[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 31 (Thursday, February 14, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 10557-10559]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-03477]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 120813333-3107-02]
RIN 0648-BC28

Fisheries Off West Coast States; West Coast Salmon Fisheries; 
Amendment 17 to the Salmon Fishery Management Plan

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

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: NMFS issues a final rule under authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) to implement 
Amendment 17 to the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan for 
Commercial and Recreational Salmon Fisheries off the Coasts of 
Washington, Oregon, and California (Salmon FMP). NMFS approved 
Amendment 17 on February 5, 2013. Among other things, Amendment 17 
revises the maximum fishing mortality threshold (MFMT) for Quillayute 
fall coho, revises the FMP to correct typographical errors, updates 
reporting measures to reflect new technology, and updates or removes 
other obsolete or unnecessary language. This rule implements certain 
portions of Amendment 17; specifically, it discontinues the public 
comment period for final management measures that are published in the 
Federal Register and updates mechanisms for obtaining information on 
management of the fishery. NMFS also makes minor updates to regulations 
unrelated to Amendment 17.

DATES: This final rule is effective March 18, 2013.

ADDRESSES: This final rule is also accessible on the Web site of NMFS' 
Northwest Region (http://www.nwr.noaa.gov). The current Salmon FMP, 
through Amendment 17 will be made available on the Pacific Fishery 
Management Council's Web site (http://www.pcouncil.org/).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peggy Mundy at 206-526-4323, or Heidi 
Taylor at 562-980-4039.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Pacific Fishery Management Council 
(Council) developed Amendment 17 to revise the MFMT for Quillayute fall 
coho and make several minor revisions to update language and technology 
used in FMP, including discontinuing a public comment period after the 
annual salmon management measures have been published in the Federal 
Register as a final rule. NMFS determined that the actions of Amendment 
17 have all either been previously analyzed in a NEPA document or 
qualify for categorical exclusion (CE) from further NEPA analysis under 
NAO 216-6. The Council took final action on Amendment 17 in September 
2012 and transmitted the amendment to NMFS on November 5, 2012. NMFS 
published a Notice of Availability of Amendment 17 in the Federal 
Register (77 FR 67327, November 9, 2012) to notify the public of the 
amendment and invite comments. NMFS published a proposed rule in the 
Federal Register (77 FR 75101, December 19, 2012) to notify the public 
and invite comments on the proposals. NMFS received two comment

[[Page 10558]]

submissions. The comments are summarized and responded to in the 
``Response to Comments'' section of this rule.
    As described in the proposed rule, Amendment 17 removes mention of 
a public comment period after final management measures are published 
in the Federal Register. Annual management measures for the salmon 
fishery are published in the Federal Register as final rules; public 
comment periods are not applied to final rules. The public has an 
opportunity to comment on these measures throughout the Council's 
annual process of setting them; that process includes two Council 
meetings and public hearings held in Washington, Oregon, and 
California. The Council publishes a notice in the Federal Register each 
December that details the process for setting the next year's annual 
management measures and solicits comments. The Council's notice 
provides the schedule for Council meetings and public hearings, as well 
as the schedule of availability of planning documents, including 
Preseason Report II which contains the salmon management alternatives 
the Council adopts in March for further consideration at its April 
meeting where it adopts a final recommendation for the fishing season. 
The Council's notice informs the public of how to request copies of the 
preseason planning documents, how to view the documents online, and how 
to submit comments to the Council by mail, fax, email, or the Federal 
Rulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. All comments received are 
reviewed by both the Council and NMFS.
    The other details of Amendment 17 were described in the proposed 
rule (77 FR 75101, December 19, 2012) and are not repeated here. This 
final rule identifies changes to the regulations under 50 CFR part 660 
subpart H to implement Amendment 17 and additional updates as described 
in the proposed rule.

Response to Comments

    NMFS invited comments on Amendment 17 and the proposed rule. Two 
comments were received, including a letter of ``no comment'' submitted 
by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The one public comment received 
was opposed to approval of ``Frankenfish.'' While NMFS appreciates 
receiving public comment, the issue of ``Frankenfish'' is not relevant 
to Amendment 17.

Changes From Proposed Rule

    This final rule includes changes to the existing regulations at 50 
CFR 660.401 et seq. to implement Amendment 17 and additional updates. 
These are unchanged from the proposed rule.


    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is 
consistent with Amendment 17, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act, and other applicable law.
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    The Northwest Regional Administrator has determined that the 
actions of Amendment 17 have all either been previously analyzed in a 
NEPA document or qualify for categorical exclusion from further NEPA 
analysis under NAO 216-6.
    An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was prepared, as 
required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The 
IRFA describes the economic impact the proposed rule, if adopted, would 
have on small entities. NMFS received no comments to the RIR/IRFA, and 
a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) was prepared. The 
commercial entities directly regulated by the Pacific Council's Fishery 
Management Plan are non-tribal commercial trollers, tribal commercial 
trollers, and charter boats. According to the Small Business 
Administration (SBA), a small commercial fish harvesting business is 
one that has annual receipts under $4.0 million, a small charter boat 
business is one that has annual receipts under $7.0 million, and a 
small processor is one that employs 500 employees or fewer. During 
2011, the affected fleets consisted of estimated 802 non-tribal 
trollers, 40 to 50 tribal trollers, and 438-495 charter boats. Based on 
Pacific Coast Fisheries Information Network (PacFIN) data, a total of 
802 non-tribal vessels participated in the West Coast commercial salmon 
fishery in 2011. This number is 25 percent more than participated in 
2010 (642), two-and-a-half times the number that participated in 2009 
(313), and three-and-a-half times the number participating in 2008 
(221). Based on the SBA definitions and available information, the IRFA 
determined that all these entities are small entities. The RIR/IRFA 
also determined that these regulations are administrative in nature. 
Consequently, these regulations are not expected to meet any of the 
tests of having a ``significant'' economic impact on a ``substantial 
number'' of small entities. There are no additional projected 
reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements of this 
rule. No Federal rules have been identified that duplicate, overlap, or 
conflict with this action. The FRFA concurs with the findings of the 
    The final rule is administrative in nature and does not affect ESA 
listed species. However, NMFS has issued a number of ESA biological 
opinions that address the impacts of the Council managed salmon 
fisheries on listed salmonids as follows: March 8, 1996 (Snake River 
spring/summer and fall Chinook and sockeye), April 28, 1999 (Oregon 
Coast natural coho, Southern Oregon/Northern California coastal coho, 
Central California coastal coho), April 28, 2000 (Central Valley spring 
Chinook), April 27, 2001 (Hood Canal summer chum 4(d) limit), April 30, 
2004 (Upper Willamette Chinook, Upper Columbia spring Chinook, Lake 
Ozette sockeye, Columbia River chum, Puget Sound Chinook), June 13, 
2005 (California coastal Chinook), April 28, 2008 (Lower Columbia River 
natural coho), and April 30, 2010 (Sacramento River winter Chinook, and 
listed Puget Sound yelloweye rockfish, canary rockfish, and bocaccio), 
and April 26, 2012 (Lower Columbia River Chinook). NMFS reiterates its 
consultation standards for all ESA-listed salmon and steelhead species 
in an annual Guidance letter to the Council. In 2009, NMFS consulted on 
the effects of fishing under the Salmon FMP on the endangered Southern 
Resident Killer Whale Distinct Population Segment (SRKW) and concluded 
the salmon fisheries were not likely to jeopardize SRKW (biological 
opinion dated May 5, 2009).
    Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, this final rule was developed 
after meaningful consultation and collaboration with Tribal officials 
from the area covered by the FMP. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act at 16 
U.S.C. 1852(b)(5), one of the voting members of the Pacific Council 
must be a representative of an Indian Tribe with Federally recognized 
fishing rights from the area of the Council's jurisdiction. This tribal 
representative on the Council has agreed with the provisions that apply 
to tribal vessels.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

[[Page 10559]]

    Dated: February 11, 2013.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, Performing the 
Functions and Duties of the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended 
as follows:


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

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

2. In Sec.  660.402, revise the definition for ``Dressed, head-off 
length of salmon'' to read as follows:

Sec.  660.402  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Dressed, head-off length of salmon means the shortest distance 
between the midpoint of the clavicle arch and the fork of the tail, 
measured along the lateral line while the fish is lying on its side, 
without resort to any force or mutilation of the fish other than 
removal of the head, gills, and entrails.
* * * * *

3. In Sec.  660.406, revise paragraph (c) to read as follows:

Sec.  660.406  Exempted fishing.

* * * * *
    (c) Each vessel participating in any exempted fishery recommended 
by the Council and allowed by NMFS is subject to all provisions of this 
subpart, except those portions which relate to the purpose and nature 
of the exempted fishery. These exceptions will be specified in a permit 
issued by the Regional Administrator to each vessel participating in 
the exempted fishery and that permit must be carried aboard each 
participating vessel.

4. In Sec.  660.408, revise paragraphs (d)(1)(vii) and (d)(2)(v) to 
read as follows:

Sec.  660.408  Annual actions.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (vii) Other inseason provisions. Any increase or decrease in the 
recreational or commercial allowable ocean harvest resulting from an 
inseason restructuring of a fishery or other inseason management action 
does not require reallocation of the overall non-treaty allowable ocean 
harvest north of Cape Falcon between the recreational and commercial 
fisheries. Inseason redistribution of subarea quotas within the 
recreational fishery or the distribution of allowable coho catch 
transfers from the commercial fishery among subareas may deviate from 
the preseason distribution. Inseason management actions may be taken by 
the Regional Administrator to assure meeting the primary objective of 
achieving all-species fisheries without imposing Chinook restrictions 
in each of the recreational subareas north of Cape Falcon. Such actions 
might include, but are not limited to: Closure from 0 to 3, 0 to 6, 3 
to 200, or 5 to 200 nm from shore; closure from a point extending due 
west from Tatoosh Island for 5 nm, then south to a point due west of 
Umatilla Reef Buoy, then due east to shore; closure from North Head at 
the Columbia River mouth north to Leadbetter Point; change in species 
that may be landed; or other actions as prescribed in the annual 
management measures.
* * * * *
    (2) * * *
    (v) Inseason reallocation. No later than August 15 each year, the 
Salmon Technical Team will estimate the number of coho salmon needed to 
complete the recreational seasons. Any coho salmon allocated to the 
recreational fishery that are not needed to complete the recreational 
seasons will be reallocated to the commercial fishery. Once 
reallocation has taken place, the remaining recreational quota will 
change to a harvest guideline. If the harvest guideline for the 
recreational fishery is projected to be reached on or before Labor Day, 
the Regional Administrator may allow the recreational fishery to 
continue through the Labor Day weekend only if there is no significant 
danger of impacting the allocation of another fishery or of failing to 
meet an escapement goal.
* * * * *

5. In Sec.  660.411, revise paragraphs (b) and (c) to read as follows:

Sec.  660.411  Notification and publication procedures.

* * * * *
    (b) Public comment. If time allows, NMFS will invite public comment 
prior to the effective date of any action published in the Federal 
    (c) Availability of data. The Regional Administrator will compile 
in aggregate form all data and other information relevant to the action 
being taken and will make them available for public review upon 
request, contact information will be published annually in the Federal 
Register and announced on the telephone hotline. For actions affecting 
fisheries occurring primarily or exclusively in the fishery management 
area seaward of California, information relevant to the action also 
will be made available upon request by the Southwest Region, NMFS.
[FR Doc. 2013-03477 Filed 2-13-13; 8:45 am]