[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 219 (Tuesday, November 13, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 67580-67581]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27544]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111207737-2141-02]
RIN 0648-XC344


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
by Vessels Using Jig 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; modification of a closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is opening directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels 
using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska 
(GOA). This action is necessary to fully use the 2012 Pacific cod total 
allowable catch (TAC) apportioned to vessels using jig gear in the 
Central Regulatory Area of the GOA.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), November 9, 
2012, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2012. Comments must be 
received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., 
November 26, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2012-0223, 
by any one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal www.regulations.gov. To 
submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the ``submit a 
comment'' icon, then enter NOAA-NMFS-2012-0223 in the keyword search. 
Locate the document you wish to comment on from the resulting list and 
click on the ``Submit a Comment'' icon on that line.
     Mail: Address written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, 
AK 99802-1668.
     Fax: Address written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Fax comments to 907-586-7557.
     Hand delivery to the Federal Building: Address written 
comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, 
Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen 
Sebastian. Deliver comments to 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, 
AK.
    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 
methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and 
considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public 
record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address) submitted voluntarily by the sender 
will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will 
accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you 
wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be 
accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file 
formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Keaton, 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.
    NMFS closed directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using jig 
gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA under Sec.  
679.20(d)(1)(iii) on June 29, 2012 (77 FR 39183, July 2, 2012).
    As of November 5, 2012, NMFS has determined that approximately 25 
metric tons of Pacific cod remain in the directed fishing allowance of 
the Pacific cod TAC apportioned to vessels using jig gear in the 
Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  
679.25(a)(1)(i), (a)(2)(i)(C), and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to fully utilize 
the 2012 TAC of Pacific cod apportioned to vessels using jig gear in 
the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA, NMFS is terminating the 
previous closure and is reopening directed fishing for Pacific cod by 
vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA, 
effective 1200 hrs, A.l.t., November 9, 2012.
    The Administrator, Alaska Region (Regional Administrator) 
considered the following factors in reaching this

[[Page 67581]]

decision: (1) The current catch of Pacific cod by vessels using jig 
gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA and, (2) the harvest 
capacity and stated intent on future harvesting patterns of vessels in 
participating in this 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 opening of the directed Pacific cod fishery by vessels 
using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. 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 and 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 5, 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.
    Without this inseason adjustment, NMFS could not allow Pacific cod 
fishery by vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the 
GOA to be harvested in an expedient manner and in accordance with the 
regulatory schedule. Under Sec.  679.25(c)(2), interested persons are 
invited to submit written comments on this action to the above address 
until November 26, 2012.
    This action is required by Sec.  679.25 and is exempt from review 
under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: November 7, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-27544 Filed 11-9-12; 8:45 am]
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