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Rule

Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; 2019 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for the Other Jacks Complex

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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 Start Printed Page 32649lesser amberjack, almaco jack, and banded rudderfish complex (Other Jacks Complex) commercial sector in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic for the 2019 fishing year through this temporary rule. NMFS projects that commercial landings of the Other Jacks Complex will reach the combined commercial annual catch limit (ACL) by July 16, 2019. Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial sector for this complex in the South Atlantic EEZ, on July 16, 2019, and it will remain closed until the start of the next fishing year on January 1, 2020. This closure is necessary to protect the lesser amberjack, almaco jack, and banded rudderfish resources.

DATES:

This temporary rule is effective at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 16, 2019, until 12:01 a.m., local time, on January 1, 2020.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The snapper-grouper fishery of the South Atlantic includes lesser amberjack, almaco jack, and banded rudderfish, which combined are the Other Jacks Complex. The Other Jacks Complex 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 for the Other Jacks Complex is 189,422 lb (85,920 kg), round weight. Under 50 CFR 622.193(l)(1)(i), NMFS is required to close the commercial sector for the Other Jacks Complex when the commercial ACL has been reached, or projected to be reached, by filing a notification to that effect with the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS has determined that the commercial sector for this complex is projected to reach its ACL by July 16, 2019. Therefore, this temporary rule implements an AM to close the commercial sector for the Other Jacks Complex in the South Atlantic, effective at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 16, 2019.

The operator of a vessel with a valid commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper having lesser amberjack, almaco jack, or banded rudderfish on board must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such species prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 16, 2019. During the commercial closure, the recreational bag limit specified in 50 CFR 622.187(b)(8) and the possession limits specified in 50 CFR 622.187(c) apply to all harvest or possession of lesser amberjack, almaco jack, or banded rudderfish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ, while the recreational sector is open. These recreational bag and possession limits apply in the South Atlantic on board a vessel for which a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, regardless of whether such species were harvested in state or Federal waters. During the commercial closure, the sale or purchase of lesser amberjack, almaco jack, or banded rudderfish taken from the South Atlantic EEZ is prohibited.

Classification

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

This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.193(l)(1)(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 commercial sector for the Other Jacks Complex 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), as such procedures are unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures are unnecessary because the rule implementing the AM itself has been subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the closure. Such procedures are contrary to the public interest because of the need to immediately implement this action to protect the species in the Other Jacks Complex, since the capacity of the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the commercial ACL. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment would require time and would potentially result in a harvest well in excess of the established commercial 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).

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

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Dated: July 3, 2019.

Jennifer M. Wallace,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2019-14534 Filed 7-8-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-PA09JY0.