National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
NMFS is closing directed fishing for species in the rock sole/flathead sole/“other flatfish” fishery category by vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2002 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl rock sole/flathead sole/“other flatfish” fishery category.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), July 29, 2002, until 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2002.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mary Furuness, 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 2002 halibut bycatch allowance specified for the BSAI trawl rock sole/flathead sole/“other flatfish” fishery category, which is defined at § 679.21(e)(3)(iv)(B)(2), is 779 metric tons (67 FR 956, January 8, 2002).
In accordance with § 679.21(e)(7)(v), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2002 halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl rock sole/flathead sole/“other flatfish” fishery in the BSAI has been caught. Consequently, the Regional Administrator is closing directed fishing for species in the rock sole/flathead sole/“other flatfish” fishery category by vessels using trawl gear in 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 avoid exceeding the halibut bycatch allowance for rock sole/flathead sole/”other flatfish” fishery category 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)(B). These procedures are unnecessary and contrary to the public interest because the need to implement these measures in a timely fashion to avoid exceeding the halibut bycatch allowance for rock sole/flathead sole/“other flatfish” fishery category 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)(3), a delay in the effective date is hereby waived.
This action is required by 50 CFR 679.21 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: July 29, 2002.
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 02-19447 Filed 7-29-02; 3:34 pm]
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