[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 86 (Friday, May 3, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 25861-25862]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-10437]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 120403249-2492-02]
RIN 0648-XC626


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

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 for the commercial 
sector for golden tilefish in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the 
South Atlantic. Commercial landings for golden tilefish, as estimated 
by the Science and Research Director (SRD), are projected to reach the 
commercial annual catch limit (ACL) for golden tilefish on May 5, 2013. 
Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial sector for golden tilefish in the 
South Atlantic EEZ on May 5, 2013, and it will

[[Page 25862]]

remain closed until the start of the next fishing season, January 1, 
2014. This closure is necessary to protect the golden tilefish 
resource.

DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, May 5, 2013, 
until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2014.

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 golden tilefish 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 by regulations 
at 50 CFR part 622.
    The commercial ACL (commercial quota) for golden tilefish in the 
South Atlantic is 541,295 lb (245,527 kg), gutted weight, for the 
current fishing year, January 1 through December 31, 2013, as specified 
in 50 CFR 622.190(a)(2).
    Under 50 CFR 622.193(a)(1), NMFS is required to close the 
commercial sector for golden tilefish when the commercial ACL 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 South Atlantic golden tilefish 
will have been reached by May 5, 2013. Accordingly, the commercial 
sector for South Atlantic golden tilefish is closed effective 12:01 
a.m., local time, May 5, 2013, until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 
2014.
    The operator of a vessel with a valid commercial vessel permit for 
South Atlantic snapper-grouper having golden tilefish onboard must have 
landed and bartered, traded, or sold such golden tilefish prior to 
12:01 a.m., local time, May 5, 2013. During the closure, the bag limit 
specified in 50 CFR 622.187(b)(2), applies to all harvest or possession 
of golden tilefish 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 622.187(c), apply to all harvest or possession of golden tilefish 
in or from the South Atlantic EEZ. During the closure, the sale or 
purchase of golden tilefish taken from the EEZ is prohibited. The 
prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to the sale or purchase 
of golden tilefish that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior 
to 12:01 a.m., local time, May 5, 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 golden tilefish would apply 
regardless of whether the fish are harvested in state or Federal 
waters, as specified in 50 CFR 622.190(c)(1)(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.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.193(a)(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 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 golden tilefish 
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 golden tilefish 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 
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).

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

    Dated: April 29, 2013.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-10437 Filed 5-2-13; 8:45 am]
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