National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Closure; request for comments.
NMFS announces that the commercial fishery for all salmon except coho in the Fort Bragg area was closed at midnight on July 23, 2002. The Northwest Regional Administrator, NMFS (Regional Administrator), determined that the quota of 10,000 chinook salmon had been reached. This action was necessary to conform to the 2002 management goals.
Closure in the area from Horse Mountain to Point Arena, CA effective 2359 hours local time (l.t.), July 23, 2002, until 0001 hours l.t., August 1, 2002. Comments will be accepted through August 29, 2002.
Comments on this action must be mailed or faxed to D. Robert Lohn, Regional Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, NOAA, 7600 Sand Point Way N.E., Bldg. 1, Seattle, WA 98115-0070, facsimile 206-526-6376; or Rod McInnis, Acting Regional Administrator, Southwest Region, NMFS, NOAA, 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802-4132, facsimile 562-980-4018. Comments will not be accepted if submitted via e-mail or the Internet. Information relevant to this document is available for public review during business hours at the Office of the Regional Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Christopher Wright, 206-526-6140.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
The Regional Administrator closed the commercial fishery in the Fort Bragg area effective at midnight on Tuesday, July 23, 2002. Information provided on July 23 estimated that the quota of 10,000 chinook salmon had been reached. Automatic season closures based on quotas are authorized by regulations at 50 CFR 660.409(a)(1).
In the 2002 annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries (67 FR 30616, May 7, 2002), NMFS announced that the commercial fishery for all salmon except coho in the Fort Bragg area would open July 20 through the earlier of July 30 or a 10,000-chinook quota. The fishery would then reopen on August 1 through August 30, and again from September 1 through September 30.
On July 23, 2002, the Regional Administrator consulted with representatives of the Pacific Fishery Management Council and California Department Fish and Game (CDFG) by conference call. Information related to catch to date, the chinook catch rate, and effort data indicated that it was likely that the quota had been reached. As a result, the State of California recommended, and the Regional Administrator concurred, that the commercial fishery in the Fort Bragg area close effective at midnight on Tuesday, July 23, 2002. All other regulations that apply to this fishery remain in effect as announced in the 2002 annual management measures and subsequent inseason actions.
The Regional Administrator determined that the best available information indicated that the catch and effort data and projections supported the above inseason action recommended by the CDFG. The states manage the fisheries in state waters adjacent to the areas of the U.S. exclusive economic zone in accordance with this Federal action. As provided by the inseason notice procedures of 50 CFR 660.411, actual notice to fishers of the above described action was given prior to the effective date by telephone hotline numbers 206-526-6667 and 800-662-9825, and by U.S. Coast Guard Notice to Mariners broadcasts on Channel 16 VHF-FM and 2182 kHz.
This action does not apply to other fisheries that may be operating in other areas.
The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that good cause exists for this notification to be issued without affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), or delaying the effectiveness of this rule for 30 days under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), because such notification and delay would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. As previously noted, actual notice of this action was provided to fishers through telephone hotline and radio notification. This action complies with the requirements of the annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries (67 FR 30616, May 7, 2002) and the West Coast Salmon Plan. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment is impracticable because NMFS and the state agencies have insufficient time to allow for prior notice and the opportunity for public comment between the time the fishery catch and effort data are collected to determine the extent of the fisheries, and the time the fishery closure must be implemented to avoid exceeding the quota. Moreover, such prior notice and the opportunity for public comment is contrary to the public interest because not closing the fishery upon attainment of the quota would allow the quota to be exceeded, resulting in fewer spawning fish and reduced yield of the stocks. The 30-day delay in effectiveness required under U.S.C. 553(d)(3) is also hereby waived due to the immediate need to stop a fishery upon attainment of a quota.
This action is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409 and 660.411 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: August 7, 2002.
Virginia M. Fay,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 02-20661 Filed 8-13-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S