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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the Gulf of Alaska

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Modification of a closure.

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SUMMARY:

NMFS is opening directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) for 24 hours. This action is necessary to fully use the first seasonal apportionment of the total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock specified for this area.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 29, 2002, until 1200 hrs, A.l.t., January 30, 2002.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mary Furuness, 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 “A” season allowance of the 2002 pollock TAC in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA was established as 1,122 metric tons by an emergency rule implementing 2002 harvest specifications and associated management measures for the groundfish fisheries off Alaska (67 FR 956, January 8, 2002).

NMFS closed the directed fishery for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA under § 679.20(d)(1)(iii) on January 21, 2002 (67 FR 3126, January 23, 2002).

NMFS has determined that approximately 522 mt currently remain in the directed fishing allowance. Therefore, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is opening directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance will be reached after 24 hours. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA effective 1200 hrs, A.l.t., January 30, 2002.

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 the amount of the 2002 A season pollock TAC specified for Statistical Area 630 of the GOA 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 the amount of the 2002 A season pollock TAC specified for Statistical Area 630 of the GOA 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 required by § 679.20 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: January 25, 2002.

Jonathan M. Kurland,

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

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[FR Doc. 02-2402 Filed 1-29-02; 9:18 am]

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