[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 40 (Wednesday, February 29, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 12214-12215]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-4836]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111213751-2102-02]
RIN 0648-XB038


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation 
of Pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Temporary rule.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of the Aleut 
Corporation's pollock directed fishing allowance and the Community 
Development Quota from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the Bering Sea 
subarea directed fisheries. These actions are necessary to provide 
opportunity for harvest of the 2012 total allowable catch of pollock, 
consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan 
for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 29, 
2012, until 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907-586-7269.

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 
(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.
    In the Aleutian Islands subarea, the portion of the 2012 pollock 
total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to the Aleut Corporation's 
directed fishing allowance (DFA) is 15,500 metric tons (mt) and the 
Community Development Quota (CDQ) is 1,900 mt as established by the 
final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI 
(77 FR 10669, February 23, 2012).
    As of February 23, 2012, the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, 
(Regional Administrator) has determined that 10,500 mt of Aleut 
Corporation's DFA and 1,900 mt of pollock CDQ in the Aleutian Islands 
subarea will not be harvested. Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(4), NMFS reallocates 10,500 mt of Aleut 
Corporation's DFA and 1,900 mt of pollock CDQ from the Aleutian Islands 
subarea to the 2012 Bering Sea subarea allocations. The 1,900 mt of 
pollock CDQ is added to the 2012 Bering Sea CDQ DFA. The remaining 
10,500 mt of pollock is apportioned to the AFA Inshore sector (50 
percent), AFA catcher/processor sector (40 percent), and the AFA 
mothership sector (10 percent). The 2012 pollock incidental catch 
allowance remains at 32,400 mt. As a result, the harvest specifications 
for pollock in the Aleutian Islands subarea included in the final 2012 
and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (77 FR 
10669, February 23, 2012) are revised as follows: 5,000 mt to Aleut 
Corporation's DFA and 0 mt to CDQ pollock. Furthermore, pursuant to 
Sec.  679.20(a)(5), Table 3 of the final 2012 and 2013 harvest 
specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (77 FR 10669, February 23, 
2012) is revised to make 2012 pollock allocations consistent with this 
reallocation. This reallocation results in adjustments to the 2012 
Aleut Corporation and CDQ pollock allocations established at Sec.  
679.20(a)(5).

[[Page 12215]]



     Table 3--Final 2012 and 2013 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed Fishing Allowances (DFA) \1\
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   2012 A season \1\        2012 B                     2013 A season \1\        2013 B
                                                              --------------------------  season \1\              --------------------------  season \1\
                 Area and sector                      2012                              -------------     2013                              ------------
                                                  Allocations    A season   SCA harvest    B season   Allocations    A season   SCA harvest    B season
                                                                   DFA        limit \2\      DFA                       DFA        limit \2\      DFA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea subarea..............................    1,212,400          n/a          n/a          n/a    1,201,900          n/a          n/a          n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................      121,900       48,760       34,132       73,140      120,190       48,076       33,653       72,114
ICA \1\.........................................       32,400          n/a          n/a          n/a       32,451          n/a          n/a          n/a
AFA Inshore.....................................      529,050      211,620      148,134      317,430      524,629      209,852      146,896      314,778
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\......................      423,240      169,296      118,507      253,944      419,703      167,881      117,517      251,822
Catch by C/Ps...................................      387,265      154,906          n/a      232,359      384,029      153,611          n/a      230,417
Catch by CVs \3\................................       35,975       14,390          n/a       21,585       35,675       14,270          n/a       21,405
Unlisted C/P Limit \4\..........................        2,116          846          n/a        1,270        2,099          839          n/a        1,259
AFA Motherships.................................      105,810       42,324       29,627       63,486      104,926       41,970       29,379       62,956
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..................      185,168          n/a          n/a          n/a      183,620          n/a          n/a          n/a
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..................      317,430          n/a          n/a          n/a      314,778          n/a          n/a          n/a
Total Bering Sea DFA............................    1,058,100      423,240      296,268      634,860    1,049,259      419,703      293,792      629,555
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aleutian Islands subarea \1\....................        6,600          n/a          n/a          n/a       19,000          n/a          n/a          n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................            0            0          n/a            0        1,900          760          n/a        1,140
ICA.............................................        1,600          800          n/a          800        1,600          800          n/a          800
Aleut Corporation...............................        5,000       15,500          n/a            0       15,500       15,500          n/a            0
Bogoslof District ICA \7\.......................          150          n/a          n/a          n/a          150          n/a          n/a          n/a
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the BS subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (3 percent), is allocated as a
  DFA as follows: inshore sector--50 percent, catcher/processor sector (C/P)--40 percent, and mothership sector--10 percent. In the BS subarea, 40
  percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-November 1).
  Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10
  percent) and second the ICA (1,600 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is
  allocated 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the directed pollock fishery.
\2\ In the BS subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1. The remaining 12 percent of the
  annual DFA allocated to the A season may be taken outside of SCA before April 1 or inside the SCA after April 1. If less than 28 percent of the annual
  DFA is taken inside the SCA before April 1, the remainder will be available to be taken inside the SCA after April 1.
\3\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors shall be available for harvest
  only by eligible catcher vessels delivering to listed catcher/processors.
\4\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the
  catcher/processors sector's allocation of pollock.
\5\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ
  pollock DFAs.
\6\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ
  pollock DFAs.
\7\ The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for ICA only and are
  not apportioned by season or sector.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently 
obtained from the fishery. The Acting 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 AI pollock. Since the 
pollock fishery is currently open, it is important to immediately 
inform the industry as to the final Bering Sea subarea pollock 
allocations. Immediate notification is necessary to allow for the 
orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery; allow the 
industry to plan for the fishing season and avoid potential disruption 
to the fishing fleet as well as processors; and provide opportunity to 
harvest increased seasonal pollock allocations while value is optimum. 
NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment 
because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of 
February 23, 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 24, 2012.
Steven Thur,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-4836 Filed 2-24-12; 4:15 pm]
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