National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; modification of a closure.
NMFS is opening directed fishing for shallow-water species by vessels using trawl gear in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to allow the shallow-water species fishery in the GOA to resume.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 27, 2006, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., April 1, 2006.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.
NMFS closed the shallow-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA under § 679.21(d)(7)(i) on February 23, 2006.
NMFS has determined that, approximately 124 mt remain in the first seasonal apportionment of the 2006 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the shallow-water species fishery in the GOA. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(i), (a)(2)(i)(C) and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to allow the shallow-water species fishery in the GOA to resume, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is reopening directed fishing for shallow-water species by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA. The species and species groups that comprise the shallow-water species fishery are pollock, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka mackerel, skates and “other species.”
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 opening of the shallow-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of February 23, 2006.
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 § 679.25 and § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: February 27, 2006.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 06-1960 Filed 2-27-06; 2:15 pm]
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