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

Document Details

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:

Closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS closes the commercial run-around gillnet fishery for king mackerel in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the southern Florida west coast subzone. This closure is necessary to protect the overfished Gulf king mackerel resource.

DATES:

The closure is effective 12 noon, local time, January 19, 2001, through 6 a.m., January 22, 2002.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mark Godcharles, telephone: 727-570-5305, fax: 727-570-5583, e-mail: Mark.Godcharles@noaa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The fishery for coastal migratory pelagic fish (king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cero, cobia, little tunny, dolphin, and, in the Gulf of Mexico only, 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 February 19, 1998 (63 FR 8353), NMFS implemented a commercial quota of 2.34 million lb (1.06 million kg) for the eastern zone (Florida) of the Gulf migratory group of king mackerel. On April 27, 2000, a final rule took effect dividing the Florida west coast subzone of the eastern zone into northern and southern subzones and establishing a separate quota for the southern Florida west coast subzone of 1,082,250 lb (490,900 kg) (65 FR 16336, March 28, 2000). That quota was further divided into two equal quotas of 541,125 lb (245,450 kg) for vessels in each of two groups fishing with run-around gillnets and hook-and-line gear (50 CFR 622.42(c)(1)(i)(A)(2)(i)).

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Under 50 CFR 622.43(a), NMFS is required to close any segment of the king mackerel commercial fishery when its quota has been reached, or is projected to be reached, by filing a notification at the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS has determined that the commercial quota of 541,125 lb (245,450 kg) for Gulf group king mackerel for vessels using run-around gillnet gear in the southern Florida west coast subzone was reached on January 18, 2001. Accordingly, the commercial fishery for king mackerel for such vessels in the southern Florida west coast subzone is closed at 12 noon, local time, January 19, 2001, through 6:00 a.m., January 22, 2002, the beginning of the next fishing season, i.e., the day after the 2002 Martin Luther King Jr. Federal holiday. -

The Florida west coast subzone is that part of the eastern zone south and west of 25°20.4' N. lat. (a line directly east from the Miami-Dade County, FL, boundary). The Florida west coast subzone is further divided into northern and southern subzones. The southern subzone is that part of the Florida west coast subzone which from November 1 through March 31 extends south and west from 25°20.4' N. lat. to 26°19.8' N. lat.(a line directly west from the Lee/Collier County, FL, boundary), i.e., the area off Collier and Monroe Counties. From April 1 through October 31, the southern subzone is that part of the Florida west coast subzone which is between 26°19.8' N. lat. and 25°48' N. lat.(a line directly west from the Monroe/Collier County, FL, boundary), i.e., the area off Collier County. -

Classification

This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The closure must be implemented immediately to prevent an overrun of the commercial quota (50 CFR 622.42(c)(1)) of Gulf group king mackerel, given the capacity of the fishing fleet to quickly harvest the quota. Overruns could potentially lead to further overfishing and unnecessary delays in rebuilding this overfished resource. Any delay in implementing this action would be impractical and contradictory to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the FMP, and the public interest. NMFS finds, for good cause, that the implementation of this action cannot be delayed for 30 days. Accordingly, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), a delay in the effective date is waived. -

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

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

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Dated: January 18, 2001.

Clarence Pautzke

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

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[FR Doc. 01-2105 Filed 1-19-01; 11:24 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S