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Rule

Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic; Trip Limit Reduction

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; trip limit reduction.

SUMMARY:

NMFS reduces the trip limit in the hook-and-line component of the commercial sector for king mackerel in the southern Florida west coast subzone to 500 lb (227 kg) of king mackerel per day in or from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This trip limit reduction is necessary to protect the Gulf king mackerel resource.

DATES:

This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, February 16, 2014, through June 30, 2014, unless changed by further notice in the Federal Register.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Susan Gerhart, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: susan.gerhart@noaa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The fishery for coastal migratory pelagic fish (king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia) 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.

On April 27, 2000, NMFS implemented the final rule (65 FR 16336, March 28, 2000) that divided the Florida west coast subzone of the Gulf of Mexico eastern zone into northern and southern subzones, and established their separate quotas. The 2013 to 2014 fishing year quota for the hook-and-line component of the commercial sector in the southern Florida west coast subzone is 551,448 lb (250,133 kg) (50 CFR 622.384(b)(1)(i)(B)(1)).

In accordance with 50 CFR 622.385(a)(2)(ii)(B)(2), from the date that 75 percent of the southern Florida west coast subzone's hook-and-line gear quota has been harvested until a closure of the subzone's commercial sector of the hook-and-line component has been effected or the fishing year ends, king mackerel in or from the EEZ may be possessed on board or landed from a permitted vessel in amounts not exceeding 500 lb (227 kg) per day.

NMFS has projected that 75 percent of the hook-and-line gear quota for Gulf group king mackerel from the southern Florida west coast subzone will be harvested by February 16, 2014. Accordingly, a 500-lb (227-kg) trip limit applies to vessels in the hook-and-line component of the commercial sector for king mackerel in or from the EEZ in the southern Florida west coast subzone effective 12:01 a.m., local time, February 16, 2014. The 500-lb (227-kg) trip limit will remain in effect until the component closes or until the end of the current fishing year (June 30, 2014), whichever occurs first.

From November 1 through March 31, the southern subzone encompasses an area of the EEZ south of a line extending due west of the Lee/Collier County, FL, boundary on the Florida west coast, and south of a line extending due east of the Monroe/Dade County, FL, boundary on the Florida east coast, which includes the EEZ off Collier and Monroe Counties, FL. From April 1 through October 31, the southern subzone is reduced to the EEZ off Collier County, and the EEZ off Monroe County becomes part of the Atlantic migratory group area.

Classification

The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the Gulf king mackerel resource and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.

This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.385(a)(2)(iii) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

These measures are exempt from the procedures of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the temporary rule is issued Start Printed Page 9428without opportunity for prior notice and comment.

This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, (AA), finds that the need to immediately implement this trip limit reduction for the hook-and-line component of the commercial sector 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 trip limit reduction.

Allowing prior notice and opportunity for public comment is contrary to the public interest because the capacity of the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the quota. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment could result in a harvest well in excess of the established quota. Immediate implementation of this action is needed to protect the Gulf king mackerel resource.

For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

Start Authority

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

End Authority Start Signature

Dated: February 12, 2014.

Emily H. Menashes,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2014-03517 Filed 2-13-14; 11:15 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-P