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Rule

Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Closure of the Quarter I Fishery for Loligo Squid

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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.

SUMMARY:

NMFS announces that the directed fishery for Loligo squid in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) will be closed effective 0001 hours, February 20, 2005. Vessels issued a Federal permit to harvest Loligo squid may not retain or land more than 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) of Loligo squid per trip for the remainder of the quarter (through March 31, 2005). This action is necessary to prevent the fishery from exceeding its Quarter I quota and to allow for effective management of this stock.

DATES:

Effective 0001 hours, February 20, 2005, through 2400 hours, March 31, 2005.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jason Blackburn, Fishery Management Specialist, 978-281-9326, Fax 978-281-9135.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulations governing the Loligo squid fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require specifications for maximum sustainable yield, initial optimum yield, allowable biological catch, domestic annual harvest (DAH), domestic annual processing, joint venture processing, and total allowable levels of foreign fishing for the species managed under the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan. The procedures for setting the annual initial specifications are described in § 648.21.

The regulations at § 648.21(d)(1) allow for the previous year's annual specifications to remain in effect if the annual specifications for the new fishing year are not published in the Federal Register prior to the start of the fishing year. The 2004 annual quota for Loligo squid was 16,872.4 mt, with 5,606.7 mt allocated to Quarter I (69 FR 4861, February 2, 2004).

The annual quota in 2005 is not proposed to change from the 2004 value, but because the proposed 2005 Research Set-Aside (RSA) is greater than the 2004 RSA allocation, the individual Quarterly quotas are minimally different. The proposed rule for the 2005 annual specifications published on January 10, 2005 (70 FR 1686), with a comment period open through February 9, 2005. The proposed 2005 annual quota for Loligo squid is 16,744.9 mt. This amount is proposed to be allocated by quarter, as shown below.

Table 1.—Loligo Squid Quarterly Allocations.

QuarterPercentMetric Tons1Research Set-aside
I (Jan-Mar)33.235,564.3N/A
II(Apr-Jun)17.612,948.8N/A
III(Jul-Sep)17.32,896.9N/A
IV(Oct-Dec)31.865,334.9N/A
Total10016,744.9255.1
1 Quarterly allocations after 255.1 mt research set-aside deduction.
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Section 648.22 requires NMFS to close the directed Loligo squid fishery in the EEZ when 80 percent of the quarterly allocation is harvested in Quarters I, II, and III, and when 95 percent of the total annual DAH has been harvested. NMFS is further required to notify, in advance of the closure, the Executive Directors of the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils; mail notification of the closure to all holders of Loligo squid permits at least 72 hours before the effective date of the closure; provide adequate notice of the closure to recreational participants in the fishery; and publish notification of the closure in the Federal Register. The Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS, based on dealer reports and other available information, has determined that 80 percent of the DAH for Loligo squid in Quarter I will be harvested. Therefore, effective 0001 hours, February 20, 2005, the directed fishery for Loligo squid is closed and vessels issued Federal permits for Loligo squid may not retain or land more than 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) of Loligo during a calendar day. The directed fishery will reopen effective 0001 hours, April 1, 2005, when the Quarter II quota becomes available.

Classification

This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

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Dated: February 14, 2005.

Alan D. Risenhoover,

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

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[FR Doc. 05-3225 Filed 2-15-05; 2:56 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S