[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 143 (Friday, July 25, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 43267-43268]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-17629]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 120706221-2705-02]
RIN 0648-XD369


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS); Commercial Blacknose 
Sharks and Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks (SCS) in the Atlantic 
Region

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the fisheries for commercial blacknose sharks 
and non-blacknose SCS in the Atlantic region. This action is necessary 
because the commercial landings of Atlantic blacknose sharks for the 
2014 fishing season has exceeded 80 percent of the available commercial 
quota as of July 22, 2014.

DATES: The commercial fisheries for blacknose sharks and Atlantic non-
blacknose SCSs in the Atlantic region are closed effective 11:30 p.m. 
local time July 28, 2014 until the end of the 2014 fishing season on 
December 31, 2014, or until and if NMFS announces via a notice in the 
Federal Register that additional quota is available and the season is 
reopened.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karyl Brewster-Geisz or Alexis Jackson 
301-427-8503; fax 301-713-1917.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic shark fisheries are managed 
under the 2006 Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan (FMP), its 
amendments, and its implementing regulations (50 CFR part 635) issued 
under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).
    Under Sec.  635.5(b)(1), dealers must electronically submit reports 
on sharks that are first received from a vessel on a weekly basis 
through a NMFS-approved electronic reporting system, received by NMFS 
no later than midnight, local time, of the first Tuesday following the 
end of the reporting week unless the dealer is otherwise notified by 
NMFS. Under Sec.  635.28(3), the quotas of certain species and/or 
management groups are linked. The quotas for blacknose sharks and the 
non-blacknose SCS management group in the Atlantic region are linked 
(Sec.  635.28(b)(3)(iii)). Under Sec.  635.28(b)(2), when NMFS 
calculates that the landings for any species and/or management group of 
a linked group have exceeded 80 percent of the available quota, NMFS 
will file for publication with the Office of the Federal Register a 
notice of closure for all of the species and/or management groups in a 
linked group that will be effective no fewer than 5 days from date of 
filing. From the effective date and time of the closure until and if 
NMFS announces, via a notice in the Federal Register, that additional 
quota is available and the season is reopened, the fisheries for all 
linked species and/or management groups is closed, even across fishing 
years. On November 26, 2013 (78 FR 70500), NMFS announced that the 
commercial Atlantic blacknose shark quota for 2014 is 17.5 metric tons 
(mt) dressed weight (dw) (38,638 lb dw), and the Atlantic non-blacknose 
SCS quota is 264.1 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (582,333 lb 
dw). Dealer reports recently received through July 22, 2014, indicate 
that 15.2 mt dw or 87 percent of the available Atlantic blacknose shark 
quota has been landed and 85.2 mt dw or 32 percent of the available 
Atlantic non-blacknose SCS quota has been landed. Accordingly, NMFS is 
closing both the commercial blacknose shark fishery and non-blacknose 
SCS management group in the Atlantic region as of 11:30 p.m. local time 
July 28, 2014. The fisheries for all other shark species or management 
groups that are currently open will remain open, including the 
fisheries for commercial Atlantic aggregated large coastal sharks (LCS) 
and Atlantic hammerhead sharks.
    At Sec.  635.27(b)(1), the boundary between the Gulf of Mexico 
region and the Atlantic region is defined as a line beginning on the 
East Coast of Florida at the mainland at 25[deg]20.4' N. lat,

[[Page 43268]]

proceeding due east. Any water and land to the south and west of that 
boundary is considered, for the purposes of monitoring and setting 
quotas, to be within the Gulf of Mexico region.
    During the closure, retention of blacknose sharks and non-blacknose 
SCS in the Atlantic region is prohibited for persons fishing aboard 
vessels issued a commercial shark limited access permit under Sec.  
635.4. However, persons aboard a commercially permitted vessel that is 
also properly permitted to operate as a charter vessel or headboat for 
HMS and is engaged in a for-hire trip could fish under the recreational 
retention limits for sharks and ``no sale'' provisions (Sec.  635.22(a) 
and (c)).
    During this closure, a shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to 
Sec.  635.4 may not purchase or receive blacknose sharks or non-
blacknose SCS in the Atlantic region from a vessel issued an Atlantic 
Shark Limited Access Permit (LAP), except that a permitted shark dealer 
or processor may possess blacknose sharks and/or non-blacknose SCS in 
the Atlantic region that were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, 
or bartered prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in 
storage consistent with Sec.  635.28(b)(5). Similarly, a shark dealer 
issued a permit pursuant to Sec.  635.4 may, in accordance with 
relevant state regulations, purchase or receive blacknose sharks and/or 
non-blacknose SCS in the Atlantic region if the sharks were harvested, 
off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered from a vessel that fishes 
only in state waters and that has not been issued an Atlantic Shark 
LAP, HMS Angling permit, or HMS Charter/Headboat permit pursuant to 
Sec.  635.4.

Classification

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that providing prior notice and public 
comment for this action is impracticable and contrary to the public 
interest because the fisheries are currently underway and any delay in 
this action would result in overharvest of the quota and be 
inconsistent with management requirements and objectives. Similarly, 
affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this 
action is contrary to the public interest because if the quota is 
exceeded, the stock may be negatively affected and fishermen ultimately 
could experience reductions in the available quota and a lack of 
fishing opportunities in future seasons. For these reasons, the AA also 
finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effective date pursuant 
to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This action is required under Sec.  635.28(b)(2) 
and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: July 22, 2014.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-17629 Filed 7-23-14; 11:15 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P