[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 235 (Friday, December 6, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 73454-73455]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-29164]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 120918468-3111-02]
RIN 0648-XC975


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

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SUMMARY: NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific 
cod from catcher vessels using trawl gear to catcher vessels using 
hook-and-line gear and vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory 
Area of the Gulf of Alaska management area (GOA). This action is 
necessary to allow the 2013 total allowable catch of Pacific cod in the 
Western Regulatory Area of the GOA to be harvested.

DATES: Effective December 3, 2013, through 2400 hours, Alaska local 
time (A.l.t.), December 31, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
Gulf of Alaska 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 2013 Pacific cod total allowable catch specified for catcher 
vessels using

[[Page 73455]]

trawl gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA is 7,941 metric 
tons (mt) as established by the final 2013 and 2014 harvest 
specifications for groundfish in the GOA (78 FR 13162, February 26, 
2013). The Administrator, Alaska Region (Regional Administrator) has 
determined that catcher vessels using trawl gear will not be able to 
harvest 2,100 mt of the 2013 Pacific cod TAC allocated to those vessels 
under Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i)(A). In accordance with Sec.  
679.20(a)(12)(ii)(B), the Regional Administrator has also determined 
that catcher vessels using hook-and-line gear and vessels using pot 
gear currently have the capacity to harvest this excess allocation and 
reallocates 100 mt to catcher vessels using hook-and-line gear and 
2,000 mt to vessels using pot gear.
    The harvest specifications for Pacific cod in the Western 
Regulatory Area of the GOA included in the final 2013 harvest 
specifications for groundfish in the GOA (78 FR 13162, February 26, 
2013) is revised as follows: 5,841 mt for catcher vessels using trawl 
gear, 490 mt for vessels using hook-and-line gear, and 9,859 mt for 
vessels using pot 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 catcher 
vessels using trawl gear to vessels using hook-and-line gear and 
vessels using pot gear. Since the fishery is currently ongoing, 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 2, 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: December 3, 2013.
Sean F. Corson,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-29164 Filed 12-3-13; 4:15 pm]
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