[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 43 (Wednesday, March 5, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 12411-12412]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-04858]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 120404257-3325-02]
RIN 0648-XD118


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
2014 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for South Atlantic 
Golden Tilefish Longline Component

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 for the commercial 
longline component for golden tilefish in the exclusive economic zone 
(EEZ) of the South Atlantic. Commercial longline landings for golden 
tilefish, as estimated by the Science and Research Director (SRD), are 
projected to reach the longline component's commercial annual catch 
limit (ACL) on March 5, 2014. Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial 
longline component for golden tilefish in the South Atlantic EEZ on 
March 5, 2014, and it will remain closed until the start of the next 
fishing season, January 1, 2015. This closure is necessary to protect 
the golden tilefish resource.

DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, March 5, 2014, 
until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2015.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The snapper-grouper fishery of the South 
Atlantic includes golden tilefish and is managed under the Fishery 
Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic 
Region (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the South Atlantic Fishery 
Management Council and is implemented under the authority of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act by regulations 
at 50 CFR part 622.
    On April 23, 2013, NMFS published a final rule for Amendment 18B to 
the FMP (78 FR 23858). Amendment 18B to the FMP established a longline 
endorsement program for the commercial golden tilefish component of the 
snapper-grouper fishery and allocated the commercial golden tilefish 
ACL among two gear groups, the longline and hook-and-line components.
    The commercial ACL (commercial quota) for the longline component 
for golden tilefish in the South Atlantic is 405,971 lb (184,145 kg), 
gutted weight, for the current fishing year, January 1 through December 
31, 2014, as specified in 50 CFR 622.190(a)(2)(iii).
    Under 50 CFR 622.193(a)(1)(ii), NMFS is required to close the 
commercial longline component for golden tilefish when the longline 
component's commercial ACL (commercial quota) has been reached, or is 
projected to be reached, by filing a notification to that effect with 
the Office of the Federal Register. After the commercial ACL for the 
longline component is reached or projected to be reached, golden 
tilefish may not be fished for or possessed by a vessel with a golden 
tilefish longline endorsement. NMFS has determined that the commercial 
ACL (commercial quota) for the longline component for golden tilefish 
in the South Atlantic will have been reached by March 5, 2014. 
Accordingly, the commercial longline component for South Atlantic 
golden tilefish is closed effective 12:01 a.m., local time, March 5, 
2014, until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2015.
    During the commercial longline closure, golden tilefish may still 
be harvested commercially using hook-and-line gear. However, vessels 
with golden tilefish longline endorsements are not eligible to fish for 
golden tilefish using hook-and-line gear under the hook-and-line trip 
limit, as specified in 50 CFR 622.191(a)(2)(ii). The operator of a 
vessel with a valid commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic 
snapper-grouper and a valid commercial longline endorsement for golden 
tilefish having golden tilefish onboard must have landed and bartered, 
traded, or sold such golden tilefish prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, 
March 5, 2014.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
South Atlantic golden tilefish and is consistent with the Magnuson-
Stevens Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.193(a)(1) 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 scientific 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 commercial longline component for golden 
tilefish 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 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 golden tilefish since the capacity of 
the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the commercial ACL 
(commercial quota) for the longline component. Prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment would require time and would potentially 
result in a harvest well in excess of the established commercial ACL 
(commercial quota) for the longline component.

[[Page 12412]]

    For the aforementioned reasons, the AA 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: February 28, 2014.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-04858 Filed 2-28-14; 4:15 pm]
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