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Rule

Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Black Sea Bass Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for Quarter 3 Period

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Commercial quota harvest for Quarter 3 period.

SUMMARY:

NMFS announces that the black sea bass commercial quota available in the Quarter 3 period to the coastal states from Maine through North Carolina has been harvested. Commercial vessels may not land black sea bass in the northeast region for the remainder of the 2000 Quarter 3 quota period (through September 30, 2000). Regulations governing the black sea bass fishery require publication of this notice to advise the coastal states from Maine through North Carolina that the quota has been harvested and to advise vessel permit holders and dealer permit holders that no commercial quota is available for landing black sea bass in these states north of 35°15.3′ N. lat.

DATES:

Effective July 25, 2000, 0001 hrs, local time, through September 30, 2000, 2400 hrs, local time.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jennifer L. Anderson, Fishery Management Specialist, at (978) 281-9226.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulations governing the black sea bass fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is allocated into four quota periods based upon percentages of the annual quota. The Quarter 3 commercial quota (July through September) is distributed to the coastal states from Maine through North Carolina. The process to set the annual commercial quota is described in § 648.140.

The initial total commercial quota for black sea bass for the 2000 calendar year was set equal to 3,024,742 lb (1,372,000 kg) (65 FR 33486, May 24, 2000). The Quarter 3 period quota, which is equal to 12.33 percent of the annual commercial quota, was set at 372,951 lb (169,168 kg). The quota allocation was adjusted downward to compensate for Start Printed Page 455441999 Quarter 3 landings in excess of the 1999 Quarter 3 quota. The adjusted quota was 273,155 lb (123,901 kg).

Section 648.141 requires the Regional Administrator Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) to monitor the commercial black sea bass quota for each quota period and, based upon dealer reports, state data and other available information, to determine when the commercial quota has been harvested. NMFS is required to publish notification in the Federal Register advising and notifying commercial vessels and dealer permit holders that, effective upon a specific date, the black sea bass commercial quota has been harvested and no commercial quota is available for landing black sea bass for the remainder of the Quarter 3 period, north of 35°15.3′ N. lat. The Regional Administrator has determined, based upon dealer reports and other available information, that the black sea bass commercial quota for the 2000 Quarter 3 period has been harvested.

The regulations at § 648.4(b) provide that Federal black sea bass moratorium permit holders agree as a condition of the permit not to land black sea bass in any state after NMFS has published a notification in the Federal Register stating that the commercial quota for the period has been harvested and that no commercial quota for the black sea bass is available. The Regional Administrator has determined that the Quarter 3 period for black sea bass no longer has commercial quota available. Therefore, effective 0001 hrs local time, July 25, 2000, further landings of black sea bass in coastal states from Maine through North Carolina, north of 35°15.3′ N. lat. by vessels holding commercial Federal fisheries permits are prohibited through September 30, 2000, 2400 hrs local time. The Quarter 4 period for commercial black sea bass harvest will open on October 1, 2000. Effective July 25, 2000, federally permitted dealers are also advised that they may not purchase black sea bass from federally permitted black sea bass moratorium permit holders that land in coastal states from Maine through North Carolina for the remainder of the Quarter 3 period (through September 30, 2000).

The regulations at § 648.4(b) also provide that, if the commercial black sea bass quota for a period is harvested and the coast is closed to the possession of black sea bass north of 35°15.3′ N. lat., any vessel owners that hold valid commercial permits for both the black sea bass and the NMFS Southeast Region snapper-grouper fisheries may surrender their black sea bass moratorium permit by certified mail addressed to the Regional Administrator (see Table at § 600.502) and fish pursuant to their snapper-grouper permit, as long as fishing is conducted exclusively in waters, and landings are made, south of 35°15.3′ N. lat. A moratorium permit for the black sea bass fishery that is voluntarily relinquished or surrendered will be reissued upon the receipt of the vessel owner's written request after a minimum period of 6 months from the date of cancellation.

Classification

This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under E.O. 12866.

Start Authority

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

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Dated: July 18, 2000.

Bruce C. Morehead,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 00-18630 Filed 7-19-00; 4:47 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-F