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


Published: 2016-10-06

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Federal Register, Volume 81 Issue 194 (Thursday, October 6, 2016)


[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 194 (Thursday, October 6, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 69445]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-24116]



[[Page 69445]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 150916863-6211-02]
RIN 0648-XE924


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

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; reallocation.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of Pacific
cod from catcher vessels greater than 60 feet (18.3 meters (m)) length
overall (LOA) using pot gear, catcher vessels using trawl gear, and
vessels using jig gear to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m)
LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear, catcher processors (C/Ps) using
pot gear, and Amendment 80 (A80) C/Ps in the Bering Sea and Aleutian
Islands management area. This action is necessary to allow the 2016
total allowable catch of Pacific cod to be harvested.

DATES: Effective October 5, 2016, through 2400 hours, Alaska local time
(A.l.t.), December 31, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Keaton, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) 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 2016 Pacific cod TAC specified for catcher vessels greater than
60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using pot gear in the BSAI is 18,798 metric tons
(mt) as established by the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications
for groundfish of the BSAI (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016). The Regional
Administrator has determined that catcher vessels greater than 60 feet
(18.3 m) LOA using pot gear in the BSAI will not be able to harvest
1,200 mt of the remaining 2016 Pacific cod TAC allocated to those
vessels under Sec. 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(A)(5).
The 2016 Pacific cod TAC specified for catcher vessels using trawl
gear in the BSAI is 49,638 mt as established by the final 2016 and 2017
harvest specifications for groundfish of the BSAI (81 FR 14773, March
18, 2016). The Regional Administrator has determined that catcher
vessels using trawl gear will not be able to harvest 1,000 mt of the
remaining 2016 Pacific cod TAC allocated to those vessels under Sec.
679.20(a)(7)(ii)(A)(9).
The 2016 Pacific cod TAC specified for vessels using jig gear in
the BSAI is 394 mt as established by the final 2016 and 2017 harvest
specifications for groundfish of the BSAI (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016)
and reallocation (81 FR 57491, August 23, 2016). The Regional
Administrator has determined that vessels using jig gear will not be
able to harvest 300 mt of the remaining 2016 Pacific cod TAC allocated
to those vessels under Sec. 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(A)(1).
Therefore, in accordance with Sec. 679.20(a)(7)(iii)(A) and Sec.
679.20(a)(7)(iii)(B), NMFS reallocates 2,500 mt of Pacific cod to
catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or
pot gear, C/Ps using pot gear, and A80 C/Ps in the Bering Sea and
Aleutian Islands management area.
The harvest specifications for Pacific cod included in the final
2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for groundfish of the BSAI (81 FR
14773, March 18, 2016, 81 FR 57491, August 23, 2016, 81 FR 61143,
September 6, 2016) are revised as follows: 17,598 mt for catcher
vessels greater than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using pot gear, 48,638 mt for
catcher vessels using trawl gear, 94 mt for vessels using jig gear,
8,674 for catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-
and-line or pot gear, 4,357 for C/Ps using pot gear, and 31,097 mt for
A80 C/Ps.

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 multiple
sectors to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-
and-line or pot gear, C/Ps using pot gear, and A80 C/Ps in the Bering
Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. Since these fisheries are
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 29, 2016.
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: September 30, 2016.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-24116 Filed 10-5-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P



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