National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; closure.
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher/processors using pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season apportionment of the 2021 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to catcher/processors using pot gear in the BSAI.
Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 16, 2021, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., September 1, 2021.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Krista Milani, 907-581-2062.
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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 apportionment of the 2021 Pacific cod TAC allocated to catcher/processors using pot gear in the BSAI is 850 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 9, 2020) and inseason adjustment (85 FR 83473, December 22, 2020).
In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the A season apportionment of the 2021 Pacific cod TAC allocated as a directed fishing allowance to catcher/processors using pot gear in the BSAI will soon be reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by pot catcher/processors in the BSAI.
While this closure is effective the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.
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 and would delay the closure of Pacific cod by catcher processors using pot gear 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 January 14, 2021.
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Dated: January 15, 2021.
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-01354 Filed 1-15-21; 4:15 pm]
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