National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
NMFS is prohibiting fishing with trawl gear in the Chum Salmon Savings Area of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2003 limit of non-chinook salmon caught by vessels using trawl gear in the Catcher Vessel Operation Area (CVOA).
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), September 24, 2003, until 1200 hrs, A.l.t., October 14, 2003.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Josh Keaton, 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 2003 limit of non-chinook salmon caught by vessels using trawl gear in the CVOA is 42,000 animals (§ 679.21(e)(7)(vii)). Regulations at § 679.21(e)(1)(i) allocate 7.5 percent of this amount, 3,150 animals, to the groundfish Community Development Quota (CDQ) program as prohibited species quota reserve, leaving 38,850 animals in the non-CDQ reserve. The CVOA is defined as that part of the BSAI that is south of 56°00′ N. lat. and between 163°00′ W. long. and 167°30′ W. long. (Figure 2 to 50 CFR part 679).
In accordance with § 679.21(e)(7)(vii), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2003 limit of non-chinook salmon caught by vessels using trawl gear in the CVOA has been reached. Consequently, the Regional Administrator is prohibiting fishing with trawl gear in the Chum Salmon Savings Area defined at Figure 9 to 50 CFR part 679.
As of August 21, 2003, 0 mt of the non-chinook salmon CDQ reserve has been caught by vessels using trawl gear in the CVOA. Therefore, CDQ participants are not yet prohibited from fishing with trawl gear in the Chum Salmon Savings Area.
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 2003 limit of non-chinook salmon caught by vessels using trawl gear in the CVOA, 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 § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: September 23, 2003.
Bruce C. Morehead,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 03-24534 Filed 9-24-03; 2:18 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S