[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 161 (Thursday, August 20, 1998)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 44595]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-22431]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 654

[Docket No. 980501114-8213-02; I.D. 041698G]
RIN 0648-AK48

Stone Crab Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 6

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

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: NMFS issues this final rule to implement Amendment 6 to the 
Fishery Management Plan for the Stone Crab Fishery of the Gulf of 
Mexico (FMP). Amendment 6 and this rule will reinstate for up to 4 
years (through June 30, 2002) the previously existing temporary 
moratorium on the Federal registration of stone crab vessels that 
expired on June 30, 1998. The intended effect is to provide additional 
time for the industry and Florida to develop and implement a limited 
access system for the fishery.

DATES: This rule is effective August 20, 1998.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael E. Justen, 727-570-5305.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FMP was prepared by the Gulf of Mexico 
Fishery Management Council (Council) and is implemented under the 
authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management 
Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 654.
    On April 23, 1998, NMFS announced the availability of Amendment 6 
and requested comments on the amendment (63 FR 20162). On May 14, 1998, 
NMFS published a proposed rule to implement Amendment 6 and requested 
comments on the rule (63 FR 26765). The background and rationale for 
the measures in the amendment and proposed rule are contained in the 
preamble to the proposed rule and are not repeated here. On July 22, 
1998, after considering the comments received on the amendment and the 
proposed rule, NMFS approved Amendment 6.

Comments and Responses

    Two public comments were received on Amendment 6 and/or the 
proposed rule. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service submitted comments 
supporting Amendment 6. Comments from the U.S. Coast Guard concluded 
that there were no vessel safety or enforcement concerns. NMFS concurs 
with these comments. The proposed rule has been adopted as final 
without change.


    The Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, with the concurrence of 
the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), determined that 
Amendment 6 is necessary for the conservation and management of the 
stone crab fishery of the Gulf of Mexico and that Amendment 6 is 
consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable law.
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of E.O. 12866.
    The Assistant General Counsel for Legislation and Regulation of the 
Department of Commerce, based on the Council's Regulatory Impact Review 
that assesses the economic impacts of management measures in this rule 
on fishery participants, certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of 
the Small Business Administration that this rule would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
No comments were received regarding this certification. As a result, a 
regulatory flexibility analysis was not prepared.
    Because this rule merely reinitiates a moratorium that was in place 
until June 30, 1998, and does not require any participants in the 
fishery to take action to come into compliance, the AA finds for good 
cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) that delaying the effective date of this 
rule for 30 days is unnecessary. Accordingly, the AA reinitiates the 
moratorium effective upon the date of publication in the Federal 

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 654

    Fisheries, Fishing.

    Dated: August 14, 1998.
Rolland A. Schmitten,
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 654 is amended 
as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 654 continues to read as 

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

    2. In Sec. 654.3, paragraph (d) is revised to read as follows.

Sec. 654.3  Relation to other laws.

* * * * *
    (d) Under Amendment 6 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Stone 
Crab Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico, there is a temporary moratorium on 
the issuance by the Regional Director of Federal identification numbers 
and color codes for vessels and gear in the stone crab fishery in the 
management area. The moratorium will end not later than June 30, 2002. 
During the moratorium, fishermen must obtain identification numbers and 
color codes for these vessels and gear from the State of Florida. (See 
Sec. 654.6(a).)
[FR Doc. 98-22431 Filed 8-19-98; 8:45 am]