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Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; “Other Flatfish” in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

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


Temporary rule; apportionment of reserves; request for comments.


NMFS apportions amounts of the non-specified reserve of groundfish to the “other flatfish” initial total allowable catch (ITAC) in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to allow the fishery to continue operating. It is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan for the BSAI.


Effective July 6, 2005 through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), December 31, 2005. Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., July 15, 2005.


Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Lori Durall. Comments may be submitted by:

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  • Mail to: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802;
  • Hand delivery to the Federal Building, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, Alaska;
  • Fax to 907-586-7557;
  • E-mail to and include in the subject line of the e-mail comment the document identifier: bsairelys; or
  • Webform at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions at that site for submitting comments.
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Josh Keaton, 907-586-7228.

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NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI exclusive economic zone 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 2005 ITAC of “other flatfish” in the BSAI was established as 2,975 metric tons by the 2005 and 2006 final harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (70 FR 8979, February 24, 2005). The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the ITAC for “other flatfish” in the BSAI needs to be supplemented from the non-specified reserve in order to continue operations.

Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(b)(3), NMFS apportions 1,400 metric tons from the non-specified reserve of groundfish to the “other flatfish” ITAC in the BSAI. This apportionment is consistent with § 679.20(b)(1)(ii) and does not result in overfishing of a target species because the revised ITAC is equal to or less than the specification of the acceptable biological catch (70 FR 8979, February 24, 2005).

“Other flatfish” consists of all flatfish species, except for Pacific halibut, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, and Alaska plaice.


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) and 679.20(b)(3)(iii)(A) 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 responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the apportionment of the non-specified reserves of groundfish to the “other flatfish” fishery. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of June 16, 2005.

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.

Under 679.20(b)(3)(iii), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action (see ADDRESSES) until July 15, 2005.

This action is required by 50 CFR 679.20 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: June 29, 2005.

Alan D. Risenhoover,

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

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[FR Doc. 05-13260 Filed 6-30-05; 12:42 pm]