[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 135 (Monday, July 15, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 42021-42022]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-16882]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 120706221-2705-02]
RIN 0648-XC748


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Gulf of Mexico 
Aggregated Large Coastal Shark and Gulf of Mexico Hammerhead Shark 
Management Groups

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the commercial management groups for 
aggregated large coastal sharks (LCS) and hammerhead sharks in the Gulf 
of Mexico region. This action is necessary because the commercial 
landings of Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS for the 2012 fishing season 
has exceeded 80 percent of the available commercial quota as of July 5, 
2013.

DATES: The commercial Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS and Gulf of Mexico 
hammerhead shark management groups are closed effective 11:30 p.m. 
local time, July 17, 2013, until the end of the 2013 fishing season on 
December 31, 2013 or if NMFS announces, via a notice in the Federal 
Register, that additional quota is available and the season is 
reopened.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karyl Brewster-Geisz or Peter Cooper 
301-427-8503; fax 301-713-1917.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic shark fisheries are managed 
under the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) 
Fishery Management Plan (FMP), its amendments, and its implementing 
regulations (50 CFR part 635) issued under authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et 
seq.).
    Under Sec.  635.5(b)(1), sharks that are first received by dealers 
from a vessel must be submitted electronically on a weekly basis 
through a NMFS-approved electronic reporting system by the dealer and 
received by NMFS no later than midnight, local time, of the first 
Tuesday following the end of the reporting week unless the dealer is 
otherwise notified by NMFS. Under Sec.  635.28(b)(2), when NMFS 
calculates that the landings for any species and/or management group of 
a linked group has reached or is projected to reach 80 percent of the 
available quota, NMFS will file for publication with the Office of the 
Federal Register a notice of closure for all of the species and/or 
management groups in a linked group that will be effective no fewer 
than 5 days from date of filing. From the effective date and time of 
the closure until NMFS announces, via a notice in the Federal Register, 
that additional quota is available and the season is reopened, the 
fishery for all linked species and/or management groups is closed, even 
across fishing years.
    On July 3, 2013 (78 FR 40318), NMFS announced the final rule for 
Amendment 5a to the Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species 
(HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP), which, among other things, 
established new, final adjusted 2013 quotas for aggregated LCS and 
hammerhead sharks in the Gulf of Mexico region. The Gulf of Mexico 
aggregated LCS management group quota is 157.5 metric tons (mt) dressed 
weight (dw) (347,317 lb dw), and the Gulf of Mexico hammerhead shark 
management group quota is 25.3 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) 
(55,722 lb dw). Dealer reports recently received through July 5, 2013, 
indicate that 128.7 mt dw or 82 percent of the available Gulf of Mexico 
aggregated LCS quota has been landed, and that 9.2 mt

[[Page 42022]]

dw or 37 percent of the available Gulf of Mexico hammerhead shark quota 
has been landed. Based on these dealer reports, NMFS estimates that the 
80-percent limit specified for a closure notice in the regulations has 
been reached or exceeded. Accordingly, NMFS is closing both the 
commercial aggregated LCS and hammerhead management groups in the Gulf 
of Mexico region as of 11:30 p.m. local time, July 17, 2013. All other 
shark management groups remain open, except for the commercial 
porbeagle shark management group, which did not open in 2013 (78 FR 
75896), and the commercial Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark management 
group, which closed on July 7, 2013 (78 FR 40318).
    At Sec.  635.27(b)(1), the boundary between the Gulf of Mexico 
region and the Atlantic region is defined as a line beginning on the 
East Coast of Florida at the mainland at 25[deg]20.4' N. lat, 
proceeding due east. Any water and land to the south and west of that 
boundary is considered, for the purposes of quota monitoring and 
setting of quotas, to be within the Gulf of Mexico region.
    During the closure, retention of aggregated LCS and hammerhead 
sharks in the Gulf of Mexico region is prohibited for persons fishing 
aboard vessels issued a commercial shark limited access permit under 
Sec.  635.4--unless, that is, the vessel is properly permitted to 
operate as a charter vessel or headboat for HMS and is engaged in a 
for-hire trip, in which case the recreational retention limits for 
sharks and ``no sale'' provisions apply (Sec.  635.22(a) and (c)), or 
if the vessel possesses a valid shark research permit under Sec.  
635.32 and a NMFS-approved observer is onboard. A shark dealer issued a 
permit pursuant to Sec.  635.4 may not purchase or receive aggregated 
LCS and/or hammerhead sharks in the Gulf of Mexico region from a vessel 
issued an Atlantic Shark Limited Access Permit (LAP), except that a 
permitted shark dealer or processor may possess aggregated LCS and/or 
hammerhead sharks in the Gulf of Mexico region that were harvested, 
off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered, prior to the effective date 
of the closure and were held in storage consistent with Sec.  
635.28(b)(5).
    However, a permitted shark dealer or processor may possess 
aggregated LCS and/or hammerhead sharks in the Gulf of Mexico region 
that were harvested by a vessel issued a valid shark research fishery 
permit per Sec.  635.32 with a NMFS-approved observer onboard during 
the trip the sharks were taken on as long as the non-sandbar shark 
research fishery remains open. Under this closure, a shark dealer 
issued a permit pursuant to Sec.  635.4 may, in accordance with state 
regulations, purchase or receive aggregated LCS and/or hammerhead 
sharks in the Gulf of Mexico region if the sharks were harvested, off-
loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered from a vessel that fishes only in 
state waters and that has not been issued an Atlantic Shark LAP, HMS 
Angling permit, or HMS Charter/Headboat permit pursuant to Sec.  635.4.

Classification

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that providing prior notice and public 
comment for this action is impracticable and contrary to the public 
interest because the fishery is currently underway and any delay in 
this action would result in overharvest of the quota and be 
inconsistent with management requirements and objectives. Similarly, 
affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this 
action is contrary to the public interest because if the quota is 
exceeded, the stock may be negatively affected and fishermen ultimately 
could experience reductions in the available quota and a lack of 
fishing opportunities in future seasons. For these reasons, the AA also 
finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effective date pursuant 
to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This action is required under Sec.  635.28(b)(2) 
and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: July 10, 2013.
Galen Tromble,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-16882 Filed 7-12-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P