National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels 60 feet (18.3 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) and longer using pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2005 Pacific cod interim total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific cod specified for catcher vessels using pot gear in the BSAI.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 13, 2005, until superseded by the notice of 2005 and 2006 final harvest specifications of groundfish for the BSAI, which will be published in the Federal Register.Start Further Info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 Start Printed Page 7901Management 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 2005 Pacific cod interim TAC allocated to catcher vessels 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA and longer using pot gear in the BSAI is 8,380 metric tons as established by the 2005 interim harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (69 FR 76870, December 23, 2004). See § 679.20(c)(2)(ii)(A), § 679.20(c)(5), and § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(A) and (C)(1)(iv).
In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the 2005 Pacific cod interim TAC allocated to catcher vessels using pot gear in the BSAI will soon be reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA and longer using pot gear in the BSAI. Vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using pot gear in the BSAI may continue to participate in the directed fishery for Pacific cod under a separate Pacific cod allocation to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear.
After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 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 the fisheries under the 2005 Pacific cod interim TAC specified for catcher vessels using pot 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: February 11, 2005.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 05-2990 Filed 2-11-05; 3:08 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S