[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 234 (Wednesday, December 5, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 72243-72244]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-29394]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111213751-2102-02]
RIN 0648-XC376


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 greater than or equal to 60 feet length 
overall (LOA) using pot gear to hook-and-line catcher/processors, pot 
catcher/processors, and catcher vessels less than 60 feet LOA using 
hook-and-line or pot gear 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 November 30, 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 greater than or equal to 60 feet length overall (LOA) 
using pot gear in the BSAI is 19,509 metric tons (mt) as established by 
the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish in the 
BSAI (77 FR 10669, February 23, 2012). The Regional Administrator has 
determined that catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet LOA 
using pot gear will not be able to harvest 6,300 mt of the 2012 Pacific 
cod TAC allocated to those vessels under Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(ii)(A)(5). 
In accordance with Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iii) and taking into account the 
capabilities of the sectors to harvest reallocated amounts of Pacific 
cod, the Regional Administrator has also determined that this 
unharvested amount is unlikely to be entirely harvested through the 
reallocation hierarchy set forth in Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iii)(A). 
Therefore, following the reallocation hierarchies set forth in both 
Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iii)(A) and Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iii)(C), NMFS 
reallocates 500 mt to catcher vessels less than 60 ft. LOA using hook-
and-line or pot gear, 800 mt to pot catcher/processors, and 5,000 mt to 
hook-and-line catcher/processors.\1\
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    \1\ Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iii)(A) requires that the projected 
unharvested amount from catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 
feet length overall (LOA) using pot gear that is unlikely to be 
harvested through the reallocation hierarchy set forth in Sec.  
679.20(a)(7)(iii)(A) be reallocated to the pot catcher/processor 
sector in accordance with the reallocation hierarchy set forth in 
679.20(a)(7)(iii)(C).
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    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: 118,106 mt for hook-and-line catcher/
processors, 4,284 mt for pot catcher/processors, 8,880 mt for catcher 
vessels less than 60 ft. LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear, and 
13,209 mt for catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 ft. LOA 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

[[Page 72244]]

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 the Pacific cod sectors 
affected by this action. 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 29, 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 30, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-29394 Filed 11-30-12; 4:15 pm]
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