[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 69 (Thursday, April 10, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 19836-19837]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-08060]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 130312235-3658-02]
RIN 0648-XD173


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
2014 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for South Atlantic 
Vermilion Snapper

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for the 
commercial sector for vermilion snapper in the exclusive economic zone 
(EEZ) of the South Atlantic. Commercial landings for vermilion snapper, 
as estimated by the Science Research Director (SRD), are projected to 
reach the commercial annual catch limit (ACL) for the January 1 through 
June 30, 2014, fishing period on April 19, 2014. Therefore, NMFS closes 
the commercial sector for vermilion snapper in the South Atlantic EEZ 
on April 19, 2014, and it will remain closed until the start of the 
July 1 through December 31, 2014, fishing period. This closure is 
necessary to protect the vermilion snapper resource.

DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, April 19, 2014, 
until 12:01 a.m., local time, July 1, 2014.

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 vermilion snapper 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 (Magnuson-
Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622.
    The commercial ACL (commercial quota) for vermilion snapper in the 
South Atlantic is divided into two quotas for two 6-month time periods, 
and is 401,874 lb (182,287 kg), gutted weight [446,080 lb (202,338 kg), 
round weight], for the current fishing period of January 1 through June 
30, 2014, as specified in 50 CFR 622.190(a)(4)(i)(B).
    On March 7, 2014, NMFS published a temporary rule (79 FR 12957) to 
reduce the commercial trip limit for vermilion snapper in or from the 
EEZ of the South Atlantic to 500 lb (227 kg), gutted weight, effective 
12:01 a.m., local time, March 11, 2014, until July 1, 2014, or until 
the quota is reached and the commercial sector closes, whichever occurs 
first.
    In accordance with regulations at 50 CFR 622.193(f)(1), NMFS is 
required to close the commercial sector for vermilion snapper when its 
commercial ACL (commercial quota) for that portion of the fishing year 
applicable to the respective 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. NMFS has 
determined that the commercial ACL (commercial quota) for South 
Atlantic vermilion snapper for the January-June fishing period will 
have been reached by April 19, 2014. Accordingly, the commercial sector 
for South Atlantic vermilion snapper is closed effective 12:01 a.m., 
local time, April 19, 2014, until 12:01 a.m., local time, July 1, 2014. 
The commercial ACL (commercial quota) for vermilion snapper in the 
South Atlantic is 401,874 lb (182,287 kg), gutted weight [446,080 lb 
(202,338 kg), round weight], for the July 1 through December 31, 2014, 
fishing period, as specified in 50 CFR 622.190(a)(4)(ii)(B).
    The operator of a vessel with a valid commercial vessel permit for 
South Atlantic snapper-grouper having vermilion snapper onboard must 
have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such vermilion snapper prior 
to 12:01 a.m., local time, April 19, 2014. During the closure, the bag 
limit specified in 50 CFR 622.187(b)(5) and the possession limits 
specified in 50 CFR 622.187(c)(1), apply to all harvest or possession 
of vermilion snapper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ. During the 
closure, the sale or purchase of vermilion snapper taken from the EEZ 
is prohibited. As specified in 50 CFR 622.190(c)(1)(i), the prohibition 
on sale or purchase does not apply to the sale or purchase of vermilion 
snapper that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 
a.m., local time, April 19, 2014, and were held in cold storage by a 
dealer or processor. For a person on board a vessel for which a Federal 
commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for the South Atlantic 
snapper-grouper fishery has been issued, the bag and possession limits 
and the sale and purchase provisions of the commercial closure for 
vermilion snapper would apply regardless of whether the fish are 
harvested in state or Federal waters, as specified in 50 CFR 
622.190(c)(1)(ii).

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
South Atlantic vermilion snapper and is consistent with the Magnuson-
Stevens Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.193(f)(1) and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    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 sector for vermilion snapper 
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 vermilion snapper since the capacity of the fishing 
fleet allows for rapid harvest of the commercial ACL (commercial 
quota). Prior notice and opportunity for public comment would require 
time and would likely result in a harvest well in excess of the 
established commercial ACL (commercial quota).

[[Page 19837]]

    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: April 7, 2014.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-08060 Filed 4-9-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P