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Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish Fishery; Commercial Quota Transfer

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


Commercial quota transfer.


NMFS announces that the Commonwealth of Virginia has transferred a total of 500,000 lb (226,860 kg) of commercial bluefish quota to the State of New York for 2003. NMFS has adjusted the quotas and announces the revised commercial quotas for Virginia and New York. This action is permitted under the regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plan for the Bluefish Fishery (FMP) and is intended to reduce discards and prevent negative economic impacts to the New York commercial bluefish fishery.


Effective September 17, 2003 through December 31, 2003.

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Myles Raizin, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281-9104, fax (978)281-9135, e-mail

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Regulations governing the Atlantic bluefish fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned among the coastal states from Maine through Florida. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state are described in § 648.160.

The initial total commercial quota for bluefish for the 2003 calendar year was set equal to 10,460,058 lb (4,755,017 kg) (68 FR 25305; May 12, 2003). The resulting quota for New York was 1,086,286 lb (492,870 kg), and for Virginia was 1,242,601 lb (563,794 kg).

The FMP allows two or more states, under mutual agreement and with the concurrence of the Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), to transfer or combine part or all of their annual commercial quota. The Regional Administrator must consider the criteria set forth in § 648.160(f)(1) in the evaluation of requests for quota transfers or combinations.

Virginia has agreed to transfer 500,000 lb (226,860 kg) of its 2003 commercial quota to New York. The revised quotas for the calendar year 2003 are: Virginia, 742,601 lb (336,933 kg), and New York, 1,586,286 lb (719,730 kg). The Regional Administrator has determined that the criteria set forth in § 648.160(f)(1) have been met. This action does not alter any of the conclusions reached in the environmental assessment for the 2003 specifications for the Atlantic bluefish fishery. This is a routine administrative action that reallocates commercial quota within the scope of previously published environmental analyses.

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This action is taken under 50 CFR part 648 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: September 16, 2003.

Bruce C. Morehead,

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

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[FR Doc. 03-24112 Filed 9-17-03; 1:54 pm]