National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; closure.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 ft (< 18.3 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) using pot or hook-and-line gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2008 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to catcher vessels < 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using pot or hook-and-line gear in the BSAI.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 21, 2008, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2008.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jennifer Hogan, 908-586-7228.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 2008 and 2009 final harvest specification for groundfish in the BSAI (73 FR 10160, February 26, 2008) and reallocation (73 FR 11562, March 4, 2008) allocated a directed fishing allowance for Pacific cod of 4,233 metric tons to catcher vessels < 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using pot or hook-and-line gear in the BSAI. See § 679.20(c)(3)(iii), § 679.20(c)(5), and § 679.20(a)(7)(ii).
In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that the 2008 Pacific cod directed fishing allowance allocated to catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using pot or hook-and-line gear in the BSAI has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels < 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using pot or hook-and-line gear in the BSAI.
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 Pacific cod by catcher vessels < 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using pot or hook-and-line 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 March 18, 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.
This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.Start Signature
Dated: March 19, 2008.
Emily H. Menashes
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 08-1067 Filed 3-19-08; 3:16 pm]
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