National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Atka mackerel in the Central Aleutian District of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of Atka mackerel total allowable catch (TAC) in this area.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 11, 2002, until 1200 hrs, A.l.t., September 1, 2002.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Andrew Smoker, 907-586-7228.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental 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 A season allowance of Atka mackerel TAC in the Central Aleutian District of the BSAI is 11,008 metric tons (mt) as established by an emergency rule implementing 2002 harvest specifications and associated management measures for the groundfish fisheries off Alaska (67 FR 956, January 8, 2002).
In accordance with § 679.20 (d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the A season allowance of the Atka mackerel TAC in the Central Aleutian District will be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 10,008 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 1,000 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 will be reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Atka mackerel in the Central Aleutian District of the BSAI.
Maximum retainable bycatch amounts may be found in the regulations at § 679.20(e) and (f).
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 prevent exceeding the amount of the A season allowance of Atka mackerel TAC in the Central Aleutian District of the BSAI constitutes good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice 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 prevent exceeding the A season allowance of Atka mackerel TAC in the Central Aleutian District of the BSAI 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 679.22 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: February 11, 2002.
Bruce C. Morehead,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 02-3652 Filed 2-11-02; 3:54 pm]
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