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Rule

Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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ACTION:

Temporary rule; closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS announces that the 2012 summer flounder commercial quota allocated to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been harvested. Vessels issued a commercial Federal fisheries permit for the summer flounder fishery may not land summer flounder in Massachusetts for the remainder of calendar year 2012, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer from another state. Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery require publication of this notification to advise Massachusetts that the quota has been harvested and to advise vessel permit holders and dealer permit holders that no Federal commercial quota is available for landing summer flounder in Massachusetts.

DATES:

Effective at 0001 hr local time, August 28, 2012, through 2400 hr local time December 31, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carly Bari, (978) 281-9224, or Carly.Bari@noaa.gov.

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 on a percentage basis among the coastal states from North Carolina through Maine. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state is described in § 648.102.

The initial total commercial quota for summer flounder for the 2012 fishing year is 13,136,001 lb (5,958,490 kg) (76 FR 82189, December 30, 2011). The percent allocated to vessels landing summer flounder in Massachusetts is 6.82046 percent, resulting in a commercial quota of 895,936 lb (406,396 kg). The 2012 allocation was reduced to 868,226 lb (393,827 kg) after deduction of research set-aside and adjustment for 2011 quota overages.

The Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), monitors the state commercial quotas and determines when a state's commercial quota has been harvested. NMFS is required to publish notification in the Federal Register advising and notifying commercial vessels and dealer permit holders that, effective upon a specific date, the state's commercial quota has been harvested and no commercial quota is available for landing summer flounder in that state. The Regional Administrator has determined based upon dealer reports and other available information that Massachusetts has harvested its quota for 2012.

Section 648.4(b) provides that Federal permit holders agree, as a condition of the permit, not to land summer flounder in any state that the Regional Administrator has determined no longer has commercial quota available. Therefore, effective 0001 hours, August 28, 2012, landings of summer flounder in Massachusetts by vessels holding summer flounder commercial Federal fisheries permits are prohibited for the remainder of the 2012 calendar year, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer and is announced in the Federal Register. Effective 0001 hours, August 28, 2012, federally permitted dealers are also notified that they may not purchase summer flounder from federally permitted vessels that land in Massachusetts for the remainder of the calendar year, or until additional quota becomes available through a transfer from another state.

Classification

This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Dated: August 23, 2012.

Emily H. Menashes,

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

[FR Doc. 2012-21255 Filed 8-24-12; 11:15 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-P