[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 105 (Thursday, May 31, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 32036-32037]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-13190]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

RIN 0648-XC044


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Porbeagle Shark 
Fishery Closure

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; fishery closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the commercial fishery for porbeagle sharks. 
This action is necessary because landings for the 2012 fishing season 
have reached at least 80 percent of the available quota.

DATES: The commercial porbeagle shark fishery is closed effective 11:30 
p.m. local time May 30, 2012, until, and if, NMFS announces in the 
Federal Register that additional quota is available and the season is 
reopened.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karyl Brewster-Geisz or Peter Cooper, 
301-427-8503; fax 301-713-1917.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic shark fisheries are managed 
under the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) 
Fishery Management Plan (FMP), its amendments, and its implementing 
regulations found at 50 CFR part 635 issued under authority of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 
1801 et seq.).
    Under Sec.  635.5(b)(1), shark dealers are required to report to 
NMFS all sharks landed every two weeks. Dealer reports for fish 
received between the 1st and 15th of any month must be received by NMFS 
by the 25th of that month. Dealer reports for fish received between the 
16th and the end of any month must be received by NMFS by the 10th of 
the following month. Under Sec.  635.28(b)(2), when NMFS projects that 
fishing season landings for a species group have reached or are about 
to reach 80 percent of the available quota, NMFS will file for 
publication with the Office of the Federal Register a closure action 
for that shark species group that will be effective no fewer than 5 
days from the date of filing. From the effective date and time of the 
closure until NMFS announces in the Federal Register that additional 
quota is available and the season is reopened, the fishery for that 
species group is closed, even across fishing years.
    On January 24, 2012 (77 FR 3393), NMFS announced that the porbeagle 
shark fishery for the 2012 fishing year was open and the available 
porbeagle shark quota was 0.7 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) 
(1,585 lb dw). Dealer reports through May 17, 2012, indicate that 0.67 
mt dw or 93.3 percent of the available quota for porbeagle sharks has 
been landed. Dealer reports received to date indicate that 4.3 percent 
of the quota was landed from the opening of the fishery on January 24, 
2012, through March 6, 2012; 12.2 percent of the quota was landed from 
March 7, 2012, through March 28, 2012; 5.7 percent was landed from 
March 29, 2012, through April 17, 2012; and 71.1 percent of the quota 
was landed from April 18, 2012, through May 17, 2012. The fishery has 
reached 93.3 percent of the quota, which exceeds the 80 percent limit 
specified in the regulations. Accordingly, NMFS is closing the 
commercial porbeagle shark fishery as of 11:30 p.m. local time May 30, 
2012. This closure does not affect any other shark fishery.
    During the closure, retention of porbeagle sharks is prohibited for 
persons fishing aboard vessels issued a commercial shark limited access 
permit under 50 CFR 635.4, unless the vessel is properly permitted to 
operate as a charter vessel or headboat for HMS and is engaged in a 
for-hire trip, in which case the recreational retention limits for 
sharks and ``no sale'' provisions apply (50 CFR 635.22(a) and (c)). A 
shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to Sec.  635.4 may not purchase 
or receive porbeagle sharks from a vessel issued an Atlantic shark 
limited access permit (LAP), except that a permitted shark dealer or 
processor may possess porbeagle sharks that were harvested, off-loaded, 
and sold, traded, or bartered, prior to the effective date of the 
closure and were held in storage. Under this closure, a shark dealer 
issued a permit pursuant to Sec.  635.4 may, in accordance with state 
regulations, purchase or receive a porbeagle sharks if the sharks were 
harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered from a vessel that 
fishes only in state waters and that has not been issued an Atlantic 
Shark LAP, HMS Angling permit, or HMS Charter/Headboat permit pursuant 
to Sec.  635.4.

Classification

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that providing for prior notice and public 
comment for this action is impracticable and contrary to the public 
interest because the fishery is currently underway, and any delay in 
this action would cause overharvest of the quota and be inconsistent 
with management requirements and objectives. If the quota is exceeded, 
the affected public is likely to experience reductions in the available 
quota and a lack of fishing opportunities in future seasons. For these 
reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effective date pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 (d)(3). This action is required 
under Sec.  635.28(b)(2) and is exempt from review under Executive 
Order 12866.


[[Page 32037]]


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

    Dated: May 24, 2012.
Carrie Selberg,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-13190 Filed 5-25-12; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P