[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 29 (Tuesday, February 12, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 9848-9849]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-03199]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 040205043-4043-01]
RIN 0648-XC468


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
2013 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for South Atlantic 
Vermilion Snapper

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 vermilion snapper in the exclusive economic zone 
(EEZ) of the South Atlantic. Commercial landings for vermilion snapper, 
as estimated by the Science Research Director (SRD), are projected to 
reach the commercial annual catch limit (ACL) for the January 1 through 
June 30, 2013 fishing period on February 13, 2013. Therefore, NMFS 
closes the commercial sector for vermilion snapper in the South 
Atlantic EEZ on February 13, 2013, and it will remain closed until the 
start of the July 1 through December 31, 2013, fishing period. This 
closure is necessary to protect the vermilion snapper resource.

DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, February 13, 
2013, until 12:01 a.m., local time, July 1, 2013.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The snapper-grouper fishery of the South 
Atlantic includes vermilion snapper and is managed under the Fishery 
Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic 
Region (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the South Atlantic Fishery 
Management Council and is implemented under the authority of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622.
    The commercial ACL (commercial quota) for vermilion snapper in the 
South Atlantic is divided into two, 6-month time periods, and is 
315,523 lb (143,119 kg), gutted weight, for the current fishing period, 
January 1 through June 30, 2013, as specified in 50 CFR 
622.42(e)(4)(i).
    In accordance with regulations at 50 CFR 622.49(b)(6)(i), NMFS is 
required to close the commercial sector for vermilion snapper when its 
commercial ACL (commercial quota) for that portion of the fishing year 
applicable to the respective commercial ACL (commercial quota) 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 (commercial quota) for South 
Atlantic vermilion snapper for the January-June fishing period will 
have been reached by February 13, 2013. Accordingly, the commercial 
sector for South Atlantic vermilion snapper is closed effective 12:01 
a.m., local time, February 13, 2013, until 12:01 a.m., local time, July 
1, 2013. The commercial ACL (commercial quota) for vermilion snapper in 
the South Atlantic is 302,523 lb (137,222 kg), gutted weight, for the 
July 1 through December 31, 2013, fishing period, as specified in 50 
CFR 622.42(e)(4)(ii).
    The operator of a vessel with a valid commercial vessel permit for 
South Atlantic snapper-grouper having vermilion snapper onboard must 
have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such vermilion snapper prior 
to 12:01 a.m., local time, February 13, 2013. During the closure, the 
bag limit specified in 50 CFR 622.39(d)(1)(v), applies to all harvest 
or possession of vermilion snapper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ, 
including the bag limit that may be retained by the captain or crew of 
a vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat. The bag limit for 
such captain and crew is zero. During the closure, the possession 
limits specified in 50 CFR 622.39(d)(2) apply to all harvest or 
possession of vermilion snapper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ. 
During the closure, the sale or purchase of vermilion snapper taken 
from the EEZ is prohibited. The prohibition on sale or purchase does 
not apply to the sale or purchase of vermilion snapper that were 
harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, 
February 13, 2013, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or 
processor. For a person on board a vessel for which a Federal 
commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for the South Atlantic 
snapper-grouper fishery has been issued, the sale and purchase 
provisions of the commercial closure for vermilion snapper would apply 
regardless of whether the fish are harvested in state or Federal 
waters, as specified in 50 CFR 622.43(a)(5)(ii).

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery and is consistent with the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws.
    The temporary rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of 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 scientific 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 vermilion snapper 
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 itself has been subject to notice and 
comment, 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 vermilion snapper since the capacity of the fishing 
fleet allows for rapid harvest of the quota. Prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment would require time and would likely 
result in a harvest well in excess of the established commercial ACL 
(commercial quota).
    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).
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.43(a) and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.

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


[[Page 9849]]


    Dated: February 7, 2013.
Kara Meckley,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-03199 Filed 2-7-13; 4:15 pm]
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