[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 30 (Tuesday, February 14, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 8176-8177]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-3397]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 101126521-0640-02]
RIN 0648-XA987


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation 
of Pacific Cod 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; reallocation.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific 
cod from vessels using jig gear to catcher vessels less than 60 feet 
(18.3 meters) length overall using hook-and-line or pot gear in the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is 
necessary to allow the A season apportionment of the 2012 total 
allowable catch of Pacific cod to be harvested.

DATES: Effective February 8, 2012, through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time 
(A.l.t.), December 31, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (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 A season apportionment of the 2012 Pacific cod total allowable 
catch (TAC) specified for vessels using jig gear in the BSAI is 1,958 
metric tons (mt) for the period 2400 hrs, A.l.t., January 1, 2012, 
through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., April 30, 2012, 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).
    The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, (Regional Administrator) 
has determined that jig vessels will not be able to harvest 1,800 mt of 
the A season apportionment of the 2012 Pacific cod TAC allocated to 
those vessels under Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(ii)(A)(1). Therefore, in 
accordance with Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iii)(A), NMFS apportions from 1,800 
mt of Pacific cod from the A season jig gear apportionment to catcher 
vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters(m)) length overall (LOA) using 
hook-and-line or pot gear.
    The harvest specifications for Pacific cod included in the final 
2012 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (76 FR 11139, 
March 1, 2011) and inseason adjustment (76 FR 81875, December 29, 2011) 
are revised as follows: 158 mt for vessels using jig gear to the A 
season apportionments and 6,445 mt to catcher vessels less than 60 feet 
(18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear.

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 reallocation of Pacific cod specified from jig vessels 
to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line 
or pot gear. Since the fishery is currently open, it is important to 
immediately inform the industry as to the revised allocations. 
Immediate notification is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct 
and efficient operation of this fishery, to allow the industry to plan 
for the fishing season, and to avoid potential disruption to the 
fishing fleet as well as processors. NMFS was unable to publish a 
notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, 
relevant data only became available as of February 8, 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.


[[Page 8177]]


    Dated: February 9, 2012.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-3397 Filed 2-9-12; 4:15 pm]
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