National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; closure.
NMFS announces that the 2014 summer flounder commercial quota allocated to the State of New Jersey has been harvested. Vessels issued a commercial Federal fisheries permit for the summer flounder fishery may not land summer flounder in New Jersey for the remainder of calendar year 2014, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer from another state. Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery require publication of this notification to advise New Jersey that the quota has been harvested, and to advise Federal vessel and dealer permit holders that no Federal commercial quota is available for landing summer flounder in New Jersey.
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Effective 0001 hours, November 29, 2014, through December 31, 2014.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Reid Lichwell, (978) 281-9112, or Reid.Lichwell@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 coastwide total commercial quota for summer flounder for the 2014 fishing year was set at 10,835,720 lb (4,915,000 kg) (79 FR 29371, May 22, 2014). The percent allocated to vessels landing summer flounder in New Jersey is 16.72499 percent, resulting in a commercial quota of 1,812,273 lb (822,033 kg). We adjusted the 2014 New Jersey summer flounder allocation to 1,765,169 lb (800,667 kg) to deduct research set-aside, quota overages from 2013, and adjustments for quota transfers between states.
The Administrator, Greater Atlantic 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 that the 2014 New Jersey commercial summer flounder quota would be harvested by November 24, 2014, based upon dealer reports and other available information.
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, November 29, 2014, landings of summer flounder in New Jersey by vessels holding summer flounder commercial Federal fisheries permits are prohibited for the remainder of the 2014 calendar year, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer and is announced in the Federal Register. Effective 0001 hours, November 29, 2014, federally permitted dealers are also notified that they may not purchase summer flounder from federally permitted vessels that land in New Jersey 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 New Jersey until January 1, 2015, 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 would 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 26, 2014.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-28379 Filed 11-26-14; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P