81 FR 12828 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 2016 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for South Atlantic Golden Tilefish Longline Component

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 48 (March 11, 2016)

Page Range12828-12829
FR Document2016-05552

NMFS implements an accountability measure for the commercial longline component for golden tilefish in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic. Commercial longline landings for golden tilefish are projected to reach the longline component's commercial annual catch limit (ACL) on March 15, 2016. Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial longline component for golden tilefish in the South Atlantic EEZ on March 15, 2016, and it will remain closed until the start of the next fishing year, January 1, 2017. This closure is necessary to protect the golden tilefish resource.

Federal Register, Volume 81 Issue 48 (Friday, March 11, 2016)
[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 48 (Friday, March 11, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 12828-12829]
From the Federal Register Online  [www.thefederalregister.org]
[FR Doc No: 2016-05552]



[[Page 12828]]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 120404257-3325-02]
RIN 0648-XE489


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
2016 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for South Atlantic 
Golden Tilefish Longline Component

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NMFS implements an accountability measure for the commercial 
longline component for golden tilefish in the exclusive economic zone 
(EEZ) of the South Atlantic. Commercial longline landings for golden 
tilefish are projected to reach the longline component's commercial 
annual catch limit (ACL) on March 15, 2016. Therefore, NMFS closes the 
commercial longline component for golden tilefish in the South Atlantic 
EEZ on March 15, 2016, and it will remain closed until the start of the 
next fishing year, January 1, 2017. This closure is necessary to 
protect the golden tilefish resource.

DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, March 15, 2016, 
until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nikhil Mehta, NMFS Southeast Regional 
Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The snapper-grouper fishery of the South 
Atlantic includes golden tilefish 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.
    On April 23, 2013, NMFS published a final rule to implement 
Amendment 18B to the FMP (78 FR 23858). Amendment 18B to the FMP 
established a longline endorsement program for the commercial golden 
tilefish component of the snapper-grouper fishery and allocated the 
commercial golden tilefish ACL (equivalent to the commercial quota) 
between two gear groups, the longline and hook-and-line components as 
commercial quotas.
    The commercial quota for the longline component for golden tilefish 
in the South Atlantic is 405,971 lb (184,145 kg), gutted weight, for 
the current fishing year, January 1 through December 31, 2016, as 
specified in 50 CFR 622.190(a)(2)(iii).
    Under 50 CFR 622.193(a)(1)(ii), NMFS is required to close the 
commercial longline component for golden tilefish when the longline 
component's commercial quota has been reached, or is projected to be 
reached, by filing a notification to that effect with the Office of the 
Federal Register. After the commercial quota for the longline component 
is reached or projected to be reached, golden tilefish may not be 
fished for or possessed by a vessel with a golden tilefish longline 
endorsement. NMFS has determined that the commercial quota for the 
longline component for golden tilefish in the South Atlantic will be 
reached on March 15, 2016. Accordingly, the commercial longline 
component for South Atlantic golden tilefish is closed effective 12:01 
a.m., local time, March 15, 2016, until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 
1, 2017.
    During the commercial longline closure, golden tilefish may still 
be harvested commercially using hook-and-line gear. However, a vessel 
with a golden tilefish longline endorsement is not eligible to fish for 
or possess golden tilefish using hook-and-line gear under the hook-and-
line trip limit, as specified in 50 CFR 622.191(a)(2)(ii). The operator 
of a vessel with a valid commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic 
snapper-grouper and a valid commercial longline endorsement for golden 
tilefish having golden tilefish on board must have landed and bartered, 
traded, or sold such golden tilefish prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, 
March 15, 2016. During the commercial longline closure, the bag limit 
and possession limits specified in 50 CFR 622.187(b)(2)(iii) and 
(c)(1), respectively, apply to all harvest or possession of golden 
tilefish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ by a vessel with a golden 
tilefish longline endorsement. The sale or purchase of longline-caught 
golden tilefish taken from the EEZ is prohibited during the commercial 
longline closure. The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to 
the sale or purchase of longline-caught golden tilefish that were 
harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, 
March 15, 2016, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor. 
Additionally, the bag and possession limits and the sale and purchase 
provisions of the commercial closure apply to a person on board a 
vessel with a golden tilefish longline endorsement, regardless of 
whether the golden tilefish are harvested in state or Federal waters, 
as specified in 50 CFR 622.190(c)(1).

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
South Atlantic golden tilefish and is consistent with the Magnuson-
Stevens Act and other applicable laws.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.193(a)(1)(ii) 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 action to close the commercial 
longline component for golden tilefish 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 for this temporary rule would be unnecessary and 
contrary to the public interest. Such procedures are unnecessary, 
because the regulations at 50 CFR 622.193(a)(1)(ii) have already been 
subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the 
public of the closure. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment 
on this action are contrary to the public interest, because there is a 
need to immediately implement this action to protect the golden 
tilefish resource since the capacity of the fishing fleet allows for 
rapid harvest of the commercial quota for the longline component. Prior 
notice and opportunity for public comment would require time and would 
potentially result in a harvest well in excess of the established 
commercial quota for the longline component.
    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).

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


[[Page 12829]]


    Dated: March 8, 2016.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-05552 Filed 3-8-16; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P


81_FR_12876
Current View
CategoryRegulatory Information
CollectionFederal Register
sudoc ClassAE 2.7:
GS 4.107:
AE 2.106:
PublisherOffice of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration
SectionRules and Regulations
ActionTemporary rule; closure.
DatesThis rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, March 15, 2016, until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2017.
ContactNikhil Mehta, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: [email protected]
FR Citation81 FR 12828 
RIN Number0648-XE48

2019 Federal Register | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy
USC | CFR | eCFR