Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
To submit comments through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal:
Comments received through means not specified in this rule will not be considered.
For further assistance with submitting a comment, see the "Commenting" section at
Electronic copies of the Resubmittal may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires each regional fishery management council to submit any fishery management plan or amendment to NMFS for review and approval, partial approval, or disapproval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving a plan or amendment, publish an announcement in the
Amendment 18A, implemented through final rulemaking on July 1, 2012, (77 FR 32408, June 1, 2012), included a provision to limit participation in the black sea bass pot segment of the snapper-grouper fishery through the establishment of an endorsement program. The proposed rule for Amendment 18A (77 FR 06991, March 23, 2012) outlined the criteria for qualifying for an endorsement. As of August 22, 2012, 32 South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permit holders qualify for an endorsement, and more could qualify after the appeals process finalizes.
Amendment 18A also contained an action to allow for the transfer of black sea bass pot endorsements. However, NMFS disapproved this action because Amendment 18A and the supporting environmental impact statement identified the incorrect preferred alternative. In addition, there were discrepancies in the record regarding the Council's discussion of the alternatives. Therefore, NMFS was unable to implement the action in compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act. The Council decided to revise and resubmit the action addressing transferability of black sea bass pot endorsements in an amendment (the Resubmittal). All reasonable alternatives for the transferability action were analyzed in Amendment 18A according to the National Environmental Policy Act, including biological, economic, social, administrative, and cumulative impacts of the action.
The Resubmittal contains one action that would allow transfer of a black sea bass pot endorsement to an individual or entity that holds or simultaneously obtains a valid South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permit. In order to be transferred, a black sea bass pot endorsement must be valid or renewable. Black sea bass pot endorsements may be transferred independently from the South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permit with which it is associated. Landings history would not be transferred with the endorsement. NMFS will attribute black sea bass landings to the associated South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permit regardless of whether the landings occurred before or after the
The Council has submitted for Secretarial review, approval and implementation, a revised action from Amendment 18A establishing black sea bass endorsement transferability. NMFS' decision to approve, partially approve, or disapprove the Resubmittal will be based, in part, on consideration of comments, recommendations, and information received during the comment period on this notice of availability. After consideration of these factors, and the action's consistency with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable law, NMFS will publish a notice of agency action in the
NMFS proposes a rule that would implement measures outlined in the Resubmittal. In accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS is evaluating the proposed rule to determine whether it is consistent with the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. If that determination is affirmative, NMFS will publish the proposed rule in the
Comments received by October 22, 2012, whether specifically directed to the amendment or the proposed rule, will be considered by NMFS in its decision to approve, disapprove, or partially approve the amendment. Comments received after that date will not be considered by NMFS in this decision. All comments received by NMFS on the amendment or the proposed rule during their respective comment periods will be addressed in the final rule.
16 U.S.C. 1801