National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; closure.
NMFS is prohibiting retention of blackspotted and rougheye rockfish in the Central Aleutian Islands and Western Aleutian Islands districts (CAI/WAI) of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary because the 2020 blackspotted and rougheye rockfish total allowable catch (TAC) in the CAI/WAI of the BSAI has been reached.
Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), August 20, 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 blackspotted and rougheye rockfish TAC in the CAI/WAI of the BSAI is 264 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 blackspotted and rougheye rockfish TAC in the CAI/WAI of the BSAI has been reached. Therefore, NMFS is requiring that blackspotted and rougheye rockfish in the CAI/WAI of the BSAI be treated in the same manner as a prohibited species, as described under § 679.21(a), for the remainder of the year, except blackspotted and rougheye rockfish species in the CAI/WAI caught by catcher vessels using hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear as described in § 679.20(j).
NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This action is required by 50 CFR part 679, which was issued pursuant to section 304(b), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest, as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion Start Printed Page 52490and would delay the prohibited retention of blackspotted and rougheye rockfish in the CAI/WAI 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 of August 17, 2020.
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Dated: August 20, 2020.
Jennifer M. Wallace,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-18687 Filed 8-20-20; 4:15 pm]
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