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Fisheries Off West Coast States; Modifications of the West Coast Commercial Salmon Fishery; Inseason Action #1 and #2

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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 seasons; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

NOAA Fisheries announces two inseason actions in the ocean salmon fisheries. Inseason action #1 modified the commercial fishery from Cape Falcon, Oregon, to the Oregon/California Border, and from Horse Mountain, California, to Point Arena, California. Inseason action #2 modified the recreational fishery from Cape Falcon, Oregon, to Humbug Mountain, Oregon and from Horse Mountain, Oregon, to the U..S./Mexico Border.

DATES:

Inseason action #1 was effective on March 15, 2008, in the area from Cape Falcon, Oregon, to the Oregon/California Border, effective April 7, 2008, in the area from Horse Mountain to Point Arena, CA. Inseason action #2 was effective March 15, 2008 in the area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain, Oregon, effective on April 1, 2008, in the area from Horse Mountain to Point Arena, CA, and effective April 15, 2008, in the area from Point Arena, CA, to the U.S/Mexico Border. Comments will be accepted through August 8, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by 0648-AV56, by any one of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov
  • Fax: 206-526-6736 Attn: Sarah McAvinchey
  • Mail: D. Robert Lohn, Regional Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle, WA 98115-0070 or to Rod McInnis, Regional Administrator, Southwest Region, NMFS, 501 West Ocean Boulevard, Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802-4213

Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sarah McAvinchey 206-526-4323.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

In the 2007 annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries (72 FR 24539, May 3, 2007), NMFS announced the commercial and recreational fisheries in the area from Cape Falcon, Oregon, to the U.S/Mexico Border.

On March 13, 2008, the Regional Administrator (RA) consulted with representatives of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Department of Fish and Game. Information related to catch to date, Chinook and coho catch rates, and possible impacts to Sacramento Fall Chinook were discussed. These inseason actions were taken because these fisheries were to occur in the impact area for Sacramento Fall Chinook. This stock was projected not to meet its escapement goal in 2008 and therefore consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act all fisheries that impact the stock were to be closed. By moving the opening dates of these fisheries NMFS and the Council would have more time to evaluate the impacts of these fisheries on the Sacramento River fall Chinook stock.

As a result, on March 13, 2008, the states recommended, and the RA concurred that inseason action #1 would move the opening date of the commercial fishery in the area from Cape Falcon, Oregon, to the Oregon/California Border, from March 15, 2008, to April 15, 2008. This action also closed the area from Horse Mountain, California, to Point Arena, California, effective April 7, 2008. Inseason action #2, modified recreational fishing in the area from Cape Falcon, Oregon, to Humbug Mountain, Oregon, by adjusting the opening date of the fishery from March 15, 2008, to April 15, 2008. Inseason action #2 also closed the area from Horse Mountain, California, to Point Arena, California, effective April 1; and closed the area from Point Arena, California, to the U.S./Mexico Border effective April 5, 2008. Modification in quota and/or fishing seasons is authorized by regulations at 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(I).

The RA determined that the best available information indicated that the catch and effort data, and projections, supported the above 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 Start Printed Page 431392182 kHz. These actions do 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 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 (72 FR 24539, May 3, 2007), 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 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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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

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Dated: July 18, 2008.

Emily H. Menashes,

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

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[FR Doc. E8-16996 Filed 7-23-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S