[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 48 (Tuesday, March 12, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 15643-15644]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-05783]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 121018563-3148-02]
RIN 0648-XC552


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
by Catcher Vessels Using Trawl Gear 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; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by 
catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding 
the A season apportionment of the 2013 Pacific cod total allowable 
catch allocated to trawl catcher vessels in the BSAI.

DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 11, 
2013, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., April 1, 2013.

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 A season apportionment of the 2013 Pacific cod total allowable 
catch (TAC) allocated to trawl catcher vessels in the BSAI is 37,971 
metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2013 and 2014 harvest 
specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (78 FR 13813, March 1, 2013).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the A season 
apportionment of the 2013 Pacific cod TAC allocated to trawl catcher 
vessels in the BSAI will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional 
Administrator is establishing a directed fishing

[[Page 15644]]

allowance of 36,971 mt and is setting aside the remaining 1,000 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 
catcher vessels using trawl gear in the BSAI.
    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 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) and Sec.  679.25(c)(1)(ii) 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 closure of directed 
fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the 
BSAI. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public 
comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as 
of March 7, 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: March 8, 2013.
Kara Meckley,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-05783 Filed 3-8-13; 4:15 pm]
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