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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Atka Mackerel in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea Subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Atka mackerel with gears other than jig in the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2001 total allowable catch (TAC) of Atka mackerel in these areas.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 6, 2001, until 1200 hrs, A.l.t., September 1, 2001.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Andrew Smoker, 907-586-7228.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI exclusive economic zone 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 at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

The A season allowance of Atka mackerel TAC for non-jig gear in the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea was specified as 3,572 metric tons (mt) (66 FR 7327, January 22 2001). See § 679.20(a)(8)(ii).

In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the A season allowance of TAC for non-jig gear Atka mackerel in the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea will be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 3,372 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 200 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 soon will be reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Atka mackerel in the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI.

Maximum retainable bycatch amounts may be found in the regulations at § 679.20(e) and (f).

Classification

This action responds to the Initial TAC limitations and other restrictions on the fisheries established in the 2001 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish for the BSAI. Pursuant to 5 USC 553(b)(3)(B), the Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause exists to waive the prior notice and opportunity for public comment as such procedures are unnecessary and contrary to public interest. This action must be implemented immediately to prevent overharvesting the A season allowance of the 2001 TAC of Atka mackerel in the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI. Similarly good cause exists to waive the delay in the effective date as it 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 Executive Order 12866.

Start Authority

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

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Dated: February 5, 2001.

Bruce C. Morehead,

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

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[FR Doc. 01-3368 Filed 2-6-01; 2:52 pm]

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