National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher processor vessels using hook-and-line gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2000 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific cod allocated for catcher processor vessels using hook-and-line gear in this area.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), December 9, 2000, until 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 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 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 share of the 2000 TAC of Pacific cod allocated to catcher processor vessels using hook-and-line gear in the BSAI was established by the Revision of the 2000 BSAI Pacific cod Harvest Specifications of Groundfish for the BSAI (65 FR 51553, August 24, 2000) and subsequent reallocation (65 FR 65272, November 1, 2000) as a directed fishing allowance of 81,958 mt. See § 679.20(c)(3)(iii) and § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(A)&(C).
In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2000 TAC of Pacific cod allocated to catcher processor vessels using hook-and-line gear as a directed fishing allowance in the BSAI will soon be reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod for vessels using hook-and-line and pot gear in the BSAI.
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 2000 TAC of Pacific cod allocated to catcher processor vessels using hook-and-line gear in the BSAI. NMFS finds that the prevention of overharvesting of Pacific cod constitutes good cause to waive the requirement for prior notice and comment pursuant to 5 U.S.C 553(b)(B) as such procedures are contrary to the public interest. The Pacific cod directed fishing allowance established for catcher processor vessels using hook-and-line gear will soon be reached. Further delay would only result in overharvest. 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 § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: December 8, 2000.
Bruce C. Morehead,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 00-31733 Filed 12-8-00; 4:44 pm]
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