[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 53 (Tuesday, March 19, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 16817-16818]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-06284]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 001005281-0369-02]
RIN 0648-XC570


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
2013 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for Coastal 
Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS implements an accountability measure (AM) to close the 
hook-and-line component of the commercial sector for king mackerel in 
the southern Florida west coast subzone. This closure is necessary to 
protect the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) king mackerel resource.

DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, March 17, 2013, 
through June 30, 2013.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The fishery for coastal migratory pelagic 
fish (king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia) is managed under the 
Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of 
the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic (FMP). The FMP was prepared by 
the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils 
(Councils) 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.
    On April 27, 2000, NMFS implemented the final rule (65 FR 16336, 
March 28, 2000) that divided the Florida west coast subzone of the Gulf 
eastern zone into northern and southern subzones, and established their 
separate commercial annual catch limits (ACLs), equal to commercial 
quotas. The 2012 to 2013 fishing year ACL (quota) for the hook-and-line 
component of the commercial sector for king mackerel in the southern 
Florida west coast subzone is 607,614 lb (275,609 kg) (50 CFR 
622.42(c)(1)(i)(A)(2)(i)).
    The Florida west coast subzone is that part of the eastern zone 
located south and west of 25[deg]20.4' N. lat. (a line directly east 
from the Miami-Dade/Monroe County, FL boundary) along the west coast of 
Florida to 87[deg]31'06'' W. long. (a line directly south from the 
Alabama/Florida boundary). The Florida west coast subzone is further 
divided into northern and southern subzones. From November 1 through 
March 31, the southern subzone is designated as the area extending 
south and west from 25[deg]20.4' N. lat. to 26[deg]19.8' N. lat. (a 
line directly west from the Lee/Collier County, Florida, boundary), 
i.e., the area off Collier and Monroe Counties. Beginning April 1, the 
southern subzone is reduced to the area off Collier County, Florida, 
between 25[deg]48' N. lat. and 26[deg]19.8' N. lat.
    On March 12, 2013, NMFS implemented a 500-lb (227-kg) trip limit 
for vessels in the hook-and-line component of the commercial sector for 
king mackerel in or from the EEZ in the southern Florida west coast 
subzone (78 FR 15642, March 12, 2013).
    Under 50 CFR 622.43(a), NMFS is required to close any component of 
the king mackerel commercial sector when its ACL (quota) has been 
reached, or is projected to be reached, by filing a notification at the 
Office of the Federal Register. NMFS has determined the ACL (quota) for 
hook-and-line component of the commercial sector for Gulf migratory 
group king mackerel in the southern Florida west coast subzone will be 
reached by March 17, 2013. Accordingly, the hook-and-line component of 
the commercial sector for Gulf migratory group king mackerel in the 
southern Florida west coast subzone is closed effective 12:01 a.m., 
local time, March 17, 2013, through June 30, 2013, the end of the 
fishing year.
    During the closure period, no person aboard a vessel for which a 
commercial permit for king mackerel has been issued may use hook-and-
line gear to harvest or possess Gulf migratory group king mackerel in 
or from Federal waters of the closed subzone. There is one exception, 
however, for a person aboard a charter vessel or headboat. A person 
aboard a vessel that has a valid charter/headboat permit and also has a 
commercial king mackerel permit for coastal migratory pelagic fish may 
continue to retain king mackerel in or from the closed subzone under 
the 2-fish daily bag limit, provided the vessel is operating as a 
charter vessel or headboat. Charter vessels or headboats that hold a 
commercial king mackerel permit are considered to be operating as a 
charter vessel or headboat when they carry a passenger who pays a fee 
or when more than three persons are aboard, including operator and 
crew.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
the Gulf king mackerel resource and is consistent with the Magnuson-
Stevens Act and other applicable laws.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.43(a) 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 hook-and-line component of the commercial sector 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 already 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

[[Page 16818]]

this action to protect the fishery since the capacity of the fishing 
fleet allows for rapid harvest of the ACL (quota). Prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment would require time and would potentially 
result in a harvest well in excess of the established quota.
    For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to 
waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness of the 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.

    Dated: March 14, 2013.
Kara Meckley,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-06284 Filed 3-14-13; 4:15 pm]
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