[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 45 (Friday, March 7, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 12958-12959]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-04992]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 131021878-4158-02]
RIN 0648-XD160


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 amount of Pacific 
cod from vessels using jig gear to catcher vessels less than 60 feet 
(18.3 meters) length overall using hook-and-line or pot gear in the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is 
necessary to allow the A season apportionment of the 2014 total 
allowable catch of Pacific cod to be harvested.

DATES: Effective March 4, 2014, through 2400 hours, Alaska local time 
(A.l.t.), December 31, 2014.

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

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 A season apportionment of the 2014 Pacific cod total allowable 
catch (TAC) specified for vessels using jig gear in the BSAI is 1,905 
metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2014 and 2015 harvest 
specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014).
    The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, (Regional Administrator) 
has determined that jig vessels will not be able to harvest 1,700 mt of 
the A season apportionment of the 2014 Pacific cod TAC allocated to 
those vessels under Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(ii)(A)(1). Therefore, in 
accordance with Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iv)(C), NMFS apportions 1,700 mt of 
Pacific cod from the A season jig gear apportionment to the annual 
amount specified for catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters(m)) 
length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line or pot gear.
    The harvest specifications for Pacific cod included in the final 
2014 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (79 FR 12108, 
March 4, 2014) are revised as follows: 205 mt to the A season 
apportionment and 1,474 mt to the annual amount for vessels using jig 
gear, and 6,218 mt to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA 
using hook-and-line or 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 jig vessels 
to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line 
or pot gear. Since the fishery is 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

[[Page 12959]]

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 March 3, 2014.
    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 4, 2014.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-04992 Filed 3-4-14; 4:15 pm]
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