National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher processor vessels using hook and line gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2004 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific cod allocated to catcher processor vessels using hook and line gear in the BSAI.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), December 4, 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 BSAI according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management 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.
The 2004 TAC of Pacific cod allocated to catcher processor vessels using hook and line gear in the BSAI is 97,795 metric tons as established by the 2004 final harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (69 FR 9242, February 27, 2004) and subsequent reallocations on October 15 (69 FR 61607, October 20, 2004) and November 26 (69 FR 69828, December 1, 2004). See § 679.20(c)(3)(iii), § 679.20(c)(5), and § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(A) and (C).
In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the 2004 TAC of Pacific cod allocated to catcher processor vessels using hook and line gear in the BSAI will soon be reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher processor vessels using hook and line gear in the BSAI.
After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at 50 CFR 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.
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. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the closure of Pacific cod allocated to catcher processor vessels using hook and line gear in the BSAI.
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.Start Signature
Dated: December 2, 2004.
Anne M. Lange,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 04-26951 Filed 12-3-04; 2:51 pm]
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