Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments, 47322-47327 [2012-19445]

Download as PDF wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES 47322 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 153 / Wednesday, August 8, 2012 / Rules and Regulations primary determinant in both these levels. Therefore, the alternatives in the EA covered a range of higher and lower ABC and ACL levels in the context of the OFL and HG levels. With regard to the suggestion by the commenter to analyze as an alternative in this EA one-half FMSY (a static percentage applied to the biomass estimate) as the basis from which to set the annual specifications, this would not have been a pertinent alternative for an EA on the 2012 annual specifications. The annual specifications implement the FMP, which uses a harvest guideline control rule with a specific, ecosystem-sensitive formula. To analyze such an alternative would have been outside the scope of the rulemaking. The purpose of this EA was to analyze alternative approaches to implementing the existing FMP, not alternatives for changing the FMP. Furthermore, even if this were an EA considering amendments to the existing FMP, as stated above, fishery management approaches for small pelagic species based on equilibrium or steady-state concepts, such as those suggested by the commenter (i.e., MSY or BMSY), which ignore natural variability in abundance, are not the most appropriate or reasonable and therefore the current approach—which accounts for natural variability—is used. Although the commenter cites an FMSY of 0.12 from an alternative not chosen in the environmental impact statement for Amendment 8 to the CPS FMP as well as an FMSY of 0.18 from modeling conducted as part of the 2011 sardine stock assessment, neither value was intended even in those documents to be used as part of an actual static MSY harvest strategy because biomass and productivity of most CPS change in response to environmental variability on annual and decadal time scales. These numbers were postulated as modeling exercises, or for the sake of considering a range of alternatives or other specific purposes. The harvest strategy in the FMP accounts for environmental variability and requires annual estimates of biomass rather than using a static harvest strategy. The commenter is welcome to recommend that the Council and NMFS amend the FMP to manage Pacific sardine using a steady-state formula that would not account for natural fluctuations or conditions, but the EA for the 2012 annual specifications was not the appropriate place to conduct the analysis of that alternative. Classification The Administrator, Southwest Region, NMFS, determined that this action is VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:48 Aug 07, 2012 Jkt 226001 necessary for the conservation and management of the Pacific sardine fishery and that it is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other applicable laws. NMFS finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness for the establishment of the harvest specifications for the 2012 Pacific sardine fishing season. For the reasons set forth below, the immediate implementation of this measure is necessary for the conservation and management of the Pacific sardine resource. This rule establishes seasonal harvest allocations and the ability to restrict fishing when these allocations are approached or reached. These allocations are important mechanisms in preventing overfishing and managing the fishery at optimum yield while allowing fair and equitable opportunity to the resource by all sectors of the Pacific sardine fishery. A delay in effectiveness is likely to prevent the ability to close the fishery when necessary and cause the fishery to exceed the second seasonal allocation. The directed and incidental harvest allocations are designed to allow fair and equitable opportunity to the resource by all sectors of the Pacific sardine fishery and to allow access to other profitable CPS fisheries, such as squid and Pacific mackerel. Because the directed harvest allocation for the second allocation period is approximately 30,000 mt greater than the level in 2011, NMFS did not expect that it would be necessary to close the directed fishery prior to the start of the third allocation period. However, based on current landings information, which are significantly higher than anticipated, NMFS expects the directed fishery will need to be closed during the current allocation period, which began on July 1. Delaying the effective date of this rule is contrary to the public interest because additional reduction of Pacific sardine beyond the incidental take limit set out in this action would decrease the future harvest limits, thereby reducing future potential catch of the stock along with the profits associated with those harvests. Therefore, NMFS finds that there is good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness in this circumstance. To help keep the regulated community informed of this final rule NMFS will also announce this action through other means available, including fax, email, and mail to fishermen, processors, and state fishery management agencies. Additionally, NMFS will advise the CPS Advisory PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Subpanel, which is comprised of representatives from all sectors and regions of the sardine industry, including processors, fishermen, user groups, conservation groups, and fishermen association representatives, of current landings as they become available and for the public at-large also post them on NMFS’ Southwest Regional Office Web site, http:// swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/. This final rule is exempt from Office of Management and Budget review under Executive Order 12866. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: August 3, 2012. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2012–19419 Filed 8–7–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 100804324–1265–02] RIN 0648–BC36 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; inseason adjustments to biennial groundfish management measures. AGENCY: This final rule announces inseason changes to management measures in the Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. This action, which is authorized by the Pacific Coast SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\08AUR1.SGM 08AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 153 / Wednesday, August 8, 2012 / Rules and Regulations Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), is intended to allow fisheries to access more abundant groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted stocks. DATES: Effective 0001 hours (local time) September 1, 2012. 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/. adjusting the biennial groundfish management measures for the remainder of the biennial period to respond to updated fishery information and additional inseason management needs. 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. Limited Entry (LE) Fixed Gear Fishery Management Measures wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES Background Sablefish Daily Trip Limit (DTL) Trip Limits North of 36° N. Lat. 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, 77 FR 22679, 77 FR 24634). 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 Pacific Coast Treaty Indian Tribes and the States of Washington, Oregon, and California, at its June 20–June 25, 2012 meeting. The Council recommended To ensure that harvest opportunities for this stock do not exceed the LE fixed gear sablefish DTL allocation north of 36° N. lat., the Council considered decreases to trip limits for sablefish in this fishery and the potential impacts on overall catch levels. Model-based landings projections of the LE fixed gear sablefish DTL fishery north of 36° N. lat. were made for the remainder of 2012 by the Council’s Groundfish Management Team (GMT). These projections were made based on the most recent information available under the current 2012 trip limit scenario, and predicted a harvest overage of 41 percent, or 108 metric tons in excess of this fishery’s harvest guideline under the status quo trip limits. Projections for the other three fixed gear sablefish fisheries were tracking within their targets for 2012. An overage by the northern LE fixed gear sablefish DTL fishery could result in an overage of the northern sablefish ACL. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip limit changes for the LE fixed gear sablefish DTL fishery north of 36° N. lat. that decrease LE fixed gear sablefish DTL fishery limits from ‘‘1,000 lb (454 kg) per week, not to exceed 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) per 2 months’’ to ‘‘800 lb (363 kg) per week, not to exceed 1,600 lb (726 kg) per 2 months’’ beginning in period 5, September 1, 2012 through the end of the year. This decrease in trip limits is not anticipated to increase projected impacts to overfished species and is anticipated to help maintain mortality levels within the northern sablefish ACL. VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:48 Aug 07, 2012 Jkt 226001 PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 47323 Shelf Rockfish Trip Limits South of 34°27′ N. Lat. The Council received an industry request to increase the LE fixed gear shelf rockfish trip limits south of 34°27′ N. lat. The shelf rockfish complex south of 40°10′ N. lat. has not been fully harvested in recent years, averaging between 29.7 percent and 51.1 percent of its ACL in years 2006–2010. West Coast Groundfish Observer Program data indicate very few encounters with overfished species and California state fish ticket data indicate that very few vessels actually attained full trip limits between 2008 and 2010. Based on these data, the Groundfish Management Team estimated that landings would increase by approximately 0.2 metric tons, to a total of 2.2 metric tons. This modest increase in trip limits for shelf rockfish is not expected to result in an overharvest of any species’ contribution to the complex as a result of this request. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing increased trip limits for shelf rockfish in the LE fixed gear fishery south of 34°27′ N. lat., from ‘‘3,000 pounds (1361 kg) per 2 months’’ to ‘‘4,000 pounds (1814 kg) per 2 months’’ beginning in period 5, September 1, 2012 through the end of the year. Bocaccio Trip Limits South of 34°27′ N. Lat. There are increased encounters with bocaccio south of 34°27′ N. lat. resulting from a very strong year class entering the fishery. In order to reduce unnecessary discarding as a result of increased encounters with the new yearclass entrants, industry submitted a request to the Council to raise the bimonthly limit of bocaccio south of 34°27′ N. lat. The estimated take of bocaccio would increase to 0.7 metric tons from the annual average of 0.4 metric tons, which is well within the non-trawl bocaccio allocation south of 40°10′ N. lat. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip limit changes for bocaccio in the LE fixed gear fishery south of 34°27′ N. lat. from ‘‘300 pounds (136 kg) per two months’’ to ‘‘500 pounds (227 kg) per two months’’ beginning in period 5, September 1, 2012 through the end of the year. Classification This final rule makes routine inseason adjustments to groundfish fishery management measures based on the best available information and is consistent with the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP and its implementing regulations. E:\FR\FM\08AUR1.SGM 08AUR1 47324 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 153 / Wednesday, August 8, 2012 / Rules and Regulations wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES This action is taken under the authority of 50 CFR 660.60(c) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. These inseason changes in sablefish, shelf rockfish, and bocaccio limits are based on the most recent data available. The aggregate data upon which these actions are based are available for public inspection at the Office of the Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, (see ADDRESSES) during business hours. 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) because notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Also, for the same reasons, NMFS finds good cause to partially waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), so that this final rule may become effective September 1, 2012. At the June Council meeting, the Council recommended that these changes, which are based on the most recent information available, be implemented by September 1, 2012. There was not sufficient time after that meeting to draft this document and undergo proposed and final rulemaking before these actions need to be in effect. 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 VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:48 Aug 07, 2012 Jkt 226001 for federally managed species in accordance with the FMP and applicable laws. The adjustments to management measures in this document affect commercial fisheries from southern California to Washington State. These adjustments to management measures must be implemented in a timely manner, by September 1, 2012, to: Allow LE fixed gear fishermen an opportunity to harvest their limits in 2012 for sablefish without exceeding the ACL North of 36° N. lat., to allow harvest of shelf rockfish without exceeding the ACL south of 34°27′ N. lat., and to allow incidental catch of bocaccio without exceeding the ACL south of 34°27′ N. lat. in response to significant recent recruitment events. These changes in the LE fixed gear fishery continue to allow fishermen opportunities to harvest available healthy stocks while staying within the ACLs for these species. If this rule is not implemented immediately, the public could have incorrect information regarding allowed LE fixed gear trip limits 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 by September 1, 2012, allows harvest as intended by the Council in fisheries that are important to coastal communities in a manner that prevents ACLs of overfished and target species from being exceeded. No aspect of this action is controversial and no change in operating practices in the fishery is PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 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. Such delay would impair achievement of the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP objectives of providing for year-round harvest opportunities, extending fishing opportunities as long as practicable during the fishing year, or staying within ACLs or allocations for sablefish, shelf rockfish, and bocaccio in the LE fixed gear fishery. Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, NMFS finds good cause to waive prior notice and comment and to partially waive the delay in effectiveness. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, Indian fisheries. Dated: August 3, 2012. Lindsay Fullenkamp, Acting Deputy 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 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 2 (North) to part 660, Subpart E is revised to read as follows: ■ BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\08AUR1.SGM 08AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 153 / Wednesday, August 8, 2012 / Rules and Regulations 47325 VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:48 Aug 07, 2012 Jkt 226001 PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\08AUR1.SGM 08AUR1 ER08AU12.000</GPH> wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES BILLING CODE 3510–22–C 47326 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 153 / Wednesday, August 8, 2012 / Rules and Regulations 3. Table 2 (South) to part 660, Subpart E is revised to read as follows: ■ VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:48 Aug 07, 2012 Jkt 226001 PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\08AUR1.SGM 08AUR1 ER08AU12.001</GPH> wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 153 / Wednesday, August 8, 2012 / Rules and Regulations 47327 BILLING CODE 3510–22–C [FR Doc. 2012–19445 Filed 8–7–12; 8:45 am] VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:48 Aug 07, 2012 Jkt 226001 PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\08AUR1.SGM 08AUR1 ER08AU12.002</GPH> wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES BILLING CODE 3510–22–P

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 153 (Wednesday, August 8, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 47322-47327]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-19445]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 100804324-1265-02]
RIN 0648-BC36


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.

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

SUMMARY: This final rule announces inseason changes to management 
measures in the Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. This action, which 
is authorized by the Pacific Coast

[[Page 47323]]

Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), is intended to allow 
fisheries to access more abundant groundfish stocks while protecting 
overfished and depleted stocks.

DATES: Effective 0001 hours (local time) September 1, 2012.

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/.

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, 77 FR 22679, 77 FR 24634). 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 
Pacific Coast Treaty Indian Tribes and the States of Washington, 
Oregon, and California, at its June 20-June 25, 2012 meeting. The 
Council recommended adjusting the biennial groundfish management 
measures for the remainder of the biennial period to respond to updated 
fishery information and additional inseason management needs. 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.

Limited Entry (LE) Fixed Gear Fishery Management Measures

Sablefish Daily Trip Limit (DTL) Trip Limits North of 36[deg] N. Lat.

    To ensure that harvest opportunities for this stock do not exceed 
the LE fixed gear sablefish DTL allocation north of 36[deg] N. lat., 
the Council considered decreases to trip limits for sablefish in this 
fishery and the potential impacts on overall catch levels. Model-based 
landings projections of the LE fixed gear sablefish DTL fishery north 
of 36[deg] N. lat. were made for the remainder of 2012 by the Council's 
Groundfish Management Team (GMT). These projections were made based on 
the most recent information available under the current 2012 trip limit 
scenario, and predicted a harvest overage of 41 percent, or 108 metric 
tons in excess of this fishery's harvest guideline under the status quo 
trip limits. Projections for the other three fixed gear sablefish 
fisheries were tracking within their targets for 2012. An overage by 
the northern LE fixed gear sablefish DTL fishery could result in an 
overage of the northern sablefish ACL.
    Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip 
limit changes for the LE fixed gear sablefish DTL fishery north of 
36[deg] N. lat. that decrease LE fixed gear sablefish DTL fishery 
limits from ``1,000 lb (454 kg) per week, not to exceed 4,000 lb (1,814 
kg) per 2 months'' to ``800 lb (363 kg) per week, not to exceed 1,600 
lb (726 kg) per 2 months'' beginning in period 5, September 1, 2012 
through the end of the year. This decrease in trip limits is not 
anticipated to increase projected impacts to overfished species and is 
anticipated to help maintain mortality levels within the northern 
sablefish ACL.

Shelf Rockfish Trip Limits South of 34[deg]27' N. Lat.

    The Council received an industry request to increase the LE fixed 
gear shelf rockfish trip limits south of 34[deg]27' N. lat. The shelf 
rockfish complex south of 40[deg]10' N. lat. has not been fully 
harvested in recent years, averaging between 29.7 percent and 51.1 
percent of its ACL in years 2006-2010. West Coast Groundfish Observer 
Program data indicate very few encounters with overfished species and 
California state fish ticket data indicate that very few vessels 
actually attained full trip limits between 2008 and 2010.
    Based on these data, the Groundfish Management Team estimated that 
landings would increase by approximately 0.2 metric tons, to a total of 
2.2 metric tons. This modest increase in trip limits for shelf rockfish 
is not expected to result in an overharvest of any species' 
contribution to the complex as a result of this request.
    Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing 
increased trip limits for shelf rockfish in the LE fixed gear fishery 
south of 34[deg]27' N. lat., from ``3,000 pounds (1361 kg) per 2 
months'' to ``4,000 pounds (1814 kg) per 2 months'' beginning in period 
5, September 1, 2012 through the end of the year.

Bocaccio Trip Limits South of 34[deg]27' N. Lat.

    There are increased encounters with bocaccio south of 34[deg]27' N. 
lat. resulting from a very strong year class entering the fishery. In 
order to reduce unnecessary discarding as a result of increased 
encounters with the new year-class entrants, industry submitted a 
request to the Council to raise the bimonthly limit of bocaccio south 
of 34[deg]27' N. lat. The estimated take of bocaccio would increase to 
0.7 metric tons from the annual average of 0.4 metric tons, which is 
well within the non-trawl bocaccio allocation south of 40[deg]10' N. 
lat.
    Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip 
limit changes for bocaccio in the LE fixed gear fishery south of 
34[deg]27' N. lat. from ``300 pounds (136 kg) per two months'' to ``500 
pounds (227 kg) per two months'' beginning in period 5, September 1, 
2012 through the end of the year.

Classification

    This final rule makes routine inseason adjustments to groundfish 
fishery management measures based on the best available information and 
is consistent with the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP and its 
implementing regulations.

[[Page 47324]]

    This action is taken under the authority of 50 CFR 660.60(c) and is 
exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
    These inseason changes in sablefish, shelf rockfish, and bocaccio 
limits are based on the most recent data available. The aggregate data 
upon which these actions are based are available for public inspection 
at the Office of the Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, (see 
ADDRESSES) during business hours.
    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) because notice and comment would be 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Also, for the same 
reasons, NMFS finds good cause to partially waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), so that this final rule 
may become effective September 1, 2012.
    At the June Council meeting, the Council recommended that these 
changes, which are based on the most recent information available, be 
implemented by September 1, 2012. There was not sufficient time after 
that meeting to draft this document and undergo proposed and final 
rulemaking before these actions need to be in effect. 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 from southern 
California to Washington State. These adjustments to management 
measures must be implemented in a timely manner, by September 1, 2012, 
to: Allow LE fixed gear fishermen an opportunity to harvest their 
limits in 2012 for sablefish without exceeding the ACL North of 36[deg] 
N. lat., to allow harvest of shelf rockfish without exceeding the ACL 
south of 34[deg]27' N. lat., and to allow incidental catch of bocaccio 
without exceeding the ACL south of 34[deg]27' N. lat. in response to 
significant recent recruitment events. These changes in the LE fixed 
gear fishery continue to allow fishermen opportunities to harvest 
available healthy stocks while staying within the ACLs for these 
species. If this rule is not implemented immediately, the public could 
have incorrect information regarding allowed LE fixed gear trip limits 
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 by September 1, 2012, allows 
harvest as intended by the Council in fisheries that are important to 
coastal communities in a manner that prevents ACLs of overfished and 
target 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. Such delay would 
impair achievement of the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP objectives of 
providing for year-round harvest opportunities, extending fishing 
opportunities as long as practicable during the fishing year, or 
staying within ACLs or allocations for sablefish, shelf rockfish, and 
bocaccio in the LE fixed gear fishery.
    Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, NMFS finds good cause to 
waive prior notice and comment and to partially waive the delay in 
effectiveness.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Indian fisheries.

    Dated: August 3, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy 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 2 (North) to part 660, Subpart E is revised to read as 
follows:
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P

[[Page 47325]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR08AU12.000

BILLING CODE 3510-22-C

[[Page 47326]]


0
3. Table 2 (South) to part 660, Subpart E is revised to read as 
follows:
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR08AU12.001


[[Page 47327]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR08AU12.002

BILLING CODE 3510-22-C
[FR Doc. 2012-19445 Filed 8-7-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P