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.
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 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.