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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 2010 and 2011 commercial summer flounder quotas to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Vessels were authorized by Virginia to land summer flounder under safe harbor provisions, thereby requiring a quota transfer to account for an increase in Virginia's landings that would have otherwise accrued against the North Carolina quota. By this action, NMFS adjusts the quotas and announces the revised commercial quota for each state involved.

DATES:

Effective March 23, 2011 through December 31, 2011.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carly Knoell, Fishery Management Specialist, 978-281-9224.

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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, 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). 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.

North Carolina has agreed to transfer 106,013 lb (48,087 kg) of its 2011 commercial quota and 13,500 lb (6,123 kg) of its 2010 commercial quota to Virginia. This transfer was prompted by summer flounder landings of 18 North Carolina vessels that were granted safe harbor in Virginia due to mechanical problems and/or severe winter storm conditions between December 31, 2010, and March 1, 2011. The Regional Administrator has determined that the criteria set forth in § 648.100(d)(3) have been met. The revised summer flounder quotas for calendar year 2010 are: North Carolina, 3,344,731 lb (1,517,144 kg); and Virginia, 2,935,726 lb (1,331,623 kg). The revised summer flounder quotas for calendar year 2011 are: North Carolina, 4,662,739 lb (2,114,983 kg); and Virginia, 3,809,829 lb (1,728,109 kg).Start Printed Page 17033

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: March 23, 2011.

Margo Schulze-Haugen,

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

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[FR Doc. 2011-7233 Filed 3-23-11; 4:15 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-P