National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Modification of a closure.
NMFS is reopening directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to utilize the remaining amount of the 2006 halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl Pacific cod fishery category in the BSAI.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), July 19, 2006, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 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 BSAI 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 2006 halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl Pacific cod fishery category in the BSAI is 1,434 metric tons (mt) as established by the 2006 and 2007 final harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (71 FR 10894, March 3, 2006). In accordance with § 679.21(e)(7)(v), the directed fishery for Pacific cod by vessels using trawl gear was closed effective 1200 hrs, A.l.t., June 8, 2006 (71 FR 34022, June 13, 2006), because it was determined that the 2006 halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl Pacific cod fishery category in the BSAI had been caught.
NMFS determined on July 11, 2006, that 85 mt of halibut remain in the 2006 halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl Pacific cod fishery category in the BSAI. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(i), (a)(2)(i)(C) and (a)(2)(iii)(D), NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is reopening directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using trawl gear in the BSAI.
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 Pacific cod by vessels using trawl gear in the BSAI. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of July 11, 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 is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: July 13, 2006.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 06-6336 Filed 7-14-06; 1:44 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S