[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 43 (Monday, March 5, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 13013-13014]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-5296]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111213751-2102-02]
RIN 0648-XB051


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
by Catcher Vessels 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 
catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding 
the A season apportionment of the 2012 Pacific cod total allowable 
catch (TAC) allocated to trawl catcher vessels in the BSAI.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 29, 
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 apportionment of the 2012 Pacific cod TAC allocated to 
trawl catcher vessels in the BSAI is 38,117 metric tons (mt) as 
established by the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for 
groundfish in the BSAI (77 FR 10669, February 23, 2012).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the A season 
apportionment of the 2012 Pacific cod TAC allocated to trawl catcher 
vessels in the BSAI will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional 
Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 35,517 mt 
and is setting aside the remaining 2,600 mt as bycatch to support other 
anticipated groundfish

[[Page 13014]]

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 catcher vessels using trawl 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 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) and Sec.  679.25(c)(1)(ii) 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 directed 
fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl 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 27, 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 29, 2012.
Steven Thur,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-5296 Filed 2-29-12; 4:15 pm]
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