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Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder Fishery; Quota Transfer

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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 2014 commercial summer flounder quota to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of New Jersey. NMFS is adjusting the quotas and announcing the revised commercial quota for each state involved.

DATES:

Effective March 14, 2014, through December 31, 2014.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery are in 50 CFR part 648, and 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 § 648.102.

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, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), can transfer or combine summer flounder commercial quota under § 648.102(c)(2). The Regional Administrator is required to consider the criteria in § 648.102(c)(2)(i) to evaluate requests for quota transfers or combinations.

North Carolina has agreed to transfer 14,820 lb (6,726 kg) of its 2014 commercial quota to Virginia. This transfer was prompted by summer flounder landings of the F/V Helen Louise, a North Carolina vessel that was granted safe harbor in Virginia due to running aground and encountering thick Start Printed Page 15253ice on February 1, 2014, thereby requiring a quota transfer to account for an increase in Virginia's landings that would have otherwise accrued against the North Carolina quota. North Carolina has agreed to transfer 4,833 lb (2,192 kg) of its 2014 commercial quota to New Jersey. This transfer was prompted by summer flounder landings of the F/V Adrianna, a North Carolina vessel that was granted safe harbor in New Jersey due to mechanical failure on February 12, 2014, thereby requiring a quota transfer to account for the increase in New Jersey's landings that would have otherwise accrued against the North Carolina quota. The Regional Administrator has determined that the criteria set forth in § 648.102(c)(2)(i) have been met. The revised summer flounder commercial quotas for calendar year 2014 are: North Carolina, 2,973,379 lb (1,348,702 kg); Virginia, 2,575,400 lb (1,168,182 kg); and New Jersey 1,909,656 lb (866,205 kg).

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 14, 2014.

Emily H. Menashes,

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

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[FR Doc. 2014-06076 Filed 3-14-14; 4:15 pm]

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