[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 50 (Friday, March 14, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 14439]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-05647]



[[Page 14439]]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 130925836-4174-02]
RIN 0648-XD166


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
by Catcher Vessels Using Hook-and-Line Gear in the Central Regulatory 
Area of the Gulf of Alaska

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by 
catcher vessels less than 50 feet (15.2 meters (m)) length overall 
(LOA) using hook-and-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the 
Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 
A season allowance of the 2014 Pacific cod total allowable catch 
apportioned to catcher vessels less than 50 feet (15.2 m) LOA using 
hook-and-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA.

DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 11, 
2014, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., September 1, 2014.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
GOA 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 A season allowance of the 2014 Pacific cod total allowable 
catch (TAC) apportioned to catcher vessels less than 50 feet (15.2 m) 
LOA using hook-and-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA 
is 3,636 metric tons (mt), as established by the final 2014 and 2015 
harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (79 FR 12890, March 
26, 2014).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has determined that the A season 
allowance of the 2014 Pacific cod TAC apportioned to catcher vessels 
less than 50 feet (15.2 m) LOA using hook-and-line gear in the Central 
Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the 
Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 
3,486 mt and is setting aside the remaining 150 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 less 
than 50 feet (15.2 m) LOA using hook-and-line gear in the Central 
Regulatory Area of the GOA. 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 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 directed fishing closure of Pacific cod for catcher 
vessels less than 50 feet (15.2 m) LOA using hook-and-line gear in the 
Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice 
providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant 
data only became available as of March 10, 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 11, 2014.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-05647 Filed 3-11-14; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P