[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 195 (Tuesday, October 9, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 61300-61302]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-24794]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111213751-2102-02]
RIN 0648-XC278


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation 
of Atka Mackerel 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; reallocation.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of the 2012 
Atka mackerel incidental catch allowance (ICA) for the Bering Sea 
subarea and Eastern Aleutian district (BS/EAI) of to the Amendment 80 
cooperatives in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area 
(BSAI). This action is necessary to allow the 2012 total allowable 
catch of Atka mackerel to be fully harvested.

DATES: Effective October 3, 2012, through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time 
(A.l.t.), December 31, 2012.

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.
    The 2012 Atka mackerel ICA for the BS/EAI is 1,000 metric tons (mt) 
and 2012 Atka mackerel total allowable catch allocated to the Amendment 
80 cooperative is 29,892 mt as established by the final 2012 and 2013 
harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (77 FR 10669, 
February 23, 2012).
    The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that 570 mt 
of the Atka mackerel ICA for the BS/EAI will not be harvested. 
Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  679.91(f), NMFS reallocates 570 mt 
of Atka mackerel from the BS/EAI ICA to the Amendment 80 cooperatives 
in the BSAI. In accordance with Sec.  679.91(f), NMFS will reissue 
cooperative quota permits for the reallocated Atka mackerel following 
the procedures set forth in Sec.  679.91(f)(3).
    The harvest specifications for Atka mackerel included in the 
harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (77 FR 10669, 
February 23, 2012) are revised as follows: 430 mt of Atka mackerel for 
the BS/EAI ICA and 30,463 mt of Atka mackerel for the Amendment 80 
cooperatives in the BS/EAI. Table 4 is correctly revised and 
republished in its entirety as follows:

[[Page 61301]]



 Table 4--Final 2012 and 2013 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance, and Amendment 80 Allocations of the
                                                                 BSAI Atka Mackerel TAC
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              2012 allocation by area                              2013 allocation by area
                                                 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Eastern                                         Eastern
           Sector 1               Season 2,3,4       Aleutian        Central 5        Western        Aleutian        Central 5       Western 5     Western
                                                     District/       Aleutian        Aleutian        District/       Aleutian        Aleutian     Aleutian
                                                    Bering Sea       District        District       Bering Sea       District        District     District
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ----------
TAC...........................  n/a.............          38,500          10,763           1,500          31,700           8,883           1,500
CDQ reserve...................  Total...........           4,120           1,152             161           3,392             950             161
                                A...............           2,060             576              80           1,696             475              80
                                Critical Habitat             n/a              58             n/a             n/a              48             n/a
                                 \5\.
                                B...............           2,060             576              80           1,696             475              80
                                Critical Habitat             n/a              58             n/a             n/a              48             n/a
                                 \5\.
ICA...........................  Total...........             430             100              40           1,000             100              40
Jig \6\.......................  Total...........             167               0               0             137               0               0
BSAI trawl limited access.....  Total...........           3,321             951               0           2,717             783               0
                                A...............           1,661             476               0           1,359             392               0
                                B...............           1,661             476               0           1,359             392               0
Amendment 80 sectors..........  Total...........          30,463           8,560           1,300          24,454           7,049           1,300
                                A...............          15,231           4,280             650          12,227           3,525             650
                                B...............          15,231           4,280             650          12,227           3,525             650
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative.  Total...........          17,770           5,016             759             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                A...............           8,885           2,508             380             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                Critical Habitat             n/a             251             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                 \5\.
                                B...............           8,885           2,508             380             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                Critical Habitat             n/a             251             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                 \5\.
Alaska Seafood Cooperative....  Total...........          12,693           3,544             541             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                A...............           6,347           1,772             271             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                Critical Habitat             n/a             177             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                 \5\.
                                B...............           6,347           1,772             271             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                Critical Habitat             n/a             177             n/a             n/a             n/a            n/a
                                 \5\.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs to the Amendment 80 and
  BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is
  established in Table 33 to part 679 and Sec.   679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.  Sec.
  679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31).
\2\ Regulations at Sec.  Sec.   679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery.
\3\ The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.
\4\ Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season
  from June 10 to November 1.
\5\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C) requires the TAC in area 542 shall be no more than 47% of ABC, and Atka mackerel harvests for Amendment 80 cooperatives
  and CDQ groups within waters 10 nm to 20 nm of Gramp Rock and Tag Island, as described in Table 12 to part 679, in Area 542 are limited to no more
  than 10 percent of the Amendment 80 cooperative Atka mackerel allocation or 10 percent of the CDQ Atka mackerel allocation.
\6\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after
  subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    This will enhance the socioeconomic well-being of harvesters 
dependent upon Atka mackerel in this area. The Regional Administrator 
considered the following factors in reaching this decision: (1) The 
current catch of Atka mackerel ICA in the BS/EAI, (2) the harvest 
capacity and stated intent on future harvesting patterns of the 
Amendment 80 cooperative that participates in this BS/EAI fishery.

Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently 
obtained from the fishery. The 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 reallocation of Atka mackerel from the BS/EAI ICA to 
the Amendment 80 cooperatives in the BSAI. Since the fishery is 
currently open, it is important to immediately inform the industry as 
to the revised allocations. Immediate notification is necessary to 
allow for the orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery, 
to allow the industry to plan for the fishing season, and to avoid 
potential disruption to the fishing fleet as well as processors. NMFS 
was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment 
because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of 
September 28, 2012.

[[Page 61302]]

    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.  679.91 and is exempt from review 
under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: October 3, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-24794 Filed 10-3-12; 4:15 pm]
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