[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 115 (Monday, June 16, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 34269-34271]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-14034]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 140107014-4014-01]
RIN 0648-XD329


Fisheries Off West Coast States; Modifications of the West Coast 
Commercial Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Actions 4, 5, 
6, 7, 8, and 9

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

ACTION: Modification of fishing seasons; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NOAA Fisheries announces six inseason actions in the ocean 
salmon fisheries. These inseason actions modified the commercial salmon 
fisheries in the area from the U.S./Canada border to U.S./Mexico 
border.

DATES: The effective dates for the inseason actions are set out in this 
document under the heading Inseason Actions. Comments will be accepted 
through July 1, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2014-0005, 
by any one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0005, click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, 
complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
     Mail: William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, West 
Coast Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-6349.
     Fax: 206-526-6736, Attn: Peggy Mundy.
    Instructions: 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 by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. 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, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peggy Mundy at 206-526-4323.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    In the 2014 annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries 
(79 FR 24580, May 1, 2014), 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, 2014, and 2015 salmon seasons 
opening earlier than May 1, 2015. 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). Inseason actions 
in the salmon fishery may be taken directly by NMFS (50 CFR 
660.409(a)--Fixed inseason management provisions) or upon consultation 
with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and the 
appropriate State Directors (50 CFR 660.409(b)--Flexible inseason 
management provisions).
    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 reported in this document 
affect fisheries north and south of Cape Falcon. All times mentioned 
refer to Pacific daylight time.

Inseason Actions

Inseason Action 4

    Inseason action 4 delayed the retention of halibut caught 
incidental to commercial salmon fisheries, pending implementation of 
the Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) for 2014. This action affected commercial 
salmon fisheries south of Cape Falcon that were open on April 1, 2014. 
Incidental halibut retention was scheduled to begin at 12:01 a.m., 
April 1, 2014; inseason action 4 delayed incidental halibut 
retention until 12:50 p.m., April 1, 2014.
    The Regional Administrator (RA) notified representatives of the 
Council, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), and California 
Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) on Friday, March 28, 2014 that 
the final rule implementing the 2014 CSP had not filed with the Office 
of the Federal Register (OFR) and that there was a strong possibility 
that the rule would not be in effect when commercial salmon fisheries 
opened at 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, April 1, 2014. The rule implementing the 
CSP sets the annual allocation for retention of Pacific halibut caught 
incidental to the commercial salmon fishery; until the rule is in 
effect, there is no incidental halibut allocation. The RA prefers, 
whenever possible, to notify the salmon fishery 24 hours in advance of 
any inseason action; therefore, due to the impending weekend, it was 
necessary to notify the fleet that halibut retention would not be 
allowed until the halibut rule was in effect. On the afternoon of 
Tuesday, April 1, 2014, the RA was notified that the rule was scheduled 
to file with the OFR and would have an effective date of April 1, 2014 
(79 FR 18827, April 4, 2014). At 12:50 p.m. the NMFS hotline was 
updated to announce that halibut retention incidental to commercial 
salmon fisheries was in effect and a notice to mariners was sent to the 
USCG for broadcast. Inseason action 4 took effect at 12:01 
a.m. on April 1, 2014 and remained in effect until 12:50 p.m., April 1, 
2014. Inseason action to modify quotas and/or fishing seasons is 
authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).

Inseason Action 5

    Inseason action 5 closed the commercial salmon fishery 
from the U.S./Canada border to Queets River for 24 hours beginning at 
12:01 a.m., Friday, May 9, and established a schedule for reopening the 
fishery with limited open periods and landing and possession limits. 
All vessels fishing in the area, or in possession of any salmon caught 
in the area north of the Queets River were required to land and deliver

[[Page 34270]]

their fish within 24 hours of the May 9 closure. The commercial salmon 
fishery from the U.S./Canada border to Queets River reopened at 12:01 
a.m., Saturday, May 10 through Tuesday, May 13, with an open period 
landing and possession limit of 50 Chinook salmon. Thereafter, the 
fishery opened Friday through Tuesday with a landing and possession 
limit of 50 Chinook salmon per vessel, per open period. Vessels in 
possession of salmon north of the Queets River may not cross the Queets 
River line without first notifying WDFW at 360-902-2739 with area 
fished, total Chinook and halibut catch aboard, and destination. 
Vessels in possession of salmon south of the Queets River may not cross 
the Queets River line without first notifying WDFW at 360-902-2739 with 
area fished, total Chinook and halibut catch aboard, and destination. 
Vessels may not possess or land more than 50 Chinook salmon north of 
the Queets River.
    The RA consulted with representatives of the Council, WDFW, and 
ODFW on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. The information considered during this 
consultation related to catch-to-date and fishery effort in the 
commercial salmon fishery north of Cape Falcon. Under the 2014 ocean 
salmon management measures (79 FR 24580, May 1, 2014), when it is 
projected that the commercial salmon fishery has landed 9,150 Chinook 
salmon in the area north of Queets River, inseason action is to be 
taken to modify the open period to five days per week and add landing 
and possession limits to ensure the harvest guideline is not exceeded. 
During the consultation, the states projected that the Chinook landings 
north of Queets River could meet or exceed the 9,150 intermediate 
landing criterion during the upcoming weekend, and recommended a 24-
hour closure of the fishery to allow for landing fish currently on 
boats at sea, and reopening the fishery with open period and landing 
limits to avoid exceeding the harvest guideline in the area north of 
Queets River. The RA concurred with the state's recommendation. 
Inseason action 5 took effect on May 9, 2014, and remained in 
effect until superseded by inseason action 7 on May 23, 2014. 
Inseason action to modify quotas and/or fishing seasons is authorized 
by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).

Inseason Action 6

    Inseason action 6 closed the commercial salmon fishery 
from the U.S. Canada border to Cape Falcon at 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, May 
20, 2014, and required all vessels fishing in the area to land their 
catch within 24 hours of the closure.
    The RA consulted with representatives of the Council, WDFW, and 
ODFW on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The information considered during this 
consultation related to catch-to-date and fishery effort in the 
commercial salmon fishery north of Cape Falcon. Under the 2014 ocean 
salmon management measures (79 FR 24580, May 1, 2014), when it is 
projected that the commercial salmon fishery has landed 28,425 Chinook 
north of Cape Falcon, inseason action would be considered to modify the 
open period to five days per week and add landing and possession limits 
to ensure the guideline is not exceeded. During the consultation, the 
states recommended a closure to allow vessels to land their catch and a 
follow-up consultation on May 22, 2014 to discuss re-opening the 
fishery with open period and landing limits. The RA concurred with the 
states' recommendation. Inseason action 6 took effect on May 
20, 2014, and remained in effect until superseded by inseason action 
7 on May 23, 2014. Inseason action to modify quotas and/or 
fishing seasons is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).

Inseason Action 7

    Inseason action 7 re-opened the commercial salmon fishery 
north of Cape Falcon, Friday through Tuesday, beginning May 23, 2014, 
with a landing and possession limit of 40 Chinook salmon per vessel per 
open period in the area from the U.S./Canada border to the Queets River 
and 60 Chinook salmon per vessel per open period in the area from the 
Queets River to Cape Falcon, Oregon.
    The RA consulted with representatives of the Council, WDFW, and 
ODFW on May 22, 2014. The information considered during this 
consultation related to catch-to-date and fishery effort in the 
commercial salmon fishery north of Cape Falcon. During the 
consultation, the states recommended reopening the fishery, Friday 
through Tuesday, with landing and possession limits in place. The 
previous landing and possession limit in the area from U.S./Canada 
border to Queets River, set under inseason action 5, was 50 
Chinook salmon; the states recommended modifying this to 40 Chinook 
salmon. The states recommended a 60 Chinook salmon landing and 
possession limit in the area from Queets River to Cape Falcon. The 
purpose of this action was to allow access to available Chinook salmon 
without exceeding the quota set preseason. The RA concurred with the 
states' recommendation. Inseason action 7 took effect May 23, 
2014, and remained in effect until May 30, 2014 when it was superseded 
by inseason action 8. Inseason action to modify quotas and/or 
fishing seasons is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).

Inseason Action 8

    Inseason action 8 allowed the commercial salmon fisheries 
north of Cape Falcon to continue on a Friday through Tuesday schedule 
with a reduced open period landing and possession limit from Queets 
River to Cape Falcon of 50 Chinook salmon per vessel per open period. 
The open period landing and possession limit north of Queets River 
remained at 40 Chinook salmon, as set under inseason action 7.
    The RA consulted with representatives of the Council, WDFW, and 
ODFW on May 29, 2014. The information considered during this 
consultation related to catch-to-date and fishery effort in the 
commercial salmon fishery north of Cape Falcon. During the 
consultation, the states recommended reducing the landing and 
possession limit south of Queets River to avoid exceeding the north of 
Cape Falcon quota set preseason. The previous landing and possession 
limit in the area from Queets River to Cape Falcon, set under inseason 
action 7, was 60 Chinook salmon; the states recommended 
modifying this to 50 Chinook salmon. The states recommended no change 
to the 40 Chinook salmon landing and possession limit in the area from 
U.S./Canada border to Queets River. The purpose of this action was to 
allow access to available Chinook salmon without exceeding the quota 
set preseason. The RA concurred with the states' recommendation. 
Inseason action 8 took effect May 30, 2014, and remains in 
effect until June 30, 2014 or until superseded by inseason action. 
Inseason action to modify quotas and/or fishing seasons is authorized 
by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).

Inseason Action 9

    Inseason action 9 modified the landing and possession 
limit for Pacific halibut caught incidental to commercial salmon 
fishing from U.S./Canada border to U.S./Mexico border to 1.

Pacific Halibut per Trip

    The RA consulted with representatives of the Council, WDFW, ODFW, 
and California Department of Fish and Wildlife on May 29, 2014. The 
information considered during this consultation related to catch-to-
date and fishery effort in the commercial salmon from U.S./Canada 
border to U.S./Mexico

[[Page 34271]]

border. During the consultation, the states recommended reducing the 
trip limit for Pacific halibut caught incidental to the commercial 
fishery from 12 halibut (set preseason) to 1 halibut. The RA concurred 
with the states' recommendation. This action was taken to avoid 
exceeding the 2014 incidental halibut allocation while still allowing 
access to the remaining allocation available. Inseason action 
9 took effect May 30, 2014 in the area north of Cape Falcon, 
the beginning of the next open period. Inseason action 9 took 
effect May 31, 2014 in the area south of Cape Falcon; because the south 
of Cape Falcon salmon fishery was open 7 days per week, this effective 
date was adopted to allow time to provide notice to vessels at sea that 
the landing and possession limit was changing; inseason action 
9 required boats fishing south of Cape Falcon to land Pacific 
halibut on board, in excess of one halibut, by 11:59 p.m., May 31, 
2014. Inseason action 9 remains in effect until 11:59 p.m., 
June 30, 2014, or until superseded by inseason action. Inseason action 
to modify 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 2014 ocean salmon fisheries and 2015 fisheries 
opening prior to May 1, 2015 (79 FR 24580, May 1, 2014).
    The RA determined that the best available information indicated 
that Chinook salmon and Pacific halibut landings and fishing effort 
supported the above inseason actions recommended by the states of 
Washington and Oregon. 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 time 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 (79 FR 24580, May 1, 2014), the West Coast 
Salmon Fishery Management Plan (Salmon FMP), and regulations 
implementing the Salmon FMP, 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 catch and 
effort projections were developed and fisheries impacts were 
calculated, 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 FMP 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: June 11, 2014.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-14034 Filed 6-13-14; 8:45 am]
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