On February 22, 2013, NMFS published a proposed rule for Draft Amendment 8 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to address several new proposed North Atlantic swordfish commercial fishery management measures, including a new open access permit that would allow the retention and sale of swordfish caught with certain handgears. We announced the date and location for six public hearings and a comment period ending on April 23, 2013. In this notice, NMFS announces the dates and logistics for two additional public hearings, and an extension of the comment period from April 23, 2013, to May 8, 2013, to provide additional opportunities for the five Fishery Management Councils, the Atlantic and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commissions, and other interested parties to comment on the swordfish management measures proposed in Draft Amendment 8.
The deadline for comments has been extended from April 23, 2013,
to May 8, 2013. Two additional public hearings will be held, one on
April 10, 2013 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., and the second on April 30, 2013
from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., via public conference call and webinar.
ADDRESSES: Addresses for the two additional public hearings are:
Stafford Branch Library, 129 North Main Street, Manahawkin, NJ 08050
and via public conference call and webinar. To participate in the
conference call dial 1-800-779-0686 and enter the passcode 2132689.
As published on February 22, 2013 (78 FR 12273), written comments
on this action may be submitted, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2013-0026, 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-2013-0026, click the
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or
attach your comments.
Mail: Submit written comments to the Highly Migratory
Species Management Division, NMFS Office of Sustainable Fisheries, 1315
East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Please mark on the outside
of the envelope ``Comments on Amendment 8 to the HMS FMP.''
Fax: 301-713-1917; Attn: Jennifer Cudney.
Instructions: 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 by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the
public record and generally will be posted for public viewing on
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business
information, or otherwise sensitive information 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, Excel, or Adobe PDF file
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Pearson at 727-824-5399 or
Jennifer Cudney at 301-427-8503.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Atlantic tunas and swordfish are managed
under the dual authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) and the Atlantic Tunas
Convention Act (ATCA). Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the National
Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) must, consistent with the National
Standards, prevent overfishing while achieving, on
a continuing basis, the optimum yield (OY) from each fishery and
rebuild overfished fisheries. Under ATCA, the Secretary of Commerce
(Secretary) shall promulgate regulations as may be necessary and
appropriate to carry out recommendations by the International
Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The
authority to issue regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and ATCA
has been delegated from the Secretary to the Assistant Administrator
for Fisheries, NOAA (AA). Atlantic HMS regulations are found at 50 CFR
Consistent with these legal obligations and based on the rebuilt
status of North Atlantic swordfish, the renewed interest in commercial
handgears, and the goal to more fully utilize the U.S. ICCAT-
recommended swordfish quota allocation, NMFS proposed fishery
management measures for Draft Amendment 8 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS
FMP in a proposed rule published on February 22, 2013 (78 FR 12273).
The proposed rule provides additional details.
The preferred alternatives in Amendment 8 would establish a new
open-access commercial swordfish vessel permit to allow for the
retention and sale of a limited number (zero to six fish) of swordfish
caught on rod and reel, handline, harpoon, bandit gear, or green-stick.
HMS Charter/Headboat vessel permit holders would also be authorized to
fish with rod and reel and handline under open-access swordfish
commercial retention limits when they are not on a for-hire trip. In
addition, the preferred alternatives would establish swordfish
management regions. We have proposed an initial one-fish retention
limit for the Florida Swordfish Management Area, a two-fish retention
limit for the Caribbean region (to be consistent with the newly created
HMS Commercial Caribbean Handgear Permit), and a three-fish retention
limit for the Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions.
Dates and Locations of Public Meetings
The two additional public meetings dates and locations are as
April 10, 2013, 5:00-8:00 p.m., Stafford Branch Library, 129
North Main Street, Manahawkin, NJ 08050
April 30, 2013, 2:30-4:30 p.m., Conference Call and Webinar,
To participate in conference call, call: (800) 779-0686, Passcode:
To participate in webinar, RSVP at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/656686320.
A confirmation email with webinar log-in information will be sent
after RSVP is registered.