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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in the West Yakutat District 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 the West Yakutat District of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to fully use the 2010 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 26, 2010, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2010. Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., April 12, 2010.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments, identified by RIN 0648-XV61, by any one of the following methods:

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

All comments received are a part of the public record. No comments will be posted to http://www.regulations.gov for public viewing until after the comment period has closed. Comment will generally be posted 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 (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Josh Keaton, 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 directed fishing for pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA under § 679.20(d)(1)(iii) on March 23, 2010 (75 FR 14498, March 26, 2010).

As of March 25, 2010, NMFS has determined that approximately 681 metric tons of pollock remain in the directed fishing allowance for pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(i), (a)(2)(i)(C), and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to fully utilize the 2010 TAC of pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is reopening directed fishing for pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA. The Administrator, Alaska Region (Regional Administrator) considered the following factors in reaching this decision: (1) the current catch of pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA and, (2) the harvest capacity and stated intent on future harvesting patterns of vessels in participating in this fishery.

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 the West Yakutat District 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 March 25, 2010.

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 the West Yakutat District 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 April 12, 2010.

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: March 26, 2010.

Emily H. Menashes,

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

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[FR Doc. 2010-7231 Filed 3-26-10; 4:15 pm]

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