National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Start Printed Page 79720Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Closure of Atlantic herring fishery for Management Area 1B.
NMFS announces that, effective 0001 hours, December 24, 2008, federally permitted vessels may not fish for, catch, possess, transfer, or land more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of Atlantic herring in or from Management Area 1B (Area 1B) per trip or calendar day until January 1, 2009, when the 2009 TAC becomes available, except for transiting purposes as described in this notice. This action is based on the determination that 95 percent of the Atlantic herring total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to Area 1B for 2008 is projected to be harvested. Regulations governing the Atlantic herring fishery require publication of this notification to advise vessel and dealer permit holders that no TAC is available for the directed fishery for Atlantic herring harvested from Area 1B.
Effective 0001 hrs local time, December 24, 2008, through December 31, 2008.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Christopher Biegel, Fishery Management Specialist, at (978) 281-9112.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Regulations governing the Atlantic herring fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require annual specification of optimum yield, domestic and foreign fishing, domestic and joint venture processing, and management area TACs. The 2008 TAC allocated to Area 1B (72 FR 17807, April 10, 2007) is 9,700 mt.
The regulations at § 648.201 require the Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) to monitor the Atlantic herring fishery in each of the four management areas designated in the Fishery Management Plan for the Atlantic Herring Fishery and, based upon dealer reports, state data, and other available information, to determine when the harvest of Atlantic herring is projected to reach 95 percent of the TAC allocated. When such a determination is made, NMFS is required to publish notification in the Federal Register of this determination. Effective upon a specific date, NMFS must notify vessel and dealer permit holders that vessels are prohibited from fishing for, catching, possessing, transferring, or landing more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of herring per trip or calendar day in or from the specified management area for the remainder of the closure period. Transiting during a closure with more than 2,000 lb of herring on board is allowed under the conditions specified below.
The Regional Administrator has determined, based upon dealer reports and other available information that 95 percent of the total Atlantic herring TAC allocated to Area 1B for the 2008 fishing year is projected to be harvested. Therefore, effective 0001 hrs local time, December 24, 2008, federally permitted vessels may not fish for, catch, possess, transfer, or land more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of Atlantic herring in or from Area 1B per trip or calendar day through December 31, 2008; except a vessel may transit Area 1B with more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of herring on board, or land more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) provided such herring were not caught in Area 1B, and provided all fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as required by § 648.23(b). Effective December 24, 2008, federally permitted dealers are also advised that they may not purchase Atlantic herring from federally permitted Atlantic herring vessels that harvest more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of Atlantic herring from Area 1B through 2400 hrs local time, December 31, 2008.
This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
This action closes the Atlantic herring fishery for Management Area 1B until January 1, 2009, under current regulations. The regulations at § 648.201(a) require such action to ensure that Atlantic herring vessels do not exceed the 2008 TAC. The Atlantic herring fishery opened for the 2008 fishing year at 0001 hours on January 1, 2008. Data indicating the Atlantic herring fleet will have landed at least 95 percent of the 2008 TAC have only recently become available and there is insufficient time to plan for prior notice and comment on this action. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA) therefore, finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment because it would be contrary to the public interest. If implementation of this closure is delayed to solicit prior public comment, the quota for this fishing year will be exceeded, thereby undermining the conservation objectives of the FMP. The AA further finds, pursuant to 5 U.S.C 553(d)(3), good cause to waive the thirty (30) day delayed effectiveness period for the reasons stated above.Start Signature
Dated: December 22, 2008.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E8-30835 Filed 12-29-08; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S