National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Closure; request for comments.
NMFS announces that the commercial salmon fishery in the area from the Humbug Mountain, OR to the Oregon-California Border was modified to close at midnight on Saturday, June 19, 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 Humbug Mountain, OR, to the Oregon-California Border effective 2359 hours local time (l.t.), June 19, 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 July 22, 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 2004salmonIA4.email@example.com 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 Start Printed Page 40818Administrator, 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 salmon fishery in the area from the Humbug Mountain, OR to the Oregon-California Border to close at midnight on Saturday, June 19, 2004. On June 18 the Regional Administrator determined that available catch and effort data indicated that the quota of 2,600 chinook salmon would be reached by midnight on Saturday, June 19, 2004. 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 Humbug Mountain, OR, to the Oregon-California Border would open March 15 through May 31; June 1 through the earlier of June 30 or a 2,600-chinook quota; July 1 through the earlier of July 31 or a 1,600-chinook quota; August 1 through the earlier of August 29 or a 2,500-chinook quota; and September 1 through the earlier of September 30 or a 3,000-chinook quota.
On June 18, 2004, the Regional Administrator consulted with representatives of the Pacific Fishery Management Council 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 Saturday, June 19. As a result, the State of Oregon recommended, and the Regional Administrator concurred, that the area from Humbug Mountain, OR to the Oregon-California Border close effective at midnight on Saturday, June 19, 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 state. 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 agency 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, failure to close the fishery upon attainment of the quota would allow the quota to be exceeded, resulting in fewer spawning fish and possibly reduced yield of the stocks in the future. 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: June 29, 2004.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 04-15255 Filed 7-6-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S