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Rule

Fisheries of the Economic Exclusive Zone Off Alaska; Deep-Water Species Fishery by Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the Gulf of Alaska

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION:

Modification of a closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is opening directed fishing for species that comprise the deep-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to allow the deep-water species fisheries by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA to resume.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), April 24, 2005, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., July 5, 2005.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Josh Keaton, 907-586-7228.

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SUPPLEMENTARY 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.

NMFS closed directed fishing for species that comprise the deep-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA under § 679.21(d)(7)(i) on April 8, 2005 (70 FR 19338, April 13, 2005).

NMFS has determined that approximately 60 metric tons of halibut remain in the second seasonal apportionment of the 2005 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the deep-water species fishery in the GOA. Therefore, in accordance with §§ 679.25(a)(2)(i)(C) and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to allow the deep-water species fisheries by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA to resume, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is reopening directed fishing for species that comprise the deep-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA. The reopening is effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), April 24, 2005, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., July 5, 2005. The species and species groups that comprise the deep-water species fishery are all rockfish of the genera Sebastes and Sebastolobus, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, arrowtooth flounder, and sablefish.

Classification

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 delay the opening of the fishery, not allow the full utilization of the species and species groups that comprise the deep-water species fisheries, and therefore reduce the public's ability to use and enjoy the fishery resource.

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 § 679.21 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

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Dated: April 22, 2005.

Galen R. Tromble

Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 05-8448 Filed 4-22-05; 4:10 pm]

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