NACO

National Association of Charterboat Operators

3 Inseason Actions for Ocean Salmon Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries announces 3 inseason actions in the ocean
salmon fisheries. These inseason actions modified the commercial and
recreational fisheries in the area from Cape Falcon, Oregon to Point
Arena, California.

DATES: The effective dates for the inseason action are set out in this
document under the heading Inseason Actions. Inseason actions remain in
effect until modified by additional inseason action or superseded by
the 2012 annual management measures on May 1, 2012. Comments will be
accepted through May 2, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2011-0171,
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-2011-0171 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 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 2011 annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries
(76 FR 25246, May 4, 2011), 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, 2011, and 2012 salmon seasons
opening earlier than May 1, 2012.
    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). The inseason actions in this document all apply
south of Cape Falcon.

Inseason Actions

Inseason Action 1

    The RA consulted with representatives of the Council, California
Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), and Oregon Department of Fish and
Wildlife (ODFW) on March 5, 2012. The information considered during
this consultation related to projected abundance of Chinook salmon
stocks for the 2012 salmon fishing season.
    Inseason action 1 changed the minimum size limit for
Chinook salmon caught in the recreational salmon fishery from Horse
Mountain, California to Point Arena, California beginning April 7,
2012. The minimum size limit for this fishery will be 20 inches total
length, which is reduced from 24 inches as previously announced. This
action was taken to allow access to abundant 3-year old Sacramento
River fall Chinook salmon. On March 5, 2012, the states recommended
this action and the RA concurred; inseason action 1 took
effect on April 7, 2012. This inseason action remains in effect until
superseded by inseason action or implementation of 2012 annual
management measures which will be effective on May 1, 2012. This
inseason action is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1).

Inseason Actions 2 and 3

    The RA consulted with representatives of the Council, ODFW, and
CDFG on March 6, 2012. The information considered during this
consultation related to projected abundance of Chinook salmon stocks
for the 2012 salmon fishing season.
    Inseason action 2 adjusted the scheduled opening date for
the commercial salmon fishery from Cape Falcon, Oregon to Humbug
Mountain, Oregon. Inseason action 3 adjusted the scheduled
opening date for the commercial salmon fishery from Humbug Mountain,
Oregon to the Oregon/California Border. These fisheries will open on
April 1, 2012 rather than March 15, 2012 as previously scheduled in the
2011 annual management measures. This action was taken as part of
developing 2012 annual management measures to provide fisheries
consistent with annual catch limits and conservation objectives, while
meeting consultation standards on ESA-listed stocks. Fishery models
suggested that this delay in opening would provide the best opportunity
for optimal harvest without exceeding the guidelines of the FMP. On
March 6, 2012, the states recommended this action and the RA concurred;
inseason action 2 took effect on March 15, 2012. Modification
of quota 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 2011 Ocean Salmon Fisheries and 2012 fisheries
opening prior to May 1, 2012 (76 FR 25246, May 4, 2011).
    The RA determined that the best available information indicated
that the stock abundance, and catch and effort projections supported
the above

[[Page 22683]]

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 (76 FR 25246, May 4, 2011), 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.

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