[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 21 (Friday, January 31, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 5300-5301]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-02010]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 101206604-1758-02]
RIN 0648-XC464


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South 
Atlantic

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) through this 
temporary final rule for commercial harvest of king mackerel in the 
southern Florida west coast subzone of the eastern zone of the Gulf of 
Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone (EEZ) using run-around gillnet 
gear. NMFS has determined that the commercial annual catch limit (ACL) 
(equal to the commercial quota) for king mackerel using run-around 
gillnet gear in the southern Florida west coast subzone of the Gulf EEZ 
will have been reached by January 29, 2014. Therefore, NMFS closes the 
southern Florida west coast subzone to commercial king mackerel fishing 
using run-around gillnet gear in the Gulf EEZ. This closure is 
necessary to protect the Gulf king mackerel resource.

DATES: The closure is effective 12:01 p.m., eastern standard time, 
January 29, 2014, through 6 a.m., eastern standard time, January 20, 
2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Gerhart, telephone: 727-824-
5305, email: Susan.Gerhart@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The fishery for coastal migratory pelagic 
fish (king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia) is managed under the 
Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of 
the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic (FMP). The FMP was prepared by 
the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils 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.
    Gulf migratory group king mackerel's Florida west coast subzone of 
the Gulf eastern zone is divided into northern and southern subzones, 
each with separate quotas. The southern subzone is that part of the 
Florida west coast subzone, which from November 1 through March 31, 
extends south and west from 25[deg]20.4' N. lat. (a line directly east 
from the Miami-Dade/Monroe County, FL, boundary), north to 26[deg]19.8' 
N. lat. (a line directly west from the Lee/Collier County, FL, 
boundary), i.e., the area off Monroe and Collier Counties. From April 1 
through October 31, the southern subzone is that part of the Florida 
west coast subzone that is between 26[deg]19.8' N. lat. (a line 
directly west from the Lee/Collier County, FL, boundary) and 25[deg]48' 
N. lat. (a line directly west from the Monroe/Collier County, FL, 
boundary), i.e., the area off Collier County (50 CFR 
622.384(b)(1)(i)(C)).
    On January 30, 2012 (76 FR 82058, December 29, 2011), NMFS 
implemented a commercial ACL (commercial quota) for the Gulf migratory 
group king mackerel in the southern Florida west coast subzone of 
551,448 lb (250,133 kg) for vessels using run-around gillnet gear (50 
CFR 622.384(b)(1)(i)(B)(1)), for the current fishing year, July 1, 
2013, through June 30, 2014.

[[Page 5301]]

    Regulations at 50 CFR 622.8(b) require NMFS to close any segment of 
the king mackerel commercial sector when its ACL (quota) has been 
reached, or is projected to be reached, by filing a notification with 
the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS has determined that the 
commercial ACL (commercial quota) of 551,448 lb (250,133 kg) for Gulf 
group king mackerel for vessels using run-around gillnet gear in the 
southern Florida west coast subzone will be reached on [January 29, 
2014. Accordingly, commercial fishing for such vessels in the southern 
Florida west coast subzone is closed at 12:01 p.m., eastern standard 
time, January 29, 2014, through 6 a.m., eastern standard time, January 
20, 2015, the beginning of the next fishing season, i.e., the day after 
the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Federal holiday. Accordingly, the 
operator of a vessel that has been issued a Federal commercial permit 
to harvest Gulf migratory group king mackerel using run-around gillnet 
gear in the southern Florida west coast subzone must have landed ashore 
and bartered, traded, or sold such king mackerel prior to 12:01 p.m., 
eastern standard time, January 29, 2014.
    Except for a person aboard a charter vessel or headboat, during the 
closure, no person aboard a vessel for which a commercial permit for 
king mackerel has been issued may fish for or retain Gulf group king 
mackerel harvested using run-around gillnet gear in the southern 
Florida west coast subzone. Persons aboard a vessel for which a 
commercial permit for king mackerel has been issued, except persons who 
also possess a king mackerel gillnet permit, may fish for or retain 
Gulf group king mackerel harvested using hook-and-line gear in the 
southern Florida west coast subzone at this time. A person aboard a 
vessel that has a valid charter vessel/headboat permit for coastal 
migratory pelagic fish may continue to retain king mackerel in or from 
the closed zones or subzones under the bag and possession limits set 
forth in 50 CFR 622.382(a)(1)(ii) and (a)(2), provided the vessel is 
operating as a charter vessel or headboat. A charter vessel or headboat 
that also has a commercial king mackerel permit is considered to be 
operating as a charter vessel or headboat when it carries a passenger 
who pays a fee or when there are more than three persons aboard, 
including operator and crew.
    During the closure, king mackerel harvested using run-around 
gillnet gear in the southern Florida west coast subzone, including 
those harvested under the bag and possession limits, may not be 
purchased or sold. This prohibition does not apply to king mackerel 
harvested using run-around gillnet gear in the southern Florida west 
coast subzone that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to the 
closure and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
Gulf migratory group king mackerel and is consistent with the Magnuson-
Stevens Act and other applicable laws.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.8(b) 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 fisheries. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, 
NOAA (AA), finds that the need to immediately implement this action to 
close the fishery 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). Such procedures would be 
unnecessary because the rule implementing the ACL (quota) and the 
associated requirement for closure of the commercial harvest when the 
ACL (quota) is reached or projected to be reached has already been 
subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the 
public of the closure.
    Providing prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this 
action would be contrary to the public interest because any delay in 
the closure of the commercial harvest could result in the commercial 
quota being exceeded. There is a need to immediately implement this 
action to protect the king mackerel resource because the capacity of 
the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the quota.
    For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to 
waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: January 28, 2014.
Sean F. Corson,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-02010 Filed 1-28-14; 4:15 pm]
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