National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; closure.
NMFS is prohibiting 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 because the fourth seasonal apportionment of the 2005 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the deep-water species fishery in the GOA has been reached.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), September 4, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., September 30, 2005.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 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.
The fourth seasonal apportionment of the 2005 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the deep-water species fishery in the GOA is the Start Printed Page 52327remaining amount from the first through third seasonal apportionments as established by the 2005 and 2006 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (70 FR 8958, February 24, 2005). As of August 17, 2005, the remaining amount of Pacific halibut from the first three seasonal apportionments is 60 mt.
In accordance with § 679.21(d)(7)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the fourth seasonal apportionment of the 2005 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl deep-water species fishery in the GOA has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for the deep-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA.
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.
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 deep-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA.
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.Start Signature
Dated: August 29, 2005.
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 05-17552 Filed 8-30-05; 2:40 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S