2018-01286. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Greater Than or Equal to 60 Feet Length Overall Using Pot Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area  

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    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 catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) using pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season apportionment of the 2018 Pacific cod total allowable catch allocated to catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3m) LOA using pot gear in the BSAI.

    DATES:

    Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 19, 2018, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., September 1, 2018.

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    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Josh Keaton, 907-586-7228.

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    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 2018 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3m) LOA using pot gear in the BSAI is 7,770 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (82 FR 11826, February 27, 2017) and inseason adjustment (82 FR 60329, December 20, 2017).

    In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has Start Printed Page 3282determined that the A season apportionment of the 2018 Pacific cod TAC allocated as a directed fishing allowance to catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3m) LOA using pot gear in the BSAI will soon be reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3m) LOA using pot gear 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 closure of directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3m) LOA using pot gear 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, 2018.

    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.

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

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    Dated: January 19, 2018.

    Emily H. Menashes,

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

    End Signature End Supplemental Information

    [FR Doc. 2018-01286 Filed 1-19-18; 4:15 pm]

    BILLING CODE 3510-22-P

Document Information

Effective Date:
1/19/2018
Published:
01/24/2018
Department:
Commerce Department
Agency:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
EntryType:
Rule
Action:
Temporary rule; closure.
Document Number:
2018-01286
Dates:
Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 19, 2018, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., September 1, 2018.
Pages:
3281-3282 (2 pages)
Docket Numbers:
Docket No. 161020985-7181-02
RIN:
0648-XF92
SectionNoes:
PDF File:
2018-01286.pdf
Supporting Documents:
» Nov-2016 BSAI Safe
» Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Supplementary Information Report January 2017
» The final 2015 BSAI Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report
» Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Supplementary Information Report January 2016
» Record of Decision
» Jan 2007 AK Groundfish Harvest Specifications FINAL EIS
» Oct 2016 IRFA BSAI Specs 2017-18
CFR: (1)
50 CFR 679