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Rule

Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic; Closure

Action

Temporary Rule; Closure.

Summary

NMFS closes the commercial sector for king mackerel in the Florida east coast subzone. This closure is necessary to protect the Gulf king mackerel resource.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

The closure is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, February 26, 2011, until 12:01 a.m., local time, April 1, 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Susan Gerhart, telephone: 727-824-5305, fax: 727-824-5308, e-mail: Susan.Gerhart@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

The fishery for coastal migratory pelagic fish (king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cero, cobia, little tunny, and, in the Gulf of Mexico only, dolphin and bluefish) is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils (Councils) and is implemented under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622.

Based on the Councils' recommended total allowable catch and the allocation ratios in the FMP, on April 30, 2001 (66 FR 17368, March 30, 2001) NMFS implemented a commercial quota of 2.25 million lb (1.02 million kg) for the eastern zone (Florida) of the Gulf migratory group of king mackerel. That quota is further divided into separate quotas for the Florida east coast subzone and the northern and southern Florida west coast subzones. The quota implemented for the Florida east coast subzone is 1,040,625 lb (472,020 kg) (50 CFR 622.42(c)(1)(i)(A)(1)).

Under 50 CFR 622.43(a)(3), NMFS is required to close any segment of the king mackerel commercial sector when its quota has been reached, by filing a notification with the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS has determined that the commercial quota of 1,040,625 lb (472,000 kg) for Gulf group king mackerel in the Florida east coast subzone will be reached on February 26, 2011. Accordingly, the commercial sector for king mackerel in the Florida east coast subzone is closed at 12:01 a.m., local time, February 26, 2011, until 12:01 a.m., local time, April 1, 2011.

From November 1 through March 31 the Florida east coast subzone of the Gulf group king mackerel is that part of the eastern zone north of 25°20.4′ N. lat. (a line directly east from the Miami-Dade/Monroe County, FL, boundary) to 29°25′N. lat. (a line directly east from the Flagler/Volusia County, FL, boundary). Beginning April 1, the boundary between Atlantic and Gulf groups of king mackerel shifts south and west to the Monroe/Collier County boundary on the west coast of Florida. From April 1 through October 31, king mackerel harvested along the east coast of Florida, including all of Monroe County, are considered to be Atlantic group king mackerel.

Classification Back to Top

This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fisheries. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that the need to immediately implement this action to close the Florida east coast subzone to commercial king mackerel fishing constitutes good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such prior notice and opportunity for public comment is unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures would be unnecessary because the rule implementing the quota and the associated requirement for closure of the commercial harvest when the quota is reached or projected to be reached has already been subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the closure.

Allowing prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this action would be contrary to the public interest because any delay in the closure of the commercial harvest could result in the commercial quota being exceeded. There is a need to immediately implement this action to protect the king mackerel resource because the capacity of the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the quota. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment would require time and would potentially result in a harvest well in excess of the established quota.

For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effectiveness of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.43(a) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

Authority: Back to Top

16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Dated: February 23, 2011.

Margo Schulze-Haugen,

Acting Director, Office Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

[FR Doc. 2011-4365 Filed 2-23-11; 4:15 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-P

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