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Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper/Grouper Resources of the South Atlantic; Trip Limit Reduction

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


Temporary rule; trip limit reduction.


NMFS reduces the commercial trip limit for golden tilefish in the South Atlantic to 300 lb (136 kg) per trip in or from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This trip limit reduction is necessary to protect the South Atlantic golden tilefish resource.


This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, April 6, 2008, through December 31, 2008, unless changed by further notification in the Federal Register.

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Susan Gerhart, telephone 727-824-5305, fax 727-824-5308, e-mail

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The snapper-grouper fishery of the South Atlantic is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Resources of the South Atlantic (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council 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.

Under 50 CFR 622.44(c)(2), NMFS is required to reduce the trip limit in the commercial fishery for golden tilefish from 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) to 300 lb (136 kg) per trip when 75 percent of the fishing year quota is met, by filing a notification to that effect in the Federal Register. Based on current statistics, NMFS has determined that 75 percent of the available commercial quota of 295,000 lb (133,810 kg), gutted weight, for golden tilefish will be reached on or before April 6, 2008. Accordingly, NMFS is reducing the commercial golden tilefish trip limit to 300 lb (136 kg) in the South Atlantic EEZ from 12:01 a.m., local time, on April 6, 2008, until the quota is reached and the fishery closes or 12:01 a.m., local time, on January 1, 2009, whichever occurs first.


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 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, 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.

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 immediately to prevent an overrun of the commercial fishery for golden tilefish in the South Atlantic, 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: March 24, 2008.

Alan D. Risenhoover

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

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[FR Doc. E8-6434 Filed 3-27-08; 8:45 am]