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Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska-2015-16 and 2016-17 Subsistence Taking of Fish Regulations

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Forest Service, Agriculture; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule establishes regulations for seasons, harvest limits, methods, and means related to taking of fish for subsistence uses in Alaska during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 regulatory years. The Federal Subsistence Board (Board) completes the biennial process of revising subsistence hunting and trapping regulations in even-numbered years and subsistence fishing and shellfish regulations in odd-numbered years; public proposal and review processes take place during the preceding year. The Board also addresses customary and traditional use determinations during the applicable biennial cycle.

DATES:

This rule is effective May 18, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

The Board meeting transcripts are available for review at the Office of Subsistence Management, 1011 East Tudor Road, Mail Stop 121, Anchorage, AK 99503, or on the Office of Subsistence Management Web site (http://www.doi.gov/​subsistence/​index.cfm).

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Chair, Federal Subsistence Board, c/o U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attention: Eugene R. Peltola, Jr., Office of Subsistence Management; (907) 786-3888 or subsistence@fws.gov. For questions specific to National Forest System lands, contact Thomas Whitford, Regional Subsistence Program Leader, USDA, Forest Service, Alaska Region; (907) 743-9461 or twhitford@fs.fed.us.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Under Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126), the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretaries) jointly implement the Federal Subsistence Management Program. This program provides a preference for take of fish and wildlife resources for subsistence uses on Federal public lands and waters in Alaska. The Secretaries published temporary regulations to carry out this program in the Federal Register on June 29, 1990 (55 FR 27114), and published final regulations in the Federal Register on May 29, 1992 (57 FR 22940). The Program has subsequently amended these regulations a number of times. Because this program is a joint effort between Interior and Agriculture, these regulations are located in two titles of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): Title 36, “Parks, Forests, and Public Property,” and Title 50, “Wildlife and Fisheries,” at 36 CFR 242.1-242.28 and 50 CFR 100.1-100.28, respectively. The regulations contain subparts as follows: Subpart A, General Provisions; Subpart B, Program Structure; Subpart C, Board Determinations; and Subpart D, Subsistence Taking of Fish and Wildlife.

Consistent with subpart B of these regulations, the Secretaries established a Federal Subsistence Board to administer the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The Board comprises:

  • A Chair appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture;
  • The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
  • The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. National Park Service;
  • The Alaska State Director, U.S. Bureau of Land Management;
  • The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs;
  • The Alaska Regional Forester, U.S. Forest Service; and
  • Two public members appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture.

Through the Board, these agencies participate in the development of regulations for subparts C and D, which, among other things, set forth program eligibility and specific harvest seasons and limits.

In administering the program, the Secretaries divided Alaska into 10 subsistence resource regions, each of which is represented by a Regional Advisory Council. The Regional Advisory Councils provide a forum for rural residents with personal knowledge of local conditions and resource requirements to have a meaningful role in the subsistence management of fish and wildlife on Federal public lands in Alaska. The Council members represent varied geographical, cultural, and user interests within each region.Start Printed Page 28188

The Board addresses customary and traditional use determinations during the applicable biennial cycle. Section __.24 (customary and traditional use determinations) was originally published in the Federal Register on May 29, 1992 (57 FR 22940). The regulations at 36 CFR 242.4 and 50 CFR 100.4 define “customary and traditional use” as “a long-established, consistent pattern of use, incorporating beliefs and customs which have been transmitted from generation to generation. . . .” Since 1992, the Board has made a number of customary and traditional use determinations at the request of affected subsistence users. Those modifications, along with some administrative corrections, were published in the Federal Register as follows:

Modifications to § __.24

Federal Register citationDate of publicationRule made changes to the following provisions of __.24
59 FR 27462May 27, 1994Wildlife and Fish/Shellfish.
59 FR 51855October 13, 1994Wildlife and Fish/Shellfish.
60 FR 10317February 24, 1995Wildlife and Fish/Shellfish.
61 FR 39698July 30, 1996Wildlife and Fish/Shellfish.
62 FR 29016May 29, 1997Wildlife and Fish/Shellfish.
63 FR 35332June 29, 1998Wildlife and Fish/Shellfish.
63 FR 46148August 28, 1998Wildlife and Fish/Shellfish.
64 FR 1276January 8, 1999Fish/Shellfish.
64 FR 35776July 1, 1999Wildlife.
65 FR 40730June 30, 2000Wildlife.
66 FR 10142February 13, 2001Fish/Shellfish.
66 FR 33744June 25, 2001Wildlife.
67 FR 5890February 7, 2002Fish/Shellfish.
67 FR 43710June 28, 2002Wildlife.
68 FR 7276February 12, 2003Fish/Shellfish.
69 FR 5018February 3, 2004Fish/Shellfish.
69 FR 40174July 1, 2004Wildlife.
70 FR 13377March 21, 2005Fish/Shellfish.
70 FR 36268June 22, 2005Wildlife.
71 FR 15569March 29, 2006Fish/Shellfish.
71 FR 37642June 30, 2006Wildlife.
72 FR 12676March 16, 2007Fish/Shellfish.
72 FR 73426December 27, 2007Wildlife/Fish.
73 FR 35726June 26, 2008Wildlife.
74 FR 14049March 30, 2009Fish/Shellfish.
75 FR 37918June 30, 2010Wildlife.
76 FR 12564March 8, 2011Fish/Shellfish.
77 FR 35482June 13, 2012Wildlife.
79 FR 35232June 19, 2014Wildlife.

Current Rule

The Departments published a proposed rule on January 10, 2014 (79 FR 1791), to amend the fish section of subparts C and D of 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100. The proposed rule opened a comment period, which closed on March 28, 2014. The Departments advertised the proposed rule by mail, radio, and newspaper, and comments were submitted via www.regulations.gov to Docket No. FWS-R7-SM-2013-0065. During that period, the Regional Councils met and, in addition to other Regional Council business, received suggestions for proposals from the public. The Board received a total of 18 proposals for changes to subparts C and D; this included one proposal that the Board had deferred from the previous regulatory cycle. After the comment period closed, the Board prepared a booklet describing the proposals and distributed it to the public. The proposals were also available online. The public then had an additional 30 days in which to comment on the proposals for changes to the regulations.

The 10 Regional Advisory Councils met again, received public comments, and formulated their recommendations to the Board on proposals for their respective regions. The Regional Advisory Councils had a substantial role in reviewing the proposed rule and making recommendations for the final rule. Moreover, a Council Chair, or a designated representative, presented each Council's recommendations at the Board's public meeting of January 21-23, 2015. These final regulations reflect Board review and consideration of Regional Advisory Council recommendations and public comments. The public received extensive opportunity to review and comment on all changes.

Of the 18 proposals, 10 were on the Board's regular agenda and 8 were on the consensus agenda. The consensus agenda is made up of proposals for which there is agreement among the affected Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils, a majority of the Interagency Staff Committee members, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game concerning a proposed regulatory action. Any Board member may request that the Board remove a proposal from the consensus agenda and place it on the non-consensus (regular) agenda. The Board votes en masse on the consensus agenda after deliberation and action on all other proposals.

Of the proposals on the consensus agenda, the Board adopted one, adopted one with modification, took no action on one, and rejected five. The adopted consensus proposals are reflected in the rule portion of this document and consist of the addition of a definition to § ___.25 and the addition of the last two subparagraphs in § __.27 ((e)(13)(xx) and (xxi)). Analysis and justification for each action are available for review at the Office of Subsistence Management, 1011 East Tudor Road, Mail Stop 121, Anchorage, AK 99503, or on the Office of Subsistence Management Web site (http://www.doi.gov/​subsistence/​Start Printed Page 28189index.cfm). Of the proposals on the regular agenda, the Board adopted three; adopted two with modification; rejected two; and took no action on three.

Summary of Non-Consensus Proposals Not Adopted by the Board

The Board rejected or took no action on five non-consensus proposals. The rejected proposals were recommended for rejection by one or more of the Regional Advisory Councils unless noted below.

Yukon—Northern Area

The Board rejected a proposal to restrict the use of driftnets in selected districts of the Yukon River. This action would have been unnecessarily restrictive to subsistence users and was not supported by substantial evidence. This action was supported by three Councils and contrary to the recommendation of one Council.

Kuskokwim Area

The Board took no action on one proposal to allow the use of dipnets with provisions to require the release of Chinook salmon. This decision was based on the Board's earlier action on a similar proposal allowing the use of dipnets.

Southeastern Alaska Area

The Board rejected a proposal to require the immediate recording of harvested Steelhead on Prince of Wales Island, because the in-season manager could include the provision as a permit condition.

The Board took no action on two proposals for the Stikine River. One proposal requested to change the subsistence Sockeye salmon annual guideline harvest level, and the second requested a requirement to check the nets every 2 hours. These decisions were based on its earlier action on a similar proposal requiring nets to be checked twice daily and eliminating the harvest level.

Summary of Non-Consensus Proposals Adopted by the Board

The Board adopted or adopted with modification five non-consensus proposals. Modifications were suggested by the affected Regional Council(s), developed during the analysis process, or developed during the Board's public deliberations. All of the adopted proposals were recommended for adoption by at least one of the Regional Councils unless noted below.

Kuskokwim Area

The Board adopted a proposal to allow the use of dipnets for the harvest of salmon on the Kuskokwim River. This action provides subsistence users an additional gear type that could be used when gillnet restrictions are in place for conservation concerns.

Cook Inlet Area

The Board adopted a proposal with modification to establish an experimental community gillnet fishery on the Kasilof River for the residents of Ninilchik. This action provides additional opportunity for subsistence users.

The Board adopted a proposal to establish a community gillnet fishery on the Kenai River for the residents of Ninilchik. This action provides additional opportunity for subsistence users.

Southeastern Alaska Area

The Board adopted with modification a proposal requiring nets to be checked twice daily and eliminating the guideline harvest limits on the Stikine River. The change of the guideline harvest levels will require amending the Pacific Salmon treaty, and final implementation is contingent upon review and approval by the Transboundary Panel of the U.S./Canada Pacific Salmon Commission and approval by the Pacific Salmon Commission.

The Board adopted a proposal to close Federal public waters to non-Federally qualified users in the Makhnati Island area to the harvest of herring and herring spawn. This closure was enacted for potential conservation concerns and to protect subsistence uses. This action varied from the Council recommendation, yet met its intent.

These final regulations reflect Board review and consideration of Regional Council recommendations and public and Tribal comments. Because this rule concerns public lands managed by an agency or agencies in both the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior, identical text will be incorporated into 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100.

Conformance With Statutory and Regulatory Authorities

Administrative Procedure Act Compliance

The Board has provided extensive opportunity for public input and involvement in compliance with Administrative Procedure Act requirements, including publishing a proposed rule in the Federal Register, participation in multiple Regional Council meetings, additional public review and comment on all proposals for regulatory change, and opportunity for additional public comment during the Board meeting prior to deliberation. Additionally, an administrative mechanism exists (and has been used by the public) to request reconsideration of the Board's decision on any particular proposal for regulatory change (36 CFR 242.20 and 50 CFR 100.20). Therefore, the Board believes that sufficient public notice and opportunity for involvement have been given to affected persons regarding Board decisions.

In the more than 25 years that the Program has been operating, no benefit to the public has been demonstrated by delaying the effective date of the subsistence regulations. A lapse in regulatory control could affect the continued viability of fish or wildlife populations and future subsistence opportunities for rural Alaskans, and would generally fail to serve the overall public interest. Therefore, the Board finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to make this rule effective upon the date set forth in DATES to ensure continued operation of the subsistence program.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement that described four alternatives for developing a Federal Subsistence Management Program was distributed for public comment on October 7, 1991. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published on February 28, 1992. The Record of Decision (ROD) on Subsistence Management for Federal Public Lands in Alaska was signed April 6, 1992. The selected alternative in the FEIS (Alternative IV) defined the administrative framework of an annual regulatory cycle for subsistence regulations.

The following Federal Register documents pertain to this rulemaking:Start Printed Page 28190

Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subparts A, B, and C: Federal Register Documents Pertaining to the Final Rule

Federal Register citationDate of publicationCategoryDetails
57 FR 22940May 29, 1992Final Rule“Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska; Final Rule” was published in the Federal Register.
64 FR 1276January 8, 1999Final RuleAmended the regulations to include subsistence activities occurring on inland navigable waters in which the United States has a reserved water right and to identify specific Federal land units where reserved water rights exist. Extended the Federal Subsistence Board's management to all Federal lands selected under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the Alaska Statehood Act and situated within the boundaries of a Conservation System Unit, National Recreation Area, National Conservation Area, or any new national forest or forest addition, until conveyed to the State of Alaska or to an Alaska Native Corporation. Specified and clarified the Secretaries' authority to determine when hunting, fishing, or trapping activities taking place in Alaska off the public lands interfere with the subsistence priority.
66 FR 31533June 12, 2001Interim RuleExpanded the authority that the Board may delegate to agency field officials and clarified the procedures for enacting emergency or temporary restrictions, closures, or openings.
67 FR 30559May 7, 2002Final RuleAmended the operating regulations in response to comments on the June 12, 2001, interim rule. Also corrected some inadvertent errors and oversights of previous rules.
68 FR 7703February 18, 2003Direct Final RuleClarified how old a person must be to receive certain subsistence use permits and removed the requirement that Regional Councils must have an odd number of members.
68 FR 23035April 30, 2003Affirmation of Direct Final RuleBecause no adverse comments were received on the direct final rule (67 FR 30559), the direct final rule was adopted.
69 FR 60957October 14, 2004Final RuleClarified the membership qualifications for Regional Advisory Council membership and relocated the definition of “regulatory year” from subpart A to subpart D of the regulations.
70 FR 76400December 27, 2005Final RuleRevised jurisdiction in marine waters and clarified jurisdiction relative to military lands.
71 FR 49997August 24, 2006Final RuleRevised the jurisdiction of the subsistence program by adding submerged lands and waters in the area of Makhnati Island, near Sitka, AK. This allowed subsistence users to harvest marine resources in this area under seasons, harvest limits, and methods specified in the regulations.
72 FR 25688May 7, 2007Final RuleRevised nonrural determinations.
75 FR 63088October 14, 2010Final RuleAmended the regulations for accepting and addressing special action requests and the role of the Regional Advisory Councils in the process.
76 FR 56109September 12, 2011Final RuleRevised the composition of the Federal Subsistence Board by expanding the Board by two public members who possess personal knowledge of and direct experience with subsistence uses in rural Alaska.
77 FR 12477March 1, 2012Final RuleExtended the compliance date for the final rule (72 FR 25688) that revised nonrural determinations until the Secretarial program review is complete or in 5 years, whichever comes first.

A 1997 environmental assessment dealt with the expansion of Federal jurisdiction over fisheries and is available at the office listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. The Secretary of the Interior, with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture, determined that expansion of Federal jurisdiction does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the human environment and, therefore, signed a Finding of No Significant Impact.

Section 810 of ANILCA

An ANILCA section 810 analysis was completed as part of the FEIS process on the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The intent of all Federal subsistence regulations is to accord subsistence uses of fish and wildlife on public lands a priority over the taking of fish and wildlife on such lands for other purposes, unless restriction is necessary to conserve healthy fish and wildlife populations. The final section 810 analysis determination appeared in the April 6, 1992, ROD and concluded that the Program, under Alternative IV with an annual process for setting subsistence regulations, may have some local impacts on subsistence uses, but will not likely restrict subsistence uses significantly.

During the subsequent environmental assessment process for extending fisheries jurisdiction, an evaluation of the effects of this rule was conducted in accordance with section 810. That evaluation also supported the Secretaries' determination that the rule will not reach the “may significantly restrict” threshold that would require notice and hearings under ANILCA section 810(a).

Paperwork Reduction Act

An agency may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. This rule does not contain any new collections of Start Printed Page 28191information that require OMB approval. OMB has reviewed and approved the collections of information associated with the subsistence regulations at 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100, and assigned OMB Control Number 1018-0075, which expires February 29, 2016.

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget will review all significant rules. OIRA has determined that this rule is not significant.

Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires preparation of flexibility analyses for rules that will have a significant effect on a substantial number of small entities, which include small businesses, organizations, or governmental jurisdictions. In general, the resources to be harvested under this rule are already being harvested and consumed by the local harvester and do not result in an additional dollar benefit to the economy. However, we estimate that two million pounds of meat are harvested by subsistence users annually and, if given an estimated dollar value of $3.00 per pound, this amount would equate to about $6 million in food value Statewide. Based upon the amounts and values cited above, the Departments certify that this rulemaking will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

Under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), this rule is not a major rule. It does not have an effect on the economy of $100 million or more, will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, and does not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Executive Order 12630

Title VIII of ANILCA requires the Secretaries to administer a subsistence priority on public lands. The scope of this Program is limited by definition to certain public lands. Likewise, these regulations have no potential takings of private property implications as defined by Executive Order 12630.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Secretaries have determined and certify pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this rulemaking will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local or State governments or private entities. The implementation of this rule is by Federal agencies and there is no cost imposed on any State or local entities or tribal governments.

Executive Order 12988

The Secretaries have determined that these regulations meet the applicable standards provided in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, regarding civil justice reform.

Executive Order 13132

In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. Title VIII of ANILCA precludes the State from exercising subsistence management authority over fish and wildlife resources on Federal lands unless it meets certain requirements.

Executive Order 13175

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, Title VIII, does not provide specific rights to tribes for the subsistence taking of wildlife, fish, and shellfish. However, the Board provided Federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native corporations opportunities to consult on this rule. Consultation with Alaska Native corporations are based on Public Law 108-199, div. H, Sec. 161, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 452, as amended by Public Law 108-447, div. H, title V, Sec. 518, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3267, which provides that: “The Director of the Office of Management and Budget and all Federal agencies shall hereafter consult with Alaska Native corporations on the same basis as Indian tribes under Executive Order No. 13175.”

The Secretaries, through the Board, provided a variety of opportunities for consultation: Commenting on proposed changes to the existing rule; engaging in dialogue at the Regional council meetings; engaging in dialogue at the Board's meetings; and providing input in person, by mail, email, or phone at any time during the rulemaking process.

On January 21, 2015, the Board provided Federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations a specific opportunity to consult on this rule prior to the start of its public regulatory meeting. Federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations were notified by mail and telephone and were given the opportunity to attend in person or via teleconference.

Executive Order 13211

This Executive Order requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. However, this rule is not a significant regulatory action under E.O. 13211, affecting energy supply, distribution, or use, and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Drafting Information

Theo Matuskowitz drafted these regulations under the guidance of Eugene R. Peltola, Jr. of the Office of Subsistence Management, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska. Additional assistance was provided by

  • Daniel Sharp, Alaska State Office, Bureau of Land Management;
  • Mary McBurney, Alaska Regional Office, National Park Service;
  • Dr. Glenn Chen, Alaska Regional Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs;
  • Trevor T. Fox, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and
  • Thomas Whitford, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Forest Service.
Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects

36 CFR Part 242

  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Alaska
  • Fish
  • National forests
  • Public lands
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Wildlife

50 CFR Part 100

  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Alaska
  • Fish
  • National
End List of Subjects

Regulation Promulgation

For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Federal Subsistence Board amends title 36, part 242, and title 50, part 100, of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below.

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PART __—SUBSISTENCE MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS FOR PUBLIC LANDS IN ALASKA

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1. The authority citation for both 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 3, 472, 551, 668dd, 3101-3126; 18 U.S.C. 3551-3586; 43 U.S.C. 1733.

End Authority

Subpart D—Subsistence Taking of Fish and Wildlife

Start Amendment Part

2. Amend § __.25(a) by adding a definition for “Hook” in alphabetical order to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Subsistence taking of fish, wildlife, and shellfish: general regulations.

(a) * * *

Hook means a single shanked fishhook with a single eye constructed with one or more points with or without barbs. A hook without a “barb” means the hook is manufactured without a barb or the barb has been completely removed or compressed so that barb is in complete contact with the shaft of the hook.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

3. Amend § __.27 by:

End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part

a. Revising paragraphs (e)(4)(ix) and (e)(13)(xiii)(E); and

End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part

b. Adding paragraphs (e)(10)(iv)(I) and (J) and (e)(13)(xx) and (xxi), to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Subsistence taking of fish.
* * * * *

(e) * * *

(4) * * *

(ix) You may only take salmon by gillnet, beach seine, fish wheel, dipnet, or rod and reel subject to the restrictions set out in this section, except that you may also take salmon by spear in the Kanektok, and Arolik River drainages, and in the drainage of Goodnews Bay.

* * * * *

(10) * * *

(iv) * * *

(I) Residents of Ninilchik may harvest Sockeye, Chinook, Coho, and Pink salmon through an experimental community gillnet fishery in the Federal public waters of the upper mainstem of the Kasilof River from a Federal regulatory marker on the river below the outlet of Tustumena Lake downstream to the Tustumena Lake boat launch July 1-31. The experimental community gillnet fishery will expire 5 years after approval of the first operational plan.

(1) Only one community gillnet can be operated on the Kasilof River. The gillnet cannot be over 10 fathoms in length, and may not obstruct more than half of the river width with stationary fishing gear. Subsistence stationary gillnet gear may not be set within 200 feet of other subsistence stationary gear.

(2) One registration permit will be available and will be awarded by the Federal in-season fishery manager, in consultation with the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge manager, based on the merits of the operational plan. The registration permit will be issued to an organization that, as the community gillnet owner, will be responsible for its use in consultation with the Federal fishery manager. The experimental community gillnet will be subject to compliance with Kenai National Wildlife Refuge regulations and restrictions.

(i) Prior to the season, provide a written operational plan to the Federal fishery manager including a description of fishing method, mesh size requirements, fishing time and location, and how fish will be offered and distributed among households and residents of Ninilchik;

(ii) After the season, provide written documentation of required evaluation information to the Federal fishery manager including, but not limited to, persons or households operating the gear, hours of operation, and number of each species caught and retained or released.

(3) The gillnet owner (organization) may operate the net for subsistence purposes on behalf of residents of Ninilchik by requesting a subsistence fishing permit that:

(i) Identifies a person who will be responsible for fishing the gillnet;

(ii) Includes provisions for recording daily catches, the household to whom the catch was given, and other information determined to be necessary for effective resource management by the Federal fishery manager.

(4) Fishing for Sockeye, Chinook, Coho and Pink salmon will be closed by Federal Special Action prior to the operational plan end dates if the annual total harvest limits for any salmon species is reached or suspended.

(5) Salmon taken in the gillnet fishery will be included as part of dip net/rod and reel fishery annual total harvest limits for the Kasilof River. All fish harvested must be reported to the in-season manager within 72 hours of leaving the fishing location.

(i) A portion of the total annual harvest limits for the Kasilof River will be allocated to the experimental community gillnet fishery.

(ii) The gillnet fishery will be closed once the allocation limit is reached.

(6) Salmon taken in the experimental community gillnet fishery will be included as part of the dip net/rod and reel fishery annual household limits for the Kasilof River.

(7) Residents of Ninilchik may retain other species incidentally caught in the Kasilof River. When the retention of rainbow/steelhead trout has been restricted under Federal subsistence regulations, the gillnet fishery will be closed.

(8) Before leaving the site, all harvested fish must be marked by removing their dorsal fin, and all retained fish must be recorded on the fishing permit.

(9) Failure to respond to reporting requirements or return the completed harvest permit by the due date listed on the permit may result in issuance of a violation notice and will make you ineligible to receive a subsistence permit during the following regulatory year.

(J) Residents of Ninilchik may harvest Sockeye, Chinook, Coho, and Pink salmon with a gillnet in the Federal public waters of the Kenai River. Residents of Ninilchik may retain other species incidentally caught in the Kenai River except for Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden 18 inches or longer. Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden 18 inches or greater must be released.

(1) Only one community gillnet can be operated on the Kenai River. The gillnet cannot be over 10 fathoms in length to take salmon, and may not obstruct more than half of the river width with stationary fishing gear. Subsistence stationary gillnet gear may not be set within 200 feet of other subsistence stationary gear.

(2) One registration permit will be available and will be awarded by the Federal in-season fishery manager, in consultation with the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge manager, based on the merits of the operational plan. The registration permit will be issued to an organization that, as the community gillnet owner, will be responsible for its use and removal in consultation with the Federal fishery manager. As part of the permit, the organization must:

(i) Prior to the season, provide a written operational plan to the Federal fishery manager including a description of how fishing time and fish will be offered and distributed among households and residents of Ninilchik;Start Printed Page 28193

(ii) After the season, provide written documentation of required evaluation information to the Federal fishery manager including, but not limited to, persons or households operating the gear, hours of operation, and number of each species caught and retained or released.

(3) The gillnet owner (organization) may operate the net for subsistence purposes on behalf of residents of Ninilchik by requesting a subsistence fishing permit that:

(i) Identifies a person who will be responsible for fishing the gillnet;

(ii) Includes provisions for recording daily catches, the household to whom the catch was given, and other information determined to be necessary for effective resource management by the Federal fishery manager.

(4) Fishing will be allowed from June 15 through August 15 on the Kenai River unless closed or otherwise restricted by Federal special action.

(5) Salmon taken in the gillnet fishery will be included as part of the dip net/rod and reel fishery annual total harvest limits for the Kenai River and as part of dip net/rod and reel household annual limits of participating households.

(6) Fishing for each salmon species will end and the fishery will be closed by Federal special action prior to regulatory end dates if the annual total harvest limit for that species is reached or superseded by Federal special action.

* * * * *

(13) * * *

(xiii) * * *

(E) Fishing nets must be checked at least twice each day. The total annual guideline harvest level for the Stikine River fishery is 125 Chinook, 600 Sockeye, and 400 Coho salmon. All salmon harvested, including incidentally taken salmon, will count against the guideline for that species.

* * * * *

(xx) The Klawock River drainage is closed to the use of seines and gillnets during July and August.

(xxi) The Federal public waters in the Makhnati Island area, as defined in § __.3(b)(5) are closed to the harvest of herring and herring spawn except by Federally qualified users.

Start Signature

Dated: April 29, 2015.

Eugene R. Peltola, Jr.,

Assistant Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Acting Chair, Federal Subsistence Board.

Dated: April 29, 2015.

Thomas Whitford,

Subsistence Program Leader, USDA—Forest Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2015-11907 Filed 5-15-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-11-P; 4310-55-P