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Rule

Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish 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 2017 commercial bluefish quota to the State of Rhode Island. This quota adjustment is necessary to comply with the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan quota transfer provisions. This announcement informs the public of the revised commercial quotas for North Carolina and Rhode Island.

DATES:

Effective November 7, 2017, through December 31, 2017.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Cynthia Hanson, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281-9180.

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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 and the initial 2017 allocations were published on March 13, 2017 (82 FR 13402).

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 NMFS Greater Atlantic 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).

North Carolina is transferring 100,000 lb (45,359 kg) of Atlantic bluefish commercial quota to Rhode Island. This transfer was requested by state officials in Rhode Island to ensure their 2017 commercial bluefish quota would not be exceeded. Both states have agreed to the transfer and certified that it meets all pertinent state requirements. The revised bluefish quotas for calendar year 2017 are now: North Carolina, 2,638,704 lb (1,196,896 kg); and Rhode Island, 681,563 lb (309,152 kg); based on the initial quotas published in the 2016-2018 Atlantic Bluefish Specifications and subsequent transfers.

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 7, 2017.

Emily H. Menashes,

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

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[FR Doc. 2017-24534 Filed 11-7-17; 4:15 pm]

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