Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish Fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, 798-800 [E9-125]

Download as PDF 798 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 5 / Thursday, January 8, 2009 / Notices the Department is rescinding this administrative review of the antidumping duty order on persulfates from the PRC covering the period July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1). DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A–570–847] Persulfates From the People’s Republic of China: Notice of Rescission of the 2007–2008 Administrative Review of the Antidumping Duty Order Assessment Import Administration, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce. DATES: Effective Date: January 8, 2009. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Giselle Cubillos, AD/CVD Operations, Office 8, Import Administration, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482–1778. AGENCY: erowe on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Background On July 11, 2008, the Department of Commerce (‘‘the Department’’) published a notice of opportunity to request an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on persulfates from the People’s Republic of China (‘‘PRC’’). See Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity to Request Administrative Review, 73 FR 39948 (July 11, 2008). On July 31, 2008, FMC Corporation (‘‘FMC’’), a domestic producer of persulfates, requested that the Department conduct an administrative review of Shanghai AJ Import & Export Corporation—DegussaAJ Shanghai Initiators Co., LTD.’s exports to the United States for the period of review (‘‘POR’’) July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008. Pursuant to this request, the Department published a notice of the initiation of the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on persulfates from the PRC. See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 73 FR 50308 (August 26, 2008). Rescission of Review Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), the Department will rescind an administrative review, in whole or in part, if a party that requested a review withdraws the request within 90 days of the date of publication of the notice of initiation. On December 3, 2008, FMC timely withdrew its request for a review, and no other interested party requested a review of this company. 1 Therefore, 1 On November 26, 2008, in response to a request from FMC, the Department extended the deadline for FMC to withdraw its review request from November 24, 2008, until December 3, 2008. VerDate Nov<24>2008 13:57 Jan 07, 2009 Jkt 217001 The Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (‘‘CBP’’) to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. Antidumping duties shall be assessed at rates equal to the cash deposit of estimated antidumping duties required at the time of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(c)(1)(i). The Department intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions directly to CBP 15 days after the publication of this notice in the Federal Register. Notification to Interested Parties This notice serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.402(f)(3), failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Secretary’s presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of doubled antidumping duties. This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (‘‘APO’’) of their responsibility concerning the disposition of proprietary information disclosed under APO, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305 and as explained in the APO itself. Timely written notification of the return/destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation. This notice is in accordance with section 777(i)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and 19 CFR 351.213(d)(4). Dated: January 2, 2009. Edward C. Yang, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations. [FR Doc. E9–140 Filed 1–7–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XM37 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish Fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; intent to prepare an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement; request for written comments. SUMMARY: NMFS, in consultation with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, announces its intent to prepare either an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on measures to minimize non–Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The proposed action would replace the current Chum Salmon Savings Area in the Bering Sea, and the specific exemption to the area closure, with new regulatory closures, salmon bycatch limits, or a combination of both. The scope of the EA or EIS will be to determine the impacts to the human environment resulting from the measures to minimize non–Chinook salmon bycatch. NMFS will accept written comments from the public to determine the issues of concern and the appropriate range of alternatives for analysis. DATES: Written comments must be received by March 23, 2009. ADDRESSES: Written comments on issues and alternatives should be sent to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Comments may be submitted by: • E–mail: ChumSalmonBycatchEIS@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line the following document identifier: ‘‘RIN 0648– XM37’’. E–mail comments, with or without attachments, are limited to 5 megabytes; • Mail: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802; • Hand Delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK; or • Fax: 907–586–7557. All Personal Identifying Information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be E:\FR\FM\08JAN1.SGM 08JAN1 erowe on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 5 / Thursday, January 8, 2009 / Notices publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe portable document file (pdf) formats only. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Harrington, (907) 586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson–Stevens Act), the United States has exclusive fishery management authority over all living marine resources found within the exclusive economic zone. The management of these marine resources, with the exception of certain marine mammals and birds, is vested in the Secretary of Commerce. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has the responsibility to prepare fishery management plans for those marine resources off Alaska requiring conservation and management. Management of the Federal groundfish fishery in the Bering Sea is carried out under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The FMP, its amendments, and implementing regulations (found at 50 CFR part 679) are developed in accordance with the requirements of the Magnuson–Stevens Act and other applicable Federal laws and executive orders, notably the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Council is considering new measures to minimize non–Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery because of the potential negative impacts on salmon stocks in general, and on western Alaska salmon stocks in particular. Four species of salmon (sockeye, coho, pink, and chum) are aggregated into a ‘‘non–Chinook salmon’’ species category for catch accounting and prohibited species catch limits. Chum salmon comprises over 99.6% of the total catch in this category. The majority of non–Chinook bycatch occurs in the pollock trawl fishery during the B season (June 10 to November 1). Historically, the portion of the non–Chinook bycatch from the pollock trawl fishery has ranged from 88% to over 99.5% of all non–Chinook salmon bycatch in the federal groundfish fisheries. Since 2002, bycatch of non–Chinook salmon in the pollock fishery has comprised over 95% VerDate Nov<24>2008 13:57 Jan 07, 2009 Jkt 217001 of the total non–Chinook salmon bycatch. From 1991 through 2002, the average annual bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery was 72,668 non– Chinook salmon. From 2003 through 2006, non–Chinook salmon bycatch numbers increased substantially to a historic high of 704,989 non–Chinook salmon in 2005. Bycatch since 2006 has declined substantially, with a 2008 bycatch of 15,002 non–Chinook salmon. The numbers of non–Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery from 2003 through 2008 are shown in the following table: Number of non–Chinook salmon Year 2003 195,135 2004 440,692 2005 704,989 2006 309,676 2007 94,349 2008 15,002 NMFS and the Council are initiating scoping in the event that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is the required NEPA document for the proposed action and its alternatives. We are seeking information from the public through the scoping process on the range of alternatives to be analyzed, and on the environmental, social, and economic issues to be considered in the analysis. Written comments generated during this scoping process will be provided to the Council and incorporated into the EIS, or the EA if we determine that an EIS is not required. Chum Salmon Savings Area and Prohibited Species Catch Limit The Chum Salmon Savings Area in the Bering Sea is a time–area closure designed to reduce overall non–Chinook salmon bycatch in the federal groundfish trawl fisheries. This time– area closure was adopted based on historically observed salmon bycatch rates and was designed to avoid areas and times of high non–Chinook salmon bycatch. The Chum Salmon Savings Area is closed to pollock fishing from August 1 through August 31 of each year. Additionally, if the prohibited species catch limit of 42,000 non– Chinook salmon are caught by vessels using trawl gear in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area during the period August 15 through October 14, the Chum Salmon Savings Area remains PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 799 closed to directed fishing for pollock for the remainder of the calendar year. Non–CDQ and CDQ pollock vessels participating in an inter–cooperative agreement (ICA) using the Voluntary Rolling Hotspot System (VHRS) are exempted from closures of the Chum Salmon Savings Area. The purpose of the VHRS ICA is to use real–time salmon bycatch information to avoid areas of high non–Chinook salmon bycatch rates. The ICA utilizes a system of base bycatch rates, assignment of vessels to tiers based on bycatch rates relative to the base rate, a system of closures for vessels in certain tiers, and monitoring and enforcement through private contractual arrangements. The VRHS ICA was necessary because comparisons of non–community development quota (non–CDQ) vessels fishing outside of the salmon savings areas with CDQ vessels fishing inside of the salmon savings areas indicated that salmon bycatch rates were much higher outside of the savings areas, and closures were displacing vessels to higher bycatch areas. Proposed Action The proposed action is to replace the current Chum Salmon Savings Areas and the VRHS ICA regulations with new regulatory closures, salmon bycatch limits, or a combination of both based on current salmon bycatch information. The purpose of the proposed action is to minimize non–Chinook salmon bycatch to the extent practicable while achieving optimum yield from the pollock fishery. The proposed action is necessary to ensure long–term conservation and abundance of salmon, maintain a healthy marine ecosystem, provide maximum benefit to fishermen and communities that depend on salmon and pollock, and comply with the Magnuson–Stevens Act. Alternative Management Measures We will evaluate a range of alternative management measures for the Bering Sea pollock fishery. Alternatives may be formulated based on the elements identified here, and those developed through the public scoping and Council processes. Possible alternatives could be constructed from one or more of the following measures: 1. Hard Cap – Establish a hard cap for non–Chinook salmon bycatch in the CDQ and non–CDQ pollock fisheries. The eight hard cap options range from 58,176 to 488,045 non–Chinook salmon. Hard caps could be apportioned to the CDQ and non–CDQ pollock fisheries or divided among the fishery sectors. Sector level caps could be further divided among the cooperatives. Fishery E:\FR\FM\08JAN1.SGM 08JAN1 800 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 5 / Thursday, January 8, 2009 / Notices participants would be required to stop fishing when the hard cap is reached. 2. Triggered area closure – Establish a salmon savings area closure based on current salmon bycatch information. These closures would occur once a specified cap level was reached. Additional information about non– Chinook salmon bycatch and the alternatives that the Council may consider may be found on the Council’s website at: http:// www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/ currentlissues/bycatch/ chumbycatch1208.pdf. erowe on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Preliminary Identification of Issues A principal objective of the scoping and public input process is to identify potentially significant impacts to the human environment. The analysis will evaluate the impacts of the alternatives for all resources, species, and issues that may be directly or indirectly affected by non–Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fisheries. The following components of the biological and physical environment may be evaluated: (1) target and non–target fish stocks, forage fish, and prohibited species, including salmon species; (2) species listed under the ESA and their critical habitat; (3) seabirds; (4) marine mammals; and (5) the ecosystem. Social and economic impacts also would be considered in terms of the effects that changes to non–Chinook salmon bycatch management measures would have on the following groups of individuals: (1) those who participate in harvesting pollock; (2) those who process and market pollock and pollock products; (3) those who consume pollock products; (4) those who rely on living marine resources caught in the management area, particularly non– Chinook salmon; (5) those who benefit from subsistence, commercial, and sport salmon fisheries; and (6) fishing communities. Public Involvement Scoping is an early and open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed in an EA for EIS and for identifying the significant issues related to the proposed action. A principal objective of the scoping and public involvement process is to identify a range of reasonable of management alternatives that will delineate critical issues and provide a clear basis for distinguishing among those alternatives and selecting a preferred alternative. Through this notice, we are notifying the public that a NEPA analysis and decision–making process for this proposed action has been initiated so that interested or affected people may VerDate Nov<24>2008 13:57 Jan 07, 2009 Jkt 217001 participate and contribute to the final decision. We are seeking written public comments on the scope of issues, including potential impacts, and alternatives that should be considered in revising non–Chinook salmon bycatch management measures. Written comments will be accepted at the address above (see ADDRESSES). Written comments should be as specific as possible to be the most helpful. Written comments received during the scoping process, including the names and addresses of those submitting them, will be considered part of the public record of this proposal and will be available for public inspection. The public is invited to participate and provide input at Council meetings where the latest scientific information regarding salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery is reviewed and alternative non–Chinook salmon bycatch reduction measures are developed and evaluated. Notice of future Council meetings will be published in the Federal Register and posted on the Internet at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/. Please visit this website for more information on this proposed action and for guidance on submitting effective public comments. Dated: January 2, 2009. Emily H. Menashes Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E9–125 Filed 1–7–09; 8:45 am] NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301)713–2289; fax (301)427–2521. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tammy Adams or Kate Swails, (301)713–2289. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The requested amendment has been granted under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) and the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216). The original permit (No. 782–1708), issued on August 23, 2003 (68 FR 53967) and valid through December 31, 2008, authorized research on northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) of the San Miguel Islands Stock at San Miguel Island, California, and of the Eastern North Pacific Stock at Bogoslof Island and the Pribilof Islands in Alaska. The permit was subsequently amended four times to modify methods and take numbers. The minor amendment (No. 782–1708–05) extends the duration of the permit through December 31, 2009, and does not change any other terms or conditions of the permit. Dated: January 2, 2009. P. Michael Payne, Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E9–124 Filed 1–7–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE United States Patent and Trademark Office National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Docket No. PTO–C–2008–0058] RIN 0648–XM55 Marine Mammals; File No. 782–1708 AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; issuance of permit amendment. SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the NMFS National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Seattle, WA has been issued a minor amendment to Scientific Research Permit No. 782–1708–04. ADDRESSES: The amendment and related documents are available for review upon written request or by appointment in the following office: Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nomination Evaluation Committee AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office. ACTION: Notice and request for nominations. SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce (United States Patent and Trademark Office) is requesting nominations of individuals to serve on the National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nomination Evaluation Committee. The United States Patent and Trademark Office will consider nominations received in response to this notice as well as from other sources. The SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice provides committee and membership criteria. E:\FR\FM\08JAN1.SGM 08JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 5 (Thursday, January 8, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 798-800]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-125]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XM37


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish 
Fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

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

ACTION: Notice; intent to prepare an environmental assessment or an 
environmental impact statement; request for written comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS, in consultation with the North Pacific Fishery 
Management Council, announces its intent to prepare either an 
Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) on measures to minimize non-Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering 
Sea, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. 
The proposed action would replace the current Chum Salmon Savings Area 
in the Bering Sea, and the specific exemption to the area closure, with 
new regulatory closures, salmon bycatch limits, or a combination of 
both. The scope of the EA or EIS will be to determine the impacts to 
the human environment resulting from the measures to minimize non-
Chinook salmon bycatch. NMFS will accept written comments from the 
public to determine the issues of concern and the appropriate range of 
alternatives for analysis.

DATES: Written comments must be received by March 23, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on issues and alternatives should be sent 
to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable 
Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. 
Comments may be submitted by:
     E-mail: ChumSalmonBycatchEIS@noaa.gov. Include in the 
subject line the following document identifier: ``RIN 0648-XM37''. E-
mail comments, with or without attachments, are limited to 5 megabytes;
     Mail: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802;
     Hand Delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th 
Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK; or
     Fax: 907-586-7557.
    All Personal Identifying Information (e.g., name, address) 
voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be

[[Page 799]]

publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information.
    NMFS will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic 
comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or 
Adobe portable document file (pdf) formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Harrington, (907) 586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the United 
States has exclusive fishery management authority over all living 
marine resources found within the exclusive economic zone. The 
management of these marine resources, with the exception of certain 
marine mammals and birds, is vested in the Secretary of Commerce. The 
North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has the 
responsibility to prepare fishery management plans for those marine 
resources off Alaska requiring conservation and management. Management 
of the Federal groundfish fishery in the Bering Sea is carried out 
under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The FMP, its amendments, and 
implementing regulations (found at 50 CFR part 679) are developed in 
accordance with the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other 
applicable Federal laws and executive orders, notably the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
    The Council is considering new measures to minimize non-Chinook 
salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery because of the 
potential negative impacts on salmon stocks in general, and on western 
Alaska salmon stocks in particular. Four species of salmon (sockeye, 
coho, pink, and chum) are aggregated into a ``non-Chinook salmon'' 
species category for catch accounting and prohibited species catch 
limits. Chum salmon comprises over 99.6% of the total catch in this 
category. The majority of non-Chinook bycatch occurs in the pollock 
trawl fishery during the B season (June 10 to November 1). 
Historically, the portion of the non-Chinook bycatch from the pollock 
trawl fishery has ranged from 88% to over 99.5% of all non-Chinook 
salmon bycatch in the federal groundfish fisheries. Since 2002, bycatch 
of non-Chinook salmon in the pollock fishery has comprised over 95% of 
the total non-Chinook salmon bycatch.
    From 1991 through 2002, the average annual bycatch in the Bering 
Sea pollock fishery was 72,668 non-Chinook salmon. From 2003 through 
2006, non-Chinook salmon bycatch numbers increased substantially to a 
historic high of 704,989 non-Chinook salmon in 2005. Bycatch since 2006 
has declined substantially, with a 2008 bycatch of 15,002 non-Chinook 
salmon. The numbers of non-Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea 
pollock fishery from 2003 through 2008 are shown in the following 
table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Year                        Number of non-Chinook
--------------------------------------------------------salmon----------
2003                                         195,135
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2004                                         440,692
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2005                                         704,989
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2006                                         309,676
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2007                                         94,349
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2008                                         15,002
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NMFS and the Council are initiating scoping in the event that an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is the required NEPA document for 
the proposed action and its alternatives. We are seeking information 
from the public through the scoping process on the range of 
alternatives to be analyzed, and on the environmental, social, and 
economic issues to be considered in the analysis. Written comments 
generated during this scoping process will be provided to the Council 
and incorporated into the EIS, or the EA if we determine that an EIS is 
not required.

Chum Salmon Savings Area and Prohibited Species Catch Limit

    The Chum Salmon Savings Area in the Bering Sea is a time-area 
closure designed to reduce overall non-Chinook salmon bycatch in the 
federal groundfish trawl fisheries. This time-area closure was adopted 
based on historically observed salmon bycatch rates and was designed to 
avoid areas and times of high non-Chinook salmon bycatch. The Chum 
Salmon Savings Area is closed to pollock fishing from August 1 through 
August 31 of each year. Additionally, if the prohibited species catch 
limit of 42,000 non-Chinook salmon are caught by vessels using trawl 
gear in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area during the period August 15 
through October 14, the Chum Salmon Savings Area remains closed to 
directed fishing for pollock for the remainder of the calendar year.
    Non-CDQ and CDQ pollock vessels participating in an inter-
cooperative agreement (ICA) using the Voluntary Rolling Hotspot System 
(VHRS) are exempted from closures of the Chum Salmon Savings Area. The 
purpose of the VHRS ICA is to use real-time salmon bycatch information 
to avoid areas of high non-Chinook salmon bycatch rates. The ICA 
utilizes a system of base bycatch rates, assignment of vessels to tiers 
based on bycatch rates relative to the base rate, a system of closures 
for vessels in certain tiers, and monitoring and enforcement through 
private contractual arrangements. The VRHS ICA was necessary because 
comparisons of non-community development quota (non-CDQ) vessels 
fishing outside of the salmon savings areas with CDQ vessels fishing 
inside of the salmon savings areas indicated that salmon bycatch rates 
were much higher outside of the savings areas, and closures were 
displacing vessels to higher bycatch areas.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is to replace the current Chum Salmon Savings 
Areas and the VRHS ICA regulations with new regulatory closures, salmon 
bycatch limits, or a combination of both based on current salmon 
bycatch information. The purpose of the proposed action is to minimize 
non-Chinook salmon bycatch to the extent practicable while achieving 
optimum yield from the pollock fishery. The proposed action is 
necessary to ensure long-term conservation and abundance of salmon, 
maintain a healthy marine ecosystem, provide maximum benefit to 
fishermen and communities that depend on salmon and pollock, and comply 
with the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Alternative Management Measures

    We will evaluate a range of alternative management measures for the 
Bering Sea pollock fishery. Alternatives may be formulated based on the 
elements identified here, and those developed through the public 
scoping and Council processes. Possible alternatives could be 
constructed from one or more of the following measures:
    1. Hard Cap - Establish a hard cap for non-Chinook salmon bycatch 
in the CDQ and non-CDQ pollock fisheries. The eight hard cap options 
range from 58,176 to 488,045 non-Chinook salmon. Hard caps could be 
apportioned to the CDQ and non-CDQ pollock fisheries or divided among 
the fishery sectors. Sector level caps could be further divided among 
the cooperatives. Fishery

[[Page 800]]

participants would be required to stop fishing when the hard cap is 
reached.
    2. Triggered area closure - Establish a salmon savings area closure 
based on current salmon bycatch information. These closures would occur 
once a specified cap level was reached.
    Additional information about non-Chinook salmon bycatch and the 
alternatives that the Council may consider may be found on the 
Council's website at: http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/
current_issues/bycatch/chumbycatch1208.pdf.

Preliminary Identification of Issues

    A principal objective of the scoping and public input process is to 
identify potentially significant impacts to the human environment. The 
analysis will evaluate the impacts of the alternatives for all 
resources, species, and issues that may be directly or indirectly 
affected by non-Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock 
fisheries. The following components of the biological and physical 
environment may be evaluated: (1) target and non-target fish stocks, 
forage fish, and prohibited species, including salmon species; (2) 
species listed under the ESA and their critical habitat; (3) seabirds; 
(4) marine mammals; and (5) the ecosystem.
    Social and economic impacts also would be considered in terms of 
the effects that changes to non-Chinook salmon bycatch management 
measures would have on the following groups of individuals: (1) those 
who participate in harvesting pollock; (2) those who process and market 
pollock and pollock products; (3) those who consume pollock products; 
(4) those who rely on living marine resources caught in the management 
area, particularly non-Chinook salmon; (5) those who benefit from 
subsistence, commercial, and sport salmon fisheries; and (6) fishing 
communities.

Public Involvement

    Scoping is an early and open process for determining the scope of 
issues to be addressed in an EA for EIS and for identifying the 
significant issues related to the proposed action. A principal 
objective of the scoping and public involvement process is to identify 
a range of reasonable of management alternatives that will delineate 
critical issues and provide a clear basis for distinguishing among 
those alternatives and selecting a preferred alternative. Through this 
notice, we are notifying the public that a NEPA analysis and decision-
making process for this proposed action has been initiated so that 
interested or affected people may participate and contribute to the 
final decision.
    We are seeking written public comments on the scope of issues, 
including potential impacts, and alternatives that should be considered 
in revising non-Chinook salmon bycatch management measures. Written 
comments will be accepted at the address above (see ADDRESSES). Written 
comments should be as specific as possible to be the most helpful. 
Written comments received during the scoping process, including the 
names and addresses of those submitting them, will be considered part 
of the public record of this proposal and will be available for public 
inspection.
    The public is invited to participate and provide input at Council 
meetings where the latest scientific information regarding salmon 
bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery is reviewed and alternative 
non-Chinook salmon bycatch reduction measures are developed and 
evaluated. Notice of future Council meetings will be published in the 
Federal Register and posted on the Internet at http://
alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/. Please visit this website for more 
information on this proposed action and for guidance on submitting 
effective public comments.

    Dated: January 2, 2009.
Emily H. Menashes
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E9-125 Filed 1-7-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S