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Rule

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

Action

Temporary Rule; Closure.

Summary

NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for northern rockfish by catcher/processors participating in the limited access or opt-out fisheries that are subject to sideboard limits established under the Central Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Rockfish Program in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA. This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2010 sideboard limit of northern rockfish established for catcher/processors participating in the limited access or opt-out fisheries in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.

 

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DATES: Back to Top

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), July 7, 2010, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., July 31, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Steve Whitney, 907-586-7269.

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 2010 northern rockfish sideboard limit established for catcher/processors participating in the limited access or opt-out fisheries that are subject to sideboard limits in the Central GOA Rockfish Program in the Western Regulatory Area is 159 metric tons (mt). The sideboard limit is established by the final 2010 and 2011 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (75 FR 11749, March 12, 2010) and as posted as the 2010 Rockfish Program Catcher/Processor Sideboards at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/goarat/default.htm.

In accordance with § 679.82(d)(7)(i)(A), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2010 northern rockfish sideboard limit established for catcher processors participating in the limited access or opt-out fisheries in the Western Regulatory Area will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 139 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 20 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.82(d)(7)(ii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for the northern rockfish sideboard limit established for catcher/processors participating in the limited access or opt-out fisheries in the Western Regulatory Area.

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 northern rockfish sideboard limit for catcher/processors participating in the limited access or opt-out fisheries in the Western Regulatory Area. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of July 6, 2010.

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

Authority: Back to Top

16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Dated: July 7, 2010.

Carrie Selberg,

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

[FR Doc. 2010-16916 Filed 7-7-10; 4:15 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S

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