[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 62 (Friday, March 30, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 19144-19145]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-7711]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111213751-2102-02]
RIN 0648-XB138


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
for American Fisheries Act Catcher/Processors 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 
American Fisheries Act (AFA) trawl catcher/processors in the Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary 
to prevent exceeding the B season allowance of the 2012 Pacific cod 
total allowable catch specified for AFA trawl catcher/processors in the 
BSAI.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), April 1, 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 
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 B season allowance of the 2012 Pacific cod total allowable 
catch (TAC) specified for AFA trawl catcher/processors in the BSAI is 
1,340 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) and (d)(1)(ii)(B), the 
Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has 
determined that the B season allowance of the 2012 Pacific cod TAC 
allocated to AFA trawl catcher/processors in the BSAI will be taken as 
incidental catch in the directed fishing for other species. Therefore, 
the

[[Page 19145]]

Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 
0 mt for Pacific cod allocated to AFA trawl catcher/processors in the 
BSAI, and is setting aside the remaining 1,340 mt as incidental catch 
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 AFA trawl catcher/
processors 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) 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 AFA trawl catcher/processors 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 March 26, 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 27, 2012.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-7711 Filed 3-27-12; 4:15 pm]
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