National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for species that comprise the shallow-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), except for vessels fishing for pollock using pelagic trawl gear in those portions of the GOA open to directed fishing for pollock. This action is necessary because the second seasonal apportionment of the 2000 halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl shallow-water species fishery in the GOA has been caught.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), May 28, 2000, until 1200 hrs, A.l.t., July 4, 2000.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mary Furuness, 907-586-7228.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental 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 shallow-water species fishery, which is defined at § 679.21(d)(3)(iii)(A), 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 100 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 shallow-water species fishery in the GOA has been caught. Consequently, NMFS is Start Printed Page 34992prohibiting directed fishing for species included in the shallow-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA, except for vessels fishing for pollock using pelagic trawl gear in those portions of the GOA open to directed fishing for pollock. The species and species groups that comprise the shallow-water species fishery are: pollock, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka mackerel, and “other species.”
Maximum retainable bycatch amounts may be found in the regulations at § 679.20(e) and (f).
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 shallow-water species fishery in the GOA. A delay in the effective date is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The fleet has already taken the second seasonal bycatch allowance of Pacific halibut. 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.Start Signature
Dated: May 26, 2000.
Bruce C. Morehead,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 00-13684 Filed 5-26-00; 2:35 pm]
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