National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Inseason action; trip limit reduction.
NMFS reduces the commercial trip limit of Atlantic group Spanish mackerel in or from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the southern zone to 1,500 lb (680 kg) per day. This trip limit reduction is necessary to maximize the socioeconomic benefits of the quota.
Effective 6 a.m., local time, March 1, 2004, through March 31, 2004, unless changed by further notification in the Federal Register.Start Further Info Start Printed Page 9970
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mark Godcharles, telephone: 727-570-5305, fax: 727-570-5583, e-mail: Mark.Godcharles@noaa.gov.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental 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 by regulations at 50 CFR part 622.
Based on the Councils' recommended total allowable catch and the allocation ratios in the FMP, on August 2, 2000, (65 FR 41015, July 3, 2000) NMFS implemented a commercial quota of 3.87 million lb (1.76 million kg) for the Atlantic migratory group of Spanish mackerel. For the southern zone, NMFS specified an adjusted quota of 3.62 million lb (1.64 million kg) calculated to allow continued harvest at a set rate for the remainder of the fishing year in accordance with 50 CFR 622.44(b)(2). In accordance with 50 CFR 622.44(b)(1)(ii)(C), after 75 percent of the adjusted quota of Atlantic group Spanish mackerel from the southern zone is taken until 100 percent of the adjusted quota is taken, Spanish mackerel in or from the EEZ in the southern zone may be possessed on board or landed from a permitted vessel in amounts not exceeding 1,500 lb (680 kg) per day. The southern zone for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel extends from 30°42′45.6″ N. lat., which is a line directly east from the Georgia/Florida boundary, to 25° 20.4′ N. lat., which is a line directly east from the Miami-Dade/Monroe County, FL, boundary.
NMFS has determined that 75 percent of the adjusted quota for Atlantic group Spanish mackerel from the southern zone has been taken. Accordingly, the 1,500 lb (680 kg) per day commercial trip limit applies to Spanish mackerel in or from the EEZ in the southern zone effective 6 a.m., local time, March 1, 2004, through March 31, 2004, unless changed by further notification in the Federal Register.
This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), as such prior notice and opportunity for public comment is unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures would be unnecessary because the rule itself already has been subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the trip limit reduction. Allowing prior notice and opportunity for public comment is contrary to the public interest because of the need to immediately implement this action in order to protect the fishery since the capacity of the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the quota. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment will require time and would potentially result in a harvest well in excess of the established quota.
For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effectiveness of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).
This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.43(a) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: February 26, 2004.
Bruce C. Morehead,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 04-4678 Filed 2-27-04; 11:39 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S