[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 209 (Monday, October 29, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 65498-65499]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-26535]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 0907301205-0289-02]
RIN 0648-XC290


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring 
Fishery; Adjustment to the Atlantic Herring Management Area 1A Sub-
Annual Catch Limit

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason adjustment.

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SUMMARY: NMFS adjusts the 2012 fishing year sub-annual catch limit for 
Atlantic Herring Management Area 1A due to an under-harvest in the New 
Brunswick weir fishery. This action complies with the 2010-2012 
specifications and management measures for the Atlantic Herring Fishery 
Management Plan.

DATES: Effective November 1, 2012, through December 31, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lindsey Feldman, Fishery Management 
Specialist, 978-675-2179, Fax 978-281-9135.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the Atlantic herring 
fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require annual 
specification of the overfishing limit, acceptable biological catch 
(ABC), annual catch limit (ACL), optimum yield (OY), domestic harvest 
and processing, U.S. at-sea processing, border transfer and sub-ACLs 
for each management area. The 2012 Domestic Annual Harvest was set as 
91,200 metric tons (mt); the sub-ACL allocated to Area 1A for the 2012 
fishing year (FY) was 26,546 mt and no herring catch was set aside for 
research in the 2010-2012 specifications (75 FR 48874, August 12, 
2010). Due to an over-harvest in Area 1A in 2010, the FY 2012 sub-ACL 
in Area 1A was revised to 24,668 mt on February 24, 2012 (77 FR 10978, 
February 24, 2012). An additional 295 mt of the Area 1A sub-ACL is set 
aside for fixed gear fisheries west of Cutler, ME, until November 1, 
2012, reducing the Area 1A sub-ACL to 24,373 mt. Due to the variability 
of Canadian catch in the New Brunswick weir fishery, a 3,000 mt portion 
of the 9,000 mt buffer between ABC and OY (the buffer to account for 
Canadian catch) is allocated

[[Page 65499]]

to Area 1A, provided New Brunswick weir landings are lower than the 
amount specified in the buffer.
    The NMFS Regional Administrator is required to monitor the fishery 
landings in the New Brunswick weir fishery each year. If the New 
Brunswick weir fishery landings through October 15 are less than 9,000 
mt, then 3,000 mt of the weir fishery allocation is required to be 
added to the Area 1A sub-ACL in November of the same year. When such a 
determination is made, NMFS is required to publish a notification in 
the Federal Register to adjust the Area 1A sub-ACL for the remainder of 
the FY.
    The Regional Administrator has determined, based on the best 
available information, that the New Brunswick weir fishery landings for 
FY 2012 through October 15, 2012, were 409 mt. Therefore, effective 
November 1, 2012, 3,000 mt will be allocated to the Area 1A sub-ACL, 
increasing the FY 2012 Area 1A sub-ACL from 24,373 mt to 27,373 mt. 
Because any increase to a sub-ACL also increases the stock-wide ACL, 
this allocation increases the 2012 stock-wide ACL from 91,200 mt to 
94,200 mt. Additionally, the allocation of 3,000 mt to Area 1A will be 
taken into consideration when NMFS projects that catch will reach 95 
percent of the Area 1A sub-ACL.

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 is impracticable and contrary 
to the public interest. This action increases the sub-ACL for Area 1A 
by 3,000 mt (from 24,373 mt to 27,373 mt) through December 31, 2012. 
The regulations at Sec.  648.201(f) require such action to help 
mitigate some of the negative economic effects associated with the 
reduction in the Area 1A sub-ACL in the 2010-2012 specifications 
process (40 percent less than in 2009). The herring fishery extends 
from January 1 to December 31. Data indicate the New Brunswick weir 
fishery landed 409 mt through October 15, 2012. There is a limited 
amount of time between October 15 (when the New Brunswick weir fishery 
slows for the year) and the end of the U.S. herring fishing year on 
December 31. If implementation of this Area 1A sub-ACL increase is 
delayed to solicit prior public comment, the increase may not be 
effective prior to the end of the 2012 fishing year and the 3,000 mt 
allocation would not be available for harvest. Additionally, the 
availability of herring in Area 1A is seasonal. As the end of the 
fishing year approaches, herring can disperse or move out of Area 1A, 
and/or the approach of winter weather can hinder fishery access to 
herring in Area 1A. The best available information indicates that 
current catch is close to 95 percent of the Area 1A sub-ACL. If 
implementation of this increase is delayed to solicit prior public 
comment, herring may no longer be available to the fishery for harvest 
in Area 1A, thereby undermining the intended economic benefits 
associated with this action. NMFS 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 24, 2012.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-26535 Filed 10-24-12; 4:15 pm]
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