National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; closure.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Atka mackerel in critical habitat of the Central Aleutian district (CAI) of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Island management area (BSAI) by vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery. This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2015 Atka mackerel total allowable catch (TAC) in critical habitat of the CAI allocated to vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery.
Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 29, 2015, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., June 10, 2015.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.
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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 A season allowance of the 2015 Atka mackerel TAC, in critical habitat of the CAI, allocated to vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery was established as a directed fishing allowance of 453 metric tons by the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014), Steller Sea Lion Protection Measures for the BSAI Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska (79 FR 70286, November 25, 2014), and as adjusted by an inseason adjustment (80 FR 188, January 5, 2015).
In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Atka mackerel in critical habitat of the CAI by vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery.
After the effective dates of this closure, the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.
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 a 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 directed fishing closure of the Atka mackerel fishery in critical habitat of the CAI for vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of January 28, 2015. 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.Start Printed Page 5693
This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
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Dated: January 29, 2015.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-02037 Filed 1-29-15; 4:15 pm]
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