[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 197 (Thursday, October 11, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 61728-61730]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-25039]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 120424023-1023-01]
RIN 0648-XC223


Fisheries Off West Coast States; Modifications of the West Coast 
Commercial and Recreational Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Actions 
15 through 21

AGENCY: 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.

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SUMMARY: NOAA Fisheries announces 7 inseason actions in the ocean 
salmon fisheries. These inseason actions modified the commercial and 
recreational fisheries in the area from the U.S./Canada Border to Cape 
Falcon, Oregon.

DATES: The effective dates for the inseason action are set out in this 
document under the heading Inseason Actions. Comments will be accepted 
through October 26, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2012-0079, 
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-2012-0079 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 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

[[Page 61729]]

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 2012 annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries 
(77 FR 25915, May 2, 2012), 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, 2012, and 2013 salmon seasons 
opening earlier than May 1, 2013.
    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).

Inseason Actions

    The table below lists the inseason actions announced in this 
document.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Inseason action no.                   Effective date                 Salmon fishery affected
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
15......................................  August 29, 2012............  Commercial and Recreational fisheries
                                                                        from U.S./Canada Border to Cape Falcon,
                                                                        Oregon.
16......................................  September 1, 2012..........  Recreational fishery from Queets River to
                                                                        Leadbetter Point (Westport subarea).
17......................................  September 3, 2012..........  Recreational fishery from Leadbetter
                                                                        Point to Cape Falcon, Oregon (Columbia
                                                                        River subarea).
18......................................  August 31, 2012............  Commercial fishery from U.S./Canada
                                                                        Border to Cape Falcon, Oregon.
19......................................  September 5, 2012..........  Commercial and Recreational fisheries
                                                                        from U.S./Canada Border to Cape Falcon,
                                                                        Oregon.
20......................................  September 7, 2012..........  Commercial fishery from U.S./Canada
                                                                        Border to Cape Falcon, Oregon.
21......................................  September 5, 2012..........  Commercial fishery from U.S./Canada
                                                                        Border to Cape Falcon, Oregon.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Inseason actions 15, 16, 17, and 18

    The RA consulted with representatives of the Council, Washington 
Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and Oregon Department of Fish 
and Wildlife (ODFW) on August 29, 2012. The information considered 
during this consultation related to catch and effort to date in the 
commercial and recreational salmon fisheries north of Cape Falcon. Four 
inseason actions were implemented as a result of this consultation.
    Inseason action 15 transferred 1,000 coho salmon from the 
north of Cape Falcon commercial mark-selective coho salmon fishery 
quota to the north of Cape Falcon recreational salmon fishery quota. 
The quota transfer was distributed 80 percent (800 fish) to the Neah 
Bay subarea (U.S./Canada Border to Cape Alava) and 20 percent (200 
fish) to the La Push subarea (Cape Alava to Queets River). This action 
resulted in the following quota adjustments: north of Cape Falcon 
commercial quota decreased from 13,280 to 12,280 marked coho salmon; 
Neah Bay recreational quota increased from 7,250 to 8,050 coho salmon; 
and La Push recreational quota increased from 1,760 to 1,960 coho 
salmon. This action was taken to prevent closure of recreational 
fisheries, due to projected attainment of quota, by transferring 
unutilized quota from the commercial fishery. On August 29, 2012, the 
states recommended this action and the RA concurred; inseason action 
15 took effect on August 29, 2012, and remains in effect until 
the end of the fishing season. Inseason modification of quotas and/or 
fishing seasons is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).
    Inseason action 16 adjusted the daily bag limit for the 
recreational salmon fishery in the Westport subarea (Queets River to 
Leadbetter Point) to allow retention of unmarked coho, as anticipated 
in the 2012 annual management measures (77 FR 25915, May 2, 2012). 
Inseason action 16 set the daily bag limit at two fish per day 
only one of which can be a coho salmon and unmarked coho may be 
retained. This action was taken to allow greater access to available 
coho quota in the recreational fishery. On August 29, 2012, the states 
recommended this action and the RA concurred; inseason action 
16 took effect on September 1, 2012, superseding that portion 
of inseason action 13 that applied to the Westport subarea (77 
FR 55426, September 10, 2012), and remained in effect until superseded 
by inseason action 23 on September 13, 2012. Modification of 
recreational bag limits is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(iii).
    Inseason action 17 adjusted the daily bag limit for the 
recreational salmon fishery in the Columbia River subarea (Leadbetter 
Point to Cape Falcon) to allow retention of unmarked coho, as 
anticipated in the 2012 annual management measures (77 FR 25915, May 2, 
2012). Inseason action 17 set the daily bag limit at two fish 
per day and unmarked coho salmon may be retained. This action was taken 
to allow greater access to available coho quota in the recreational 
fishery. On August 29, 2012, the states recommended this action and the 
RA concurred; inseason action 17 took effect on September 3, 
2012, superseding inseason action 14 (77 FR 55426, September 
10, 2012), and remains in effect until the end of the fishing season or 
subsequent inseason action. Modification of recreational bag limits is 
authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(iii).
    Inseason action 18 adjusted the landing limit in the 
commercial salmon fishery north of Cape Falcon from 120 Chinook salmon 
and 40 marked coho per vessel per open period to 150 Chinook salmon and 
40 marked coho per vessel per open period. This action was taken to 
allow greater access to available Chinook salmon. On August 29, 2012, 
the states recommended this action and the RA concurred; inseason 
action 18 took effect on August 31, 2012, superseding the 
portion of inseason action 12 that applied to landing limit 
(77 FR 55426, September 10, 2012) and remained in effect until 
superseded by inseason action 20 on September 7, 2012. 
Inseason modification of landing limits is authorized by 50 CFR 
660.409(b)(1)(ii).

[[Page 61730]]

Inseason actions 19, 20, and 21

    The RA consulted with representatives of the Council, Washington 
Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and Oregon Department of Fish 
and Wildlife (ODFW) on September 5, 2012. The information considered 
during this consultation related to catch and effort to date in the 
commercial and recreational salmon fisheries north of Cape Falcon. 
Three inseason actions were taken as a result of this consultation.
    Inseason action 19 transferred 500 coho salmon from the 
north of Cape Falcon commercial mark-selective coho salmon fishery 
quota to the north of Cape Falcon recreational salmon fishery quota. 
The quota transfer was distributed 60 percent (300 fish) to the Neah 
Bay subarea (U.S./Canada Border to Cape Alava) and 40 percent (200 
fish) to the La Push subarea (Cape Alava to Queets River). This action 
resulted in the following quota adjustments: north of Cape Falcon 
commercial quota decreased from 12,280 to 11,780 marked coho salmon; 
Neah Bay recreational quota increased from 7,250 to 8,350 coho salmon; 
and La Push recreational quota increased from 1,760 to 2,160 coho 
salmon. This action was taken to prevent closure of recreational 
fisheries, due to projected attainment of quota, by transferring 
unutilized quota from the commercial fishery. On September 5, 2012, the 
states recommended this action and the RA concurred; inseason action 
19 took effect on September 5, 2012, and remains in effect 
until the end of the fishing season. Inseason modification of quotas 
and/or fishing seasons is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).
    Inseason action 20 took effect on Friday, September 7, 
2012, to close the commercial salmon fishery in marine area 4 (U.S./
Canada Border to Cape Alava); marine areas 1, 2, and 3 (Cape Alava to 
Cape Falcon) remain open with a landing and possession limit of 150 
Chinook and 50 coho per vessel per open period, unmarked coho may be 
retained. Vessels fishing, or in possession of salmon while fishing, 
north of Leadbetter Point must land and deliver their fish north of 
Leadbetter Point in any port in marine areas 2, 3, or 4. Vessels 
fishing, or in possession of salmon while fishing, south of Leadbetter 
Point must land and deliver their fish south of Leadbetter Point. 
Inseason action 20 superseded inseason action 18, and 
remains in effect until the end of the fishing season or subsequent 
inseason action. Inseason modification of quotas and/or fishing seasons 
is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).
    Inseason action 21 adjusted the Chinook salmon quota in 
the commercial salmon fishery north of Cape Falcon for the summer 
season (July 1 through September 17, 2012) by rolling over unused quota 
from the spring season (May 1 through June 30, 2012) on an impact-
neutral basis, effective September 5, 2012. The net effect of inseason 
action 21 was to increase the summer quota by 850 Chinook 
salmon to 16,650. Transfer of unused quota from the spring commercial 
fishery to the summer commercial fishery is anticipated in the 2012 
annual management measures (77 FR 25915, May 2, 2012). Inseason 
modification of quotas 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 2012 Ocean Salmon Fisheries (77 FR 25915, May 2, 
2012) and subsequent inseason actions (77 FR 55426) not otherwise 
modified herein.
    The RA determined that the best available information indicated 
that the stock abundance, and catch and effort projections supported 
the above inseason actions recommended by the states. The states manage 
the fisheries in state waters adjacent to the areas of the U.S. 
exclusive economic zone in accordance with these Federal actions. As 
provided by the inseason notice procedures of 50 CFR 660.411, actual 
notice of the described regulatory actions was given, prior to the date 
the action was effective, by telephone hotline number 206-526-6667 and 
800-662-9825, and by U.S. Coast Guard Notice to Mariners broadcasts on 
Channel 16 VHF-FM and 2182 kHz.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that 
good cause exists for this notification to be issued without affording 
prior notice and opportunity for public comment under 5 U.S.C. 
553(b)(B) because such notification would be impracticable. As 
previously noted, actual notice of the regulatory actions was provided 
to fishers through telephone hotline and radio notification. These 
actions comply with the requirements of the annual management measures 
for ocean salmon fisheries (77 FR 25915, May 2, 2012), the West Coast 
Salmon Plan, and regulations implementing the West Coast Salmon Plan 
(50 CFR 660.409 and 660.411). Prior notice and opportunity for public 
comment was impracticable because NMFS and the state agencies had 
insufficient time to provide for prior notice and the opportunity for 
public comment between the time the fishery catch and effort data were 
collected to determine the extent of the fisheries, and the time the 
fishery modifications had to be implemented in order to ensure that 
fisheries are managed based on the best available scientific 
information, thus allowing fishers access to the available fish at the 
time the fish were available while ensuring that quotas are not 
exceeded. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness required under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), as a delay in 
effectiveness of these actions would allow fishing at levels 
inconsistent with the goals of the Salmon Fishery Management Plan and 
the current management measures.
    These actions are authorized by 50 CFR 660.409 and 660.411 and are 
exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: October 5, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-25039 Filed 10-10-12; 8:45 am]
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