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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Northern Rockfish, Pacific Ocean Perch, and Pelagic Shelf Rockfish for Catcher Vessels Participating in the Limited Access Rockfish Fishery in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for northern rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and pelagic shelf rockfish for catcher vessels participating in the limited access rockfish fishery in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2009 total allowable catch (TAC) of northern rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and pelagic shelf rockfish allocated to catcher vessels participating in the limited access rockfish fishery in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), July 1, 2009, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2009.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Obren Davis, 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.

The 2009 rockfish TAC allocated as directed fishing allowances to catcher vessels participating in the limited access rockfish fishery in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA are: 28 Start Printed Page 23659metric tons (mt) for Pacific ocean perch, 10 mt for northern rockfish, and 5 mt for pelagic shelf rockfish as established by the final 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (74 FR 7333, February 17, 2009), and as posted as the 2009 Rockfish Program Allocations at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/​sustainablefisheries/​goarat/​default.htm.

Consequently, in accordance with § 679.82(b)(6), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, deems it appropriate to not open directed fishing for northern rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and pelagic shelf rockfish for catcher vessels participating in the limited access rockfish fishery in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA because there are insufficient allocations to support a directed fishery.

After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

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. Notice and comment is unnecessary because there are insufficient allocations to support a directed fishery and therefore the Regional Administrator has no discretion for any action other than to prohibit directed fishing.

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 § 679.82 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: May 14, 2009.

Kristen C. Koch,

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

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[FR Doc. E9-11776 Filed 5-19-09; 8:45 am]

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