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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Other Red Rockfish in the Bering Sea Subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is prohibiting retention of other red rockfish in the Bering Sea subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). NMFS is requiring that catch of other red rockfish in this area be treated in the same manner as prohibited species and discarded at sea with a minimum of injury. This action is necessary because the amount of the 2000 total allowable catch (TAC) of other red rockfish in this area has been achieved.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), August 28, 2000, until 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2000.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mary Furuness, 907-586-7228.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI 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 amount of the 2000 TAC of other red rockfish in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI was established as 165 metric tons by the Final 2000 Harvest Specifications of Groundfish for the BSAI (65 FR 8282, February 18, 2000). See § 679.20(c)(3)(iii).

In accordance with § 679.20(d)(2), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the amount of the 2000 TAC for other red rockfish in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI has been achieved. Therefore, NMFS is requiring that further catches of other red rockfish in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI be treated as prohibited species in accordance with § 679.21(b).

Classification

This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. It must be implemented immediately to prevent overharvesting the amount of the 2000 TAC of other red rockfish in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI. A delay in the effective date is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The fleet has taken the amount of the 2000 TAC of other red rockfish in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI. Further delay would only result in overharvest. NMFS finds for good cause that the implementation of this action cannot 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 Executive Order 12866.

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

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Dated: August 28, 2000

Bruce C. Morehead,

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

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[FR Doc. 00-22509 Filed 8-29-00; 2:28 pm]

BILLING CODE: 3510-22-S