Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Processors Using Hook-and-Line Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, 66805-66806 [E8-26847]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 12, 2008 / Rules and Regulations Special Environmental Conditions The AA finds that debris washed into hurricane-affected state waters off of Texas, extending offshore 9 nautical miles from the Texas/Louisiana boundary southward to the boundary shared by Matagorda and Brazoria Counties (approximately 95° 32’ W. long.), has created special environmental conditions that make trawling with TED-equipped nets impracticable. Therefore, the AA issues this notification to authorize the use of restricted tow times as an alternative to the use of TEDs in state waters off of Texas extending offshore 9 nautical miles from the Texas/Louisiana boundary southward to the boundary shared by Matagorda and Brazoria Counties (approximately 95° 32’ W. long.), for a period of 30 days. Tow times must be limited to no more than 75 minutes, as measured from the time that the trawl doors enter the water until they are removed from the water. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES Continued Use of TEDs NMFS encourages shrimp trawlers in the affected areas to continue to use TEDs if possible, even though they are authorized under this action to use restricted tow times. NMFS’ gear experts have provided several general operational recommendations to fishermen to maximize the debris exclusion ability of TEDs that may allow some fishermen to continue using TEDs without resorting to restricted tow times. To exclude debris, NMFS recommends the use of hard TEDs made of either solid rod or of hollow pipe that incorporate a bent angle at the escape opening, in a bottom-opening configuration. In addition, the installation angle of a hard TED in the trawl extension is an important performance element in excluding debris from the trawl. High installation angles can trap debris either on or in front of the bars of the TED; NMFS recommends an installation angle of 45E, relative to the normal horizontal flow of water through the trawl, to optimize the TED’s ability to exclude turtles and debris. Furthermore, the use of accelerator funnels, which are allowable modifications to hard TEDs, is not recommended in areas with heavy amounts of debris or vegetation. Lastly, the webbing flap that is usually installed to cover the turtle escape opening may be modified to help exclude debris quickly: the webbing flap can either be cut horizontally to shorten it so that it does not overlap the frame of the TED or be slit in a fore-and-aft direction to facilitate the exclusion of VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:26 Nov 10, 2008 Jkt 217001 debris. The use of the double cover flap TED will also aid in debris exclusion. All of these recommendations represent legal configurations of TEDs for shrimpers fishing in the affected areas. This action does not authorize any other departure from the TED requirements, including any illegal modifications to TEDs. In particular, if TEDs are installed in trawl nets, they may not be sewn shut. Alternative to Required Use of TEDs The authorization provided by this rule applies to all shrimp trawlers that would otherwise be required to use TEDs in accordance with the requirements of 50 CFR 223.206(d)(2) who are operating in hurricane-affected state waters off Texas, extending offshore 9 nautical miles from the Texas/Louisiana boundary southward to the boundary shared by Matagorda and Brazoria Counties (approximately 95° 32’ W. long.), for a period of 30 days. Through this temporary rule, shrimp trawlers may choose either restricted tow times or TEDs to comply with the sea turtle conservation regulations, as prescribed above. Alternative to Required Use of TEDs; Termination The AA, at any time, may withdraw or modify this temporary authorization to use tow time restrictions in lieu of TEDs through publication of a notice in the Federal Register, if necessary to ensure adequate protection of endangered and threatened sea turtles. Under this procedure, the AA may modify the affected area or impose any necessary additional or more stringent measures, including more restrictive tow times, synchronized tow times, or withdrawal of the authorization if the AA determines that the alternative authorized by this rule is not sufficiently protecting turtles or no longer needed. The AA may also terminate this authorization if information from law enforcement, state authorities, or NMFS indicates compliance cannot be monitored effectively. This authorization will expire automatically on December 7, 2008, unless it is explicitly extended through another notification published in the Federal Register. Classification This action has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The AA has determined that this action is necessary to respond to an environmental situation to allow more efficient fishing for shrimp, while providing effective protection for PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 66805 endangered and threatened sea turtles pursuant to the ESA and applicable regulations. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the AA finds that there is good cause to waive prior notice and opportunity to comment on this rule. The AA finds that unusually high amounts of debris are creating special environmental conditions that make trawling with TED-equipped nets impracticable. Prior notice and opportunity to comment are impracticable and contrary to the public interest in this instance because providing notice and comment would prevent the agency from providing the affected industry relief from the effects of Hurricane Ike in a timely manner, while continuing to provide effective protection for sea turtles. Many fishermen may be unable to operate under the special environmental conditions created by Hurricane Ike without an alternative to the use of TEDs. Therefore, The AA finds that there is good cause to waive the 30–day delay in effective date pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to provide alternatives to comply with the sea turtle regulations in a timely manner. For the reasons above, the AA finds that this temporary rule should not be subject to a 30–day delay in effective date, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1). Since prior notice and an opportunity for public comment are not required to be provided for this action by 5 U.S.C. 553, or by any other law, the analytical requirements of 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. are inapplicable. Dated: November 6, 2008. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E8–26850 Filed 11–6–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 071106673–8011–02] RIN 0648–XL68 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Processors Using Hook–and– Line Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\12NOR1.SGM 12NOR1 66806 ACTION: Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 12, 2008 / Rules and Regulations Temporary rule; closure. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher processors using hook–and–line gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2008 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to catcher processors using hook–and–line gear in the BSAI. DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), November 7, 2008, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2008. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Keaton, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (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 2008 Pacific cod TAC allocated to catcher processors using hook–and–line VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:26 Nov 10, 2008 Jkt 217001 gear in the BSAI is 73,844 metric tons (mt) as established by the 2008 and 2009 final harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (73 FR 10160, February 26, 2008). See § 679.20(a)(7)(ii), § 679.20(c)(3)(iii), and § 679.20(c)(5). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that the 2008 Pacific cod directed fishing allowance allocated to catcher processors using hook–and–line gear in the BSAI has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher processors using hook–and–line gear in the BSAI. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 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 directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher processors using hook–and–line gear in the BSAI. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of November 5, 2008. 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: November 6, 2008. Emily H. Menashes Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E8–26847 Filed 11–6–08; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\12NOR1.SGM 12NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 219 (Wednesday, November 12, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 66805-66806]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-26847]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 071106673-8011-02]
RIN 0648-XL68


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
by Catcher Processors Using Hook-and-Line Gear in the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands Management Area

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

[[Page 66806]]


ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by 
catcher processors using hook-and-line gear in the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to 
prevent exceeding the 2008 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) 
allocated to catcher processors using hook-and-line gear in the BSAI.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), November 7, 
2008, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Keaton, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
BSAI according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (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 2008 Pacific cod TAC allocated to catcher processors using 
hook-and-line gear in the BSAI is 73,844 metric tons (mt) as 
established by the 2008 and 2009 final harvest specifications for 
groundfish in the BSAI (73 FR 10160, February 26, 2008). See Sec.  
679.20(a)(7)(ii), Sec.  679.20(c)(3)(iii), and Sec.  679.20(c)(5).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional 
Administrator finds that the 2008 Pacific cod directed fishing 
allowance allocated to catcher processors using hook-and-line gear in 
the BSAI has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed 
fishing for Pacific cod by catcher processors using hook-and-line gear 
in the BSAI.
    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 directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher 
processors using hook-and-line gear in the BSAI. NMFS was unable to 
publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most 
recent, relevant data only became available as of November 5, 2008.
    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: November 6, 2008.
Emily H. Menashes
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E8-26847 Filed 11-6-08; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S