[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 219 (Tuesday, November 13, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 67579-67580]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27536]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111207737-2141-02]
RIN 0648-XC346


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation 
of Pacific Cod in the Central 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 to vessels using pot gear and 
vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of 
Alaska management area. This action is necessary to allow the 2012 
total allowable catch of Pacific cod to be harvested.

DATES: Effective November 7, 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 
Gulf of Alaska (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 specified for catcher 
vessels using trawl gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA is 
15,954 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2012 and 2013 
harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (77 FR 15194, March 
14, 2012), after a 1,627 mt apportionment to the trawl catcher vessel 
sector under the Central GOA Rockfish Program (Sec.  679.81(c)(4)(ii)). 
The Administrator, Alaska Region (Regional Administrator) has 
determined that catcher vessels using trawl gear will not be able to 
harvest 1,800 mt of the 2012 Pacific cod TAC allocated to those vessels 
under Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i)(B)(4). In accordance with Sec.  
679.20(a)(12)(ii)(B), the Regional Administrator has also determined 
that the pot and jig sectors currently have the capacity to harvest 
this excess allocation and reallocates 1,500 mt to vessels using pot 
gear and 300 mt to vessels using jig gear.
    The harvest specifications for Pacific cod included in the final 
2012 harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (77 FR 15194, 
March 14, 2012) are revised as follows: 14,154 mt for catcher vessels 
using trawl gear, 13,255 mt for vessels using pot gear, and 727 mt to 
vessels using jig gear. This action does not reduce the Pacific cod 
apportionment (1,627 mt) made to the trawl catcher vessel sector 
operating under the Central GOA Rockfish Program.

[[Page 67580]]

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 to vessels using pot gear and vessels using 
jig 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 November 6, 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 7, 2012.
Emily H. Menashes,
Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-27536 Filed 11-7-12; 4:15 pm]
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