[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 105 (Thursday, May 31, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 32037]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-13221]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111213751-2102-02]
RIN 0648-XC052


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Northern 
Rockfish 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; modification of closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is opening directed fishing for northern rockfish in the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI). This action is 
necessary to fully use the 2012 total allowable catch (TAC) of northern 
rockfish in the BSAI.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), May 25, 2012, 
through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2012. Comments must be received 
at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., June 11, 
2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by RIN 
0648-XC052, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal www.regulations.gov. To 
submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the ``submit a 
comment'' icon, then enter RIN 0648-XC052 in the keyword search. Locate 
the document you wish to comment on from the resulting list and click 
on the ``Submit a Comment'' icon on that line.
     Mail: Address written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, 
AK 99802-1668.
     Fax: Address written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Fax comments to 907-586-7557.
     Hand delivery to the Federal Building: Address written 
comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, 
Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen 
Sebastian. Deliver comments to 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, 
AK.
    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 
methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and 
considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public 
record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address) submitted voluntarily by the sender 
will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will 
accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you 
wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be 
accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file 
formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907-586-7269.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
BSAI 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.
    Pursuant to the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for 
groundfish in the BSAI (77 FR 10669, February 23, 2012), NMFS closed 
the directed fishery for northern rockfish under 679.2(d)(1)(iii).
    As of May 23, 2012, NMFS has determined that approximately 4,308 
metric tons of northern rockfish remain unharvested in the BSAI. 
Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  679.25(a)(1)(i), (a)(2)(i)(C) and 
(a)(2)(iii)(D), and to fully utilize the 2012 TAC of northern rockfish 
in the BSAI, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is opening 
directed fishing for northern rockfish in the BSAI. This will enhance 
the socioeconomic well-being of harvesters in this area. The 
Administrator, Alaska Region (Regional Administrator) considered the 
following factors in reaching this decision: (1) The current catch of 
northern rockfish in the BSAI and, (2) the harvest capacity and stated 
intent on future harvesting patterns of vessels in participating in 
this fishery.

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) and 679.25(c)(1)(ii) 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 northern rockfish 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 May 23, 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.
    Without this inseason adjustment, NMFS could not allow the fishery 
for northern rockfish in the BSAI to be harvested in an expedient 
manner and in accordance with the regulatory schedule. Under Sec.  
679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit written comments 
on this action to the above address until June 11, 2012.
    This action is required bySec.  679.20 and Sec.  679.25 and is 
exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: May 25, 2012.
Carrie Selberg,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-13221 Filed 5-25-12; 4:15 pm]
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