[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 216 (Wednesday, November 7, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 66746-66747]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27215]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 0907301205-0289-02]
RIN 0648-XC156


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring 
Fishery; Sub-ACL (Annual Catch Limit) Harvested for Management Area 1A

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the directed herring fishery in Management 
Area 1A, because 95 percent of the catch limit for that area has been 
caught. Effective 1200 hr, November 5, 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 1A until January 1, 2013, when the 2013 allocation for Area 1A 
becomes available.

DATES: Effective 1200 hr local time, November 5 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 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 1A for the 2012 
fishing year (FY) was 26,546 mt and 0 mt of the sub-ACL was set aside 
for research in the 2010-2012 specifications (75 FR 48874, August 12, 
2010). However, 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).
    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 1A 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 1A for 2012 is projected to be harvested on 
November 5, 2012. Therefore, effective 1200 hr local time, November 5, 
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 1A through December 31, 2012. Vessels may transit through Area 1A 
with more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of herring on board, provided such 
herring was not caught in Area 1A and provided all fishing gear aboard 
is stowed and not available for immediate use as stated in Sec.  
648.23(b). Effective 1200 hr, November 5, 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 1A 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 1A 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 revised 2012 sub-ACL 
allocated to Area 1A. 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 revised 2012 sub-ACL

[[Page 66747]]

allocated to Area 1A have only recently become available. If 
implementation of this closure is delayed to solicit prior public 
comment, the sub-ACL for Area 1A 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: November 1, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-27215 Filed 11-2-12; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P