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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pacific Cod in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska Management Area

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; reallocation.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific cod from trawl catcher/processors to catcher vessels using hook-and-line gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska management area (GOA). This action is necessary to allow the 2013 total allowable catch of Pacific cod in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA to be harvested.

DATES:

Effective September 5, 2013, through 2400 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), December 31, 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 Gulf of Alaska 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 2013 Pacific cod total allowable catch specified for trawl catcher/processors (C/Ps) in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA is 496 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (78 FR 13162, February 26, 2013). The Administrator, Alaska Region (Regional Administrator) has determined that trawl C/Ps will not be able to harvest 100 mt of the 2013 Pacific cod TAC allocated to those vessels under § 679.20(a)(12)(i)(A). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(12)(ii)(B), the Regional Administrator has also determined that catcher vessels using hook-and-line currently have the capacity to harvest this excess allocation and reallocates 100 mt to catcher vessels using hook-and-line gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.

The harvest specifications for Pacific cod in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA included in the final 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (78 FR 13162, February 26, 2013) is revised as follows: 396 mt for trawl C/Ps and 390 mt for vessels using hook-and-line 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 trawl C/Ps to vessels using hook-and-line gear. Since the Start Printed Page 55229fishery 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 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 September 4, 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.

End Authority Start Signature

Dated: September 5, 2013.

James P. Burgess,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2013-21995 Filed 9-5-13; 4:15 pm]

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