Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in the West Yakutat District of the Gulf of Alaska, 17112-17113 [E9-8513]

Download as PDF 17112 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 70 / Tuesday, April 14, 2009 / Rules and Regulations • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal website at http://www.regulations.gov. • Mail: P. O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802. • Fax: (907) 586–7557. • Hand delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments. Enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe portable document file (pdf) formats only. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Keaton, 907–586–7228. 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. NMFS closed the directed fishery for pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA under § 679.20(d)(1)(iii) on March 21, 2009, was announced in the Federal Register on April 14, 2009. NMFS has determined that approximately 286 mt of pollock remain in the directed fishing allowance in the West Yakutat District of the GOA. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(i), (a)(2)(i)(C) and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to fully utilize the 2009 TAC of pollock in the West Yakutat District, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is reopening directed fishing for pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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 VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:32 Apr 13, 2009 Jkt 217001 opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such a 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 opening of pollock in the West Yakutat District 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 April 6, 2009. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30day 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. Without this inseason adjustment, NMFS could not allow the TAC of pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA to be harvested in an expedient manner and in accordance with the regulatory schedule. Under § 679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action to the above address until April 28, 2009. This action is required by § 679.20 and § 679.25 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: April 8, 2009. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E9–8511 Filed 4–13–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 0910091344–9056–02] RIN 0648–XO30 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in the West Yakutat District of the Gulf of Alaska AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in the West Yakutat District of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2009 total allowable catch PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (TAC) of pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA. DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 21, 2009, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2009. 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 2009 TAC of pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA is 1,215 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (74 FR 7333, February 17, 2009). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator has determined that the 2009 TAC of pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 1,200 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 15 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 the West Yakutat District 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 the West Yakutat District of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the E:\FR\FM\14APR1.SGM 14APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 70 / Tuesday, April 14, 2009 / Rules and Regulations most recent, relevant data only became available as of March 19, 2009. 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: April 8, 2009. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E9–8513 Filed 4–13–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 080721859–9592–03] RIN 0648–AX01 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska, Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska; Correction AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; correction. SUMMARY: NMFS is correcting the preamble to a final rule published in the Federal Register on January 21, 2009 (74 FR 3446). The final rule implemented a regulatory amendment to exempt fishermen using dinglebar fishing gear in federal waters of the Gulf of Alaska from the requirement to carry a vessel monitoring system (VMS). This correction is necessary to summarize and respond to public comments received on the proposed rule. No changes to the requirements of the final rule result from this correction. DATES: Effective April 14, 2009. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ben Muse, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Groundfish fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) are managed under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson– Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson–Stevens VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:32 Apr 13, 2009 Jkt 217001 Act). Regulations implementing the FMP appear at 50 CFR part 679. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. On January 21, 2009, NMFS published a final rule that exempts vessels in the Gulf of Alaska with dinglebar gear onboard from vessel monitoring system (VMS) requirements (74 FR 3446). Previously, dinglebar fishermen participating in the State of Alaska–managed fishery for in the Gulf of Alaska were required to carry VMS to facilitate enforcement of regulations that prohibit fishing in habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC), specifically Coral Habitat Protection Areas in the Fairweather Grounds and near Cape Ommaney in the Gulf of Alaska. VMS data from the eight vessels that participated in the fishery in 2007 show that fishery participants did not fish in the Gulf of Alaska Coral Habitat Protection Areas; fishing occurred at shallower depths than where the sensitive corals occur; and the bottom types preferred by sensitive coral species are avoided by dinglebar fishermen. NMFS has determined that the risk of damage posed by dinglebar vessels to sensitive corals protected within habitat areas of particular concern is minor, and insufficient to justify the costs of VMS. The preamble to the final rule incorrectly stated that no comments were received on the proposed rule for this action, which was published on October 3, 2008 (73 FR 57585). In fact, 5 letters of comment were received by NMFS during the comment period that ended November 3, 2008. Three of the letters endorsed the exemption, two opposed it, and one (of those that opposed) addressed an opinion of the federal government that was not relevant to the proposed action and is not responded to below. After consideration of these comments, NMFS has made no change to the final rule published January 21, 2009 (74 FR 3446). Information on the purpose and justification for the VMS exemption is presented in the proposed and final rules. Correction In the final rule for this action (74 FR 3446), published on January 21, 2009, make the following correction. On page 3448, in the first column, correct the third paragraph to read: ‘‘Response to comments A proposed rule for this action was published October 3, 2008 (73 FR 57585), and the comment period ended November 3, 2008. Five letters of comment were received by NMFS PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 17113 during the comment period. Three of the letters endorsed the exemption, two opposed it, and one (of the ones that opposed) addressed an opinion of the federal government that was not relevant to the proposed action and is not responded to below. After consideration of these comments, NMFS has made no changes to the final rule. The following is a summary of the comments received and NMFS’s response. Comment 1: The risk of damage posed to protected corals in the Gulf of Alaska by the dinglebar fishery is minor and insufficient to justify the costs of VMS. We don’t believe that granting this exemption will harm or provide less protection for the HAPC areas. The analysis also revealed that the dinglebar fishery for targets a different substrate type (folded sandstone) than the substrates that typically support Primnoa species corals (bedrock and boulders). It is appropriate to exempt dinglebar fishermen targeting from VMS requirements, as VMS represents an unnecessary burden to a small fleet. Response: NMFS agrees that the risk of damage to Primnoa corals does not justify the cost imposed on the small scale operations in this fishery. NMFS’ reasoning is discussed in the response to Comment 2, below. The analysis supporting the final rule did not make specific statements about the types of substrate supporting Primnoa corals, but did point out that the fishing grounds dinglebar fishermen chose to fish have a different type of substrate than that found in the protected areas. Comment 2: The potential for damage to the Primnoa corals is too great to justify relaxing the VMS requirement for vessels using dinglebar gear. Dinglebar gear is by definition bottom contact gear and is very capable of damaging the corals in the GOA Coral Habitat protection Areas. While 2007 VMS data shows fishermen operating close to and not within the GOA Coral Habitat Protection Areas, the obvious reason for this is that VMS is doing its job of keeping bottom contact fishermen out of the areas. However, are common in the areas. A marine biologist providing testimony to the Council indicated this. This creates an incentive for dinglebar operations to enter these areas. Minor damage is too much damage. Response: NMFS does not believe this action creates a significant risk of damage to Primnoa corals in the protected areas. The decision was not only based on the observation that vessels didn’t enter these areas in 2007; the analysis supporting the final rule acknowledged that the VMS could be creating a deterrent. Agency approval of E:\FR\FM\14APR1.SGM 14APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 70 (Tuesday, April 14, 2009)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 17112-17113]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-8513]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 0910091344-9056-02]
RIN 0648-XO30


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in 
the West Yakutat District 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 the West 
Yakutat District of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary 
to prevent exceeding the 2009 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock in 
the West Yakutat District of the GOA.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 21, 2009, 
through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2009.

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 2009 TAC of pollock in the West Yakutat District of the GOA is 
1,215 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2009 and 2010 
harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (74 FR 7333, February 
17, 2009).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional 
Administrator has determined that the 2009 TAC of pollock in the West 
Yakutat District of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the 
Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 
1,200 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 15 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 the West Yakutat District 
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 the West Yakutat District of the 
GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public 
comment because the

[[Page 17113]]

most recent, relevant data only became available as of March 19, 2009.
    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.

    Dated: April 8, 2009.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. E9-8513 Filed 4-13-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S