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Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish Fishery; Quota Transfers

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; approval of quota transfers.

SUMMARY:

NMFS announces its approval of two transfers of 2016 commercial bluefish quota from the Commonwealth of Virginia to the State of New York. The approval of these transfers complies with the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan quota transfer provision. This announcement also informs the public of the revised commercial quotas for Virginia and New York.

DATES:

Effective November 28, 2016, through December 31, 2016.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Reid Lichwell, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281-9112.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulations governing the Atlantic bluefish fishery are found in 50 CFR 648.160 through 648.167. The regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned among the coastal states from Maine through Florida. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state are described in § 648.162.

The final rule implementing Amendment 1 to the Bluefish Fishery Management Plan published in the Federal Register on July 26, 2000 (65 FR 45844), and provided a mechanism for transferring bluefish quota 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 request approval of a transfer of bluefish commercial quota under § 648.162(e)(1)(i) through (iii). The Regional Administrator must first approve any such transfer based on the criteria in § 648.162(e).

Virginia and New York have requested two transfers totaling 80,000 lb (36,287 kg) of bluefish commercial quota from Virginia to New York. Both states have certified that the transfers meet all pertinent state requirements. These quota transfers were requested by New York to ensure that its 2016 quota would not be exceeded. The Regional Administrator has approved these quota transfers based on his determination that the criteria set forth in § 648.162(e)(1)(i) through (iii) have been met. The revised bluefish quotas for calendar year 2016 are: Virginia, 370,287 lb (167,959 kg); and New York, 877,289 lb (397,932 kg). These quota adjustments revise the quotas specified in the final rule implementing the 2016-2018 Atlantic Bluefish Specifications published on August 4, 2016 (81 FR 51370), and reflect all subsequent commercial bluefish quota transfers completed to date. For information of previous transfers for fishing year 2016 visit: http://go.usa.gov/​xZT8H.

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: November 22, 2016.

Emily H. Menashes,

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

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[FR Doc. 2016-28658 Filed 11-28-16; 8:45 am]

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