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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Greater Than or Equal To 60 Feet (18.3 Meters) Length Overall Using Pot Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

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Start Preamble

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 pot catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season apportionment of the 2013 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) specified for pot catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA in the BSAI.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 22, 2013, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., September 1, 2013.

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 A season apportionment of the 2013 Pacific cod TAC allocated as a directed fishing allowance to pot catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA in the BSAI is 9,911 metric tons as established by the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (77 FR 10669, February 23, 2012) and inseason adjustment (78 FR 270, January 3, 2013).

In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the A season apportionment of the 2013 Pacific cod TAC allocated as a directed fishing allowance to pot catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA in the BSAI has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting Start Printed Page 5145directed fishing for Pacific cod by pot catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA in the BSAI.

After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 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 by pot catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA in 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 January 17, 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.

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: January 18, 2013.

James P. Burgess,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2013-01437 Filed 1-18-13; 4:15 pm]

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