[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 106 (Thursday, June 1, 2000)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 34991-34992]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-13684]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 000211039-0039-01; I.D. 052600B]


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Shallow-
Water Species Fishery by Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the Gulf of Alaska

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for species that comprise 
the shallow-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the 
Gulf of Alaska (GOA), except for vessels fishing for pollock using 
pelagic trawl gear in those portions of the GOA open to directed 
fishing for pollock. This action is necessary because the second 
seasonal apportionment of the 2000 halibut bycatch allowance specified 
for the trawl shallow-water species fishery in the GOA has been caught.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), May 28, 2000, 
until 1200 hrs, A.l.t., July 4, 2000.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Furuness, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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.
    The Pacific halibut bycatch allowance for the GOA trawl shallow-
water species fishery, which is defined at Sec. 679.21(d)(3)(iii)(A), 
was established by the Final 2000 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish 
for the GOA (65 FR 8298, February 18, 2000) for the second season, the 
period April 1, 2000, through July 3, 2000, as 100 metric tons.
    In accordance with Sec. 679.21(d)(7)(i), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS, has determined that the second seasonal apportionment of 
the 2000 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl 
shallow-water species fishery in the GOA has been caught. Consequently, 
NMFS is

[[Page 34992]]

prohibiting directed fishing for species included in the shallow-water 
species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the GOA, except for 
vessels fishing for pollock using pelagic trawl gear in those portions 
of the GOA open to directed fishing for pollock. The species and 
species groups that comprise the shallow-water species fishery are: 
pollock, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka 
mackerel, and ``other species.''
    Maximum retainable bycatch amounts may be found in the regulations 
at Sec. 679.20(e) and (f).

Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently 
obtained from the fishery. It must be implemented immediately in order 
to prevent overharvesting the second seasonal apportionment of the 2000 
Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl shallow-water 
species fishery in the GOA. A delay in the effective date is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The fleet has 
already taken the second seasonal bycatch allowance of Pacific halibut. 
NMFS finds for good cause that the implementation of this action can 
not be delayed for 30 days. Accordingly, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), a delay 
in the effective date is hereby waived.
    This action is required by Sec. 679.21 and is exempt from review 
under E.O. 12866.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: May 26, 2000.
Bruce C. Morehead,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 00-13684 Filed 5-26-00; 2:35 pm]
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