[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 158 (Wednesday, August 15, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 48915-48916]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-20054]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 120109034-2171-01]
RIN 0648-XC153


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery; White Hake Trimester Total Allowable Catch Area 
Closure for the Common Pool Fishery

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the White Hake Trimester Total Allowable Catch 
(TAC) Area to all common pool vessels fishing with trawl gear, sink 
gillnet gear, or longline/hook gear for the remainder of Trimester 1, 
through August 31, 2012. This action is necessary to prevent the common 
pool fishery from exceeding its Trimester 1 TAC or its annual catch 
limit for white hake. This rule is expected to slow the catch rate of 
white hake in the common pool fishery for the remainder of Trimester 1.

DATES: Effective August 15, 2012, through 2400 hours, August 31, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah Heil, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
978-281-9257, Fax 978-281-9135.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the NE multispecies 
fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648, subpart F. Beginning in fishing 
year (FY) 2012, the common pool's annual catch limit for each stock is 
apportioned into trimester total allowable catches (TACs). The 
regulations at Sec.  648.82(n) require the Regional Administrator to 
close the Trimester TAC Area for a stock when available information 
supports a determination that 90 percent of the Trimester TAC is 
projected to be caught. The Trimester TAC Area for a stock will close 
to all common pool vessels fishing with gear capable of catching that 
stock for the remainder of the trimester. Any overages of a trimester 
TAC will be deducted from Trimester 3, and any overages of the common 
pool's annual catch limit will be deducted from the common pool's catch 
limit the following fishing year. Any uncaught portion of the Trimester 
1 and Trimester 2 TAC will be carried over into the next trimester. Any 
uncaught portion of the common pool's annual catch limit may not be 
carried over into the following fishing year.
    The FY 2012 common pool catch limit for white hake is 26 mt (57,320 
lb). The Trimester 1 (May 1 through August 31) TAC is 10 mt (22,046 
lb). Based on the best available data which includes vessel trip 
reports (VTRs), dealer reported landings, and vessel monitoring system 
(VMS) information, NMFS projected that 90 percent of the Trimester 1 
TAC for white hake had been harvested on August 4, 2012. Therefore, 
Effective August 15, 2012, the White Hake Trimester TAC Area is closed 
for the remainder of Trimester 1, through August 31, 2012, to all 
common pool vessels fishing with trawl gear, sink gillnet gear, and 
longline/hook gear. The White Hake Trimester TAC Area will reopen to 
common pool vessels fishing with trawl, sink gillnet, and longline/hook 
gear at the beginning of Trimester 2, at 0001 hours, September 1, 2012.

Classification

    This action is required by 50 CFR part 648, and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good 
cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the 
opportunity for public comment because it would be impracticable and 
contrary to the public interest. This action closes the White Hake 
Trimester TAC Area for common pool vessels fishing with trawl gear, 
sink gillnet gear, and longling/hook gear through August 31, 2012. The 
regulations at Sec.  648.82 require this action to ensure that the 
common pool fishery does not exceed its catch limits for white hake in 
fishing year 2012. The catch data indicating that 90 percent of the 
Trimester 1 TAC for white hake has been caught only recently became 
available. If implementation of this closure is delayed to solicit 
prior public comment, the white hake Trimester 1 TAC will be exceeded, 
thereby undermining the conservation objectives of the Fishery 
Management Plan. Any overage of the Trimester 1 TAC must be deducted 
from the Trimester 3 TAC, and any overage of the total catch limit in 
FY 2012 must be deducted from the FY 2013 catch limit. This would have 
adverse economic consequences on common pool vessels. The AA further 
finds, pursuant to 5

[[Page 48916]]

U.S.C. 553(d)(3), good cause to waive the 30-day delayed effectiveness 
period for the reasons stated above.

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

    Dated: August 10, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-20054 Filed 8-10-12; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P