[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 232 (Tuesday, December 5, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 57382]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-26176]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 161017970-6999-02]
RIN 0648-XF856


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder 
Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for the State of New Jersey

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces that the 2017 summer flounder commercial quota 
allocated to the State of New Jersey has been harvested. Vessels issued 
a Federal commercial summer flounder permit may not land summer 
flounder in New Jersey for the remainder of calendar year 2017, unless 
additional quota becomes available through a transfer from another 
state. Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery require 
publication of this notice to advise vessel and dealer permit holders 
that Federal commercial quota is no longer available to land summer 
flounder in New Jersey.

DATES: Effective November 30, 2017 through December 31, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia Hanson, (978) 281-9180, or 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the summer flounder 
fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require annual 
specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned on a percentage 
basis among the coastal states from Maine through North Carolina. The 
process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to 
each state is described in Sec.  648.102.
    The coastwide commercial quota for summer flounder for the 2017 
calendar year is 5,658,260 lb (2,566,544 kg) (81 FR 93842, December 22, 
2016). The percent allocated to vessels landing summer flounder in New 
Jersey is 16.72499 percent, resulting in an initial commercial quota of 
946,512 lb (429,331 kg). New Jersey conducted one quota transfer of 380 
lb (172 kg) to Rhode Island on October 4, 2017 (82 FR 46936), reducing 
its commercial quota to 946,132 lb (429,158 kg).
    The NMFS Administrator for the Greater Atlantic Region (Regional 
Administrator) monitors the state commercial landings and determines 
when a state's commercial quota has been harvested. NMFS is required to 
publish a notice in the Federal Register advising and notifying 
commercial vessels and dealer permit holders that, effective upon a 
specific date, the state's commercial quota has been harvested and no 
commercial summer flounder quota is available to land in that state. 
The Regional Administrator has determined, based on dealer reports and 
other available information, that the 2017 New Jersey commercial summer 
flounder quota will be harvested by December 11, 2017.
    Section 648.4(b) provides that Federal permit holders agree, as a 
condition of the permit, not to land summer flounder in any state that 
the Regional Administrator has determined no longer has commercial 
quota available. Therefore, effective November 30, 2017, landing of 
summer flounder in New Jersey by vessels holding summer flounder 
commercial Federal fisheries permits is prohibited for the remainder of 
the 2017 calendar year, unless additional quota becomes available 
through a transfer and is announced in the Federal Register. Effective 
November 30, 2017, federally permitted dealers are also notified that 
they may not purchase summer flounder from vessels that land in New 
Jersey for the remainder of the calendar year, or until additional 
quota becomes available through a transfer from another state.

Classification

    This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause 
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the 
opportunity for public comment because it would be contrary to the 
public interest. This action closes the commercial summer flounder 
fishery for New Jersey through December 31, 2017, under current 
regulations. The regulations at Sec.  648.103(b) require such action to 
ensure that summer flounder vessels do not exceed quotas allocated to 
the states. If implementation of this closure was delayed to solicit 
prior public comment, the quota for this fishing year will be exceeded, 
thereby undermining the conservation objectives of the Summer Flounder 
Fishery Management Plan. The Assistant Administrator further finds, 
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), good cause to waive the 30-day delayed 
effectiveness period for the reason stated above.

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

    Dated: November 30, 2017.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-26176 Filed 11-30-17; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P