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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the Gulf of Alaska

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION:

Modification of a closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is reopening directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) for 24 hours. This action is necessary to fully use the total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock specified for Statistical Area 630.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), October 9, 2003, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., October 10, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Josh Keaton, 907-586-7228.

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SUPPLEMENTARY 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 directed fishery for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA under § 679.20(d)(1)(iii) on October 2, 2003 (68 FR 57381, October 3, 2003).

NMFS has determined that, approximately 1,900 mt of pollock remain in the directed fishing allowance. Therefore, in accordance with §§ 679.25(a)(2)(i)(C) and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to fully utilize the pollock TAC specified for Statistical Area 630, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is reopening directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), October 9, 2003, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., October 10, 2003. 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 630 of the GOA effective 1200 hrs, A.l.t., October 10, 2003.

Classification

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 impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Notice and comment are impracticable because the data were recently obtained. Moreover, delaying this action is contrary to the public interest as it would delay the opening of the fishery, not allow the full utilization of the pollock TAC in Statistical Area 630, 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.

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

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Dated: October 8, 2003.

Bruce C. Morehead,

Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-26072 Filed 10-9-03; 2:59 pm]

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