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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Trawling in Steller Sea Lion Protection Areas in the Western Aleutian District of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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 trawling within Steller sea lion protection areas in the Western Aleutian District of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season critical habitat limit of the 2001 total allowable catch (TAC) of Atka mackerel allocated to the Central Aleutian District.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 13, 2001, until the directed fishery for Atka mackerel closes within the Western Aleutian District, which will be published in the Federal Register.

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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 appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

The 2001 A season apportionment of TAC for Atka mackerel in the Western Aleutian District is 12,904 metric tons (mt), of which no more than 6,194 mt may be harvested from Steller Sea lion protection areas (66 FR 7276, January 22, 2001). See § 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a)(12)(iii)(B).

In accordance with § 679.22 (a)(12)(iii), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the allowable harvest of Atka mackerel in the Steller Sea lion protection areas in the Western Aleutian District has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting trawling in selected rookery and haul out sites, as defined at Table 21 to 50 CFR Part 679 in the Western Aleutian District of the BSAI.

Classification

This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds that the need to immediately implement this action to avoid jeopardy to the continued existence of Steller sea lions constitutes good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 USC 553(b)(3)(B) and 50 CFR 679.20(b)(3)(iii)(A), as such procedures would be unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Similarly, the need to implement these measures in a timely fashion to avoid jeopardy to the continued existence of Steller sea lions constitutes good cause to find that the effective date of this action cannot be delayed for 30 days.

This action is required by § 679.20 and 679.22 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: February 13, 2001.

Bruce C. Morehead,

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

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[FR Doc. 01-4035 Filed 2-13-01; 3:20 pm]

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