[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 30 (Thursday, February 13, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 8635-8636]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-03168]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 120919470-3513-02]
RIN 0648-XD122


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Shrimp Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Closure of the Penaeid 
Shrimp Fishery Off South Carolina

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NMFS closes the penaeid shrimp commercial sector to trawling, 
i.e., brown, pink, and white shrimp, in the exclusive economic zone 
(EEZ) off South Carolina in the South Atlantic. This closure is 
necessary to protect the spawning stock of white shrimp that has been 
subject to unusually cold weather conditions where state water 
temperatures have been 9 [deg]C (48 [deg]F), or less, for at least 7 
consecutive days.

DATES: The closure is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, February 13, 
2014, until the effective date of a notification of opening which NOAA 
will publish in the Federal Register.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kate Michie, 727-570-5305; email: 
Kate.Michie@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The penaeid shrimp fishery of the South 
Atlantic is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp 
Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the 
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (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.
    Amendment 9 to the FMP revised the criteria and procedures by which 
a South Atlantic state may request a concurrent closure of the EEZ to 
the harvest of penaeid shrimp when state waters close as a result of 
severe winter weather (78 FR 35571, June 13, 2013). Under 50 CFR 
622.206(a), NMFS may close the EEZ adjacent to South Atlantic states 
that have closed their waters to harvest of brown, pink, and white 
shrimp to protect the white shrimp spawning stock that has been 
severely depleted by cold weather or when applicable state water 
temperatures are 9 [deg]C (48 [deg]F), or less, for at least 7 
consecutive days. Consistent with those procedures and criteria, the 
state of South Carolina has determined, based on the information from 
standardized assessments, that unusually cold temperatures have 
occurred and that state water temperatures have been 9 [deg]C (48 
[deg]F), or less, for at least 7 consecutive days and that these cold 
weather conditions pose a risk to the condition and vulnerability of 
overwintering white shrimp populations in its state waters. South 
Carolina closed its waters on January 13, 2014, to the harvest of 
brown, pink, and white shrimp, and has requested that the Council and 
NMFS implement a concurrent closure of the EEZ off South Carolina. In 
accordance with the procedures described in the FMP, the state of South 
Carolina submitted a letter to the NMFS Regional Administrator (RA) on 
February 5, 2014, requesting that NMFS close the EEZ adjacent to South 
Carolina to penaeid shrimp harvest as a result of severe cold weather 
conditions.
    NMFS has determined that the recommended Federal closure conforms 
with the procedures and criteria specified in the FMP and the Magnuson-
Stevens Act, and, therefore, implements the Federal closure effective 
12:01 a.m., local time, February 13, 2014. The closure will be 
effective until the ending date of the closure in South Carolina state 
waters, but may be ended earlier based on a request from the state. In 
no case will the Federal closure remain effective after May 31, 2014. 
NMFS will terminate the closure of the EEZ by filing a notification to 
that effect with the Office of the Federal Register.
    During the closure, as specified in 50 CFR 622.206(a)(2), no person 
may: (1) Trawl for brown, pink, or white shrimp in the EEZ off South 
Carolina; (2) possess on board a fishing vessel brown, pink, or white 
shrimp in or from the EEZ off South Carolina unless the vessel is in 
transit through the area and all nets with a mesh size of less than 4 
inches (10.2 cm), as measured between the centers of opposite knots 
when pulled taut, are stowed below deck; or (3) for a vessel trawling 
within 25 nautical miles of the baseline from which the territorial sea 
is measured, use or have on board a trawl net with a mesh size less 
than 4 inches (10.2 cm), as measured between the centers of opposite 
knots when pulled taut.

Classification

    The RA, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined this temporary rule 
is necessary for the conservation and management of the spawning stock 
of white shrimp off South Carolina and is

[[Page 8636]]

consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.206(a) 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 
recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA, (AA), finds that the need to immediately implement 
this action to close the penaeid shrimp commercial sector in the EEZ 
off South Carolina 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 because the rule itself has 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 is 
contrary to the public interest because of the need to immediately 
implement this action to protect the severely depleted spawning stock 
of white shrimp off South Carolina. Prior notice and opportunity for 
public comment would require time and would potentially further harm 
the spawning stock that has been impacted due to cold weather.
    For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to 
waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness of this action under 5 U.S.C. 
553(d)(3).

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

    Dated: February 10, 2014.
Sean F. Corson,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-03168 Filed 2-10-14; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P