[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 22 (Friday, February 1, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 7280-7281]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02120]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111207737-2141-02]
RIN 0648-XC466


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
by Vessels Using Pot Gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of 
Alaska

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

[[Page 7281]]


ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by 
vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of 
Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A 
season allowance of the 2013 Pacific cod total allowable catch 
apportioned to vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of 
the GOA.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 28, 
2013, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., September 1, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 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. Regulations governing sideboard 
protections for GOA groundfish fisheries appear at subpart B of 50 CFR 
part 680.
    The A season allowance of the 2013 Pacific cod total allowable 
catch (TAC) apportioned to vessels using pot gear in the Western 
Regulatory Area of the GOA is 4,137 metric tons (mt), as established by 
the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish of the 
GOA (77 FR 15194, March 14, 2012) and inseason adjustment to the final 
2013 harvest specifications for Pacific cod (78 FR 267, January 3, 
2013).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has determined that the A season 
allowance of the 2013 Pacific cod TAC apportioned to vessels using pot 
gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be reached. 
Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed 
fishing allowance of 4,127 mt and is setting aside the remaining 10 mt 
as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In 
accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator 
finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. 
Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by 
vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA. After 
the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at 
Sec.  679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

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 directed fishing closure of Pacific cod for vessels 
using pot gear in the Western 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 January 25, 
2013.
    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: January 28, 2013.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-02120 Filed 1-28-13; 4:15 pm]
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