Marine Mammals; Subsistence Taking of Northern Fur Seals; Harvest Estimates, 41187-41189 [05-14094]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 136 / Monday, July 18, 2005 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 216 [Docket No. 050623166–5166–01; I.D. 061505B] RIN 0648–AT49 Marine Mammals; Subsistence Taking of Northern Fur Seals; Harvest Estimates National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: Pursuant to the regulations governing the subsistence taking of northern fur seals, this document summarizes the annual fur seal subsistence harvests on St. George and St. Paul Islands (the Pribilof Islands) for 2002 to 2004 and proposes annual estimates of fur seal subsistence needs for 2005 through 2007 on the Pribilof Islands, Alaska. NMFS solicits public comments on the proposed estimates. DATES: Written comments must be received at the appropriate address or fax number by August 17, 2005. ADDRESSES: Written comments on the harvest estimates should be addressed to the Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources, NMFS, Alaska Region, 709 W. 9th St., P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802. Comments may be sent via facsimile (fax) to (907) 586– 7012 or by email to fursealharvest-PR– 0648–at49@noaa.gov. Comments also may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instruction on the website for submitting comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Vos, (907) 271–5006, email Daniel.Vos@noaa.gov; Kaja Brix, (907) 586–7824, email Kaja.Brix@noaa.gov; or Tom Eagle, (301) 713–2322, ext. 105, email Tom.Eagle@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Electronic Access A draft Environmental Impact Statement is available on the Internet at the following address: http:// www.fakr.noaa.gov/protectedresources/ seals/fur/deis0804.pdf. VerDate jul<14>2003 15:10 Jul 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 Background The subsistence harvest from the depleted stock of northern fur seals, Callorhinus ursinus, on the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, is governed by regulations found in 50 CFR part 216, subpart F. The purpose of these regulations, published under the authority of the Fur Seal Act (FSA), 16 U.S.C. 1151, et seq., and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), 16 U.S.C. 1361, et seq., is to limit the take of fur seals to a level providing for the subsistence needs of the Pribilof residents, while restricting taking by sex, age, and season for herd management purposes. To further minimize negative effects on the Pribilof Islands’ fur seal population, the harvest has been limited to a 47–day season (June 23 to August 8). There are several factors and conditions that affect the subsistence harvest of northern fur seals. Beginning in 2000, the take ranges have been discussed with each tribal government as part of the co-management relationship and agreement. As the history of estimating the subsistence needs of the Pribilof communities has been one of practical and social difficulties, the process to meet the take range regulation has evolved into the long-term acceptance of the ranges first established in 1987. These levels provide a degree of flexibility the communities feel comfortable with regarding changes and unanticipated needs within the community. The variability of the harvest occurs for many reasons. Weather conditions and availability of animals vary year by year. Demand may change. The timing restriction on the hunt overlaps with fishing seasons, and many of the hunters are also fishermen. Thus, they may be unavailable to hunt in certain years. If the harvest were reduced, the subsistence needs of the local communities may not be adequately met in certain years. The economic and logistical difficulties associated with small, rural and remote Alaskan communities such as those of St. Paul and St. George Islands, create a situation where subsistence use is an important source of food and a major component of the traditional needs of the communities. Pursuant to the regulations governing the taking of fur seals for subsistence purposes, NMFS must publish a summary of the fur seal harvest for the previous 3–year period and an estimate PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 41187 of the number of seals expected to be taken in the subsequent 3–year period to meet the subsistence needs of the Aleut residents of the Pribilof Islands. Summary of Harvest Operations and Monitoring 2002 to 2004 The annual harvests were conducted in the established manner and employed the standard methods required under regulations at 50 CFR 216.72. NMFS personnel monitored the harvest and worked closely with the tribal governments of each island to further improve the efficiency of the annual harvest and full utilization of the animals taken. The reported northern fur seal subsistence harvests for St. Paul from 2002 to 2004 were 648, 522, and 493 respectively, and the reported northern fur seal subsistence harvests for St. George from 2002 to 2004 were 203, 132, and 123, respectively. The number of northern fur seals harvested on St. Paul Island from 1986 to 2004 ranged from 493 to 1,710, and the number harvested on St. George Island from 1986 to 2004 ranged from 92 to 319 seals. The average number of seals harvested during the past 10 years on St. Paul and St. George Islands, respectively, has been 958 seals (range: 493 to 1,591) and 193 seals (range: 121 to 260), (Table 1). The tribal governments of both islands stress the full utilization of edible parts of harvested animals and have implemented a program that promotes full utilization of inedible seal parts for traditional arts, crafts, and other uses permitted under regulations at 50 CFR 216.73. The result has been an expanded use of these materials by the Aleut residents and increased fulfillment of the non-wasteful harvest requirements. From 2002 through 2004, NMFS and the tribal governments of both islands worked closely to improve the conduct of the subsistence harvest and to promote full utilization of all the products thereof. Through the comanagement process, (cooperative agreements were signed with St. Paul in 2000 and with St. George in 2001), NMFS and tribal authorities have developed a cooperative and collaborative working relationship, which increases local participation and responsibility regarding subsistence uses of fur seals and other marine mammals on and around the Pribilofs. E:\FR\FM\18JYP1.SGM 18JYP1 41188 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 136 / Monday, July 18, 2005 / Proposed Rules TABLE 1. SUBSISTENCE HARVEST LEVELS FOR NORTHERN FUR SEALS ON THE PRIBILOF ISLANDS, 1986–2004 Take Ranges Year St. Paul Estimate of Subsistence Need for the Period 2005 to 2007 The projected subsistence harvest estimates are given as a range, the lower end of which may be exceeded if NMFS is given notice and the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, determines that the annual subsistence needs of the Pribilof Aleuts have not been satisfied. Conversely, the harvest can be terminated before the lower end of the range is reached if the annual subsistence needs of the Pribilof residents are determined to have been met or the harvest has been conducted in a wasteful manner. For the 3–year period, 2005 to 2007, NMFS proposes no change to the past and current ranges of 1,645–2,000 for St. Paul Island and 300–500 for St. George Island. Retaining these levels will provide adequate flexibility for further refinement of annual harvest levels through the co-management process. As described earlier in this document, if the Aleut residents of either island reach the lower end of this yearly harvest estimate and have unmet subsistence needs and no indication of waste, they may request an additional number of seals up to the upper limit of the respective harvest estimates. The residents of St. George and St. Paul Islands may substantiate any additional need for seals by submitting in writing the information upon which they base their decision that subsistence needs are unfulfilled. The regulations at 50 CFR 216.72(e)(1) and (3) require a suspension of the fur seal harvest for up to 48 hours once the lower end of the 15:10 Jul 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 St. George St. Paul St. George 2,400–8,000 1,600–2,400 1,800–2,200 1,600–1,800 1,145–1,800 1,145–1,800 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 ................................ 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 VerDate jul<14>2003 Actual Harvest Levels 800–1,800 533–1,800 600–740 533–600 181–500 181–500 281–500 281–500 281–500 281–500 281–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 ................................ 1,299 1,710 1,145 1,340 1,077 1,645 1,482 1,518 1,616 1,525 1,591 1,153 1,297 1,000 754 597 648 522 493 .................... 124 92 113 181 164 281 194 319 161 260 232 227 256 193 121 184 203 132 123 .................... estimated harvest level is reached. The suspension is to last no more than 48 hours, followed either by a finding that the subsistence needs have been met or by a revised estimate of the number of seals necessary to satisfy the Aleuts’ subsistence needs. The harvest may also be suspended if the harvest has been conducted in a wasteful manner. NMFS seeks public comments on the proposed estimates. The harvest of fur seals is anticipated to be non-wasteful and in compliance with the regulations specified at 50 CFR 216.72 which detail the restrictions and harvest. NMFS will continue to monitor the harvest on St. Paul Island and St. George Islands during 2005 to 2007. Classification National Environmental Policy Act NMFS prepared a draft EIS evaluating the impacts on the human environment of the subsistence harvest on northern fur seals. The draft EIS, which is available on the Internet (see Electronic Access) was subjected to public review (69 FR 53915, September 3, 2004), and the comments are being incorporated into a final EIS. Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act This rule has been determined to be not significant rule under Executive Order (E.O.) 12866. The regulations are not likely to result in (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, state, or local PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 government agencies, or geographic regions; or (3) a significant adverse effect on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic or export markets. The Chief Counsel for Regulation, Department of Commerce, certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Because the harvest of northern fur seals on the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, is for subsistence purposes only, the estimate of subsistence need would not have an economic effect on any small entities. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not prepared. Paperwork Reduction Act This proposed action does not require the collection of information. Executive Order 13132 – Federalism This proposed action does not contain policies with federalism implications sufficient to warrant preparation of a federalism assessment under E.O. 13132 because this action does not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Nonetheless, NMFS worked closely with local governments in the Pribilof Islands, and these estimates of subsistence needs E:\FR\FM\18JYP1.SGM 18JYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 136 / Monday, July 18, 2005 / Proposed Rules were prepared by the local governments in St. Paul and St. George, with assistance from NMFS officials. Executive Order 13084–Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments E.O. 13084 requires that if NMFS issues a regulation that significantly or uniquely affects the communities of Indian tribal governments and imposes substantial direct compliance costs on those communities, NMFS must consult with those governments, or the Federal government must provide the funds necessary to pay the direct compliance costs incurred by the tribal governments. This action does not impose substantial direct compliance costs on the communities of Indian tribal governments. Accordingly, the requirements of section 3(b) of E.O. 13084 do not apply to this action. Nonetheless, NMFS took several steps to work with affected tribal governments to prepare and implement the proposed action. These steps included discussions on subsistence needs and mechanisms to ensure that the harvest is conducted in a non-wasteful manner. NMFS signed cooperative agreements with St. Paul in 2000 and with St. George in 2001 pursuant to section 119 of the MMPA. Dated: July 12, 2005. Rebecca Lent, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 05–14094 Filed 7–15–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 050630174–5174–01; ID 062005B] RIN 0648–AT08 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 41 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations to implement Framework Adjustment 41 VerDate jul<14>2003 15:10 Jul 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 (FW 41) to the NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). FW 41 management measures were developed by the New England Fishery Management Council (Council) to expand participation in the existing Closed Area (CA) I Hook Gear Haddock Special Access Program (SAP) to all Northeast (NE) multispecies limited access Days-at Sea (DAS) vessels fishing with hook gear. The proposed action would also modify some of the management measures currently applicable to the Georges Bank (GB) Cod Hook Sector (Sector) vessels when declared into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP by including modification of the season, haddock total allowable catch (TAC), and restricting vessels to fishing only inside the SAP area on trips declared into the SAP. In addition, NMFS proposes to clarify regulations pertaining to fishing in the Eastern U.S./ Canada Haddock SAP Pilot Program Area. Specifically, during the time the SAP is open, eligible vessels could choose to fish in the SAP, and fish in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area west of CA II. This action is intended to mitigate the economic and social impacts resulting from Amendment 13 to the FMP and to meet the conservation and management requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). DATES: Comments must be received by August 17, 2005. ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods: • E-mail: FW41@NOAA.gov. Include in the subject line the following: Comments on the Proposed Rule for Groundfish Framework 41. • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:/ www.regulations.gov. • Mail: Paper, disk, or CD-ROM comments should be sent to Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘Comments on the Proposed Rule for Groundfish Framework 41.’’ • Fax: (978) 281–9135. Copies of FW 41, its Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), and the Environmental Assessment (EA) are available from Paul J. Howard, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, The Tannery B Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950. A summary of the IRFA is provided in the Classification section of this proposed rule. PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 41189 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Hooker, Fishery Policy Analyst, phone: (978) 281–9220, fax: (978) 281– 9135. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background In order to increase the fishing effort on, and yield from healthy stocks, Amendment 13 to the FMP created a structure that allows for development of programs to target healthy fish stocks using Category B DAS. Amendment 13 included four specific SAPs, only two of which were approved and implemented on May 1, 2004. The regulations implementing FW 40–A (69 FR 67780, November 19, 2004) also created opportunities to use Category B DAS, including the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP. However, due to insufficient controls on GB cod mortality, which could have led to undermining fishing mortality objectives necessary to end overfishing and rebuild the GB cod stock, the measures for non-Sector vessels proposed in FW 40–A were found to be inconsistent with National Standard 1 and section 303(a)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and were thus disapproved. Specifically, the portion of the program pertaining to non-Sector vessels proposed to: Allow participants to fish in the SAP area using either an A or B DAS; count cod catch against the SAP’s incidental cod TAC only when fishing on a B DAS; allow participants to fish both inside and outside the SAP area on the same trip under different gear restrictions; and allow non-DAS groundfish vessels to participate in the SAP. In contrast, regulations pertaining to the Sector vessels were relatively straightforward in that all cod caught by Sector vessels count toward the Sector’s allocation of GB cod, and the same gear restrictions apply both inside and outside of the SAP area on a single trip. The purpose of this action is to revise the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP rules to allow participation by non-Sector vessels. This special access program would help mitigate the economic and social impacts caused by the fishing effort reductions that resulted from implementation of Amendment 13. FW 41 would provide access to the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP for all limited access NE multispecies DAS permit holders, including both Sector and non-Sector vessels. Working together, Sector and non-Sector vessel owners who plan to participate in the program have suggested measures to minimize the potential for a derby (race to catch limited quota) fishery. The Council, in FW 41, has specified that E:\FR\FM\18JYP1.SGM 18JYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 136 (Monday, July 18, 2005)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 41187-41189]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-14094]



[[Page 41187]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 216

[Docket No. 050623166-5166-01; I.D. 061505B]
RIN 0648-AT49


Marine Mammals; Subsistence Taking of Northern Fur Seals; Harvest 
Estimates

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

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Pursuant to the regulations governing the subsistence taking 
of northern fur seals, this document summarizes the annual fur seal 
subsistence harvests on St. George and St. Paul Islands (the Pribilof 
Islands) for 2002 to 2004 and proposes annual estimates of fur seal 
subsistence needs for 2005 through 2007 on the Pribilof Islands, 
Alaska. NMFS solicits public comments on the proposed estimates.

DATES: Written comments must be received at the appropriate address or 
fax number by August 17, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the harvest estimates should be 
addressed to the Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected 
Resources, NMFS, Alaska Region, 709 W. 9th St., P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, 
AK 99802. Comments may be sent via facsimile (fax) to (907) 586-7012 or 
by email to fursealharvest-PR-0648-at49@noaa.gov.
    Comments also may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: 
http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instruction on the website for 
submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Vos, (907) 271-5006, email 
Daniel.Vos@noaa.gov; Kaja Brix, (907) 586-7824, email 
Kaja.Brix@noaa.gov; or Tom Eagle, (301) 713-2322, ext. 105, email 
Tom.Eagle@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    A draft Environmental Impact Statement is available on the Internet 
at the following address: http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/protectedresources/
seals/fur/deis0804.pdf.

Background

    The subsistence harvest from the depleted stock of northern fur 
seals, Callorhinus ursinus, on the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, is 
governed by regulations found in 50 CFR part 216, subpart F. The 
purpose of these regulations, published under the authority of the Fur 
Seal Act (FSA), 16 U.S.C. 1151, et seq., and the Marine Mammal 
Protection Act (MMPA), 16 U.S.C. 1361, et seq., is to limit the take of 
fur seals to a level providing for the subsistence needs of the 
Pribilof residents, while restricting taking by sex, age, and season 
for herd management purposes. To further minimize negative effects on 
the Pribilof Islands' fur seal population, the harvest has been limited 
to a 47-day season (June 23 to August 8).
    There are several factors and conditions that affect the 
subsistence harvest of northern fur seals. Beginning in 2000, the take 
ranges have been discussed with each tribal government as part of the 
co-management relationship and agreement. As the history of estimating 
the subsistence needs of the Pribilof communities has been one of 
practical and social difficulties, the process to meet the take range 
regulation has evolved into the long-term acceptance of the ranges 
first established in 1987. These levels provide a degree of flexibility 
the communities feel comfortable with regarding changes and 
unanticipated needs within the community. The variability of the 
harvest occurs for many reasons. Weather conditions and availability of 
animals vary year by year. Demand may change. The timing restriction on 
the hunt overlaps with fishing seasons, and many of the hunters are 
also fishermen. Thus, they may be unavailable to hunt in certain years. 
If the harvest were reduced, the subsistence needs of the local 
communities may not be adequately met in certain years. The economic 
and logistical difficulties associated with small, rural and remote 
Alaskan communities such as those of St. Paul and St. George Islands, 
create a situation where subsistence use is an important source of food 
and a major component of the traditional needs of the communities.
    Pursuant to the regulations governing the taking of fur seals for 
subsistence purposes, NMFS must publish a summary of the fur seal 
harvest for the previous 3-year period and an estimate of the number of 
seals expected to be taken in the subsequent 3-year period to meet the 
subsistence needs of the Aleut residents of the Pribilof Islands.

Summary of Harvest Operations and Monitoring 2002 to 2004

    The annual harvests were conducted in the established manner and 
employed the standard methods required under regulations at 50 CFR 
216.72. NMFS personnel monitored the harvest and worked closely with 
the tribal governments of each island to further improve the efficiency 
of the annual harvest and full utilization of the animals taken.
    The reported northern fur seal subsistence harvests for St. Paul 
from 2002 to 2004 were 648, 522, and 493 respectively, and the reported 
northern fur seal subsistence harvests for St. George from 2002 to 2004 
were 203, 132, and 123, respectively. The number of northern fur seals 
harvested on St. Paul Island from 1986 to 2004 ranged from 493 to 
1,710, and the number harvested on St. George Island from 1986 to 2004 
ranged from 92 to 319 seals. The average number of seals harvested 
during the past 10 years on St. Paul and St. George Islands, 
respectively, has been 958 seals (range: 493 to 1,591) and 193 seals 
(range: 121 to 260), (Table 1).
    The tribal governments of both islands stress the full utilization 
of edible parts of harvested animals and have implemented a program 
that promotes full utilization of inedible seal parts for traditional 
arts, crafts, and other uses permitted under regulations at 50 CFR 
216.73. The result has been an expanded use of these materials by the 
Aleut residents and increased fulfillment of the non-wasteful harvest 
requirements.
    From 2002 through 2004, NMFS and the tribal governments of both 
islands worked closely to improve the conduct of the subsistence 
harvest and to promote full utilization of all the products thereof. 
Through the co-management process, (cooperative agreements were signed 
with St. Paul in 2000 and with St. George in 2001), NMFS and tribal 
authorities have developed a cooperative and collaborative working 
relationship, which increases local participation and responsibility 
regarding subsistence uses of fur seals and other marine mammals on and 
around the Pribilofs.

[[Page 41188]]



          TABLE 1. SUBSISTENCE HARVEST LEVELS FOR NORTHERN FUR SEALS ON THE PRIBILOF ISLANDS, 1986-2004
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Take Ranges                                         Actual Harvest Levels
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Year                            St. Paul           St. George        St. Paul    St. George
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  1986                                 2,400-8,000           800-1,800        1,299          124
                  1987                                 1,600-2,400           533-1,800        1,710           92
                  1988                                 1,800-2,200             600-740        1,145          113
                  1989                                 1,600-1,800             533-600        1,340          181
                  1990                                 1,145-1,800             181-500        1,077          164
                  1991                                 1,145-1,800             181-500        1,645          281
                  1992                                 1,645-2,000             281-500        1,482          194
                  1993                                 1,645-2,000             281-500        1,518          319
                  1994                                 1,645-2,000             281-500        1,616          161
                  1995                                 1,645-2,000             281-500        1,525          260
                  1996                                 1,645-2,000             281-500        1,591          232
                  1997                                 1,645-2,000             300-500        1,153          227
                  1998                                 1,645-2,000             300-500        1,297          256
                  1999                                 1,645-2,000             300-500        1,000          193
                  2000                                 1,645-2,000             300-500          754          121
                  2001                                 1,645-2,000             300-500          597          184
                  2002                                 1,645-2,000             300-500          648          203
                  2003                                 1,645-2,000             300-500          522          132
                  2004                                 1,645-2,000             300-500          493          123
                                                ..................  ..................  ...........  ...........
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Estimate of Subsistence Need for the Period 2005 to 2007

    The projected subsistence harvest estimates are given as a range, 
the lower end of which may be exceeded if NMFS is given notice and the 
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, determines that the annual 
subsistence needs of the Pribilof Aleuts have not been satisfied. 
Conversely, the harvest can be terminated before the lower end of the 
range is reached if the annual subsistence needs of the Pribilof 
residents are determined to have been met or the harvest has been 
conducted in a wasteful manner.
    For the 3-year period, 2005 to 2007, NMFS proposes no change to the 
past and current ranges of 1,645-2,000 for St. Paul Island and 300-500 
for St. George Island. Retaining these levels will provide adequate 
flexibility for further refinement of annual harvest levels through the 
co-management process.
    As described earlier in this document, if the Aleut residents of 
either island reach the lower end of this yearly harvest estimate and 
have unmet subsistence needs and no indication of waste, they may 
request an additional number of seals up to the upper limit of the 
respective harvest estimates. The residents of St. George and St. Paul 
Islands may substantiate any additional need for seals by submitting in 
writing the information upon which they base their decision that 
subsistence needs are unfulfilled. The regulations at 50 CFR 
216.72(e)(1) and (3) require a suspension of the fur seal harvest for 
up to 48 hours once the lower end of the estimated harvest level is 
reached. The suspension is to last no more than 48 hours, followed 
either by a finding that the subsistence needs have been met or by a 
revised estimate of the number of seals necessary to satisfy the 
Aleuts' subsistence needs. The harvest may also be suspended if the 
harvest has been conducted in a wasteful manner. NMFS seeks public 
comments on the proposed estimates.
    The harvest of fur seals is anticipated to be non-wasteful and in 
compliance with the regulations specified at 50 CFR 216.72 which detail 
the restrictions and harvest. NMFS will continue to monitor the harvest 
on St. Paul Island and St. George Islands during 2005 to 2007.

Classification

National Environmental Policy Act

    NMFS prepared a draft EIS evaluating the impacts on the human 
environment of the subsistence harvest on northern fur seals. The draft 
EIS, which is available on the Internet (see Electronic Access) was 
subjected to public review (69 FR 53915, September 3, 2004), and the 
comments are being incorporated into a final EIS.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rule has been determined to be not significant rule under 
Executive Order (E.O.) 12866. The regulations are not likely to result 
in (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a 
major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, 
Federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or 
(3) a significant adverse effect on competition, employment, 
investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of U.S.-based 
enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic or 
export markets. The Chief Counsel for Regulation, Department of 
Commerce, certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small 
Business Administration that this proposed action would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Because the harvest of northern fur seals on the Pribilof Islands, 
Alaska, is for subsistence purposes only, the estimate of subsistence 
need would not have an economic effect on any small entities. 
Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not prepared.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed action does not require the collection of 
information.

Executive Order 13132 - Federalism

    This proposed action does not contain policies with federalism 
implications sufficient to warrant preparation of a federalism 
assessment under E.O. 13132 because this action does not have 
substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between 
the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of government. 
Nonetheless, NMFS worked closely with local governments in the Pribilof 
Islands, and these estimates of subsistence needs

[[Page 41189]]

were prepared by the local governments in St. Paul and St. George, with 
assistance from NMFS officials.

Executive Order 13084-Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments

    E.O. 13084 requires that if NMFS issues a regulation that 
significantly or uniquely affects the communities of Indian tribal 
governments and imposes substantial direct compliance costs on those 
communities, NMFS must consult with those governments, or the Federal 
government must provide the funds necessary to pay the direct 
compliance costs incurred by the tribal governments. This action does 
not impose substantial direct compliance costs on the communities of 
Indian tribal governments. Accordingly, the requirements of section 
3(b) of E.O. 13084 do not apply to this action.
    Nonetheless, NMFS took several steps to work with affected tribal 
governments to prepare and implement the proposed action. These steps 
included discussions on subsistence needs and mechanisms to ensure that 
the harvest is conducted in a non-wasteful manner. NMFS signed 
cooperative agreements with St. Paul in 2000 and with St. George in 
2001 pursuant to section 119 of the MMPA.

    Dated: July 12, 2005.
Rebecca Lent,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 05-14094 Filed 7-15-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S