[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 232 (Tuesday, December 3, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 72583-72584]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-28907]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 100217097-1757-02]
RIN 0648-XC981


Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; 2013 Accountability 
Measure and Closure for Hogfish 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 accountability measures (AMs) for the 
commercial and recreational sectors for hogfish in the exclusive 
economic zone (EEZ) of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) for the 2013 fishing 
year through this temporary final rule. Based on the commercial and 
recreational landings, NMFS determined that the stock (commercial and 
recreational) annual catch limit (ACL) for Gulf hogfish has been 
reached. Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial and recreational sectors 
for hogfish in the Gulf EEZ at 12:01 a.m., local time, December 2, 
2013, until January 1, 2014. This closure is necessary to protect the 
Gulf hogfish resource.

DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time on December 2, 
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 hogfish, is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the 
Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Reef Fish FMP). The Reef 
Fish FMP was prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council 
(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 December 29, 2011, NMFS published the final rule for the Generic 
Annual Catch Limits/Accountability Measures Amendment to the Red Drum, 
Reef Fish Resources, Shrimp, and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery 
Management Plans for the Gulf of Mexico (Generic ACL Amendment; 76 FR 
82044) as prepared and submitted by the Council. This final rule, in 
part, implemented changes to the Reef Fish FMP, including setting a 
stock ACL and implementing AMs for Gulf hogfish.
    The Gulf hogfish stock ACL is 208,000 lb (94,347 kg), round weight, 
as specified in 50 CFR 622.41(p).
    In accordance with regulations at 50 CFR 622.41(p), if the sum of 
commercial and recreational landings exceed the stock ACL in a fishing 
year, then if the stock ACL is again reached or projected to be reached 
in the following fishing year, NMFS is required to close the commercial 
and recreational sectors for hogfish for the remainder of that 
following fishing year. NMFS determined that the stock ACL for Gulf 
hogfish was exceeded in the 2012 fishing year. Based on 2013 commercial 
and recreational landings, NMFS has determined that the stock ACL of 
208,000 lb (94,347 kg), round weight, for Gulf hogfish has been reached 
for the 2013 fishing year. Therefore, NMFS implements the in-season AM 
and the commercial and recreational harvest of Gulf hogfish will close 
at 12:01 a.m., local time on December 2, 2013, until 12:01 a.m., local 
time on January 1, 2014.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
Gulf hogfish and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other 
applicable laws.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.41(p) 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 commercial and recreational sectors for Gulf 
hogfish for the remainder of the fishing year if landings reach or are 
projected to reach the stock ACL specified in 50 CFR 622.41(p) in the 
year following an overage of the hogfish stock ACL. All that remains is 
to notify the public of the reduced fishing season

[[Page 72584]]

for hogfish 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 hogfish resource. Any delay in the 
closure could result in the stock ACL for hogfish being exceeded 
further.
    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: November 27, 2013.
Emily H. Menashes,
Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-28907 Filed 11-27-13; 4:15 pm]
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