→ Omnibus Framework Adjustment to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's acceptable biological catch framework

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This action proposes regulations to implement an Omnibus Framework Adjustment to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council acceptable biological catch setting process, as recommended to the National Marine Fisheries Service by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.  The Omnibus Framework Adjustment proposes a change from varying to constant acceptable biological catches within multi-year quotas by setting up averaged acceptable biological catches at a constant level for up to five years for spiny dogfish and up to three years for all other species managed by the Council.. A previous move to multi-year specifications has not provided the anticipated stability to quotas because target fishing mortality rates are applied to stock size projections that tend to change from year-to-year, creating varying acceptable biological catches within multi-year quotas. The proposed change to constant multi-year acceptable biological catches would therefore help bring stability to quotas while accounting for year-to-year changes in stock size projections, and allow the Mid-Atlantic Council's Fishery Management Plans to automatically incorporate the best available scientific information when calculating acceptable biological catches. This action also proposes to revise regulatory language to clarify the Mid-Atlantic Council's acceptable biological catch control rule assessment level designations.