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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 111220786-1781-01]

RIN 0648-XC340

Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder Fishery; Quota Transfer

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Temporary rule; quota transfer.
SUMMARY: NMFS announces that the State of North Carolina is transferring a portion of its 2012 commercial summer flounder quota to the State of Rhode Island. NMFS is adjusting the quotas and announcing the revised commercial quota for each state involved.
DATES: Effective November 19, 2012, through December 31, 2012.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carly Bari, Fishery Management Specialist, 978-281-9224.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery are in 50 CFR part 648, and 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 § 648.100.

The final rule implementing Amendment 5 to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan, which was published on December 17, 1993 (58 FR 65936), provided a 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 § 648.102(c)(2). The Regional Administrator is required to consider the criteria in § 648.102(c)(2)(i) to evaluate requests for quota transfers or combinations.

North Carolina has agreed to transfer 13,925 lb (6,316 kg) of its 2012 commercial quota to Rhode Island. This transfer was prompted by summer flounder landings of one North Carolina vessels that was granted safe harbor in Rhode Island due to Hurricane Sandy, on October 30, 2012, thereby requiring a quota transfer to account for an increase in Rhode Island's landings that would have otherwise accrued against the North Carolina quota. The Regional Administrator has determined that the criteria set forth in § 648.102(c)(2)(i) have been met. The revised summer flounder quotas for calendar year 2012 are: North Carolina, 1,589,325 lb (720,955 kg); and Rhode Island, 2,010,325 lb (911,868 kg).

Classification

This action is taken under 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

Authority:

16 U.S.C. 1801et seq.

Dated: November 14, 2012. Lindsey Fullenkamp, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.