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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Non-Community Development Quota Pollock with Trawl Gear in the Chinook Salmon Savings Areas of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

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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; closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for non-Community Development Quota (CDQ) pollock with trawl gear in the Chinook Salmon Savings Areas of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2007 limit of chinook salmon caught by vessels using trawl gear while directed fishing for non-CDQ pollock in the BSAI.

DATES:

Effective 12 noon, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 6, 2007, through 12 noon, A.l.t., April 15, 2007, and from 12 noon, A.l.t., September 1, 2007, through 12 midnight, A.l.t., December 31, 2007.

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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 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 2007 chinook salmon PSC limit for the pollock fishery is set at 29,000 fish (§ 679.21(e)(1)(vii). Of that limit, 7.5 percent is allocated to the groundfish CDQ program as prohibited species quota reserve (§ 679.21(e)(1)(i)). Consequently, the 2007 non-CDQ limit of chinook salmon caught by vessels using trawl gear while directed fishing for pollock in the BSAI is 26,825 animals.

In accordance with § 679.21(e)(7)(viii), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2007 non-CDQ limit of chinook salmon caught by vessels using trawl gear while directed fishing for non-CDQ pollock in the BSAI has been reached. Consequently, the Regional Administrator is prohibiting directed fishing for non-CDQ pollock with trawl gear in the Chinook Salmon Savings Areas defined at Figure 8 to 50 CFR part 679.

After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

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 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 closure of directed fishing for non-CDQ pollock with trawl gear in the Chinook Salmon Savings Areas. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of February 5, 2007.

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.

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

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Dated: February 6, 2007.

James P. Burgess

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

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[FR Doc. 07-591 Filed 2-6-07; 2:25 pm]

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