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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Trawling in Steller Sea Lion Critical Habitat in the Central Aleutian District of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is prohibiting trawling within Steller sea lion critical habitat in the Central Aleutian District of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary because the 2000 critical habitat percentage of the interim harvest specifications of Atka mackerel allocated to the Central Aleutian District has been reached.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 10, 2000, until the directed fishery for Atka mackerel closes within the Central Aleutian District.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Andrew Smoker, 907-586-7228.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for the Groundfish Fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 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 2000 interim TAC for Atka mackerel in the Central Aleutian District is 9,520 metric tons (mt), of which no more than 6,378 mt may be harvested from critical habitat (65 FR 60, January 3, 2000). See § 679.20(c)(2)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a)(8)(iii)(B).

In accordance with § 679.22(a)(8)(iii)(A), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the allowable harvest of Atka mackerel in Steller sea lion critical habitat in the Central Aleutian District as specified under the 2000 interim harvest specifications has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting trawling in critical habitat, as defined at 50 CFR part 226, Table 1 and Table 2 in the Central Aleutian District of the BSAI.

Classification

This action responds to the interim TAC limitations for Atka mackerel in the BSAI. It must be implemented immediately to avoid jeopardy to the continued existence of Steller sea lions. A delay in the effective date is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. NMFS finds for good cause that the implementation of this action should not be delayed for 30 days. Accordingly, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), a delay in the effective date is hereby waived.

This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under E.O. 12866.

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

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Dated: February 10, 2000.

Bruce C. Morehead,

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

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[FR Doc. 00-3482 Filed 2-10-00; 3:14 pm]

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