[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 236 (Friday, December 7, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 72995-72996]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-29622]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111213751-2102-02]
RIN 0648-XC377


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Other 
Flatfish, Other Rockfish, Pacific Ocean Perch, Sculpin, and Squid 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; apportionment of reserves; request for 
comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS apportions amounts of the non-specified reserve to the 
initial total allowable catch of Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, 
Aleutian Islands other rockfish, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) 
other flatfish, BSAI sculpin, and BSAI squid in the BSAI

[[Page 72996]]

management area. This action is necessary to allow the fisheries to 
continue operating. It is intended to promote the goals and objectives 
of the fishery management plan for the BSAI management area.

DATES: Effective December 4, 2012 through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time, 
December 31, 2012. Comments must be received at the following address 
no later than 4:30 p.m., Alaska local time, December 19, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2012-0243, by any 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-2012-0243 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: Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
(BSAI) exclusive economic zone 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 initial total allowable catch (ITAC) of Bering Sea (BS) 
Pacific ocean perch in the BSAI was established as 4,854 metric tons 
(mt), the 2012 ITAC of Aleutian Islands (AI) other rockfish was 
established as 485 mt, the 2012 ITAC of BSAI other flatfish was 
established as 3,200 mt, the 2012 ITAC of BSAI sculpin was established 
as 5,200 mt, and the 2012 ITAC of BSAI squid was established as 425 mt 
by the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish of the 
BSAI (77 FR 10669, February 23, 2012). This includes apportionments of 
the non-specified reserve to BSAI other flatfish and BSAI squid in two 
separate actions (77 FR 46641, August 6, 2012 and 77 FR 44172, July 27, 
2012, respectively). In accordance with Sec.  679.20(a)(3) the Regional 
Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has reviewed the most current 
available data and finds that the ITACs for BS Pacific ocean perch, AI 
other rockfish, BSAI other flatfish, BSAI sculpin, and BSAI squid in 
the BSAI need to be supplemented from the non-specified reserve in 
order to promote efficiency in the utilization of fishery resources in 
the BSAI and allow fishing operations to continue.
    Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(b)(3), NMFS apportions 
from the non-specified reserve of groundfish 856 mt to the BS Pacific 
ocean perch ITAC, 85 mt to the AI other rockfish ITAC, 400 mt to the 
BSAI other flatfish ITAC, 550 mt to the BSAI sculpin ITAC, and 275 mt 
to the BSAI squid ITAC in the BSAI. These apportionments are consistent 
with Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(i) and do not result in overfishing of any 
target species because the revised ITACs are equal to or less than the 
specifications of the acceptable biological catch in the final 2012 and 
2013 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (77 FR 10669, 
February 23, 2012).
    The harvest specification for the 2012 ITACs included in the 
harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI are revised as 
follows: 5,710 mt for BS Pacific ocean perch, 570 mt for AI other 
rockfish, 3,600 mt for BSAI other flatfish, 5,750 mt for BSAI sculpin, 
and 700 mt for BSAI squid.

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) and Sec.  679.20(b)(3)(iii)(A) as such a 
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 apportionment of the non-specified 
reserves of groundfish to the BS Pacific ocean perch, AI other 
rockfish, BSAI other flatfish, BSAI sculpin, and BSAI squid fisheries 
in the BSAI. 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 30, 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.
    Under Sec.  679.20(b)(3)(iii), interested persons are invited to 
submit written comments on this action (see ADDRESSES) until December 
19, 2012.
    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: December 3, 2012.
Emily H. Menashes,
Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-29622 Filed 12-4-12; 4:15 pm]
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