[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 234 (Wednesday, December 5, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 72242-72243]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-29401]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 120109034-2171-01]
RIN 0648-XC369


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: This temporary rule closes the White Hake Trimester Total 
Allowable Catch (TAC) Area to all common pool groundfish vessels 
fishing with trawl gear, sink gillnet gear, or longline/hook gear for 
the remainder of Trimester 2, through December 31, 2012. This action is 
necessary to prevent the common pool fishery from exceeding its 
Trimester 2 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 2.

DATES: Effective December 5, 2012, through 2400 hours, December 31, 
2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brett Alger, Fisheries Management 
Specialist, 978-675-2153, 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 (May 1, 2012--April 30, 2013), the common pool's sub-
annual catch limit (ACL) for each stock is apportioned into trimester 
TACs (Trimester 1 May 1--August 31; Trimester 2 September 1--December 
31; and Trimester 3 January 1--April 30). 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

[[Page 72243]]

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 sub-ACL at the end 
of the FY will be deducted from the common pool's sub-ACL the following 
FY. 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 sub-ACL may not be carried over into the following FY.
    The FY 2012 common pool sub-ACL for white hake is 26 mt (57,320 
lb). The Trimester 2 TAC is 8.1 mt (17,853 lb). Because only a few 
vessels are responsible for the white hake catch, it was difficult to 
project when 90 percent of the Trimester TAC would be reached. 
Therefore, NMFS has monitored the white hake catch very closely to 
determine when 90 percent was exceeded. Based on the best available 
data, which includes vessel trip reports (VTRs), dealer reported 
landings, and vessel monitoring system (VMS) information, NMFS has 
projected that 90 percent of the Trimester 2 TAC for white hake was 
harvested on November 26, 2012. Therefore, effective December 5, 2012, 
the White Hake Trimester TAC Area is closed for the remainder of 
Trimester 2, through December 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 3, at 0001 hours, January 1, 2013.

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, or longline/hook gear through December 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 
FY 2012. The catch data indicating that 90 percent of the Trimester 2 
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 2 TAC could be exceeded, thereby 
undermining the conservation objectives of the Fishery Management Plan. 
Any overage of the Trimester 2 TAC must be deducted from the Trimester 
3 TAC, and any overage of the total sub-ACL in FY 2012 must be deducted 
from the FY 2013 sub-ACL. This would have adverse economic consequences 
on common pool vessels. 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 29, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-29401 Filed 11-30-12; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P