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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

Document Details

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:

Temporary rule; apportionment of reserves; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

NMFS apportions amounts of the non-specified reserve of groundfish to certain target species in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to account for previous harvest of the total allowable catch (TAC). It is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan for groundfish of the BSAI.

DATES:

Effective December 29, 2005, through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time, December 31, 2005. Comments must be received no later than 1630, Alaska local time, January 12, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

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

  • 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 bsairel05b@noaa.gov and include in the subject line of the e-mail comment the document identifier: bsairel05b; or
  • Webform at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions at that site for submitting comments.
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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 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 Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the 2005 initial TACs established in the 2005 and 2006 final harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (70 FR 8979, February 24, 2005) for arrowtooth flounder, yellowfin sole, “other flatfish”, squid and rock sole in the BSAI need to be supplemented from the non-specified reserve in order to account for prior harvest.

Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(b)(3), NMFS apportions amounts from the non-specified reserve to the TACs for the following species or species groups in the BSAI: 429 mt to arrowtooth flounder, 401 mt to yellowfin sole, 193 mt to “other flatfish”, 100 mt to squid and 227 to rock sole. This apportionment is consistent with § 679.20(b)(1)(ii) and does not result in overfishing of a target species because the revised initial TAC is equal to or less than the specification of the acceptable biological catch (70 FR 8979, February 24, 2005).

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) 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. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of December 22, 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 January 12, 2006.

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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: December 23, 2005.

Alan D. Risenhoover,

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

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[FR Doc. 05-24607 Filed 12-28-05; 8:45 am]

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