National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for arrowtooth flounder in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2000 total allowable catch (TAC) of arrowtooth flounder in this area.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), July 31, 2000, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2000.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Andrew Smoker, 907 596 7228End 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 CFR part 679.
The 2000 TAC of arrowtooth flounder for the Western Regulatory Area was established as 5,000 metric tons (mt) in the Final 2000 Harvest Specifications of Groundfish for the GOA (65 FR 8298, February 18, 2000). See § 679.20(c)(3)(ii).
In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2000 TAC for arrowtooth flounder in the Western Regulatory Area will be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 4,900 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 100 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 Start Printed Page 47907directed fishing for arrowtooth flounder in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.
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 to prevent overharvesting the 2000 TAC of arrowtooth flounder for the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA. A delay in the effective date is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Further delay would only result in overharvest. 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.Start Signature
Dated: July 31, 2000.
Bruce C. Morehead,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 00-19715 Filed 8-1-00; 10:19 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-F