[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 41 (Friday, March 1, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 13812-13813]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04815]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111207737-2141-02]
RIN 0648-XC522


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

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; modification of a closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is opening directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher 
vessels (CVs) using trawl gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the 
Gulf of Alaska (GOA) for 48 hours. This action is necessary to fully 
use the A season allowance of the 2013 Pacific cod total allowable 
catch apportioned to CVs using trawl gear in the Western Regulatory 
Area of the GOA.

DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 1, 2013, 
through 1200 hours, A.l.t., March 3, 2013. Comments must be received at 
the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., March 18, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by FDMS 
Docket Number NOAA-NMFS-2012-0180 by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-180, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon,

[[Page 13813]]

complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
     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 sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. 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, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. 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, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

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.
    NMFS closed directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels 
using trawl gear in the Western Regulatory area of the GOA under Sec.  
679.20(d)(1)(iii) on February 14, 2013 (78 FR 11790, February 20, 
2013).
    As of February 25, 2013, NMFS has determined that approximately 226 
metric tons of Pacific cod remain in the A season directed fishing 
allowance for CVs using trawl gear in the Western Regulatory Area of 
the GOA. Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  679.25(a)(1)(i), 
(a)(2)(i)(C), and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to fully utilize the A season 
allowance of the 2013 TAC of Pacific cod in the Western Regulatory Area 
of the GOA, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is reopening 
directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in 
the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA, effective 1200 hours, A.l.t., 
March 1, 2013.
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional 
Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance will be 
reached after 48 hours. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed 
fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the 
Western Regulatory Area of the GOA, effective 1200 hours, A.l.t., March 
3, 2013. The Administrator, Alaska Region (Regional Administrator) 
considered the following factors in reaching this decision: (1) The 
current catch of Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the 
Western Regulatory Area of the GOA and, (2) the harvest capacity and 
stated intent on future harvesting patterns of vessels in participating 
in this fishery.

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 opening of the directed Pacific cod fishery by catcher 
vessels using trawl gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA. 
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 February 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.
    Without this inseason adjustment, NMFS could not allow the Pacific 
cod fishery by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Western 
Regulatory Area of the GOA to be harvested in an expedient manner and 
in accordance with the regulatory schedule. Under Sec.  679.25(c)(2), 
interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this 
action to the above address until March 18, 2013.
    This action is required by Sec.  679.25 and is exempt from review 
under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: February 26, 2013.
Kara Meckley,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-04815 Filed 2-26-13; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P