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Rule

Fisheries of the Economic Exclusive Zone Off Alaska; Deep-Water Species Fishery by Catcher Vessels in the Gulf of Alaska

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; closure.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for species that comprise the deep-water species fishery for catcher vessels subject to sideboard limits established under the Central Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Rockfish Program in the GOA. This action is necessary because the 2010 Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) sideboard limit specified for the deep-water species fishery for catcher vessels subject to sideboard limits established under the Central GOA Rockfish Program in the GOA is insufficient to support directed fishing for the deep-water species fisheries.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), July 1, 2010, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., July 31, 2010.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Steve Whitney, 907-586-7269.

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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 2010 Pacific halibut PSC sideboard limit specified for the deep-water species fishery for catcher vessels subject to sideboard limits established under the Central GOA Rockfish Program in the GOA is 22 metric tons, for the period 1200 hrs, A.l.t., July 1, 2010, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., July 31, 2010, as established by § 679.82(d)(8)(i) and the final 2010 and 2011 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (75 FR 11749, March 12, 2010).

In accordance with § 679.82(d)(9)(i)(B), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the 2010 Pacific halibut PSC sideboard limit specified for the deep-water species fishery for catcher vessels subject to sideboard limits established under the Central GOA Rockfish Program in the GOA is insufficient to support directed fishing for the deep-water species fisheries. Consequently, in accordance with § 679.82(d)(9)(ii)(B), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for species that comprise the deep-water species fishery for catcher vessels subject to sideboard limits established under the Central GOA Rockfish Program in the GOA. The species and species groups that comprise the deep-water species fishery for the sideboard limit include deep-water flatfish, rex sole, and arrowtooth flounder.

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 is insufficient halibut PSC sideboard limit 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: July 1, 2010.

Carrie Selberg,

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

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[FR Doc. 2010-16468 Filed 7-1-10; 4:15 pm]

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