National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Closure of commercial fishery.
NMFS announces that the Atlantic bluefish commercial quota available to Rhode Island has been harvested. Vessels issued a commercial Federal fisheries permit for the Atlantic bluefish fishery may not land bluefish in Rhode Island for the remainder of calendar year 2006, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer. Regulations governing the Atlantic bluefish fishery require publication of this notification to advise Rhode Island that the quota has been harvested and to advise vessel permit holders and dealer permit holders that no commercial quota is available for landing bluefish in Rhode Island.
Effective 0001 hours, December 6, 2006 through 2400 hours, December 31, 2006.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Douglas Potts, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281-9341End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
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 on a percentage basis among the coastal states from Florida through Maine. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state is described in § 648.160.
The initial total commercial quota for Atlantic bluefish for the 2006 calendar year was set equal to 4,215,802 lb (1,912 mt) (71 FR 9472, February 24, 2006). The initial commercial quota was adjusted by transferring 3,865,294 lb (1,753 mt) from the recreation allocation, resulting in a total commercial quota of 8,081,096 lb (3,666 mt). The percent allocated to vessels landing bluefish in Rhode Island is 6.8081 percent, resulting in a commercial quota of 550,169 lb (249,555 kg). The 2006 allocation was reduced to 542,101 (245,893 kg) (71 FR 13777, March 17, 2006) due to research set-aside.
Section 648.161(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 bluefish in that state. The Regional Administrator has determined, based upon dealer reports and other available information, that Rhode Island has harvested its quota for 2006.
The regulations at § 648.4(b) provide that Federal permit holders agree, as a condition of the permit, not to land bluefish in any state that the Regional Administrator has determined no longer has commercial quota available. Therefore, effective 0001 hours, December 6, 2006, further landings of bluefish in Rhode Island by vessels holding Atlantic bluefish commercial Federal fisheries permits are prohibited for the remainder of the 2006 calendar year, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer and is announced in the Federal Register. Effective 0001 hours, December 6, 2006, federally permitted dealers are also notified that they may not purchase bluefish from federally permitted vessels that land in Rhode Island for the remainder of the calendar year, or until additional quota becomes available through a transfer.
This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: November 30, 2006.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 06-9553 Filed 12-1-06; 2:50 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S