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National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific Cod by catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using jig or hook-and-line gear in the Bogoslof Pacific cod exemption area of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the limit of Pacific cod for catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using jig or Start Printed Page 15384hook-and-line gear in the Bogoslof Pacific cod exemption area in the BSAI.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 27, 2003, 2003, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2003.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.
Section 679.22(a)(7)(B) prohibits in all waters within the Bogoslof area directed fishing for pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b), except as provided in paragraph (a)(7)(i)(C). Section 679.22(a)(7)(i)(C) of the regulations provides for an exemption for all catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using jig or hook-and-line gear for directed fishing for Pacific cod and specifies 113 mt of Pacific cod for that exempted fishery. Accordingly, the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 113 metric tons of Pacific cod have been caught by catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using jig or hook-and-line gear in the Bogoslof exemption area described at § 679.22(a)(7)(i)(C)(1). Consequently, the Regional Administrator is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using jig or hook-and-line gear in the Bogoslof Pacific cod exemption area.
Maximum retainable 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 (AA), 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 Bogoslof exemption area limit of Pacific cod caught by vessels using jig or hook-and-line gear, and therefore reduce the public's ability to use and enjoy the fishery resource.
The AA 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 50 CFR 679.22 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: March 25, 2003.
Richard W. Surdi,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 03-7648 Filed 3-26-03; 1:47 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S