Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
Copies of the report "Pacific Mackerel (
During public meetings each year, the estimated biomass for Pacific mackerel is presented to the Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council) Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Management Team (Team), the Council's CPS Advisory Subpanel (Subpanel) and the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), where the biomass and the status of the fisheries are reviewed and discussed. The biomass estimate is then presented to the Council along with the calculated overfishing limit (OFL) and available biological catch (ABC), annual catch limit (ACL) and harvest guideline (HG) and/or annual catch target (ACT) recommendations and comments from the Team, Subpanel and SSC. Following review by the Council and after hearing public comment, the Council adopts a biomass estimate and makes its catch level recommendations to NMFS.
The purpose of this proposed rule is to implement the 2012-2013 ACL, HG, ACT and other annual catch reference points, including OFL and an ABC that takes into consideration uncertainty surrounding the current estimate of biomass, for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific coast. (The EEZ off the Pacific Coast encompasses ocean waters seaward of the outer boundary of state waters, which is 3 nautical miles off the coast, out to a line 200 nautical miles from the coast.) The CPS FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS to set these annual catch levels for the Pacific mackerel fishery based on the annual specification framework in the FMP. This framework includes a harvest control rule that determines the maximum HG, the primary management target for the fishery, for the current fishing season. The HG is based, in large part, on the current estimate of stock biomass. The harvest control rule in the CPS FMP is HG = [(Biomass−Cutoff) * Fraction * Distribution] with the parameters described as follows:
At the June 2012 Council meeting, the Council recommended management measures for the Pacific mackerel fishery. These management measures were based on the 2011 full stock assessment, which estimated the biomass of Pacific mackerel to be 211,126 mt. The 2011 full stock assessment of Pacific mackerel was reviewed by a Stock Assessment Review Panel in May 2011, and was approved in June 2011 by the SSC as the best available science for use in management. Based on recommendations from the Council's SSC and other advisory bodies, the Council recommended and NOAA Fisheries (NMFS) is proposing, an OFL of 44,336 mt, an ABC of 42,375 mt, an ACL and maximum harvest guideline (HG) of 40,514 mt, and an ACT of 30,386 mt for the 2012-2013 Pacific mackerel fishing year. These catch specifications are based on the biomass estimate for Pacific mackerel and the control rules established in the CPS FMP.
If the ACT is attained, the directed fishery will close, and the difference between the ACL and ACT (10,128 mt) will be reserved as a set aside for incidental landings in other CPS fisheries and other sources of mortality. In that event, incidental harvest measures will be in place for the remainder of the fishing year, including a 45 percent incidental catch allowance when Pacific mackerel are landed with other CPS. In other words, no more than 45 percent by weight of the CPS landed per trip may be Pacific mackerel, except that up to 1 mt of Pacific mackerel could be landed without landing any other CPS. Upon the fishery attaining the ACL/HG (40,514 mt), no vessels in CPS fisheries may retain Pacific mackerel. The purpose of the incidental set-aside and allowance of an incidental fishery is to allow for the restricted incidental landings of Pacific mackerel in other fisheries, particularly other CPS fisheries, when the directed fishery is closed to reduce potential discard of Pacific mackerel and allow for continued prosecution of other important CPS fisheries.
The NMFS Southwest Regional Administrator will publish a notice in the
Detailed information on the fishery and the stock assessment are found in the report “Pacific Mackerel (
Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the CPS FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment.
These proposed specifications are exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 605(b), the Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, for the reasons as follows:
The purpose of this proposed rule is to implement the 2012-2013 annual specifications for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific coast. The CPS FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS to set an OFL, ABC, ACL and HG or ACT for the Pacific mackerel fishery based on the harvest control rules in the FMP. The specific harvest control rule is applied to the current stock biomass estimate to derive the annual HG, which is used to manage the commercial take of Pacific mackerel.
The U.S. Small Business Administration defines small businesses engaged in fishing as those vessels with annual revenues of or below $4 million. The small entities that would be affected by the proposed action are the vessels that compose the West Coast CPS finfish fleet. Pacific mackerel harvest is one component of CPS fisheries off the U.S. West Coast, which primarily includes the fisheries for Pacific sardine, northern anchovy and market squid. Pacific mackerel are principally caught off southern California within the limited entry portion (south of 39 degrees N. latitude; Point Arena, California) of the fishery. Fifty-eight vessels are currently permitted in the Federal CPS limited entry fishery off California. The average annual per vessel revenue in 2011 for the West Coast CPS finfish fleet was well below $4 million; therefore, all of these vessels therefore are considered small businesses under the RFA. Because each affected vessel is a small business, this proposed rule has an equal effect on all of these small entities, and therefore will impact a substantial number of these small entities in the same manner.
The profitability of these vessels as a result of this proposed rule is based on the average Pacific mackerel ex-vessel price per mt. NMFS used average Pacific mackerel ex-vessel price per mt to conduct a profitability analysis because cost data for the harvesting operations of CPS finfish vessels was limited or unavailable. For the 2011-2012 fishing year the HG was 40,514 mt and was divided into a directed fishery (or ACT) of 30,386 mt and an incidental fishery of 10,128 mt. Approximately 1,900 mt of this HG was harvested in 2011-2012 fishing season with an estimated ex-vessel value of $456,000 mt. Using these figures, the average 2011/2012 ex-vessel price per mt of Pacific mackerel was approximately $240.
The proposed ACL/HG for the 2012/2013 Pacific mackerel fishing season is 40,514 mt, with a directed fishing harvest target or ACT of 30,386 mt. This season's directed fishing target is the same as the previous year. If the fleet were to take the entire 2012-2013 ACT, and assuming a coastwide average ex-vessel price per mt of $220 (average of 2010 and 2011 ex-vessel), the potential revenue to the fleet would be approximately $6.6 million. However, this result will depend greatly on market forces within the fishery, and on the regional availability of the resource to the fleet and the fleets' ability to find schools of Pacific mackerel. The annual average U.S. Pacific mackerel harvest from 2001 to 2010 is approximately 4,500 mt, and over the last 10 years landings have averaged approximately 6,000 mt without exceeding 10,000 mt. As a result, it is unlikely that the ACT proposed in this rule will limit the potential profitability of the fleet from Pacific mackerel. Accordingly, vessels' profits are not expected to be altered as a result of this rule as it relates to recent catches in the fishery and the previous season's regulation.
Based on the disproportionality and profitability analysis above, this rule, if adopted, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of these small entities. As a result, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required, and none has been prepared.
There are no reporting, record-keeping, or other compliance requirements required by this proposed rule. Additionally, no other Federal rules duplicate, overlap or conflict with this proposed rule.
This action does not contain a collection-of-information requirement for purposes of the Paper Reduction Act.
16 U.S.C. 1801