[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 35 (Wednesday, February 22, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 10400]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-4115]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 101126521-0640-02]
RIN 6048-XB024


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
by 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

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 
catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters (m)) length overall 
(LOA) using hook-and-line or pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian 
Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent 
exceeding the 2012 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) specified 
for catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line 
or pot gear in the BSAI.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 17, 
2012, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 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 2012 Pacific cod TAC allocated as a directed fishing allowance 
to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line 
or pot gear in the BSAI is 4,645 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 2012 Pacific cod TAC 
allocated as a directed fishing allowance to catcher vessels less than 
60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear in the BSAI has 
been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for 
Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using 
hook-and-line or pot 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 Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 
feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot 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 February 15, 
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: February 16, 2012.
Carrie Selberg,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-4115 Filed 2-16-12; 4:15 pm]
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