[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 16 (Wednesday, January 25, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 3638-3639]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-1563]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 101126521-0640-02]
RIN 0648-XA955


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

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 Pacific cod by pot 
catcher/processors in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management 
area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season 
apportionment of the 2012 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) 
specified for pot catcher/processors in the BSAI.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 23, 
2012, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., September 1, 2012.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
BSAI exclusive economic zone 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 A season apportionment of the 2012 Pacific cod TAC allocated as 
a directed fishing allowance to pot catcher/processors in the BSAI is 
1,777 metric tons as established by the final 2011 and 2012 harvest 
specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (76 FR 11139, March 1, 2011) 
and inseason adjustment (76 FR 81875, December 29, 2011).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Administrator, 
Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the A season apportionment of 
the 2012 Pacific cod TAC allocated as a directed fishing allowance to 
pot catcher/processors in the BSAI has been reached. Consequently, NMFS 
is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific

[[Page 3639]]

cod by pot catcher/processors 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) and Sec.  679.25(c)(1)(ii) 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 Pacific cod by pot 
catch processors 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 January 19, 2012.
    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: January 20, 2012.
Steven Thur,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-1563 Filed 1-20-12; 4:15 pm]
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