Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA 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.
NMFS closed directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA under § 679.20(d)(1)(iii) on October 15, 2012 (77 FR 64240, October 19, 2012).
As of October 17, 2012, NMFS has determined that approximately 1,500 metric tons of pollock remain in the directed fishing allowance for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(i), (a)(2)(i)(C), and (a)(2)(iii)(D), and to fully utilize the 2012 TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA, NMFS is terminating the previous closure and is reopening
In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance will be reached after 96 hours. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA, effective 1200 hrs, A.l.t., October 23, 2012. The Administrator, Alaska Region (Regional Administrator) considered the following factors in reaching this decision: (1) The current catch of pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA and, (2) the harvest capacity and stated intent on future harvesting patterns of vessels in participating in this fishery.
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 opening of the directed pollock fishery in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA. 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 October 17, 2012.
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.
Without this inseason adjustment, NMFS could not allow pollock fishery in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA to be harvested in an expedient manner and in accordance with the regulatory schedule. Under § 679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action to the above address until November 5, 2012.
This action is required by § 679.25 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
16 U.S.C. 1801