Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations for Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2013 Season, 58731-58738 [2012-23313]

Download as PDF Vol. 77 Friday, No. 184 September 21, 2012 Part VI Department of the Interior mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 92 Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations for Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2013 Season; Proposed Rule VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:18 Sep 20, 2012 Jkt 226001 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4717 Sfmt 4717 E:\FR\FM\21SEP2.SGM 21SEP2 58732 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 184 / Friday, September 21, 2012 / Proposed Rules Fish and Wildlife Service, 1011 E. Tudor Road, Mail Stop 201, Anchorage, AK 99503. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 92 Public Comment Procedures [Docket No. FWS–R7–MB–2012–0066; FF09M21200–123–FXMB1231099BPP0L2] RIN 1018–AY70 Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations for Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2013 Season Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) proposes migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2013 season. These regulations would enable the continuation of customary and traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska and prescribe regional information on when and where the harvesting of birds may occur. These regulations were developed under a comanagement process involving the Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Native representatives. The rulemaking is necessary because the regulations governing the subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska are subject to annual review. This rulemaking proposes region-specific regulations that would go into effect on April 2, 2013, and expire on August 31, 2013. DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before November 20, 2012. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by November 5, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS–R7–MB–2012–0066. • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R7– MB–2012–0066; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203. We will not accept email or faxes. We will post all comments on http:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public Comment Procedures section below for more information). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Dewhurst, (907) 786–3499, U.S. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:18 Sep 20, 2012 Jkt 226001 To ensure that any proposed action resulting from this proposed rule will be as accurate and as effective as possible, we request that you send relevant information for our consideration. The comments that will be most useful and likely to influence our decisions are those that you support by quantitative information or studies and those that include citations to, and analyses of, the applicable laws and regulations. Please make your comments as specific as possible and explain the basis for them. In addition, please include sufficient information with your comments to allow us to authenticate any scientific or commercial data you include. You must submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed above in the ADDRESSES section. We will not accept comments sent by email or fax or to an address not listed in ADDRESSES. If you submit a comment via http:// www.regulations.gov, your entire comment—including any personal identifying information, such as your address, telephone number, or email address—will be posted on the Web site. When you submit a comment, the system receives it immediately. However, the comment will not be publicly viewable until we post it, which might not occur until several days after submission. If you mail or hand-carry a hardcopy comment directly to us that includes personal information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. To ensure that the electronic docket for this rulemaking is complete and all comments we receive are publicly available, we will post all hardcopy comments on http:// www.regulations.gov. In addition, comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection in two ways: (1) You can view them on http:// www.regulations.gov. Search for FWS– R7–MB–2012–0066, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. (2) You can make an appointment, during normal business hours, to view the comments and materials in person at the Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Service; 4501 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 4107, Arlington, VA 22203–1610. Public Availability of Comments As stated above in more detail, before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Why is this rulemaking necessary? This rulemaking is necessary because, by law, the migratory bird harvest season is closed unless opened by the Secretary of the Interior, and the regulations governing subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska are subject to public review and annual approval. This rule proposes regulations for the taking of migratory birds for subsistence uses in Alaska during the spring and summer of 2013. This rule proposes a list of migratory bird season openings and closures in Alaska by region. How do I find the history of these regulations? Background information, including past events leading to this rulemaking, accomplishments since the Migratory Bird Treaties with Canada and Mexico were amended, and a history, was originally addressed in the Federal Register on August 16, 2002 (67 FR 53511) and most recently on March 26, 2012 (77 FR 17353). Recent Federal Register documents, which are all proposed rules setting forth the annual harvest regulations, are available at http://alaska.fws.gov/ ambcc/regulations.htm or by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. What is the process for issuing regulations for the subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) is proposing migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2013 season. These regulations would enable the continuation of customary and traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska and prescribe regional information on when and where the harvesting of birds may occur. These proposed regulations were developed under a co-management process involving the Service, the Alaska E:\FR\FM\21SEP2.SGM 21SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 184 / Friday, September 21, 2012 / Proposed Rules mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Native representatives. We opened the process to establish regulations for the 2013 spring and summer subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska in a proposed rule published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2012, (77 FR 23094) to amend 50 CFR part 20. While that proposed rule dealt primarily with the regulatory process for hunting migratory birds for all purposes throughout the United States, we also discussed the background and history of Alaska subsistence regulations, explained the annual process for their establishment, and requested proposals for the 2014 season. The rulemaking processes for both types of migratory bird harvest are related, and the April 17, 2012, proposed rule explained the connection between the two. The Alaska Migratory Bird Comanagement Council (Co-management Council) held meetings on April 11–12 and May 9, 2012, to develop recommendations for changes that would take effect during the 2013 harvest season. These recommendations were presented first to the Flyway Councils and then to the Service Regulations Committee at the committee’s meeting on July 25 and 26, 2012. Who is eligible to hunt under these regulations? Eligibility to harvest under the regulations established in 2003 was limited to permanent residents, regardless of race, in villages located within the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Archipelago, the Aleutian Islands, and in areas north and west of the Alaska Range (50 CFR 92.5). These geographical restrictions opened the initial migratory bird subsistence harvest to about 13 percent of Alaska residents. Highpopulated, roaded areas such as Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna and Fairbanks North Star boroughs, the Kenai Peninsula roaded area, the Gulf of Alaska roaded area, and Southeast Alaska were excluded from eligible subsistence harvest areas. Based on petitions requesting inclusion in the harvest, in 2004, we added 13 additional communities based on criteria set forth in 50 CFR 92.5(c). These communities were Gulkana, Gakona, Tazlina, Copper Center, Mentasta Lake, Chitina, Chistochina, Tatitlek, Chenega, Port Graham, Nanwalek, Tyonek, and Hoonah, with a combined population of 2,766. In 2005, we added three additional communities for glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only, based on petitions requesting inclusion. These southeastern VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:18 Sep 20, 2012 Jkt 226001 communities were Craig, Hydaburg, and Yakutat, with a combined population of 2,459, based on the latest census information at that time. In 2007, we enacted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s request to expand the Fairbanks North Star Borough excluded area to include the Central Interior area. This action excluded the following communities from participation in this harvest: Big Delta/Fort Greely, Healy, McKinley Park/Village, and Ferry, with a combined population of 2,812. What is different in the region-specific regulations for 2013? Regulations proposed in this rule are identical to those for the 2012 harvest season. However, at the April 2012 CoManagement Council meeting, the North Slope Borough requested that the provision that enables yellow-billed loons inadvertently caught in subsistence fishing to be kept for subsistence use be added permanently to the consent agenda from 2013 regulations forward. The request would eliminate the need for the North Slope Borough to resubmit the loon proposal annually and eliminate the requirement for the Service Regulations Committee to review and decide on the proposal at each subsequent July meeting. The motion passed with unanimous consent by the Co-Management Council. In 2011, the North Slope Borough Wildlife Department conducted harvest surveys in Barrow, Atqasuk, and Nuiqsut. They identified 125 fishermen and cabin owners from those 3 communities involved. Of the 125, only 3 refused to participate in the survey, so we had 97 percent participation. The resultant estimate was 25 yellow-billed loons entangled, of which 7 were released, 4 were used to make headdresses for traditional, ceremonial dances, and the remainder used for other subsistence purposes. In the Co-Management Council’s discussion of the North Slope Borough’s proposal to eliminate the requirement for annual submission and review, the State of Alaska Representative stated that the North Slope Borough had done a very good job of putting together a loon harvest survey in those areas where yellow-billed loons and fishing co-exist, documenting the current levels of inadvertent take. At this meeting, the North Slope Borough committed to continue collecting this information for 2 more years (through 2013) to provide additional inadvertent take numbers to the Service Regulations Committee. On July 26, 2012, the Service Regulations Committee supported removal of the requirement for annual review and PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 58733 approval of the yellow-billed loon provision for the North Slope. How will the service ensure that the subsistence harvest will not raise overall migratory bird harvest or threaten the conservation of endangered and threatened species? We have monitored subsistence harvest for the past 25 years through the use of annual household surveys in the most heavily used subsistence harvest areas, such as the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. In recent years, more intensive surveys combined with outreach efforts focused on species identification have been added to improve the accuracy of information gathered from regions still reporting some subsistence harvest of listed or candidate species. Spectacled and Steller’s Eiders Spectacled eiders (Somateria fischeri) and the Alaska-breeding population of Steller’s eiders (Polysticta stelleri) are listed as threatened species; their migration and breeding distribution overlap with areas where the spring and summer subsistence migratory bird hunt is open in Alaska. Both species are closed to hunting, although harvest surveys and Service documentation indicate both species have been taken in several regions of Alaska. The Service has dual goals and responsibilities for authorizing a subsistence harvest while protecting migratory birds and threatened species. Although these goals continue to be challenging, they are not irreconcilable, providing the proposed regulations continue to protect threatened species, measures to remedy documented threats are implemented, and the subsistence community and other conservation partners commit to working together. With these dual goals in mind, the Service, working with North Slope partners, developed measures in 2009 to further reduce the potential for shooting mortality or injury of closed species. These conservation measures included: (1) Increased waterfowl hunter outreach and community awareness through partnering with the North Slope Migratory Bird Task Force; (2) continued enforcement of the migratory bird regulations that are protective of listed eiders; and (3) in-season Service verification of the harvest to detect taking of any threatened eider species. This proposed rule continues to focus on the North Slope from Barrow to Point Hope because Steller’s eiders from the listed Alaska breeding population are known to breed and migrate there. These proposed regulations are designed to address several ongoing eider management needs by clarifying E:\FR\FM\21SEP2.SGM 21SEP2 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 58734 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 184 / Friday, September 21, 2012 / Proposed Rules for subsistence users that (1) service law enforcement personnel have authority to verify species of birds possessed by hunters, and (2) it is illegal to possess any species of bird closed to harvest. This rule also describes how the Service’s existing authority of emergency closure would be implemented, if necessary, to protect Steller’s eiders. We are always willing to discuss regulations with our partners on the North Slope to ensure protection of closed species as well as provide subsistence hunters an opportunity to harvest migratory birds in a way that maintains the culture and traditional harvest of the community. The regulations pertaining to bag checks and possession of illegal birds are deemed necessary to verify that no closed eider species are taken during the legal subsistence hunt. The Service is aware of and appreciates the considerable efforts by North Slope partners to raise awareness and educate hunters on Steller’s eider conservation via the bird fair, meetings, radio shows, signs, school visits, and one-on-one contacts. We also recognize that no listed eiders have been documented shot in the last 3 years, even though Steller’s eiders nested in the Barrow area from 2010 through 2012. The Service acknowledges progress made with the other eider conservation measures including partnering with the North Slope Migratory Bird Task Force for increased waterfowl hunter awareness, continued enforcement of the regulations, and inseason verification of the harvest. Our primary strategy to reduce the threat of shooting mortality of threatened eiders is to continue working with North Slope partners to conduct education, outreach, and harvest monitoring. In addition, the emergency closure authority provides another level of assurance if an unexpected amount of Steller’s eider shooting mortality occurs (50 CFR 92.21 and 50 CFR 92.32). In-season harvest monitoring information would be used to evaluate the efficacy of regulations, conservation measures, and outreach efforts. During 2009 through 2012, no Steller’s eiders were reported being taken on the North Slope, and no Steller’s eiders were found shot during in-season verification of the subsistence harvest. Based on these successes, the 2012 conservation measures would also be continued, although there would be some modification of the amount of effort and emphasis each would receive. Specifically, local communities have continued to develop greater responsibility for taking actions to ensure Steller’s and spectacled eider VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:18 Sep 20, 2012 Jkt 226001 conservation and recovery, and based on last year’s observations, local hunters have demonstrated greater compliance with hunting regulations. The longstanding general emergency closure provision at 50 CFR 92.21 specifies that the harvest may be closed or temporarily suspended upon finding that a continuation of the regulation allowing the harvest would pose an imminent threat to the conservation of any migratory bird population. With regard to Steller’s eiders, the regulation at 50 CFR 92.32, carried over from the past 3 years, would clarify that we would take action under 50 CFR 92.21 as is necessary to prevent further take of Steller’s eiders, and that action could include temporary or long-term closures of the harvest in all or a portion of the geographic area open to harvest. If mortality of threatened eiders occurs, we would evaluate each mortality event by criteria such as cause, quantity, sex, age, location, and date. We would consult with the Co-management Council when we are considering an emergency closure. If we determine that an emergency closure is necessary, we would design it to minimize its impact on the subsistence harvest. Yellow-Billed Loon and Kittlitz’s Murrelet Yellow-billed loon (Gavia adamsii) and Kittlitz’s murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) are candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Their migration and breeding distribution overlaps with where the spring and summer migratory bird hunt is open in Alaska. Both species are closed to hunting, and there is no evidence Kittlitz’s murrelets are harvested. On the other hand, harvest surveys have indicated that harvest of yellow-billed loons on the North Slope and St. Lawrence Island does occur. Most of the yellow-billed loons reported harvested on the North Slope were found to be entangled loons salvaged from subsistence fishing nets as described below. The Service would continue outreach efforts in both areas in 2013, engaging partners to improve harvest estimates and decrease take of yellow-billed loons. Consistent with the request of the North Slope Borough Fish and Game Management Committee and the recommendation of the Co-management Council, this rule proposes to continue through 2013 the provisions originally established in 2005, to allow subsistence use of yellow-billed loons inadvertently entangled in subsistence fishing (gill) nets on the North Slope. Yellow-billed loons are culturally PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 important to the Inupiat Eskimo of the North Slope for use in traditional dance regalia. A maximum of 20 yellow-billed loons would be allowed to be kept if found entangled in fishing nets in 2013, under this provision. This proposed provision does not authorize intentional harvest of yellow-billed loons, but allows use of those loons inadvertently entangled during normal subsistence fishing activities. Definition Clarification We are proposing to add a definition of harvest season ‘‘closure’’ to the existing definitions list at 50 CFR 92.4. This change to the regulations would clarify our use of this term. This addition was requested by members of the public who expressed some confusion as to whether or not egg gathering is also prohibited during harvest closures. Under our proposed definition, we clarify that a season ‘‘closure’’ means that the season is closed to all forms of harvest, including hunting and egg gathering, unless specified otherwise. Endangered Species Act Consideration Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1536) requires the Secretary of the Interior to ‘‘review other programs administered by him and utilize such programs in furtherance of the purposes of the Act’’ and to ‘‘insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out * * * is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat * * *.’’ Prior to issuance of annual spring and summer subsistence regulations, we would consult under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), to ensure that the 2013 subsistence harvest is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any species designated as endangered or threatened, or modify or destroy its critical habitats, and that the regulations are consistent with conservation programs for those species. Consultation under section 7 of the Act for the annual subsistence take regulations may cause us to change these regulations. Our biological opinion resulting from the section 7 consultation is a public document available from person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Statutory Authority We derive our authority to issue these regulations from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, at 16 U.S.C. 712(1), which authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, in accordance with the treaties E:\FR\FM\21SEP2.SGM 21SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 184 / Friday, September 21, 2012 / Proposed Rules with Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Russia, to ‘‘issue such regulations as may be necessary to assure that the taking of migratory birds and the collection of their eggs, by the indigenous inhabitants of the State of Alaska, shall be permitted for their own nutritional and other essential needs, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior, during seasons established so as to provide for the preservation and maintenance of stocks of migratory birds.’’ Required Determinations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563) Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this rule is not significant. Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation’s regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements. Regulatory Flexibility Act The Department of the Interior certifies that this rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). An initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide is not required. This proposed rule would legalize a preexisting subsistence activity, and the resources harvested would be consumed by the harvesters or persons within their local community. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule: (a) Would not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:18 Sep 20, 2012 Jkt 226001 more. It proposes to legalize and regulate a traditional subsistence activity. It would not result in a substantial increase in subsistence harvest or a significant change in harvesting patterns. The commodities that would be regulated under this proposed rule are migratory birds. This rule deals with legalizing the subsistence harvest of migratory birds and, as such, does not involve commodities traded in the marketplace. A small economic benefit from this proposed rule would derive from the sale of equipment and ammunition to carry out subsistence hunting. Most, if not all, businesses that sell hunting equipment in rural Alaska qualify as small businesses. We have no reason to believe that this proposed rule would lead to a disproportionate distribution of benefits. (b) Would not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers; individual industries; Federal, State, or local government agencies; or geographic regions. This proposed rule does not deal with traded commodities and, therefore, does not have an impact on prices for consumers. (c) Would not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. This proposed rule deals with the harvesting of wildlife for personal consumption. It does not regulate the marketplace in any way to generate effects on the economy or the ability of businesses to compete. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act We have determined and certified under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) that this proposed rule would not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local, State, or tribal governments or private entities. The proposed rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act is not required. Participation on regional management bodies and the Comanagement Council would require travel expenses for some Alaska Native organizations and local governments. In addition, they would assume some expenses related to coordinating involvement of village councils in the regulatory process. Total coordination and travel expenses for all Alaska Native organizations are estimated to be less than $300,000 per year. In a Notice of Decision (65 FR 16405; March 28, PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 58735 2000), we identified 7 to 12 partner organizations (Alaska Native nonprofits and local governments) to administer the regional programs. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game would also incur expenses for travel to Comanagement Council and regional management body meetings. In addition, the State of Alaska would be required to provide technical staff support to each of the regional management bodies and to the Comanagement Council. Expenses for the State’s involvement may exceed $100,000 per year, but should not exceed $150,000 per year. When funding permits, we make annual grant agreements available to the partner organizations and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to help offset their expenses. Takings (Executive Order 12630) Under the criteria in Executive Order 12630, this proposed rule would not have significant takings implications. This proposed rule is not specific to particular land ownership, but applies to the harvesting of migratory bird resources throughout Alaska. A takings implication assessment is not required. Federalism (Executive Order 13132) Under the criteria in Executive Order 13132, this proposed rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. We discuss effects of this proposed rule on the State of Alaska in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act section above. We worked with the State of Alaska to develop these proposed regulations. Therefore, a federalism summary impact statement is not required. Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988) The Department, in promulgating this proposed rule, has determined that it would not unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988. Government-to-Government Relations With Native American Tribal Governments Consistent with Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249; November 6, 2000), ‘‘Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments’’, and Department of Interior policy on Consultation with Indian Tribes (December 1, 2011), we will send letters to all 229 Alaska Federally recognized Indian tribes. Consistent with Congressional direction (Pub. L. 108– 199, div. H, Sec. 161, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 E:\FR\FM\21SEP2.SGM 21SEP2 58736 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 184 / Friday, September 21, 2012 / Proposed Rules listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION or at http:// www.regulations.gov. Paperwork Reduction Act This proposed rule has been examined under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and does not contain any new collections of information that require Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval. OMB has approved our collection of information associated with the voluntary annual household surveys used to determine levels of subsistence take. The OMB control number is 1018–0124, which expires April 30, 2013. An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Stat. 452, as amended by Pub. L. 108– 447, div. H, title V, Sec. 518, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3267), we will be sending letters to approximately 200 Alaska Native corporations and other tribal entities in Alaska soliciting their input as to whether or not they would like the Service to consult with them on the 2013 migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations. We implemented the amended treaty with Canada with a focus on local involvement. The treaty calls for the creation of management bodies to ensure an effective and meaningful role for Alaska’s indigenous inhabitants in the conservation of migratory birds. According to the Letter of Submittal, management bodies are to include Alaska Native, Federal, and State of Alaska representatives as equals. They would develop recommendations for among other things: Seasons and bag limits, methods and means of take, law enforcement policies, population and harvest monitoring, education programs, research and use of traditional knowledge, and habitat protection. The management bodies would involve village councils to the maximum extent possible in all aspects of management. To ensure maximum input at the village level, we required each of the 11 participating regions to create regional management bodies consisting of at least one representative from the participating villages. The regional management bodies meet twice annually to review and/or submit proposals to the Statewide body. 2. Amend § 92.4 by adding, in alphabetical order, a definition for ‘‘Closure’’ to read as follows: National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) Consideration The annual regulations and options are considered in the environmental assessment, ‘‘Managing Migratory Bird Subsistence Hunting in Alaska: Hunting Regulations for the 2013 Spring/ Summer Harvest,’’ September 12, 2012. Copies are available from the person VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:18 Sep 20, 2012 Jkt 226001 CONTACT Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (Executive Order 13211) Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. This is not a significant regulatory action under this Executive Order; it would allow only for traditional subsistence harvest and would improve conservation of migratory birds by allowing effective regulation of this harvest. Further, this proposed rule is not expected to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action under Executive Order 13211, and no Statement of Energy Effects is required. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 92 Hunting, Treaties, Wildlife. Proposed Regulation Promulgation For the reasons set out in the preamble, we propose to amend title 50, chapter I, subchapter G, of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows: PART 92—MIGRATORY BIRD SUBSISTENCE HARVEST IN ALASKA 1. The authority citation for part 92 continues to read as follows: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 703–712. Subpart A—General Provisions § 92.4 Definitions. * * * * * Closure means the season is closed to all forms of harvest, including hunting and egg gathering, unless specified otherwise. * * * * * Subpart D—Annual Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest 3. Amend subpart D by adding § 92.31 to read as follows: § 92.31 Region-specific regulations. The 2013 season dates for the eligible subsistence harvest areas are as follows: (a) Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Region. (1) Northern Unit (Pribilof Islands): (i) Season: April 2–June 30. (ii) Closure: July 1–August 31. (2) Central Unit (Aleut Region’s eastern boundary on the Alaska Peninsula westward to and including Unalaska Island): PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 (i) Season: April 2–June 15 and July 16–August 31. (ii) Closure: June 16–July 15. (iii) Special Black Brant Season Closure: August 16–August 31, only in Izembek and Moffet lagoons. (iv) Special Tundra Swan Closure: All hunting and egg gathering closed in units 9(D) and 10. (3) Western Unit (Umnak Island west to and including Attu Island): (i) Season: April 2–July 15 and August 16–August 31. (ii) Closure: July 16–August 15. (b) Yukon/Kuskokwim Delta Region. (1) Season: April 2–August 31. (2) Closure: 30-day closure dates to be announced by the Service’s Alaska Regional Director or his designee, after consultation with field biologists and the Association of Village Council President’s Waterfowl Conservation Committee. This 30-day period would occur between June 1 and August 15 of each year. A press release announcing the actual closure dates would be forwarded to regional newspapers and radio and television stations. (3) Special Black Brant and Cackling Goose Season Hunting Closure: From the period when egg laying begins until young birds are fledged. Closure dates to be announced by the Service’s Alaska Regional Director or his designee, after consultation with field biologists and the Association of Village Council President’s Waterfowl Conservation Committee. A press release announcing the actual closure dates would be forwarded to regional newspapers and radio and television stations. (c) Bristol Bay Region. (1) Season: April 2–June 14 and July 16–August 31 (general season); April 2– July 15 for seabird egg gathering only. (2) Closure: June 15–July 15 (general season); July 16–August 31 (seabird egg gathering). (d) Bering Strait/Norton Sound Region. (1) Stebbins/St. Michael Area (Point Romanof to Canal Point): (i) Season: April 15–June 14 and July 16–August 31. (ii) Closure: June 15–July 15. (2) Remainder of the region: (i) Season: April 2–June 14 and July 16–August 31 for waterfowl; April 2– July 19 and August 21–August 31 for all other birds. (ii) Closure: June 15–July 15 for waterfowl; July 20–August 20 for all other birds. (e) Kodiak Archipelago Region, except for the Kodiak Island roaded area, which is closed to the harvesting of migratory birds and their eggs. The closed area consists of all lands and waters (including exposed tidelands) E:\FR\FM\21SEP2.SGM 21SEP2 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 184 / Friday, September 21, 2012 / Proposed Rules east of a line extending from Crag Point in the north to the west end of Saltery Cove in the south and all lands and water south of a line extending from Termination Point along the north side of Cascade Lake extending to Anton Larsen Bay. Waters adjacent to the closed area are closed to harvest within 500 feet from the water’s edge. The offshore islands are open to harvest. (1) Season: April 2–June 30 and July 31–August 31 for seabirds; April 2–June 20 and July 22–August 31 for all other birds. (2) Closure: July 1–July 30 for seabirds; June 21–July 21 for all other birds. (f) Northwest Arctic Region. (1) Season: April 2–June 9 and August 15–August 31 (hunting in general); waterfowl egg gathering May 20–June 9 only; seabird egg gathering May 20–July 12 only; hunting molting/non-nesting waterfowl July 1–July 31 only. (2) Closure: June 10–August 14, except for the taking of seabird eggs and molting/non-nesting waterfowl as provided in paragraph (f)(1) of this section. (g) North Slope Region. (1) Southern Unit (Southwestern North Slope regional boundary east to Peard Bay, everything west of the longitude line 158°30′ W and south of the latitude line 70°45′ N to the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River, and everything south of the latitude line 69°45′ N between the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River to the east bank of Sagavinirktok River): (i) Season: April 2–June 29 and July 30–August 31 for seabirds; April 2–June 19 and July 20–August 31 for all other birds. (ii) Closure: June 30–July 29 for seabirds; June 20–July 19 for all other birds. (iii) Special Black Brant Hunting Opening: From June 20–July 5. The open area would consist of the coastline, from mean high water line outward to include open water, from Nokotlek Point east to longitude line 158°30′ W. This includes Peard Bay, Kugrua Bay, and Wainwright Inlet, but not the Kuk and Kugrua river drainages. (2) Northern Unit (At Peard Bay, everything east of the longitude line 158°30′ W and north of the latitude line 70°45′ N to west bank of the Ikpikpuk River, and everything north of the latitude line 69°45′ N between the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River to the east bank of Sagavinirktok River): (i) Season: April 6–June 6 and July 7– August 31 for king and common eiders; April 2–June 15 and July 16–August 31 for all other birds. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:18 Sep 20, 2012 Jkt 226001 (ii) Closure: June 7–July 6 for king and common eiders; June 16–July 15 for all other birds. (3) Eastern Unit (East of eastern bank of the Sagavanirktok River): (i) Season: April 2–June 19 and July 20–August 31. (ii) Closure: June 20–July 19. (4) All Units: Yellow-billed loons. Annually, up to 20 yellow-billed loons total for the region may be inadvertently entangled in subsistence fishing nets in the North Slope Region and kept for subsistence use. (5) North Coastal Zone (Cape Thompson north to Point Hope and east along the Arctic Ocean coastline around Point Barrow to Ross Point, including Iko Bay, and 5 miles inland). (i) No person may at any time, by any means, or in any manner, possess or have in custody any migratory bird or part thereof, taken in violation of subpart C and D of this part. (ii) Upon request from a Service law enforcement officer, hunters taking, attempting to take, or transporting migratory birds taken during the subsistence harvest season must present them to the officer for species identification. (h) Interior Region. (1) Season: April 2–June 14 and July 16–August 31; egg gathering May 1–June 14 only. (2) Closure: June 15–July 15. (i) Upper Copper River Region (Harvest Area: Units 11 and 13) (Eligible communities: Gulkana, Chitina, Tazlina, Copper Center, Gakona, Mentasta Lake, Chistochina and Cantwell). (1) Season: April 15–May 26 and June 27–August 31. (2) Closure: May 27–June 26. (3) The Copper River Basin communities listed above also documented traditional use harvesting birds in Unit 12, making them eligible to hunt in this unit using the seasons specified in paragraph (h) of this section. (j) Gulf of Alaska Region. (1) Prince William Sound Area (Harvest area: Unit 6[D]), (Eligible Chugach communities: Chenega Bay, Tatitlek): (i) Season: April 2–May 31 and July 1–August 31. (ii) Closure: June 1–30. (2) Kachemak Bay Area (Harvest area: Unit 15[C] South of a line connecting the tip of Homer Spit to the mouth of Fox River) (Eligible Chugach Communities: Port Graham, Nanwalek): (i) Season: April 2–May 31 and July 1–August 31. (ii) Closure: June 1–30. (k) Cook Inlet (Harvest area: Portions of Unit 16[B] as specified below) (Eligible communities: Tyonek only): PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 58737 (1) Season: April 2–May 31—That portion of Unit 16(B) south of the Skwentna River and west of the Yentna River, and August 1–31—That portion of Unit 16(B) south of the Beluga River, Beluga Lake, and the Triumvirate Glacier: (2) Closure: June 1–July 31. (l) Southeast Alaska. (1) Community of Hoonah (Harvest area: National Forest lands in Icy Strait and Cross Sound, including Middle Pass Rock near the Inian Islands, Table Rock in Cross Sound, and other traditional locations on the coast of Yakobi Island. The land and waters of Glacier Bay National Park remain closed to all subsistence harvesting (50 CFR 100.3(a)): (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only: May 15–June 30. (ii) Closure: July 1–August 31. (2) Communities of Craig and Hydaburg (Harvest area: Small islands and adjacent shoreline of western Prince of Wales Island from Point Baker to Cape Chacon, but also including Coronation and Warren islands): (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only: May 15–June 30. (ii) Closure: July 1–August 31. (3) Community of Yakutat (Harvest area: Icy Bay (Icy Cape to Point Riou), and coastal lands and islands bordering the Gulf of Alaska from Point Manby southeast to Dry Bay): (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering: May 15–June 30. (ii) Closure: July 1–August 31. 4. Amend subpart D by adding § 92.32 to read as follows: § 92.32 Emergency regulations to protect Steller’s eiders. Upon finding that continuation of these subsistence regulations would pose an imminent threat to the conservation of threatened Steller’s eiders (Polysticta stelleri), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Regional Director, in consultation with the Comanagement Council, will immediately under § 92.21 take action as is necessary to prevent further take. Regulation changes implemented could range from a temporary closure of duck hunting in a small geographic area to large-scale regional or Statewide long-term closures of all subsistence migratory bird hunting. These closures or temporary suspensions will remain in effect until the Regional Director, in consultation with the Co-management Council, determines that the potential for additional Steller’s eiders to be taken no longer exists. E:\FR\FM\21SEP2.SGM 21SEP2 58738 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 184 / Friday, September 21, 2012 / Proposed Rules Dated: September 12, 2012. Michael J. Bean, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. [FR Doc. 2012–23313 Filed 9–20–12; 8:45 am] mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 BILLING CODE 4310–55–P VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:18 Sep 20, 2012 Jkt 226001 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\21SEP2.SGM 21SEP2

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 184 (Friday, September 21, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 58731-58738]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-23313]



[[Page 58731]]

Vol. 77

Friday,

No. 184

September 21, 2012

Part VI





Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service





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50 CFR Part 92





Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations for 
Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2013 Season; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77 , No. 184 / Friday, September 21, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 58732]]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 92

[Docket No. FWS-R7-MB-2012-0066; FF09M21200-123-FXMB1231099BPP0L2]
RIN 1018-AY70


Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations 
for Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2013 Season

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) proposes 
migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2013 
season. These regulations would enable the continuation of customary 
and traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska and 
prescribe regional information on when and where the harvesting of 
birds may occur. These regulations were developed under a co-management 
process involving the Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 
and Alaska Native representatives. The rulemaking is necessary because 
the regulations governing the subsistence harvest of migratory birds in 
Alaska are subject to annual review. This rulemaking proposes region-
specific regulations that would go into effect on April 2, 2013, and 
expire on August 31, 2013.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
November 20, 2012. We must receive requests for public hearings, in 
writing, at the address shown in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by 
November 5, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-R7-
MB-2012-0066.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-R7-MB-2012-0066; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 
2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will not accept email or faxes. We will post all comments on 
http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see the Public Comment Procedures 
section below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Dewhurst, (907) 786-3499, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 1011 E. Tudor Road, Mail Stop 201, 
Anchorage, AK 99503.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Comment Procedures

    To ensure that any proposed action resulting from this proposed 
rule will be as accurate and as effective as possible, we request that 
you send relevant information for our consideration. The comments that 
will be most useful and likely to influence our decisions are those 
that you support by quantitative information or studies and those that 
include citations to, and analyses of, the applicable laws and 
regulations. Please make your comments as specific as possible and 
explain the basis for them. In addition, please include sufficient 
information with your comments to allow us to authenticate any 
scientific or commercial data you include.
    You must submit your comments and materials concerning this 
proposed rule by one of the methods listed above in the ADDRESSES 
section. We will not accept comments sent by email or fax or to an 
address not listed in ADDRESSES. If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire comment--including any personal 
identifying information, such as your address, telephone number, or 
email address--will be posted on the Web site. When you submit a 
comment, the system receives it immediately. However, the comment will 
not be publicly viewable until we post it, which might not occur until 
several days after submission.
    If you mail or hand-carry a hardcopy comment directly to us that 
includes personal information, you may request at the top of your 
document that we withhold this information from public review. However, 
we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. To ensure that the 
electronic docket for this rulemaking is complete and all comments we 
receive are publicly available, we will post all hardcopy comments on 
http://www.regulations.gov.
    In addition, comments and materials we receive, as well as 
supporting documentation used in preparing this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection in two ways:
    (1) You can view them on http://www.regulations.gov. Search for 
FWS-R7-MB-2012-0066, which is the docket number for this rulemaking.
    (2) You can make an appointment, during normal business hours, to 
view the comments and materials in person at the Division of Migratory 
Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4501 N. Fairfax Drive, 
Room 4107, Arlington, VA 22203-1610.

Public Availability of Comments

    As stated above in more detail, before including your address, 
phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information 
in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment--
including your personal identifying information--may be made publicly 
available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold 
your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Why is this rulemaking necessary?

    This rulemaking is necessary because, by law, the migratory bird 
harvest season is closed unless opened by the Secretary of the 
Interior, and the regulations governing subsistence harvest of 
migratory birds in Alaska are subject to public review and annual 
approval. This rule proposes regulations for the taking of migratory 
birds for subsistence uses in Alaska during the spring and summer of 
2013. This rule proposes a list of migratory bird season openings and 
closures in Alaska by region.

How do I find the history of these regulations?

    Background information, including past events leading to this 
rulemaking, accomplishments since the Migratory Bird Treaties with 
Canada and Mexico were amended, and a history, was originally addressed 
in the Federal Register on August 16, 2002 (67 FR 53511) and most 
recently on March 26, 2012 (77 FR 17353).
    Recent Federal Register documents, which are all proposed rules 
setting forth the annual harvest regulations, are available at http://alaska.fws.gov/ambcc/regulations.htm or by contacting the person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

What is the process for issuing regulations for the subsistence harvest 
of migratory birds in Alaska?

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) is proposing 
migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2013 
season. These regulations would enable the continuation of customary 
and traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska and 
prescribe regional information on when and where the harvesting of 
birds may occur. These proposed regulations were developed under a co-
management process involving the Service, the Alaska

[[Page 58733]]

Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Native representatives.
    We opened the process to establish regulations for the 2013 spring 
and summer subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska in a 
proposed rule published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2012, (77 
FR 23094) to amend 50 CFR part 20. While that proposed rule dealt 
primarily with the regulatory process for hunting migratory birds for 
all purposes throughout the United States, we also discussed the 
background and history of Alaska subsistence regulations, explained the 
annual process for their establishment, and requested proposals for the 
2014 season. The rulemaking processes for both types of migratory bird 
harvest are related, and the April 17, 2012, proposed rule explained 
the connection between the two.
    The Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council (Co-management 
Council) held meetings on April 11-12 and May 9, 2012, to develop 
recommendations for changes that would take effect during the 2013 
harvest season. These recommendations were presented first to the 
Flyway Councils and then to the Service Regulations Committee at the 
committee's meeting on July 25 and 26, 2012.

Who is eligible to hunt under these regulations?

    Eligibility to harvest under the regulations established in 2003 
was limited to permanent residents, regardless of race, in villages 
located within the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Archipelago, the Aleutian 
Islands, and in areas north and west of the Alaska Range (50 CFR 92.5). 
These geographical restrictions opened the initial migratory bird 
subsistence harvest to about 13 percent of Alaska residents. High-
populated, roaded areas such as Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna and 
Fairbanks North Star boroughs, the Kenai Peninsula roaded area, the 
Gulf of Alaska roaded area, and Southeast Alaska were excluded from 
eligible subsistence harvest areas.
    Based on petitions requesting inclusion in the harvest, in 2004, we 
added 13 additional communities based on criteria set forth in 50 CFR 
92.5(c). These communities were Gulkana, Gakona, Tazlina, Copper 
Center, Mentasta Lake, Chitina, Chistochina, Tatitlek, Chenega, Port 
Graham, Nanwalek, Tyonek, and Hoonah, with a combined population of 
2,766. In 2005, we added three additional communities for glaucous-
winged gull egg gathering only, based on petitions requesting 
inclusion. These southeastern communities were Craig, Hydaburg, and 
Yakutat, with a combined population of 2,459, based on the latest 
census information at that time.
    In 2007, we enacted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's 
request to expand the Fairbanks North Star Borough excluded area to 
include the Central Interior area. This action excluded the following 
communities from participation in this harvest: Big Delta/Fort Greely, 
Healy, McKinley Park/Village, and Ferry, with a combined population of 
2,812.

What is different in the region-specific regulations for 2013?

    Regulations proposed in this rule are identical to those for the 
2012 harvest season. However, at the April 2012 Co-Management Council 
meeting, the North Slope Borough requested that the provision that 
enables yellow-billed loons inadvertently caught in subsistence fishing 
to be kept for subsistence use be added permanently to the consent 
agenda from 2013 regulations forward. The request would eliminate the 
need for the North Slope Borough to resubmit the loon proposal annually 
and eliminate the requirement for the Service Regulations Committee to 
review and decide on the proposal at each subsequent July meeting. The 
motion passed with unanimous consent by the Co-Management Council.
    In 2011, the North Slope Borough Wildlife Department conducted 
harvest surveys in Barrow, Atqasuk, and Nuiqsut. They identified 125 
fishermen and cabin owners from those 3 communities involved. Of the 
125, only 3 refused to participate in the survey, so we had 97 percent 
participation. The resultant estimate was 25 yellow-billed loons 
entangled, of which 7 were released, 4 were used to make headdresses 
for traditional, ceremonial dances, and the remainder used for other 
subsistence purposes.
    In the Co-Management Council's discussion of the North Slope 
Borough's proposal to eliminate the requirement for annual submission 
and review, the State of Alaska Representative stated that the North 
Slope Borough had done a very good job of putting together a loon 
harvest survey in those areas where yellow-billed loons and fishing co-
exist, documenting the current levels of inadvertent take. At this 
meeting, the North Slope Borough committed to continue collecting this 
information for 2 more years (through 2013) to provide additional 
inadvertent take numbers to the Service Regulations Committee. On July 
26, 2012, the Service Regulations Committee supported removal of the 
requirement for annual review and approval of the yellow-billed loon 
provision for the North Slope.

How will the service ensure that the subsistence harvest will not raise 
overall migratory bird harvest or threaten the conservation of 
endangered and threatened species?

    We have monitored subsistence harvest for the past 25 years through 
the use of annual household surveys in the most heavily used 
subsistence harvest areas, such as the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. In recent 
years, more intensive surveys combined with outreach efforts focused on 
species identification have been added to improve the accuracy of 
information gathered from regions still reporting some subsistence 
harvest of listed or candidate species.

Spectacled and Steller's Eiders

    Spectacled eiders (Somateria fischeri) and the Alaska-breeding 
population of Steller's eiders (Polysticta stelleri) are listed as 
threatened species; their migration and breeding distribution overlap 
with areas where the spring and summer subsistence migratory bird hunt 
is open in Alaska. Both species are closed to hunting, although harvest 
surveys and Service documentation indicate both species have been taken 
in several regions of Alaska.
    The Service has dual goals and responsibilities for authorizing a 
subsistence harvest while protecting migratory birds and threatened 
species. Although these goals continue to be challenging, they are not 
irreconcilable, providing the proposed regulations continue to protect 
threatened species, measures to remedy documented threats are 
implemented, and the subsistence community and other conservation 
partners commit to working together. With these dual goals in mind, the 
Service, working with North Slope partners, developed measures in 2009 
to further reduce the potential for shooting mortality or injury of 
closed species. These conservation measures included: (1) Increased 
waterfowl hunter outreach and community awareness through partnering 
with the North Slope Migratory Bird Task Force; (2) continued 
enforcement of the migratory bird regulations that are protective of 
listed eiders; and (3) in-season Service verification of the harvest to 
detect taking of any threatened eider species.
    This proposed rule continues to focus on the North Slope from 
Barrow to Point Hope because Steller's eiders from the listed Alaska 
breeding population are known to breed and migrate there. These 
proposed regulations are designed to address several ongoing eider 
management needs by clarifying

[[Page 58734]]

for subsistence users that (1) service law enforcement personnel have 
authority to verify species of birds possessed by hunters, and (2) it 
is illegal to possess any species of bird closed to harvest. This rule 
also describes how the Service's existing authority of emergency 
closure would be implemented, if necessary, to protect Steller's 
eiders. We are always willing to discuss regulations with our partners 
on the North Slope to ensure protection of closed species as well as 
provide subsistence hunters an opportunity to harvest migratory birds 
in a way that maintains the culture and traditional harvest of the 
community. The regulations pertaining to bag checks and possession of 
illegal birds are deemed necessary to verify that no closed eider 
species are taken during the legal subsistence hunt.
    The Service is aware of and appreciates the considerable efforts by 
North Slope partners to raise awareness and educate hunters on 
Steller's eider conservation via the bird fair, meetings, radio shows, 
signs, school visits, and one-on-one contacts. We also recognize that 
no listed eiders have been documented shot in the last 3 years, even 
though Steller's eiders nested in the Barrow area from 2010 through 
2012. The Service acknowledges progress made with the other eider 
conservation measures including partnering with the North Slope 
Migratory Bird Task Force for increased waterfowl hunter awareness, 
continued enforcement of the regulations, and in-season verification of 
the harvest. Our primary strategy to reduce the threat of shooting 
mortality of threatened eiders is to continue working with North Slope 
partners to conduct education, outreach, and harvest monitoring. In 
addition, the emergency closure authority provides another level of 
assurance if an unexpected amount of Steller's eider shooting mortality 
occurs (50 CFR 92.21 and 50 CFR 92.32).
    In-season harvest monitoring information would be used to evaluate 
the efficacy of regulations, conservation measures, and outreach 
efforts. During 2009 through 2012, no Steller's eiders were reported 
being taken on the North Slope, and no Steller's eiders were found shot 
during in-season verification of the subsistence harvest. Based on 
these successes, the 2012 conservation measures would also be 
continued, although there would be some modification of the amount of 
effort and emphasis each would receive. Specifically, local communities 
have continued to develop greater responsibility for taking actions to 
ensure Steller's and spectacled eider conservation and recovery, and 
based on last year's observations, local hunters have demonstrated 
greater compliance with hunting regulations.
    The longstanding general emergency closure provision at 50 CFR 
92.21 specifies that the harvest may be closed or temporarily suspended 
upon finding that a continuation of the regulation allowing the harvest 
would pose an imminent threat to the conservation of any migratory bird 
population. With regard to Steller's eiders, the regulation at 50 CFR 
92.32, carried over from the past 3 years, would clarify that we would 
take action under 50 CFR 92.21 as is necessary to prevent further take 
of Steller's eiders, and that action could include temporary or long-
term closures of the harvest in all or a portion of the geographic area 
open to harvest. If mortality of threatened eiders occurs, we would 
evaluate each mortality event by criteria such as cause, quantity, sex, 
age, location, and date. We would consult with the Co-management 
Council when we are considering an emergency closure. If we determine 
that an emergency closure is necessary, we would design it to minimize 
its impact on the subsistence harvest.

Yellow-Billed Loon and Kittlitz's Murrelet

    Yellow-billed loon (Gavia adamsii) and Kittlitz's murrelet 
(Brachyramphus brevirostris) are candidate species for listing under 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.). Their migration and breeding distribution overlaps with where 
the spring and summer migratory bird hunt is open in Alaska. Both 
species are closed to hunting, and there is no evidence Kittlitz's 
murrelets are harvested. On the other hand, harvest surveys have 
indicated that harvest of yellow-billed loons on the North Slope and 
St. Lawrence Island does occur. Most of the yellow-billed loons 
reported harvested on the North Slope were found to be entangled loons 
salvaged from subsistence fishing nets as described below. The Service 
would continue outreach efforts in both areas in 2013, engaging 
partners to improve harvest estimates and decrease take of yellow-
billed loons.
    Consistent with the request of the North Slope Borough Fish and 
Game Management Committee and the recommendation of the Co-management 
Council, this rule proposes to continue through 2013 the provisions 
originally established in 2005, to allow subsistence use of yellow-
billed loons inadvertently entangled in subsistence fishing (gill) nets 
on the North Slope. Yellow-billed loons are culturally important to the 
Inupiat Eskimo of the North Slope for use in traditional dance regalia. 
A maximum of 20 yellow-billed loons would be allowed to be kept if 
found entangled in fishing nets in 2013, under this provision. This 
proposed provision does not authorize intentional harvest of yellow-
billed loons, but allows use of those loons inadvertently entangled 
during normal subsistence fishing activities.

Definition Clarification

    We are proposing to add a definition of harvest season ``closure'' 
to the existing definitions list at 50 CFR 92.4. This change to the 
regulations would clarify our use of this term. This addition was 
requested by members of the public who expressed some confusion as to 
whether or not egg gathering is also prohibited during harvest 
closures. Under our proposed definition, we clarify that a season 
``closure'' means that the season is closed to all forms of harvest, 
including hunting and egg gathering, unless specified otherwise.

Endangered Species Act Consideration

    Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1536) requires 
the Secretary of the Interior to ``review other programs administered 
by him and utilize such programs in furtherance of the purposes of the 
Act'' and to ``insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried 
out * * * is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any 
endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction 
or adverse modification of [critical] habitat * * *.'' Prior to 
issuance of annual spring and summer subsistence regulations, we would 
consult under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act), to ensure that the 2013 subsistence harvest is not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any species designated 
as endangered or threatened, or modify or destroy its critical 
habitats, and that the regulations are consistent with conservation 
programs for those species. Consultation under section 7 of the Act for 
the annual subsistence take regulations may cause us to change these 
regulations. Our biological opinion resulting from the section 7 
consultation is a public document available from person listed under 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Statutory Authority

    We derive our authority to issue these regulations from the 
Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, at 16 U.S.C. 712(1), which 
authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, in accordance with the 
treaties

[[Page 58735]]

with Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Russia, to ``issue such regulations as 
may be necessary to assure that the taking of migratory birds and the 
collection of their eggs, by the indigenous inhabitants of the State of 
Alaska, shall be permitted for their own nutritional and other 
essential needs, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior, during 
seasons established so as to provide for the preservation and 
maintenance of stocks of migratory birds.''

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. The Office 
of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this rule is 
not significant.
    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while 
calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote 
predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most 
innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 
The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches 
that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for 
the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and 
consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further 
that regulations must be based on the best available science and that 
the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open 
exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent 
with these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of the Interior certifies that this rule would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 
et seq.). An initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. 
Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide is not required. This 
proposed rule would legalize a pre-existing subsistence activity, and 
the resources harvested would be consumed by the harvesters or persons 
within their local community.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:
    (a) Would not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million 
or more. It proposes to legalize and regulate a traditional subsistence 
activity. It would not result in a substantial increase in subsistence 
harvest or a significant change in harvesting patterns. The commodities 
that would be regulated under this proposed rule are migratory birds. 
This rule deals with legalizing the subsistence harvest of migratory 
birds and, as such, does not involve commodities traded in the 
marketplace. A small economic benefit from this proposed rule would 
derive from the sale of equipment and ammunition to carry out 
subsistence hunting. Most, if not all, businesses that sell hunting 
equipment in rural Alaska qualify as small businesses. We have no 
reason to believe that this proposed rule would lead to a 
disproportionate distribution of benefits.
    (b) Would not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers; individual industries; Federal, State, or local government 
agencies; or geographic regions. This proposed rule does not deal with 
traded commodities and, therefore, does not have an impact on prices 
for consumers.
    (c) Would not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. This 
proposed rule deals with the harvesting of wildlife for personal 
consumption. It does not regulate the marketplace in any way to 
generate effects on the economy or the ability of businesses to 
compete.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    We have determined and certified under the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) that this proposed rule would not impose a 
cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local, State, or 
tribal governments or private entities. The proposed rule does not have 
a significant or unique effect on State, local, or tribal governments 
or the private sector. A statement containing the information required 
by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act is not required. Participation on 
regional management bodies and the Co-management Council would require 
travel expenses for some Alaska Native organizations and local 
governments. In addition, they would assume some expenses related to 
coordinating involvement of village councils in the regulatory process. 
Total coordination and travel expenses for all Alaska Native 
organizations are estimated to be less than $300,000 per year. In a 
Notice of Decision (65 FR 16405; March 28, 2000), we identified 7 to 12 
partner organizations (Alaska Native nonprofits and local governments) 
to administer the regional programs. The Alaska Department of Fish and 
Game would also incur expenses for travel to Co-management Council and 
regional management body meetings. In addition, the State of Alaska 
would be required to provide technical staff support to each of the 
regional management bodies and to the Co-management Council. Expenses 
for the State's involvement may exceed $100,000 per year, but should 
not exceed $150,000 per year. When funding permits, we make annual 
grant agreements available to the partner organizations and the Alaska 
Department of Fish and Game to help offset their expenses.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    Under the criteria in Executive Order 12630, this proposed rule 
would not have significant takings implications. This proposed rule is 
not specific to particular land ownership, but applies to the 
harvesting of migratory bird resources throughout Alaska. A takings 
implication assessment is not required.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    Under the criteria in Executive Order 13132, this proposed rule 
does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the 
preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. We discuss 
effects of this proposed rule on the State of Alaska in the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act section above. We worked with the State of Alaska 
to develop these proposed regulations. Therefore, a federalism summary 
impact statement is not required.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    The Department, in promulgating this proposed rule, has determined 
that it would not unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets 
the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

Government-to-Government Relations With Native American Tribal 
Governments

    Consistent with Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249; November 6, 
2000), ``Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments'', and Department of Interior policy on Consultation with 
Indian Tribes (December 1, 2011), we will send letters to all 229 
Alaska Federally recognized Indian tribes. Consistent with 
Congressional direction (Pub. L. 108-199, div. H, Sec. 161, Jan. 23, 
2004, 118

[[Page 58736]]

Stat. 452, as amended by Pub. L. 108-447, div. H, title V, Sec. 518, 
Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3267), we will be sending letters to 
approximately 200 Alaska Native corporations and other tribal entities 
in Alaska soliciting their input as to whether or not they would like 
the Service to consult with them on the 2013 migratory bird subsistence 
harvest regulations.
    We implemented the amended treaty with Canada with a focus on local 
involvement. The treaty calls for the creation of management bodies to 
ensure an effective and meaningful role for Alaska's indigenous 
inhabitants in the conservation of migratory birds. According to the 
Letter of Submittal, management bodies are to include Alaska Native, 
Federal, and State of Alaska representatives as equals. They would 
develop recommendations for among other things: Seasons and bag limits, 
methods and means of take, law enforcement policies, population and 
harvest monitoring, education programs, research and use of traditional 
knowledge, and habitat protection. The management bodies would involve 
village councils to the maximum extent possible in all aspects of 
management. To ensure maximum input at the village level, we required 
each of the 11 participating regions to create regional management 
bodies consisting of at least one representative from the participating 
villages. The regional management bodies meet twice annually to review 
and/or submit proposals to the Statewide body.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule has been examined under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and does not contain any new 
collections of information that require Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) approval. OMB has approved our collection of information 
associated with the voluntary annual household surveys used to 
determine levels of subsistence take. The OMB control number is 1018-
0124, which expires April 30, 2013. An agency may not conduct or 
sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of 
information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) 
Consideration

    The annual regulations and options are considered in the 
environmental assessment, ``Managing Migratory Bird Subsistence Hunting 
in Alaska: Hunting Regulations for the 2013 Spring/Summer Harvest,'' 
September 12, 2012. Copies are available from the person listed under 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or at http://www.regulations.gov.

Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (Executive Order 13211)

    Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. This is not a 
significant regulatory action under this Executive Order; it would 
allow only for traditional subsistence harvest and would improve 
conservation of migratory birds by allowing effective regulation of 
this harvest. Further, this proposed rule is not expected to 
significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, 
this action is not a significant energy action under Executive Order 
13211, and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 92

    Hunting, Treaties, Wildlife.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, we propose to amend title 
50, chapter I, subchapter G, of the Code of Federal Regulations as 
follows:

PART 92--MIGRATORY BIRD SUBSISTENCE HARVEST IN ALASKA

    1. The authority citation for part 92 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 703-712.

Subpart A--General Provisions

    2. Amend Sec.  92.4 by adding, in alphabetical order, a definition 
for ``Closure'' to read as follows:


Sec.  92.4  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Closure means the season is closed to all forms of harvest, 
including hunting and egg gathering, unless specified otherwise.
* * * * *

Subpart D--Annual Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest

    3. Amend subpart D by adding Sec.  92.31 to read as follows:


Sec.  92.31  Region-specific regulations.

    The 2013 season dates for the eligible subsistence harvest areas 
are as follows:
    (a) Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Region.
    (1) Northern Unit (Pribilof Islands):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 30.
    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.
    (2) Central Unit (Aleut Region's eastern boundary on the Alaska 
Peninsula westward to and including Unalaska Island):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 15 and July 16-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 16-July 15.
    (iii) Special Black Brant Season Closure: August 16-August 31, only 
in Izembek and Moffet lagoons.
    (iv) Special Tundra Swan Closure: All hunting and egg gathering 
closed in units 9(D) and 10.
    (3) Western Unit (Umnak Island west to and including Attu Island):
    (i) Season: April 2-July 15 and August 16-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: July 16-August 15.
    (b) Yukon/Kuskokwim Delta Region.
    (1) Season: April 2-August 31.
    (2) Closure: 30-day closure dates to be announced by the Service's 
Alaska Regional Director or his designee, after consultation with field 
biologists and the Association of Village Council President's Waterfowl 
Conservation Committee. This 30-day period would occur between June 1 
and August 15 of each year. A press release announcing the actual 
closure dates would be forwarded to regional newspapers and radio and 
television stations.
    (3) Special Black Brant and Cackling Goose Season Hunting Closure: 
From the period when egg laying begins until young birds are fledged. 
Closure dates to be announced by the Service's Alaska Regional Director 
or his designee, after consultation with field biologists and the 
Association of Village Council President's Waterfowl Conservation 
Committee. A press release announcing the actual closure dates would be 
forwarded to regional newspapers and radio and television stations.
    (c) Bristol Bay Region.
    (1) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 16-August 31 (general season); 
April 2-July 15 for seabird egg gathering only.
    (2) Closure: June 15-July 15 (general season); July 16-August 31 
(seabird egg gathering).
    (d) Bering Strait/Norton Sound Region.
    (1) Stebbins/St. Michael Area (Point Romanof to Canal Point):
    (i) Season: April 15-June 14 and July 16-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 15-July 15.
    (2) Remainder of the region:
    (i) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 16-August 31 for waterfowl; 
April 2-July 19 and August 21-August 31 for all other birds.
    (ii) Closure: June 15-July 15 for waterfowl; July 20-August 20 for 
all other birds.
    (e) Kodiak Archipelago Region, except for the Kodiak Island roaded 
area, which is closed to the harvesting of migratory birds and their 
eggs. The closed area consists of all lands and waters (including 
exposed tidelands)

[[Page 58737]]

east of a line extending from Crag Point in the north to the west end 
of Saltery Cove in the south and all lands and water south of a line 
extending from Termination Point along the north side of Cascade Lake 
extending to Anton Larsen Bay. Waters adjacent to the closed area are 
closed to harvest within 500 feet from the water's edge. The offshore 
islands are open to harvest.
    (1) Season: April 2-June 30 and July 31-August 31 for seabirds; 
April 2-June 20 and July 22-August 31 for all other birds.
    (2) Closure: July 1-July 30 for seabirds; June 21-July 21 for all 
other birds.
    (f) Northwest Arctic Region.
    (1) Season: April 2-June 9 and August 15-August 31 (hunting in 
general); waterfowl egg gathering May 20-June 9 only; seabird egg 
gathering May 20-July 12 only; hunting molting/non-nesting waterfowl 
July 1-July 31 only.
    (2) Closure: June 10-August 14, except for the taking of seabird 
eggs and molting/non-nesting waterfowl as provided in paragraph (f)(1) 
of this section.
    (g) North Slope Region.
    (1) Southern Unit (Southwestern North Slope regional boundary east 
to Peard Bay, everything west of the longitude line 158[deg]30' W and 
south of the latitude line 70[deg]45' N to the west bank of the 
Ikpikpuk River, and everything south of the latitude line 69[deg]45' N 
between the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River to the east bank of 
Sagavinirktok River):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 29 and July 30-August 31 for seabirds; 
April 2-June 19 and July 20-August 31 for all other birds.
    (ii) Closure: June 30-July 29 for seabirds; June 20-July 19 for all 
other birds.
    (iii) Special Black Brant Hunting Opening: From June 20-July 5. The 
open area would consist of the coastline, from mean high water line 
outward to include open water, from Nokotlek Point east to longitude 
line 158[deg]30' W. This includes Peard Bay, Kugrua Bay, and Wainwright 
Inlet, but not the Kuk and Kugrua river drainages.
    (2) Northern Unit (At Peard Bay, everything east of the longitude 
line 158[deg]30' W and north of the latitude line 70[deg]45' N to west 
bank of the Ikpikpuk River, and everything north of the latitude line 
69[deg]45' N between the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River to the east 
bank of Sagavinirktok River):
    (i) Season: April 6-June 6 and July 7-August 31 for king and common 
eiders; April 2-June 15 and July 16-August 31 for all other birds.
    (ii) Closure: June 7-July 6 for king and common eiders; June 16-
July 15 for all other birds.
    (3) Eastern Unit (East of eastern bank of the Sagavanirktok River):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 19 and July 20-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 20-July 19.
    (4) All Units: Yellow-billed loons. Annually, up to 20 yellow-
billed loons total for the region may be inadvertently entangled in 
subsistence fishing nets in the North Slope Region and kept for 
subsistence use.
    (5) North Coastal Zone (Cape Thompson north to Point Hope and east 
along the Arctic Ocean coastline around Point Barrow to Ross Point, 
including Iko Bay, and 5 miles inland).
    (i) No person may at any time, by any means, or in any manner, 
possess or have in custody any migratory bird or part thereof, taken in 
violation of subpart C and D of this part.
    (ii) Upon request from a Service law enforcement officer, hunters 
taking, attempting to take, or transporting migratory birds taken 
during the subsistence harvest season must present them to the officer 
for species identification.
    (h) Interior Region.
    (1) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 16-August 31; egg gathering 
May 1-June 14 only.
    (2) Closure: June 15-July 15.
    (i) Upper Copper River Region (Harvest Area: Units 11 and 13) 
(Eligible communities: Gulkana, Chitina, Tazlina, Copper Center, 
Gakona, Mentasta Lake, Chistochina and Cantwell).
    (1) Season: April 15-May 26 and June 27-August 31.
    (2) Closure: May 27-June 26.
    (3) The Copper River Basin communities listed above also documented 
traditional use harvesting birds in Unit 12, making them eligible to 
hunt in this unit using the seasons specified in paragraph (h) of this 
section.
    (j) Gulf of Alaska Region.
    (1) Prince William Sound Area (Harvest area: Unit 6[D]), (Eligible 
Chugach communities: Chenega Bay, Tatitlek):
    (i) Season: April 2-May 31 and July 1-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 1-30.
    (2) Kachemak Bay Area (Harvest area: Unit 15[C] South of a line 
connecting the tip of Homer Spit to the mouth of Fox River) (Eligible 
Chugach Communities: Port Graham, Nanwalek):
    (i) Season: April 2-May 31 and July 1-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 1-30.
    (k) Cook Inlet (Harvest area: Portions of Unit 16[B] as specified 
below) (Eligible communities: Tyonek only):
    (1) Season: April 2-May 31--That portion of Unit 16(B) south of the 
Skwentna River and west of the Yentna River, and August 1-31--That 
portion of Unit 16(B) south of the Beluga River, Beluga Lake, and the 
Triumvirate Glacier:
    (2) Closure: June 1-July 31.
    (l) Southeast Alaska.
    (1) Community of Hoonah (Harvest area: National Forest lands in Icy 
Strait and Cross Sound, including Middle Pass Rock near the Inian 
Islands, Table Rock in Cross Sound, and other traditional locations on 
the coast of Yakobi Island. The land and waters of Glacier Bay National 
Park remain closed to all subsistence harvesting (50 CFR 100.3(a)):
    (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only: May 15-June 
30.
    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.
    (2) Communities of Craig and Hydaburg (Harvest area: Small islands 
and adjacent shoreline of western Prince of Wales Island from Point 
Baker to Cape Chacon, but also including Coronation and Warren 
islands):
    (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only: May 15-June 
30.
    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.
    (3) Community of Yakutat (Harvest area: Icy Bay (Icy Cape to Point 
Riou), and coastal lands and islands bordering the Gulf of Alaska from 
Point Manby southeast to Dry Bay):
    (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering: May 15-June 30.
    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.
    4. Amend subpart D by adding Sec.  92.32 to read as follows:


Sec.  92.32  Emergency regulations to protect Steller's eiders.

    Upon finding that continuation of these subsistence regulations 
would pose an imminent threat to the conservation of threatened 
Steller's eiders (Polysticta stelleri), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service Alaska Regional Director, in consultation with the Co-
management Council, will immediately under Sec.  92.21 take action as 
is necessary to prevent further take. Regulation changes implemented 
could range from a temporary closure of duck hunting in a small 
geographic area to large-scale regional or Statewide long-term closures 
of all subsistence migratory bird hunting. These closures or temporary 
suspensions will remain in effect until the Regional Director, in 
consultation with the Co-management Council, determines that the 
potential for additional Steller's eiders to be taken no longer exists.


[[Page 58738]]


    Dated: September 12, 2012.
Michael J. Bean,
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and 
Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-23313 Filed 9-20-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P