[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 197 (Friday, October 13, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 47640-47641]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-22210]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 100812345-2142-03]
RIN 0648-XF729


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
2017 Commercial Accountability Measures and Closure for South Atlantic 
Greater Amberjack

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 (AMs) for commercial 
greater amberjack in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South 
Atlantic. NMFS projects commercial landings of greater amberjack will 
reach the commercial annual catch limit (ACL) by October 18, 2017. 
Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial sector for greater amberjack in 
the South Atlantic EEZ on October 18, 2017, and it will remain closed 
until the start of the next fishing year on March 1, 2018. This closure 
is necessary to protect the greater amberjack resource.

DATES: This rule is effective at 12:01 a.m., local time, October 18, 
2017, until 12:01 a.m., local time, March 1, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Vara, NMFS Southeast Regional 
Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The snapper-grouper fishery of the South 
Atlantic includes greater amberjack 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 by NMFS 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 for greater amberjack is equivalent to the 
commercial quota. The commercial quota for greater amberjack in the 
South Atlantic is 769,388 lb (348,989 kg), gutted weight, as specified 
in 50 CFR 622.190(a)(3).
    Under 50 CFR 622.193(k)(1), NMFS is required to close the 
commercial sector

[[Page 47641]]

for greater amberjack when the commercial ACL (commercial quota) is 
reached, or is projected to be reached, by filing a notification to 
that effect with the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS projects that 
commercial landings of South Atlantic greater amberjack will reach the 
commercial ACL by October 18, 2017. Accordingly, the commercial sector 
for South Atlantic greater amberjack is closed effective at 12:01 a.m., 
local time, October 18, 2017, until 12:01 a.m., local time, March 1, 
2018.
    The operator of a vessel with a valid Federal commercial vessel 
permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper with greater amberjack on 
board must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such greater 
amberjack prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, October 18, 2017. During the 
commercial closure, harvest and possession of greater amberjack in or 
from the South Atlantic EEZ is limited to the recreational bag and 
possession limits, as specified in Sec.  622.187(b)(1) and (c)(1). Also 
during the commercial closure, the sale or purchase of greater 
amberjack taken from the South Atlantic EEZ is prohibited. The 
prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to greater amberjack 
that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local 
time, October 18, 2017, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or 
processor, as specified in Sec.  622.190(c)(1)(i).
    For a person on board a vessel that has been issued a valid Federal 
commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for the South Atlantic 
snapper-grouper fishery, the bag and possession limits and the sale and 
purchase provisions of the commercial closure for greater amberjack 
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 
greater amberjack and the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery and is 
consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.193(k)(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 scientific information available. 
The Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries (AA) finds that the need 
to immediately implement this action to close the commercial sector for 
greater amberjack 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 are 
unnecessary because the AMs have already been subject to notice and 
comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the closure. 
Such procedures are contrary to the public interest because of the need 
to immediately implement this action to protect greater amberjack 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 potentially result in a 
harvest well in excess of the established commercial ACL (commercial 
quota).
    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: October 10, 2017.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-22210 Filed 10-12-17; 8:45 am]
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