National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; closure.
NMFS closes the commercial run-around gillnet fishery for king mackerel in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the southern Florida west coast subzone. This closure is necessary to protect the Gulf king mackerel resource.
The closure is effective 6 a.m., local time, January 23, 2010, through 6 a.m., local time, January 18, 2011.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Susan Gerhart, telephone: 727-824-5305, fax: 727-824-5308, e-mail: Susan.Gerhart@noaa.gov.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental 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. 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 implemented for the southern Florida west coast subzone is 1,040,625 lb (472,020 kg). That quota is further divided into two equal quotas of 520,312 lb (236,010 kg) for vessels in each of two groups fishing with run-around gillnets and hook-and-line gear (50 CFR 622.42(c)(1)(i)(A)(2)(i)).
The southern subzone is that part of the Florida west coast subzone, which from November 1 through March 31, extends south and west from 26°19.8' N. lat. (a line directly west from the Lee/Collier County, FL, boundary) to 25°20.4' N. lat. (a line directly east from the Monroe/Miami-Dade County, FL, boundary), i.e., the area off Collier and Monroe Counties. From April 1 through October 31, the southern subzone is that part of the Florida west coast subzone which is between 26°19.8' N. lat. (a line directly west from the Lee/Collier County, FL, boundary) and 25°48' N. lat. (a line directly west from the Collier/Monroe County, FL, boundary), i.e., the area off Collier County (50 CFR 622.42(c)(1)(i)(A)(3)).
Under 50 CFR 622.43(a)(3), NMFS is required to close any segment of the king mackerel commercial fishery when its quota has been reached, or is projected to be reached, by filing a notification at the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS has determined that the commercial quota of 520,312 lb (236,010 kg) for Gulf group king mackerel for vessels using run-around gillnet gear in the southern Florida west coast subzone will be reached on January 23, 2010. Accordingly, the commercial fishery for king mackerel for such vessels in the southern Florida west coast subzone is closed at 6 a.m., local time, January 23, 2010, through 6 a.m., local time, January 18, 2011, the beginning of the next fishing season, i.e., the day after the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Federal holiday.
This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fisheries. 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.
Allowing prior notice and opportunity for public comment is contrary to the public interest because of the need to immediately implement this action to protect the fishery since the capacity of the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the quota. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment would require time and would potentially result in a harvest well in excess of the established quota.
This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.43(a) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: January 21, 2010.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-1574 Filed 1-22-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S