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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Northern Rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska

Action

Closure.

Summary

NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for northern rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2002 total allowable catch (TAC) of northern rockfish in this area.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), July 21, 2002, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2002.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Mary Furuness, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for the Groundfish Fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (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 2002 TAC of northern rockfish for the Central Regulatory Area was established as 4,170 metric tons (mt) by an emergency rule implementing 2002 harvest specifications and associated management measures for the groundfish fisheries off Alaska (67 FR 956, January 8, 2002 and 67 FR 34860, May 16, 2002).

In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2002 TAC for northern rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area will be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 4,120 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 50 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance will soon be reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for northern rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA.

Maximum retainable bycatch amounts may be found in the regulations at § 679.20(e) and (f).

Classification Back to Top

This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is contrary to the public interest. This requirement is contrary to the public interest as it would delay the closure of the fishery, lead to exceeding the TAC, and therefore reduce the public's ability to use and enjoy the fishery resource.

The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA 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 § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

Authority: Back to Top

16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Dated: July 19, 2002.

Virginia M. Fox,

Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

[FR Doc. 02-18737 Filed 7-19-02; 3:35 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S

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