[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 177 (Thursday, September 14, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 43192-43194]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-19475]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 161222999-7413-01]
RIN 0648-XF610


Fisheries Off West Coast States; Modifications of the West Coast 
Commercial and Recreational Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Actions #5 
Through #11

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

ACTION: Modification of fishing seasons.

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

[[Page 43193]]

SUMMARY: NMFS announces seven inseason actions in the ocean salmon 
fisheries. These inseason actions modified the commercial and 
recreational salmon fisheries in the area from the U.S./Canada border 
to the U.S./Mexico border.

DATES: The effective dates for the inseason actions are set out in 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION under the heading Inseason Actions.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    In the 2017 annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries 
(82 FR 19630, April 28, 2017), 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, 2017, and 2018 salmon fisheries 
opening earlier than May 1, 2018. 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). The state management agencies that participated 
in the consultations described in this document were: California 
Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Oregon Department of Fish and 
Wildlife (ODFW), and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
    Management of the salmon fisheries is generally divided into two 
geographic areas: North of Cape Falcon (U.S./Canada border to Cape 
Falcon, OR) and south of Cape Falcon (Cape Falcon, OR, to the U.S./
Mexico border). The inseason actions reported in this document affected 
fisheries north and south of Cape Falcon. All times mentioned refer to 
Pacific daylight time.

Inseason Actions

Inseason Action #5

    Description of action: Inseason action #5 removed the landing and 
possession limit for Chinook salmon in the spring commercial salmon 
fishery from the U.S./Canada border to the Queets River, WA, which was 
previously set at 60 Chinook per vessel per week.
    Effective dates: Inseason action #5 took effect on June 21, 2017, 
and remained in effect through June 30, 2017, the end of the spring 
fishery.
    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action 
was to increase access to the available quota, as Chinook landings in 
the affected area were well below the level anticipated preseason. The 
Regional Administrator (RA) considered fishery effort and Chinook 
landings to date, and determined that this inseason action was 
necessary to meet the management objectives set preseason. Inseason 
actions to modify limited retention regulations are authorized by 50 
CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).
    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action 
#5 occurred on June 20, 2017. Representatives from NMFS, WDFW, ODFW, 
and the Council participated in this consultation.

Inseason Action #6

    Description of action: Inseason action #6 extended the retention of 
Pacific halibut caught incidental to the commercial salmon fishery from 
the U.S./Canada border to the U.S./Mexico border, previously scheduled 
to end July 1, 2017. Inseason action #6 also changed the landing and 
possession ratio from one Pacific halibut per each two Chinook, to one 
Pacific halibut per each four Chinook, and changed the landing limit 
from 35 Pacific halibut per trip, to 10 Pacific halibut per trip.
    Effective dates: Inseason action #6 took effect on July 1, 2017, 
and remained in effect until superseded by inseason action #10 on 
August 4, 2017.
    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action 
was to allow access to remaining Pacific halibut allocation without 
exceeding the allocation. The RA considered fishery effort and Chinook 
and halibut landings to date, and determined that this inseason action 
was necessary to meet the management goals set preseason. Inseason 
actions to modify quotas and/or fishing seasons are authorized by 50 
CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i), and inseason actions to modify limited retention 
regulations are authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).
    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action 
#6 occurred on June 20, 2017. Representatives from NMFS, WDFW, ODFW, 
CDFW, and the Council participated in this consultation.

Inseason Action #7

    Description of action: Inseason action #7 increased the landing and 
possession limit for Chinook salmon in the summer commercial salmon 
fishery from the U.S./Canada border to Queets River, WA, from 60 
Chinook per vessel per open period to 75 Chinook per vessel per open 
period.
    Effective dates: Inseason action #7 took effect on July 21, 2017, 
and remains in effect through the end of the season, or until 
superseded by further inseason action.
    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action 
was to increase access to the available quota, as Chinook landings in 
the affected area were well below the level anticipated preseason. The 
RA considered Chinook landings to date and fishery effort, and 
determined that this inseason action was necessary to meet the 
management objectives set preseason. Inseason actions to modify limited 
retention regulations are authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).
    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action 
#7 occurred on July 19, 2017. Representatives from NMFS, WDFW, ODFW, 
and the Council participated in this consultation.

Inseason Action #8

    Description of action: Inseason action #8 increased the landing and 
possession limit for Chinook salmon in the summer commercial salmon 
fishery from the Queets River, WA, to Cape Falcon, OR, from 75 Chinook 
per vessel per open period to 150 Chinook per vessel per open period, 
and changed the open period from five days per week to seven days per 
week.
    Effective dates: Inseason action #8 took effect on July 21, 2017, 
and remains in effect through the end of the season, or until 
superseded by further inseason action.
    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action 
was to increase access to the available quota, as Chinook landings in 
the affected area were well below the level anticipated preseason. The 
RA considered Chinook landings to date and fishery effort, and 
determined that this inseason action was necessary to meet the 
management objectives set preseason. Inseason actions to modify quotas 
and/or fishing seasons are authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i) and 
inseason actions to modify limited retention regulations are authorized 
by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).
    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action 
#8 occurred on July 19, 2017. Representatives from NMFS, WDFW, ODFW, 
and the Council participated in this consultation.

[[Page 43194]]

Inseason Action #9

    Description of action: Inseason action #9 modified the daily bag 
limit in the recreational fishery from Queets River, WA, to Leadbetter 
Point, WA, to allow retention of two fish per day, both of which could 
be Chinook; previously, the bag limit was two fish per day, only one of 
which could be a Chinook.
    Effective dates: Inseason action #9 took effect July 22, 2017, and 
remains in effect through the end of the season, or until superseded by 
further inseason action.
    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action 
was to increase access to the available quota, as Chinook landings in 
the affected area were well below the level anticipated preseason. The 
RA considered Chinook landings to date and fishery effort, and 
determined that this inseason action was necessary to meet the 
management objectives set preseason. Inseason actions to modify 
recreational bag limits are authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(iii).
    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action 
#9 occurred on July 19, 2017. Representatives from NMFS, WDFW, ODFW, 
and the Council participated in this consultation.

Inseason Action #10

    Description of action: Inseason action #10 closed retention of 
Pacific halibut caught incidental to the commercial salmon fishery from 
the U.S./Canada border to the U.S./Mexico border.
    Effective dates: Inseason action #10 superseded inseason action #6 
on August 4, 2017 and remains in effect through the end of the 2017 
commercial salmon fishing season.
    Reason and authorization for the action: This action was taken due 
to attainment of the 2017 Pacific halibut allocation authorized by the 
International Pacific Halibut Commission. The RA considered Pacific 
halibut landings to date, which indicated that approximately two 
percent of the allocation remained uncaught, and determined this was 
insufficient to allow halibut retention to continue without risk of 
exceeding the allocation. Inseason action to modify quotas and/or 
fishing seasons is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).
    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action 
#10 occurred on August 3, 2017. Representatives from NMFS, WDFW, ODFW, 
CDFW, and the Council participated in this consultation.

Inseason Action #11

    Description of action: Inseason action #11 rolled over unused 
Chinook quota from the spring commercial salmon fishery north of Cape 
Falcon, OR, to the summer commercial salmon fishery north of Cape 
Falcon, OR. This action added 2,205 Chinook to the summer quota set 
preseason at 18,000, resulting in an adjusted summer quota of 20,205 
for the area north of Cape Falcon. Additionally, inseason action #11 
increased the subarea guideline for the commercial salmon fishery from 
the U.S./Canada border to Queets River, WA, from 7,200 to 10,870.
    Effective dates: Inseason action #11 took effect August 3, 2017 and 
remains in effect through the end of the 2017 commercial salmon season.
    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action 
was to allow increased access to available Chinook quota. The Council's 
Salmon Technical Team (STT) calculated impacts on salmon stocks from 
the spring and summer fisheries, and advised that the transfer of quota 
would not result in increased impacts on affected salmon stocks and 
would not affect the overall quota set for commercial salmon fisheries 
north of Cape Falcon for 2017. The RA considered the report of the STT 
and the commercial salmon landings for the spring and summer seasons to 
date, and determined that this inseason action was necessary to meet 
the management objectives set preseason. Inseason action to modify 
quotas and/or fishing seasons is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).
    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action 
#11 occurred on August 3, 2017. Representatives from NMFS, WDFW, ODFW, 
CDFW, and the Council participated in this consultation.
    All other restrictions and regulations remained in effect as 
announced for the 2017 ocean salmon fisheries and 2018 salmon fisheries 
opening prior to May 1, 2018 (82 FR 19631, April 28, 2017) and as 
modified by prior inseason actions.
    The RA determined that the best available information indicated 
that Chinook salmon abundance forecasts, Chinook and halibut landings, 
and expected fishery effort supported the above inseason actions 
recommended by the states of Washington, Oregon, and California. 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 
numbers 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 (82 FR 19631, April 28, 2017), the Pacific 
Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan (FMP), and regulations 
implementing the 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 Chinook salmon and 
halibut 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, ensuring that conservation 
objectives and Endangered Species Act consultation standards 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 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: September 8, 2017.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-19475 Filed 9-13-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P