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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Deep-Water Species Fishery by Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the Gulf of Alaska

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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 directed fishing for species that comprise the deep-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary because the second seasonal apportionment of the 2000 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the deep-water species fishery in the GOA has been caught.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), May 13, 2000, until 1200 hrs, A.l.t., July 4, 2000.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mary Furuness, 907-586-7228.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance for the GOA trawl deep-water species fishery, which is defined at § 679.21(d)(3)(iii)(B), was established by the Final 2000 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish for the GOA (65 FR 8298, February 18, 2000) for the second season, the period April 1, 2000, through July 3, 2000, as 300 metric tons.

In accordance with § 679.21(d)(7)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the second seasonal apportionment of the 2000 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl deep-water species fishery in the GOA has been caught. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for the deep-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA. The species and species groups that comprise the deep-water species fishery are: all rockfish of the genera Sebastes and Sebastolobus, deep water flatfish, rex sole, arrowtooth flounder, and sablefish.

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

Classification

This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. It must be implemented immediately in order to prevent overharvesting the second seasonal apportionment of the 2000 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl deep-water species fishery in the GOA. A delay in the effective date is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The second seasonal apportionment of the Pacific halibut bycatch allowance has been caught. NMFS finds for good cause that the implementation of this action can 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 § 679.21 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: May 12, 2000.

George H. Darcy,

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

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[FR Doc. 00-12370 Filed 5-12-00; 4:44 pm]

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