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Rule

Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic; Trip Limit Reduction

Document Details

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.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; trip limit reduction.

SUMMARY:

NMFS reduces the trip limit in the commercial hook-and-line fishery for king mackerel in the northern Florida west coast subzone to 500 lb (227 kg) of king mackerel per day in or from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This trip limit reduction is necessary to protect the Gulf king mackerel resource.

DATES:

This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, December 27, 2007, through June 30, 2008, unless changed by further notification in the Federal Register.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Susan Gerhart, telephone 727-824-5305, fax 727-824-5308, e-mail susan.gerhart@noaa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The fishery for coastal migratory pelagic fish (king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cero, cobia, little tunny, and, in the Gulf of Mexico only, dolphin and 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 and is implemented under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622.

On April 27, 2000, NMFS implemented the final rule (65 FR 16336, March 28, 2000) that divided the Florida west coast subzone of the eastern zone into northern and southern subzones, and established their separate quotas. The quota for the northern Florida west coast subzone is 168,750 lb (76,544 kg)(50 CFR 622.42(c)(1)(i)(A)(2)(ii)).

In accordance with 50 CFR 622.44(a)(2)(ii)(B)(2), from the date that 75 percent of the northern Florida west coast subzone's quota has been harvested until a closure of the subzone's fishery has been effected or the fishing year ends, king mackerel in or from the EEZ may be possessed on board or landed from a permitted vessel in amounts not exceeding 500 lb (227 kg) per day.

NMFS has determined that 75 percent of the quota for Gulf group king mackerel from the northern Florida west coast subzone has been reached. Accordingly, a 500-lb (227-kg) trip limit applies to vessels in the commercial fishery for king mackerel in or from the EEZ in the northern Florida west coast subzone effective 12:01 a.m., local time, December 27, 2007. The 500-lb (227-kg) trip limit will remain in effect until the fishery closes or until the end of the current fishing year (June 30, 2008), whichever occurs first.

The Florida west coast subzone is that part of the eastern zone south and west of 25°20.4′ N. lat. (a line directly east from the Miami-Dade County, FL boundary). The Florida west coast subzone is further divided into northern and southern subzones. The northern subzone is that part of the Florida west coast subzone that is between 26°19.8′ N. lat. (a line directly west from the Lee/Collier County, FL boundary) and 87°31′06″; W. long. (a line directly south from the Alabama/Florida boundary).

Classification

This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, 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)(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 closure, if warranted.

NMFS also finds good cause that the implementation of this action cannot be delayed for 30 days. There is a need to implement this measure in a timely fashion to prevent an overrun of the commercial quota of Gulf king mackerel in the northern Florida west coast subzone, given the capacity of the fishing fleet to harvest the quota quickly. Any delay in implementing this action would be contrary to the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the FMP. Accordingly, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), a delay in the effective date is waived.Start Printed Page 73270

This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.43(a) 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: December 20, 2007.

Galen R. Tromble,

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

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[FR Doc. 07-6200 Filed 12-20-07; 2:16 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S