[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 199 (Monday, October 15, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 62464-62465]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-25260]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111207737-2141-02]
RIN 0648-XC288


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
by Vessels Using Pot Gear in the Central 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 
vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of 
Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2012 
Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to vessels using pot gear 
in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), October 12, 
2012, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 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 2012 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) apportioned to 
vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA is 
11,755 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 2012 
Pacific cod TAC apportioned to vessels using pot gear in the Central 
Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the 
Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 
11,755 mt and is setting aside the remaining 0 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 vessels using pot gear in the 
Central 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 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 directed fishing closure of Pacific cod for vessels 
using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. NMFS was 
unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment

[[Page 62465]]

because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of 
October 9, 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: October 10, 2012.
Emily H. Menashes,
Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-25260 Filed 10-10-12; 4:15 pm]
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