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Rule

Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for New Jersey

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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 of commercial fishery

SUMMARY:

NMFS announces that the summer flounder commercial quota available to New Jersey has been harvested. Vessels issued a commercial Federal fisheries permit for the summer flounder fishery may not land summer flounder in New Jersey for the remainder of calendar year 2003, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer. Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery require publication of this notification to advise New Jersey that the quota has been harvested and to advise vessel permit holders and dealer permit holders that no commercial quota is available for landing summer flounder in New Jersey.

DATES:

Effective 1801 hours, December 22, 2003, through 2400 hours, December 31, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jason Blackburn, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281-9326, e-mail jason.blackburn@noaa.gov

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned on a percentage basis among the coastal states from North Carolina through Maine. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state is described in § 648.100.

The initial total commercial quota for summer flounder for the 2003 calendar year was set equal to 13,980,028 lb (6,341,235 kg)(68 FR 60, January 2, 2003). The percent allocated to vessels landing summer flounder in New Jersey is 16.72499 percent, resulting in a commercial quota of 2,338,158 lb (1,060,571 kg). The 2003 allocation was reduced to 2,329,010 lb (1,056,432 kg) due to research set-aside.

Section 648.101(b) requires the Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) to monitor state commercial quotas and to determine when a state's commercial quota has been harvested. NMFS then publishes a notification in the Federal Register to advise the state and to notify Federal vessel and dealer permit holders that, effective upon a specific date, the state's commercial quota has been harvested and no commercial quota is available for landing summer flounder in that state. The Regional Administrator has determined, based upon dealer reports and other available information, that New Jersey has harvested its quota for 2003.

The regulations at § 648.4(b) provide that Federal permit holders agree, as a condition of the permit, not to land summer flounder in any state that the Regional Administrator has determined no longer has commercial quota available. Therefore, effective 1801 hours, December 22, 2003, further landings of summer flounder in New Jersey by vessels holding summer flounder commercial Federal fisheries permits are prohibited for the remainder of the 2003 calendar year, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer and is announced in the Federal Register. Effective 1801 hours, December 22, 2003, federally permitted dealers are also notified that they may not purchase summer flounder from federally permitted vessels that land in New Jersey for the remainder of the calendar year, or until additional quota becomes available through a transfer.

Classification

This action is required by 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: December 18, 2003.

Richard W. Surdi,

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

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[FR Doc. 03-31602 Filed 12-18-03; 2:48 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S