[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 66 (Thursday, April 5, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 20571]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-8222]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111207737-2141-02]
RIN 0648-XB119


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
by Catcher Vessels Using Hook-and-Line Gear in the Western 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 
catcher vessels (CVs) using hook-and-line gear in the Western 
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 CVs using hook-and-line gear in 
the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), April 2, 2012, 
through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., September 1, 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 CVs using hook-and-line gear in the Western 
Regulatory Area of the GOA is 145 metric tons (mt), as established by 
the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish of the 
GOA (77 FR 15194, March 14, 2012).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has determined that the A season 
allowance of the 2012 Pacific cod TAC apportioned to CVs using hook-
and-line gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be 
reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a 
directed fishing allowance of 130 mt, and is setting aside the 
remaining 15 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 CVs using hook-and-line gear in the Western 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 CVs using hook-and-line gear in the Western 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 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.  679.20 and is exempt from review 
under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: April 2, 2012.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-8222 Filed 4-2-12; 4:15 pm]
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