[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 38 (Monday, February 27, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11412-11413]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-4501]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 101126522-0640-2]
RIN 0648-XB035


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
by Catcher Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the Western Regulatory Area 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 Pacific cod by 
catcher vessels (CVs) using trawl gear in the Western Regulatory Area 
of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent 
exceeding the A season allowance of the 2012 Pacific cod total 
allowable catch apportioned to CVs using trawl gear in the Western 
Regulatory Area of the GOA.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 22, 
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 
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. Regulations governing sideboard 
protections for GOA groundfish fisheries appear at subpart B of 50 CFR 
part 680.
    The A season allowance of the 2012 Pacific cod total allowable 
catch (TAC) apportioned to CVs using trawl gear in the Western 
Regulatory Area of the GOA is 5,736 metric tons (mt), as established by 
the final 2011 and 2012 harvest specifications for groundfish of the 
GOA (76 FR 11111, March 1, 2011), revision to the final 2012 harvest 
specifications for Pacific cod (76 FR 81860, December 29, 2011), and 
inseason adjustment to the final 2012 harvest specifications for 
Pacific cod (77 FR 438, January 5, 2012).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region,

[[Page 11413]]

NMFS (Regional Administrator) has determined that the A season 
allowance of the 2012 Pacific cod TAC apportioned to CVs using trawl 
gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be reached. 
Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed 
fishing allowance of 5,436 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 300 
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 Pacific cod by 
CVs using trawl gear in the Western Regulatory Area 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 directed fishing closure of Pacific cod for CVs using 
trawl gear in the Western Regulatory Area 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 February 21, 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 22, 2012.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-4501 Filed 2-22-12; 4:15 pm]
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