[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 47 (Friday, March 9, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 14305-14306]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-5802]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 101126522-0640-2]
RIN 0648-XB070


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
by Vessels Using Jig Gear in the Central 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 
vessels using jig gear in the Central 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 vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of 
the GOA.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 6, 2012, 
through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., June 10, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 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 vessels using jig gear in the Central 
Regulatory Area of the GOA is 256 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, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has determined that the A season 
allowance

[[Page 14306]]

of the 2012 Pacific cod TAC apportioned to vessels using jig gear in 
the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, 
the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance 
of 246 mt and is setting aside the remaining 10 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 vessels using jig gear 
in the Central 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 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 closure of directed fishing for Pacific cod 
by vessels using jig gear in the Central 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 
March 5, 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: March 6, 2012.
Carrie Selberg,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-5802 Filed 3-6-12; 4:15 pm]
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