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Rule

Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder Fishery; Quota Transfer

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; quota transfer.

SUMMARY:

NMFS announces that the State of North Carolina is transferring a portion of its 2009 commercial summer flounder quota to the Commonwealth of Virginia. By this action, NMFS adjusts the quotas and announces the revised commercial quota for each state involved.

DATES:

Effective December 17, 2009, through December 31, 2009.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sarah Heil, Fishery Management Specialist, 978-281-9257.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned among the coastal states from North Carolina through Maine. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state are described in § 648.100.

The final rule implementing Amendment 5 to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP), which was published on December 17, 1993 (58 FR 65936), provided a mechanism for summer flounder quota to be transferred from one state to another. Two or more states, under mutual agreement and with the concurrence of the Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), can transfer or combine summer flounder commercial quota under § 648.100(d). On September 13, 2005, NMFS published the final rule to amend the regulations implementing the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass FMP to address late-season circumstances that necessitate a state quota transfer (70 FR 53969). This rule specified that such late-season quota transfers could be approved, even if the transfer request is made in the subsequent fishing year, and would be valid for the fishing year for which the request is made. The Regional Administrator is required to consider the criteria set forth in § 648.100(d)(3) in the evaluation of requests for quota transfers or combinations.

In response to unforeseen circumstances late in the 2009 fishing year, North Carolina has agreed to transfer 24,548 lb (11,134.79 kg) of its 2009 commercial quota to Virginia to cover the summer flounder landings of three vessels granted safe harbor in Virginia, due to vessel damage and stormy weather, on December 17, 2009, and December 18, 2009. The Regional Administrator has determined that the criteria set forth in § 648.100(d)(3) have been met. The revised quotas for calendar year 2009 are: North Carolina, 2,854,494 lb (1,294,777 kg); and Virginia, 2,371,022 lb (1,075,477 kg).

Classification

This action is taken under 50 CFR part 648 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: January 12, 2010.

Emily H. Menashes,

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

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[FR Doc. 2010-817 Filed 1-13-10; 4:15 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S