[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 39 (Wednesday, February 27, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 13284-13285]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04598]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 1206013412-2517-02]
RIN 0648-XC467


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
2013 Accountability Measures for Gulf of Mexico Commercial Greater 
Amberjack

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; accountability measures.

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SUMMARY: NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for commercial 
greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish fishery for 
the 2013 fishing year through this temporary final rule. This rule 
reduces the Gulf greater amberjack 2013 commercial annual catch target 
(ACT) (equal to the commercial quota) to 338,157 lb (153,385 kg) and 
reduces the 2013 commercial annual catch limit (ACL) to 410,157 lb 
(186,044 kg), based on the 2012 commercial ACL overage. These actions 
are necessary to reduce overfishing of the Gulf greater amberjack 
resource.

DATES: This rule is effective February 27, 2013, through December 31, 
2013.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of Amendment 35 to the Fishery Management 
Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf (FMP), which includes an 
environmental assessment, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis, 
and a regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast 
Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/GrouperSnapperandReefFish.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rich Malinowski, telephone: 727-824-
5305, or email: Rich.Malinowski@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the reef fish fishery of the 
Gulf, which includes greater amberjack, under the FMP. The Gulf of 
Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the FMP and NMFS 
implements the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations 
at 50 CFR part 622. All greater amberjack weights discussed in this 
temporary rule are in round weight.

Background

    The 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act established 
new requirements including ACLs and AMs to end overfishing and prevent 
overfishing from occurring. AMs are management controls to prevent ACLs 
from being exceeded, and correct or mitigate overages of the ACL if 
they occur. Section 303(a)(15) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act mandates the 
establishment of ACLs at a level such that overfishing does not occur 
in the fishery, including measures to ensure accountability.
    On November 13, 2012, NMFS published a final rule for Amendment 35 
(77 FR 67574). That final rule established the Gulf greater amberjack 
stock ACL equal to the greater amberjack stock allowable biological 
catch (ABC) at 1,780,000 lb (807,394 kg), with the greater amberjack 
stock ACT at 1,539,000 lb (698,079 kg) based on the ACT Control Rule 
developed in the Generic Annual Catch Limits/Accountability Measures 
Amendment (Generic ACL Amendment) (76 FR 82044, December 29, 2011).
    Sector allocations were established in Amendment 30A to the FMP (73 
FR 38139, July 3, 2008) with 27 percent of the ACL allocated to the 
commercial sector and 73 percent of the ACL allocated to the 
recreational sector. Based on these allocations, the final rule for 
Amendment 35 established a greater amberjack commercial ACL of 481,000 
lb (218,178 kg) and the commercial ACT (equivalent to the commercial 
quota) of 409,000 lb (185,519 kg). The commercial ACT is set 15 percent 
below the ACL to account for management uncertainty.
    Accountability measures for Gulf greater amberjack were also 
revised by the final rule for Amendment 35. In accordance with 
regulations at 50 CFR 622.49(a)(1)(i), when the commercial ACT 
(commercial quota) is reached, or projected to be reached, the 
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, (AA), will file a 
notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the 
commercial sector for the remainder of the fishing year. If despite 
such closure, commercial landings exceed the commercial ACL, then 
during the following fishing year, both the commercial ACT (commercial 
quota) and the commercial ACL will be reduced by the amount of the 
prior year's commercial ACL overage.
    Additionally, the final rule for Amendment 35 established a 
commercial trip limit for greater amberjack of 2,000 lb (907 kg). This 
trip limit is applicable until the commercial ACT (commercial quota) is 
reached or projected to be reached during a fishing year and the 
commercial sector is closed.

Management Measures Contained in This Temporary Rule

    In 2012, the commercial sector of greater amberjack was closed on 
March 1, when the adjusted commercial quota of 237,438 (107,700 kg), 
based on the 2011 quota overage, was determined to be reached. 
Finalized 2012 commercial landings data indicated the adjusted 2012 
commercial quota of 237,438 lb (107,700 kg) was exceeded by 29.8 
percent, or 70,843 lb (32,134 kg). Therefore, the reduced 2013 
commercial ACT (commercial quota) for Gulf greater amberjack is 338,157 
lb (153,385 kg) (i.e., 409,000-lb (185,519-kg) commercial ACT minus the 
overage of 70,843 lb (32,134 kg)). The reduced 2013 commercial ACL for 
Gulf greater amberjack is 410,157 lb (186,044 kg) (i.e., 481,000-lb 
(218,178-kg) commercial ACL minus the overage of 70,843 lb (32,134 
kg)).
    The 2014 commercial ACT (commercial quota) for greater amberjack 
will return to 409,000 lb (185,519 kg), as specified at 50 CFR 
622.42(a)(1)(v), and the commercial ACL for greater amberjack will 
return to 481,000 lb (218,178 kg), as specified in 50 CFR 
622.49(a)(1)(i)(C), unless AMs are implemented due to a commercial ACL 
overage, or the Council takes subsequent regulatory action to adjust 
the commercial ACT (commercial quota) and commercial ACL.

[[Page 13285]]

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
the Gulf greater amberjack component of the Gulf reef fish 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.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive the 
requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment 
on this temporary rule. Such procedures are unnecessary because the AMs 
established by Amendment 35 and located at 50 CFR 622.49(a)(1)(i) 
authorize the AA to file a notification with the Office of the Federal 
Register to reduce the commercial ACT (commercial quota) and commercial 
ACL the following fishing year when the commercial ACL is exceeded. The 
proposed rule for Amendment 35 (77 FR 42476, July 19, 2012) that 
implemented these AMs was already subject to notice and comment and all 
that remains is to notify the public of the 2013 commercial ACT 
(commercial quota) and commercial ACL for Gulf greater amberjack.
    Additionally, prior notice and opportunity for public comment would 
be contrary to the public interest. Given the ability of the commercial 
sector to rapidly harvest fishery resources, there is a need to 
immediately implement the reduced commercial ACT (commercial quota) and 
commercial ACL for the 2013 fishing year. Taking time to provide prior 
notice and opportunity for public comment creates a higher likelihood 
of the reduced commercial ACT (commercial quota) and commercial ACL 
being exceeded.
    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: February 22, 2013.
Kara Meckley,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-04598 Filed 2-26-13; 8:45 am]
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