Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Blacktip Sharks, Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks, and Hammerhead Sharks in the Western Gulf of Mexico Sub-Region, 12602-12604 [2016-05391]

Download as PDF 12602 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 47 / Thursday, March 10, 2016 / Rules and Regulations jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES Because the commercial AM has not been triggered in 2016, this is only for the recreational sector. The commercial quota for Atlantic migratory group cobia is 50,000 lb (22,680 kg), round weight, for the current fishing year, January 1 through December 31, 2016, as specified in 50 CFR 622.384(d)(2). The sale or purchase of Atlantic migratory group cobia taken under the possession limit is allowed until the commercial quota is reached or is projected to be reached. If cobia landings that are sold reach or are projected to reach the commercial quota specified in § 622.384(d)(2), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to prohibit the sale and purchase of cobia for the remainder of the fishing year through December 31, 2016. Classification The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of Atlantic migratory group cobia and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws. This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.388(f)(2) 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 is based on the best scientific information available. The AA finds good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment, pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), as such prior notice and opportunity for public comment is unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures are unnecessary and contrary to the public interest because the AMs for Atlantic migratory group cobia established by Amendment 18 to the FMP, and located at 50 CFR 622.388(f)(1)(i), have already been subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the recreational closure in the 2016 fishing year. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this action would be contrary to the public interest, because many of those affected by the length of the recreational fishing season, particularly charter vessel and headboat operations that book trips for clients in advance, need as much advance notice as NMFS is able to provide to adjust their business plans to account for the reduced recreational fishing season. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:38 Mar 09, 2016 Jkt 238001 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: March 7, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–05393 Filed 3–9–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 150413357–5999–02] RIN 0648–XE484 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Blacktip Sharks, Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks, and Hammerhead Sharks in the Western Gulf of Mexico Sub-Region National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. AGENCY: NMFS is closing the commercial fishery for blacktip sharks and the aggregated large coastal sharks (LCS) and hammerhead shark management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region. This action is necessary because the commercial landings of aggregated LCS and hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region for the 2016 fishing season have exceeded 80 percent of the available commercial quota as of March 4, 2016, and the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups are quota-linked under the current regulations. The blacktip shark fishery in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region will be closed to minimize regulatory discards of aggregate LCS in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, which are often caught in conjunction with blacktip sharks in the commercial shark fisheries. This closure will affect anyone commercially fishing for sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico subregion. SUMMARY: The commercial fishery for blacktip sharks and the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region are closed effective 11:30 p.m. local time March 12, 2016, until the end of the 2016 fishing season on DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 December 31, 2016, or until and if NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal Register that additional quota is available and the season is reopened. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Guy DuBeck or Karyl Brewster-Geisz, 301– 427–8503; fax 301–713–1917. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic shark fisheries are managed under the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP), its amendments, and implementing regulations (50 CFR part 635) issued under authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.). Under § 635.5(b)(1), dealers must electronically submit reports on sharks that are first received from a vessel on a weekly basis through a NMFSapproved electronic reporting system. Reports must be received by no later than midnight, local time, of the first Tuesday following the end of the reporting week unless the dealer is otherwise notified by NMFS. Under § 635.28(b)(4), the quotas of certain species and/or management groups are linked. If quotas are linked, when the specified quota threshold for one management group or species is reached and that management group or species is closed, the linked management group or species closes at the same time (§ 635.28(b)(3)). The quotas for aggregated LCS and the hammerhead shark management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region are linked (§ 635.28(b)(4)(iii)). The blacktip shark quota in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region is not linked to the aggregated LCS or hammerhead shark quotas. Regulations at § 635.28(b)(2) and (b)(5) authorize the closure of the blacktip shark fishery in the Gulf of Mexico at a regional or sub-regional level when landings have reached or are expected to reach 80 percent of the quota or, after considering certain criteria and relevant factors, before those situations occur. Under § 635.28(b)(2) and (3), when NMFS calculates that the landings for any species and/or management group of either a non-linked or a linked group have reached or are projected to reach a threshold of 80 percent of the available quota, NMFS will file for publication with the Office of the Federal Register a notice of closure for all of the species and/or management groups of either a non-linked or linked group that will be effective no fewer than 5 days from date of filing. From the effective date and time of the closure until and if NMFS announces, via a E:\FR\FM\10MRR1.SGM 10MRR1 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 47 / Thursday, March 10, 2016 / Rules and Regulations notice in the Federal Register, that additional quota is available and the season is reopened, the fisheries for all linked species and/or management groups and specified non-linked species and/or management groups are closed, even across fishing years. On December 1, 2015 (80 FR 74999), NMFS announced that for 2016, the commercial western Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark sub-regional quota was 266.5 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (587,396 lb dw), the western Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS sub-regional quota was 72.0 mt dw (158,724 lb dw), and the western Gulf of Mexico hammerhead shark sub-regional quota was 11.9 mt dw (29,421 lb dw). Dealer reports recently received through March 4, 2016, indicate that 60.6 mt dw or 84 percent of the available western Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS sub-regional quota has been landed, that 13.8 mt dw or 116 percent of the available western Gulf of Mexico hammerhead shark subregional quota has been landed, and that 134.1 mt dw or 50 percent of the available western Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark sub-regional quota has been landed. Based on these dealer reports, the 80-percent limits specified for a closure notice in the regulations for the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region were exceeded as of March 4, 2016. Accordingly, NMFS is closing the commercial aggregated LCS and hammerhead management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region as of 11:30 p.m. local time March 12, 2016. Regarding blacktip sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, regulations at § 635.28(b)(5)(i) through (v) authorize the closure of the blacktip shark fishery before landings reach, or are expected to reach, 80 percent of the quota after considering the following criteria and other relevant factors: Season length based on available subregional quota and average sub-regional catch rates; variability in regional and/ or sub-regional seasonal distribution, abundance, and migratory patterns; effects on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments; amount of remaining shark quotas in the relevant sub-region; and regional and/or sub-regional catch rates of the relevant shark species or management groups. NMFS considered all of these criteria with respect to blacktip sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, and in particular, considered sub-regional distribution and abundance (§ 635.28(b)(5)(ii)) and sub-regional catch rates (§ 635.28(b)(5)(v)). The directed shark fisheries in the western Gulf of Mexico VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:38 Mar 09, 2016 Jkt 238001 sub-region exhibit a mixed species composition, with a high abundance and distribution of aggregated LCS caught in conjunction with blacktip sharks. As a result, NMFS believes that closing the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups while leaving only the blacktip shark fishery open in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region could cause large numbers of regulatory discards of aggregated LCS species. Such discards could hinder the management goals and interfere with accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments (§ 635.28(b)(5)(iii)), which include preventing overfishing while achieving on a continuing basis optimum yield and rebuilding overfished shark stocks. Such discards would also be contrary to National Standard 9, which requires that management measures minimize bycatch and bycatch mortality, particularly if the discards are dead and are of overfished species. A single closure for the aggregated LCS, blacktip, and hammerhead management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico subregion would minimize regulatory discards, and help prevent overfishing, of aggregated LCS in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the criteria at § 635.28(b)(5). Accordingly, NMFS is closing the commercial blacktip shark fishery in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region as of 11:30 p.m. local time March 12, 2016. All other shark species or management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region that are currently open will remain open, including the commercial Gulf of Mexico nonblacknose small coastal sharks (SCS), blue sharks, and pelagic sharks other than porbeagle or blue. At § 635.27(b)(1), the boundary between the Gulf of Mexico region and the Atlantic region is defined as a line beginning on the East Coast of Florida at the mainland at 25°20.4′ N. lat, proceeding due east. Any water and land to the south and west of that boundary is considered for the purposes of monitoring and setting quotas, to be within the Gulf of Mexico region. The boundary between the western and eastern Gulf of Mexico sub-regions is drawn along 88°00′ W. long. (§ 635.27(b)(1)(ii)). During the closure, retention of blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region is prohibited for persons fishing aboard vessels issued a commercial shark limited access permit under § 635.4. However, persons aboard PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 12603 a commercially permitted vessel that is also properly permitted to operate as a charter vessel or headboat for HMS and is engaged in a for-hire trip could fish under the recreational retention limits for sharks and ‘‘no sale’’ provisions (§ 635.22 (c)). Similarly, persons aboard a commercially permitted vessel that possesses a valid shark research permit under § 635.32 and has a NMFSapproved observer onboard may continue to harvest and sell blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region pursuant to the terms and conditions of the shark research permit. During this closure, a shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to § 635.4 may not purchase or receive blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region from a vessel issued an Atlantic shark limited access permit (LAP), except that a permitted shark dealer or processor may possess blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region that were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in storage consistent with § 635.28(b)(5). Additionally, a permitted shark dealer or processor may possess blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region that were harvested by a vessel issued a valid shark research fishery permit per § 635.32 with a NMFS-approved observer onboard during the trip the sharks were taken on as long as the LCS research fishery quota remains open. Similarly, a shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to § 635.4 may, in accordance with relevant state regulations, purchase or receive blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region if the sharks were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered from a vessel that fishes only in state waters and that has not been issued an Atlantic Shark LAP, HMS Angling permit, or HMS Charter/Headboat permit pursuant to § 635.4. Classification Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that providing prior notice and public comment for this action is impracticable and contrary to the public interest because the fishery is currently underway and any delay in this action would result in overharvest of the quotas for these species and management groups and be inconsistent E:\FR\FM\10MRR1.SGM 10MRR1 12604 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 47 / Thursday, March 10, 2016 / Rules and Regulations jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES with management requirements and objectives. Similarly, affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this action is contrary to the public interest because if a quota is exceeded, the stock may be negatively affected and fishermen ultimately could experience reductions in the available VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:38 Mar 09, 2016 Jkt 238001 quota and a lack of fishing opportunities in future seasons. For these reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effective date pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This action is required under § 635.28(b)(3) and § 635.28(b)(5) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 7, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–05391 Filed 3–7–16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\10MRR1.SGM 10MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 47 (Thursday, March 10, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 12602-12604]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-05391]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 150413357-5999-02]
RIN 0648-XE484


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Blacktip Sharks, 
Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks, and Hammerhead Sharks in the Western 
Gulf of Mexico Sub-Region

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the commercial fishery for blacktip sharks and 
the aggregated large coastal sharks (LCS) and hammerhead shark 
management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region. This action 
is necessary because the commercial landings of aggregated LCS and 
hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region for the 2016 
fishing season have exceeded 80 percent of the available commercial 
quota as of March 4, 2016, and the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark 
management groups are quota-linked under the current regulations. The 
blacktip shark fishery in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region will be 
closed to minimize regulatory discards of aggregate LCS in the western 
Gulf of Mexico sub-region, which are often caught in conjunction with 
blacktip sharks in the commercial shark fisheries. This closure will 
affect anyone commercially fishing for sharks in the western Gulf of 
Mexico sub-region.

DATES: The commercial fishery for blacktip sharks and the aggregated 
LCS and hammerhead shark management groups in the western Gulf of 
Mexico sub-region are closed effective 11:30 p.m. local time March 12, 
2016, until the end of the 2016 fishing season on December 31, 2016, or 
until and if NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal Register that 
additional quota is available and the season is reopened.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Guy DuBeck or Karyl Brewster-Geisz, 
301-427-8503; fax 301-713-1917.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic shark fisheries are managed 
under the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery 
Management Plan (FMP), its amendments, and implementing regulations (50 
CFR part 635) issued under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).
    Under Sec.  635.5(b)(1), dealers must electronically submit reports 
on sharks that are first received from a vessel on a weekly basis 
through a NMFS-approved electronic reporting system. Reports must be 
received by no later than midnight, local time, of the first Tuesday 
following the end of the reporting week unless the dealer is otherwise 
notified by NMFS. Under Sec.  635.28(b)(4), the quotas of certain 
species and/or management groups are linked. If quotas are linked, when 
the specified quota threshold for one management group or species is 
reached and that management group or species is closed, the linked 
management group or species closes at the same time (Sec.  
635.28(b)(3)). The quotas for aggregated LCS and the hammerhead shark 
management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region are linked 
(Sec.  635.28(b)(4)(iii)). The blacktip shark quota in the western Gulf 
of Mexico sub-region is not linked to the aggregated LCS or hammerhead 
shark quotas. Regulations at Sec.  635.28(b)(2) and (b)(5) authorize 
the closure of the blacktip shark fishery in the Gulf of Mexico at a 
regional or sub-regional level when landings have reached or are 
expected to reach 80 percent of the quota or, after considering certain 
criteria and relevant factors, before those situations occur.
    Under Sec.  635.28(b)(2) and (3), when NMFS calculates that the 
landings for any species and/or management group of either a non-linked 
or a linked group have reached or are projected to reach a threshold of 
80 percent of the available quota, NMFS will file for publication with 
the Office of the Federal Register a notice of closure for all of the 
species and/or management groups of either a non-linked or linked group 
that will be effective no fewer than 5 days from date of filing. From 
the effective date and time of the closure until and if NMFS announces, 
via a

[[Page 12603]]

notice in the Federal Register, that additional quota is available and 
the season is reopened, the fisheries for all linked species and/or 
management groups and specified non-linked species and/or management 
groups are closed, even across fishing years.
    On December 1, 2015 (80 FR 74999), NMFS announced that for 2016, 
the commercial western Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark sub-regional quota 
was 266.5 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (587,396 lb dw), the 
western Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS sub-regional quota was 72.0 mt dw 
(158,724 lb dw), and the western Gulf of Mexico hammerhead shark sub-
regional quota was 11.9 mt dw (29,421 lb dw). Dealer reports recently 
received through March 4, 2016, indicate that 60.6 mt dw or 84 percent 
of the available western Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS sub-regional 
quota has been landed, that 13.8 mt dw or 116 percent of the available 
western Gulf of Mexico hammerhead shark sub-regional quota has been 
landed, and that 134.1 mt dw or 50 percent of the available western 
Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark sub-regional quota has been landed. Based 
on these dealer reports, the 80-percent limits specified for a closure 
notice in the regulations for the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark 
management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region were 
exceeded as of March 4, 2016. Accordingly, NMFS is closing the 
commercial aggregated LCS and hammerhead management groups in the 
western Gulf of Mexico sub-region as of 11:30 p.m. local time March 12, 
2016.
    Regarding blacktip sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, 
regulations at Sec.  635.28(b)(5)(i) through (v) authorize the closure 
of the blacktip shark fishery before landings reach, or are expected to 
reach, 80 percent of the quota after considering the following criteria 
and other relevant factors: Season length based on available sub-
regional quota and average sub-regional catch rates; variability in 
regional and/or sub-regional seasonal distribution, abundance, and 
migratory patterns; effects on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 
Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments; amount of remaining shark 
quotas in the relevant sub-region; and regional and/or sub-regional 
catch rates of the relevant shark species or management groups. NMFS 
considered all of these criteria with respect to blacktip sharks in the 
western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, and in particular, considered sub-
regional distribution and abundance (Sec.  635.28(b)(5)(ii)) and sub-
regional catch rates (Sec.  635.28(b)(5)(v)). The directed shark 
fisheries in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region exhibit a mixed 
species composition, with a high abundance and distribution of 
aggregated LCS caught in conjunction with blacktip sharks. As a result, 
NMFS believes that closing the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark 
management groups while leaving only the blacktip shark fishery open in 
the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region could cause large numbers of 
regulatory discards of aggregated LCS species. Such discards could 
hinder the management goals and interfere with accomplishing the 
objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments (Sec.  
635.28(b)(5)(iii)), which include preventing overfishing while 
achieving on a continuing basis optimum yield and rebuilding overfished 
shark stocks. Such discards would also be contrary to National Standard 
9, which requires that management measures minimize bycatch and bycatch 
mortality, particularly if the discards are dead and are of overfished 
species. A single closure for the aggregated LCS, blacktip, and 
hammerhead management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region 
would minimize regulatory discards, and help prevent overfishing, of 
aggregated LCS in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, consistent 
with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and 
the criteria at Sec.  635.28(b)(5). Accordingly, NMFS is closing the 
commercial blacktip shark fishery in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-
region as of 11:30 p.m. local time March 12, 2016.
    All other shark species or management groups in the western Gulf of 
Mexico sub-region that are currently open will remain open, including 
the commercial Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose small coastal sharks (SCS), 
blue sharks, and pelagic sharks other than porbeagle or blue.
    At Sec.  635.27(b)(1), the boundary between the Gulf of Mexico 
region and the Atlantic region is defined as a line beginning on the 
East Coast of Florida at the mainland at 25[deg]20.4' N. lat, 
proceeding due east. Any water and land to the south and west of that 
boundary is considered for the purposes of monitoring and setting 
quotas, to be within the Gulf of Mexico region. The boundary between 
the western and eastern Gulf of Mexico sub-regions is drawn along 
88[deg]00' W. long. (Sec.  635.27(b)(1)(ii)).
    During the closure, retention of blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, 
and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region is 
prohibited for persons fishing aboard vessels issued a commercial shark 
limited access permit under Sec.  635.4. However, persons aboard a 
commercially permitted vessel that is also properly permitted to 
operate as a charter vessel or headboat for HMS and is engaged in a 
for-hire trip could fish under the recreational retention limits for 
sharks and ``no sale'' provisions (Sec.  635.22 (c)). Similarly, 
persons aboard a commercially permitted vessel that possesses a valid 
shark research permit under Sec.  635.32 and has a NMFS-approved 
observer onboard may continue to harvest and sell blacktip sharks, 
aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico 
sub-region pursuant to the terms and conditions of the shark research 
permit.
    During this closure, a shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to 
Sec.  635.4 may not purchase or receive blacktip sharks, aggregated 
LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region 
from a vessel issued an Atlantic shark limited access permit (LAP), 
except that a permitted shark dealer or processor may possess blacktip 
sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of 
Mexico sub-region that were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or 
bartered prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in 
storage consistent with Sec.  635.28(b)(5). Additionally, a permitted 
shark dealer or processor may possess blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, 
and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region that 
were harvested by a vessel issued a valid shark research fishery permit 
per Sec.  635.32 with a NMFS-approved observer onboard during the trip 
the sharks were taken on as long as the LCS research fishery quota 
remains open. Similarly, a shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to 
Sec.  635.4 may, in accordance with relevant state regulations, 
purchase or receive blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead 
sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region if the sharks were 
harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered from a vessel that 
fishes only in state waters and that has not been issued an Atlantic 
Shark LAP, HMS Angling permit, or HMS Charter/Headboat permit pursuant 
to Sec.  635.4.

Classification

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that providing prior notice and public 
comment for this action is impracticable and contrary to the public 
interest because the fishery is currently underway and any delay in 
this action would result in overharvest of the quotas for these species 
and management groups and be inconsistent

[[Page 12604]]

with management requirements and objectives. Similarly, affording prior 
notice and opportunity for public comment on this action is contrary to 
the public interest because if a quota is exceeded, the stock may be 
negatively affected and fishermen ultimately could experience 
reductions in the available quota and a lack of fishing opportunities 
in future seasons. For these reasons, the AA also finds good cause to 
waive the 30-day delay in effective date pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 
553(d)(3). This action is required under Sec.  635.28(b)(3) and Sec.  
635.28(b)(5) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: March 7, 2016.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-05391 Filed 3-7-16; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P