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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the Gulf of Alaska

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; modification of a closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is opening directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) for 24 hours. This action is necessary to fully use the A season allowance of the 2008 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock specified for Statistical Area 610 of the GOA.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 3, 2008, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., March 4, 2008. Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., March 18, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments, identified by 0648-XG08, by any one of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal website at http://www.regulations.gov;
  • Mail: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802;
  • Fax: (907) 586-7557; or
  • Hand delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK.

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.

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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 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.

NMFS closed the directed fishery for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA under § 679.20(d)(1)(iii) on January 22, 2008 (73 FR 4493, January 25, 2008).

NMFS has determined that approximately 3,200 mt of pollock remain in the directed fishing allowance. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(i), (a)(2)(i)(C), and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to fully utilize the A season allowance of the 2008 TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 610, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is reopening directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance will be reached after 24 hours. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA effective 1200 hrs, A.l.t., March 4, 2008.

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 opening of pollock in Statistical Area 610 of 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 February 28, 2008.

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 pollock in Statistical Area 610 of 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 March 18, 2008.

This action is required by § 679.20 and § 679.25 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 29, 2008.

James P. Burgess

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

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[FR Doc. 08-972 Filed 3-3-08; 2:37 pm]

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