National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Closure; request for comments.Start Printed Page 29465
NMFS announces that the commercial fishery in the area from the U.S.-Canada Border to Cape Falcon, OR was modified to close at midnight on Wednesday, May 5, 2004. This action was necessary to conform to the 2004 management goals. The intended effect of this action is to allow the fishery to operate within the seasons and quotas as specified in the 2004 annual management measures.
Closure in the area from the U.S.-Canada Border to Cape Falcon, OR, effective 2359 hours local time (l.t.), May 5, 2004, after which the fishery will remain closed until opened through an additional inseason action for the west coast salmon fisheries, which will be published in the Federal Register, or until the effective date of the next scheduled open period announced in the 2004 annual management measures. Comments will be accepted through June 8, 2004.
Comments on this action must be mailed to D. Robert Lohn, Regional Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, NOAA, 7600 Sand Point Way N.E., Bldg. 1, Seattle, WA 98115-0070; or faxed to 206-526-6376; or Rod McInnis, Acting Regional Administrator, Southwest Region, NMFS, NOAA, 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802-4132; or faxed to 562-980-4018. Comments can also be submitted via e-mail at the 2004oceansalmonIAfirstname.lastname@example.org address, or through the internet at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments and include the docket number in the subject line of the message. Information relevant to this document is available for public review during business hours at the Office of the Regional Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Christopher Wright, 206-526-6140.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
The Regional Administrator modified the season for the commercial fishery in the area from the U.S.-Canada Border to Cape Falcon, OR to close at midnight on Wednesday, May 5, 2004. On May 5 the Regional Administrator determined that available catch and effort data indicated that the quota of 29,300 chinook salmon would be reached by midnight. Automatic season closures based on quotas are authorized by regulations at 50 CFR 660.409(a)(1).
In the 2004 annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries (69 FR 25026, May 5, 2004), NMFS announced the commercial fishery for all salmon except coho in the area from the U.S.-Canada Border to Cape Falcon, OR would open May 1 through the earlier of June 30 or a 29,800 chinook quota. The fishery would be managed to provide a remaining quota of 500 chinook for a June 26 through 30 open period with a 50-fish, per vessel, landing limit for the 5-day open period. The resulting quota for the first part of the May-June fishery is 29,300 chinook.
On May 5, 2004, the Regional Administrator consulted with representatives of the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife by conference call. Information related to catch to date, the chinook catch rate, and effort data indicated that it was likely that the chinook quota would be reached by Wednesday, May 5, 2004. As a result, the states recommended, and the Regional Administrator concurred, that the area from the U.S.-Canada Border to Cape Falcon, OR close effective at midnight on Wednesday, May 5, 2004. All other restrictions that apply to this fishery remained in effect as announced in the 2004 annual management measures.
The Regional Administrator determined that the best available information indicated that the catch and effort data, and projections, supported the above inseason action recommended by the states. The states manage the fisheries in state waters adjacent to the areas of the U.S. exclusive economic zone in accordance with this Federal action. As provided by the inseason notice procedures of 50 CFR 660.411, actual notice to fishers of the above described action was given prior to the time this action was effective by telephone hotline number 206-526-6667 and 800-662-9825, and by U.S. Coast Guard Notice to Mariners broadcasts on Channel 16 VHF-FM and 2182 kHz.
This action does not apply to other fisheries that may be operating in other areas.
The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that good cause exists for this notification to be issued without affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) because such notification would be impracticable. As previously noted, actual notice of this action was provided to fishers through telephone hotline and radio notification. This action complies with the requirements of the annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries (69 FR 25026, May 5, 2004), the West Coast Salmon Plan, and regulations implementing the West Coast Salmon Plan 50 CFR 660.409 and 660.411. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment was impracticable because NMFS and the state agencies have insufficient time to provide for prior notice and the opportunity for public comment between the time the fishery catch and effort data are collected to determine the extent of the fisheries, and the time the fishery closure must be implemented to avoid exceeding the quota. Because of the rate of harvest in this fishery, taking the time to provide notice and comment would have allowed the fishery to exceed the quota. One consequence of exceeding the quota is that the previously scheduled June 26-30 fishery would have to be canceled. A separate quota of 500 chinook was set aside for this fishery to take advantage of the market opportunities prior to a holiday weekend. Another consequence of exceeding the quota is that the previously scheduled July 8 - September 15 fishery would also be reduced or cancelled. A separate guideline of 14,700 chinook was set aside for this fishery to provide access to a quota of 67,500 coho during the summer season. Exceeding the quota in the May-June fishery would therefore reduce or eliminate the opportunity to catch harvestable coho. For the same reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness required under U.S.C. 553(d)(3).
This action is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409 and 660.411 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: May 18, 2004.
Galen R Tromble,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 04-11664 Filed 5-21-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S