[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 36 (Thursday, February 23, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 10668-10669]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-4245]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 101126521-0640-02]
RIN 0648-XB028


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
for American Fisheries Act Catcher/Processors Using Trawl 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 
American Fisheries Act (AFA) trawl catcher/processors in the Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary 
to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2012 Pacific cod 
total allowable catch (TAC) specified for AFA trawl catcher-processors 
in the BSAI.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 17, 
2012, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., April 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 allowance of the 2012 Pacific cod TAC specified for 
AFA trawl catcher-processors in the BSAI is 4,021 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).

[[Page 10669]]

    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i) and (d)(1)(ii)(B), the 
Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has 
determined that the A season allowance of the 2012 Pacific cod TAC 
allocated to AFA trawl catcher processors in the BSAI will be taken as 
incidental catch in the directed fishing for other species. Therefore, 
the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance 
for Pacific cod allocated to AFA trawl catcher processors in the BSAI 
of 0 mt. 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 Pacific 
cod by AFA trawl 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) 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 AFA trawl catcher/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 February 16, 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 17, 2012.
Carrie Selberg,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-4245 Filed 2-17-12; 4:15 pm]
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