[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 35 (Friday, February 21, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 9866-9867]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-03718]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 001005281-0369-02]
RIN 0648-XD137


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
2014 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for 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) to close the 
hook-and-line component of the commercial sector for king mackerel in 
the southern Florida west coast subzone. This closure is necessary to 
protect the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) king mackerel resource.

DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, February 21, 
2014, through June 30, 2014.

[[Page 9867]]


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 
(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.
    On April 27, 2000, NMFS implemented the final rule (65 FR 16336, 
March 28, 2000) that divided the Florida west coast subzone of the Gulf 
eastern zone into northern and southern subzones, and established their 
separate commercial quotas. On January 30, 2012, NMFS implemented the 
final rule (76 FR 82058, December 29, 2011) that established annual 
catch limits (ACLs), equal to commercial quotas. The 2013 to 2014 
fishing year quota for the hook-and-line component of the commercial 
sector in the southern Florida west coast subzone is 551,448 lb 
(250,133 kg) (50 CFR 622.384(b)(1)(i)(B)(1)).
    From November 1 through March 31, the southern subzone encompasses 
an area of the EEZ south of a line extending due west of the Lee/
Collier County, FL, boundary on the Florida west coast, and south of a 
line extending due east of the Monroe/Miami-Dade County, FL, boundary 
on the Florida east coast, which includes the EEZ off Collier and 
Monroe Counties, FL. From April 1 through October 31, the southern 
subzone is reduced to the EEZ off Collier County, and the EEZ off 
Monroe County becomes part of the Atlantic migratory group area.
    On February 16, 2014, NMFS implemented a 500-lb (227-kg) trip limit 
for vessels in the hook-and-line component of the commercial sector for 
king mackerel in or from the EEZ in the southern Florida west coast 
subzone.
    Under 50 CFR 622.8(b), NMFS is required to close any component of 
the king mackerel commercial sector when its quota has been reached, or 
is projected to be reached, by filing a notification at the Office of 
the Federal Register. NMFS has determined the quota for the hook-and-
line component of the commercial sector for Gulf migratory group king 
mackerel in the southern Florida west coast subzone will be reached by 
February 21, 2014. Accordingly, the hook-and-line component of the 
commercial sector for Gulf migratory group king mackerel in the 
southern Florida west coast subzone is closed effective 12:01 a.m., 
local time, February 21, 2014, through June 30, 2014, the end of the 
fishing year. On January 29, 2014, NMFS implemented a temporary rule to 
close commercial harvest of king mackerel in the southern Florida west 
coast subzone of the eastern zone of the Gulf EEZ using run-around 
gillnet gear (79 FR 3200, January 31, 2014).
    As specified in 50 CFR 622.384(e), during the closure period no 
person aboard a vessel for which a commercial permit for king mackerel 
has been issued may harvest or possess Gulf migratory group king 
mackerel in or from Federal waters of the closed subzone. However, 
there is one exception that a person aboard a vessel that has a valid 
charter/headboat permit and also has a commercial king mackerel permit 
for coastal migratory pelagic fish may continue to retain king mackerel 
in or from the closed subzone under the 2-fish daily bag limit, 
provided the vessel is operating as a charter vessel or headboat. 
Charter vessels or headboats that hold a commercial king mackerel 
permit are considered to be operating as a charter vessel or headboat 
when they carry a passenger who pays a fee or when more than three 
persons are aboard, including operator and crew.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
the Gulf migratory group king mackerel resource 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 fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, 
NOAA, (AA), finds that the need to immediately implement this action to 
close the hook-and-line component of the commercial sector 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 already 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 the fishery since the capacity of the 
fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the ACL (quota). Prior notice 
and opportunity for public comment would require time and would 
potentially result in a harvest well in excess of the established 
quota.
    For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to 
waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness of the action under 5 U.S.C. 
553(d)(3).

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

    Dated: February 18, 2014.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-03718 Filed 2-18-14; 4:15 pm]
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