National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Atka mackerel in the Central Aleutian District of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the interim 2005 total allowable catch (TAC) of Atka mackerel specified for the Central Aleutian District.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 17, 2005, until superseded by the notice of final 2005 and 2006 harvest specifications of groundfish for the BSAI, which will be published in the Federal Register.Start Further Info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 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 interim 2005 TAC of Atka mackerel in the Central Aleutian District of the BSAI is 13,218 metric tons (mt) as established by the interim 2005 harvest specifications for groundfish of the BSAI (69 FR 76780, December 23, 2004).
In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the interim 2005 TAC specified for Atka mackerel in the Central Aleutian District will be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 13,000 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 218 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance will be reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Atka mackerel in the Central Aleutian District of the BSAI.
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 interim 2005 TAC of Atka mackerel specified for the Central Aleutian District of 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.Start Printed Page 8750
This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: February 16, 2005.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 05-3440 Filed 2-17-05; 3:07 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S