Federal Register: November 21, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 226)
DOCID: fr21no08-14 FR Doc E8-27743
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
CFR Citation: 50 CFR Part 679
Docket ID: [Docket No. 071106671-8010-02]
RIN ID: RIN 0648-XL92
ACTION: Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska:
DOCUMENT ACTION: Temporary rule; modification of a closure.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Northern Rockfish in the Gulf of Alaska
DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), November 18, 2008, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2008. Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., December 3, 2008.
NMFS is opening directed fishing for northern rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to fully use the 2008 total allowable catch (TAC) of northern rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.
Northern Rockfish in the Gulf of Alaska,
NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (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.
NMFS closed the directed fishery for northern rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA on October 6, 2008 (73 FR 58899, October 8, 2008).
NMFS has determined that approximately 258 mt of the 2008 TAC of northern rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA remain in the directed fishing allowance. Therefore, in accordance with Sec. 679.25(a)(1)(i), (a)(2)(i)(C), and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to fully utilize the 2008 TAC of northern rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is reopening directed fishing for northern rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA. The opening is effective 1200 hrs, A.l.t., November 18, 2008, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2008.
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 opening of the northern rockfish fishery in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA. Immediate notification is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery, to allow the industry to plan for the fishing season, and to avoid potential disruption to the fishing fleet and processors. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of November 13, 2008.
The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30day 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.
Without this inseason adjustment, NMFS could not allow the Pacific ocean perch fishery in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA to be harvested in an expedient manner and in accordance with the regulatory schedule. Under Sec. 679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action to the above address until December 3, 2008.
This action is required by Sec. 679.20 and Sec. 679.25 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.
Dated: November 18, 2008.
Emily H. Menashes
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E827743 Filed 111808; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 351022S
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Steve Whitney, 907-586-7269.