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National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; closure.
NMFS is prohibiting retention of non-Community Development Quota (CDQ) sablefish by vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary because the 2020 non-CDQ sablefish initial total allowable catch (ITAC) in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI will be reached.
Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), July 1, 2020, through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2020.
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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 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 2020 non-CDQ sablefish trawl ITAC in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI is 791 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 9, 2020). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(2), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2020 non-CDQ sablefish trawl ITAC in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI will soon be reached. Therefore, NMFS is requiring that non-CDQ sablefish caught with vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI be treated as prohibited species in accordance with 679.21(b).
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 prohibited retention of non-CDQ sablefish by vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as June 30, 2020.
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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Dated: July 1, 2020.
Hélène M.N. Scalliet,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-14591 Filed 7-1-20; 4:15 pm]
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