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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; Closure

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS closes the commercial fishery for king mackerel in the Florida east coast subzone. This closure is necessary to protect the Gulf king mackerel resource.

DATES:

The closure is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, February 21, 2008, through 12:01 a.m., local time, March 31, 2008.

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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 (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.

Based on the Councils' recommended total allowable catch and the allocation ratios in the FMP, on April 30, 2001 (66 FR 17368, March 30, 2001) NMFS implemented a commercial quota of 2.25 million lb (1.02 million kg) for the eastern zone (Florida) of the Gulf migratory group of king mackerel. That quota is further divided into separate quotas for the Florida east coast subzone and the northern and southern Florida west coast subzones. The quota implemented for the Florida east coast subzone is 1,040,625 lb (472,020 kg) (50 CFR 622.42(c)(1)(i)(A)(1)).

Under 50 CFR 622.43(a)(3), NMFS is required to close any segment of the Start Printed Page 10159king mackerel commercial fishery when its quota has been reached, by filing a notification at the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS has determined that the commercial quota of 1,040,625 lb (472,000 kg) for Gulf group king mackerel in the Florida east coast subzone will be reached on February 20, 2008. Accordingly, the commercial fishery for king mackerel in the Florida east coast subzone is closed at 12:01 a.m., local time, February 21, 2008, through 12:01 a.m., local time, March 31, 2008.

From November 1 through March 31 the Florida east coast subzone of the Gulf group king mackerel is that part of the eastern zone north of 25°20.4′ N. lat. (a line directly east from the Miami-Dade/Monroe County, FL, boundary) to 29°25′ N. lat. (a line directly east from the Flagler/Volusia County, FL, boundary). Beginning April 1, the boundary between Atlantic and Gulf groups of king mackerel shifts south and west to the Monroe/Collier County boundary on the west coast of Florida. From April 1 through October 31, king mackerel harvested along the east coast of Florida, including all of Monroe County, are considered to be Atlantic group king mackerel.

Classification

This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds that the need to immediately implement this action to close the fishery constitutes good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth in 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), as such procedures would be 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.

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 fishery for king mackerel in the Florida east 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.

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: February 20, 2008.

Emily H. Menashes,

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

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[FR Doc. 08-835 Filed 2-20-08; 3:59 pm]

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