Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Gray Triggerfish Management Measures, 28308-28310 [2012-11663]

Download as PDF emcdonald on DSK29S0YB1PROD with RULES 28308 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 93 / Monday, May 14, 2012 / Rules and Regulations This temporary rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment because they are impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This temporary rule delays the start date of the 2012–2013 commercial fishing season for black sea bass from June 1, 2012 to July 1, 2012, to allow NMFS to finalize and implement the final rule for Amendment 18A. Amendment 18A contains several management measures intended to slow the black sea bass harvest rate and help ensure black sea bass landings remain below the ACL to allow the biomass to increase. The management measures also address the derby-style fishery (i.e., the race to fish) that has developed in the commercial sector. If the start date to the snapper-grouper fishery is not delayed, then the fishery will likely experience negative biological and economic impacts. As stated above, if the commercial sector opens before the effort-limiting provisions contained in Amendment 18A are implemented, the commercial ACL will likely be reached very quickly, and the commercial sector could close even earlier than last year. Too many black sea bass flooding the market simultaneously gluts markets, which can affect the overall profitability for snapper-grouper fishermen and create unstable market conditions for dealers. NMFS expects management measures contained in Amendment 18A will help lengthen the commercial fishing season for black sea bass, which should help to stabilize the market and preserve a significant economic opportunity for snapper-grouper fishermen. Moreover, if the start date is not delayed, the derby fishing conditions would continue to exist until NMFS is able to implement the provisions of Amendment 18A. As mentioned above, this style of fishing may lead to safety-at-sea issues due to the short periods of increased effort where vessels compete to maximize harvest prior to the ACL being reached. Therefore, NMFS needs to implement this temporary rule as soon as possible to provide notice to commercial black sea bass pot fishermen that the commercial fishing season will be delayed until July 1, 2012, and to allow them time to revise their business strategies. For similar reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness of the action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). Delaying this rules effectiveness will allow the black sea bass commercial sector to open on July VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:45 May 11, 2012 Jkt 226001 1, 2012, rather than on June 1, 2012. The earlier start to the black sea bass commercial season could result in a race to fish, which in turn could result in safety-at-sea issues, as well as glut the market for black sea bass by flooding it with product and depressing prices. Finally, delaying this rule’s effectiveness may increase the risk that black sea bass will continue to be harvested at a fast pace and could result in black sea bass exceeding its ACL. Accordingly, delaying the rule’s effectiveness is contrary to the public interest, and the 30-day delay in effectiveness is hereby waived. Because prior notice and opportunity for public comment are not required for this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. are inapplicable. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622 Fisheries, Fishing, Puerto Rico, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Virgin Islands. Dated: May 9, 2012. Samuel D. Rauch III, Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is amended as follows: PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 622.30, paragraph (e) is suspended and paragraph (f) is added to read as follows: ■ § 622.30 Fishing years. * * * * * (f) South Atlantic black sea bass—(1) The fishing year for the black sea bass bag limit specified in § 622.39(d)(1)(vii) is June 1 through May 31. (2) The fishing year for the black sea bass quota specified in § 622.42(e)(5) is July 1 through May 31. [FR Doc. 2012–11661 Filed 5–11–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 120417412–2412–01] RIN 0648–BB90 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Gray Triggerfish Management Measures National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final temporary rule; request for comments. AGENCY: This final temporary rule, issued pursuant to NMFS’ authority to issue interim rules under the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), implements interim measures to reduce overfishing of gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf). This rule reduces the gray triggerfish commercial quota (commercial annual catch target (ACT)), commercial and recreational annual catch limits (ACLs), and recreational ACT. Additionally, this final temporary rule revises the recreational accountability measures (AMs) for gray triggerfish. At its April meeting, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) requested NMFS promulgate interim measures to reduce overfishing of gray triggerfish. The rule will be effective for 180 days, unless superseded by subsequent rulemaking, although NMFS may extend the rule’s effectiveness for an additional 186 days pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The intended effect of this final temporary rule is to reduce overfishing of the gray triggerfish resource in the Gulf while the Council develops permanent management measures. DATES: This final temporary rule is effective May 14, 2012, through November 10, 2012. Comments may be submitted through June 13, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the final temporary rule identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2012–0085’’ by any of the following methods: • Electronic submissions: Submit electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the ‘‘Instructions’’ for submitting comments. • Mail: Peter Hood, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\14MYR1.SGM 14MYR1 emcdonald on DSK29S0YB1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 93 / Monday, May 14, 2012 / Rules and Regulations Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http:// www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/ A in the required field if you wish to remain anonymous). To submit comments through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov, enter ‘‘NOAA– NMFS–2012–0085’’ in the search field and click on ‘‘search.’’ After you locate the document ‘‘Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Gray Triggerfish Management Measures,’’ click the ‘‘Submit a Comment’’ link in that row. This will display the comment web form. You can then enter your submitter information (unless you prefer to remain anonymous), and type your comment on the web form. You can also attach additional files (up to 10 MB) in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Comments received through means not specified in this rule will not be considered. For further assistance with submitting a comment, see the ‘‘Commenting’’ section at http://www.regulations.gov/ #!faqs or the Help section at http:// www.regulations.gov. Electronic copies of documents supporting this proposed rule, which include a draft environmental impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Hood, telephone: 727–824–5305 or email: Peter.Hood@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The reef fish fishery of the Gulf of Mexico is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the Council and is implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the legal authority for the promulgation of interim regulations under section 305(c) (16 U.S.C. 1855(c)). Background The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires NMFS and regional fishery management VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:45 May 11, 2012 Jkt 226001 councils to prevent overfishing and achieve, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield (OY) from federally managed fish stocks. These mandates are intended to ensure that fishery resources are managed for the greatest overall benefit to the nation, particularly with respect to providing food production and recreational opportunities, and protecting marine ecosystems. To further this goal, the Magnuson-Stevens Act requires fishery managers to end overfishing of stocks and to minimize bycatch and bycatch mortality to the extent practicable. Status of the Gray Triggerfish Stock The last Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) benchmark stock assessment for gray triggerfish was completed in 2006 (SEDAR 9). SEDAR 9 indicated that the gray triggerfish stock was both overfished and possibly undergoing overfishing. Subsequently, Amendment 30A to the FMP established a gray triggerfish rebuilding plan beginning in the 2008 fishing year (73 FR 38139, July 3, 2008). In 2011, a SEDAR update stock assessment for gray triggerfish determined that the gray triggerfish stock was still overfished and was additionally undergoing overfishing. The 2011 update assessment indicated the 2008 gray triggerfish rebuilding plan had not made adequate progress toward ending overfishing and rebuilding the stock as described in the rebuilding plan in Amendment 30A to the FMP. NMFS informed the Council of this determination in a letter dated March 13, 2012. NMFS also requested that the Council work to end overfishing of gray triggerfish immediately and to revise the gray triggerfish stock rebuilding plan. The Council has begun developing more permanent measures to end overfishing and rebuild the gray triggerfish stock in Amendment 37 to the FMP. However, these measures will not likely be implemented until the end of the 2012 fishing year or at the beginning of the 2013 fishing year. Therefore, on April 19, 2012, the Council requested that NMFS implement a temporary rule to reduce overfishing of gray triggerfish on an interim basis. Management Measures Contained in This Final Temporary Rule The Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) reviewed the gray triggerfish 2011 SEDAR update assessment. The SSC recommended that the gray triggerfish 2012 and 2013 fishing years acceptable biological catches (ABC) be set at 305,300 lb (138,346 kg), whole weight. Based on PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 28309 this recommendation, the commercial and recreational ACLs and ACTs for the gray triggerfish need to be updated. According to the National Standard 1 guidelines (74 FR 3178, January 16, 2009), ACLs are defined as the highest level of landings for either a stock or fishing sector that is acceptable to maintain an adequate stock size and to prevent overfishing. ACTs are targets that provide a buffer, less than the ACL, to account for management uncertainty. ACLs and ACTs may both be implemented as triggers for AMs. AMs are management measures implemented to ensure ACLS are not exceeded or mitigate if ACLs are exceeded. AMs may be implemented to reduce overfishing or prevent overfishing from occurring. In Amendment 30A to the FMP, the Council established a 21 percent commercial and 79 percent recreational allocation of the gray triggerfish ABC. These allocations are used to set the commercial and recreational sectorspecific ACLs. The ABC recommended by the SSC is 305,300 lb (138,482 kg), whole weight. Based on the allocations established in Amendment 30A to the FMP, this rule sets, on a temporary basis, a reduced commercial ACL of 64,100 lb (29,075 kg), whole weight, and a reduced recreational ACL of 241,200 lb (109,406 kg), whole weight. NMFS applied the ACL/ACT control rule to the sector ACLs to set the sectorspecific ACTs. This control rule was developed and utilized in the final rule implementing the Generic Annual Catch Limit Amendment (76 FR 82044, December 29, 2011) so that the Council and NMFS could take into account management uncertainty when assigning ACLs and ACTs. The control rule specified a buffer between the commercial ACL and commercial ACT of 5 percent, and between the recreational ACL and recreational ACT of 10 percent. Therefore, this rule sets, on a temporary basis, the commercial ACT (commercial quota) at 60,900 lb (27,624 kg), whole weight, and the recreational ACT at 217,100 lb (98,475 kg), whole weight. Currently, there is a commercial gray triggerfish quota in place, which functions as the commercial ACT. To reduce the risk of overfishing, Amendment 30A to the FMP established gray triggerfish AMs. For the commercial sector, there are currently both in-season and post-season AMs. The in-season AM closes the commercial sector after the commercial quota (commercial ACT) is reached or projected to be reached. Additionally, if the commercial ACL is exceeded despite the quota closure, the post-season AM would reduce the following year’s E:\FR\FM\14MYR1.SGM 14MYR1 28310 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 93 / Monday, May 14, 2012 / Rules and Regulations commercial quota (commercial ACT) by the amount of the prior-year’s commercial ACL overage. For the recreational sector, there is currently no in-season AM, but a postseason AM is in effect. For the recreational sector, if the recreational ACL is exceeded, NMFS will reduce the length of the following year’s fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure that recreational landings do not exceed the recreational ACT during the following year. In 2008, recreational landings exceeded both the recreational ACT and ACL. In 2009, the recreational ACT was exceeded. However, in 2010, recreational landings did not exceed the ACT or ACL. Reduced 2010 recreational landings may be attributable to fishery closures that were implemented that year as a result of the Deepwater Horizon MC252 oil spill. Based on recent trends in recreational landings and anticipated future recreational effort, the Council and NMFS have determined that there is a reasonable probability that the recreational sector will exceed its ACL in future years. The implementation of an in-season AM would reduce this risk. This temporary rule establishes an in-season AM for the recreational sector to prohibit the recreational harvest of gray triggerfish (a recreational sector closure) after the recreational ACT is reached or projected to be reached. This in-season AM would provide an additional level of protection to ensure that the recreational ACL is not exceeded and that the risk of overfishing will be reduced. emcdonald on DSK29S0YB1PROD with RULES Future Action NMFS has determined that this temporary final rule is necessary to reduce overfishing of gray triggerfish in the Gulf. This rule will be effective for not more than 180 days after publication, as authorized by section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This temporary final rule could be extended for an additional 186 days, provided that the public has had an opportunity to comment on the rule. NMFS and the Council will continue to develop more permanent measures to reduce overfishing of gray triggerfish through Amendment 37 to the FMP. Classification This action is issued pursuant to section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1855(c). The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), has determined that this final temporary rule is necessary to reduce overfishing and to achieve OY for the gray triggerfish component of the reef fish fishery in the Gulf EEZ and is VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:45 May 11, 2012 Jkt 226001 consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws. This final temporary rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. Providing prior notice and the opportunity for public comment would be contrary to the public interest because delaying the implementation of this rule is likely to allow overfishing of gray triggerfish to continue. Gray triggerfish are currently undergoing overfishing and are overfished, so any delay would undermine the intent of the rule. If this rule is not implemented immediately, NMFS will likely be required to implement more severe reductions in gray triggerfish catch limits, which could have higher socioeconomic impacts on Gulf reef fish fishermen. NMFS was not able to implement this rulemaking any sooner because the scientific review of the most recent gray triggerfish stock assessment, upon which this rule is based on, was only recently completed. Any delay in the implementation of these revised catch limits would allow harvest to continue at a level that is not consistent with National Standard 1 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Comments submitted on this final temporary rule through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov and received by NMFS no later than June 13, 2012, will be considered during any possible subsequent rulemaking relative to this final temporary rule, such as an extension of this rule. 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). Because prior notice and opportunity for public comment are not required for this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. are inapplicable. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622 Fisheries, Fishing, Puerto Rico, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Virgin Islands. Dated: May 9, 2012. Samuel D. Rauch III, Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is amended as follows: PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 622.42, paragraph (a)(1)(vi) is suspended and paragraph (a)(1)(vii) is added to read as follows: ■ § 622.42 Quotas. * * * * * (a) * * * (1) * * * (vii) Gray triggerfish—60,900 lb (27,624 kg), round weight. * * * * * ■ 3. In § 622.49, paragraph (a)(2) is suspended and paragraph (a)(17) is added to read as follows: § 622.49 Annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs). (a) * * * (17) Gray triggerfish—(i) Commercial sector. If commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the commercial ACT (commercial quota) specified in § 622.42(a)(1)(vii), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial sector for the remainder of the fishing year. In addition, if despite such closure, commercial landings exceed the commercial ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the commercial ACT (commercial quota) for that following year by the amount the prior-year ACL was exceeded. The commercial ACL is 64,100 lb (29,075 kg), round weight. (ii) Recreational sector. If recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the recreational ACT, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the recreational sector for the remainder of the fishing year. In addition, if despite such closure, recreational landings exceed the recreational ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to reduce the length of the following recreational fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure recreational landings do not exceed the recreational ACT for that following fishing year. The recreational ACT is 217,100 lb (98,475 kg), round weight. The recreational ACL is 241,200 lb (109,406 kg), round weight. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2012–11663 Filed 5–11–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\14MYR1.SGM 14MYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 93 (Monday, May 14, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 28308-28310]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-11663]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 120417412-2412-01]
RIN 0648-BB90


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Gray Triggerfish Management 
Measures

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

ACTION: Final temporary rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: This final temporary rule, issued pursuant to NMFS' authority 
to issue interim rules under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), implements interim measures 
to reduce overfishing of gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf). 
This rule reduces the gray triggerfish commercial quota (commercial 
annual catch target (ACT)), commercial and recreational annual catch 
limits (ACLs), and recreational ACT. Additionally, this final temporary 
rule revises the recreational accountability measures (AMs) for gray 
triggerfish. At its April meeting, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery 
Management Council (Council) requested NMFS promulgate interim measures 
to reduce overfishing of gray triggerfish. The rule will be effective 
for 180 days, unless superseded by subsequent rulemaking, although NMFS 
may extend the rule's effectiveness for an additional 186 days pursuant 
to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The intended effect of this final 
temporary rule is to reduce overfishing of the gray triggerfish 
resource in the Gulf while the Council develops permanent management 
measures.

DATES: This final temporary rule is effective May 14, 2012, through 
November 10, 2012. Comments may be submitted through June 13, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the final temporary rule 
identified by ``NOAA-NMFS-2012-0085'' by any of the following methods:
     Electronic submissions: Submit electronic comments via the 
Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
``Instructions'' for submitting comments.
     Mail: Peter Hood, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 
13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

[[Page 28309]]

    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record 
and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without 
change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, 
address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly 
accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept 
anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required field if you wish to 
remain anonymous).
    To submit comments through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, enter ``NOAA-NMFS-2012-0085'' in the search field 
and click on ``search.'' After you locate the document ``Fisheries of 
the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of 
the Gulf of Mexico; Gray Triggerfish Management Measures,'' click the 
``Submit a Comment'' link in that row. This will display the comment 
web form. You can then enter your submitter information (unless you 
prefer to remain anonymous), and type your comment on the web form. You 
can also attach additional files (up to 10 MB) in Microsoft Word, 
Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Comments received through means not specified in this rule will not 
be considered.
    For further assistance with submitting a comment, see the 
``Commenting'' section at http://www.regulations.gov/#!faqs or the Help 
section at http://www.regulations.gov.
    Electronic copies of documents supporting this proposed rule, which 
include a draft environmental impact statement and a regulatory 
flexibility analysis, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional 
Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Hood, telephone: 727-824-5305 or 
email: Peter.Hood@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The reef fish fishery of the Gulf of Mexico 
is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish 
Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the 
Council and is implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under 
the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The Magnuson-Stevens Act 
provides the legal authority for the promulgation of interim 
regulations under section 305(c) (16 U.S.C. 1855(c)).

Background

    The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires NMFS and regional fishery 
management councils to prevent overfishing and achieve, on a continuing 
basis, the optimum yield (OY) from federally managed fish stocks. These 
mandates are intended to ensure that fishery resources are managed for 
the greatest overall benefit to the nation, particularly with respect 
to providing food production and recreational opportunities, and 
protecting marine ecosystems. To further this goal, the Magnuson-
Stevens Act requires fishery managers to end overfishing of stocks and 
to minimize bycatch and bycatch mortality to the extent practicable.

Status of the Gray Triggerfish Stock

    The last Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) benchmark 
stock assessment for gray triggerfish was completed in 2006 (SEDAR 9). 
SEDAR 9 indicated that the gray triggerfish stock was both overfished 
and possibly undergoing overfishing. Subsequently, Amendment 30A to the 
FMP established a gray triggerfish rebuilding plan beginning in the 
2008 fishing year (73 FR 38139, July 3, 2008). In 2011, a SEDAR update 
stock assessment for gray triggerfish determined that the gray 
triggerfish stock was still overfished and was additionally undergoing 
overfishing. The 2011 update assessment indicated the 2008 gray 
triggerfish rebuilding plan had not made adequate progress toward 
ending overfishing and rebuilding the stock as described in the 
rebuilding plan in Amendment 30A to the FMP. NMFS informed the Council 
of this determination in a letter dated March 13, 2012. NMFS also 
requested that the Council work to end overfishing of gray triggerfish 
immediately and to revise the gray triggerfish stock rebuilding plan.
    The Council has begun developing more permanent measures to end 
overfishing and rebuild the gray triggerfish stock in Amendment 37 to 
the FMP. However, these measures will not likely be implemented until 
the end of the 2012 fishing year or at the beginning of the 2013 
fishing year. Therefore, on April 19, 2012, the Council requested that 
NMFS implement a temporary rule to reduce overfishing of gray 
triggerfish on an interim basis.

Management Measures Contained in This Final Temporary Rule

    The Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) reviewed 
the gray triggerfish 2011 SEDAR update assessment. The SSC recommended 
that the gray triggerfish 2012 and 2013 fishing years acceptable 
biological catches (ABC) be set at 305,300 lb (138,346 kg), whole 
weight. Based on this recommendation, the commercial and recreational 
ACLs and ACTs for the gray triggerfish need to be updated.
    According to the National Standard 1 guidelines (74 FR 3178, 
January 16, 2009), ACLs are defined as the highest level of landings 
for either a stock or fishing sector that is acceptable to maintain an 
adequate stock size and to prevent overfishing. ACTs are targets that 
provide a buffer, less than the ACL, to account for management 
uncertainty. ACLs and ACTs may both be implemented as triggers for AMs. 
AMs are management measures implemented to ensure ACLS are not exceeded 
or mitigate if ACLs are exceeded. AMs may be implemented to reduce 
overfishing or prevent overfishing from occurring.
    In Amendment 30A to the FMP, the Council established a 21 percent 
commercial and 79 percent recreational allocation of the gray 
triggerfish ABC. These allocations are used to set the commercial and 
recreational sector-specific ACLs. The ABC recommended by the SSC is 
305,300 lb (138,482 kg), whole weight. Based on the allocations 
established in Amendment 30A to the FMP, this rule sets, on a temporary 
basis, a reduced commercial ACL of 64,100 lb (29,075 kg), whole weight, 
and a reduced recreational ACL of 241,200 lb (109,406 kg), whole 
weight.
    NMFS applied the ACL/ACT control rule to the sector ACLs to set the 
sector-specific ACTs. This control rule was developed and utilized in 
the final rule implementing the Generic Annual Catch Limit Amendment 
(76 FR 82044, December 29, 2011) so that the Council and NMFS could 
take into account management uncertainty when assigning ACLs and ACTs. 
The control rule specified a buffer between the commercial ACL and 
commercial ACT of 5 percent, and between the recreational ACL and 
recreational ACT of 10 percent. Therefore, this rule sets, on a 
temporary basis, the commercial ACT (commercial quota) at 60,900 lb 
(27,624 kg), whole weight, and the recreational ACT at 217,100 lb 
(98,475 kg), whole weight. Currently, there is a commercial gray 
triggerfish quota in place, which functions as the commercial ACT.
    To reduce the risk of overfishing, Amendment 30A to the FMP 
established gray triggerfish AMs. For the commercial sector, there are 
currently both in-season and post-season AMs. The in-season AM closes 
the commercial sector after the commercial quota (commercial ACT) is 
reached or projected to be reached. Additionally, if the commercial ACL 
is exceeded despite the quota closure, the post-season AM would reduce 
the following year's

[[Page 28310]]

commercial quota (commercial ACT) by the amount of the prior-year's 
commercial ACL overage.
    For the recreational sector, there is currently no in-season AM, 
but a post-season AM is in effect. For the recreational sector, if the 
recreational ACL is exceeded, NMFS will reduce the length of the 
following year's fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure that 
recreational landings do not exceed the recreational ACT during the 
following year.
    In 2008, recreational landings exceeded both the recreational ACT 
and ACL. In 2009, the recreational ACT was exceeded. However, in 2010, 
recreational landings did not exceed the ACT or ACL. Reduced 2010 
recreational landings may be attributable to fishery closures that were 
implemented that year as a result of the Deepwater Horizon MC252 oil 
spill. Based on recent trends in recreational landings and anticipated 
future recreational effort, the Council and NMFS have determined that 
there is a reasonable probability that the recreational sector will 
exceed its ACL in future years. The implementation of an in-season AM 
would reduce this risk. This temporary rule establishes an in-season AM 
for the recreational sector to prohibit the recreational harvest of 
gray triggerfish (a recreational sector closure) after the recreational 
ACT is reached or projected to be reached. This in-season AM would 
provide an additional level of protection to ensure that the 
recreational ACL is not exceeded and that the risk of overfishing will 
be reduced.

Future Action

    NMFS has determined that this temporary final rule is necessary to 
reduce overfishing of gray triggerfish in the Gulf. This rule will be 
effective for not more than 180 days after publication, as authorized 
by section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This temporary final 
rule could be extended for an additional 186 days, provided that the 
public has had an opportunity to comment on the rule. NMFS and the 
Council will continue to develop more permanent measures to reduce 
overfishing of gray triggerfish through Amendment 37 to the FMP.

Classification

    This action is issued pursuant to section 305(c) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1855(c). The Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA (AA), has determined that this final temporary rule is 
necessary to reduce overfishing and to achieve OY for the gray 
triggerfish component of the reef fish fishery in the Gulf EEZ and is 
consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.
    This final temporary rule has been determined to be not significant 
for purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    The AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior 
notice and the opportunity for public comment. Providing prior notice 
and the opportunity for public comment would be contrary to the public 
interest because delaying the implementation of this rule is likely to 
allow overfishing of gray triggerfish to continue. Gray triggerfish are 
currently undergoing overfishing and are overfished, so any delay would 
undermine the intent of the rule. If this rule is not implemented 
immediately, NMFS will likely be required to implement more severe 
reductions in gray triggerfish catch limits, which could have higher 
socioeconomic impacts on Gulf reef fish fishermen. NMFS was not able to 
implement this rulemaking any sooner because the scientific review of 
the most recent gray triggerfish stock assessment, upon which this rule 
is based on, was only recently completed. Any delay in the 
implementation of these revised catch limits would allow harvest to 
continue at a level that is not consistent with National Standard 1 of 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Comments submitted on this final temporary 
rule through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov and received by NMFS no later than June 13, 2012, 
will be considered during any possible subsequent rulemaking relative 
to this final temporary rule, such as an extension of this rule.
    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).
    Because prior notice and opportunity for public comment are not 
required for this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law, the analytical 
requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. 
are inapplicable.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Fisheries, Fishing, Puerto Rico, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Virgin Islands.

    Dated: May 9, 2012.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is amended 
as follows:

PART 622--FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC

0
1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows:

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


0
2. In Sec.  622.42, paragraph (a)(1)(vi) is suspended and paragraph 
(a)(1)(vii) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  622.42  Quotas.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (vii) Gray triggerfish--60,900 lb (27,624 kg), round weight.
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  622.49, paragraph (a)(2) is suspended and paragraph (a)(17) 
is added to read as follows:


Sec.  622.49  Annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures 
(AMs).

    (a) * * *
    (17) Gray triggerfish--(i) Commercial sector. If commercial 
landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the 
commercial ACT (commercial quota) specified in Sec.  622.42(a)(1)(vii), 
the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register 
to close the commercial sector for the remainder of the fishing year. 
In addition, if despite such closure, commercial landings exceed the 
commercial ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the 
Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing 
year to reduce the commercial ACT (commercial quota) for that following 
year by the amount the prior-year ACL was exceeded. The commercial ACL 
is 64,100 lb (29,075 kg), round weight.
    (ii) Recreational sector. If recreational landings, as estimated by 
the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the recreational ACT, the AA 
will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to 
close the recreational sector for the remainder of the fishing year. In 
addition, if despite such closure, recreational landings exceed the 
recreational ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of 
the Federal Register to reduce the length of the following recreational 
fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure recreational landings 
do not exceed the recreational ACT for that following fishing year. The 
recreational ACT is 217,100 lb (98,475 kg), round weight. The 
recreational ACL is 241,200 lb (109,406 kg), round weight.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2012-11663 Filed 5-11-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P