National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce.
Suspension of surf clam minimum size limit.
NMFS suspends the minimum size limit of 4.75 inches (12.07 cm) for Atlantic surf clams for the 2002 fishing year. This action is taken under the authority of the implementing regulations for this fishery, which allow for the annual suspension of the minimum size limit based upon set criteria. The intended effect is to relieve the industry from a regulatory burden that is not necessary, as the majority of surf clams harvested are larger than the minimum size limit.
Effective January 1, 2002, through December 31, 2002.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Walter J. Gardiner, Fishery Management Specialist, 978-281-9326.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Section 648.72(c) of the regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Atlantic Surf Clam and Ocean Quahog Fisheries allows the Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) to suspend annually, by publication of a notification in the Federal Register, the minimum size limit for Atlantic surf clams. This action may be taken unless discard, catch, and survey data indicate that 30 percent of the Atlantic surf clam resource is smaller than 4.75 inches (12.07 cm) and the overall reduced size is not attributable to harvest from beds where growth of the individual clams has been reduced because of density-dependent factors.
At its July 2001, meeting, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) voted to recommend that the Start Printed Page 54724Regional Administrator suspend the minimum size limit. Commercial surf clam shell length data for 2001 was analyzed using modified procedures from what was used in 1999 and 2000. The analysis indicated that between 2.1 to 22.2 percent of the samples taken overall were composed of surf clams that were less than 4.75 inches (12.07 cm). Based on these data, the Regional Administrator adopts the Council's recommendation and suspends the minimum size limit for Atlantic surf clams from January 1, 2002, through December 31, 2002.
This action is authorized by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: October 24, 2001.
Bruce C. Morehead,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 01-27312 Filed 10-29-01; 8:45 am]
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