[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 193 (Friday, October 4, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 61826-61827]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-24360]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 121004515-3608-02]
RIN 0648-XC899


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Closure of the 2013 South Atlantic Commercial Sector for Red Snapper

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces the closure of the 2013 commercial fishing 
season for red snapper in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the 
South Atlantic through this temporary rule. Commercial landings for red 
snapper, as estimated by the Science and Research Director (SRD), are 
projected to reach the commercial annual catch limit (ACL) for red 
snapper on October 8, 2013. Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial 
sector for red snapper in the South Atlantic EEZ on October 8, 2013. 
This closure is necessary to protect the South Atlantic red snapper 
resource.

DATES: This closure is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, October 8, 
2013, through December 31, 2013, the end of the fishing year.

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, which includes red snapper, is managed under the Fishery 
Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic 
Region (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the Council and is implemented 
through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act).
    The 2013 commercial ACL for red snapper in the South Atlantic is 
21,447 lb (9,728 kg), gutted weight. This ACL was determined using 
formulas contained in the final rule to implement Amendment 28 to the 
FMP (78 FR 44461, July 24, 2013).
    Under 50 CFR 622.193(y)(1), NMFS is required to close the 
commercial sector for red snapper when the commercial ACL is reached, 
or is projected to be reached, by filing a notification to that effect 
with the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS opened the 2013 
commercial sector at 12:01 a.m., local time, August 26, 2013 and 
monitored commercial harvest in-season. NMFS has determined that the 
commercial ACL for South Atlantic red snapper will have been reached by 
October 8, 2013. Accordingly, the commercial sector for South Atlantic 
red snapper is closed effective 12:01 a.m., local time, October 8, 
2013, and remains closed until NMFS determines when a commercial season 
for red snapper may occur.
    The operator of a vessel with a valid commercial vessel permit for 
South Atlantic snapper-grouper having red snapper onboard must have 
landed and bartered, traded, or sold such red snapper prior to 12:01 
a.m., local time, October 8, 2013. During the closure, the harvest and 
possession and sale and purchase of red snapper in or from the South 
Atlantic EEZ are prohibited. The prohibition on sale or purchase does 
not apply to the sale or purchase of red snapper that were harvested, 
landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, October 8, 
2013, and were

[[Page 61827]]

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 for 
commercial red snapper would apply regardless of whether the fish were 
harvested in state or Federal waters, as specified in 50 CFR 
622.190(y)(1). Additionally, the recreational fishing season for red 
snapper is closed.
    In 2014, the total removals (landings and dead discards) for 2013 
will be compared to the 2013 ABC to determine if the 2013 ABC was 
exceeded and thus whether limited commercial and recreational fishing 
seasons for red snapper can occur in 2014. If NMFS determines that 
limited commercial and recreational red snapper seasons can occur in 
2014, NMFS will file a notification with the Office of the Federal 
Register to announce the opening dates of any commercial and 
recreational fishing seasons in 2014. A commercial fishing season would 
begin on the second Monday in July, and a recreational fishing season, 
consisting of weekends only (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) would 
begin on the second Friday in July.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
South Atlantic red snapper and is consistent with the FMP, the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.193(y)(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 public 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 red snapper 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 red snapper since the capacity of the 
fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the commercial ACL. 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.
    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: October 1, 2013.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, performing the 
functions and duties of the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-24360 Filed 10-3-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P