National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; modification of a closure.
NMFS is opening directed fishing for 12 hours 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 0800 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), September 6, 2007, through 2000 hrs, A.l.t., September 6, 2007. Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., September 21, 2007.
Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Comments may be submitted by:
- Mail to: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802;
- Hand delivery to the Federal Building, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, Alaska;
- FAX to 907-586-7557;
- E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and include in the subject line of the e-mail the document identifier: goaswx4sre.fo.wpd (E-mail comments, with or without attachments, are limited to 5 megabytes); or
- Webform at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions at that site for submitting comments.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jennifer Hogan, 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.
The shallow-water fishery in the GOA opened on September 1, 2007 at 1200 hrs and closed on September 1, 2007 at 2400 hrs (72 FR 49229, August 28, 2007). NMFS has determined that approximately 150 mt remain in the fourth seasonal apportionment of the 2007 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 for 12 hours by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA, effective 0800 hrs, A.l.t., September 6, 2007, through 2000 hrs, A.l.t., September 6, 2007. 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 opener does not apply to fishing by vessels participating in the cooperative fishery in the Rockfish Pilot Program for the Central GOA.
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 Start Printed Page 51718opportunity 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 September 4, 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.
Without this inseason adjustment, NMFS could not allow the fishery for the shallow-water species fishery in the GOA to be harvested in an expedient manner and in accordance with the regulatory schedule. Under § 679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action to the above address until September 21, 2007.
This action is required by § 679.20 and § 679.25 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: September 5, 2007.
Emily H. Menashes
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 07-4442 Filed 9-6-07; 1:54 pm]
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