National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Notification of fishery assignments.
NMFS is notifying the owners and operators of registered vessels of their assignments for the A season Atka mackerel fishery in harvest limit area (HLA) 542 and/or 543 of the Aleutian Islands subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to allow the harvest of the A season HLA limits established for area 542 and area 543 pursuant to the interim 2004 harvest specifications for groundfish.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 20, 2004, until 1200 hrs, A.l.t., April 15, 2004.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.
In accordance with § 679.20(a)(8)(iii)(A), owners and operators of vessels using trawl gear for directed fishing for Atka mackerel in the HLA are required to register with NMFS. In accordance with § 679.20(a)(8)(iii)(A)(1), owners and operators that wish to participate in the A season HLA fishery must register their vessels with NMFS by 4:30 pm., A.l.t. Start Printed Page 2850on the first working day following January 1. Six vessels have registered with NMFS to fish in the A season HLA fisheries in areas 542 and/or 543. In order to reduce the amount of daily catch in the HLA by about half and to disperse the fishery over time and in accordance with § 679.20(a)(8)(iii)(B), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has randomly assigned each vessel to the HLA directed fishery for Atka mackerel for which they have registered and is now notifying each vessel of its assignment.
Vessels authorized to participate in the first HLA directed fishery in area 542 and/or the second HLA directed fishery in area 543 in accordance with § 679.20(a)(8)(iii) are as follows: Federal Fishery Permit number (FFP) 3819 Alaska Spirit, FFP 3400 Alaska Ranger, and FFP 2443 Alaska Juris.
Vessels authorized to participate in the first HLA directed fishery in area 543 and/or the second HLA directed fishery in area 542 in accordance with § 679.20(a)(8)(iii) are as follows: FFP 4093 Alaska Victory, FFP 3835 Seafisher, and FFP 3423 Alaska Warrior.
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 unnecessary. This notice merely advises the owners of these vessels of the results of a random assignment required by regulation. The notice needs to occur immediately to notify the owner of each vessel of its assignment to allow these vessel owners to plan for participation in the A season HLA fisheries in area 542 and area 543.
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 679.22 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: January 14, 2004.
Bruce C. Morehead,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 04-1218 Filed 1-20-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S