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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Shortraker and Rougheye Rockfish in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska

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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 shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). NMFS is requiring that catch of shortraker and rougheye 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 shortraker and rougheye rockfish in this area has been reached.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), October 2, 2000, until 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2000.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Nick Hindman 907-586-7006 or nick.hindman@noaa.gov.

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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 amount of the 2000 TAC of shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA was established as 590 metric tons by 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)(2), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the amount of the 2000 TAC for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA has been reached. Therefore, NMFS is requiring that further catches of shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA 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. NMFS finds that implementing this action immediately to prevent overharvesting the amount of the 2000 TAC for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA constitutes good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and the opportunity for public comment pursuant to authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such procedure would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Moreover, the fleet has taken the amount of the 2000 TAC for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA. As further delay would only result in overharvest, NMFS finds that this constitutes good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), to waive the delay in the effective date.

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: October 2, 2000.

Clarence Pautzke,

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

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[FR Doc. 00-25621 Filed 10-2-00; 4:30 pm]

BILLING CODE: 3510-22 -S