[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 60 (Wednesday, March 28, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 13205]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-06145]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 170816769-8162-02]
RIN 0648-XG109


Fisheries of the Economic Exclusive Zone Off Alaska; Deep-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: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for species that comprise 
the deep-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the Gulf 
of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary because the first seasonal 
apportionment of the Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for 
the deep-water species fishery in the GOA will be reached.

DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time March 23, 2018, through 
1200 hours, A.l.t., April 1, 2018.

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 apportionment of the Pacific halibut bycatch 
allowance specified for the trawl deep-water species fishery in the GOA 
is 85 metric tons as established by the final 2018 and 2019 harvest 
specifications for groundfish of the GOA (83 FR 8768, March 1, 2018), 
for the period 1200 hours, A.l.t., January 20, 2018, through 1200 
hours, A.l.t., April 1, 2018.
    In accordance with Sec.  679.21(d)(6)(i), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS, has determined that the first seasonal apportionment of 
the Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl deep-
water species fishery in the GOA will be reached. Consequently, NMFS is 
prohibiting directed fishing for the deep-water species fishery by 
vessels using trawl gear in the GOA. The species and species groups 
that comprise the deep-water species fishery include sablefish, 
rockfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, and arrowtooth flounder.
    After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable 
amounts at Sec.  679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

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 NMFS from 
responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and 
would delay the closure of the deep-water species fishery by vessels 
using trawl gear in the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice 
providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant 
data only became available as of March 21, 2018.
    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 Sec.  679.21 and is exempt from review 
under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: March 22, 2018.
Jennifer M. Wallace,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-06145 Filed 3-22-18; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P