[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 195 (Tuesday, October 9, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 61299-61300]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-24793]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 0907301205-0289-02]
RIN 0648-XC157


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring 
Fishery; Sub-ACL (Annual Catch Limit) Harvested for Management Area 3

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the directed herring fishery in Management 
Area 3, because 95 percent of the catch limit for that area has been 
caught. Effective 0001 hr, October 7, 2012, federally permitted vessels 
may not fish for, catch, possess, transfer, or land more than 2,000 lb 
(907.2 kg) per calendar day of Atlantic herring in or from Area 3 until 
January 1, 2013, when the 2013 allocation for Area 3 becomes available.

DATES: Effective 0001 hr local time, October 7, 2012, through December 
31, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lindsey Feldman, Fishery Management 
Specialist, (978) 675-2079.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the Atlantic herring 
(herring) fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require 
annual specification of the overfishing

[[Page 61300]]

limit, acceptable biological catch, annual catch limit (ACL), optimum 
yield, domestic harvest and processing, U.S. at-sea processing, border 
transfer, and the sub-ACL for each management area. The 2012 Domestic 
Annual Harvest was set as 91,200 metric tons (mt); the sub-ACL 
allocated to Area 3 for the 2012 fishing year (FY) was 38,146 mt, and 0 
mt of the sub-ACL was set aside for research in the 2010-2012 
specifications (75 FR 48874, August 12, 2010).
    Section 648.201 requires the Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS 
(Regional Administrator), to monitor the herring fishery in each of the 
four management areas designated in the Fishery Management Plan for the 
herring fishery and, based on dealer reports, state data, and other 
available information, to determine when the harvest of herring is 
projected to reach 95 percent of the management area sub-ACL. When such 
a determination is made, NMFS must publish notification in the Federal 
Register and prohibit herring vessel permit holders from fishing for, 
catching, possessing, transferring, or landing more than 2,000 lb 
(907.2 kg) of herring per trip or landing more than once per calendar 
day in or from the specified management area for the remainder of the 
closure period. Transiting Area 3 with more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of 
herring on board is allowed under the conditions described below.
    The Regional Administrator has determined, based on dealer reports 
and other available information that 95 percent of the total herring 
sub-ACL allocated to Area 3 for 2012 is projected to be harvested on 
October 7, 2012. Therefore, effective 0001 hr local time, October 7, 
2012, federally permitted vessels may not fish for, catch, possess, 
transfer, or land more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of herring per trip 
(and landing herring no more than once per calendar day) in or from 
Area 3 through December 31, 2012. Vessels may transit through Area 3 
with more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of herring on board, provided such 
herring was not caught in Area 3 and provided all fishing gear aboard 
is stowed and not available for immediate use as stated in Sec.  
648.23(b). Effective 0001 hr, October 7, 2012, federally permitted 
dealers are also advised that they may not purchase herring from 
federally permitted herring vessels that harvest more than 2,000 lb 
(907.2 kg) of herring from Area 3 through 2400 hr local time, December 
31, 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 herring fishery 
for Management Area 3 until January 1, 2013, under current regulations. 
The regulations at Sec.  648.201(a) require such action to ensure that 
herring vessels do not exceed the 2012 sub-ACL allocated to Area 3. The 
herring fishery opened for the 2012 fishing year on January 1, 2012. 
Data indicating the herring fleet will have landed at least 95 percent 
of the 2012 sub-ACL allocated to Area 3 have only recently become 
available. If implementation of this closure is delayed to solicit 
prior public comment, the sub-ACL for Area 3 for this fishing year can 
be exceeded, thereby undermining the conservation objectives of the FMP 
and requiring any excess to be subtracted from the Area 3 sub-ACL for 
the fishing year following the total catch determination. The AA 
further finds, pursuant to 5 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: October 3, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-24793 Filed 10-3-12; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P