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Federal Register Highlights – 3/21/16

March 21, 2016

Unpublished, time-sensitive and proposed rules for March 21, 2016:

TEMPORARY RULE: The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the US 70 (Alfred C. Cunningham) Bridge across the Trent River, mile 0.0, at New Bern, NC. The deviation is necessary to ensure the safety of attendees to the annual Mumfest celebration. This deviation allows the bridge draw span to remain in the closed to navigation position at two hour increments to accommodate the free movement of pedestrians and vehicles during the annual Mumfest celebration. This deviation is effective from 9 a.m. on October 8, 2016 to 7 p.m. on October 9, 2016.

TEMPORARY RULE: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for species that comprise the deep-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary because the first seasonal apportionment of the Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the deep-water species fishery in the GOA has been reached. Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 16, 2016, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., April 1, 2016.

TEMPORARY RULE: NMFS is opening directed fishing for sablefish with fixed gear managed under the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program and the Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program. The season will open 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 19, 2016, and will close 1200 hours, A.l.t., November 7, 2016. This period is the same as the 2016 commercial halibut fishery opening dates adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission. The IFQ and CDQ halibut season is specified by a separate publication in the Federal Register of annual management measures. Effective 1200 hours, A.l.t., March 19, 2016, until 1200 hours, A.l.t., November 7, 2016.

TEMPORARY RULE: This action transfers unused quota of Georges Bank and Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder from the Atlantic scallop fishery to the Northeast multispecies fishery for the remainder of the 2015 fishing year. This quota transfer is justified when the scallop fishery is not expected to catch the entire allocation of either stock of yellowtail flounder. The quota transfer is intended to provide additional harvest opportunities for groundfish vessels to help achieve the optimum yield for these stocks while ensuring sufficient amounts of yellowtail flounder are available for the scallop fishery. Effective April 18, 2016, through April 30, 2016.

PROPOSED RULE: This action proposes approval of, and regulations to implement, Framework Adjustment 55 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This rule would set 2016–2018 catch limits for all 20 groundfish stocks, adjust the groundfish at-sea monitoring program, and adopt several sector measures. This action is necessary to respond to updated scientific information and achieve the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan. The proposed measures are intended to help prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, achieve optimum yield, and ensure that management measures are based on the best scientific information available. Comments must be received by April 5, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference Docket No. NOAA–NMFS–2016–0019.)

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