[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 245 (Thursday, December 20, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 75399]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-30693]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111207737-2141-02]
RIN 0648-XC405


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Big Skate 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; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting retention of big skate in the Central 
Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary 
because the 2012 total allowable catch of big skate in the Central 
Regulatory Area of the GOA has been reached.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), December 17, 
2012, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2012.

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.
    The 2012 total allowable catch (TAC) of big skate in the Central 
Regulatory Area of the GOA is 1,793 metric tons (mt) as established by 
the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish of the 
GOA (77 FR 15194, March 14, 2012).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(2), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2012 TAC 
of big skate in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA has been 
reached. Therefore, NMFS is requiring that big skate caught in the 
Central Regulatory Area of the GOA be treated as prohibited species in 
accordance with Sec.  679.21(b).

Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently 
obtained from the fishery. The Acting 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 prohibiting the retention of big skate in the 
Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice 
providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant 
data only became available as of December 14, 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 Sec.  679.21 and is 
exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: December 17, 2012.
Emily H. Menashes,
Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-30693 Filed 12-17-12; 4:15 pm]
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