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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Ocean Perch in the Western Aleutian District of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; prohibition of retention.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is prohibiting retention of Pacific ocean perch in the Western Aleutian District of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI). NMFS is requiring that catch of Pacific ocean perch in this area be treated in the same manner as prohibited species and discarded at sea with a minimum of injury. This action is necessary because the 2006 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific ocean perch in this area has been reached.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), October 4, 2006, until 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2006.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jennifer Hogan, 907-586-7228.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for the Groundfish Fishery 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 CFR part 679.

The 2006 TAC of Pacific ocean perch in the Western Aleutian District of the BSAI is 4,703 metric tons as established by the 2006 and 2007 harvest specifications for groundfish of the BSAI (71 FR 10870, March 3, 2006).

In accordance with § 679.20(d)(2), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the 2006 TAC of Pacific ocean perch in the Western Aleutian District of the BSAI has been reached. Therefore, NMFS is requiring that further catches of Pacific ocean perch in the Western Aleutian District of the BSAI be treated as prohibited species in accordance with § 679.21(b).

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) 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 prohibition of retention of Pacific ocean perch in the Western Aleutian District of 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 October 3, 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 § 679.20 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: October 4, 2006.

James P. Burgess,

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

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[FR Doc. 06-8570 Filed 10-4-06; 2:22 pm]

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