[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 78 (Monday, April 23, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 24154-24155]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-9714]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111207737-2141-02]
RIN 0648-XC001


Fisheries of the Economic Exclusive Zone Off Alaska; Deep-Water 
Species Fishery by Vessels Using Trawl Gear in 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 species that comprise 
the deep-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the Gulf 
of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary because the second seasonal 
apportionment of the Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for 
the deep-water species fishery in the GOA has been reached.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), April 19, 2012, 
through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., July 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.
    The second seasonal apportionment of the Pacific halibut bycatch 
allowance specified for the deep-water species fishery in the GOA is 
300 metric tons as established by the final 2012 and 2013 harvest 
specifications for groundfish of the GOA (77 FR 15194, March 14, 2012), 
for the period 1200 hrs, A.l.t., April 1, 2012, through 1200 hrs, 
A.l.t., July 1, 2012.
    In accordance with Sec.  679.21(d)(7)(i), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS, has determined that the second seasonal apportionment of 
the Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl deep-
water species fishery in the GOA has been reached. Consequently, NMFS 
is prohibiting directed fishing for the deep-water species fishery by 
vessels using trawl gear in the GOA. The species and species groups 
that comprise the deep-water species fishery include sablefish, 
rockfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, and arrowtooth flounder. This 
closure does not apply to fishing by vessels participating in the 
cooperative fishery in the Rockfish Program for the Central 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 the deep-water species fishery 
by vessels using trawl gear in 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 April 17, 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.  679.21 and is exempt from review 
under Executive Order 12866.

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


[[Page 24155]]


    Dated: April 18, 2012.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-9714 Filed 4-18-12; 4:15 pm]
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