[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 224 (Wednesday, November 20, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 69592-69593]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-27778]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 121018563-3148-02]
RIN 0648-XC971


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation 
of Pacific Cod 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; reallocation.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of Pacific 
cod from catcher vessels using jig gear, catcher vessels greater than 
60 feet (18.3 meters) length overall (LOA) using pot gear, and catcher 
vessels using trawl

[[Page 69593]]

gear to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters) LOA using hook-
and-line or pot gear, American Fisheries Act (AFA) catcher/processors 
(C/P), Amendment 80 (A80) C/Ps, C/P vessels using pot gear, and C/P 
vessels using hook-and-line gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
management area. This action is necessary to allow the 2013 total 
allowable catch of Pacific cod to be harvested.

DATES: Effective November 15, 2013, through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time 
(A.l.t.), December 31, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907-586-7269.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) 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 2013 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) specified for 
vessels using jig gear in the BSAI is 751 metric tons (mt) as 
established by the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for 
groundfish in the BSAI (78 FR 13813, March 1, 2013) and reallocations 
(78 FR 53076, August 28, 2013). The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, 
(Regional Administrator) has determined that jig vessels will not be 
able to harvest 700 mt of the remaining 2013 Pacific cod TAC allocated 
to those vessels under Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(ii)(A)(1).
    The 2013 Pacific cod TAC specified for catcher vessels greater than 
or equal to 60 feet LOA using pot gear in the BSAI is 19,434 mt as 
established by the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for 
groundfish in the BSAI (78 FR 13813, March 1, 2013). The Regional 
Administrator has determined that catcher vessels greater than or equal 
to 60 feet LOA using pot gear will not be able to harvest 6,000 mt of 
the remaining 2013 Pacific cod TAC allocated to those vessels under 
Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(ii)(A)(5).
    The 2013 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) specified for 
catcher vessels using trawl gear in the BSAI is 46,812 metric tons (mt) 
as established by the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for 
groundfish in the BSAI (78 FR 13813, March 1, 2013) and sector 
reallocations (78 FR 552868, August 27, 2013, and 78 FR 58955, 
September 25, 2013). The Regional Administrator has determined that 
catcher vessels using trawl gear will not be able to harvest 3,000 mt 
of the remaining 2013 Pacific cod TAC allocated to those vessels under 
Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(ii)(A)(9).
    Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iii)(A) and Sec.  
679.20(a)(7)(iii)(B), NMFS reallocates 9,700 mt of Pacific cod to 
catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters) LOA using hook-and-line 
or pot gear, AFA C/P vessels, A80 C/P vessels, C/P vessels using pot 
gear, and C/P vessels using hook-and-line gear in the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands management area.
    The harvest specifications for Pacific cod included in the final 
2013 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (78 FR 13813, 
March 1, 2013) are revised as follows: 51 mt for catcher vessels using 
jig gear, 13,434 mt for catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 
feet LOA using pot gear, and 43,812 mt for catcher vessels using trawl 
gear, 9,177 mt for catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using 
hook-and-line or pot gear, 6,740 mt for AFA C/P vessels, 37,212 mt to 
A80 C/P vessels, 6,070 for C/Ps using pot gear, and 115,171 to C/Ps 
using hook-and-line gear.

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 other 
sectors to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters) LOA using 
hook-and-line or pot gear, AFA C/P vessels, A80 C/P vessels, C/Ps using 
pot gear, and C/Ps using hook-and-line gear in the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands management area. Since these fisheries are 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 November 12, 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: November 15, 2013.
Kelly Denit,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-27778 Filed 11-15-13; 4:15 pm]
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