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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Other Rockfish, Other Flatfish, Sharks, and Skates in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; apportionment of reserves; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

NMFS apportions amounts of the non-specified reserve to the initial total allowable catch of other rockfish, other flatfish, sharks, and skates in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). 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 August 25, 2011 through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time, December 31, 2011. Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., Alaska local time, September 9, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments, identified by FDMS Docket Number NOAA-NMFS-2011-0212, by any one of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site at http://www.regulations.gov. To submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the “submit a comment” icon, then enter [NOAA-NMFS-2011-0212] in the keyword search. Locate the document you wish to comment on from the resulting list and click on the “Submit a Comment” icon on the right of that line.
  • Mail: Submit written comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802.
  • Fax: (907) 586-7557.
  • Hand delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK.

Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and considered by NMFS. 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.

All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

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, WordPerfect, or Adobe portable document file (pdf) formats only.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

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 2011 initial total allowable catch (ITAC) of Aleutian Islands (AI) other rockfish, BSAI other flatfish, BSAI sharks, and BSAI skates was established as 425 metric tons (mt), 2,550 mt, 43 mt, and 14,025 mt, respectively, by the final 2011 and 2012 harvest specifications for groundfish of the BSAI (76 FR 11139, March 1, 2011). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(3) the Regional Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has reviewed the most current available data and finds that the ITACs for AI other rockfish, BSAI other flatfish, BSAI sharks, and BSAI skates in the BSAI need to be supplemented from the non-specified reserve in order to promote efficiency in the utilization of fishery resources in the BSAI and allow fishing operations to continue.

Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(b)(3), NMFS apportions from the non-specified reserve of groundfish Start Printed Page 5384175 mt, 450 mt, 7 mt, and 2,475 mt to the AI other rockfish, BSAI other flatfish, BSAI sharks, and BSAI skates ITACs, respectively. This apportionment is consistent with § 679.20(b)(1)(i) and does not result in overfishing of a target species because the revised ITACs are equal to or less than the specifications of the acceptable biological catch in the final 2011 and 2012 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (76 FR 11139, March 1, 2011).

The harvest specification for the 2011 AI other rockfish, BSAI other flatfish, BSAI sharks, and BSAI skates ITACs included in the harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI is revised as follows: 500 mt for AI other rockfish, 3,000 mt for BSAI other flatfish, 50 mt for BSAI sharks, and 16,500 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 § 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 AI other rockfish, BSAI other flatfish, BSAI sharks, 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 August 24, 2011.

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 § 679.20(b)(3)(iii), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action (see ADDRESSES) until September 9, 2011.

This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

Start Authority

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq.

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Dated: August 25, 2011.

James P. Burgess,

Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2011-22139 Filed 8-25-11; 4:15 pm]

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