[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 31 (Wednesday, February 14, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 6473-6474]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-03087]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 161020985-7181-02]
RIN 0648-XG023


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
in the Bering Sea Subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
Management Area

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by trawl 
catcher vessels in the Bering Sea subarea of the

[[Page 6474]]

Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is 
necessary to prevent exceeding the 2018 Pacific cod allocation of the 
total allowable catch (TAC) for the Bering Sea Trawl Catcher Vessel A-
Season Sector Limitation in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI.

DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 11, 
2018, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., April 1, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Keaton, 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 2018 allocation of Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) for 
the Bering Sea Trawl Catcher Vessel A-Season Sector Limitation in the 
Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI is 24,768 metric tons (mt) as 
established by the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for 
groundfish in the BSAI (82 FR 11826, February 26, 2017) and inseason 
adjustment (82 FR 60329, December 20, 2017).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2018 
allocation of Pacific cod TAC for the Bering Sea Trawl Catcher Vessel 
A-Season Sector Limitation in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI will 
soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing 
a directed fishing allowance of 23,268 mt and is setting aside the 
remaining 1,500 mt as incidental catch 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 trawl catcher vessels in the Bering Sea subarea of the 
BSAI.
    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 closure of directed fishing for Pacific cod by trawl 
catcher vessels in the Bering Sea subarea of the BSAI. NMFS was unable 
to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most 
recent, relevant data only became available as of February 8, 2018.
    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: February 9, 2018.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-03087 Filed 2-9-18; 4:15 pm]
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