[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 220 (Thursday, November 14, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 68373]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-27243]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 120924488-3671-02]
RIN 0648-XC966


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

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 (AMs) for the 
commercial sector for gag in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the 
South Atlantic. Commercial landings for gag, as estimated by the 
Science Research Director, have reached the commercial annual catch 
limit (ACL). Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial sector for gag on 
November 13, 2013, for the remainder of the 2013 fishing year, through 
December 31, 2013. This action is necessary to prevent overfishing of 
the South Atlantic gag resource.

DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, November 13, 
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, which includes gag, 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 (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by 
regulations at 50 CFR part 622.
    The commercial ACL (commercial quota) for gag in the South Atlantic 
is 326,722 lb (148,199 kg), gutted weight, for the current fishing 
year, as specified in Sec.  622.190(a)(7).
    In accordance with regulations at Sec.  622.193(c)(1), NMFS is 
required to close the commercial sector for gag when the commercial ACL 
(commercial quota) 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 (commercial 
quota) for South Atlantic gag has been met. Accordingly, the commercial 
sector for South Atlantic gag is closed effective 12:01 a.m., local 
time, November 13, 2013, until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2014. 
The recreational sector will continue to remain open until December 31, 
2013.
    Additionally, a seasonal closure is in place for the recreational 
and commercial sectors for gag from January through April each fishing 
year as specified in Sec.  622.183(b)(1). During the seasonal closure 
for the recreational and commercial sectors for gag from January 
through April each fishing year, no person may fish for, harvest, or 
possess in or from the South Atlantic EEZ any gag. Therefore, the 
commercial harvest of gag will not commence until May 1, 2014.
    The operator of a vessel with a valid commercial vessel permit for 
South Atlantic snapper-grouper having gag onboard must have landed and 
bartered, traded, or sold such gag prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, 
November 13, 2013. During this commercial closure, the bag limit and 
possession limits specified in Sec.  622.187(b)(2)(i) and (c)(1), 
respectively, apply to all harvest or possession of gag in or from the 
South Atlantic EEZ, and the sale or purchase of gag taken from the EEZ 
is prohibited. The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to 
the sale or purchase of gag that were harvested, landed ashore, and 
sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, November 13, 2013, and were held 
in cold storage by a dealer or processor. For a person on board a 
vessel for which a Federal commercial permit for the South Atlantic 
snapper-grouper fishery has been issued, the sale and purchase 
provisions of the commercial closure for gag apply regardless of 
whether the fish are harvested in state or Federal waters, as specified 
in 50 CFR 622.190(c)(1).
    In addition, for a person on board a vessel for which a valid 
Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic 
snapper-grouper has been issued, the provisions of this closure apply 
in the South Atlantic, regardless of where such fish are harvested, 
i.e., in state or Federal waters as specified in Sec.  
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 
South Atlantic gag and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and 
other applicable laws.
    This action is taken under Sec.  622.193(c)(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 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 gag 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 gag since the capacity of 
the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the 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: November 8, 2013.
Kelly Denit,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-27243 Filed 11-8-13; 4:15 pm]
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