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Rule

Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; 2016 Recreational Closure for Hogfish in the South Atlantic

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS implements an accountability measure (AM) for the hogfish recreational sector in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic for the 2016 fishing year through this temporary rule. NMFS estimates recreational landings from the 2016 fishing year have reached the recreational annual catch limit (ACL) for hogfish. Therefore, NMFS closes the recreational sector for hogfish in the South Atlantic EEZ on November 30, 2016, through the remainder of the 2016 fishing year. This closure is necessary to protect the hogfish resource in the South Atlantic.

DATES:

This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, November 30, 2016, until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2017.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mary Vara, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: mary.vara@noaa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The snapper-grouper fishery of the South Atlantic includes hogfish 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.Start Printed Page 85447

The recreational ACL for hogfish is 85,355 lb (38,716 kg) round weight. In accordance with regulations at 50 CFR 622.193(u)(2)(i), NMFS is required to close the recreational sector for hogfish when the recreational ACL has been reached, or is projected to be reached, by filing a notification to that effect with the Office of the Federal Register.

NMFS has determined that the 2016 hogfish recreational ACL has been reached. Therefore, this temporary rule implements an AM to close the recreational sector for hogfish in the South Atlantic for the remainder of the 2016 fishing year. As a result, the recreational sector for hogfish in the South Atlantic EEZ will be closed effective 12:01 a.m., local time, November 30, 2016, until January 1, 2017, the start of the next fishing year.

During the recreational closure, the bag and possession limits for hogfish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ are zero. The recreational sector for hogfish will reopen on January 1, 2017.

Classification

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

This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.193(u)(2)(i) 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 public comment.

This action responds to the best scientific information available. The Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries (AA) finds that the need to immediately implement this action to close the recreational sector for hogfish constitutes good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this temporary rule pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), because such procedures are unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures are unnecessary because the AMs established by the Comprehensive ACL Amendment (77 FR 15916, March 16, 2012) and located at 50 CFR 622.193(u)(2)(i) have already been subject to notice and public comment. All that remains is to notify the public of the recreational closure for hogfish for the remainder of the 2016 fishing year. Such procedures are contrary to the public interest because of the need to immediately implement this action to protect the hogfish resource, since time for notice and public comment will allow for continued recreational harvest and further exceedance of the recreational ACL.

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: November 22, 2016.

Emily H. Menashes,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2016-28539 Filed 11-25-16; 8:45 am]

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