Fishery conservation and management: Alaska; fisheries of Exclusive Economic Zone— Pacific cod,

 
CONTENT

[Federal Register: April 3, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 63)]

[Rules and Regulations]

[Page 15848-15849]

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

[DOCID:fr03ap07-19]

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 070213033-7033-01; I.D. 032807A]

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Less Than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA Using Pot or Hook-and- Line Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) using pot or hook-and-line gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2007 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using pot or hook-and-line gear in the BSAI.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 30, 2007, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2007.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Hogan, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

The 2007 and 2008 final harvest specification for groundfish in the BSAI (72 FR 9451, March 2, 2007), and the reallocation on March 5, 2007 (72 FR 10428, March 8, 2007) allocated a directed fishing allowance for Pacific cod of 2,321 metric tons to catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using pot or hook-and-line gear in the BSAI. See Sec. 679.20(c)(3)(iii) and (c)(5), and (a)(7)(i)(C).

In accordance with Sec. 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that the 2007 Pacific cod directed fishing allowance allocated to catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using pot or hook-and-line gear in the BSAI has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using pot or hook-and-line gear in the BSAI.

After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at Sec. 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

Classification

This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment

[[Page 15849]]

pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the closure of Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using pot or hook-and-line gear in the BSAI. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of March 27, 2007.

The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

This action is required by Sec. 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

Dated: March 28, 2007. James P. Burgess Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

[FR Doc. 07-1631 Filed 3-29-07; 2:26 pm]

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