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National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; closure.
NMFS is closing directed fishing for rock sole, flathead sole, and “other flatfish” by vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the third seasonal allowance of the 2007 halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl rock sole, flathead sole, and “other flatfish” fishery category in the BSAI.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), August 6, 2007, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2007.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jennifer Hogan, 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 third seasonal allowance of the 2007 halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl rock sole, flathead sole, and “other flatfish” fishery category in the BSAI is 167 metric tons as established by the 2007 and 2008 final harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (72 FR 9451, March 2, 2007).
In accordance with § 679.21(e)(7)(v), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the third seasonal allowance of the 2007 halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl rock sole, flathead sole, and “other flatfish” fishery category in the BSAI has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is closing directed fishing for rock sole, flathead sole, and “other flatfish” by vessels using trawl gear in the BSAI.
“Other flatfish” includes Alaska plaice, as well as all other flatfish species except for Pacific halibut (a prohibited species), Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, flathead sole, and arrowtooth flounder.
After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.
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 closure of directed fishing for rock sole, flathead sole, and “other flatfish” 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 August 3, 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.Start Signature
Dated: August 6, 2007.
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 07-3894 Filed 8-8-07; 2:03 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S