[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 13 (Wednesday, January 21, 2004)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 2850]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-1219]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 031126297-3297-01; I.D. 011304D]


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in 
Statistical Area 630 of 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 pollock in 
Statistical Area 630 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is 
necessary to prevent exceeding the first seasonal allowance of the 
pollock interim total allowable catch (TAC) for Statistical Area 630 of 
the GOA.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 21, 
2004, until superseded by the notice of Final 2004 Harvest 
Specifications of Groundfish for the GOA, which will be published in 
the Federal Register.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Keaton, 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 first seasonal allowance of the pollock interim TAC in 
Statistical Area 630 of the GOA is 2,274 metric tons (mt) as 
established by the interim 2004 harvest specifications for groundfish 
of the GOA (68 FR 67964, December 5, 2003).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the first 
seasonal allowance of the pollock interim TAC in Statistical Area 630 
will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is 
establishing a directed fishing allowance of 2,000 mt, and is setting 
aside the remaining 274 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated 
groundfish fisheries. In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), the 
Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance will 
soon be reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for 
pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA.
    Maximum retainable 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. 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 the Agency from 
responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and 
would delay the closure of the pollock fishery under the interim TAC in 
Statistical Area 630.
    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 section 679.20 and is exempt from review 
under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: January 14, 2004.
Bruce C. Morehead,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries,National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 04-1219 Filed 1-20-04; 8:45 am]
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