National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the D season allowance of the pollock total allowable catch (TAC) for Statistical Area 630.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), October 2, 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 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.
Within any fishing year, underage or overage of a seasonal allowance may be added to or subtracted from subsequent seasonal allowances in a manner to be determined by the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), provided that the sum of the revised seasonal allowances does not exceed 30 percent of the annual TAC apportionment for the Central and Western Regulatory Areas in the GOA (§ 679.20(a)(5)(ii)(C)). For 2002, 30 percent of the annual TAC for the Central and Western Regulatory Areas is 15,187 mt. For 2002, the Regional Administrator has determined that within each area for which a seasonal allowance is established, any overage or underage of harvest from the previous season(s) shall be subtracted from or added to the seasonal allowance of the following season provided that the resulting sum of seasonal allowances in the Central and Western Regulatory Areas does not exceed 15,187 mt in any single season. The D season allowance of the pollock TAC in Statistical Area 630 is 3,803 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 and 67 FR 34860, May 16, 2002). The C season allowance in Statistical Area 630 was exceeded by 2,855 mt, therefore the Regional Administrator, in accordance with § 679.20(a)(5)(ii)(C), is reducing the D season pollock TAC in Statistical Area 630 by 2,855 mt to 948 mt.
In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator has determined that the D season allowance of the pollock TAC in Statistical Area 630 will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 908 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 40 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 soon be reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630.
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 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) as such requirement is contrary to the public interest. This requirement is contrary to the public interest as it would delay the closure of the fishery, lead to exceeding the TAC, and therefore reduce the public's ability to use and enjoy the fishery resource.The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: September 26, 2002.
Virginia M. Fay,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 02-25065 Filed 9-27-02; 4:12 pm]
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