National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), NationalOceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Modification of a closure.
NMFS is opening directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) for 24 hours. This action is necessary to fully use the B season allowance of the total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock specified for Statistical Area 610.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 18, 2003, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., March 19, 2003.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.
NMFS closed the B season directed fishery for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA under § 679.20(d)(1)(iii) on March 11, 2003 (68 FR 11994, March 13, 2003).
NMFS has determined that, approximately 1,500 mt of pollock remain in the B season directed fishing allowance. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.25(a)(2)(i)(C) and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to fully utilize the B season allowance of pollock TAC specified for Statistical Area 610, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is reopening directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 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 610 of the GOA effective 1200 hrs, A.l.t., March 19, 2003.Start Printed Page 13858
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 opening of the fishery, not allow the full utilization of the B season allowance of the pollock 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: March 17, 2003.
Richard W. Surdi,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 03-6840 Filed 3-18-03; 3:52 pm]
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