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Fisheries Off West Coast States; West Coast Salmon Fisheries; 2017 Management Measures and a Temporary Rule

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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:

Final rule; and a temporary rule for emergency action.

SUMMARY:

Through this final rule, NMFS establishes fishery management measures for the 2017 ocean salmon fisheries off Washington, Oregon, and California and the 2018 salmon seasons opening earlier than May 1, 2018. The temporary rule for emergency action (emergency rule), under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), implements the 2017 annual management measures for the West Coast ocean salmon fisheries for the area from the U.S./Canada border to Cape Falcon, OR, from May 1, 2017, through October 28, 2018. The emergency rule is required because allocation of coho harvest between recreational and commercial fisheries will not be consistent with the allocation schedule specified in the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan (FMP) in order to limit fishery impacts on Queets coho and meet conservation and management objectives. The fishery management measures for the area from Cape Falcon, OR, to the U.S./Mexico border are consistent with the FMP and are implemented through a final rule. Specific fishery management measures vary by fishery and by area. The measures establish fishing areas, seasons, quotas, legal gear, recreational fishing days and catch limits, possession and landing restrictions, and minimum lengths for salmon taken in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) (3-200 NM) off Washington, Oregon, and California. The management measures are intended to prevent overfishing and to apportion the ocean harvest equitably among treaty Indian, non-treaty commercial, and recreational fisheries. The measures are also intended to allow a portion of the salmon runs to escape the ocean fisheries in order to provide for spawning escapement and inside fisheries (fisheries occurring in state internal waters).

DATES:

The final rule covering fisheries south of Cape Falcon, Oregon, is effective from 0001 hours Pacific Daylight Time, May 1, 2017, until the effective date of the 2018 management measures, which will be published in the Federal Register. The temporary rule covering fisheries north of Cape Falcon, Oregon, is effective from 0001 hours Pacific Daylight Time, May 1, 2017, through 2400 hours Pacific Daylight Time, October 28, 2017, or the attainment of the specific quotas listed below in section two of this rule.

ADDRESSES:

The documents cited in this document are available on the Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council's) Web site (www.pcouncil.org).

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Peggy Mundy at 206-526-4323.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The ocean salmon fisheries in the EEZ off Washington, Oregon, and California are managed under a “framework” FMP. Regulations at 50 CFR part 660, subpart H, provide the mechanism for making preseason and inseason adjustments to the management measures, within limits set by the FMP, by notification in the Federal Register. Establishing annual management measures is authorized at 50 CFR 660.408.

The management measures for the 2017 and pre-May 2018 ocean salmon fisheries that are implemented in this final rule were recommended by the Council at its April 6 to 11, 2017, meeting.

Process Used To Establish 2017 Management Measures

The Council announced its annual preseason management process for the 2017 ocean salmon fisheries in the Federal Register on December 28, 2016 (81 FR 95568), and on the Council's Web site at (www.pcouncil.org). NMFS published an additional notice of opportunities to submit public comments on the 2017 ocean salmon fisheries in the Federal Register on January 17, 2017 (82 FR 4859). These notices announced the availability of Council documents, the dates and locations of Council meetings and public hearings comprising the Council's complete schedule of events for determining the annual proposed and final modifications to ocean salmon fishery management measures, and instructions on how to comment on the development of the 2017 ocean salmon fisheries. The agendas for the March and April Council meetings were published in the Federal Register (82 FR 10881, February 16, 2017, and 82 FR 14353, March 20, 2017, respectively) and posted on the Council's Web site prior to the actual meetings.

In accordance with the FMP, the Council's Salmon Technical Team (STT) and staff economist prepared four reports for the Council, its advisors, and the public. All four reports were made available on the Council's Web site upon their completion. The first of the reports, “Review of 2016 Ocean Salmon Fisheries,” was prepared in February when the scientific information necessary for crafting management measures for the 2017 and pre-May 2018 ocean salmon fisheries first became available. The first report summarizes biological and socio-economic data for the 2016 ocean salmon fisheries and assesses how well the Council's 2016 management objectives were met. The second report, “Preseason Report I Stock Abundance Analysis and Environmental Assessment Part 1 for 2017 Ocean Salmon Fishery Regulations” (PRE I), provides the 2017 salmon stock abundance projections and analyzes the impacts on the stocks and Council management goals if the 2016 regulations and regulatory procedures were applied to the projected 2017 stock abundances. The completion of PRE I is the initial step in developing and evaluating the full suite of preseason alternatives.

Following completion of the first two reports, the Council met in Vancouver, WA, from March 7 to 13, 2017, to develop 2017 management alternatives for proposal to the public. The Council proposed three alternatives for commercial and recreational fisheries management for analysis and public comment. These alternatives consisted of various combinations of management measures designed to protect weak stocks of coho and Chinook salmon, and to provide for ocean harvests of more abundant stocks. After the March Council meeting, the Council's STT and staff economist prepared a third report, “Preseason Report II Proposed Alternatives and Environmental Assessment Part 2 for 2017 Ocean Salmon Fishery Regulations” (PRE II), which analyzes the effects of the proposed 2017 management alternatives.

Public hearings, sponsored by the Council, to receive testimony on the proposed alternatives were held on March 27, 2017, in Westport, WA, and Coos Bay, OR; and on March 28, 2017, in Fort Bragg, CA. The States of Washington, Oregon, and California Start Printed Page 19632sponsored meetings in various fora that also collected public testimony, which was then presented to the Council by each state's Council representative. The Council also received public testimony at both the March and April meetings and received written comments at the Council office.

The Council met from April 6 to 11, 2017, in Vancouver, WA, to adopt its final 2017 salmon management recommendations. Following the April Council meeting, the Council's STT and staff economist prepared a fourth report, “Preseason Report III Analysis of Council-Adopted Management Measures for 2017 Ocean Salmon Fisheries” (PRE III), which analyzes the environmental and socio-economic effects of the Council's final recommendations. After the Council took final action on the annual ocean salmon specifications in April, it transmitted the recommended management measures to NMFS, published them in its newsletter, and also posted them on the Council Web site (www.pcouncil.org).

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

The environmental assessment (EA) for this action comprises the Council's documents described above (PRE I, PRE II, and PRE III), providing analysis of environmental and socioeconomic effects under NEPA. The EA and its related Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) are posted on the NMFS West Coast Region Web site (www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov).

Resource Status

Stocks of Concern

The FMP requires that the fisheries be shaped to meet escapement-based Annual Catch Limits (ACLs), Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation requirements, obligations of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST) between the U.S. and Canada, and other conservation objectives detailed in the FMP. Because the ocean salmon fisheries are mixed-stock fisheries, this requires “weak stock” management to avoid exceeding limits for the stocks with the most constraining limits. Abundance forecasts for individual salmon stocks can vary significantly from one year to the next; therefore, the stocks that constrain the fishery in one year may differ from those that constrain the fishery in the next. For 2017, limits for three stocks are the most constraining on the fisheries; these are described below.

Fisheries south of Cape Falcon, OR, are limited in 2017 primarily by the low abundance forecast of Klamath River fall Chinook salmon (KRFC) and concern for the status of ESA-listed Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon (SRWC). Fisheries north of Cape Falcon are limited primarily by the low abundance forecast for Queets coho. The limitations imposed in order to protect these stocks are described below. The alternatives and the Council's recommended management measures for 2017 were designed to avoid exceeding these limitations.

Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon (SRWC): In 2010, NMFS consulted under ESA section 7 and provided guidance to the Council regarding the effects of Council area fisheries on SRWC, ESA-listed as endangered. NMFS completed a biological opinion that includes a reasonable and prudent alternative (RPA) to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of this evolutionarily significant unit (ESU). The RPA included management-area-specific fishing season openings and closures, and minimum size limits for both commercial and recreational fisheries. It also directed NMFS to develop a second component to the RPA—an abundance-based management (ABM) framework. In 2012, NMFS implemented this ABM framework, which supplements the above management restrictions with maximum allowable impact rates that apply when abundance is low, based on the three-year geometric mean spawning escapement of SRWC. Using the methodology specified in the ABM framework, the age-3 impact rate on SRWC in 2017 fisheries south of Point Arena recommended by NMFS would be limited to a maximum of 15.8 percent. At the start of the preseason planning process for the 2017 management season, NMFS provided a letter to the Council, dated March 3, 2017, summarizing limits to impacts on ESA-listed species for 2017, based on existing biological opinions and 2017 abundance information, as required by the Salmon FMP. The letter stated the 15.8 percent maximum impact rate on SRWC.

However, as in 2016, the Council expressed concern that the methodology used to recommend that impact rate is retrospective in nature and may not be responsive to the effects of recent environmental events on salmon survival and productivity, including the perilously high mortality rates of out-migrating SRWC smolts in recent years due to warm water conditions caused by drought in California. Estimates of juvenile SRWC passage at Red Bluff Diversion Dam on the Sacramento River indicate that, while 2016 brood year outmigration was slightly higher than the previous two brood years, juvenile abundance remains about one-third the 2007-2015 average. The Council has formed a workgroup to develop new scientific methodology to incorporate information about future SRWC abundance into fishery management; however, that new methodology is not yet available. For 2017, the Council recommended precautionary management measures including time and area restrictions based on data presented by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) regarding SRWC encounters in the fishery resulting in an impact rate for SRWC of 12.2 percent. Conservation measures for SRWC will constrain 2017 salmon fisheries south of Point Arena, California.

Klamath River fall Chinook salmon (KRFC): KRFC is not an ESA-listed stock; however, forecast abundance for this stock in 2017 is historically low, only 30 percent of the 2016 forecast. KRFC currently meets the FMP's status determination criteria (SDC) for approaching an overfished condition based on escapements in 2015 and 2016, coupled with the projected escapement in 2017. The FMP defines “overfished” status in terms of a three-year geometric mean escapement level and whether it is above the minimum stock sized threshold (MSST). Based on preliminary information, it is possible that KRFC will be determined to have a three-year geometric mean escapement level below MSST once post-season escapement estimates are available, and meet the definition of “overfished” in 2018, but, given the minimal impacts of Council-area fisheries on KRFC, this is the case whether or not there are any fishery impacts.

The FMP's harvest control rule for this stock allows for minimal levels of impact at very low abundance levels. Given the forecast abundance of KRFC for 2017, the control rule limits impacts on the stock to 8.1 percent. Fisheries south of Cape Falcon and north of Point Sur will be constrained by this limit. The FMP specifies a set of circumstances that the Council should consider in applying the control rule at very low abundance levels: Critically low spawner abundance that may affect crucial genetic thresholds of substocks, spawner abundance in recent years, status of co-mingled stocks, marine and freshwater environmental conditions, needs for tribal fisheries, whether the stock is currently in an approaching overfished condition, and whether the stock is currently overfished. The Council and its advisors discussed these Start Printed Page 19633circumstances. The risk for substocks to fall below crucial genetic thresholds in 2017 was expected to be substantial (greater than 80 percent) under either a no-fishing scenario or fishing at levels specified by the control rule level. In 2016, KRFC spawner escapement was well below both the level for maximum sustained yield (SMSY) and minimum stock size threshold (MSST) specified in the FMP. Regarding the status of co-mingled stocks, the STT reported that the primary stocks that comingle with KRFC have relatively low forecast abundance for 2017. The Yurok and Hoopa Valley Tribes have reserved fishing rights and are dependent on salmon for their subsistence and culture. NMFS' Northwest and Southwest Fisheries Science Centers presented information indicating that the broods that will contribute to 2017 harvest and escapement encountered poor ocean conditions in the California Current Ecosystem. As stated above, KRFC currently meet the FMP SDC criteria for approaching an overfished condition; although NMFS has not yet made a determination. Finally, KRFC are not currently overfished. After consideration of these circumstances, the Council adopted the 8.1 percent impact rate, consistent with the KRFC control rule. The Council developed management measures that utilize time and area closures to minimize fishery impacts on KRFC: The Klamath Management Zone (KMZ), Humbug Mountain, OR south to Humboldt South Jetty, CA, will be closed for the entire year to both commercial and recreational fishing and the area from Florence South Jetty, OR south to Humbug Mountain will be closed to commercial fishing to provide an additional buffer; in California, there will be very little fishing opportunity in the Fort Bragg management area, specifically avoiding times when KRFC impacts are known to be high in that area; and, finally, CDFW will recommend to the California Fish and Game Commission that fall Chinook fishing in the Klamath River be closed in 2017. The combination of the KRFC and SRWC control rules will constrain fisheries severely in California in 2017.

Queets coho: Queets coho are not ESA-listed. However, the 2017 abundance forecast for this stock is very low; 6,548 fish compared to a 2009-2016 average of 18,700 fish. The FMP's conservation objective for Queets coho is a spawning escapement of 5,800 fish. Although the Council's recommended management measures would allow for an ocean escapement of 5,800 Queets coho, the conservation objective in the FMP is for a spawning escapement that accounts for in-river fishery impacts. The FMP provides flexibility in setting the annual spawning escapement for several Washington coho stocks, including Queets coho, provided there is agreement between the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the treaty tribes, consistent with court orders in U.S. v Washington. Therefore, based on agreement between those parties and discussion on the Council floor that the reduced spawning escapement is unlikely to jeopardize the capacity of the fishery to produce maximum sustainable yield on a continuing basis, the Council adopted a 2017 spawning escapement target of 5,130 Queets coho to allow for limited harvest opportunity in ocean and in-river fisheries directed at other higher-abundance stocks. Additionally, under the criteria of the PST's Southern Coho Management Plan, Queets coho abundance is in the “low” category in 2017 and subject to a total exploitation rate of 20 percent. The state and treaty tribal co-managers relied on a provision in the PST to request that the Southern Panel of the Pacific Salmon Commission agree to permit a 22 percent exploitation rate on Queets coho in 2017 to allow the U.S. to meet fishery management objectives [(Pacific Salmon Treaty, Article XV, Annex IV, Chapter 5, paragraph 11(c)]. The Southern Panel did agree to this request. Managing for impacts to Queets coho will constrain salmon fisheries north of Cape Falcon, Oregon.

Annual Catch Limits and Status Determination Criteria

Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) are set for two Chinook salmon stocks, Sacramento River fall Chinook (SRFC) and KRFC, and one coho stock, Willapa Bay natural coho. The Chinook salmon stocks are indicator stocks for the Central Valley Fall Chinook complex and the Southern Oregon/Northern California Chinook complex, respectively. The Far North Migrating Coastal Chinook complex includes a group of Chinook salmon stocks that are caught primarily in fisheries north of Cape Falcon, Oregon, and other fisheries that occur north of the U.S./Canada border. No ACL is set for these stocks because they are managed according to the PST with Canada. Other Chinook salmon stocks caught in fisheries north of Cape Falcon are ESA-listed or hatchery produced, and are managed consistent with ESA consultations or hatchery goals. Willapa Bay natural coho is the only coho stock for which an ACL is set, as the other coho stocks in the FMP are either ESA-listed, hatchery produced, or managed under the PST.

ACLs for salmon stocks are escapement-based, which means they establish a number of adults that must escape the fisheries to return to the spawning grounds. ACLs are set based on the annual abundance projection and a fishing rate reduced to account for scientific uncertainty. For SRFC in 2017, the overfishing limit (OFL) is SOFL = 230,700 (projected abundance) multiplied by 1 − FMSY (1 − 0.78) or 50,754 returning spawners (FMSY is the fishing mortality rate that would result in maximum sustainable yield − MSY). SABC is 230,700 multiplied by 1 − FABC (1 − 0.70) (FMSY reduced for scientific uncertainty = 0.70) or 69,210. The SACL is set equal to SABC, i.e, 69,210 spawners. The adopted management measures provide for an expected SRFC spawning escapement of 133,200. For KRFC in 2017, SOFL is 12,383 (abundance projection) multiplied by 1 − FMSY (1 − 0.71), or 3,591 returning spawners. SABC is 12,383 multiplied by 1 − FABC (1 − 0.68) (FMSY reduced for scientific uncertainty = 0.68) or 3,963 returning spawners. SACL is set equal to SABC, i.e., 3,963 spawners. The adopted management measures provide for an expected KRFC spawning escapement of 11,379. For Willapa Bay natural coho in 2017, the overfishing limit (OFL) is SOFL = 36,720 (projected abundance) multiplied by 1 − FMSY (1 − 0.74) or 9,547 returning spawners. SABC is 36,720 multiplied by 1 − FABC (1 − 0.70) (FMSY reduced for scientific uncertainty = 0.70) or 11,016. SACL is set equal to SABC, i.e., 11,016 spawners. The adopted management measures provide for an expected Willapa Bay natural coho ocean escapement of 34,400.

As explained in more detail above under “Stocks of Concern,” fisheries north and south of Cape Falcon, are constrained by impact limits necessary to protect ESA-listed salmon stocks including SRWC and KRFC and Queets coho which are not ESA-listed. For 2017, projected abundance of the three stocks with ACLs (SRFC, KRFC, and Willapa Bay natural coho), in combination with the constraints for ESA-listed and non-ESA-listed stocks, are expected to result in escapements greater than required to meet the ACLs for all three stocks with defined ACLs.

Emergency Rule

The Council's final recommendation for the ocean salmon fishing seasons that commence May 1, 2017, deviates from the FMP specifically with regard to the FMP's allocation schedule for coho harvest in the area north of Cape Falcon, between commercial and recreational Start Printed Page 19634fisheries. The total allowable catch (TAC) of coho in non-treaty commercial and recreational fisheries north of Cape Falcon is 47,600 marked coho in 2017. At that TAC level, the FMP allocates 25 percent (16 percent marked coho equivalent) of coho to the commercial fishery and 75 percent (84 percent marked coho equivalent) of coho to the recreational fishery. To limit fishery impacts on coho consistent with the adopted spawning escapement and exploitation rates described above, the Council recommended the following allocations of marked coho TAC: 12 percent commercial and 88 percent recreational. Recreational fisheries are more dependent on coho, while commercial fisheries are more dependent on Chinook salmon. Additionally, in mark-selective fisheries, recreational fisheries have a lower impact rate due to lower hooking mortality. This deviation from the FMP allocation schedule should provide fishing opportunity on abundant stocks while limiting fishery impacts on Queets coho.

The Council considered three alternative fishery management schemes for the fisheries north of Cape Falcon; two of the three alternatives were inconsistent with the FMP coho allocation schedule. Alternative I would have limited the commercial fishery to nine percent of the north of Falcon coho TAC, inconsistent with the FMP allocation schedule between commercial and recreational fisheries; Alternative II would have been consistent with the FMP coho allocation schedule; and Alternative III would have prohibited coho retention in the non-treaty commercial fishery north of Cape Falcon and would have restricted coho retention in the recreational fishery to the area south of Leadbetter Point, WA, this would be inconsistent with the FMP allocation schedule between commercial and recreational fisheries and among recreational fishery subareas. The Council's state and tribal representatives, and industry advisory committee, supported consideration of these three alternatives. The Council's final recommended management measures fall between the second and third alternatives in terms of impacts to coho. These management measures reflect agreement between the State of Washington and coastal treaty tribes on spawning escapement and exploitation rate goals on Queets coho for combined ocean fisheries and fisheries landward of the EEZ; the projected impacts of the combined fisheries are managed such that Queets coho meets these escapement and exploitation rate goals. The Council voted unanimously to adopt these measures, and members spoke about the need to conserve Queets coho while providing harvest opportunity on abundant stocks to provide economic benefit to fishery dependent communities.

The proposed fisheries have minimal impacts on Queets coho and are not expected to jeopardize the capacity of the fishery to produce maximum sustainable yield on a continuing basis. The FMP defines overfishing and overfished status for this stock. Queets would not be subject to overfishing under the proposed management measures, in fact the overfishing limits in the FMP are much higher than the expected impact rates (65 percent MFMT compared to a 22 percent projected impact rate). Queets coho currently meet the FMP's SDC for approaching an overfished condition based on escapements in 2014 and 2015, coupled with the projected escapement in 2017. Escapements in 2016 are not available but are reported to have been much higher than anticipated during the 2016 preseason process. Based on preliminary information, it is possible that Queets coho will have a three-year geometric mean escapement level below MSST, and meet the definition of “overfished” in 2018, but, given the minimal impacts of Council-area fisheries on Queets coho, this is the case whether or not there are any fishery impacts. The marginal decreases in the abundance of Queets coho expected from the proposed fisheries (approximately 267 fish out of the forecasted abundance of 6,548 fish may be taken by the proposed fisheries) are not expected to affect the ability of the fisheries to produce MSY on a continuing basis.

The temporary rule for emergency action implements the 2017 annual management measures for the West Coast ocean salmon fisheries for the area from the U.S./Canada border to Cape Falcon, OR, for 180 days, from May 1, 2017, through October 28, 2017 (16 U.S.C. 1855(c)).

Public Comments

The Council invited written comments on developing 2017 salmon management measures in their notice announcing public meetings and hearings (81 FR 95568, December 28, 2016). At its March meeting, the Council adopted three alternatives for 2017 salmon management measures having a range of quotas, season structure, and impacts, from the least restrictive in Alternative I to the most restrictive in Alternative III. These alternatives are described in detail in PRE II. Subsequently, comments were taken at three public hearings held in March, staffed by representatives of the Council and NMFS. The Council received several written comments directly. The three public hearings were attended by a total of 154 people; 34 people provided oral comments. Comments came from individual fishers, fishing associations, fish buyers, and processors. Written and oral comments addressed the 2017 management alternatives described in PRE II, and generally expressed preferences for a specific alternative or for particular season structures. All comments were included in the Council's briefing book for their April 2017 meeting and were considered by the Council, which includes a representative from NMFS, in developing the recommended management measures transmitted to NMFS on April 20, 2017. In addition to comments collected at the public hearings and those submitted directly to the Council, a few people provided oral comments at the April 2017 Council meeting. NMFS also invited comments to be submitted directly to the Council or to NMFS, via the Federal Rulemaking Portal (www.regulations.gov) in a notice (82 FR 4859, January 17, 2017). No comments were submitted via www.regulations.gov.

Comments on alternatives for fisheries north of Cape Falcon. For fisheries north of Cape Falcon, Alternative I was favored by most commercial and recreational fishery commenters at the public hearing in Westport, WA. A variety of modifications to the alternatives were presented, most designed to maximize fishing opportunity in both commercial and recreational fisheries.

Comments on alternatives for fisheries south of Cape Falcon. Comments supporting a particular alternative south of Cape Falcon varied with geographic location of the meeting or commenter. Those attending the meeting in Coos Bay, OR, largely favored Alternative I for both commercial and recreational fisheries, while those attending the meeting in Fort Bragg, CA, expressed overwhelming support for Alternative III. The Council received a large number of emailed comments from members of a recreational fishing club in California who favored Alternative I. Comments included concern for Klamath and Sacramento River salmon and various environmental and management concerns that affect them.

Comments on incidental halibut retention in the commercial salmon fisheries. At its March meeting, the Council identified three alternatives for landing limits for incidentally caught Start Printed Page 19635halibut that are retained in the salmon troll fishery. There were a few comments received on halibut and these focused on the ability to access the full halibut allocation (severely constrained salmon fisheries in 2016 resulted in the commercial fleet being unable to access all of the incidental halibut allocation available).

Comments from treaty tribe representatives. At its March and April meetings, the Council heard testimony from members of several treaty tribes; additional comments were submitted in writing. There was strong concern about environmental conditions in the Klamath River that are deleterious to salmon survival, including promoting increased rates of infection by the parasite Ceratonova shasta. Comments were made on the need for sufficient spawning escapement in the Columbia River Basin and in support of successful artificial propagation and reintroduction efforts implemented there by the tribes. Comments were made on the reserved treaty rights of tribes to fish and frustration with insufficient salmon for tribal needs. Finally, there were written comments expressing concern over the low abundance of coho salmon in Puget Sound rivers and stressing the need to limit fisheries to provide spawning escapement.

The Council, including the NMFS representative, took all of these comments into consideration. The Council's final recommendation generally includes aspects of all three alternatives, while taking into account the best available scientific information and ensuring that fisheries are consistent with ESA consultation standards, ACLs, PST obligations, and tribal fishing rights. These management tools assist the Council in meeting impact limits on weak stocks. The Council adopted alternative III for incidental halibut retention, this alternative provides for more liberal landing limits for halibut than were adopted for 2016 salmon fisheries and April 2017 salmon fisheries (81 FR 26157, May 2, 2016).

Management Measures for 2017 Fisheries

The Council's recommended ocean harvest levels and management measures for the 2017 fisheries are designed to apportion the burden of protecting the weak stocks identified and discussed in PRE I equitably among ocean fisheries and to allow maximum harvest of natural and hatchery runs surplus to inside fishery and spawning needs. NMFS finds the Council's recommendations to be responsive to the goals of the FMP, the requirements of the resource, and the socioeconomic factors affecting resource users. The recommendations are consistent with the requirements of the MSA, U.S. obligations to Indian tribes with federally recognized fishing rights, and U.S. international obligations regarding Pacific salmon. The Council's recommended management measures also comply with NMFS ESA consultation standards and guidance, for those ESA-listed salmon species that may be affected by Council fisheries. Accordingly, NMFS, through this final rule and temporary rule, approves and implements the Council's recommendations.

North of Cape Falcon, 2017 management measures for non-Indian commercial troll and recreational fisheries have increased quotas for Chinook and coho salmon compared to 2016, when historically low abundance for several coho stocks severely constrained fisheries. North of Cape Falcon in 2017, commercial and recreational fisheries will have access to coho salmon in all management areas. Chinook harvest north of Cape Falcon will be moderately improved over the 2016 level for both commercial and recreational fisheries.

Quotas for the 2017 treaty-Indian commercial troll fishery North of Cape Falcon 2017 are 40,000 Chinook salmon and 12,500 coho in ocean management areas and Washington State Statistical Area 4B combined. These quotas are unchanged for Chinook from 2016 and allow coho retention which was not available in 2016. The treaty-Indian fishery commercial fisheries include a May and June fishery and a July and August fishery, with a quota of 20,000 Chinook in each fishery and 12,500 coho in the July and August fishery. Although the fishing opportunity North of Cape Falcon is better than in 2016, fisheries are reduced significantly compared to those implemented over the last ten years.

Recreational fisheries south of Cape Falcon will be directed primarily at Chinook salmon and are shaped to minimize impacts to KRFC, with opportunity for coho salmon limited to the area between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain, OR. Commercial fisheries south of Cape Falcon will be directed at Chinook in the areas north of the Florence South Jetty in Oregon and south of Horse Mountain in California and have no coho retention.

Management Measures for 2018 Fisheries

The timing of the March and April Council meetings makes it impracticable for the Council to recommend fishing seasons that begin before May 1 of the same year. Therefore, this action also establishes the 2018 fishing seasons that open earlier than May 1. The Council recommended, and NMFS concurs, that the commercial season off Oregon from Cape Falcon to the Oregon/California border, the commercial season off California from Horse Mountain to Point Arena, the recreational season off Oregon from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain, and the recreational season off California from Horse Mountain to the U.S./Mexico border will open in 2018 as indicated in the “Season Description” section of this document. At the March 2018 meeting, the Council may consider inseason recommendations to adjust the commercial and recreational seasons prior to May 1 in the areas off Oregon and California.

The following sections set out the management regime for the ocean salmon fishery. Open seasons and days are described in Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the 2017 management measures. Inseason closures in the commercial and recreational fisheries are announced on the NMFS hotline and through the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Notice to Mariners as described in Section 6. Other inseason adjustments to management measures are also announced on the hotline and through the Notice to Mariners. Inseason actions will also be published in the Federal Register as soon as practicable.

The following are the management measures recommended by the Council and approved and implemented here for 2017 and, as specified, for 2018.

Section 1. Commercial Management Measures for 2017 Ocean Salmon Fisheries

Parts A, B, and C of this section contain restrictions that must be followed for lawful participation in the fishery. Part A identifies each fishing area and provides the geographic boundaries from north to south, the open seasons for the area, the salmon species allowed to be caught during the seasons, and any other special restrictions effective in the area. Part B specifies minimum size limits. Part C specifies special requirements, definitions, restrictions, and exceptions.

A. Season Description

North of Cape Falcon, OR

—U.S./Canada border to Cape Falcon

May 1 through the earlier of June 30 or 27,000 Chinook, no more than 8,900 of which may be caught in the area between the U.S./Canada border and the Queets River and no more than 9,000 of Start Printed Page 19636which may be caught in the area between Leadbetter Point and Cape Falcon (C.8). In the area between the U.S./Canada border and the Queets River, a landing and possession limit of 60 Chinook per vessel per calendar week (Monday through Sunday) will be in place. Seven days per week (C.1). All salmon except coho (C.4, C.7). Chinook minimum size limit of 28 inches total length (B). Vessels in possession of salmon north of the Queets River may not cross the Queets River line (see Section 5. Geographical Landmarks) without first notifying WDFW at 360-249-1215 with area fished, total Chinook and halibut catch aboard, and destination. Vessels in possession of salmon south of the Queets River may not cross the Queets River line (see Section 5. Geographical Landmarks) without first notifying WDFW at 360-249-1215 with area fished, total Chinook and halibut catch aboard, and destination. When it is projected that approximately 75 percent of the overall Chinook guideline has been landed, or approximately 75 percent of the Chinook subarea guideline has been landed in the area between the U.S./Canada border and the Queets River, or approximately 75 percent of the Chinook subarea guideline has been landed in the area between Leadbetter Point and Cape Falcon, inseason action will be considered to ensure the guideline is not exceeded. See compliance requirements (C.1) and gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

July 1-4, July 7-September 19 or 18,000 Chinook or 5,600 coho, whichever comes first; no more than 7,200 Chinook may be caught in the area between the U.S./Canada border and the Queets River (C.8). Open five days per week, Friday through Tuesday. In the area between the U.S./Canada border and the Queets River, a landing and possession limit of 60 Chinook and 10 coho per vessel per open period will be in place (C.1, C.6). In the area from the Queets River to Cape Falcon, a landing and possession limit of 75 Chinook and 10 coho per vessel per open period will be in place (C.1, C.6). Chinook minimum size limit of 28 inches total length. Coho minimum size limit of 16 inches total length (B, C.1). All coho must be marked with a healed adipose fin clip (C.8.c). No chum retention north of Cape Alava, WA in August and September (C.4, C.7). See compliance requirements (C.1) and gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3). Vessels in possession of salmon north of the Queets River may not cross the Queets River line (see Section 5. Geographical Landmarks) without first notifying WDFW at 360-249-1215 with area fished, total Chinook and halibut catch aboard, and destination. Vessels in possession of salmon south of the Queets River may not cross the Queets River line (see Section 5. Geographical Landmarks) without first notifying WDFW at 360-249-1215 with area fished, total Chinook and halibut catch aboard, and destination. When it is projected that approximately 75 percent of the overall Chinook guideline has been landed, or approximately 75 percent of the Chinook subarea guideline has been landed in the area between the U.S./Canada border to the Queets River, inseason action will be considered to ensure the guideline is not exceeded.

For all commercial troll fisheries north of Cape Falcon, mandatory closed areas include: Salmon Troll Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area, Cape Flattery and Columbia Control Zones, and, beginning August 14, Grays Harbor Control Zone closed (C.5). Vessels must land and deliver their fish within 24 hours of any closure of this fishery. Vessels fishing or in possession of salmon while fishing north of Leadbetter Point must land and deliver their fish within the area and north of Leadbetter Point. Vessels fishing or in possession of salmon while fishing south of Leadbetter Point must land and deliver their fish within the area and south of Leadbetter Point, except that Oregon permitted vessels may also land their fish in Garibaldi, OR. Under state law, vessels must report their catch on a state fish receiving ticket. Oregon State regulations require all fishers landing salmon into Oregon from any fishery between Leadbetter Point, WA, and Cape Falcon, OR, must notify Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) within one hour of delivery or prior to transport away from the port of landing by either calling 541-867-0300 ext. 271 or sending notification via email to nfalcon.trollreport@state.or.us. Notification shall include vessel name and number, number of salmon by species, port of landing and location of delivery, and estimated time of delivery. Inseason actions may modify harvest guidelines in later fisheries to achieve or prevent exceeding the overall allowable troll harvest impacts (C.8).

South of Cape Falcon, OR

—Cape Falcon to Florence South Jetty

April 15-May 31;

June 7-12, June 15-30, July 8-31;

September 1-30, October 1-31 (C.9.a).

Seven days per week. All salmon except coho (C.4, C.7). Chinook minimum size limit of 28 inches total length (B, C.1). All vessels fishing in the area must land their fish in the state of Oregon. See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3) and Oregon State regulations for a description of special regulations at the mouth of Tillamook Bay. Beginning September 1, no more than 45 Chinook per vessel per landing week (Thursday through Wednesday), and only open shoreward of the 40 fathom regulatory line (C.5.f).

In 2018, the season will open March 15 for all salmon except coho. Chinook minimum size limit of 28 inches total length (B, C.1). Gear restrictions same as in 2017 (C.2, C.3, C.4, C.6, C.7, C.8). This opening could be modified following Council review at its March 2018 meeting.

—Florence South Jetty to Humbug Mountain

Closed (C.9.a).

In 2018, the season will open March 15 for all salmon except coho. Chinook minimum size limit of 28 inches total length (B, C.1). Gear restrictions same as in 2017 (C.2, C.3, C.4, C.6, C.7, C.8). This opening could be modified following Council review at its March 2018 meeting.

—Humbug Mountain to Oregon/California border (Oregon Klamath Management Zone (KMZ))

Closed (C.9.a).

In 2018, the season will open March 15 for all salmon except coho. Chinook minimum size limit of 28 inches total length (B, C.1). Gear restrictions same as in 2017 (C.2, C.3, C.4, C.6, C.7, C.8). This opening could be modified following Council review at its March 2018 meeting.

—Oregon/California border to Humboldt South Jetty (California KMZ)

Closed (C.9.a).

—Humboldt South Jetty to Horse Mt.

Closed.

When the fishery is closed between the Oregon/California border and Humbug Mountain and open to the south, vessels with fish on board caught in the open area off California may seek temporary mooring in Brookings, OR prior to landing in California only if such vessels first notify the Chetco River Coast Guard Station via VHF channel 22A between the hours of 0500 and 2200 and provide the vessel name, number of fish on board, and estimated time of arrival (C.6).

—Horse Mt. to Point Arena (Fort Bragg)

September 1 through the earlier of September 30, or a 3,000 Chinook quota (C.9.b).

Five days per week, Friday through Tuesday. All salmon except coho (C.4, C.7). Chinook minimum size limit of 27 Start Printed Page 19637inches total length (B, C.1). Landing and possession limit of 60 Chinook per vessel per open period (C.8.e). All fish caught in this area must be landed between the Oregon/California border and Point Arena (C.6). All fish must be offloaded within 24 hours of any closure of the fishery and prior to fishing outside the area (C.1). See compliance requirements (C.1) and gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

In 2018, the season will open April 16-30 for all salmon except coho, with a 27-inch Chinook minimum size limit and the same gear restrictions as in 2017. All fish caught in the area must be landed in the area. This opening could be modified following Council review at its March 2018 meeting.

—Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco)

August 1-29;

September 1-30 (C.9.b).

Seven days per week. All salmon except coho (C.4, C.7). Chinook minimum size limit of 27 inches total length prior to September 1, 26 inches thereafter (B, C.1). All fish must be landed in California. All salmon caught in California prior to September 1 must be landed and offloaded no later than 11:59 p.m., August 30 (C.6). In September, all fish must be landed south of Point Arena until the quota in the Fort Bragg fishery is met and the fishery has closed for 24 hours (C.6). See compliance requirements (C.1) and gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

  • Point Reyes to Point San Pedro (Fall Area Target Zone)

October 2-6 and 9-13.

Five days per week, Monday through Friday. All salmon except coho (C.4, C.7). Chinook minimum size limit of 26 inches total length (B, C.1). All fish caught in this area must be landed between Point Arena and Pigeon Point (C.6). See compliance requirements (C.1) and gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

—Pigeon Point to U.S./Mexico border (Monterey)

May 1-31;

June 1-30 (C.9.b).

Seven days per week. All salmon except coho (C.4, C.7). Chinook minimum size limit of 27 inches total length (B, C.1). All fish must be landed in California. All salmon caught in California prior to September 1 must be landed and offloaded no later than 11:59 p.m., August 30 (C.6). See compliance requirements (C.1) and gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

California State regulations require all salmon be made available to a CDFW representative for sampling immediately at port of landing. Any person in possession of a salmon with a missing adipose fin, upon request by an authorized agent or employee of the CDFW, shall immediately relinquish the head of the salmon to the state (California Fish and Game Code § 8226).

B. Minimum Size (Inches) (See C.1)

Area (when open)ChinookCohoPink
Total lengthHead-offTotal lengthHead-off
North of Cape Falcon, OR28.021.51612None.
Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain28.021.5None.
Humbug Mountain to OR/CA border
OR/CA border to Humboldt South Jetty
Horse Mountain to Point Arena27.020.5None.
Point Arena to Pigeon Point:
Prior to September 127.020.5None.
September 1 and thereafter26.019.5None.
Pigeon Point to U.S./Mexico border27.020.5None.
Metric equivalents: 28.0 in = 71.1 cm, 27.0 in = 68.6 cm, 26.0 in = 66.0 cm, 21.5 in = 54.6 cm, 20.5 in = 52.1 cm, 19.5 in = 49.5 cm, 16.0 in = 40.6 cm, and 12.0 in = 30.5 cm.

C. Requirements, Definitions, Restrictions, or Exceptions

C.1. Compliance With Minimum Size or Other Special Restrictions

All salmon on board a vessel must meet the minimum size, landing/possession limit, or other special requirements for the area being fished and the area in which they are landed if the area is open or has been closed less than 48 hours for that species of salmon. Salmon may be landed in an area that has been closed for a species of salmon more than 48 hours only if they meet the minimum size, landing/possession limit, or other special requirements for the area in which they were caught. Salmon may not be filleted prior to landing.

Any person who is required to report a salmon landing by applicable state law must include on the state landing receipt for that landing both the number and weight of salmon landed by species. States may require fish landing/receiving tickets be kept on board the vessel for 90 days or more after landing to account for all previous salmon landings.

C.2. Gear Restrictions

a. Salmon may be taken only by hook and line using single point, single shank, barbless hooks.

b. Cape Falcon, Oregon, to the Oregon/California border: No more than 4 spreads are allowed per line.

c. Oregon/California border to U.S./Mexico border: No more than 6 lines are allowed per vessel, and barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling.

C.3. Gear Definitions

Trolling defined: Fishing from a boat or floating device that is making way by means of a source of power, other than drifting by means of the prevailing water current or weather conditions.

Troll fishing gear defined: One or more lines that drag hooks behind a moving fishing vessel. In that portion of the fishery management area off Oregon and Washington, the line or lines must be affixed to the vessel and must not be intentionally disengaged from the vessel at any time during the fishing operation.

Spread defined: A single leader connected to an individual lure and/or bait.

Circle hook defined: A hook with a generally circular shape and a point which turns inward, pointing directly to the shank at a 90° angle.

C.4. Vessel Operation in Closed Areas With Salmon on Board

a. Except as provided under C.4.b below, it is unlawful for a vessel to have troll or recreational gear in the water while in any area closed to fishing for a certain species of salmon, while possessing that species of salmon; however, fishing for species other than salmon is not prohibited if the area is open for such species, and no salmon are in possession.Start Printed Page 19638

b. When Genetic Stock Identification (GSI) samples will be collected in an area closed to commercial salmon fishing, the scientific research permit holder shall notify NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, USCG, CDFW, WDFW, and Oregon State Police at least 24 hours prior to sampling and provide the following information: The vessel name, date, location and time collection activities will be done. Any vessel collecting GSI samples in a closed area shall not possess any salmon other than those from which GSI samples are being collected. Salmon caught for collection of GSI samples must be immediately released in good condition after collection of samples.

C.5. Control Zone Definitions

a. Cape Flattery Control Zone—The area from Cape Flattery (48°23′00″ N. lat.) to the northern boundary of the U.S. EEZ; and the area from Cape Flattery south to Cape Alava (48°10′00″ N. lat.) and east of 125°05′00″ W. long.

b. Salmon Troll Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area (50 CFR 660.70(c))—The area in Washington Marine Catch Area 3 from 48°00.00′ N. lat.; 125°14.00′ W. long. to 48°02.00′ N. lat.; 125°14.00′ W. long. to 48°02.00′ N. lat.; 125°16.50′ W. long. to 48°00.00′ N. lat.; 125°16.50′ W. long. and connecting back to 48°00.00′ N. lat.; 125°14.00′ W. long.

c. Grays Harbor Control Zone—The area defined by a line drawn from the Westport Lighthouse (46° 53′18″ N. lat., 124°07′01″ W. long.) to Buoy #2 (46°52′42″ N. lat., 124°12′42″ W. long.) to Buoy #3 (46°55′00″ N. lat., 124°14′48″ W. long.) to the Grays Harbor north jetty (46°55′36″ N. lat., 124°10′51″ W. long.).

d. Columbia Control Zone—An area at the Columbia River mouth, bounded on the west by a line running northeast/southwest between the red lighted Buoy #4 (46°13′35″ N. lat., 124°06′50″ W. long.) and the green lighted Buoy #7 (46°15′09″ N. lat., 124°06′16″ W. long.); on the east, by the Buoy #10 line which bears north/south at 357° true from the south jetty at 46°14′00″ N. lat., 124°03′07″ W. long. to its intersection with the north jetty; on the north, by a line running northeast/southwest between the green lighted Buoy #7 to the tip of the north jetty (46°15′48″ N. lat., 124°05′20″ W. long.), and then along the north jetty to the point of intersection with the Buoy #10 line; and, on the south, by a line running northeast/southwest between the red lighted Buoy #4 and tip of the south jetty (46°14′03″ N. lat., 124°04′05″ W. long.), and then along the south jetty to the point of intersection with the Buoy #10 line.

e. Klamath Control Zone—The ocean area at the Klamath River mouth bounded on the north by 41°38′48″ N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles north of the Klamath River mouth); on the west by 124°23′00″ W. long. (approximately 12 nautical miles off shore); and on the south by 41°26′48″ N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles south of the Klamath River mouth).

f. Waypoints for the 40 fathom regulatory line from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain (50 CFR 660.71(k)).

(12) 45°46.00′ N. lat., 124°04.49′ W. long.;

(13) 45°44.34′ N. lat., 124°05.09′ W. long.;

(14) 45°40.64′ N. lat., 124°04.90′ W. long.;

(15) 45°33.00′ N. lat., 124°04.46′ W. long.;

(16) 45°32.27′ N. lat., 124°04.74′ W. long.;

(17) 45°29.26′ N. lat., 124°04.22′ W. long.;

(18) 45°20.25′ N. lat., 124°04.67′ W. long.;

(19) 45°19.99′ N. lat., 124°04.62′ W. long.;

(20) 45°17.50′ N. lat., 124°04.91′ W. long.;

(21) 45°11.29′ N. lat., 124°05.20′ W. long.;

(22) 45°05.80′ N. lat., 124°05.40′ W. long.;

(23) 45°05.08′ N. lat., 124°05.93′ W. long.;

(24) 45°03.83′ N. lat., 124°06.47′ W. long.;

(25) 45°01.70′ N. lat., 124°06.53′ W. long.;

(26) 44°58.75′ N. lat., 124°07.14′ W. long.;

(27) 44°51.28′ N. lat., 124°10.21′ W. long.;

(28) 44°49.49′ N. lat., 124°10.90′ W. long.;

(29) 44°44.96′ N. lat., 124°14.39′ W. long.;

(30) 44°43.44′ N. lat., 124°14.78′ W. long.;

(31) 44°42.26′ N. lat., 124°13.81′ W. long.;

(32) 44°41.68′ N. lat., 124°15.38′ W. long.;

(33) 44°34.87′ N. lat., 124°15.80′ W. long.;

(34) 44°33.74′ N. lat., 124°14.44′ W. long.;

(35) 44°27.66′ N. lat., 124°16.99′ W. long.;

(36) 44°19.13′ N. lat., 124°19.22′ W. long.;

(37) 44°15.35′ N. lat., 124°17.38′ W. long.;

(38) 44°14.38′ N. lat., 124°17.78′ W. long.;

(39) 44°12.80′ N. lat., 124°17.18′ W. long.;

(40) 44°09.23′ N. lat., 124°15.96′ W. long.;

(41) 44°08.38′ N. lat., 124°16.79′ W. long.;

(42) 44°08.30′ N. lat., 124°16.75′ W. long.;

(43) 44°01.18′ N. lat., 124°15.42′ W. long.;

(44) 43°51.61′ N. lat., 124°14.68′ W. long.;

(45) 43°42.66′ N. lat., 124°15.46′ W. long.;

(46) 43°40.49′ N. lat., 124°15.74′ W. long.;

(47) 43°38.77′ N. lat., 124°15.64′ W. long.;

(48) 43°34.52′ N. lat., 124°16.73′ W. long.;

(49) 43°28.82′ N. lat., 124°19.52′ W. long.;

(50) 43°23.91′ N. lat., 124°24.28′ W. long.;

(51) 43°20.83′ N. lat., 124°26.63′ W. long.;

(52) 43°17.96′ N. lat., 124°28.81′ W. long.;

(53) 43°16.75′ N. lat., 124°28.42′ W. long.;

(54) 43°13.97′ N. lat., 124°31.99′ W. long.;

(55) 43°13.72′ N. lat., 124°33.25′ W. long.;

(56) 43°12.26′ N. lat., 124°34.16′ W. long.;

(57) 43°10.96′ N. lat., 124°32.33′ W. long.;

(58) 43°05.65′ N. lat., 124°31.52′ W. long.;

(59) 42°59.66′ N. lat., 124°32.58′ W. long.;

(60) 42°54.97′ N. lat., 124°36.99′ W. long.;

(61) 42°53.81′ N. lat., 124°38.57′ W. long.;

(62) 42°50.00′ N. lat., 124°39.68′ W. long.;

(63) 42°49.13′ N. lat., 124°39.70′ W. long.;

(64) 42°46.47′ N. lat., 124°38.89′ W. long.;

(65) 42°45.74′ N. lat., 124°38.86′ W. long.;

(66) 42°44.79′ N. lat., 124°37.96′ W. long.;

(67) 42°45.01′ N. lat., 124°36.39′ W. long.;

(68) 42°44.14′ N. lat., 124°35.17′ W. long.;

(69) 42°42.14′ N. lat., 124°32.82′ W. long.;

(70) 42°40.50′ N. lat., 124°31.98′ W. long.

C.6. Notification When Unsafe Conditions Prevent Compliance With Regulations

If prevented by unsafe weather conditions or mechanical problems from meeting special management area Start Printed Page 19639landing restrictions, vessels must notify the U.S. Coast Guard and receive acknowledgment of such notification prior to leaving the area. This notification shall include the name of the vessel, port where delivery will be made, approximate amount of salmon (by species) on board, the estimated time of arrival, and the specific reason the vessel is not able to meet special management area landing restrictions.

In addition to contacting the U.S. Coast Guard, vessels fishing south of the Oregon/California border must notify CDFW within one hour of leaving the management area by calling 800-889-8346 and providing the same information as reported to the U.S. Coast Guard. All salmon must be offloaded within 24 hours of reaching port.

C.7. Incidental Halibut Harvest

During authorized periods, the operator of a vessel that has been issued an incidental halibut harvest license by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) may retain Pacific halibut caught incidentally in Area 2A while trolling for salmon. Halibut retained must be no less than 32 inches in total length, measured from the tip of the lower jaw with the mouth closed to the extreme end of the middle of the tail, and must be landed with the head on. When halibut are caught and landed incidental to commercial salmon fishing by an IPHC license holder, any person who is required to report the salmon landing by applicable state law must include on the state landing receipt for that landing both the number of halibut landed, and the total dressed, head-on weight of halibut landed, in pounds, as well as the number and species of salmon landed.

License applications for incidental harvest must be obtained from the IPHC (phone: 206-634-1838). Applicants must apply prior to mid-March 2018 for 2018 permits (exact date to be set by the IPHC in early 2018). Incidental harvest is authorized only during April, May, and June of the 2017 troll seasons and after June 30 in 2017 if quota remains and if announced on the NMFS hotline (phone: 800-662-9825 or 206-526-6667). WDFW, ODFW, and CDFW will monitor landings. If the landings are projected to exceed the IPHC's 39,810 pound preseason allocation or the total Area 2A non-Indian commercial halibut allocation, NMFS will take inseason action to prohibit retention of halibut in the non-Indian salmon troll fishery.

May 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017, and April 1-30, 2018, license holders may land or possess no more than one Pacific halibut per each two Chinook, except one Pacific halibut may be possessed or landed without meeting the ratio requirement, and no more than 35 halibut may be possessed or landed per trip. Pacific halibut retained must be no less than 32 inches in total length (with head on). IPHC license holders must comply with all applicable IPHC regulations.

Incidental Pacific halibut catch regulations in the commercial salmon troll fishery adopted for 2017, prior to any 2017 inseason action, will be in effect when incidental Pacific halibut retention opens on April 1, 2018 unless otherwise modified by inseason action at the March 2018 Council meeting.

a. “C-shaped” yelloweye rockfish conservation area is an area to be voluntarily avoided for salmon trolling. NMFS and the Council request salmon trollers voluntarily avoid this area in order to protect yelloweye rockfish. The area is defined in the Pacific Council Halibut Catch Sharing Plan in the North Coast subarea (Washington marine area 3), with the following coordinates in the order listed:

48°18′ N. lat.; 125°18′ W. long.;

48°18′ N. lat.; 124°59′ W. long.;

48°11′ N. lat.; 124°59′ W. long.;

48°11′ N. lat.; 125°11′ W. long.;

48°04′ N. lat.; 125°11′ W. long.;

48°04′ N. lat.; 124°59′ W. long.;

48°00′ N. lat.; 124°59′ W. long.;

48°00′ N. lat.; 125°18′ W. long.;

and connecting back to 48°18′ N. lat.; 125°18′ W. long.

C.8. Inseason Management

In addition to standard inseason actions or modifications already noted under the season description, the following inseason guidance applies:

a. Chinook remaining from the May through June non-Indian commercial troll harvest guideline north of Cape Falcon may be transferred to the July through September harvest guideline if the transfer would not result in exceeding preseason impact expectations on any stocks.

b. NMFS may transfer fish between the recreational and commercial fisheries north of Cape Falcon if there is agreement among the areas' representatives on the Salmon Advisory Subpanel (SAS), and if the transfer would not result in exceeding preseason impact expectations on any stocks.

c. At the March 2018 meeting, the Council will consider inseason recommendations for special regulations for any experimental fisheries (proposals must meet Council protocol and be received in November 2017).

d. If retention of unmarked coho is permitted by inseason action, the allowable coho quota will be adjusted to ensure preseason projected impacts on all stocks is not exceeded.

e. Landing limits may be modified inseason to sustain season length and keep harvest within overall quotas.

C.9. State Waters Fisheries

Consistent with Council management objectives:

a. The State of Oregon may establish additional late-season fisheries in state waters.

b. The State of California may establish limited fisheries in selected state waters.

Check state regulations for details.

C.10. For the Purposes of California Fish and Game Code, Section 8232.5, the Definition of the KMZ for the Ocean Salmon Season Shall be That Area From Humbug Mountain, Oregon, to Horse Mountain, California

Section 2. Recreational Management Measures for 2017 Ocean Salmon Fisheries

Parts A, B, and C of this section contain restrictions that must be followed for lawful participation in the fishery. Part A identifies each fishing area and provides the geographic boundaries from north to south, the open seasons for the area, the salmon species allowed to be caught during the seasons, and any other special restrictions effective in the area. Part B specifies minimum size limits. Part C specifies special requirements, definitions, restrictions and exceptions.

A. Season Description

North of Cape Falcon, OR

—U.S./Canada border to Cape Alava (Neah Bay Subarea)

June 24 through earlier of September 4 or 4,370 marked coho subarea quota with a subarea guideline of 7,900 Chinook (C.5).

Seven days per week. All salmon, except no chum beginning August 1; two fish per day. All coho must be marked with a healed adipose fin clip (C.1). Beginning August 1, Chinook non-retention east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line (C.4.a) during Council managed ocean fishery. See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3). Inseason management may be used to sustain season length and keep harvest within the overall Chinook and coho recreational TACs for north of Cape Falcon (C.5).

—Cape Alava to Queets River (La Push Subarea)

June 24 through earlier of September 4 or 1,090 marked coho subarea quota with a subarea guideline of 2,500 Chinook (C.5).Start Printed Page 19640

Seven days per week. All salmon, two fish per day. All coho must be marked with a healed adipose fin clip. See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3). Inseason management may be used to sustain season length and keep harvest within the overall Chinook and coho recreational TACs for north of Cape Falcon (C.5).

—Queets River to Leadbetter Point (Westport Subarea)

July 1 through earlier of September 4 or 15,540 marked coho subarea quota with a subarea guideline of 21,400 Chinook (C.5).

Seven days per week. All salmon; two fish per day, no more than one of which can be a Chinook. All coho must be marked with a healed adipose fin clip (C.1). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3). Grays Harbor Control Zone closed beginning August 14 (C.4.b). Inseason management may be used to sustain season length and keep harvest within the overall Chinook and coho recreational TACs for north of Cape Falcon (C.5).

—Leadbetter Point to Cape Falcon (Columbia River Subarea)

June 24 through earlier of September 4 or 21,000 marked coho subarea quota with a subarea guideline of 13,200 Chinook (C.5).

Seven days per week. All salmon; two fish per day, no more than one of which can be a Chinook. All coho must be marked with a healed adipose fin clip (C.1). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3). Columbia Control Zone closed (C.4.c). Inseason management may be used to sustain season length and keep harvest within the overall Chinook and coho recreational TACs for north of Cape Falcon (C.5).

South of Cape Falcon, OR

—Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain.

March 15 through October 31 (C.6), except as provided below during the all-salmon mark-selective and September non-mark-selective coho fisheries.

Seven days per week. All salmon except coho; two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length (B). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

  • Non-mark-selective coho fishery: September 2 through the earlier of September 30 or a landed catch of 6,000 coho (C.5).

Seven days per week. All salmon, two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length. Coho minimum size limit of 16 inches total length (B). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

The all salmon except coho season reopens the earlier of October 1 or attainment of the coho quota (C.5). During October, the fishery is only open shoreward of the 40 fathom regulatory line (C.4.f).

In 2018, the season between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain will open March 15 for all salmon except coho; two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length (B); and the same gear restrictions as in 2017 (C.2, C.3). This opening could be modified following Council review at the March 2018 Council meeting.

Fishing in the Stonewall Bank yelloweye rockfish conservation area restricted to trolling only on days the all depth recreational halibut fishery is open (call the halibut fishing hotline 1-800-662-9825 for specific dates) (C.3.b, C.4.d).

—Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain

All-salmon mark-selective coho fishery: June 24 through the earlier of July 31 or a landed catch of 18,000 marked coho (C.5).

Seven days per week. All salmon, two fish per day. All retained coho must be marked with a healed adipose fin clip (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length. Coho minimum size limit of 16 inches total length (b). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3). Any remainder of the mark-selective quota may be transferred on an impact neutral basis to the September non-mark-selective quota from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain. The all salmon except coho season reopens the earlier of August 1 or attainment of the coho quota (C.5.e).

Fishing in the Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area restricted to trolling only on days the all depth recreational halibut fishery is open (call the halibut fishing hotline 1-800-662-9825 for specific dates) (C.3b, C.4.d).

—Humbug Mountain to Oregon/California border (Oregon KMZ)

Closed (C.6).

—Oregon/California border to Horse Mountain (California KMZ)

Closed (C.6).

—Horse Mountain to Point Arena (Fort Bragg)

April 1-May 31;

August 15-November 12 (C.6).

Seven days per week. All salmon except coho; two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 20 inches total length (B). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

In 2018, season opens April 7 for all salmon except coho; two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 20 inches total length (B); and the same gear restrictions as in 2017 (C.2, C.3). This opening could be modified following Council review at the March 2018 Council meeting.

—Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco)

April 1-30;

May 15-October 31 (C.6).

Seven days per week. All salmon except coho; two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length through April 30, 20 inches thereafter (B). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

In 2018, season opens April 7 for all salmon except coho; two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length (B); and the same gear restrictions as in 2017 (C.2, C.3). This opening could be modified following Council review at the March 2018 Council meeting.

—Pigeon Point to Point Sur (Monterey North)

April 1-July 15 (C.6).

Seven days per week. All salmon except coho; two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length (B). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

In 2018, season opens April 7 for all salmon except coho; two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length (B); and the same gear restrictions as in 2017 (C.2, C.3). This opening could be modified following Council review at the March 2018 Council meeting.

—Point Sur to U.S./Mexico border (Monterey South)

April 1-May 31 (C.6).

Seven days per week. All salmon except coho; two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length (B). See gear restrictions and definitions (C.2, C.3).

In 2018, season opens April 7 for all salmon except coho; two fish per day (C.1). Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches total length (B); and the same gear restrictions as in 2017 (C.2, C.3). This opening could be modified following Council review at the March 2018 Council meeting.

California State regulations require all salmon be made available to a CDFW representative for sampling immediately at port of landing. Any person in possession of a salmon with a missing adipose fin, upon request by an authorized agent or employee of the CDFW, shall immediately relinquish the head of the salmon to the state (California Code of Regulations Title 14 Section 1.73).Start Printed Page 19641

B. Minimum Size (Total Length in Inches) (See C.1)

Area (when open)ChinookCohoPink
North of Cape Falcon24.016.0None.
Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain24.016.0None.
Humbug Mt. to OR/CA border
OR/CA border to Horse Mountain
Horse Mountain to Point Arena20.020.0.
Point Arena to Pigeon Point:
Through April 3024.024.0.
After April 3020.020.0.
Pigeon Point to Point Sur24.024.0.
Point Sur to U.S./Mexico border24.024.0.
Metric equivalents: 24.0 in = 61.0 cm, 20.0 in = 50.8 cm, and 16.0in = 40.6 cm.

C. Requirements, Definitions, Restrictions, or Exceptions

C.1. Compliance With Minimum Size and Other Special Restrictions

All salmon on board a vessel must meet the minimum size or other special requirements for the area being fished and the area in which they are landed if that area is open. Salmon may be landed in an area that is closed only if they meet the minimum size or other special requirements for the area in which they were caught. Salmon may not be filleted prior to landing.

Ocean Boat Limits: Off the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California, each fisher aboard a vessel may continue to use angling gear until the combined daily limits of Chinook and coho salmon for all licensed and juvenile anglers aboard have been attained (additional state restrictions may apply).

C.2. Gear Restrictions

Salmon may be taken only by hook and line using barbless hooks. All persons fishing for salmon, and all persons fishing from a boat with salmon on board, must meet the gear restrictions listed below for specific areas or seasons.

a. U.S./Canada border to Point Conception, California: No more than one rod may be used per angler; and no more than two single point, single shank barbless hooks are required for all fishing gear. [Note: ODFW regulations in the state-water fishery off Tillamook Bay may allow the use of barbed hooks to be consistent with inside regulations.]

b. Horse Mountain, California, to Point Conception, California: Single point, single shank, barbless circle hooks (see gear definitions below) are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling, and no more than two such hooks shall be used. When angling with two hooks, the distance between the hooks must not exceed five inches when measured from the top of the eye of the top hook to the inner base of the curve of the lower hook, and both hooks must be permanently tied in place (hard tied). Circle hooks are not required when artificial lures are used without bait.

C.3. Gear Definitions

a. Recreational fishing gear defined: Off Oregon and Washington, angling tackle consists of a single line that must be attached to a rod and reel held by hand or closely attended; the rod and reel must be held by hand while playing a hooked fish. No person may use more than one rod and line while fishing off Oregon or Washington. Off California, the line must be attached to a rod and reel held by hand or closely attended; weights directly attached to a line may not exceed four pounds (1.8 kg). While fishing off California north of Point Conception, no person fishing for salmon, and no person fishing from a boat with salmon on board, may use more than one rod and line. Fishing includes any activity which can reasonably be expected to result in the catching, taking, or harvesting of fish.

b. Trolling defined: Angling from a boat or floating device that is making way by means of a source of power, other than drifting by means of the prevailing water current or weather conditions.

c. Circle hook defined: A hook with a generally circular shape and a point which turns inward, pointing directly to the shank at a 90° angle.

C.4. Control Zone Definitions

a. The Bonilla-Tatoosh Line: A line running from the western end of Cape Flattery to Tatoosh Island Lighthouse (48°23′30″ N. lat., 124°44′12″ W. long.) to the buoy adjacent to Duntze Rock (48°24′37″ N. lat., 124°44′37″ W. long.), then in a straight line to Bonilla Point (48°35′39″ N. lat., 124°42′58″ W. long.) on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

b. Grays Harbor Control Zone—The area defined by a line drawn from the Westport Lighthouse (46°53′18″ N. lat., 124° 07′01″ W. long.) to Buoy #2 (46°52′42″ N. lat., 124°12′42″ W. long.) to Buoy #3 (46°55′00″ N. lat., 124°14′48″ W. long.) to the Grays Harbor north jetty (46°55′36″ N. lat., 124°10′51″ W. long.).

c. Columbia Control Zone: An area at the Columbia River mouth, bounded on the west by a line running northeast/southwest between the red lighted Buoy #4 (46°13′35″ N. lat., 124°06′50″ W. long.) and the green lighted Buoy #7 (46°15′09′ N. lat., 124°06′16″ W. long.); on the east, by the Buoy #10 line which bears north/south at 357° true from the south jetty at 46°14′00″ N. lat., 124°03′07″ W. long. to its intersection with the north jetty; on the north, by a line running northeast/southwest between the green lighted Buoy #7 to the tip of the north jetty (46°15′48″ N. lat., 124°05′20″ W. long. and then along the north jetty to the point of intersection with the Buoy #10 line; and on the south, by a line running northeast/southwest between the red lighted Buoy #4 and tip of the south jetty (46°14′03″ N. lat., 124°04′05″ W. long.), and then along the south jetty to the point of intersection with the Buoy #10 line.

d. Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area: The area defined by the following coordinates in the order listed:

44°37.46′ N. lat.; 124°24.92′ W. long.

44°37.46′ N. lat.; 124°23.63′ W. long.

44°28.71′ N. lat.; 124°21.80′ W. long.

44°28.71′ N. lat.; 124°24.10′ W. long.

44°31.42′ N. lat.; 124°25.47′ W. long.

and connecting back to 44°37.46′ N. lat.; 124°24.92′ W. long.

e. Klamath Control Zone: The ocean area at the Klamath River mouth bounded on the north by 41°38′48″ N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles north of the Klamath River mouth); on the west by 124°23′00″ W. long. (approximately 12 nautical miles off Start Printed Page 19642shore); and, on the south by 41°26′48″ N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles south of the Klamath River mouth).

f. Waypoints for the 40 fathom regulatory line from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain (50 CFR 660.71(k)).

(12) 45°46.00′ N. lat., 124°04.49′ W. long.;

(13) 45°44.34′ N. lat., 124°05.09′ W. long.;

(14) 45°40.64′ N. lat., 124°04.90′ W. long.;

(15) 45°33.00′ N. lat., 124°04.46′ W. long.;

(16) 45°32.27′ N. lat., 124°04.74′ W. long.;

(17) 45°29.26′ N. lat., 124°04.22′ W. long.;

(18) 45°20.25′ N. lat., 124°04.67′ W. long.;

(19) 45°19.99′ N. lat., 124°04.62′ W. long.;

(20) 45°17.50′ N. lat., 124°04.91′ W. long.;

(21) 45°11.29′ N. lat., 124°05.20′ W. long.;

(22) 45°05.80′ N. lat., 124°05.40′ W. long.;

(23) 45°05.08′ N. lat., 124°05.93′ W. long.;

(24) 45°03.83′ N. lat., 124°06.47′ W. long.;

(25) 45°01.70′ N. lat., 124°06.53′ W. long.;

(26) 44°58.75′ N. lat., 124°07.14′ W. long.;

(27) 44°51.28′ N. lat., 124°10.21′ W. long.;

(28) 44°49.49′ N. lat., 124°10.90′ W. long.;

(29) 44°44.96′ N. lat., 124°14.39′ W. long.;

(30) 44°43.44′ N. lat., 124°14.78′ W. long.;

(31) 44°42.26′ N. lat., 124°13.81′ W. long.;

(32) 44°41.68′ N. lat., 124°15.38′ W. long.;

(33) 44°34.87′ N. lat., 124°15.80′ W. long.;

(34) 44°33.74′ N. lat., 124°14.44′ W. long.;

(35) 44°27.66′ N. lat., 124°16.99′ W. long.;

(36) 44°19.13′ N. lat., 124°19.22′ W. long.;

(37) 44°15.35′ N. lat., 124°17.38′ W. long.;

(38) 44°14.38′ N. lat., 124°17.78′ W. long.;

(39) 44°12.80′ N. lat., 124°17.18′ W. long.;

(40) 44°09.23′ N. lat., 124°15.96′ W. long.;

(41) 44°08.38′ N. lat., 124°16.79′ W. long.;

(42) 44°08.30′ N. lat., 124°16.75′ W. long.;

(43) 44°01.18′ N. lat., 124°15.42′ W. long.;

(44) 43°51.61′ N. lat., 124°14.68′ W. long.;

(45) 43°42.66′ N. lat., 124°15.46′ W. long.;

(46) 43°40.49′ N. lat., 124°15.74′ W. long.;

(47) 43°38.77′ N. lat., 124°15.64′ W. long.;

(48) 43°34.52′ N. lat., 124°16.73′ W. long.;

(49) 43°28.82′ N. lat., 124°19.52′ W. long.;

(50) 43°23.91′ N. lat., 124°24.28′ W. long.;

(51) 43°20.83′ N. lat., 124°26.63′ W. long.;

(52) 43°17.96′ N. lat., 124°28.81′ W. long.;

(53) 43°16.75′ N. lat., 124°28.42′ W. long.;

(54) 43°13.97′ N. lat., 124°31.99′ W. long.;

(55) 43°13.72′ N. lat., 124°33.25′ W. long.;

(56) 43°12.26′ N. lat., 124°34.16′ W. long.;

(57) 43°10.96′ N. lat., 124°32.33′ W. long.;

(58) 43°05.65′ N. lat., 124°31.52′ W. long.;

(59) 42°59.66′ N. lat., 124°32.58′ W. long.;

(60) 42°54.97′ N. lat., 124°36.99′ W. long.;

(61) 42°53.81′ N. lat., 124°38.57′ W. long.;

(62) 42°50.00′ N. lat., 124°39.68′ W. long.;

(63) 42°49.13′ N. lat., 124°39.70′ W. long.;

(64) 42°46.47′ N. lat., 124°38.89′ W. long.;

(65) 42°45.74′ N. lat., 124°38.86′ W. long.;

(66) 42°44.79′ N. lat., 124°37.96′ W. long.;

(67) 42°45.01′ N. lat., 124°36.39′ W. long.;

(68) 42°44.14′ N. lat., 124°35.17′ W. long.;

(69) 42°42.14′ N. lat., 124°32.82′ W. long.;

(70) 42°40.50′ N. lat., 124°31.98′ W. long.;

C.5. Inseason Management

Regulatory modifications may become necessary inseason to meet preseason management objectives such as quotas, harvest guidelines, and season duration. In addition to standard inseason actions or modifications already noted under the season description, the following inseason guidance applies:

a. Actions could include modifications to bag limits, or days open to fishing, or extensions or reductions in areas open to fishing.

b. Coho may be transferred inseason among recreational subareas north of Cape Falcon to help meet the recreational season duration objectives (for each subarea) after conferring with representatives of the affected ports and the Council's SAS recreational representatives north of Cape Falcon, and if the transfer would not result in exceeding preseason impact expectations on any stocks.

c. Chinook and coho may be transferred between the recreational and commercial fisheries north of Cape Falcon if there is agreement among the representatives of the SAS, and if the transfer would not result in exceeding preseason impact expectations on any stocks.

d. Fishery managers may consider inseason action modifying regulations restricting retention of unmarked coho. To remain consistent with preseason expectations, any inseason action shall consider, if significant, the difference between observed and preseason forecasted mark rates. Such a consideration may also include a change in bag limit of two salmon, no more than one of which may be a coho.

e. Marked coho remaining from the Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain recreational mark-selective coho quota may be transferred inseason to the Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain non-mark-selective recreational fishery if the transfer would not result in exceeding preseason impact expectations on any stocks.

C.6. Additional Seasons in State Territorial Waters

Consistent with Council management objectives, the States of Washington, Oregon, and California may establish limited seasons in state waters. Check state regulations for details.

Section 3. Treaty Indian Management Measures for 2017 Ocean Salmon Fisheries

Parts A, B, and C of this section contain requirements that must be followed for lawful participation in the fishery.

A. Season Descriptions

May 1 through the earlier of June 30 or 20,000 Chinook quota.

All salmon except coho. If the Chinook quota for the May-June fishery is not fully utilized, the excess fish may be transferred into the later all-salmon season (C.5.a). If the Chinook quota is exceeded, the excess will be deducted from the later all-salmon season (C.5). See size limit (B) and other restrictions (C).Start Printed Page 19643

July 1 through the earlier of September 15, or 20,000 Chinook quota (C.5), or 12,500 coho quota.

All salmon. See size limit (B) and other restrictions (C).

B. Minimum Size (Inches)

Area (when open)ChinookCohoPink
TotalHead-offTotalHead-off
North of Cape Falcon24.018.016.012.0None.
Metric equivalents: 24.0 in = 61.0 cm, 18.0 in = 45.7 cm, 12.0 in = 30.5 cm.

C. Requirements, Restrictions, and Exceptions

C.1. Tribe and Area Boundaries.

All boundaries may be changed to include such other areas as may hereafter be authorized by a Federal court for that tribe's treaty fishery.

S'KLALLAM—Washington State Statistical Area 4B (All).

MAKAH—Washington State Statistical Area 4B and that portion of the FMA north of 48°02′15″ N. lat. (Norwegian Memorial) and east of 125°44′00″ W. long.

QUILEUTE—That portion of the FMA between 48°10′00″ N. lat. (Cape Alava.) and 47°31′42″ N. lat. (Queets River) and east of 125°44′00″ W. long.

HOH—That portion of the FMA between 47°54′18″ N. lat. (Quillayute River) and 47°21′00″ N. lat. (Quinault River) and east of 125°44′00″ W. long.

QUINAULT—That portion of the FMA between 47°40′06″ N. lat. (Destruction Island) and 46°53′18″N. lat. (Point Chehalis) and east of 125°08′30″ W. long.

C.2. Gear Restrictions

a. Single point, single shank, barbless hooks are required in all fisheries.

b. No more than eight fixed lines per boat.

c. No more than four hand held lines per person in the Makah area fishery (Washington State Statistical Area 4B and that portion of the FMA north of 48°02′15″ N. lat. (Norwegian Memorial) and east of 125°44′00″ W. long.).

C.3. Quotas

a. The quotas include troll catches by the S'Klallam and Makah tribes in Washington State Statistical Area 4B from May 1 through September 15.

b. The Quileute Tribe will continue a ceremonial and subsistence fishery during the time frame of September 15 through October 15 in the same manner as in 2004-2015. Fish taken during this fishery are to be counted against treaty troll quotas established for the 2017 season (estimated harvest during the September-October ceremonial and subsistence fishery: 20 Chinook; 40 coho).

C.4. Area Closures

a. The area within a six nautical mile radius of the mouths of the Queets River (47°31′42″ N. lat.) and the Hoh River (47°45′12″ N. lat.) will be closed to commercial fishing.

b. A closure within two nautical miles of the mouth of the Quinault River (47°21′00″ N. lat.) may be enacted by the Quinault Nation and/or the State of Washington and will not adversely affect the Secretary of Commerce's management regime.

C.5. Inseason Management: In Addition to Standard Inseason Actions or Modifications Already Noted Under the Season Description, the Following Inseason Guidance Applies

a. Chinook remaining from the May through June treaty-Indian ocean troll harvest guideline north of Cape Falcon may be transferred to the July through September harvest guideline on a fishery impact equivalent basis.

Section 4. Halibut Retention

Under the authority of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act, NMFS promulgated regulations governing the Pacific halibut fishery, which appear at 50 CFR part 300, subpart E. On March 7, 2017, NMFS published a rule announcing the IPHC's regulations, and fishery regulations for U.S. waters off Alaska (82 FR 12730). On April 20, 2017, NMFS published a final rule (82 FR 18581) approving and implementing the Area 2A (U.S. West Coast) Pacific halibut Catch Sharing Plan and the Area 2A management measures for 2017. The Catch Sharing Plan, in combination with the IPHC regulations, provides that vessels participating in the salmon troll fishery in Area 2A, which have obtained the appropriate IPHC license, may retain halibut caught incidentally during authorized periods in conformance with provisions published with the annual salmon management measures. A salmon troller may participate in the halibut incidental catch fishery during the salmon troll season or in the directed commercial fishery targeting halibut, but not both.

The following measures have been approved by the IPHC, and implemented by NMFS. During authorized periods, the operator of a vessel that has been issued an incidental halibut harvest license may retain Pacific halibut caught incidentally in Area 2A while trolling for salmon. Halibut retained must be no less than 32 inches (81.28 cm) in total length, measured from the tip of the lower jaw with the mouth closed to the extreme end of the middle of the tail, and must be landed with the head on.

License applications for incidental harvest must be obtained from the IPHC (phone: 206-634-1838). Applicants must apply prior to mid-March 2018 for 2018 permits (exact date to be set by the IPHC in early 2018). Incidental harvest is authorized only during April, May, and June of the 2017 troll seasons and after June 30 in 2017 if quota remains and if announced on the NMFS hotline (phone: 1-800-662-9825 or 206-526-6667). WDFW, ODFW, and CDFW will monitor landings. If the landings are projected to exceed the 39,810 pound preseason allocation or the total Area 2A non-Indian commercial halibut allocation, NMFS will take inseason action to prohibit retention of halibut in the non-Indian salmon troll fishery.

May 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017, and April 1-30, 2018, license holders may land or possess no more than one Pacific halibut per each two Chinook, except one Pacific halibut may be possessed or landed without meeting the ratio requirement, and no more than 35 halibut may be possessed or landed per trip. Pacific halibut retained must be no less than 32 inches in total length (with head on). IPHC license holders must comply with all applicable IPHC regulations.

Incidental Pacific halibut catch regulations in the commercial salmon troll fishery adopted for 2017, prior to any 2017 inseason action, will be in effect when incidental Pacific halibut retention opens on April 1, 2018, unless otherwise modified by inseason action at the March 2018 Council meeting.

NMFS and the Council request that salmon trollers voluntarily avoid a “C-shaped” YRCA (also known as the Start Printed Page 19644Salmon Troll YRCA) in order to protect yelloweye rockfish. Coordinates for the Salmon Troll YRCA are defined at 50 CFR 660.70(a) in the North Coast subarea (Washington marine area 3). See Section 1.C.7. in this document for the coordinates.

Section 5. Geographical Landmarks

Wherever the words “nautical miles off shore” are used in this document, the distance is measured from the baseline from which the territorial sea is measured.

Geographical landmarks referenced in this document are at the following locations:

Cape Flattery, WA48°23′00″ N. lat.
Cape Alava, WA48°10′00″ N. lat.
Queets River, WA47°31′42″ N. lat.
Leadbetter Point, WA46°38′10″ N. lat.
Cape Falcon, OR45°46′00″ N. lat.
Florence South Jetty, OR44°00′54″ N. lat.
Humbug Mountain, OR42°40′30″ N. lat.
Oregon-California border42°00′00″ N. lat.
Humboldt South Jetty, CA40°45′53″ N. lat.
Horse Mountain, CA40°05′00″ N. lat.
Point Arena, CA38°57′30″ N. lat.
Point Reyes, CA37°59′44″ N. lat.
Point San Pedro, CA37°35′40″ N. lat.
Pigeon Point, CA37°11′00″ N. lat.
Point Sur, CA36°18′00″ N. lat.
Point Conception, CA34°27′00″ N. lat.

Section 6. Inseason Notice Procedures

Notice of inseason management actions will be provided by a telephone hotline administered by the West Coast Region, NMFS, 1-800-662-9825 or 206-526-6667, and by USCG Notice to Mariners broadcasts. These broadcasts are announced on Channel 16 VHF-FM and 2182 KHz at frequent intervals. The announcements designate the channel or frequency over which the Notice to Mariners will be immediately broadcast. Inseason actions will also be published in the Federal Register as soon as practicable. Since provisions of these management measures may be altered by inseason actions, fishermen should monitor either the telephone hotline or Coast Guard broadcasts for current information for the area in which they are fishing.

Classification

This final rule is necessary for conservation and management of Pacific coast salmon stocks and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable law. These regulations are being promulgated under the authority of 16 U.S.C. 1855(d) and 16 U.S.C. 773(c).

This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), to waive the requirement for prior notice and opportunity for public comment, as such procedures would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest.

The annual salmon management cycle begins May 1 and continues through April 30 of the following year. May 1 was chosen because the pre-May harvests constitute a relatively small portion of the annual catch. The time frame of the preseason process for determining the annual modifications to ocean salmon fishery management measures depends on when the pertinent biological data are available. Salmon stocks are managed to meet annual spawning escapement goals or specific exploitation rates. Achieving either of these objectives requires designing management measures that are appropriate for the ocean abundance predicted for that year. These pre-season abundance forecasts, which are derived from previous years' observed spawning escapement, vary substantially from year to year, and are not available until January or February because spawning escapement continues through the fall.

The preseason planning and public review process associated with developing Council recommendations is initiated in February as soon as the forecast information becomes available. The public planning process requires coordination of management actions of four states, numerous Indian tribes, and the Federal Government, all of which have management authority over the stocks. This complex process includes the affected user groups, as well as the general public. The process is compressed into a two-month period culminating with the April Council meeting at which the Council adopts a recommendation that is forwarded to NMFS for review, approval, and implementation of fishing regulations effective on May 1.

Providing opportunity for prior notice and public comments on the Council's recommended measures through a proposed and final rulemaking process would require 30 to 60 days in addition to the two-month period required for development of the regulations. Delaying implementation of annual fishing regulations, which are based on the current stock abundance projections, for an additional 60 days would require that fishing regulations for May and June be set in the previous year, without the benefit of information regarding current stock status. For the 2017 fishing regulations, the current stock status was not available to the Council until February. Because a substantial amount of fishing occurs during May and June, managing the fishery with measures developed using the prior year's data could have significant adverse effects on the managed stocks, including ESA-listed stocks. Although salmon fisheries that open prior to May are managed under the prior year's measures, as modified by the Council at its March meeting, relatively little harvest occurs during that period (e.g., on average, less than 5 percent of commercial and recreational harvest occurred prior to May 1 during the years 2001 through 2015). Allowing the much more substantial harvest levels normally associated with the May and June salmon seasons to be promulgated under the prior year's regulations would impair NMFS' ability to protect weak and ESA-listed salmon stocks, and to provide harvest opportunity where appropriate. The choice of May 1 as the beginning of the regulatory season balances the need to gather and analyze the data needed to meet the management objectives of the Salmon FMP and the need to manage the fishery using the best available scientific information.

If these measures are not in place on May 1, salmon fisheries will not open as scheduled, or would open based on 2016 management measures which do not account for 2017 abundance projections without inseason action by NMFS. This would result in lost fishing opportunity, negative economic impacts, and confusion for the public as the state fisheries adopt concurrent regulations that conform to the Federal management measures.

Overall, the annual population dynamics of the various salmon stocks require managers to adjust the season structure of the West Coast salmon fisheries to both protect weaker stocks and give fishers access to stronger salmon stocks, particularly hatchery produced fish. Failure to implement these measures immediately could compromise the status of certain stocks, or result in foregone opportunity to harvest stocks whose abundance has Start Printed Page 19645increased relative to the previous year thereby undermining the purpose of this agency action.

In addition, public comment was received and considered by the Council and NMFS throughout the process of developing these management measures. As described above, the Council took comment at its March and April meetings, and heard summaries of comments received at public meetings held between the March and April meetings in each of the coastal states. NMFS also invited comments in a notice published prior to the March Council meeting, and considered comments received by the Council through its representative on the Council. Thus, these measures were developed with significant public input.

Based upon the above-described need to have these measures effective on May 1 and the fact that there is limited time available to implement these new measures after the final Council meeting in April and before the commencement of the ocean salmon fishing year on May 1, NMFS has concluded it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide an opportunity for prior notice and public comment under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B).

The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries also finds that good cause exists under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness of this final rule. As previously discussed, data were not available until February and management measures were not finalized until mid-April. These measures are essential to conserve threatened and endangered ocean salmon stocks, and to provide for harvest of more abundant stocks. Delaying the effectiveness of these measures by 30 days could compromise the ability of some stocks to attain their conservation objectives, preclude harvest opportunity, and negatively impact anticipated international, state, and tribal salmon fisheries, thereby undermining the purposes of this agency action and the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

To enhance the fishing industry's notification of these new measures, and to minimize the burden on the regulated community required to comply with the new regulations, NMFS is announcing the new measures over the telephone hotline used for inseason management actions and is posting the regulations on its West Coast Region Web site (http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov). NMFS is also advising the states of Washington, Oregon, and California on the new management measures. These states announce the seasons for applicable state and Federal fisheries through their own public notification systems.

Because prior notice and an opportunity for public comment are not required to be provided for these portions of this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., are not applicable. Accordingly, no Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is required for this portion of the rule and none has been prepared.

This action contains collection-of-information requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), and which have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under control number 0648-0433. The current information collection approval expires on July 31, 2017; renewal of this approval has been submitted to OMB and approval is pending. The public reporting burden for providing notifications if landing area restrictions cannot be met is estimated to average 15 minutes per response. This estimate includes the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information.

Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number.

NMFS has current ESA biological opinions that cover fishing under these regulations on all listed salmon species. NMFS reiterated their consultation standards for all ESA listed salmon and steelhead species in their annual Guidance letter to the Council dated March 3, 2017. Some of NMFS past biological opinions have found no jeopardy, and others have found jeopardy, but provided reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid jeopardy. The management measures for 2017 are consistent with the biological opinions that found no jeopardy, and with the reasonable and prudent alternatives in the jeopardy biological opinions. The Council's recommended management measures therefore comply with NMFS' consultation standards and guidance for all listed salmon species which may be affected by Council fisheries. In some cases, the recommended measures are more restrictive than NMFS' ESA requirements.

In 2009, NMFS consulted on the effects of fishing under the Salmon FMP on the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale Distinct Population Segment (SRKW) and concluded the salmon fisheries were not likely to jeopardize SRKW. The 2017 salmon management measures are consistent with the terms of that biological opinion.

This final rule was developed after meaningful and collaboration with the affected tribes. The tribal representative on the Council made the motion for the regulations that apply to the tribal fisheries.

Start Authority

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773-773k; 1801 et seq.

End Authority Start Signature

Dated: April 25, 2017.

Alan D. Risenhoover,

Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2017-08638 Filed 4-27-17; 8:45 am]

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