[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 193 (Friday, October 4, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 61827-61828]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-24361]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 121004518-3398-01]
RIN 0648-XC669


Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; 2013 Recreational 
Accountability Measure and Closure for Gray Triggerfish in the Gulf of 
Mexico

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) for 
recreational gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish 
fishery for the 2013 fishing year through this temporary final rule. 
Based on the projected recreational landings, NMFS determined that the 
recreational annual catch target (ACT) for Gulf gray triggerfish was 
reached in August 2013. Therefore, NMFS closes the recreational sector 
for gray triggerfish in the Gulf EEZ at 12:01 a.m., local time, October 
15, 2013, until January 1, 2014. This closure is necessary to reduce 
overfishing of the Gulf gray triggerfish resource.

DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time on October 15, 
2013, until 12:01 a.m., local time on January 1, 2014, unless changed 
by subsequent notification in the Federal Register.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rich Malinowski, Southeast Regional 
Office, telephone 727-824-5305, email rich.malinowski@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The reef fish fishery of the Gulf, which 
includes gray triggerfish, is managed under the Fishery Management Plan 
for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (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).
    On May 9, 2013, the final rule for Amendment 37 to the FMP 
implemented the Gulf gray triggerfish recreational annual catch limit 
(ACL) of 241,200 lb (109,406 kg), round weight, and the recreational 
ACT of 217,100 lb (98,475 kg), round weight (78 FR 27084, May 9, 2013), 
as specified in 50 CFR 622.41(b)(2)(iii).
    The final rule for Amendment 37 to the FMP implemented an in-season 
AM to close the recreational sector when its ACT is reached or 
projected to be reached, as specified in 50 CFR 622.41(b)(2)(i).
    Based on the 2013 projected recreational landings estimates, the 
recreational ACT of 217,100 lb (98,475 kg), round weight, for Gulf gray 
triggerfish was reached in August 2013. Therefore, NMFS implements the 
in-season AM and the recreational harvest of Gulf gray triggerfish will 
close at 12:01 a.m., local time on October 15, 2013, until 12:01 a.m., 
local time on January 1, 2014.
    During the closure, the bag and possession limit of gray 
triggerfish in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero. This bag and possession 
limit applies in the Gulf on board a vessel for which a valid Federal 
charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, 
without regard to where such species were harvested, i.e. in state or 
Federal waters. The recreational sector for gray triggerfish will 
reopen on January 1, 2014, the beginning of the 2014 recreational 
fishing season.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
Gulf gray triggerfish and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act 
and other applicable laws.

[[Page 61828]]

    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.41(b)(2) 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 scientific information available. 
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 because such procedures are unnecessary. The AMs 
state that NMFS will file a notification with the Office of the Federal 
Register to close the recreational sector for Gulf gray triggerfish for 
the remainder of the fishing year if recreational landings reach or are 
projected to reach the recreational ACT specified in 50 CFR 
622.41(b)(2)(iii). All that remains is to notify the public of the 
reduced recreational fishing season for gray triggerfish for the 
remainder of the fishing year.
    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 the gray triggerfish resource. Any 
delay in the closure of the recreational sector could result in the 
recreational ACL for gray triggerfish being exceeded, which, in turn, 
would trigger an additional AM for gray triggerfish. The AM states that 
if recreational landings exceed the ACL, and gray triggerfish is 
overfished, NMFS will file a notification with the Office of the 
Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing 
year, to reduce the ACL and the ACT for that following fishing year by 
the amount of the ACL overage in the prior fishing year. Reducing the 
ACL and ACT the following fishing season could be disruptive to 
business plans and would provide less flexibility to fishermen for when 
they could harvest the ACL.
    For the aforementioned reasons, the Assistant Administrator, NMFS, 
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. 2013-24361 Filed 10-3-13; 8:45 am]
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