National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
NMFS is rescinding the trawl closure in the Chiniak Gully Research Area. This action is necessary to allow vessels using trawl gear to participate in directed fishing for groundfish in the Chiniak Gully Research Area after the completion of NMFS research on September 8, 2004.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), September 11, 2004, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2004.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 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.
The Chiniak Gully Research Area was closed to vessels using trawl gear from August 1 to a date no later than September 20 under regulations at § 679.22(b)(3)(ii)(A). This closure was in support of a research project to evaluate the effect of commercial fishing activity on the prey availability of pollock to Steller sea lions.
The regulations at § 679.22(b)(3)(ii)(B) provide that the Regional Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, (Regional Administrator) may rescind the trawl closure prior to September 20. As of September 8, 2004, the research has been completed in the Chiniak Gully Research Area. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is rescinding the closure of the Chiniak Gully Research Area. All other closures remain in full force and effect.
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 a requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from immediately implementing this action in order to allow the participation of vessels using trawl gear in the Chiniak Gully Research Area. The research in the Chiniak Gully Research Area was completed as of September 8, 2004. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to keep this area closed. Allowing for prior notice and an opportunity for public comment would prevent the fisheries from realizing the economic benefits of this action. In addition, this rule is not subject to a 30-day delay in the effective date pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) because it relieves a restriction. This action would reopen the Chiniak Gully Research Area to vessels using trawl gear and allow these vessels to participate in directed fishing for groundfish.
Because prior notice and opportunity for public comment are not required for this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553, or by any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., are inapplicable.
This action has been determined to be not significant for purposes of EO 12866.Start Signature
Dated: September 10, 2004.
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 04-20808 Filed 9-10-04; 3:37 pm]
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