Fishery conservation and management: Northeastern United States fisheries— Summer flounder,

 
CONTENT

[Federal Register: December 22, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 245)]

[Rules and Regulations]

[Page 71687-71688]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[DOCID:fr22de99-21]

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 981014259-8312-02; I.D. 121699B]

Summer Flounder Fishery

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

ACTION: Commercial quota transfer; commercial quota harvest reopening.

SUMMARY: NMFS announces that the State of North Carolina is transferring 70,000 lb (31,752 kg) of commercial summer flounder quota to the State of New York from its 1999 quota. By this action, NMFS adjusts the quotas and announces the revised commercial quota for each state involved. NMFS also announces that the summer flounder commercial fishery in the EEZ for the State of New York is reopened. Vessels issued a commercial Federal fisheries permit for the summer flounder fishery may land summer flounder in New York for the remainder of calendar year 1999, unless closed due to the State of New York harvesting its commercial quota before the end of the calendar year. Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery require the publication of this notification to advise the State of New York that the fishery has reopened and to advise vessel permit holders and dealer permit holders that commercial quota is available for landing summer flounder in New York.

DATES: Effective December 17, 1999 through December 31, 1999.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul H. Jones, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281-9273.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned among the coastal states from North Carolina through Maine. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state are described in Sec. 648.100.

After taking into account any overages of state quotas that occurred in 1998, the total commercial quota for summer flounder for the 1999 calendar year was set equal to 10,729,274 lb (4,866,717 kg), with a quota of 790,006 lb (358,341 kg) for New York and a quota of 3,044,589 lb (1,381,002 kg) for North Carolina (64 FR 46596; August 26, 1999).

The final rule implementing Amendment 5 to the FMP that was published on December 17, 1993 (58 FR 65936), provided the mechanism for summer flounder quota to be transferred from one state to another. Two or more states, under mutual agreement and with the concurrence of the Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS, (Regional Administrator) can transfer or combine summer flounder commercial quota under section 648.100(e). The Regional Administrator is required to consider the criteria set forth in Sec. 648.100(e)(1), in the evaluation of requests for quota transfers or combinations.

North Carolina has agreed to transfer 70,000 lb (31,752 kg) of its 1999 commercial quota to New York. The Regional Administrator has determined that the criteria set forth in Sec. 648.100(e)(1) have been met, and publishes this notification of quota transfer. The revised quotas for the calendar year 1999 are: New York, 860,006 lb (390,099 kg); and North Carolina, 2,974,589 lb (1,349,274 kg).

NMFS issued a notification in the Federal Register on October 26, 1999 (64 FR 57586), announcing that the summer flounder commercial quota available to the State of New York had been harvested. The Regional Administrator has determined, based upon dealer reports and upon other available information, that the State of North Carolina will not attain its quota for 1999 and, based on the 70,000-lb (31,752-kg) transfer of commercial summer flounder quota to the State of New York, that the State of New York commercial summer flounder fishery in the EEZ will reopen effective 0001 hours, December 17, 1999 through December 31, 1999. Therefore, vessels issued a commercial Federal fisheries permit for the summer flounder fishery may land summer flounder in New York for the remainder of calendar year 1999, unless closed due to the State of New York harvesting its commercial quota before the end of the calendar year. Effective December 17, 1999 through December 31, 1999, federally permitted dealers are also advised that they may purchase summer flounder from federally permitted vessels that land in New York for the remainder of the calendar year.

Classification

This action does not alter any of the conclusions reached in the environmental impact statement prepared for Amendment 2 to the FMP regarding the effects of summer flounder fishing activity on the human environment. Amendment 2 established procedures for setting an annual coastwide commercial quota for summer flounder and a formula for determining commercial quotas for each state. The quota transfer provision was established by Amendment 5 to the FMP and the environmental assessment prepared for Amendment 5 found that the action had no significant impact on the environment. Under section 6.03a.3(b)(1) of NOAA Administrative Order 216-6, this action is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare additional environmental analyses. This is a routine administrative action that reallocates commercial quota within the scope of previously published environmental analyses. This action is taken under 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under E.O. 12866.

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

[[Page 71688]]

Dated: December 17, 1999. Bruce C. Morehead, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

[FR Doc. 99-33151Filed12-17-99; 2:41 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-F