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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the Gulf of Alaska

Action

Closure.

Summary

NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the B season allowance of the 2005 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock for Statistical Area 620 of the GOA.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 20, 2005, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., August 25, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Josh Keaton, 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 Groundfish 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 B season allowance of the 2005 TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the GOA is 13,820 metric tons (mt) as established by the 2005 and 2006 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (70 FR 8958, February 24, 2005). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), hereby decreases the B season pollock allowance by 1,076 mt, the amount the A season allowance of the pollock TAC in Statistical Area 620 was exceeded. The revised B season allowance of the pollock TAC in Statistical Area 620 is therefore 12,744 mt (13,820 mt minus 1,076 mt).

In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator has determined that the B season allowance of the 2005 TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 12,544 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 200 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 has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the GOA.

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

Classification Back to Top

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 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 pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the GOA.

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 § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

Authority: Back to Top

16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Dated: March 18, 2005.

Alan D. Risenhoover,

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

[FR Doc. 05-5743 Filed 3-18-05; 1:27 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S

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