[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 70 (Friday, April 11, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 20108-20109]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-08155]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 130214139-3542-02]
RIN 0648-XD222

Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure of Angling category southern area 
trophy fishery.


SUMMARY: NMFS closes the southern area Angling category fishery for 
large medium and giant (``trophy'' (i.e., measuring 73 inches curved 
fork length or greater)) Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT). This action is 
being taken to prevent any further overharvest of the Angling category 
southern area trophy BFT subquota.

DATES: Effective April 11, 2014, through December 31, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin or Brad McHale, 978-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by 
persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR 
part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by 
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
(ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the 
allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly 
Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) 
and in accordance with implementing regulations (71 FR 58058, October 
2, 2006).
    NMFS is required, under Sec.  635.28(a)(1), to file a closure 
notice with the Office of the Federal Register for publication when a 
BFT quota is reached or is projected to be reached. On and after the 
effective date and time of such notification, for the remainder of the 
fishing year or for a specified period as indicated in the 
notification, retaining, possessing, or landing BFT under that quota 
category is prohibited until the opening of the subsequent quota period 
or until such date as specified in the notice.

Angling Category Large Medium and Giant Southern ``Trophy'' Fishery 

    The 2014 BFT fishing year, which is managed on a calendar-year 
basis and subject to an annual calendar-year quota, began January 1, 
2014. The Angling category season opened January 1, 2014, and continues 
through December 31, 2014. The currently codified Angling category 
quota is 182 mt, of which 4.2 mt is allocated for the harvest of large 
medium and giant (trophy) BFT from the regulatory area by vessels 
fishing under the Angling category quota, with 1.4 mt for the area 
north of 39[deg]18' N. lat. (off Great Egg Inlet, NJ) and 2.8 mt for 
the area south of 39[deg]18' N. lat., including the Gulf of Mexico. 
Trophy BFT measure 73 inches (185 cm) curved fork length or greater.
    Based on information from the NMFS Automated Landings Reporting 
System and the North Carolina Tagging Program, NMFS has determined that 
the codified Angling category trophy BFT subquota has been taken and 
that a closure of the southern area trophy BFT fishery is warranted at 
this time. Therefore, retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or 
giant BFT south of 39[deg]18' N. lat. by persons aboard vessels 
permitted in the HMS Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat 
category must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on April 11, 2014. This 
action is intended to prevent any further overharvest of the Angling 
category southern area trophy BFT subquota, and is taken consistent 
with the regulations at Sec.  635.28(a)(1). Please note, while this 
inseason action prohibits retention of large medium and giant BFT by 
persons aboard HMS Charter/Headboat category vessels while fishing 
recreationally, commercial retention of large medium and giant BFT on 
HMS Charter/Headboat category vessels is currently prohibited because 
the General category is closed until June 1, 2014.

[[Page 20109]]

    HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat category permit holders may 
catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the 
requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs at 
Sec.  635.26. Anglers are also reminded that all BFT that are released 
must be handled in a manner that will maximize survival, and without 
removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at Sec.  
635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the 
``Careful Catch and Release'' brochure available at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/.
    If needed, subsequent Angling category adjustments will be 
published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the 
Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (888) 872-8862 or (978) 281-9260, or 
access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates.


    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior 
notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for 
the following reasons:
    The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP provide 
for inseason retention limit adjustments and fishery closures to 
respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing 
grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional 
variations in the BFT fishery. The closure of the southern area Angling 
category trophy fishery is necessary to prevent any further overharvest 
of the southern area trophy fishery subquota. NMFS provides 
notification of closures by publishing the notice in the Federal 
Register, emailing individuals who have subscribed to the Atlantic HMS 
News electronic newsletter, and updating the information posted on the 
Atlantic Tunas Information Line and on hmspermits.noaa.gov.
    These fisheries are currently underway and delaying this action 
would be contrary to the public interest as it could result in 
excessive trophy BFT landings that may result in future potential quota 
reductions for the Angling category and potentially other BFT quota 
categories, depending on the magnitude of a potential Angling category 
overharvest. NMFS must close the southern area trophy BFT fishery 
before additional landings of these sizes of BFT accumulate. Therefore, 
the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice 
and the opportunity for public comment. For all of the above reasons, 
there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in 
    This action is being taken under 50 CFR 635.28(a)(1), and is exempt 
from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq.

    Dated: April 8, 2014.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-08155 Filed 4-8-14; 4:15 pm]