[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 93 (Tuesday, May 14, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 28146]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-11403]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 940846-4348]
RIN 0648-XC683


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Texas Closure

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces an adjustment to the start of the annual 
closure of the shrimp fishery in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off 
Texas. The closure is normally from May 15 to July 15 each year. For 
2013, the closure will begin on May 23. The Texas closure is intended 
to prohibit the harvest of brown shrimp during the major period of 
emigration of these shrimp from Texas estuaries to the Gulf of Mexico 
(Gulf) so the shrimp may reach a larger, more valuable size and to 
prevent the waste of brown shrimp that would be discarded in fishing 
operations because of their small size.

DATES: Effective 30 minutes after sunset, May 23, 2013, to 30 minutes 
after sunset, July 15, 2013, unless the latter date is changed through 
notification in the Federal Register.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Gulf shrimp fishery is managed under the 
Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico 
(FMP). The FMP was prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management 
Council and is implemented by regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the 
authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management 
Act. Regulations at 50 CFR 622.55(a) describe the Texas closure and 
provide for adjustments to the start and end dates by the Regional 
Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, (RA) under specified criteria.
    The Texas closure in Federal waters is set to coincide with the 
Texas closure in state waters, after a determination has been made by 
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) of the start date of the 
closure. The start and end dates of the Texas closure are based on 
biological sampling by TPWD. This sampling is used to project when 
brown shrimp in Texas bays and estuaries will reach a mean size of 3.54 
in (90 mm), and begin strong emigrations out of the bays and estuaries 
during maximum duration ebb tides. Sampling during the spring of 2013 
indicates that brown shrimp will be leaving the Texas estuaries later 
than normal. Thus, state waters off Texas will close starting 30 
minutes after sunset on May 23, 2013. NMFS, therefore, will also close 
Federal waters off Texas starting 30 minutes after sunset on May 23, 
2013. NMFS is adjusting the closure date to maximize fishing 
opportunities in Federal waters to shrimp trawling. During the closure, 
the EEZ off Texas is closed to all trawl fishing, except for vessels 
trawling for royal red shrimp beyond the 100-fathom (183-m) depth 
contour.
    The end date of the Texas closure is based on continued sampling by 
TPWD to develop projections of when brown shrimp will reach a mean size 
of 4.41 in (112 mm), and when maximum duration ebb tides will occur. If 
there is a need to adjust the July 15 date for the end of the closure, 
notification of the revised end date will be published in the Federal 
Register.

Classification

    The RA has determined this temporary rule is necessary for the 
conservation and management of the Gulf shrimp fishery and is 
consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the FMP, and other applicable 
laws.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.55(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.
    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 
regulations to adjust the start date of the annual closure of the 
shrimp fishery in the EEZ off Texas, located at 50 CFR 622.55(a), have 
already been subject to notice and comment and authorize the RA to 
adjust the closing and/or opening date of the Texas closure by filing a 
notification with the Office of the Federal Register. All that remains 
is to notify the public of the adjusted closing date of the Texas 
closure for Gulf shrimp for the 2013 fishing year.
    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: May 9, 2013.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-11403 Filed 5-13-13; 8:45 am]
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