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Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Texas Closure

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION:

Adjustment of the ending date of the Texas closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS announces an adjustment to the ending date of the annual closure of the shrimp fishery in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off Texas. The closure is normally from May 15 to July 15 each year. For 2000, the closure began on May 11, and will end at 30 minutes after sunset on July 5. The Texas closure is intended to prohibit the harvest of brown shrimp during their major emigration from Texas estuaries to the Gulf of Mexico so the shrimp may reach a larger, more valuable size and to prevent the waste of brown shrimp that would be discarded in fishing operations because of their small size.

DATES:

The EEZ off Texas is open to trawl fishing from 30 minutes after sunset, July 5, 2000, until 30 minutes after sunset, May 15, 2001, or until NMFS publishes further notice in the Federal Register.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Steve Branstetter, 727-570-5305; fax: 727-570-5583; e-mail: Steve.Branstetter@noaa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and is implemented by regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

The EEZ off Texas is normally closed to all trawling each year from 30 minutes after sunset on May 15 to 30 minutes after sunset on July 15. The regulations at 50 CFR 622.34(h) describe the area of the Texas closure and provide for adjustments to the beginning and ending dates by the Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, under procedures and restrictions specified in the FMP.

The beginning and ending dates of the Texas closure are based on biological sampling by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The closure date is established based on projected times that brown shrimp in Texas bays and estuaries will reach a mean size of 90 mm, and begin strong emigrations out of the bays and estuaries during maximum duration ebb tides. The waters off of Texas are re-opened to shrimping based on projections indicating that brown shrimp will reach a mean size of 112 mm, in concurrence with maximum duration ebb tides. Biological data collected by TPDW indicates that the criteria to end the Texas closure will be met on July 5, 2000. Accordingly, the time and date for ending the Texas closure is changed from 30 minutes after sunset on July 15, 2000, to 30 minutes after sunset on July 5, 2000.

Classification

This action is authorized by 50 CFR 622.34(h)(2) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

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Dated: June 29, 2000 .

Bruce C. Morehead,

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

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[FR Doc. 00-16942 Filed 6-29-00; 4:21 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-F