[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 47 (Friday, March 9, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 14304]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-5813]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket Nos. 101126522-0640-02 and 1112113751-2102-02]
RIN 0648-XB039


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Sablefish 
Managed Under the Individual Fishing Quota Program

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; opening.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is opening directed fishing for sablefish with fixed gear 
managed under the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program and the 
Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program. The season will open 1200 
hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 17, 2012, and will close 1200 
hrs, A.l.t., November 7, 2012. This period is the same as the 2012 
commercial halibut fishery opening dates adopted by the International 
Pacific Halibut Commission. The IFQ and CDQ halibut season is specified 
by a separate publication in the Federal Register of annual management 
measures.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, A.l.t., March 17, 2012, until 1200 hrs, 
A.l.t., November 7, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Beginning in 1995, fishing for Pacific 
halibut and sablefish with fixed gear in the IFQ regulatory areas 
defined in 50 CFR 679.2 has been managed under the IFQ Program. The IFQ 
Program is a regulatory regime designed to promote the conservation and 
management of these fisheries and to further the objectives of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the 
Northern Pacific Halibut Act. Persons holding quota share receive an 
annual allocation of IFQ. Persons receiving an annual allocation of IFQ 
are authorized to harvest IFQ species within specified limitations. 
Further information on the implementation of the IFQ Program, and the 
rationale supporting it, are contained in the preamble to the final 
rule implementing the IFQ Program published in the Federal Register, 
November 9, 1993 (58 FR 59375) and subsequent amendments.
    This announcement is consistent with Sec.  679.23(g)(1), which 
requires that the directed fishing season for sablefish managed under 
the IFQ Program be specified by the Administrator, Alaska Region, and 
announced by publication in the Federal Register. This method of season 
announcement was selected to facilitate coordination between the 
sablefish season, chosen by the Administrator, Alaska Region, and the 
halibut season, adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission 
(IPHC). The directed fishing season for sablefish with fixed gear 
managed under the IFQ Program will open 1200 hrs, A.l.t., March 17, 
2012, and will close 1200 hrs, A.l.t., November 7, 2012. This period 
runs concurrently with the IFQ season for Pacific halibut announced by 
the IPHC. The IFQ halibut season will be specified by a separate 
publication in the Federal Register of annual management measures 
pursuant to 50 CFR 300.62.

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 opening of the sablefish fishery thereby 
increasing bycatch and regulatory discards between the sablefish 
fishery and the halibut fishery, and preventing the accomplishment of 
the management objective for simultaneous opening of these two 
fisheries. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for 
public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became 
available as of January 30, 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.  679.23 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. 2012-5813 Filed 3-8-12; 8:45 am]
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