National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Coastwide General category closure.
NMFS has determined that the 2001 fishing year Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) coastwide General category quota will be attained by October 23, 2001. Therefore, the coastwide General category fishery will be closed effective 11:30 p.m. on October 23, 2001. This action is being taken to prevent overharvest of the adjusted coastwide General category quota of 816.7 metric tons (mt).
Effective 11:30 p.m. local time on October 23, 2001, through May 31, 2002.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Brad McHale or Pat Scida, 978-281-9260.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas among the various Start Printed Page 54166domestic fishing categories. The General category landings quota, including time-period subquotas and the New York Bight set-aside, are specified annually as required under § 635.27(a)(1). The 2001 fishing year General category quota and effort control specifications were issued on July 13, 2001 (66 FR 37421, July 18, 2001).
Coastwide General Category Closure
NMFS is required, under § 635.28 (a)(1), to file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of closure when a BFT quota is reached, or is projected to be reached. On and after the effective date and time of such closure notification, for the remainder of the fishing year or for a specified period as indicated in the notification, fishing for, retaining, possessing, or landing BFT under that quota category is prohibited until the opening of the subsequent quota period or until such date as specified in the notification.
The adjusted 2001 fishing year BFT quota specifications issued pursuant to § 635.27 set a coastwide General category quota of 816.7 metric tons (mt) of large medium and giant BFT to be harvested from the regulatory area during the 2001 fishing year. Based on reported landings and effort, NMFS projects that this quota will be reached by October 23, 2001. Therefore, fishing for, retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or giant BFT intended for sale by persons aboard vessels in the General or Charter/Headboat categories must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time October 23, 2001. The intent of this closure is to prevent overharvest of the coastwide quota established for the General category.
General category permit holders may tag and release BFT while the General category is closed, subject to the requirements of the tag-and-release program at § 635.26. Vessels permitted in the Charter/Headboat category that are still eligible for the Angling category trophy fish allowance under § 635.23(c)(1) and (2) may land one large medium or giant BFT prior to May 31, 2002.
This action is taken under § 635.28(a) and is exempt from review under E.O. 12866.Start Signature
Dated: October 22, 2001.
Bruce C. Morehead,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 01-26978 Filed 10-23-01; 11:23 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S