[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 199 (Wednesday, October 15, 1997)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 53577]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-27133]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 285

[I.D. 100797B]

Atlantic Tuna Fisheries; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna General Category

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

ACTION: Opening of the New York Bight fishery.


SUMMARY: NMFS opens the Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABT) General category 
New York Bight fishery. This action is being taken to extend the season 
for the General category, provide for fishing opportunities in the New 
York Bight area, and ensure additional collection of biological 
assessment and monitoring data.

DATES: Effective October 9, 1997, 1 a.m. local time until December 31, 
1997, or until the date, published in the Federal Register, that the 
set-aside quota is determined to have been taken.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin, 301-713-2347, or Pat 
Scida, 508-281-9260.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) governing 
the harvest of ABT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction 
are found at 50 CFR part 285. Section 285.22 subdivides the U.S. quota 
recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of 
Atlantic Tunas among the various domestic fishing categories.
    Implementing regulations for the Atlantic tuna fisheries at 50 CFR 
285.22 provide for a subquota of 72 mt of large medium and giant ABT to 
be harvested from the regulatory area by vessels permitted in the 
General category during the period beginning October 1 and ending 
December 31. Due to an overharvest of 1 mt in the September period 
subquota, and the transfer of 70 mt from other categories (62 FR 51608, 
October 2, 1997), the October-December period subquota was adjusted to 
141 mt. The October-December subquota is divided into a coastwide 
subquota of 131 mt and 10 mt for the traditional fall New York Bight 
set-aside area, defined as the waters south and west of a straight line 
originating at a point on the southern shore of Long Island at 
72 deg.27' W. long. (Shinnecock Inlet) and running SSE 150 deg. true, 
and north of 38 deg.47' N. lat. (Delaware Bay).
    NMFS previously announced the closure of the General category 
fishery for the October-December time period effective October 5, 1997, 
which published in the Federal Register on October 9, 1997. After 
tallying the landings following the closure, NMFS has determined the 
remaining unharvested coastwide quota (approximately 10 mt) is 
insufficient to warrant a reopening of the coastwide General category 
because daily catch rates in September and October have averaged 30 mt.
    The New York Bight set-aside of 10 mt will open effective Thursday, 
October 9, at 1 a.m. local time. Upon the effective date of the New 
York Bight set-aside, persons aboard vessels permitted in the General 
category may fish for, retain, possess, or land large medium and giant 
ABT only in the New York Bight set-aside area specified above, until 
the set-aside quota for that area has been harvested. ABT harvested 
from waters outside the defined set-aside area may not be brought into 
the set-aside area. Vessels permitted in the Charter/Headboat category, 
when fishing for large medium and giant ABT, are subject to the same 
rules as General category vessels when the General category is open.
    The announcement of the closure date will be filed with the Office 
of the Federal Register, and further communicated through the Highly 
Migratory Species (HMS) Fax Network, the HMS Information Line, NOAA 
weather radio, and Coast Guard Notice to Mariners. Although 
notification of closure will be provided as far in advance as possible, 
fishermen are encouraged to call the HMS Information Line to check the 
status of the fishery before leaving for a fishing trip. The phone 
numbers for the HMS Information Line are (301) 713-1279 and (508) 281-
9305. Information regarding the Atlantic tuna fisheries is also 
available toll-free through NextLink Interactive, Inc., at (888) USA-


    This action is taken under 50 CFR 285.22 and is exempt from review 
under E.O. 12866.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.

    Dated: October 8, 1997.
Gary C. Matlock,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
[FR Doc. 97-27133 Filed 10-8-97; 3:19 pm]