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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 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 retention of Pacific cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) by vessels participating in the Amendment 80 limited access fisheries. This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2010 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific cod in the BSAI.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), November 9, 2010, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 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 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 Pacific cod TAC allocated to the Amendment 80 limited access sector in the BSAI is 3,319 metric tons as established by the final 2010 and 2011 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (75 FR 11778, March 12, 2010).

In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2010 TAC of Pacific cod in the BSAI allocated to the Amendment 80 limited access sector has been reached. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.21(b), NMFS is requiring that Pacific cod caught in the BSAI be treated as prohibited species by vessels participating in the Amendment 80 limited access fisheries.

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 prohibiting the retention of Pacific cod by Amendment 80 limited access vessels in the BSAI. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of November 8, 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 § 679.21 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: November 9, 2010.

Brian Parker,

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

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[FR Doc. 2010-28672 Filed 11-9-10; 4:15 pm]

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