[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 211 (Wednesday, October 31, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 65837-65838]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-26659]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111213751-2102-02]
RIN 0648-XC324


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation 
of Pacific Cod 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 amounts of Pacific 
cod from catcher vessels using trawl gear to American Fisheries Act 
trawl catcher/processors and Amendment 80 catcher/processors in the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is 
necessary to allow the 2012 total allowable catch of Pacific cod to be 
harvested.

DATES: Effective October 25, 2012, through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time 
(A.l.t.), December 31, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (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 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) specified for 
catcher vessels using trawl gear in the BSAI is 51,009 metric tons (mt) 
as established by the

[[Page 65838]]

final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI 
(77 FR 10669, February 23, 2012) and a subsequent inseason adjustment 
to catcher vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear (77 FR 53152, August 
31, 2012). The Regional Administrator has determined that catcher 
vessels using trawl gear will not be able to harvest 3,260 mt of the 
2012 Pacific cod TAC allocated to those vessels under Sec.  
679.20(a)(7)(ii)(A)(9). The Regional Administrator has also determined 
that this unharvested amount is unlikely to be harvested through the 
hierarchy set forth in Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iii)(A). Therefore, in 
accordance with Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iii)(A) and Sec.  
679.20(a)(7)(iii)(B), NMFS reallocates 1,260 mt to American Fisheries 
Act (AFA) catcher/processors and 2,000 mt to Amendment 80 catcher/
processors.
    The harvest specifications for Pacific cod included in the final 
2012 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (77 FR 10669, 
February 23, 2012) and inseason adjustment (77 FR 53152, August 31, 
2012) are revised as follows: 6,621 mt for AFA catcher/processors, 
33,232 mt for Amendment 80 catcher/processors, and 47,749 mt for trawl 
catcher vessels. In accordance with Sec.  679.91(f), NMFS will reissue 
cooperative quota permits for the reallocated Pacific cod to Amendment 
80 catcher/processors following the procedures set forth in Sec.  
679.91(f)(3).

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 Pacific cod specified for catcher 
vessels using trawl gear to AFA catcher/processors and Amendment 80 
catcher/processors. 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 October 24, 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 25, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-26659 Filed 10-25-12; 4:15 pm]
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