[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 241 (Friday, December 14, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 74389-74390]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-30218]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 100812345-2142-03]
RIN 0648-XC381


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
2012 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for Atlantic Wahoo

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for the 
commercial sector for Atlantic wahoo (wahoo) in the exclusive economic 
zone (EEZ) off the Atlantic states (Maine through the east coast of 
Florida). Commercial landings for wahoo, as estimated by the Science 
and Research Director, are projected to reach the commercial annual 
catch limit (ACL) on December 19, 2012. Therefore, NMFS closes the 
commercial sector for wahoo on December 19, 2012, for the remainder of 
the 2012 fishing year, through December 31, 2012. This action is 
necessary to protect the Atlantic wahoo resource.

[[Page 74390]]


DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, December 19, 
2012, until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Catherine Hayslip, telephone: 727-824-
5305, email: Catherine.Hayslip@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The dolphin and wahoo fishery off the 
Atlantic states is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the 
Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery of the Atlantic (FMP). The FMP was prepared 
by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, in cooperation with 
the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils, and is 
implemented under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act by regulations at 50 CFR part 622.

Background

    The commercial ACL for wahoo is 64,147 lb (29,097 kg), round 
weight, as specified in 50 CFR 622.49(f)(1).
    The AMs for wahoo, specified at 50 CFR 622.49(f)(1), require NMFS 
to close the commercial sector for wahoo when the commercial ACL for 
wahoo has been reached, or is projected to be reached, by filing a 
notification to that effect with the Office of the Federal Register. 
NMFS has determined that the commercial ACL for Atlantic wahoo has been 
met. Accordingly, the commercial sector for wahoo in the EEZ off the 
Atlantic states (Maine through the east coast of Florida) is closed 
effective 12:01 a.m., local time, December 19, 2012, until 12:01 a.m., 
local time, January 1, 2013.
    The operator of a vessel with a valid commercial vessel permit for 
Atlantic dolphin and wahoo having wahoo onboard must have landed and 
bartered, traded, or sold such wahoo prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, 
December 19, 2012. During this commercial closure, the bag and 
possession limit specified in 50 CFR 622.39(f) applies to all harvest 
or possession of wahoo in or from the Atlantic EEZ, and the sale or 
purchase of wahoo taken from the EEZ is prohibited. The prohibition on 
sale or purchase does not apply to the sale or purchase of wahoo that 
were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local 
time, December 19, 2012, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or 
processor.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
wahoo off the Atlantic states and is consistent with the Magnuson-
Stevens Act and other applicable laws.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.49(f)(1) and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    These measures are exempt from the procedures of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act because the temporary rule is issued without 
opportunity for prior notice and comment.
    This action responds to the best available information recently 
obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, 
NOAA, (AA), finds that the need to immediately implement this action to 
close the commercial sector for wahoo constitutes good cause to waive 
the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public 
comment pursuant to the authority set forth in 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), as 
such procedures would be unnecessary and contrary to the public 
interest. Such procedures would be unnecessary because the rule that 
implemented the Atlantic wahoo ACL and AMs has been subject to notice 
and comment (77 FR 15916, March 16, 2010), and all that remains is to 
notify the public of the closure. Allowing prior notice and opportunity 
for public comment is contrary to the public interest because of the 
need to immediately implement this action to protect the wahoo 
resource. The capacity of the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of 
the ACL and prior notice and opportunity for public comment would 
require time and would potentially result in a harvest well in excess 
of the established commercial ACL.
    For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to 
waive the 30-day delay in the effectiveness of this action under 5 
U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

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

    Dated: December 11, 2012.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-30218 Filed 12-11-12; 4:15 pm]
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