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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by the Offshore Component in the Western Regulatory Area in the Gulf of Alaska

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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:

Modification of a closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is opening directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels catching Pacific cod for processing by the offshore component in the Western Regulatory Area in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to fully use the 2001 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific cod in the Western Regulatory Area.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time, May 18, 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 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 2001 A season Pacific cod TAC apportioned to vessels catching Pacific cod for processing by the offshore component in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA is 1,098 metric tons (mt) as established by the Final 2001 Harvest Specifications and Associated Management Measures for the Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska (66 FR 7276, January 22, 2001).

NMFS closed the directed fishery for Pacific cod to vessels catching Pacific cod for processing by the offshore component in the Western Regulatory Area under § 679.20(d)(1)(i) on April 26, 2001 (66 FR 21691, May 1, 2001).

NMFS has determined that approximately 250 mt remain in the directed fishing allowance. Therefore, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is opening directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels catching Pacific cod for processing by the offshore component in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.

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 allow full use of the Pacific cod TAC constitutes good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 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 allow full use of the Pacific cod TAC constitutes good cause to find that the effective date of this action cannot be delayed for 30 days. In addition, this action relieves a restriction on the harvest of Pacific cod in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska. 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: May 16, 2001.

Bruce C. Morehead,

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

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[FR Doc. 01-12870 Filed 5-17-01; 4:19 pm]

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