[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 242 (Tuesday, December 17, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 76246-76247]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-29916]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 121018563-3148-02]
RIN 0648-XD028


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Several 
Groundfish Species 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; apportionment of reserves; request for 
comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS apportions amounts of the non-specified reserve to the 
initial total allowable catch of Bering Sea Greenland turbot and Bering 
Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Alaska plaice and the total allowable 
catch of BSAI sculpins and BSAI skates in the BSAI management area. 
This action is necessary to allow the fisheries to continue operating. 
It is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the fishery 
management plan for the BSAI management area.

DATES: Effective December 12, 2013, through 2400 hrs, Alaska local 
time, December 31, 2013. Comments must be received at the following 
address no later than 4:30 p.m., Alaska local time, December 27, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by FDMS 
Docket Number NOAA-NMFS-2012-0210 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-2012-0210, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit 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.
    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: Mary Furuness, 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 2013 initial total allowable catch (ITAC) of Bering Sea (BS) 
Greenland turbot in the BSAI was established as 1,369 metric tons (mt), 
the 2013 ITAC of BSAI Alaska plaice was established as 17,000 mt, the 
2013 total allowable catch (TAC) of BSAI sculpins was established as 
5,600 mt, and the 2013 TAC of BSAI skates was established as 24,000 mt 
by the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for groundfish of the 
BSAI (78 FR 13813, March 1, 2013). In accordance with Sec.  
679.20(a)(3) the Regional Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has 
reviewed the most current available data and finds that the ITACs for 
Bering Sea Greenland turbot and Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) 
Alaska plaice and the total allowable catch of BSAI sculpins and BSAI 
skates in the BSAI need to be supplemented from the non-specified 
reserve to

[[Page 76247]]

promote efficiency in the utilization of fishery resources in the BSAI 
and allow fishing operations to continue.
    Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(b)(3), NMFS apportions 
from the non-specified reserve of groundfish 69 mt to the BS Greenland 
turbot ITAC, 4,571 mt to the BSAI Alaska plaice ITAC, 300 mt to the 
BSAI sculpins TAC and 1,500 mt to the BSAI skates TAC in the BSAI. 
These apportionments are consistent with Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(i) and do 
not result in overfishing of any target species because the revised 
ITACs and TAC are equal to or less than the specifications of the 
acceptable biological catch in the final 2013 and 2014 harvest 
specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (78 FR 13813, March 1, 2013).
    The harvest specification for the 2013 ITACs included in the 
harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI are revised as 
follows: 1,610 mt for BS Greenland turbot, 21,571 mt for BSAI Alaska 
plaice, 5,900 mt for BSAI sculpins, and 25,500 mt for BSAI skates.

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) and Sec.  679.20(b)(3)(iii)(A) as such a 
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 apportionment of the non-specified 
reserves of groundfish to the BS Greenland turbot, BSAI Alaska plaice, 
BSAI sculpins, and BSAI skates fisheries in the BSAI. 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 December 3, 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.
    Under Sec.  679.20(b)(3)(iii), interested persons are invited to 
submit written comments on this action (see ADDRESSES) until December 
27, 2013.
    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 12, 2013.
Sean F. Corson,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-29916 Filed 12-12-13; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P