National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; closure.
NMFS announces that the 2013 summer flounder commercial quota allocated to the Commonwealth of Virginia has been harvested. Vessels issued a commercial Federal fisheries Start Printed Page 72586permit for the summer flounder fishery may not land summer flounder in Virginia for the remainder of calendar year 2013, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer from another state. Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery require publication of this notification to advise Virginia 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 Virginia.
Effective 1801 hours, December 4, 2013, through December 31, 2013.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Carly Bari, (978) 281-9224, or Carly.Bari@noaa.gov.
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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 2013 fishing year is 11,793,596 lb (5,349,575 kg) (77 FR 76942, December 31, 2012). The percent allocated to vessels landing summer flounder in Virginia is 21.31676 percent, resulting in a commercial quota of 2,514,012 lb (1,140,356 kg). The 2013 allocation was adjusted to 5,040,501 lb (2,286,333 kg) after deduction of research set-aside, adjustment for 2012 quota overages, and adjustments for quota transfers between states (mostly transfers from North Carolina to cover safe harbor landings in Virginia by North Carolina vessels).
The Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), monitors the state commercial landings 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, Virginia has harvested its quota for 2013.
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 1801 hours, December 4, 2013, landings of summer flounder in Virginia by vessels holding summer flounder commercial Federal fisheries permits are prohibited for the remainder of the 2013 calendar year, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer and is announced in the Federal Register. Effective 1801 hours, December 4, 2013, federally permitted dealers are also notified that they may not purchase summer flounder from federally permitted vessels that land in Virginia for the remainder of the calendar year, or until additional quota becomes available through a transfer from another state.
This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), 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. This action closes the summer flounder fishery for Virginia until January 1, 2014, under current regulations. The regulations at § 648.103(b) require such action to ensure that summer flounder vessels do not exceed quotas allocated to the states. If implementation of this closure was delayed to solicit prior public comment, the quota for this fishing year will be exceeded, thereby undermining the conservation objectives of the Summer Flounder Fishery Management Plan. The AA further finds, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), good cause to waive the 30-day delayed effectiveness period for the reason stated above.
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Dated: November 27, 2013.
Emily H. Menashes,
Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-28908 Filed 11-29-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P