Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Red Snapper Management Measures, 32179-32181 [2013-12702]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 29, 2013 / Rules and Regulations § 20.18 911 Service. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES * * * * * (n) Text-to-911 Requirements. (1) Covered Text Provider: Notwithstanding any other provisions in this section, for purposes of this paragraph (n) of this section, a ‘‘covered text provider’’ includes all CMRS providers as well as all providers of interconnected text messaging services that enable consumers to send text messages to and receive text messages from all or substantially all text-capable U.S. telephone numbers, including through the use of applications downloaded or otherwise installed on mobile phones. (2) Automatic Bounce-back Message: an automatic text message delivered to a consumer by a covered text provider in response to the consumer’s attempt to send a text message to 911 when the consumer is located in an area where text-to-911 service is unavailable or the covered text provider does not support text-to-911 service generally or in the area where the consumer is located at the time. (3) No later than September 30, 2013, all covered text providers shall provide an automatic bounce-back message under the following circumstances: (i) A consumer attempts to send a text message to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) by means of the three-digit short code ‘‘911’’; and (ii) The covered text provider cannot deliver the text because the consumer is located in an area where: (A) Text-to-911 service is unavailable; or (B) The covered text provider does not support text-to-911 service at the time. (4)(i) A covered text provider is not required to provide an automatic bounce-back message when: (A) Transmission of the text message is not controlled by the provider; (B) A consumer is attempting to text 911, through a text messaging application that requires CMRS service, from a non-service initialized handset; (C) When the text-to-911 message cannot be delivered to a PSAP due to failure in the PSAP network that has not been reported to the provider; or (D) A consumer is attempting to text 911 through a device that is incapable of sending texts via three digit short codes, provided the software for the device cannot be upgraded over the air to allow text-to-911. (ii) The provider of a preinstalled or downloadable interconnected text application is considered to have ‘‘control’’ over transmission of text messages for purposes of paragraph (n)(4)(i)(A) of this section. However, if a user or a third party modifies or manipulates the application after it is VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:39 May 28, 2013 Jkt 229001 installed or downloaded so that it no longer supports bounce-back messaging, the application provider will be presumed not to have control. (5) The automatic bounce-back message shall, at a minimum, inform the consumer that text-to-911 service is not available and advise the consumer or texting program user to use another means to contact emergency services. (6) Covered text providers that support text-to-911 must provide a mechanism to allow PSAPs that accept text-to-911 to request temporary suspension of text-to-911 service for any reason, including, but not limited to, network congestion, call taker overload, PSAP failure, or security breach, and to request resumption of text-to-911 service after such temporary suspension. During any period of suspension of text-to-911 service, the covered text provider must provide an automatic bounce-back message to any consumer attempting to text to 911 in the area subject to the temporary suspension. (7) A CMRS provider subject to § 20.12 shall provide an automatic bounce-back message to any consumer roaming on its network who sends a text message to 911 when (i) The consumer is located in an area where text-to-911 service is unavailable, or (ii) The CMRS provider does not support text-to-911 service at the time. (8) A software application provider that transmits text messages directly into the SMS network of the consumer’s underlying CMRS provider satisfies the obligations of paragraph (n)(3) of this section provided it does not prevent or inhibit delivery of the CMRS provider’s automatic bounce-back message to the consumer. [FR Doc. 2013–12748 Filed 5–28–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 130212129–3474–02] RIN 0648–BC98 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Red Snapper Management Measures National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00113 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 ACTION: 32179 Final rule. NMFS issues this final rule to implement management measures described in a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP) prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). This rule revises the commercial and recreational quotas for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish fishery for the 2013 fishing year and announces the quota closure dates in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off each Gulf state for the 2013 red snapper recreational fishing season. This final rule is intended to help achieve optimum yield for the Gulf red snapper resource without increasing the risk of red snapper experiencing overfishing. DATES: This rule is effective May 29, 2013. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the framework action, which includes an environmental assessment and a regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http:// sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/ GrouperSnapperandReefFish.htm. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia Meyer, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, telephone 727–824–5305; email: Cynthia.Meyer@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Council manage the Gulf reef fish fishery under the FMP. The Council prepared the FMP and NMFS implements the FMP through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). On April 4, 2013, NMFS published a proposed rule for the framework action and requested public comment (78 FR 20292). The proposed rule and the framework action outline the rationale for the actions contained in this final rule. A summary of the actions implemented by this final rule is provided below. Through this final rule, NMFS sets the 2013 commercial quota at 4.315 million lb (1.957 million kg), round weight, and the 2013 recreational quota at 4.145 million lb (1.880 million kg), round weight. NMFS also sets the 2013 red snapper recreational fishing season for Gulf Federal waters through this final rule. Under 50 CFR 622.34(b), the red snapper recreational fishing season opens each year on June 1 and closes when the recreational quota is projected to be reached. The bag limit for red snapper in Gulf exclusive economic SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\29MYR1.SGM 29MYR1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES 32180 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 29, 2013 / Rules and Regulations zone (EEZ) is 2 fish, as specified in 50 CFR 622.38(b)(3). On March 25, 2013, NMFS implemented an emergency rule to authorize NMFS to set the closure date of the red snapper recreational fishing season in the EEZ off individual states (78 FR 17882). The closure dates off each Gulf state in that emergency rule were based on the recreational quota revision contained in this final rule and any state’s inconsistent regulations. For 2013, Texas established a year-round season with a 4-fish bag limit, Louisiana established an 88-day season with a 3-fish bag limit, and Florida established a 44-day season with a 2-fish bag limit. Mississippi and Alabama did not implement inconsistent regulations in their state waters. On May 7, 2013, the NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center provided the NMFS Southeast Regional Office with updated landings data for monitoring quotas and annual catch limits using data from the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). These landings data included 2012 landings converted from the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey Program (MRFSS) to MRIP. Prior to May 7, 2013, these data were not available for use in NMFS Southeast Regional Office’s calculations, so MRFSS landings data were used to calculate the season lengths identified in the proposed rule. Because the new data are now available, NMFS re-calculated the projected 2013 red snapper recreational season lengths off each Gulf state using the 2012 landings data from MRIP instead of from MRFSS. NMFS now uses MRIP to monitor landings and is considered to be the best scientific information available, consistent with National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. National Standard 2 states that ‘‘conservation and management measures shall be based upon the best scientific information available.’’ MRIP has slowly been integrated into NMFS’s recreational data monitoring program and has now replaced MRFSS completely. In addition to using MRIP data, new information from Louisiana and Texas was used to calculate the red snapper recreational season closure dates. Louisiana provided in-season catch estimates from their quota monitoring program and Texas provided final landings for 2012. The previous closure estimates were based on projected Texas landings for 2012. This re-calculation of the red snapper recreational seasons results in additional fishing days for all 5 Gulf States compared to the tentative red snapper recreational seasons previously discussed in the proposed VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:39 May 28, 2013 Jkt 229001 rule. Based on the regulations established by Texas, Louisiana, and Florida; landings data from MRIP; the new information provided by Louisiana and Texas; and the recreational quota being set by this rulemaking, the closure dates for the EEZ off each state, effective at 12:01 a.m., local time, are set as follows: Texas, June 18, 2013; Louisiana, June 25, 2013; Mississippi, July 5, 2013; Alabama, July 5, 2013; and Florida, June 27, 2013. To determine these closure dates, NMFS analyzed the catch rates for each state. The method for calculating these dates can be found in SERO–LAPP– 2013–02 at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/ sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/red_ snapper/documents/pdfs/2013_red_ snapper_emergency_regs.pdf. The amount each state’s Federal season is shortened is contingent on estimates of landings when the Federal season is closed. The more a state exceeds its apportionment of the annual recreational quota, the more the Federal recreational season must be reduced in the Federal waters off that state to compensate for the overage. NMFS estimates catch rates on the order of 1.5 to 3 times greater than the current state water catch rates due to factors such as increasing catch rates and fish size, higher bag limits, weekend fishing, peak season fishing, increases in stock abundance, potentially significant levels of deliberate or accidental noncompliance by constituents with state/ Federal boundaries during incompatible regulatory periods, and the fact that some for-hire vessels are not federally permitted and contribute to landings when the Federal season is closed. For the season projections, NMFS used 2 times the catch rate because using 1.5 times the catch rate would potentially be an underestimate and using 3 times the catch rate could be too conservative. Comments and Responses During the comment period, NMFS received 43 comments, including 36 from private citizens, 2 from recreational fishing organizations, 3 from a commercial fishing organization and 2 from environmental groups. Comments pertinent to the rule unanimously supported increasing the red snapper quota and did not raise any additional issues within the scope of this rulemaking. NMFS agrees with the commenters that the quota increases are appropriate actions, and are in accordance with the red snapper rebuilding plan. Many of these same commenters provided additional observations and suggestions for alternative strategies to manage the recreational red snapper PO 00000 Frm 00114 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 harvest, including changes to the bag limit and size limits, slot limits, alternative seasons, regional management, separate allocations for private anglers and the for-hire fleet, and reallocation of the quotas between the recreational and commercial sector. The Council has considered many of the suggested options in the past, and continues to consider alternative management options for the recreational harvest of red snapper. NMFS agrees that alternative recreational management strategies may prove to be viable options for the management of red snapper in the future; however, these comments and suggestions are beyond the scope of this rulemaking to increase the commercial and recreational quotas for red snapper for the 2013 fishing year, and thus will not be further addressed in this rule. Changes From the Proposed Rule On April 17, 2013, NMFS published in the Federal Register an interim final rule to reorganize the regulations in 50 CFR part 622 for the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and the Caribbean (78 FR 22950). That interim final rule did not create any new rights or obligations; it reorganized the existing regulatory requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations into a new format. This final rule incorporates this new format into the regulatory text. Therefore, the commercial and recreational quotas for red snapper previously located in the regulatory text at § 622.42(a)(1)(i) and (a)(2)(i), respectively, are now located at § 622.39(a)(1)(i) and (a)(2)(i), respectively. Classification The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS determined that this final rule and the framework action are necessary for the conservation and management of the Gulf reef fish fishery and are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable law. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this determination was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding the certification and NMFS has not received any new information that would affect its determination. As a E:\FR\FM\29MYR1.SGM 29MYR1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 29, 2013 / Rules and Regulations result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared. The NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries (AA) finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness of the management measures contained in this final rule. A 30-day delay in effectiveness of the final rule is impracticable because the recreational fishing season for red snapper begins on June 1, and therefore, there is not enough time for NMFS to provide both notice and comment on the proposed rule and a 30-day delay in effectiveness on the final rule, before the season starts. This final rule implements increased commercial and recreational quotas for Gulf red snapper based on the increase in the acceptable biological catch (ABC) from 8.08 million lb (3.67 million kg) to 8.46 million lb (3.83 million kg), round weight, as recommended by the Council’s Science and Statistical Committee (SSC). The SSC met in November 2012 to review new scientific information and recommended an increased ABC for 2013. At its February 2013 Council meeting, the Council voted to implement commercial and recreational quota increases in 2013 based on the ABC recommended by the SSC. Increased quotas will allow additional harvest of red snapper and will provide the opportunity for the fishery to achieve optimum yield. Additionally, NMFS received new scientific information on May 7, 2013, to use to update and extend the red snapper recreational seasons. The new data included 2012 landings converted from MRFSS to MRIP. Prior to May 7, 2013, these data were not available, so MRFSS landings data were used to calculate the season lengths identified in the proposed rule. Because the new data are now available, NMFS re-calculated the projected 2013 red snapper recreational season lengths off each Gulf state using the 2012 landings data from MRIP instead of from MRFSS, which is the best scientific information now available. Because the recreational fishing season begins on June 1, there isn’t enough time for NMFS to provide both notice and comment on the proposed rule and a 30-day delay in effectiveness on the final rule. Therefore, NMFS provided the opportunity for notice and comment on the proposed rule, but is waiving the 30day delay in effectiveness on this final rule. In addition, a 30-day delay in effectiveness of this final rule would be contrary to the public interest. If this rule is not effective immediately, and VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:39 May 28, 2013 Jkt 229001 the recreational fishing season closure dates cannot be implemented immediately, the recreational ACL could be exceeded and overfishing of the red snapper resource could occur. The recreational closure date off Texas has been set for 12:01 a.m., local time, June 18, 2013; the recreational closure date off Louisiana has been set for 12:01 a.m., local time, June 25, 2013; and the recreational closure date off Florida has been set for 12:01 a.m., local time, June 27, 2013. If this rule were effective 30 days after publication, these closure dates could not be implemented and recreational fishing off these states would continue to occur. Additional fishing off these states could lead to the recreational ACL being exceeded which could lead to an overfishing situation. This would be in violation of National Standard 1 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. National Standard 1 states that ‘‘management measures shall prevent overfishing while achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from each fishery . . .’’ The red snapper stock is still overfished and under a rebuilding plan through 2032. The next SEDAR benchmark stock assessment is currently undergoing. To keep red snapper on the rebuilding plan and prevent overfishing from occurring, this rule needs to take effect immediately. For these reasons, the AA waives the 30-day delay in effectiveness of this final rule. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622 Fisheries, Fishing, Gulf of Mexico, Red Snapper. Dated: May 23, 2013. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 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 § 622.39, paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (a)(2)(i) are revised to read as follows: ■ § 622.39 Quotas. * * * * * (a) * * * (1) * * * (i) Red snapper—4.315 million lb (1.957 million kg), round weight. PO 00000 Frm 00115 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 32181 (2) * * * (i) Recreational quota for red snapper—4.145 million lb (1.880 million kg), round weight. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2013–12702 Filed 5–23–13; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 665 [Docket No. 130103006–3477–02] RIN 0648–BC89 Fisheries in the Western Pacific; 5Year Extension of Moratorium on Harvest of Gold Corals National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This final rule extends the region-wide moratorium on the harvest of gold corals in the U.S. Pacific Islands through June 30, 2018. NMFS intends this final rule to prevent overfishing and to stimulate research on gold corals. DATES: This rule is effective June 28, 2013. SUMMARY: Background information on Pacific Island precious coral fisheries is found in the western Pacific fishery ecosystem plans, available from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel 808–522–8220, fax 808–522–8226, or www.wpcouncil.org. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lewis Van Fossen, NMFS PIR Sustainable Fisheries, 808–541–1378. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Precious corals (also called deep-sea corals), including gold corals, are used in highquality jewelry. NMFS and the Council manage precious corals under fishery ecosystem plans for American Samoa, Hawaii, the Mariana Islands (Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands), and the U.S. Pacific Remote Island Areas. On September 12, 2008, NMFS established a 5-year moratorium on the harvest of gold corals in U.S. Pacific Islands (73 FR 47098). The moratorium was based on information that gold corals grew much more slowly and lived longer than previously thought, suggesting that these species were vulnerable to overharvest. NMFS and the Council intended the harvest moratorium to E:\FR\FM\29MYR1.SGM 29MYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 103 (Wednesday, May 29, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 32179-32181]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-12702]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 130212129-3474-02]
RIN 0648-BC98


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

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS issues this final rule to implement management measures 
described in a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan for the 
Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP) prepared by the Gulf of 
Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). This rule revises the 
commercial and recreational quotas for red snapper in the Gulf of 
Mexico (Gulf) reef fish fishery for the 2013 fishing year and announces 
the quota closure dates in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off each 
Gulf state for the 2013 red snapper recreational fishing season. This 
final rule is intended to help achieve optimum yield for the Gulf red 
snapper resource without increasing the risk of red snapper 
experiencing overfishing.

DATES: This rule is effective May 29, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the framework action, which includes an 
environmental assessment and a regulatory impact review, may be 
obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/GrouperSnapperandReefFish.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia Meyer, Southeast Regional 
Office, NMFS, telephone 727-824-5305; email: Cynthia.Meyer@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Council manage the Gulf reef 
fish fishery under the FMP. The Council prepared the FMP and NMFS 
implements the FMP through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the 
authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management 
Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
    On April 4, 2013, NMFS published a proposed rule for the framework 
action and requested public comment (78 FR 20292). The proposed rule 
and the framework action outline the rationale for the actions 
contained in this final rule. A summary of the actions implemented by 
this final rule is provided below.
    Through this final rule, NMFS sets the 2013 commercial quota at 
4.315 million lb (1.957 million kg), round weight, and the 2013 
recreational quota at 4.145 million lb (1.880 million kg), round 
weight. NMFS also sets the 2013 red snapper recreational fishing season 
for Gulf Federal waters through this final rule.
    Under 50 CFR 622.34(b), the red snapper recreational fishing season 
opens each year on June 1 and closes when the recreational quota is 
projected to be reached. The bag limit for red snapper in Gulf 
exclusive economic

[[Page 32180]]

zone (EEZ) is 2 fish, as specified in 50 CFR 622.38(b)(3). On March 25, 
2013, NMFS implemented an emergency rule to authorize NMFS to set the 
closure date of the red snapper recreational fishing season in the EEZ 
off individual states (78 FR 17882). The closure dates off each Gulf 
state in that emergency rule were based on the recreational quota 
revision contained in this final rule and any state's inconsistent 
regulations. For 2013, Texas established a year-round season with a 4-
fish bag limit, Louisiana established an 88-day season with a 3-fish 
bag limit, and Florida established a 44-day season with a 2-fish bag 
limit. Mississippi and Alabama did not implement inconsistent 
regulations in their state waters.
    On May 7, 2013, the NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center 
provided the NMFS Southeast Regional Office with updated landings data 
for monitoring quotas and annual catch limits using data from the 
Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). These landings data 
included 2012 landings converted from the Marine Recreational Fisheries 
Statistics Survey Program (MRFSS) to MRIP. Prior to May 7, 2013, these 
data were not available for use in NMFS Southeast Regional Office's 
calculations, so MRFSS landings data were used to calculate the season 
lengths identified in the proposed rule. Because the new data are now 
available, NMFS re-calculated the projected 2013 red snapper 
recreational season lengths off each Gulf state using the 2012 landings 
data from MRIP instead of from MRFSS.
    NMFS now uses MRIP to monitor landings and is considered to be the 
best scientific information available, consistent with National 
Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. National Standard 2 states that 
``conservation and management measures shall be based upon the best 
scientific information available.'' MRIP has slowly been integrated 
into NMFS's recreational data monitoring program and has now replaced 
MRFSS completely.
    In addition to using MRIP data, new information from Louisiana and 
Texas was used to calculate the red snapper recreational season closure 
dates. Louisiana provided in-season catch estimates from their quota 
monitoring program and Texas provided final landings for 2012. The 
previous closure estimates were based on projected Texas landings for 
2012. This re-calculation of the red snapper recreational seasons 
results in additional fishing days for all 5 Gulf States compared to 
the tentative red snapper recreational seasons previously discussed in 
the proposed rule. Based on the regulations established by Texas, 
Louisiana, and Florida; landings data from MRIP; the new information 
provided by Louisiana and Texas; and the recreational quota being set 
by this rulemaking, the closure dates for the EEZ off each state, 
effective at 12:01 a.m., local time, are set as follows: Texas, June 
18, 2013; Louisiana, June 25, 2013; Mississippi, July 5, 2013; Alabama, 
July 5, 2013; and Florida, June 27, 2013.
    To determine these closure dates, NMFS analyzed the catch rates for 
each state. The method for calculating these dates can be found in 
SERO-LAPP-2013-02 at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/red_snapper/documents/pdfs/2013_red_snapper_emergency_regs.pdf. The amount each state's Federal season is 
shortened is contingent on estimates of landings when the Federal 
season is closed. The more a state exceeds its apportionment of the 
annual recreational quota, the more the Federal recreational season 
must be reduced in the Federal waters off that state to compensate for 
the overage. NMFS estimates catch rates on the order of 1.5 to 3 times 
greater than the current state water catch rates due to factors such as 
increasing catch rates and fish size, higher bag limits, weekend 
fishing, peak season fishing, increases in stock abundance, potentially 
significant levels of deliberate or accidental non-compliance by 
constituents with state/Federal boundaries during incompatible 
regulatory periods, and the fact that some for-hire vessels are not 
federally permitted and contribute to landings when the Federal season 
is closed. For the season projections, NMFS used 2 times the catch rate 
because using 1.5 times the catch rate would potentially be an 
underestimate and using 3 times the catch rate could be too 
conservative.

Comments and Responses

    During the comment period, NMFS received 43 comments, including 36 
from private citizens, 2 from recreational fishing organizations, 3 
from a commercial fishing organization and 2 from environmental groups. 
Comments pertinent to the rule unanimously supported increasing the red 
snapper quota and did not raise any additional issues within the scope 
of this rulemaking. NMFS agrees with the commenters that the quota 
increases are appropriate actions, and are in accordance with the red 
snapper rebuilding plan.
    Many of these same commenters provided additional observations and 
suggestions for alternative strategies to manage the recreational red 
snapper harvest, including changes to the bag limit and size limits, 
slot limits, alternative seasons, regional management, separate 
allocations for private anglers and the for-hire fleet, and 
reallocation of the quotas between the recreational and commercial 
sector. The Council has considered many of the suggested options in the 
past, and continues to consider alternative management options for the 
recreational harvest of red snapper. NMFS agrees that alternative 
recreational management strategies may prove to be viable options for 
the management of red snapper in the future; however, these comments 
and suggestions are beyond the scope of this rulemaking to increase the 
commercial and recreational quotas for red snapper for the 2013 fishing 
year, and thus will not be further addressed in this rule.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    On April 17, 2013, NMFS published in the Federal Register an 
interim final rule to reorganize the regulations in 50 CFR part 622 for 
the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and the Caribbean (78 FR 22950). 
That interim final rule did not create any new rights or obligations; 
it reorganized the existing regulatory requirements in the Code of 
Federal Regulations into a new format. This final rule incorporates 
this new format into the regulatory text. Therefore, the commercial and 
recreational quotas for red snapper previously located in the 
regulatory text at Sec.  622.42(a)(1)(i) and (a)(2)(i), respectively, 
are now located at Sec.  622.39(a)(1)(i) and (a)(2)(i), respectively.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS determined that 
this final rule and the framework action are necessary for the 
conservation and management of the Gulf reef fish fishery and are 
consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable law.
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for this determination was published in the 
proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received 
regarding the certification and NMFS has not received any new 
information that would affect its determination. As a

[[Page 32181]]

result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was 
prepared.
    The NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries (AA) finds good 
cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness of the management measures contained in this final rule. 
A 30-day delay in effectiveness of the final rule is impracticable 
because the recreational fishing season for red snapper begins on June 
1, and therefore, there is not enough time for NMFS to provide both 
notice and comment on the proposed rule and a 30-day delay in 
effectiveness on the final rule, before the season starts. This final 
rule implements increased commercial and recreational quotas for Gulf 
red snapper based on the increase in the acceptable biological catch 
(ABC) from 8.08 million lb (3.67 million kg) to 8.46 million lb (3.83 
million kg), round weight, as recommended by the Council's Science and 
Statistical Committee (SSC). The SSC met in November 2012 to review new 
scientific information and recommended an increased ABC for 2013. At 
its February 2013 Council meeting, the Council voted to implement 
commercial and recreational quota increases in 2013 based on the ABC 
recommended by the SSC. Increased quotas will allow additional harvest 
of red snapper and will provide the opportunity for the fishery to 
achieve optimum yield. Additionally, NMFS received new scientific 
information on May 7, 2013, to use to update and extend the red snapper 
recreational seasons. The new data included 2012 landings converted 
from MRFSS to MRIP. Prior to May 7, 2013, these data were not 
available, so MRFSS landings data were used to calculate the season 
lengths identified in the proposed rule. Because the new data are now 
available, NMFS re-calculated the projected 2013 red snapper 
recreational season lengths off each Gulf state using the 2012 landings 
data from MRIP instead of from MRFSS, which is the best scientific 
information now available. Because the recreational fishing season 
begins on June 1, there isn't enough time for NMFS to provide both 
notice and comment on the proposed rule and a 30-day delay in 
effectiveness on the final rule. Therefore, NMFS provided the 
opportunity for notice and comment on the proposed rule, but is waiving 
the 30-day delay in effectiveness on this final rule.
    In addition, a 30-day delay in effectiveness of this final rule 
would be contrary to the public interest. If this rule is not effective 
immediately, and the recreational fishing season closure dates cannot 
be implemented immediately, the recreational ACL could be exceeded and 
overfishing of the red snapper resource could occur. The recreational 
closure date off Texas has been set for 12:01 a.m., local time, June 
18, 2013; the recreational closure date off Louisiana has been set for 
12:01 a.m., local time, June 25, 2013; and the recreational closure 
date off Florida has been set for 12:01 a.m., local time, June 27, 
2013. If this rule were effective 30 days after publication, these 
closure dates could not be implemented and recreational fishing off 
these states would continue to occur. Additional fishing off these 
states could lead to the recreational ACL being exceeded which could 
lead to an overfishing situation. This would be in violation of 
National Standard 1 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. National Standard 1 
states that ``management measures shall prevent overfishing while 
achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from each fishery . 
. .'' The red snapper stock is still overfished and under a rebuilding 
plan through 2032. The next SEDAR benchmark stock assessment is 
currently undergoing. To keep red snapper on the rebuilding plan and 
prevent overfishing from occurring, this rule needs to take effect 
immediately.
    For these reasons, the AA waives the 30-day delay in effectiveness 
of this final rule.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Fisheries, Fishing, Gulf of Mexico, Red Snapper.

    Dated: May 23, 2013.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and 
duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 
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.  622.39, paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (a)(2)(i) are revised to 
read as follows:


Sec.  622.39  Quotas.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (i) Red snapper--4.315 million lb (1.957 million kg), round weight.
    (2) * * *
    (i) Recreational quota for red snapper--4.145 million lb (1.880 
million kg), round weight.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2013-12702 Filed 5-23-13; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P