Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast States; Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments, 22679-22682 [2012-9248]

Download as PDF wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 74 / Tuesday, April 17, 2012 / Rules and Regulations Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The procedures for setting the annual initial specifications are described in § 648.22. The longfin DAH for the 2012 fishing year (FY) is 22,220 mt, and is allocated into three trimesters: Trimester 1 (January 1–April 30) is allocated 43 percent of the quota (9,555 mt); Trimester 2 (May 1–August 31) is allocated 17 percent of the quota (3,777 mt); and Trimester 3 (September 1– December 31) is allocated 40 percent of the quota (8,888 mt) (77 FR 16472, March 21, 2012). The regulations also require the specification of a butterfish mortality cap in the longfin fishery, which is equal to 75 percent of the butterfish ABC, and accounts for all butterfish discards and landings caught on trips that land over 2,500 lb (1.13 mt) of longfin. The remaining 25 percent of the butterfish ABC is allocated for butterfish landed in the directed longfin fishery, as well as in other fisheries, including trips landing less than 2,500 lb (1.13 mt) of longfin. The butterfish ABC for FY 2012 is 1,811 mt, which corresponds to a butterfish mortality cap of 1,436 mt (75 percent of 1,811 mt). The butterfish mortality cap is also allocated by trimester: Trimester 1 is allocated 65 percent of the butterfish mortality cap (933.4 mt); Trimester 2 is allocated 3.3 percent (47.4 mt); and Trimester 3 is allocated 31.7 percent (455.2 mt). Section 648.24 requires NMFS to close the directed longfin fishery in the EEZ when 80 percent of the Trimester I butterfish mortality cap (747 mt) is projected to be harvested. NMFS is further required to notify, in advance of the closure, the Executive Directors of the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils; mail notification of the closure to all holders of longfin permits at least 72 hr before the effective date of the closure; and publish notification of the closure in the Federal Register. This action announces that NMFS has determined, based on catch data from observed trips, dealer reports, and other available information, that 80 percent of the Trimester 1 butterfish mortality cap is projected to be harvested. Therefore, effective 0001 hours, April 17, 2012, the Trimester 1 directed longfin fishery is closed and vessels issued Federal permits for longfin may not retain or land more than 2,500 lb (1.13 mt) of longfin per trip or calendar day. The directed fishery will reopen at 0001 hours, May 1, 2012. VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:20 Apr 16, 2012 Jkt 226001 Classification 22679 Final rule; inseason adjustments to biennial groundfish management measures; request for comments. ACTION: This action is required by 50 CFR part 648, and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment because it would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This action closes the Trimester 1 directed longfin fishery through April 30, 2012, under current regulations. The regulations at § 648.24 require such action to ensure that longfin vessels do not exceed the 2012 Trimester 1 butterfish mortality cap. Data indicating the longfin fleet will have landed at least 80 percent of the 2012 butterfish mortality cap on trips that land 2,500 lb or more of longfin have only recently become available. If implementation of this closure is delayed to solicit prior public comment, the butterfish mortality cap for Trimester 1 will be exceeded, thereby undermining the conservation objectives of the FMP. Such overage would have to be deducted from that portion of the bycatch cap allocated to Trimester 3. This would have adverse economic consequences for those that fish for longfin in the fall. The AA further finds, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), good cause to waive the 30-day delayed effectiveness period for the reasons stated above. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: April 12, 2012. Carrie Selberg, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2012–9230 Filed 4–12–12; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 This final rule announces inseason changes to management measures in the Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. These actions, which are authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), are intended to allow fisheries to access more abundant groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted stocks. SUMMARY: Effective 0001 hours (local time) May 1, 2012. Comments on this final rule must be received no later than May 17, 2012. DATES: You may submit comments, identified by FDMS docket number NOAA–NMFS–2010–0194 by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http:// www.regulations.gov. • Fax: 206–526–6736, Attn: Colby Brady • Mail: William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115–0070, Attn: Colby Brady. Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http:// www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: [Docket No. 100804324–1265–02] Colby Brady (Northwest Region, NMFS), phone: 206–526–6117, fax: 206–526– 6736, colby.brady@noaa.gov. RIN 0648–BC02 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast States; Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments Electronic Access National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 This final rule is accessible via the Internet at the Office of the Federal Register’s Web site at http:// www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/home.action. Background information and documents are available at the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org/. E:\FR\FM\17APR1.SGM 17APR1 22680 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 74 / Tuesday, April 17, 2012 / Rules and Regulations wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES Background The Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP and its implementing regulations at title 50 in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 660, subparts C through G, regulate fishing for over 90 species of groundfish off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. Groundfish specifications and management measures are developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), and are implemented by NMFS. On November 3, 2010, NMFS published a proposed rule to implement the 2011–2012 harvest specifications and management measures for most species of the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery (75 FR 67810). The final rule to implement the 2011–12 harvest specifications and management measures for most species of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery was published on May 11, 2011 (76 FR 27508). This final rule was subsequently amended by several inseason actions (76 FR 39313, 76 FR 67092, 76 FR 79122, 77 FR 12503). On September 27, 2011, NMFS published a proposed rule to implement final 2012 specifications for overfished species and assessed flatfish species pursuant to Secretarial Amendment 1 to the Groundfish FMP (76 FR 59634). That final rule was effective January 1, 2012. These specifications and management measures are codified in the CFR (50 CFR part 660, subparts C through G). Changes to current groundfish management measures implemented by this action were recommended by the Council, in consultation with the States of Washington, Oregon, and California, at its March 2–March 7, 2012, meeting in Sacramento, California. The Council recommended adjusting the biennial groundfish management measures for the remainder of the biennial period to respond to updated fishery information and an additional inseason management need to adjust the trawl RCA boundaries. The adjustment to fishery management measures are not expected to result in greater impacts to overfished species than originally projected through the end of 2012. Estimated mortality of overfished and target species are the result of management measures designed to achieve, to the extent possible, but not exceed, annual catch limits (ACLs) of target species while fostering the rebuilding of overfished stocks by remaining within their rebuilding ACLs. Trawl Rockfish Conservation Area The Council recommended, and NMFS is implementing, an adjustment to the shoreward line of the trawl VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:20 Apr 16, 2012 Jkt 226001 Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) in Washington State, south of Cape Alava and in northern California, north Cape Mendocino from the 75 fathom line (137-m) to the 100 fathom line (183-m) during Period 3, (May 1–June 30) and Period 5, (September 1–August 31) from 40°10′ N. lat. to 48°10′ N. lat. The Council received a request to review the effects of an adjustment to the shoreward boundary line of the trawl RCA south of 48°10′ N. lat and north of 40°10′ N. lat. from 75 fm to 100 fm for Period 3 (May 1–June 30) and Period 5 (September 1–October 31) to open some additional shelf areas. The Council considered time-weighted historical average bycatch rates stratified by depth and newly available observer data for this area in Periods 3 and 5, in the area shoreward of 100 fm, verses the area shoreward of 75 fm, which did indicate that the probability of encountering canary rockfish, darkblotched rockfish, Pacific ocean perch (POP), and yelloweye rockfish could be higher than if status quo shoreward boundaries remained in place. However, attainments of ACLs for these rebuilding species was low under IFQ management in 2011, and attainments of ACLs are currently (through March 5, 2012) tracking low in 2012 (0.6%, 5.8%, 2.9% and 0.2% respectively). Finally, the Council considered the potential positive impact of individual accountability, a goal of the trawl rationalization program, when making the decision to adjust the shoreward line of the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA). Therefore, the Council recommended, and NMFS is implementing a shift to the shoreward line of the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) in Washington State, south of Cape Alava and in northern California, north Cape Mendocino from the 75 fathom line (137-m) to the 100 fathom line (183-m) during Period 3 (May 1–June 30), and Period 5 (September 1–August 31), from 40°10′ N. lat. to 48°10′ N. lat. Classification This final rule makes routine inseason adjustments to groundfish fishery management measures based on the best available information and is taken pursuant to the regulations implementing the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP. This action is taken under the authority of 50 CFR 660.60(c) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. This inseason adjustment is also taken under the authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Act), and is in accordance with 50 CFR part 660, the regulations implementing the FMP. This action is based on the most recent information available. For the following reasons, NMFS finds good cause to waive prior public notice and comment on the revisions to groundfish management measures under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) because notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Also, for the same reasons, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), so that this final rule may become effective as quickly as possible. The recently available information upon which the changes to the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) management measure changes are based was originally provided to the Council, and the Council made its recommendations, at its March 2–7, 2012. The Council recommended that these changes be implemented by May 1, 2012. For the actions to be implemented in this final rule, affording the time necessary for prior notice and opportunity for public comment would prevent NMFS from managing fisheries using the best available science to approach, without exceeding, the ACLs for federally managed species in accordance with the FMP and applicable laws. The adjustments to management measures in this document affect commercial fisheries off northern California to Washington State. These adjustments to management measures must be implemented in a timely manner to allow fishermen north of 40°10′ N. lat. to prosecute their intended fishing strategies under trawl rationalization. If this rule is not implemented immediately, the public could have incorrect information regarding boundaries used, and allowed fishing activities for groundfish fisheries management, which would cause confusion and be inconsistent with the intent of the Council. It would be contrary to the public interest to delay implementation of these changes until after public notice and comment, because making this regulatory change immediately allows harvest as intended by the Council in fisheries that are important to coastal communities in a manner that prevents ACLs of overfished species from being exceeded. No aspect of this action is controversial and no change in operating practices in the fishery is required from those intended in this inseason adjustment. Delaying these changes would also keep management measures in place that are not based on the best available information. Accordingly, for the E:\FR\FM\17APR1.SGM 17APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 74 / Tuesday, April 17, 2012 / Rules and Regulations reasons stated above, NMFS finds good cause to partially waive prior notice and comment and the delay in effectiveness. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, Indian Fisheries. Dated: April 12, 2012. Carrie Selberg, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended as follows: 22681 PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq. 2. Table 1 (North) to part 660, subpart D is revised to read as follows: ■ VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:20 Apr 16, 2012 Jkt 226001 PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\17APR1.SGM 17APR1 ER17AP12.050</GPH> wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES BILLING CODE 3510–22–P 22682 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 74 / Tuesday, April 17, 2012 / Rules and Regulations [FR Doc. 2012–9248 Filed 4–16–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–C DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 100223162–1268–01] RIN 0648–XB120 Fisheries Off West Coast States; Modifications of the West Coast Commercial and Recreational Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Actions #1, #2, and #3 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Modification of fishing seasons and landing and possession limits; request for comments. AGENCY: NOAA Fisheries announces 3 inseason actions in the ocean salmon fisheries. These inseason actions modified the commercial and recreational fisheries in the area from Cape Falcon, Oregon to Point Arena, California. SUMMARY: The effective dates for the inseason action are set out in this document under the heading Inseason Actions. Inseason actions remain in effect until modified by additional inseason action or superseded by the 2012 annual management measures on May 1, 2012. Comments will be accepted through May 2, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2011–0171, by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http:// www.regulations.gov. To submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the ‘‘submit a comment’’ icon, then enter NOAA–NMFS–2011–0171 in the keyword search. Locate the document you wish to comment on from the resulting list and click on the ‘‘Submit a Comment’’ icon on the right of that line. • Mail: William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115–6349. • Fax: 206–526–6736, Attn: Peggy Mundy. Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and considered wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES DATES: VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:20 Apr 16, 2012 Jkt 226001 by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on http://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peggy Mundy at 206–526–4323. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background In the 2011 annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries (76 FR 25246, May 4, 2011), NMFS announced the commercial and recreational fisheries in the area from the U.S./Canada Border to the U.S./ Mexico Border, beginning May 1, 2011, and 2012 salmon seasons opening earlier than May 1, 2012. NMFS is authorized to implement inseason management actions to modify fishing seasons and quotas as necessary to provide fishing opportunity while meeting management objectives for the affected species (50 CFR 660.409). Prior to taking inseason action, the Regional Administrator (RA) consults with the Chairman of the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and the appropriate State Directors (50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)). Management of the salmon fisheries is generally divided into two geographic areas: north of Cape Falcon (U.S./ Canada Border to Cape Falcon, Oregon) and south of Cape Falcon (Cape Falcon, Oregon to the U.S./Mexico Border). The inseason actions in this document all apply south of Cape Falcon. Inseason Actions Inseason Action #1 The RA consulted with representatives of the Council, California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) on March 5, 2012. The information considered during this consultation related to projected abundance of Chinook salmon stocks for the 2012 salmon fishing season. PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Inseason action #1 changed the minimum size limit for Chinook salmon caught in the recreational salmon fishery from Horse Mountain, California to Point Arena, California beginning April 7, 2012. The minimum size limit for this fishery will be 20 inches total length, which is reduced from 24 inches as previously announced. This action was taken to allow access to abundant 3-year old Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon. On March 5, 2012, the states recommended this action and the RA concurred; inseason action #1 took effect on April 7, 2012. This inseason action remains in effect until superseded by inseason action or implementation of 2012 annual management measures which will be effective on May 1, 2012. This inseason action is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1). Inseason Actions #2 and #3 The RA consulted with representatives of the Council, ODFW, and CDFG on March 6, 2012. The information considered during this consultation related to projected abundance of Chinook salmon stocks for the 2012 salmon fishing season. Inseason action #2 adjusted the scheduled opening date for the commercial salmon fishery from Cape Falcon, Oregon to Humbug Mountain, Oregon. Inseason action #3 adjusted the scheduled opening date for the commercial salmon fishery from Humbug Mountain, Oregon to the Oregon/California Border. These fisheries will open on April 1, 2012 rather than March 15, 2012 as previously scheduled in the 2011 annual management measures. This action was taken as part of developing 2012 annual management measures to provide fisheries consistent with annual catch limits and conservation objectives, while meeting consultation standards on ESA-listed stocks. Fishery models suggested that this delay in opening would provide the best opportunity for optimal harvest without exceeding the guidelines of the FMP. On March 6, 2012, the states recommended this action and the RA concurred; inseason action #2 took effect on March 15, 2012. Modification of quota and/or fishing seasons is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i). All other restrictions and regulations remain in effect as announced for the 2011 Ocean Salmon Fisheries and 2012 fisheries opening prior to May 1, 2012 (76 FR 25246, May 4, 2011). The RA determined that the best available information indicated that the stock abundance, and catch and effort projections supported the above E:\FR\FM\17APR1.SGM 17APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 74 (Tuesday, April 17, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 22679-22682]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-9248]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 100804324-1265-02]
RIN 0648-BC02


Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast States; 
Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments

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

ACTION: Final rule; inseason adjustments to biennial groundfish 
management measures; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This final rule announces inseason changes to management 
measures in the Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. These actions, 
which are authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management 
Plan (FMP), are intended to allow fisheries to access more abundant 
groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted stocks.

DATES: Effective 0001 hours (local time) May 1, 2012. Comments on this 
final rule must be received no later than May 17, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by FDMS docket number 
NOAA-NMFS-2010-0194 by any one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov.
     Fax: 206-526-6736, Attn: Colby Brady
     Mail: William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, 
Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-
0070, Attn: Colby Brady.
    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record 
and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without 
change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, 
address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly 
accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information.
    NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required 
fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit attachments to 
electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF 
file formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Colby Brady (Northwest Region, NMFS), 
phone: 206-526-6117, fax: 206-526-6736, colby.brady@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    This final rule is accessible via the Internet at the Office of the 
Federal Register's Web site at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/home.action. Background information and documents are available at the 
Pacific Fishery Management Council's Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org/.

[[Page 22680]]

Background

    The Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP and its implementing regulations 
at title 50 in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 660, 
subparts C through G, regulate fishing for over 90 species of 
groundfish off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. 
Groundfish specifications and management measures are developed by the 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), and are implemented by 
NMFS.
    On November 3, 2010, NMFS published a proposed rule to implement 
the 2011-2012 harvest specifications and management measures for most 
species of the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery (75 FR 67810). The 
final rule to implement the 2011-12 harvest specifications and 
management measures for most species of the Pacific Coast Groundfish 
Fishery was published on May 11, 2011 (76 FR 27508). This final rule 
was subsequently amended by several inseason actions (76 FR 39313, 76 
FR 67092, 76 FR 79122, 77 FR 12503). On September 27, 2011, NMFS 
published a proposed rule to implement final 2012 specifications for 
overfished species and assessed flatfish species pursuant to 
Secretarial Amendment 1 to the Groundfish FMP (76 FR 59634). That final 
rule was effective January 1, 2012. These specifications and management 
measures are codified in the CFR (50 CFR part 660, subparts C through 
G).
    Changes to current groundfish management measures implemented by 
this action were recommended by the Council, in consultation with the 
States of Washington, Oregon, and California, at its March 2-March 7, 
2012, meeting in Sacramento, California. The Council recommended 
adjusting the biennial groundfish management measures for the remainder 
of the biennial period to respond to updated fishery information and an 
additional inseason management need to adjust the trawl RCA boundaries. 
The adjustment to fishery management measures are not expected to 
result in greater impacts to overfished species than originally 
projected through the end of 2012. Estimated mortality of overfished 
and target species are the result of management measures designed to 
achieve, to the extent possible, but not exceed, annual catch limits 
(ACLs) of target species while fostering the rebuilding of overfished 
stocks by remaining within their rebuilding ACLs.

Trawl Rockfish Conservation Area

    The Council recommended, and NMFS is implementing, an adjustment to 
the shoreward line of the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) in 
Washington State, south of Cape Alava and in northern California, north 
Cape Mendocino from the 75 fathom line (137-m) to the 100 fathom line 
(183-m) during Period 3, (May 1-June 30) and Period 5, (September 1-
August 31) from 40[deg]10' N. lat. to 48[deg]10' N. lat.
    The Council received a request to review the effects of an 
adjustment to the shoreward boundary line of the trawl RCA south of 
48[deg]10' N. lat and north of 40[deg]10' N. lat. from 75 fm to 100 fm 
for Period 3 (May 1-June 30) and Period 5 (September 1-October 31) to 
open some additional shelf areas. The Council considered time-weighted 
historical average bycatch rates stratified by depth and newly 
available observer data for this area in Periods 3 and 5, in the area 
shoreward of 100 fm, verses the area shoreward of 75 fm, which did 
indicate that the probability of encountering canary rockfish, 
darkblotched rockfish, Pacific ocean perch (POP), and yelloweye 
rockfish could be higher than if status quo shoreward boundaries 
remained in place. However, attainments of ACLs for these rebuilding 
species was low under IFQ management in 2011, and attainments of ACLs 
are currently (through March 5, 2012) tracking low in 2012 (0.6%, 5.8%, 
2.9% and 0.2% respectively). Finally, the Council considered the 
potential positive impact of individual accountability, a goal of the 
trawl rationalization program, when making the decision to adjust the 
shoreward line of the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA).
    Therefore, the Council recommended, and NMFS is implementing a 
shift to the shoreward line of the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area 
(RCA) in Washington State, south of Cape Alava and in northern 
California, north Cape Mendocino from the 75 fathom line (137-m) to the 
100 fathom line (183-m) during Period 3 (May 1-June 30), and Period 5 
(September 1-August 31), from 40[deg]10' N. lat. to 48[deg]10' N. lat.

Classification

    This final rule makes routine inseason adjustments to groundfish 
fishery management measures based on the best available information and 
is taken pursuant to the regulations implementing the Pacific Coast 
Groundfish FMP.
    This action is taken under the authority of 50 CFR 660.60(c) and is 
exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
    This inseason adjustment is also taken under the authority of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act), and is in accordance with 50 CFR part 660, the 
regulations implementing the FMP. This action is based on the most 
recent information available.
    For the following reasons, NMFS finds good cause to waive prior 
public notice and comment on the revisions to groundfish management 
measures under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) because notice and comment would 
be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Also, for the 
same reasons, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), so that this final rule 
may become effective as quickly as possible.
    The recently available information upon which the changes to the 
trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) management measure changes are 
based was originally provided to the Council, and the Council made its 
recommendations, at its March 2-7, 2012. The Council recommended that 
these changes be implemented by May 1, 2012. For the actions to be 
implemented in this final rule, affording the time necessary for prior 
notice and opportunity for public comment would prevent NMFS from 
managing fisheries using the best available science to approach, 
without exceeding, the ACLs for federally managed species in accordance 
with the FMP and applicable laws. The adjustments to management 
measures in this document affect commercial fisheries off northern 
California to Washington State.
    These adjustments to management measures must be implemented in a 
timely manner to allow fishermen north of 40[deg]10' N. lat. to 
prosecute their intended fishing strategies under trawl 
rationalization. If this rule is not implemented immediately, the 
public could have incorrect information regarding boundaries used, and 
allowed fishing activities for groundfish fisheries management, which 
would cause confusion and be inconsistent with the intent of the 
Council. It would be contrary to the public interest to delay 
implementation of these changes until after public notice and comment, 
because making this regulatory change immediately allows harvest as 
intended by the Council in fisheries that are important to coastal 
communities in a manner that prevents ACLs of overfished species from 
being exceeded.
    No aspect of this action is controversial and no change in 
operating practices in the fishery is required from those intended in 
this inseason adjustment.
    Delaying these changes would also keep management measures in place 
that are not based on the best available information. Accordingly, for 
the

[[Page 22681]]

reasons stated above, NMFS finds good cause to partially waive prior 
notice and comment and the delay in effectiveness.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Indian Fisheries.

    Dated: April 12, 2012.
Carrie Selberg,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended 
as follows:

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 
U.S.C. 7001 et seq.


0
2. Table 1 (North) to part 660, subpart D is revised to read as 
follows:
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR17AP12.050


[[Page 22682]]


[FR Doc. 2012-9248 Filed 4-16-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-C