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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Reallocation.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific cod from vessels using trawl and jig gear to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear in the BSAI. These actions are necessary to allow the 2001 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific cod to be harvested.

DATES:

Effective October 2, 2001, until 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2001.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mary Furuness, 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 at 50 CFR part 679.

The Final 2001 Harvest Specifications and Associated Management Measures for the Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska (66 FR 7276, January 22, 2001 and 66 FR 37167, July 17, 2001) established the amount of the 2001 BSAI Pacific cod TAC as 188,000 metric tons (mt). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(A), 3,478 mt was allocated to vessels using jig gear, 88,689 mt to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, and 81,733 mt to vessels using trawl gear. The share of the Pacific cod TAC allocated to trawl gear was further allocated 50 percent to catcher vessels and 50 percent to catcher/processor vessels (§ 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B)). The share of the Pacific cod TAC allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear was further allocated as follows: (1) 80 percent to catcher/processor vessels using hook-and-line gear; (2) 0.3 percent to catcher vessels using hook-and-line gear; (3) 18.3 percent to vessels using pot gear; and (4) 1.4 percent to catcher vessels less than 60 ft LOA that use either hook-and-line or pot gear (§ 679.20(a)(7)(i)(C)).

As of September 15, 2001, the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that trawl catcher/processors will not be able to harvest 10,000 mt and trawl catcher vessels will not be able to harvest 14,000 mt of Pacific cod allocated to those vessels under § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B). Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(C), NMFS apportions 24,000 mt of Pacific cod from trawl gear to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear.

The Regional Administrator has also determined that vessels using jig gear will not harvest 3,000 mt of their Pacific cod allocation by the end of the year. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(C), NMFS is reallocating the unused amount of 3,000 mt of Pacific cod allocated to vessels using jig gear to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear.

In accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(C)(1), 400 mt of the combined reallocation of unused Pacific cod from trawl and jig gear is apportioned to catcher vessels using hook-and-line gear. In accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(C)(2), the remaining combined reallocation of unused Pacific cod from trawl and jig gear, 25,600 mt, Start Printed Page 50859is apportioned so that catcher/processor vessels using hook-and-line gear will receive 95 percent and vessels using pot gear will receive 5 percent of the reallocation.

The harvest specifications for Pacific cod established in the Final 2001 Harvest Specifications and Associated Management Measures for the Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska (66 FR 7276, January 22, 2001 and 66 FR 37167, July 17, 2001) are revised as follows: 478 mt to vessels using jig gear, 95,821 mt to catcher processor vessels using hook-and-line gear, 665 mt to catcher vessels using hook-and-line gear, 17,469 mt to pot gear, 30,867 mt to trawl catcher/processors, and 26,867 mt to trawl catcher vessels.

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 the 2001 TAC of Pacific cod in the BSAI to be harvested constitutes good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice or 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 the 2001 TAC of Pacific cod in the BSAI to be harvested constitutes good cause to find that the effective date of this action cannot 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 taken under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from OMB review under Executive Order 12866.

Start Authority

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

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Dated: September 28, 2001.

Bruce C. Morehead,

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

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[FR Doc. 01-25030 Filed 10-2-01; 4:49 pm]

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