[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 151 (Wednesday, August 6, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 45728-45729]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-18610]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 216

[Docket No. 140304190-4612-02]
RIN 0648-BE03


Subsistence Taking of Northern Fur Seals on the Pribilof Islands; 
Final Annual Harvest Estimates for 2014-2016

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

ACTION: Final rule; estimates of annual fur seal subsistence needs.

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SUMMARY: Pursuant to the regulations governing the subsistence taking 
of northern fur seals, NMFS is publishing the annual fur seal 
subsistence harvests on St. George and St. Paul Islands, Alaska (the 
Pribilof Islands) for 2011-2013 and the annual estimates of fur seal 
subsistence harvests for 2014-2016. NMFS estimates the annual 
subsistence needs for 2014-2016 are 1,645-2,000 fur seals on St. Paul 
and 300-500 fur seals on St. George.

DATES: Effective September 5, 2014.

ADDRESSES: More information about northern fur seal subsistence harvest 
management can be found on the Internet at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seals/fur.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Williams, NMFS Alaska Region, 
907-271-5117, Michael.Williams@noaa.gov; or Shannon Bettridge, NMFS 
Office of Protected Resources, 301-427-8402, 
Shannon.Bettridge@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The subsistence harvest from the depleted stock of northern fur 
seals (Callorhinus ursinus), on the Pribilof Islands, AK, is governed 
by regulations found in 50 CFR part 216, subpart F. Pursuant to the 
regulations governing the taking of fur seals for subsistence purposes, 
NMFS must publish a summary of the fur seal harvest for the previous 3-
year period and an estimate of the number of seals expected to be taken 
in the subsequent 3-year period to meet the subsistence needs of the 
Aleut residents of the Pribilof Islands. After a 30-day comment period, 
NMFS must publish a final notification of the expected annual harvest 
levels for the next 3 years.
    On May 14, 2014 (79 FR 27550), NMFS published the summary of the 
2011-2013 fur seal harvests and provided a 30-day comment period on the 
estimates of subsistence needs for 2014-2016. In that notice, NMFS 
estimated the annual subsistence needs for 2014-2016 would be 1,645-
2,000 fur seals on St. Paul Island and 300-500 fur seals on St. George 
Island and provided background information related to these estimates.

Summary of Changes From Proposed Annual Harvest Estimates

    NMFS did not make any changes in this final notice of annual 
harvest estimates. The subsistence need remains the same and therefore 
the annual harvest estimate remains 1,645-2,000 fur seals on St. Paul 
Island and 300-500 fur seals on St. George Island.

Comments and Response

    NMFS received one comment letter on the notice of the 2014-2016 
proposed annual harvest estimates (79 FR 27550; May 14, 2014). A 
summary of the comment received and NMFS's response follows.
    Comment: Stop the northern fur seal harvest. The reported killings 
are over 2,500 animals thus the illegal kills must be about 4,500 
seals.
    Response: The Fur Seal Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act both 
provide exemptions for the subsistence harvest of northern fur seals to 
meet the dietary and cultural needs of the Pribilof Island Alaska 
Native residents (Pribilovians). The reported annual subsistence 
harvest of fur seals for both islands combined did not exceed 500 sub-
adult fur seals during the 2011-2013 period and was well below the 
published subsistence need estimate of 2,500 sub-adult seals. NMFS 
works in partnership with the Pribilovians under co-management 
agreements pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act to discourage 
and minimize illegal harvests, and NMFS's Office of Law Enforcement has 
a periodic presence on the Pribilof Islands to discourage, detect, and 
investigate any illegal harvests.

Classification

National Environmental Policy Act

    NMFS prepared an Environmental Impact Statement evaluating the 
impacts on the human environment of the subsistence harvest of northern 
fur seals, which is available on the NMFS Web site (see Electronic 
Access).

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This final action is exempt from the procedures of E.O. 12866 
because the action contains no implementing regulations.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation, Department of Commerce, certified 
to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration 
that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. The harvest of northern fur seals 
on the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, is for subsistence purposes only, and 
the estimate of subsistence need would not have an adverse economic 
impact on any small entities. Background information related to the 
certification was included in the proposed estimates published in the 
Federal Register on May 14, 2014 (79 FR 27550). We received no comments 
on this certification; therefore a regulatory flexibility analysis is 
not

[[Page 45729]]

required for this action, and none has been prepared.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final action does not require the collection of information.

Executive Order 13132--Federalism

    This action does not contain policies with federalism implications 
sufficient to warrant preparation of a federalism assessment under E.O. 
13132 because this action does not have substantial direct effects on 
the states, on the relationship between the national government and the 
states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government. Nonetheless, NMFS worked closely with 
local governments in the Pribilof Islands, and these estimates of 
subsistence harvests were prepared by the local governments in St. Paul 
and St. George, with assistance from NMFS officials.

Executive Order 13175--Native Consultation

    Executive Order 13175 of November 6, 2000 (25 U.S.C. 450 Note), the 
executive Memorandum of April 29, 1994 (25 U.S.C. 450 note), the 
American Indian Native Policy of the U.S. Department of Commerce (March 
30, 1995), the Department of Commerce's Tribal Consultation Policy 
(including the Department of Commerce Administrative Order 218-8, April 
26, 2012), and the NOAA Procedures for Government-to-Government 
Consultation With Federally Recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native 
Corporations (November 12, 2013) outline the responsibilities of the 
National Marine Fisheries Service in matters affecting tribal 
interests. Section 161 of Public Law 108-100 (188 Stat. 452) as amended 
by section 518 of Public Law 108-447 (118 Stat. 3267), extends the 
consultation requirements of E.O. 13175 to Alaska Native corporations. 
NMFS contacted the tribal governments of St. Paul and St. George 
Islands and their respective local Native corporations (Tanadgusix and 
Tanaq) about setting the next three years harvest estimates and 
incorporated their input.

Electronic Access

    An Environmental Impact Statement, harvest reports, and other 
relevant information are available on the Internet at the following 
address: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seals/fur.htm.

    Dated: July 31, 2014.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-18610 Filed 8-5-14; 8:45 am]
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