National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; modification of a closure.
NMFS is opening directed fishing for groundfish by vessels using trawl gear in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time, October 22, 2007. This action is necessary to fully use the 2007 Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limit specified for vessels using trawl gear in the GOA.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), October 22, 2007, through Start Printed Page 605872400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2007. Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., November 6, 2007.
You may submit comments, identified by 0648-XD59, by any one of the following methods:
- Mail to: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802;
- Hand delivery to the Federal Building, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, Alaska;
- Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov
- FAX to 907-586-7557, Attn: Ellen Sebastian
- Mail to the Federal Building, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, Alaska
Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.
NMFS will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.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 GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska 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 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for trawl gear in the GOA is 2,000 metric tons (mt) as established by the 2007 and 2008 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (72 FR 9676, March 5, 2007, as corrected by 72 FR 13217, March 21, 2007).
NMFS closed directed fishing for groundfish by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA under § 679.21(d)(7)(i) on October 15, 2007 (72 FR 59038, October 18, 2007). As of October 19, 2007, NMFS has determined that 59 metric tons of the 2007 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance for the fishery remains. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(i), (a)(2)(i)(C), and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to fully use the 2007 Pacific halibut PSC limit specified for vessels using trawl gear in the GOA, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is opening directed fishing for groundfish by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA, effective 1200 hrs, A.l.t., October 22, 2007.
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 opening of the groundfish fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA. Immediate notification is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery, to allow the industry to plan for the fishing season, and to avoid potential disruption to the fishing fleet and processors. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of October 19, 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 groundfish by vessels using trawl gear 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 November 6, 2007.
This action is required by § 679.25 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: October 22, 2007.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 07-5292 Filed 10-22-07; 2:45 pm]
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