[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 215 (Tuesday, November 6, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 66564]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27045]



[[Page 66564]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111207737-2141-02]
RIN 0648-XC333


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation 
of Pacific Cod in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska 
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 Pacific 
cod from catcher vessels using trawl gear and hook-and-line catcher/
processors (C/Ps) to vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory 
Area of the Gulf of Alaska management area (GOA). This action is 
necessary to allow the 2012 total allowable catch of Pacific cod in the 
Western Regulatory Area of the GOA to be harvested.

DATES: Effective November 1, 2012, through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time 
(A.l.t.), December 31, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Keaton, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
Gulf of Alaska 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 specified for catcher 
vessels using trawl gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA is 
7,802 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2012 and 2013 
harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (77 FR 15194, March 
14, 2012) and reallocation on September 1, 2012 (77 FR 54838, September 
6, 2012). The 2012 Pacific cod total allowable catch specified for 
hook-and-line C/Ps in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA is 4,100 
mt as established by the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for 
groundfish in the GOA (77 FR 15194, March 14, 2012). The Administrator, 
Alaska Region (Regional Administrator) has determined that catcher 
vessels using trawl gear will not be able to harvest 1,400 mt and hook-
and-line C/Ps will not be able to harvest 600 mt of the 2012 Pacific 
cod TAC allocated to those vessels under Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i)(A). In 
accordance with Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(ii)(B), the Regional Administrator 
has also determined that the pot vessels currently have the capacity to 
harvest this excess allocation and reallocates 2,000 mt to vessels 
using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.
    The harvest specifications for Pacific cod in the Western 
Regulatory Area of the GOA included in the final 2012 harvest 
specifications for groundfish in the GOA (77 FR 15194, March 14, 2012) 
are revised as follows: 6,402 mt for catcher vessels using trawl gear, 
3,500 mt for hook-and-line C/Ps and 9,869 mt for vessels using pot 
gear.

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 from catcher 
vessels using trawl gear and hook-and-line C/Ps to vessels using pot 
gear. 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 31, 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: November 1, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-27045 Filed 11-1-12; 4:15 pm]
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