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Rule

Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Resources of the 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 commercial trip limit for vermilion snapper in or from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic to 500 lb (227 kg), gutted weight. This trip limit reduction is necessary to protect the South Atlantic vermilion snapper resource.

DATES:

This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, September 10, 2015, until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2016.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Catherine Hayslip, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: catherine.hayslip@noaa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The snapper-grouper fishery in the South Atlantic includes vermilion snapper and is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and is implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622.

The commercial ACL (commercial quota) for vermilion snapper in the South Atlantic is divided into two, 6-month periods. The commercial quota is 394,829 lb (179,091 kg), gutted weight, Start Printed Page 53474438,260 lb (198,791 kg), round weight, for January 1 through June 30, 2015, and 394,829 lb (179,091 kg), gutted weight, 438,260 lb (198,791 kg), round weight, for July 1 through December 31, 2015, as specified in 50 CFR 622.190(a)(4)(i)(C) and (ii)(C), respectively. Any unused portion of the January 1 through June 30, 2015, fishing season commercial quota is added to the July 1 through December 31, 2015, fishing season commercial quota, as specified in 50 CFR 622.190(a)(4)(iii). In 2015, there was no unused commercial quota for the January through June period as the commercial sector reached its quota during the first 6-month period. The sector was closed on April 15, 2015, through June 30, 2015 (80 FR 19243, April 10, 2015).

Under 50 CFR 622.191(a)(6)(ii), NMFS is required to reduce the commercial trip limit for vermilion snapper from 1,000 lb (454 kg), gutted weight, 1,110 lb (503 kg), round weight, to 500 lb (227 kg), gutted weight, 555 lb (252 kg), round weight, when 75 percent of the fishing season quota is reached or is projected to be reached, by filing a notification to that effect with the Office of the Federal Register, as implemented by the final rule for Regulatory Amendment 18 to the FMP (78 FR 47574, August 6, 2013). Based on current data, NMFS has determined that 75 percent of the available vermilion snapper commercial quota for the July 1 through December 31, 2015, fishing season will be reached on or before September 10, 2015. Accordingly, NMFS is reducing the commercial trip limit for vermilion snapper to 500 lb (227 kg), gutted weight, 555 lb (252 kg), round weight, in or from the South Atlantic EEZ at 12:01 a.m., local time, on September 10, 2015. This 500-lb (227-kg), gutted weight, 555-lb (252-kg), round weight, trip limit will remain in effect until the commercial sector reaches its quota and the sector closes, or through December 31, 2015, whichever occurs first.

Classification

The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of South Atlantic vermilion snapper and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.

This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.191(a)(6) 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 without opportunity for prior notice and comment.

This action responds to the best scientific information available. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that the need to immediately implement this commercial trip limit reduction 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), because prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this temporary rule is unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures are unnecessary, because the rule establishing the trip limit reduction has already been subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the trip limit. They are contrary to the public interest, because there is a need to immediately implement this action to protect the vermilion snapper resource since the capacity of the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the quota. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this action would require time and would increase the probability that the commercial sector could exceed the quota.

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

Start Authority

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

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Dated: September 1, 2015.

Jennifer M. Wallace,

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

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[FR Doc. 2015-22047 Filed 9-1-15; 4:15 pm]

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