Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the Gulf of Alaska, 13026-13027 [06-2439]

Download as PDF 13026 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 49 / Tuesday, March 14, 2006 / Rules and Regulations Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 10, 2006, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., August 25, 2006. 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 MagnusonStevens 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 B season allowance of the 2006 TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA is 1,861 metric tons (mt) as established by the 2006 and 2007 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (71 FR 10870, March 3, 2006). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B) the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), hereby decreases the B season pollock allowance by 811 mt, the amount the A season allowance of the pollock TAC in Statistical Area 630 was exceeded. Therefore, the revised B season allowance of the pollock TAC in Statistical Area 630 is therefore 1,050 mt (1,861 mt minus 811 mt). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator has determined that the B season allowance of the 2006 TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 0 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 1,050 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA. After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip. DATES: sroberts on PROD1PC70 with RULES 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 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:18 Mar 13, 2006 Jkt 208001 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 pollock in Statistical Area 630 of 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 8, 2006. 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 § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 9, 2006. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 06–2440 Filed 3–9–06; 2:50 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 060216044–6044–01; I.D. 030906B] Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the Gulf of Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the B season allowance of the 2006 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock for Statistical Area 610 of the GOA. DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 14, 2006, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., August 25, 2006. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the MagnusonStevens 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 B season allowance of the 2006 TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA is 4,210 metric tons (mt) as established by the 2006 and 2007 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (71 FR 10870, March 3, 2006). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator has determined that the A season allowance of the 2006 TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 4,160 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 50 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA. After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 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 pollock in Statistical Area 610 of 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 8, 2006. 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 § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. E:\FR\FM\14MRR1.SGM 14MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 49 / Tuesday, March 14, 2006 / Rules and Regulations Dated: March 9, 2006. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 06–2439 Filed 3–9–06; 2:50 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 697 [Docket No. 010413093–6056–04; I.D. 032301C] RIN 0648–AP18 Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; American Lobster Fishery National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. sroberts on PROD1PC70 with RULES AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS amends regulations to modify the management measures applicable to the Federal American lobster (Homarus americanus) fishery. This action is in response to recommendations by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) in Addenda II and III to Amendment 3 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster (ISFMP). The lobster management measures are intended to increase protection to American lobster broodstock throughout the stock’s range, and will apply to lobsters harvested in one or more of seven Lobster Conservation Management Areas (LCMA). In addition, NMFS will clarify existing Federal lobster regulations. To allow adequate time to modify lobster trap gear to meet new gear configuration requirements, the effective date of actions identified in this final rule is May 1, 2006. DATES: Effective May 1, 2006. ADDRESSES: Copies of the American lobster Environmental Assessment/ Regulatory Impact Review/Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/ RIR/FRFA) prepared for this regulatory action are available upon request from Harold Mears, Director, State, Federal and Constituent Programs Office, NMFS, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Ross, NMFS, Northeast Region, (978) 281–9234, fax (978) 281–9117. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:18 Mar 13, 2006 Jkt 208001 Statutory Authority These final regulations modify Federal lobster conservation management measures in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) under the authority of section 803(b) of the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (Atlantic Coastal Act), 16 U.S.C. 5101 et seq., which states that, in the absence of an approved and implemented Fishery Management Plan under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) and, after consultation with the appropriate Fishery Management Council(s), the Secretary of Commerce may implement regulations to govern fishing in the EEZ, i.e., from 3 to 200 nautical miles (nm) offshore. These regulations must be (1) compatible with the effective implementation of an ISFMP developed by the Commission and (2) consistent with the national standards set forth in section 301 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Purpose and Need for Management American lobster are managed within the framework of the Commission. The Commission is a deliberative body comprised of representatives both from the Atlantic coastal states and the Federal Government. The Commission serves to develop fishery conservation and management strategies for certain coastal species and coordinates the efforts of the states and Federal Government toward concerted sustainable ends. The Commission decides upon a management strategy, then forwards that strategy to the states and Federal Government along with a recommendation that the states and Federal Government take action (e.g., enact regulations) in furtherance of this strategy. The Commission reports that American lobster (Homarus americanus) experience high fishing mortality rates and are growth overfished throughout their range (U.S./ Canada border to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina). Overfishing is a rate of removal that is too high and, if continued, the removals would not be sustainable. Growth overfishing, under the Commission ISFMP, means that most lobsters are harvested at or just above the legal minimum size and the maximum yield is not produced because of high fishing mortality on these smaller lobsters. In March 2000, the Commission issued an American lobster stock assessment report that concluded that the resource is growth overfished. That assessment was further evaluated by an external peer review, which took PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 13027 place during May 2000. The stock assessment external peer review concluded that fishing rates are unacceptably high, recruitment overfishing is occurring, and that a precautionary approach in management of the resource is warranted to sustain future viability of the lobster fishery. Recruitment overfishing, under the Commission ISFMP, means that the number of new lobsters available to the fishery each year is reduced by high fishing mortality rates. Since most egg production is from recruits and the first molt group above the minimum legal size, a decline in recruitment would lead to a decline in egg production. The Peer Review Report provided several management recommendations on the implications of the stock assessment report, including recommendations to address increasing lobster mortality and to rebuild stocks. The Commission completed an updated and peer reviewed American lobster stock assessment in late 2005. Results of the assessment and peer review recommendations are being evaluated at this time by the Commission. Based on the peer reviewed stock assessment information currently available, measures identified in this regulatory action will not be contrary to the updated assessment results. The Commission has developed a plan to end the overfishing and has requested assistance from the Federal Government in the form of compatible Federal regulations. The Atlantic Coastal Act directs the Federal Government to support the management efforts of the Commission. Additionally, to the extent the Federal Government seeks to regulate a Commission species, those Federal regulations must be compatible with the Commission plan. The measures in this regulatory action respond to: the biological need to address increasing lobster mortality and to rebuild stocks; the practical need to have uniform state and Federal regulations; and, the legal need to support the Commission plan in complementary fashion. Background The Commission set forth the foundation of its American lobster fishery management plan in Amendment 3 to the ISFMP (Amendment 3) in December 1997. The Federal Government issued compatible regulations that complemented Amendment 3 in December 1999. The Amendment 3 regulations established assorted measures to directly, even if preliminarily, address overfishing (e.g., trap caps and minimum gauge sizes). Amendment 3 created seven lobster E:\FR\FM\14MRR1.SGM 14MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 49 (Tuesday, March 14, 2006)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 13026-13027]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-2439]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 060216044-6044-01; I.D. 030906B]


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in 
Statistical Area 610 of 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 pollock in 
Statistical Area 610 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is 
necessary to prevent exceeding the B season allowance of the 2006 total 
allowable catch (TAC) of pollock for Statistical Area 610 of the GOA.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 14, 2006, 
through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., August 25, 2006.

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 B season allowance of the 2006 TAC of pollock in Statistical 
Area 610 of the GOA is 4,210 metric tons (mt) as established by the 
2006 and 2007 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (71 FR 
10870, March 3, 2006).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional 
Administrator has determined that the A season allowance of the 2006 
TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA will soon be reached. 
Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed 
fishing allowance of 4,160 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 50 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 has been reached. 
Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in 
Statistical Area 610 of the GOA.
    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 pollock in Statistical Area 610 of 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 8, 2006. 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.  679.20 and is exempt from review 
under Executive Order 12866.

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


[[Page 13027]]


    Dated: March 9, 2006.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 06-2439 Filed 3-9-06; 2:50 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S