, and to further the goals and objectives of the FMP for 

Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, the 

FMP for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, and the halibut management 

program.

    12. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; 

Groundfish, Crab, Salmon, and Scallop Fisheries of the Bering Sea and 

Aleutian Islands Management Area and Gulf of Alaska. RIN 0648-AT09 (71 

FR 36694, June 28, 2006). NMFS issued a final rule implementing 

Amendments 78 and 65 to the FMP for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and 

Aleutian Islands Management Area, Amendments 73 and 65 to the FMP for 

Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, Amendments 16 and 12 to the FMP for 

Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs, Amendments 7 and 9 

to the FMP for the Scallop Fishery off Alaska, and Amendments 7 and 8 

to the FMP for Salmon Fisheries in the Exclusive Economic Zone off the 

Coast of Alaska. These amendments revised the FMPs by identifying and 

describing essential fish habitat, designating habitat areas of 

particular concern, and included measures to minimize to the extent 

practicable adverse effects on essential fish habitat. This action was 

necessary to protect important habitat features to sustain managed fish 

stocks.

    13. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea 

and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab Fishery Resources; Crab 

Economic Data Reports. RIN 0648-AU44 (71 FR 38112, July 5, 2006). NMFS 

issued a final rule to implement revision of the annual economic data 

reports submission deadline from May 1 to June 28. This action was 

necessary to provide adequate time for crab harvesters and processors 

participating in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab 

Rationalization Program to submit accurate and complete data on an 

economic data report for the previous fishing year. This action was 

intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens 

Act.

    14. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Allocating 

Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab Fishery Resources. 

RIN 0648-AU24 (71 FR 38298, July 6, 2006). NMFS issued a final rule 

implementing changes to the regulations for the Crab Rationalization 

Program. This action was necessary to correct two discrepancies in the 

scope of the sideboard protections for Gulf of Alaska groundfish 

fisheries provided in a previous rulemaking. Specifically, this action 

removed the sideboard restrictions from vessels that did not generate 

Bering Sea snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) quota share and applied the 

sideboards to federally permitted vessels operating in the State of 

Alaska parallel fisheries. This action was intended to promote the 

goals and objectives of the FMP for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King 

and Tanner Crabs, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law.

    15. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Allocating 

Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab Fishery Resources. 

RIN 0648-AU37 (71 FR 40030, July 14, 2006). NMFS issued a final rule to 

implement Amendment 21 to the FMP for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King 

and Tanner Crabs. This action made

 

[[Page 37189]]

 

changes to the arbitration system in the Bering Sea and Aleutian 

Islands Crab Rationalization Program by modifying the timing for 

harvesters and processors to match harvesting and processing shares, 

and the timing for initiating arbitration proceedings to resolve price 

and other delivery disputes. This action was necessary to increase 

resource conservation and economic efficiency in the crab fisheries 

that are subject to the Crab Rationalization Program. This action was 

intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens 

Act, the FMP, and other applicable law.

    16. Fishing Capacity Reduction Program for the Longline Catcher 

Processor Subsector of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Non-pollock 

Groundfish Fishery. RIN 0648-AU42 (71 FR 57696, September 29, 2006). 

NMFS issued a final rule implementing the Bering Sea and Aleutian 

Islands Catcher Processor Capacity Reduction Program for the longline 

catcher processor subsector of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands non-

pollock groundfish fishery, in compliance with the FY 2005 

Appropriations Act. This program was voluntary and permit holders of 

the Reduction Fishery (Subsector Members) were eligible to participate. 

Subsector Members were required to sign and abide by the Capacity 

Reduction Agreement and, if their offers were selected, a Fishing 

Capacity Reduction Contract with the U.S. Government. These key 

components of the Capacity Reduction Plan were prepared by the Freezer 

Longline Conservation Cooperative and were implemented by the final 

regulations. Subsector Members participating in the Reduction Program 

received up to $36 million in exchange for relinquishing valid non-

interim Federal License Limitation Program BSAI groundfish licenses 

endorsed for catcher processor fishing activity, Catcher/Processor, 

Pacific cod, and hook and line gear, as well as any present or future 

claims of eligibility for any fishing privilege based on such permit 

and additionally, any future fishing privilege of the vessel named on 

the permit. Individual fishing quota shares were excluded from 

relinquishment. The intent of this final rule was to permanently reduce 

harvesting capacity in the fishery, which should result in increased 

harvesting productivity for postreduction Subsector Members and help 

with conservation and management of the fishery.

    17. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Allocating 

Gulf of Alaska Fishery Resources. RIN 0648-AT71 (71 FR 67210, November 

20, 2006). NMFS issued a final rule to implement Amendment 68 to the 

FMP for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. This action implemented 

statutory provisions for the Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Pilot 

Program. This action was necessary to enhance resource conservation and 

improve economic efficiency for harvesters and processors who 

participate in the Central Gulf of Alaska rockfish fishery. This action 

was intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-

Stevens Act, the FMP, and other applicable law.

    18. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Quota 

Specifications, General Category Effort Controls, and Catch-and-Release 

Provision. RIN 0648-AR86 (70 FR 10896, March 7, 2005). NMFS announced 

the final initial 2004 fishing year specifications for the Atlantic 

bluefin tuna fishery to set bluefin tuna quotas for each of the 

established domestic fishing categories, to set General category effort 

controls, and to establish a catch-and-release provision for 

recreational and commercial bluefin tuna handgear vessels during a 

respective quota category closure. This action was necessary to 

implement recommendations of the International Commission for the 

Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, as required by the Atlantic Tunas 

Convention Act, and to achieve domestic management objectives under the 

Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    19. Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Recreational Atlantic Blue 

and White Marlin Landings Limit; Amendments to the FMP for Atlantic 

Tunas, Swordfish, and Sharks and the FMP for Atlantic Billfish. RIN 

0648-AQ65 (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006). NMFS finalized the 

Consolidated Highly Migratory Species FMP, which changed certain 

management measures, adjusted regulatory framework measures, and 

continued the process for updating Highly Migratory Species essential 

fish habitat. The final rule: Established mandatory workshops for 

commercial fishermen and shark dealers; implemented complementary time/

area closures in the Gulf of Mexico; implemented criteria for adding 

new or modifying existing time/area closures; addressed rebuilding and 

overfishing of northern albacore tuna and finetooth sharks; implemented 

recreational management measures for Atlantic billfish; modified 

bluefin tuna General Category subperiod quotas and simplified the 

management process of bluefin tuna; changed the fishing year for tunas, 

swordfish, and billfish to a calendar year; authorized speargun fishing 

gear in the recreational fishery for bigeye, albacore, yellowfin, and 

skipjack tunas; authorized buoy gear in the commercial swordfish 

handgear fishery; clarified the allowance of secondary gears (also 

known as cockpit gears); and clarified existing regulations. This final 

rule also announced the decision regarding a petition for rulemaking 

regarding closure areas for spawning bluefin tuna in the Gulf of 

Mexico. The Consolidated Highly Migratory Species FMP combines the 

management of all Atlantic HMS into one FMP, and combines and 

simplifies the objectives of the previous FMPs.

    20. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, 

Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; 2005 and 2006 Summer Flounder 

Specifications; 2005 Scup and Black Sea Bass Specifications. RIN 0648-

AR51 (70 FR 303, January 4, 2005). NMFS issued final specifications for 

the 2005 and 2006 summer flounder fisheries and for the 2005 scup and 

black sea bass fisheries, and made preliminary adjustments to the 2005 

commercial quotas for these fisheries. This final rule specified 

allowed harvest limits for both commercial and recreational fisheries, 

including scup possession limits. This action prohibited federally 

permitted commercial vessels from landing summer flounder in Delaware 

in 2005. Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery required 

publication of this notification to advise the State of Delaware, 

Federal vessel permit holders, and Federal dealer permit holders that 

no commercial quota was available for landing summer flounder in 

Delaware in 2005. This action also made changes to the regulations 

regarding the commercial scup fishery. The intent of this action was to 

establish allowed 2005 harvest levels and other measures to attain the 

target fishing mortality or exploitation rates, as specified for these 

species in the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass FMP, and to 

reduce bycatch and improve the efficiency of the commercial scup 

fishery.

    21. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea 

Scallop Fishery and Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Framework 16 and 

Framework 39. RIN 0648-AR55 (70 FR 2821, January 18, 2005). NMFS 

published this final rule to implement measures previously approved, 

but not implemented under Framework 16 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop FMP 

and Framework 39 to the Northeast Multispecies FMP. The implementation 

of these measures was delayed, pending approval of reporting and 

recordkeeping requirements by the Office of Management and Budget. This 

final rule

 

[[Page 37190]]

 

allowed general category scallop vessels to fish in the Northeast 

multispecies closed area access program, provided that they complied 

with new recordkeeping and reporting requirements. The Office of 

Management and Budget approved the reporting and recordkeeping 

requirements for vessels with general category scallop permits, as 

required under the Paperwork Reduction Act. The intent of these 

frameworks was to allow the scallop fishery to access the scallop 

resource within portions of the NE multispecies closed areas during 

specified seasons, and ensure that NE multispecies catches by scallop 

vessels are consistent with the Multispecies FMP.

    22. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 

Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Monkfish 

Fishery; Amendment 2. RIN 0648-AQ25 (70 FR 21927, April 28, 2005). NMFS 

implemented approved measures contained in Amendment 2 to the Monkfish 

FMP. Amendment 2 was developed to address essential fish habitat and 

bycatch issues, and to revise the FMP to address several issues raised 

during the public scoping process. This rule implemented the following 

measures: A new limited access permit for qualified vessels fishing 

south of 38[deg]20' N. lat.; an offshore monkfish fishery in the 

Southern Fishery Management Area; a maximum roller-gear disc diameter 

of 6 inches (15.2 cm) for trawl gear vessels fishing in the Southern 

Fishery Management Area; closure of two deep-sea canyon areas to all 

gears when fishing under the monkfish days-at-sea program; 

establishment of a research days-at-sea set-aside program and a days-

at-sea exemption program; a North Atlantic Fisheries Organization 

Regulated Area Exemption Program; adjustments to the monkfish 

incidental catch limits; a decrease in the monkfish minimum size in the 

Southern Fishery Management Area; removal of the 20-day block 

requirement; and new additions to the list of actions that can be taken 

under the framework adjustment process contained in the FMP. The intent 

of this action was to provide efficient management of the monkfish 

fishery and to meet conservation objectives. Also, NMFS informed the 

public of the approval by the Office of Management and Budget of the 

collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule and 

publishes the Office of Management and Budget control numbers for these 

collections.

    23. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Recordkeeping and 

Reporting Requirements; Regulatory Amendment to Modify Seafood Dealer 

Reporting Requirements. RIN 0648-AS87 (70 FR 21976, April 28, 2005). 

NMFS issued this final rule to amend the electronic reporting and 

recordkeeping regulations for federally permitted seafood dealers 

participating in the fisheries associated with the following FMPs: 

Summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, Atlantic sea scallop, Northeast 

multispecies, monkfish, Atlantic mackerel, squid, butterfish, Atlantic 

surfclam, ocean quahog, Atlantic herring, Atlantic deep-sea red crab, 

tilefish, Atlantic bluefish, skate, and/or spiny dogfish fisheries. 

This action reduced the submission schedule for dealer reports from 

daily to weekly, eliminated duplicate reporting of certain species, and 

clarified existing reporting requirements. This action also allowed 

vessel operator permits issued by the Southeast Region to satisfy 

Northeast vessel operator permitting requirements. The purpose of this 

action was to reduce the reporting burden on seafood dealers, improve 

data quality, simplify compliance, and clarify existing requirements.

    24. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 

Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 40B. RIN 0648-AS33 (70 FR 

31323, June 1, 2005). Framework Adjustment 40B was developed by the New 

England Fishery Management Council to complete necessary modifications 

to existing effort control programs implemented under Amendment 13 to 

the Northeast Multispecies FMP. The intent of the rule was to improve 

the effectiveness of these programs, to create additional opportunities 

for commercial fishing vessels in the fishery to target healthy 

groundfish stocks, and to increase the information available to assess 

groundfish bycatch in the herring fishery. This final rule implemented 

several revisions to the Days-at-Sea Leasing and Transfer Programs, 

modified provisions for the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder Special 

Access Program, revised the allocation criteria for the Georges Bank 

Cod Hook Sector, established a Days-at-Sea credit for vessels standing 

by an entangled whale, implemented new notification requirements for 

Category 1 herring vessels, and removed the net limit for Trip gillnet 

vessels.

    25. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Deep-Sea 

Red Crab Fishery; Framework Adjustment 1 to the Atlantic Deep-Sea Red 

Crab FMP. RIN 0648-AS35 (70 FR 44066, August 1, 2005). NMFS issued 

final regulations to implement Framework Adjustment 1 to the Atlantic 

Deep-Sea Red Crab FMP. This final rule modified the existing annual 

review and specification process by allowing specifications to be set 

for up to 3 years at a time, and continued the current target total 

allowable catch. The purpose of this action is to conserve and manage 

the red crab resource, reduce the staff resources necessary to 

effectively manage this fishery, and provide consistency and 

predictability to the industry.

    26. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea 

Scallop Fishery; Framework Adjustment 17. RIN 0648-AT10 (70 FR 48860, 

August 22, 2005). This final rule implemented Framework 17 to the 

Atlantic Sea Scallop FMP, which was developed and submitted by the New 

England Fishery Management Council and approved by NMFS. Framework 17 

required that vessels issued a general category scallop permit and that 

intended to land over 40 lb (18.14 kg) of shucked, or 5 bu (176.2 L) of 

in-shell scallops, install and operate vessel monitoring systems. 

Framework 17 also allowed general category scallop vessels with vessel 

monitoring systems units to turn off (powerdown) their vessel 

monitoring systems units after they had offloaded scallops and while 

they were tied to a fixed dock or mooring. Finally, Framework 17 

revised the broken trip adjustment provision for limited access scallop 

vessels fishing in the Sea Scallop Area Access Program. The intent of 

this action was to provide more complete monitoring of the general 

category scallop fleet, to reduce vessel monitoring systems operating 

costs, and to eliminate a provision that may have a negative influence 

on vessel operator decisions at sea and facilitate safety.

    27. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 

Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 

Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 41. RIN 0648-AT08 (70 FR 

54302, September 14, 2005). This final rule implemented Framework 

Adjustment 41 to the Northeast Multispecies FMP, which expanded 

participation in the existing Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock Special 

Access Program to all Northeast multispecies limited access days-at-sea 

vessels fishing with hook gear. This action also modified some of the 

management measures currently applicable to the Georges Bank Cod Hook 

Sector vessels when declared into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock Special 

Access Program by including modification of the season, haddock total 

allowable catch, and restricting vessels to fishing only inside the 

Special Access Program area on trips declared into the Special Access 

Program. In

 

[[Page 37191]]

 

addition, NMFS clarified regulations pertaining to fishing in the 

Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock Special Access Program Pilot Program Area. 

This action was intended to mitigate the economic and social impacts 

resulting from Amendment 13 to the FMP and to meet the conservation and 

management requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    28. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 

Multispecies Fishery; Amendment 13 and Framework Adjustment 40-A. RIN 

0648-AS80 (70 FR 76422, December 27, 2005). This rule corrected 

inadvertent errors and omissions found in the April 27, 2004, final 

rule implementing Amendment 13 and the November 19, 2004, interim final 

rule implementing Framework Adjustment 40-A to the Northeast 

Multispecies FMP. This rule also clarified specific regulations to 

maintain consistency with, and to accurately reflect, the intent of 

Amendment 13 and Framework 40-A to the FMP. Finally, this rule revised 

the process for selecting total allowable catch allocations for the 

U.S./Canada Management Areas pursuant to a court order. Amendment 13 

was developed to end overfishing and rebuild NE multispecies stocks. 

Framework 40-A was developed to provide additional opportunities for NE 

multispecies vessels to target healthy stocks in an effort to help 

achieve optimum yield from the fishery and to mitigate some of the 

economic impacts resulting from effort reductions implemented under 

Amendment 13. This action was conducted by NMFS under the authority of 

the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    29. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, 

Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; 2006 Summer Flounder, Scup, and 

Black Sea Bass Specifications; Preliminary 2006 Quota Adjustments; 2006 

Summer Flounder Quota for Delaware. RIN 0648-AT27 (70 FR 77060, 

December 29, 2005). NMFS issued final specifications for the 2006 

summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries, and made 

preliminary adjustments to the 2006 commercial quotas for these 

fisheries. This final rule specified allowed harvest limits for both 

commercial and recreational fisheries, including scup possession 

limits. This action prohibited federally permitted commercial vessels 

from landing summer flounder in Delaware in 2006. Regulations governing 

the summer flounder fishery require publication of this notification to 

advise the State of Delaware, Federal vessel permit holders, and 

Federal dealer permit holders that no commercial quota is available for 

landing summer flounder in Delaware in 2006. This action also defined 

the total length measurement for black sea bass and made changes to the 

regulations regarding the commercial black sea bass pot/trap fishery. 

The intent of this action was to establish harvest levels and other 

measures to attain the target fishing mortality or exploitation rates, 

as specified for these species in the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black 

Sea Bass FMP, to reduce bycatch, and to improve the efficiency of the 

commercial black sea bass fishery.

    30. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Spiny Dogfish; 

Framework Adjustment 1; Establishing a Multipleyear Specifications 

Process. RIN 0648-AT29 (71 FR 3016, January 19, 2006). NMFS announced 

the implementation of Framework Adjustment 1 to the Spiny Dogfish FMP, 

which allowed the specification of commercial quotas and other 

management measures for up to 5 years. This framework adjustment was 

intended to improve management of the Northeast Atlantic stock of Spiny 

Dogfish.

    31. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea 

Scallop Fishery; Framework 18. RIN 0648-AT25 (71 FR 33211, June 8, 

2006). This final rule implemented Framework Adjustment 18 to the 

Atlantic Sea Scallop FMP, which was developed by the New England 

Fishery Management Council. The following management measures were 

implemented by this rule: Scallop fishery specifications for 2006 and 

2007; scallop Area Rotation Program adjustments; and revisions to 

management measures that would improve administration of the FMP. In 

addition, a seasonal closure of the Elephant Trunk Access Area was 

implemented to reduce potential interactions between the scallop 

fishery and sea turtles, and to reduce finfish and scallop bycatch 

mortality. Framework 18 was developed to meet the FMP's requirement to 

adjust biennially the management measures for the scallop fishery. The 

FMP requires the biennial adjustments to ensure that measures meet the 

target fishing mortality rate and other goals of the FMP and achieve 

optimum yield from the scallop resource on a continuing basis.

    32. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, 

Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; Framework Adjustment 6. RIN 0648-

AT26 (71 FR 42315, July 26, 2006). NMFS issued this final rule to 

implement measures contained in Framework Adjustment 6 to the Summer 

Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass FMP that allowed regional 

conservation equivalency in the summer flounder recreational fishery. 

The intent was to provide flexibility and efficiency to the management 

of the summer flounder recreational fishery, specifically by expanding 

the suite of management tools available when conservation equivalency 

was implemented. In addition, this final rule included three 

administrative modifications to the existing regulations for 

clarification purposes.

    33. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 

Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 43. RIN 0648-AU33 (71 FR 

46871, August 15, 2006). NMFS implemented Framework Adjustment 43 to 

the Northeast Multispecies FMP, which addressed the incidental catch of 

Northeast multispecies by vessels fishing for Atlantic herring by 

establishing a Herring Exempted Fishery. Vessels issued a Category 1 

Atlantic herring fishing permit were authorized to possess incidentally 

caught haddock until the catch of haddock reached the level specified 

as an incidental haddock catch cap; upon attainment of the haddock 

catch cap, all herring vessels were limited to 2,000 lb (907 kg) of 

herring per trip, if any of the herring on board was caught within the 

Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank Herring Exemption Area defined in Framework 

43. Herring Category 1 vessels were also authorized to possess up to 

100 pounds (45 kg) of other regulated multispecies (cod, witch 

flounder, plaice, yellowtail flounder, pollock, winter flounder, 

windowpane flounder, redfish, and white hake), and were required to 

provide advanced notification of their intent to land for purposes of 

enforcement. Atlantic herring processors and dealers that sort herring 

catches as part of their operations were required to cull and report 

all haddock.

    34. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 

Multispecies Fishery; Great South Channel Scallop Dredge Exemption 

Area. RIN 0648-AU50 (71 FR 51779, August 31, 2006). NMFS issued this 

final rule to modify the regulations implementing the Northeast 

Multispecies FMP to allow vessels issued either a General Category 

Atlantic sea scallop permit or a limited access sea scallop permit, 

when not fishing under a scallop days-at-sea limitation, to fish for 

scallops with small dredges (combined width not to exceed 10.5 ft) 

within the Great South Channel Scallop Dredge Exemption Area. This 

final rule responded to a request from the fishing industry to add this 

area to the list of exempted fisheries. The intent of this action was

 

[[Page 37192]]

 

to allow small scallop dredge vessels to harvest scallops in a manner 

that is consistent with the bycatch reduction objectives of the FMP.

    35. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern 

United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery, Framework Adjustment 42; 

Monkfish Fishery, Framework Adjustment 3. RIN 0648-AT24 (71 FR 62156, 

October 23, 2006). This final rule implemented Framework Adjustment 42 

to the Northeast Multispecies FMP and Framework Adjustment 3 to the 

Monkfish FMP. Framework Adjustment 42, developed by the New England 

Fishery Management Council, was a biennial adjustment to the Northeast 

Multispecies FMP that set forth a rebuilding program for Georges Bank 

yellowtail flounder and modified Northeast multispecies fishery 

management measures to reduce fishing mortality rates on six other 

groundfish stocks in order to maintain compliance with the rebuilding 

programs of the FMP. Framework Adjustment 42 also modified and 

continued specific measures to mitigate the economic and social impacts 

of Amendment 13 to the FMP and allowed harvest levels to approach 

optimum yield. This final rule also implements the Monkfish FW 3 

provision prohibiting a limited access monkfish days-at-sea vessel that 

also possesses a limited access NE multispecies days-at-sea permit from 

using a monkfish days-at-sea when participating in the Regular B days-

at-sea program.

    36. Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan; Fisheries Off 

West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; Pacific Coast Groundfish 

Fishery; Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments. 

RIN 0648-AS61 (70 FR 20304, April 19, 2005). The Assistant 

Administrator for Fisheries, on behalf of the International Pacific 

Halibut Commission, publishes annual management measures to govern the 

Pacific halibut fishery. These measures are promulgated as regulations 

by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and accepted by the 

Secretary of State. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries announced 

modifications to the Catch Sharing Plan for Area 2A and implementing 

regulations for 2005, and announced approval of the Area 2A Plan. The 

Assistant Administrator for Fisheries also announced related changes to 

management measures in the recreational Pacific Coast groundfish 

fisheries, which are authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP. 

These actions were intended to enhance the conservation of Pacific 

halibut and groundfish and further the goals and objectives of the 

Pacific Fishery Management Council.

    37. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast 

States and in the Western Pacific; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 

Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Correction. RIN 0648-

AS27 (70 FR 22808, May 3, 2005). This final rule established the 2005 

fishery specifications for Pacific whiting in the U.S. exclusive 

economic zone and state waters off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, 

and California, as authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP. It 

also adjusted the bycatch limits in the whiting fishery. This Federal 

Register document also corrected the final rule implementing the 

specifications and management measures, which was published December 

23, 2004. These specifications included the level of the acceptable 

biological catch, optimum yield, tribal allocation, and allocations for 

the non-tribal commercial sectors. The intended effect of this action 

was to establish allowable harvest levels of whiting based on the best 

available scientific information.

    38. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fishing Capacity Reduction 

Program; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; California, Washington, and 

Oregon Fisheries for Coastal Dungeness Crab and Pink Shrimp; Industry 

Fee System for Fishing Capacity Reduction Loan. RIN 0648-AS38 (70 FR 

40225, July 13, 2005 and 71 FR 27, January 3, 2006). NMFS established 

regulations to implement an industry fee system for repaying a 

$35,662,471 Federal loan. The loan financed most of the cost of a 

fishing capacity reduction program in the Pacific Coast groundfish 

fishery. The industry fee system imposed fees on the value of future 

groundfish landed in the trawl portion (excluding whiting catcher-

processors) of the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery. It also imposed 

fees on coastal Dungeness crab and pink shrimp landed in the 

California, Washington, and Oregon fisheries for coastal Dungeness crab 

and pink shrimp. This action's intent was to implement the industry fee 

system.

    39. Fisheries off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 

Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Specifications and Management 

Measures. RIN 0648-AU00 (71 FR 8489, February 17, 2006). NMFS 

implemented revisions to the 2006 commercial and recreational 

groundfish fishery management measures for groundfish taken in the U.S. 

exclusive economic zone off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and 

California. Management measures that were new for 2006 were intended 

to: Achieve but not exceed optimum yields; prevent overfishing; rebuild 

overfished species; and reduce and minimize the incidental catch and 

discard of overfished and depleted stocks. NMFS was also revising the 

2006 darkblotched rockfish optimum yield, at the request of the Pacific 

Fishery Management Council. These actions, which are authorized by the 

Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act, were 

intended to allow fisheries to access more abundant groundfish stocks 

while protecting overfished and depleted stocks.

    40. Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 

Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Limited Entry Fixed Gear Sablefish 

Fishery Permit Stacking Program. RIN 0648-AP38 (71 FR 10614, March 2, 

2006). NMFS implemented portions of Amendment 14 to the Pacific Coast 

Groundfish FMP. Amendment 14 created a permit stacking program for 

limited entry permits with sablefish endorsements. Amendment 14 was 

intended to provide greater season flexibility for sablefish fishery 

participants and to improve safety in the primary sablefish fishery.

    41. Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan. RIN 0648-AT56 

(71 FR 10850, March 3, 2006). The Assistant Administrator for 

Fisheries, on behalf of the International Pacific Halibut Commission, 

published annual management measures promulgated as regulations by the 

International Pacific Halibut Commission and approved by the Secretary 

of State governing the Pacific halibut fishery. The Assistant 

Administrator for Fisheries also announced modifications to the Catch 

Sharing Plan for Area 2A and implementing regulations for 2006, and 

announced approval of the Area 2A Catch Sharing Plan. These actions 

were intended to enhance the conservation of Pacific halibut and 

further the goals and objectives of the Pacific Fishery Management 

Council and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

    42. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast 

States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery. RIN 0648-AT98 (71 FR 27408, 

May 11, 2006). NMFS implemented the regulatory provisions of Amendment 

19 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP. Amendment 19 provided for a 

comprehensive program to describe and protect essential fish habitat 

for Pacific Coast Groundfish. The management measures to implement 

Amendment 19, which were authorized by the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens 

Act, were intended to minimize, to the extent practicable, adverse 

effects to essential fish habitat from fishing. The measures

 

[[Page 37193]]

 

included fishing gear restrictions and prohibitions, areas that are 

closed to bottom trawling, and areas that are closed to all fishing 

that contacts the bottom.

    43. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast 

States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Biennial Specifications and 

Management Measures; Correction. RIN 0648-AU39 (71 FR 29257, May 22, 

2006). This final rule established the 2006 fishery specifications for 

Pacific whiting in the U.S. exclusive economic zone and state waters 

off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California, as authorized by 

the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP. It also adjusted the bycatch limits 

in the whiting fishery. This Federal Register document also corrected 

the final rule implementing the specifications and management measures, 

which was published December 23, 2004. These specifications included 

the level of the acceptable biological catch, optimum yield, tribal 

allocation, and allocations for the non-tribal commercial sectors. The 

intended effect of this action was to establish allowable harvest 

levels of whiting based on the best available scientific information.

    44. Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish 

Fishery; Amendment 18. RIN 0648-AU12 (71 FR 66122, November 13, 2006). 

NMFS issued this final rule to implement Amendment 18 to the Pacific 

Coast Groundfish FMP. Amendment 18 responded to a court order by 

setting the Pacific Fishery Management Council's bycatch minimization 

policies and requirements into the FMP.

    45. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast 

States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Biennial Specifications and 

Management Measures; Amendment 16-4; Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery. RIN 

0648-AU57 (71 FR 78638, December 29, 2006). This final rule implemented 

Amendment 16-4 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP and set the 2007-

2008 harvest specifications and management measures for groundfish 

taken in the U.S. exclusive economic zone off the coasts of Washington, 

Oregon, and California. Amendment 16-4 modified the FMP to implement 

revised rebuilding plans for seven overfished species: Bocaccio, canary 

rockfish, cowcod, darkblotched rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, widow 

rockfish, and yelloweye rockfish. Groundfish harvest specifications and 

management measures for 2007-2008 were intended to: Achieve but not 

exceed optimum yields; prevent overfishing; rebuild overfished species; 

reduce and minimize the bycatch and discard of overfished and depleted 

stocks; provide harvest opportunity for the recreational and commercial 

fishing sectors; and, within the commercial fisheries, achieve harvest 

guidelines and limited entry and open access allocations for 

nonoverfished species. Together, Amendment 16-4 and the 2007-2008 

harvest specifications and management measures were intended to rebuild 

overfished stocks as soon as possible, taking into account the status 

and biology of the stocks, the needs of fishing communities, and the 

interaction of the overfished stocks within the marine ecosystem. In 

addition to the management measures implemented specifically for the 

groundfish fisheries, this rule implemented a new Yelloweye Rockfish 

Conservation Area off Washington State, which is closed to commercial 

salmon troll fishing to reduce incidental mortality of yelloweye 

rockfish in the salmon troll fishery.

    46. Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 

Western Pacific Pelagic Fisheries; American Samoa Longline Limited 

Entry Program. RIN 0648-AQ92 (70 FR 29646, May 24, 2005). NMFS issued a 

final rule to implement Amendment 11 to the FMP for Pelagic Fisheries 

of the Western Pacific Region, which established a limited entry system 

for pelagic longline vessels fishing in waters of the U.S. exclusive 

economic zone around American Samoa. The action was necessary to 

effectively manage the pelagics fisheries around American Samoa. This 

final rule was intended to establish management measures that would 

stabilize effort in the fishery to avoid a ``boom and bust'' cycle of 

fishery development that could disrupt community participation and 

limit opportunity for substantial participation in the fishery by 

indigenous islanders.

    47. Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 

Western Pacific Pelagic Fisheries; Sea Turtle Mitigation Measures. RIN 

0648-AQ91 (70 FR 69282, November 15, 2005). NMFS issued a final rule to 

reduce and mitigate interactions between sea turtles and fisheries 

managed under the FMP for the Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific 

Region. This rule included requirements for attending protected species 

workshops, for handling, resuscitating, and releasing sea turtles that 

are hooked or entangled in fishing gear, and for fishing gear 

configuration. This action was undertaken in part to comply with the 

terms and conditions of a 2004 Biological Opinion on impacts on sea 

turtles by fisheries managed under the FMP.

    48. Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 

Pelagic Fisheries; Additional Measures to Reduce the Incidental Catch 

of Seabirds in the Hawaii Pelagic Longline Fishery. RIN 0648-AS30 (70 

FR 75075, December 19, 2005). NMFS issued a final rule implementing 

measures to further reduce the incidental catch of seabirds in the 

Hawaii-based longline fishery. Depending on the fishing method and area 

where the vessels operate, owners and operators of longline fishing 

vessels must either side-set (deploy longline gear from the side of the 

vessel rather than from the stern) or use a combination of other 

seabird mitigation measures to prevent seabirds from being accidentally 

hooked, entangled, and killed during fishing operations. NMFS also 

announced the availability of the Record of Decision for the ``Final 

Environmental Impact Statement, Seabird Interaction Avoidance Methods 

under the FMP for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region and 

Pelagic Squid Fishery Management under the FMP for Pelagic Fisheries of 

the Western Pacific Region and the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act.'' 

The Record of Decision announced that NMFS selected the Preferred 

Alternative, modified slightly, to cost-effectively further reduce the 

potentially harmful effects of the Hawaii-based longline fishery on 

seabirds.

    49. Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Western Pacific Bottomfish 

and Seamount Groundfish Fisheries; Guam Bottomfish Management Measures. 

RIN 0648-AT94 (71 FR 64474, November 2, 2006). NMFS issued this final 

rule to implement Amendment 9 to the FMP for Bottomfish and Seamount 

Groundfish Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region that prohibited 

large vessels, i.e., those 50 ft (15.2 m) or longer, from fishing for 

bottomfish in Federal waters within 50 nm (92.6 km) around Guam, and 

established Federal permitting and reporting requirements for these 

large bottomfish fishing vessels. This final rule was intended to 

maintain viable participation and bottomfish catch rates by small 

vessels in the fishery, to maintain traditional patterns of the 

bottomfish supply to local Guam markets, to provide for the collection 

of adequate fishery information for effective management, and to reduce 

the risk of local depletion of deepwater bottomfish stocks near Guam.

    50. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Red Snapper Rebuilding Plan. 

RIN 0648-AP02 (70 FR 32266, June 2, 2005).

 

[[Page 37194]]

 

NMFS issued this final rule to implement Amendment 22 to the FMP for 

the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico prepared by the Gulf of 

Mexico Fishery Management Council. This final rule provided the 

regulatory authority to implement a mandatory observer program for 

selected commercial and for-hire vessels in the Gulf of Mexico reef 

fish fishery. In addition, consistent with the requirements of the 

Magnuson-Stevens Act, Amendment 22 established a stock rebuilding plan, 

biological reference points, and stock status determination criteria 

for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. The intended effect of this 

final rule was to contribute to ending overfishing and rebuilding the 

red snapper resource. Finally, NMFS informed the public of the approval 

by the Office of Management and Budget of the collection-of-information 

requirements contained in this final rule and published the Office of 

Management and Budget control numbers for those collections.

    51. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Vermilion Snapper Rebuilding 

Plan. RIN 0648-AS19 (70 FR 33385, June 8, 2005). NMFS issued this final 

rule to implement Amendment 23 to the FMP for the Reef Fish Resources 

of the Gulf of Mexico prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management 

Council. This final rule increased the minimum size limit for vermilion 

snapper to 11 inches (28 cm), total length, for the recreational and 

commercial sectors; established a 10-fish recreational bag limit for 

vermilion snapper within the existing 20-fish aggregate reef fish bag 

limit; and closed the commercial vermilion snapper fishery from April 

22 through May 31 each year. In addition, consistent with the 

requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Amendment 23 established a 

stock rebuilding plan, biological reference points, and stock status 

determination criteria for vermilion snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. The 

intended effect of this final rule was to end overfishing and rebuild 

the vermilion snapper resource.

    52. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South 

Atlantic; Amendment 15. RIN 0648-AS53 (70 FR 39187, July 7, 2005). NMFS 

issued this final rule to implement Amendment 15 to the FMP for the 

Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South 

Atlantic. This final rule established a limited access system for the 

commercial fishery for Gulf and Atlantic migratory group king mackerel 

by capping participation at the current level. The final rule also 

changed the fishing year for Atlantic migratory group king and Spanish 

mackerel to March through February. The intended effects of this final 

rule were to provide economic and social stability in the fishery by 

preventing speculative entry into the fishery and to mitigate adverse 

impacts associated with potential quota closures.

    53. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Gulf Reef Fish Limited Access 

System. RIN 0648-AS69 (70 FR 41161, July 18, 2005). NMFS issued this 

final rule to implement Amendment 24 to the FMP for the Reef Fish 

Resources of the Gulf of Mexico prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery 

Management Council. This final rule established a limited access system 

for the commercial reef fish fishery in the Gulf of Mexico by capping 

participation at the current level. The intended effect of this final 

rule was to provide economic and social stability in the fishery by 

preventing speculative entry into the fishery.

    54. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Comprehensive Amendment to the FMPs of the U.S. Caribbean. RIN 0648-

AP51 (70 FR 62073, October 28, 2005). NMFS issued this final rule to 

implement a comprehensive amendment prepared by the Caribbean Fishery 

Management Council to amend its Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch, 

and Coral FMPs. The comprehensive amendment was designed to ensure the 

FMPs are fully compliant with the provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens 

Act. This final rule redefined the fishery management units for the 

FMPs; established seasonal closures; imposed gear restrictions and 

requirements; revised requirements for marking pots and traps; and 

prohibited the filleting of fish at sea. In addition, the comprehensive 

amendment established biological reference points and stock status 

criteria; established rebuilding schedules and strategies to end 

overfishing and rebuild overfished stocks; provided for standardized 

collection of bycatch data; minimized bycatch and bycatch mortality to 

the extent practicable; designated essential fish habitat and habitat 

areas of particular concern; and minimized adverse impacts on such 

habitat to the extent practicable. The intended effect of this final 

rule was to achieve optimum yield in the fisheries and provide social 

and economic benefits associated with maintaining healthy stocks.

    55. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Shrimp Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 6. RIN 0648-

AS16 (70 FR 73383, December 12, 2005). NMFS issued this final rule to 

implement Amendment 6 to the FMP for the Shrimp Fishery of the South 

Atlantic Region, as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic 

Fishery Management Council. This final rule required an owner or 

operator of a trawler that harvests or possesses penaeid shrimp in or 

from the exclusive economic zone off the southern Atlantic states to 

obtain a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic penaeid shrimp; 

required an owner or operator of a vessel in the South Atlantic rock 

shrimp or penaeid shrimp fishery to submit catch and effort reports and 

to carry an observer on selected trips; and required bycatch reduction 

devices in nets in the rock shrimp fishery. Amendment 6 also 

established stock status determination criteria for South Atlantic 

penaeid shrimp; revised the specifications of maximum sustainable yield 

and optimum yield for South Atlantic rock shrimp; revised the stock 

status determination criteria for South Atlantic rock shrimp; revised 

the bycatch reduction criterion for the certification of bycatch 

reduction devices; and transfered from the Council to the Regional 

Administrator, Southeast Region, responsibilities for the specification 

of the protocol for testing bycatch reduction devices. In addition, 

NMFS informed the public of the approval by the Office of Management 

and Budget of the collection-of-information requirements contained in 

this final rule and published the Office of Management and Budget 

control numbers for those collections. The intended effects of this 

rule were to provide additional information for, and improve the 

effective management of, the shrimp fisheries off the southern Atlantic 

states and to correct and clarify the regulations applicable to other 

southern Atlantic fisheries.

    56. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Gulf of Mexico Essential Fish Habitat Amendment. RIN 0648-AS66 (70 FR 

76216, December 23, 2005). NMFS issued this final rule to implement 

Generic Amendment 3 to the FMPs of the Gulf of Mexico, which was 

prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. Generic 

Amendment 3 amended each of the seven Council FMPs (shrimp, red drum, 

reef fish, coastal migratory pelagic resources, coral and coral reefs, 

stone crab, and spiny lobster) to describe and

 

[[Page 37195]]

 

identify essential fish habitat; minimize to the extent practicable the 

adverse effects of fishing on essential fish habitat; and encourage 

conservation and management of essential fish habitat. This final rule 

established additional habitat areas of particular concern, restricted 

fishing activities within habitat areas of particular concern, and 

required a weak link in bottom trawl gear. The intended effect of this 

final rule was to facilitate long-term protection of essential fish 

habitat and, thus, better conserve and manage fishery resources in the 

Gulf of Mexico.

    57. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Gulf of Mexico Commercial Grouper Fishery; Trip Limit. RIN 0648-AT12 

(70 FR 77057, December 29, 2005). NMFS issued this final rule to 

implement a regulatory amendment to the FMP for the Reef Fish Resources 

of the Gulf of Mexico prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management 

Council. This final rule established a 6,000-lb (2,722-kg) commercial 

trip limit for shallow-water and deep-water grouper, combined, in the 

exclusive economic zone of the Gulf of Mexico. The intended effect of 

this final rule was to minimize the effects of derby fishing and 

prolong the fishing season.

    58. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South 

Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Limited Access 

Program for Gulf Charter Vessels and Headboats. RIN 0648-AS70 (71 FR 

28282, May 16, 2006). NMFS issued this final rule to implement 

Amendment 17 to the FMP for the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of 

the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic, and Amendment 25 to the FMP for 

the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico prepared by the Gulf of 

Mexico Fishery Management Council. This final rule established a 

limited access system for charter vessel/headboat permits for the reef 

fish and coastal migratory pelagic fisheries in the exclusive economic 

zone of the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, this final rule incorporated a 

number of minor revisions to remove outdated regulatory text and to 

clarify regulatory text. The intended effect of this final rule was to 

provide for biological, social, and economic stability in these charter 

vessel/headboat fisheries.

    59. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Gulf of Mexico Recreational Grouper Fishery Management Measures. RIN 

0648-AU04 (71 FR 34534, June 15, 2006). NMFS issued this final rule to 

implement the bag limit provisions of a regulatory amendment to the FMP 

for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico prepared by the Gulf 

of Mexico Fishery Management Council. This final rule established a 

recreational bag limit for Gulf red grouper of one fish per person per 

day and prohibited the captain and crew of a vessel operating as a 

charter vessel or headboat from retaining any Gulf grouper, i.e., 

established a zero bag limit for captain and crew. The intended effect 

of this final rule was to help maintain recreational landings at levels 

consistent with the red grouper rebuilding plan.

    60. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 18A. RIN 0648-AN09 

(71 FR 45428, August 9, 2006). NMFS issued this final rule to implement 

Amendment 18A to the FMP for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of 

Mexico prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. This 

final rule prohibited vessels from retaining reef fish caught under the 

recreational size and bag/possession limits when commercial quantities 

of Gulf reef fish are on board; adjusted the number of persons allowed 

on board when a vessel with both commercial and charter vessel/headboat 

reef fish permits and a U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection is 

fishing commercially; prohibited use of Gulf reef fish, except sand 

perch or dwarf sand perch, as bait in any commercial or recreational 

fishery in the exclusive economic zone of the Gulf of Mexico, with a 

limited exception for crustacean trap fisheries; required a NMFS-

approved vessel monitoring system on board vessels with Federal 

commercial permits for Gulf reef fish, including charter vessels/

headboats with such commercial permits; and required owners and 

operators of vessels with Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat 

permits for Gulf reef fish to comply with sea turtle and smalltooth 

sawfish release protocols, possess on board specific gear to ensure 

proper release of such species, and comply with guidelines for proper 

care and release of incidentally caught sawfish and sea turtles. This 

final rule also required annual permit application rather than 

application every 2 years. In addition, Amendment 18A revised the total 

allowable catch framework procedure to reflect current practices and 

terminology. The intended effects of this final rule were to improve 

enforceability and monitoring in the reef fish fishery in the Gulf of 

Mexico and to reduce mortality of incidentally caught sea turtles and 

smalltooth sawfish. Finally, NMFS informed the public of approval by 

the Office of Management and Budget of the collection-of-information 

requirements contained in this final rule and published the Office of 

Management and Budget control numbers for those collections.

    61. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Snapper- Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 

13C. RIN 0648-AT75 (71 FR 55096, September 21, 2006). NMFS issued this 

final rule to implement Amendment 13C to the FMP for the Snapper-

Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region, as prepared and submitted 

by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Amendment 13C 

established management measures to end overfishing of snowy grouper, 

golden tilefish, vermilion snapper, and black sea bass and measures to 

allow moderate increases in recreational and commercial harvest of red 

porgy consistent with the rebuilding program for that stock. For the 

commercial fisheries, this final rule established restrictive quotas 

for snowy grouper, golden tilefish, vermilion snapper, and black sea 

bass and, after the quotas are met, prohibited all purchase and sale of 

the applicable species and restricted all harvest and possession to the 

applicable bag limit; established restrictive trip limits for snowy 

grouper and golden tilefish; required at least 2-inch (5.1-cm) mesh in 

the back panel of black sea bass pots; required black sea bass pots to 

be removed from the water after the quota was reached; changed the 

fishing year for black sea bass; increased the trip limit for red 

porgy; established a red porgy quota that would allow a moderate 

increase in harvest; and, after the red porgy quota was reached, 

prohibited all purchase and sale, and restricted all harvest and 

possession to the bag limit. For the recreational fisheries, this final 

rule reduced the bag limits for snowy grouper, golden tilefish, and 

black sea bass; increased the minimum size limit for vermilion snapper 

and black sea bass; changed the fishing year for black sea bass; and 

increased the bag limit for red porgy. The intended effects of this 

final rule were to eliminate or phase out overfishing of snowy grouper, 

golden tilefish, vermilion snapper, and black sea bass; and increase 

red porgy harvest consistent with an updated stock assessment and 

rebuilding plan to achieve optimum yield. Finally, NMFS informed the 

public of the approval by the Office of Management and Budget of the 

collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule and 

published the Office of

 

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Management and Budget control numbers for those collections.

    62. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 13. RIN 0648-AS15 (71 

FR 56039, September 26, 2006). NMFS issued this final rule to implement 

Amendment 13 to the FMP for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico, 

as prepared and submitted by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management 

Council. This final rule established a 10-year moratorium on issuance 

of Federal Gulf shrimp vessel permits; required owners of vessels 

fishing for or possessing royal red shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico 

exclusive economic zone to have a royal red shrimp endorsement; 

required owners or operators of all federally permitted Gulf shrimp 

vessels to report information on landings and vessel and gear 

characteristics; and required vessels selected by NMFS to carry 

observers and/or install an electronic logbook provided by NMFS. In 

addition, Amendment 13 established biological reference points for 

penaeid shrimp and status determination criteria for royal red shrimp. 

The intended effects of this final rule were to provide essential 

fisheries data, including bycatch data, needed to improve management of 

the fishery and to control access to the fishery. Finally, NMFS 

informed the public of the approval by the Office of Management and 

Budget of the collection of information requirements contained in this 

final rule and published the Office of Management and Budget control 

numbers for those collections.

    63. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Gulf of Mexico Recreational Grouper Fishery Management Measures. RIN 

0648-AU04 (71 FR 66878, November 17, 2006). NMFS issued this final rule 

to implement the seasonal closure provisions of a regulatory amendment 

to the FMP for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico prepared 

by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. This final rule 

established a seasonal closure of the recreational fishery for gag, red 

grouper, and black grouper in or from the Gulf exclusive economic zone. 

The intended effect of this final rule was to help maintain 

recreational landings at levels consistent with the red grouper 

rebuilding plan while minimizing potential shift of fishing effort to 

associated grouper species.

    64. Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 

Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 26. RIN 0648-AS67 

(71 FR 67447, November 22, 2006). NMFS issued this final rule to 

implement Amendment 26 to the FMP for the Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf 

of Mexico. Amendment 26 established an individual fishing quota program 

for the commercial red snapper sector of the reef fish fishery in the 

Gulf of Mexico. Initial participants in the individual fishing quota 

program received percentage shares of the commercial quota of red 

snapper based on specified historical landings criteria. The percentage 

shares of the commercial quota equate to annual individual fishing 

quota allocations. In addition, NMFS informed the public of the 

approval by the Office of Management and Budget of the collection-of-

information requirements contained in this final rule and published the 

Office of Management and Budget control numbers for those collections. 

The intended effect of this rule was to manage the commercial red 

snapper sector of the reef fish fishery to preserve its long-term 

economic viability and to achieve optimum yield from the fishery.

    65. Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 

Highly Migratory Species Fisheries; Data Collection Requirements for 

U.S. Commercial and Recreational Charter Fishing Vessels. RIN 0648-AP42 

(70 FR 7022, February 10, 2005). NMFS announced approval by the Office 

of Management and Budget of collection-of-information requirements 

pertaining to permits, logbooks, vessel monitoring systems, and pre-

trip notifications contained in the final rule to implement the 

approved portions of the U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory Species FMP. 

The FMP was partially approved on February 4, 2004, and the final rule 

to implement the approved portions of the HMS FMP was published in the 

Federal Register on April 7, 2004. At that time, the FMP final rule 

contained collection-of-information requirements subject to the 

Paperwork Reduction Act that were undergoing Office of Management and 

Budget review. The intent of this notice was to inform the public of 

the effective date of the requirements approved by Office of Management 

and Budget. Reporting requirements of the FMP are needed to obtain 

sufficient information for management while minimizing duplication.

    66. Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 

Highly Migratory Species Fisheries; Data Collection Requirements for 

U.S. Commercial and Recreational Charter Fishing Vessels. RIN 0648-AT97 

(70 FR 67349, November 7, 2005). NMFS announced approval by the Office 

of Management and Budget of collection-of-information requirements 

pertaining to vessel identification contained in the final rule to 

implement the approved portions of the U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory 

Species FMP, and the effectiveness of those requirements. On February 

4, 2004, NMFS partially approved the HMS FMP, and the final rule to 

implement the approved portions of the HMS FMP was published in the 

Federal Register on April 7, 2004. The HMS FMP final rule contained 

vessel identification requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction 

Act that, at the time of publication, were still undergoing Office of 

Management and Budget review. This action informed the public of the 

effective date of the requirement approved by Office of Management and 

Budget. Vessel identification requirements are necessary for proper 

enforcement of the FMP.

    67. Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species 

Fisheries; Amendment 11. RIN 0648-AT11 (71 FR 36999, June 29, 2006). 

NMFS issued this final rule to implement Amendment 11 to the Coastal 

Pelagic Species FMP, which changed the framework for the annual 

apportionment of the Pacific sardine harvest guideline along the U.S. 

Pacific coast. The purpose of this final rule was to achieve optimal 

utilization of the Pacific sardine resource and equitable allocation of 

the harvest opportunity for Pacific sardine.

    68. Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act 

Provisions; American Lobster Fishery. RIN 0648-AP18 (71 FR 13027, March 

14, 2006). NMFS amended regulations to modify the management measures 

applicable to the Federal American lobster (Homarus americanus) 

fishery. This action was in response to recommendations by the Atlantic 

States Marine Fisheries Commission in Addenda II and III to Amendment 3 

of the Interstate FMP for American Lobster. The lobster management 

measures were intended to increase protection to American lobster 

broodstock throughout the stock's range, and applied to lobsters 

harvested in one or more of seven Lobster Conservation Management 

Areas. In addition, NMFS clarified existing Federal lobster 

regulations.

    69. Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing 

Operations; Tuna Purse Seine Vessels in the Eastern Tropical Pacific 

Ocean. RIN 0648-AS05 (70 FR 19004, April 12, 2005). NMFS issued a final 

rule to implement resolutions adopted by the Inter-American Tropical 

Tuna Commission and by the Parties to the Agreement on the 

International Dolphin Conservation Program. The final rule prohibited 

activities that undermine the

 

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effective implementation and enforcement of the Marine Mammal 

Protection Act, Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act, and 

International Dolphin Conservation Program Act.

    70. Endangered and Threatened Species; Designation of Critical 

Habitat for Seven Evolutionarily Significant Units of Pacific Salmon 

and Steelhead in California. RIN 0648-AO04 (70 FR 52488, September 2, 

2005). NMFS issued a final rule designating critical habitat for two 

Evolutionarily Significant Units of chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus 

tshawytscha) and five Evolutionarily Significant Units of steelhead (O. 

mykiss) listed as of the date of this designation under the Endangered 

Species Act of 1973, as amended. The specific areas designated in the 

rule text included approximately 8,935 net mi (14,269 km) of riverine 

habitat and 470 mi\2\ (1,212 km\2\) of estuarine habitat in California. 

Some of the areas designated are occupied by two or more Evolutionarily 

Significant Units. The annual net economic impacts of changes to 

Federal activities as a result of the critical habitat designations 

were estimated to be approximately $81,647,439. This rule was issued to 

meet the timeline established in litigation between NMFS and Pacific 

Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (Civ. No. 03-1883).

    71. Endangered and Threatened Species; Designation of Critical 

Habitat for 12 Evolutionarily Significant Units of West Coast Salmon 

and Steelhead in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. RIN 0648-AQ77 (70 FR 

52630, September 2, 2005). NMFS issued a final rule designating 

critical habitat for 12 Evolutionarily Significant Units of West Coast 

salmon (chum, Oncorhynchus keta; sockeye, O. nerka; chinook, O. 

tshawytscha; and steelhead, O. mykiss) listed as of the date of this 

designation under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The 

specific areas designated in the rule text included approximately 

20,630 mi (33,201 km) of lake, riverine, and estuarine habitat in 

Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, as well as approximately 2,312 mi (3,721 

km) of marine nearshore habitat in Puget Sound. Some of the areas 

designated are occupied by two or more Evolutionarily Significant 

Units. The annual net economic impacts of changes to Federal activities 

as a result of critical habitat designation were estimated to be 

approximately $201.2 million. Fish and wildlife conservation actions 

for the Federal Columbia River Power System and other major hydropower 

projects in the Pacific Northwest were expected to generate another 

$500-700 million in annual costs, including forgone power revenues. 

While these hydropower projects were covered by Endangered Species Act 

section 7, the conservation actions that generated these costs were 

imposed by a wide variety of laws. This rule was being issued to meet 

the timeline established in litigation between NMFS and Pacific Coast 

Federation of Fishermen's Associations (Civ. No. 03-1883).

    72. Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing 

Operations; Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan Regulations; Sea 

Turtle Conservation; Restrictions to Fishing Activities. RIN 0648-AR39 

(71 FR 24776, April 26, 2006). NMFS issued this final rule to implement 

regulatory and nonregulatory management measures to reduce the 

incidental mortality and serious injury of the western North Atlantic 

coastal bottlenose dolphin stock (Tursiops truncatus) in the mid-

Atlantic coastal gillnet fishery and eight other coastal fisheries 

operating within the dolphin's distributional range. This final rule 

also revised the large mesh size restriction under the mid-Atlantic 

large mesh gillnet rule for conservation of endangered and threatened 

sea turtles to provide consistency among Federal and state management 

measures. The measures contained in this final rule implemented gillnet 

effort reduction, gear proximity requirements, gear or gear deployment 

modifications, and outreach and education measures to reduce dolphin 

bycatch below the marine mammal stock's potential biological removal 

level. The rule combined two actions under different statutory 

authorities, to: (1) Implement the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction 

Plan under the Marine Mammal Protection Act; and (2) amend the 

Endangered Species Act mid-Atlantic large mesh gillnet rule.

    73. Sea Turtle Conservation; Modification to Fishing Activities. 

RIN 0648-AU10 (71 FR 36024, June 23, 2006). NMFS required that any 

offshore pound net leader in the Virginia waters of the mainstem 

Chesapeake Bay, south of 37[deg]19.0' N. lat. and west of 76[deg]13.0' 

W. long., and all waters south of 37[deg]13.0' N. lat. to the 

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and 

the James and York Rivers downstream of the first bridge in each 

tributary, during the period of May 6 through July 15, meet the 

definition of a modified pound net leader. Without this final rule, 

existing regulations would continue to prohibit all offshore pound net 

leaders in that area during that time frame. While restrictions 

promulgated in 2004 on pound net leaders in the Virginia waters of the 

Chesapeake Bay outside the aforementioned area remained in effect, this 

final rule created an exception to those restrictions by allowing the 

use of modified pound net leaders in this area. This action, taken 

under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, responded to new information 

generated by gear research. It was intended to conserve sea turtles 

listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and to help 

enforce the provisions of the Endangered Species Act, including the 

provisions against takes of endangered species, while enabling 

fishermen to use leaders during the regulated period.

    74. Endangered and Threatened Species; Revision of Critical Habitat 

for the Northern Right Whale in the Pacific Ocean. RIN 0648-AT84 (71 FR 

38277, July 6, 2006). NMFS issued a final rule to revise the current 

critical habitat for the northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) by 

designating additional areas within the North Pacific Ocean. Two 

specific areas were designated, one in the Gulf of Alaska and another 

in the Bering Sea, comprising a total of approximately 95,200 square 

kilometers (36,750 square miles) of marine habitat. As described in the 

impacts analysis prepared for this action, we considered the economic 

impacts, impacts to national security, and other relevant impacts and 

concluded that the benefits of exclusion of any area from the critical 

habitat designation do not outweigh the benefits of inclusion. This 

final rule was issued to meet the deadline established in a remand 

order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of 

California.

    75. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Sea Turtle Conservation. 

RIN 0648-AS92 (71 FR 50361, August 25, 2006). NMFS issued this final 

rule to require sea turtle conservation measures for all sea scallop 

dredge vessels fishing south of 41[deg]9.0' N. latitude from May 1 

through November 30 each year. All vessels with a sea scallop dredge 

and that are required to have a Federal Atlantic sea scallop fishery 

permit, regardless of dredge size or vessel permit category, were 

required to modify their dredge(s) when fishing south of 41[deg]9.0' N. 

latitude, from the shoreline to the outer boundary of the Exclusive 

Economic Zone. This action was necessary to help reduce mortality and 

injury to endangered and threatened sea turtles in scallop dredge gear 

and to conserve sea turtles listed under the Endangered Species Act. 

Any incidental take of threatened sea turtles in sea scallop dredge 

gear in compliance with this gear modification requirement and all 

other applicable requirements

 

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was exempted on the Endangered Species Act's prohibition against takes.

    76. Endangered and Threatened Species; Designation of Critical 

Habitat for Southern Resident Killer Whale. RIN 0648-AU38 (71 FR 69054, 

November 29, 2006). NMFS issued a final rule designating critical 

habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca) distinct 

population segment. Under the Endangered Species Act, we are 

responsible for determining whether certain species, subspecies, or 

distinct population segments are threatened or endangered, and 

designating critical habitat for them. Three specific areas were 

designated, (1) the Summer Core Area in Haro Strait and waters around 

the San Juan Islands; (2) Puget Sound; and (3) the Strait of Juan de 

Fuca, which comprise approximately 2,560 square miles (6,630 sq km) of 

marine habitat. We considered the economic impacts and impacts to 

national security, and concluded the benefits of exclusion of 18 

military sites, comprising approximately 112 square miles (291 sq km), 

outweighed the benefits of inclusion because of national security 

impacts. An economic analysis, biological report, and Endangered 

Species Act report were available for comment along with the proposed 

rule. The supporting documents were finalized in support of the final 

critical habitat designation.

 

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