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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock for American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessels in the Inshore Open Access Fishery in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

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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 pollock by American Fisheries Act (AFA) trawl catcher vessels participating in the inshore open access fishery in the Bering Sea subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2010 pollock total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to the inshore open access fishery in the BSAI.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), July 27, 2010, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., November 1, 2010.

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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 BSAI exclusive economic zone 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 2010 Bering Sea pollock TAC allocated to the AFA inshore open access fishery in the BSAI is 2,762 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2010 and 2011 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (75 FR 11778, March 12, 2010), and further described at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/​sustainablefisheries/​afa/​10bsaicoopallocations.pdf.

In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the B season allowance of pollock TAC allocated to the AFA inshore open access fishery, which is catching pollock for processing by the inshore component in the Bering Sea subarea, has been reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing the B season allowance of pollock TAC as the directed fishing allowance. Consequently, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), since this directed fishing allowance has been reached, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock by AFA trawl catcher vessels participating in the inshore open access fishery in the Bering Sea subarea.

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. 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 directing fishing for pollock by AFA trawl catcher vessels participating in the inshore open access fishery in the Bering Sea subarea. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of July 26, 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.

This action is required by § 679.20 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 27, 2010.

James P. Burgess,

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

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[FR Doc. 2010-18781 Filed 7-27-10; 4:15 pm]

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