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National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; closure.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by Amendment 80 vessels subject to sideboard limits in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2008 Pacific cod sideboard limit established for Amendment 80 vessels subject to sideboard limits in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), October 1, 2008, until 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2008.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 (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. Regulations governing sideboard protections for GOA groundfish fisheries appear at subpart B of 50 CFR part 679.
The 2008 Pacific cod sideboard limit established for Amendment 80 vessels subject to sideboard limits in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA is 389 metric tons (mt), as established by the 2008 and 2009 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (73 FR 10562, February 27, 2008).
In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(v)(A), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2008 Pacific cod sideboard limit established for Amendment 80 vessels Start Printed Page 58504subject to sideboard limits in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a sideboard directed fishing allowance for Pacific cod as 330 mt in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA. The remaining 59 mt in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA will be set aside as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(v)(C), the Regional Administrator finds that this Amendment 80 sideboard directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by Amendment 80 vessels subject to sideboard limits in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.
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 sideboard directed fishing closure of Pacific cod established for Amendment 80 vessels subject to sideboard limits in the Western Regulatory Area 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 September 30, 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: October 1, 2008.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E8-23589 Filed 10-1-08; 4:30 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P