[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 249 (Friday, December 28, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 76425]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-31228]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111207737-2141-02]
RIN 0648-XC415


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.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific 
cod from catcher vessels using trawl gear to vessels using pot gear and 
catcher vessels less than 50 feet length overall using hook-and-line 
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 December 26, 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 
14,154 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)) 
and a 1,800 mt reallocation to the pot and jig gear sectors (77 FR 
67579, November 13, 2012). The Administrator, Alaska Region (Regional 
Administrator) has determined that catcher vessels using trawl gear 
will not be able to harvest 950 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 sector and the less than 50 ft. length 
overall (LOA) catcher vessel using hook-and-line gear sector currently 
have the capacity to harvest this excess allocation and reallocates 750 
mt to vessels using pot gear and 200 mt to less than 50 ft. LOA catcher 
vessels using hook-and-line 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), as adjusted by the 1,800 mt reallocation to the pot 
and jig gear sectors (77 FR 67579, November 13, 2012), are revised as 
follows: 13,204 mt for catcher vessels using trawl gear, 14,005 mt for 
vessels using pot gear, and 6,374 mt to less than 50 ft. LOA catcher 
vessels using hook-and-line 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.

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 less than 50 ft. 
LOA catcher vessels using hook-and-line 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 
December 20, 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: December 21, 2012.
Emily H. Menashes,
Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-31228 Filed 12-26-12; 11:15 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P