[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 232 (Tuesday, December 3, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 72585-72586]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-28908]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 111220786-1781-01]
RIN 0648-XD004


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder 
Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for the Commonwealth of Virginia

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces that the 2013 summer flounder commercial quota 
allocated to the Commonwealth of Virginia has been harvested. Vessels 
issued a commercial Federal fisheries

[[Page 72586]]

permit for the summer flounder fishery may not land summer flounder in 
Virginia for the remainder of calendar year 2013, unless additional 
quota becomes available through a transfer from another state. 
Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery require publication 
of this notification to advise Virginia that the quota has been 
harvested and to advise vessel permit holders and dealer permit holders 
that no Federal commercial quota is available for landing summer 
flounder in Virginia.

DATES: Effective 1801 hours, December 4, 2013, through December 31, 
2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carly Bari, (978) 281-9224, or 
Carly.Bari@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the summer flounder 
fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require annual 
specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned on a percentage 
basis among the coastal states from North Carolina through Maine. The 
process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to 
each state is described in Sec.  648.102.
    The initial total commercial quota for summer flounder for the 2013 
fishing year is 11,793,596 lb (5,349,575 kg) (77 FR 76942, December 31, 
2012). The percent allocated to vessels landing summer flounder in 
Virginia is 21.31676 percent, resulting in a commercial quota of 
2,514,012 lb (1,140,356 kg). The 2013 allocation was adjusted to 
5,040,501 lb (2,286,333 kg) after deduction of research set-aside, 
adjustment for 2012 quota overages, and adjustments for quota transfers 
between states (mostly transfers from North Carolina to cover safe 
harbor landings in Virginia by North Carolina vessels).
    The Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), 
monitors the state commercial landings and determines when a state's 
commercial quota has been harvested. NMFS is required to publish 
notification in the Federal Register advising and notifying commercial 
vessels and dealer permit holders that, effective upon a specific date, 
the state's commercial quota has been harvested and no commercial quota 
is available for landing summer flounder in that state. The Regional 
Administrator has determined, based upon dealer reports and other 
available information that, Virginia has harvested its quota for 2013.
    Section 648.4(b) provides that Federal permit holders agree, as a 
condition of the permit, not to land summer flounder in any state that 
the Regional Administrator has determined no longer has commercial 
quota available. Therefore, effective 1801 hours, December 4, 2013, 
landings of summer flounder in Virginia by vessels holding summer 
flounder commercial Federal fisheries permits are prohibited for the 
remainder of the 2013 calendar year, unless additional quota becomes 
available through a transfer and is announced in the Federal Register. 
Effective 1801 hours, December 4, 2013, federally permitted dealers are 
also notified that they may not purchase summer flounder from federally 
permitted vessels that land in Virginia for the remainder of the 
calendar year, or until additional quota becomes available through a 
transfer from another state.

Classification

    This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good 
cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the 
opportunity for public comment because it would be contrary to the 
public interest. This action closes the summer flounder fishery for 
Virginia until January 1, 2014, under current regulations. The 
regulations at Sec.  648.103(b) require such action to ensure that 
summer flounder vessels do not exceed quotas allocated to the states. 
If implementation of this closure was delayed to solicit prior public 
comment, the quota for this fishing year will be exceeded, thereby 
undermining the conservation objectives of the Summer Flounder Fishery 
Management Plan. The AA further finds, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), 
good cause to waive the 30-day delayed effectiveness period for the 
reason stated above.

    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. 2013-28908 Filed 11-29-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P