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Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; West Coast Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Action #7 - Adjustments of the Recreational Fishery from the Queets River, Washington to Cape Falcon, Oregon

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Modification of fishing season; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

NMFS announces that the recreational fishery in the area from the Queets River, WA to Cape Falcon, OR was modified to be open seven days per week, with a modified daily bag limit of all salmon, two fish per day, and all retained coho must have a healed adipose fin clip, effective Friday, July 23, 2004. This action was necessary to conform to the 2004 management goals. The intended effect of this action was to allow the fishery to operate within the seasons and quotas specified in the 2004 annual management measures.

DATES:

Adjustment for the area from the Queets River, WA to Cape Falcon, OR effective 0001 hours local time (l.t.), July 23, 2004, until the chinook quota or coho quota are taken, or 2359 hours l.t., September 30, 2004, whichever is earlier; after which the fishery will remain closed until opened through an additional inseason action for the west coast salmon fisheries, which will be published in the Federal Register, or until the effective date of the next scheduled open period announced in the 2005 annual management measures. Comments will be accepted through September 10, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Comments on these actions must be mailed to D. Robert Lohn, Regional Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, NOAA, 7600 Sand Point Way N.E., Bldg. 1, Seattle, WA 98115-0070; or faxed to 206-526-6376; or Rod McInnis, Regional Administrator, Southwest Region, NMFS, NOAA, 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802-4132; or faxed to 562-980-4018. Comments can also be submitted via e-mail at the 2004salmonIA7.nwr@noaa.gov address, or through the internet at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments, and include [Docket No. 040429134-4135-01] in the subject line of the message. Information relevant to this document is available for public review during business hours at the Office of the Regional Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Christopher Wright, 206-526-6140.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The NMFS Regional Administrator (RA) modified the season for the recreational fishery in the area from the Queets River, WA to Cape Falcon, OR to be open seven days per week, with a modified daily bag limit of all salmon, two fish per day, and all retained coho must have a healed adipose fin clip, effective Friday, July 23, 2004. On July 16 the Regional Administrator had determined available catch and effort data indicated that the catch was less than anticipated preseason and that provisions designed to slow the catch of chinook could be modified.

All other restrictions remain in effect as announced for 2004 ocean salmon fisheries. This action was necessary to conform to the 2004 management goals. Modification of recreational bag limits and recreational fishing days per calendar week is authorized by regulations at 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(iii).

In the 2004 annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries (69 FR 25026, May 5, 2004), NMFS announced the recreational fisheries for all salmon in the area from the Queets River to Leadbetter Point, WA (Westport Subarea) would open June 27 through the earlier of September 19 or a 74,900 coho subarea quota with a subarea guideline of 30,800 chinook, and the area from Leadbetter Point, WA to Cape Falcon, OR (Columbia River Subarea) would open June 27 through the earlier of September 30 or a 101,250 coho subarea quota with a subarea guideline of 8,000 chinook. Both the Westport and Columbia River Subareas were scheduled to be open Sunday through Thursday, except there was a provision that there may be a conference call no later than July 28 to consider opening seven days per week. In addition, both subarea's bag limits were for all salmon, two fish per day, no more than one of which may be a chinook, with all retained coho required to have a healed adipose fin clip.

On July 16, 2004, the RA consulted with representatives of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife by conference call. Information related to catch to date, the chinook catch rate, and effort data indicated that the catch was less than anticipated preseason and that provisions designed to slow the catch of chinook could be modified, relaxing the open days and bag limit provisions. As a result, on July 16 the states recommended, and the RA concurred, that both the Westport and Columbia River Subareas be open seven days per week, with a modified daily bag limit of all salmon, two fish per day, and all retained coho must have a healed adipose fin clip, effective Friday, July 23, 2004. All other restrictions that apply to this fishery remain in effect as announced in the 2004 annual management measures.

The RA determined that the best available information indicated that the Start Printed Page 52449catch and effort data, and projections, supported the above inseason action 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 to fishers of the already described action 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.

This action does not apply to other fisheries that may be operating in other areas.

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 this action was provided to fishers through telephone hotline and radio notification. This action complies with the requirements of the annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries (69 FR 25026, May 5, 2004), 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 allow fishers access to the available fish at the time the fish were available. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness required under U.S.C. 553(d)(3), as a delay in effectiveness of these actions would limit fishers appropriately controlled access to available fish during the scheduled fishing season as unnecessarily maintaining two restrictions. The action immediately expanded the recreational fishery from 5 days per week to 7 days per week, and thus provides fishers with two additional days per week to fish for salmon. The action also allowed fishers to land up to two of any species of salmon, previously only one of the two-fish bag limit could be a chinook salmon.

This action is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409 and 660.411 and are exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

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Dated: August 20, 2004.

Alan D. Risenhoover,

Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 04-19558 Filed 8-25-04; 8:45 am]

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