Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Establishing Transit Areas Through Walrus Protection Areas at Round Island and Cape Peirce, Northern Bristol Bay, Alaska; Amendment 107, 194-199 [2014-30817]

Download as PDF 194 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 2 / Monday, January 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 6—FINAL 2015 SEASONAL APPORTIONMENTS AND ALLOCATION OF PACIFIC COD TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH AMOUNTS IN THE GOA; ALLOCATIONS FOR THE WESTERN GOA AND CENTRAL GOA SECTORS AND THE EASTERN GOA INSHORE AND OFFSHORE PROCESSING COMPONENTS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages to the nearest 0.01. Seasonal allowances may not total precisely to annual allocation amount.] A Season Regulatory area and sector Annual allocation (mt) Sector % of annual non-jig TAC B Season Seasonal allowances (mt) Sector % of annual non-jig TAC Seasonal allowances (mt) Western GOA: Jig (2.5% of TAC) ........................... Hook-and-line CV ........................... Hook-and-line C/P .......................... Trawl CV ......................................... Trawl C/P ........................................ All Pot CV and Pot C/P .................. 677 370 5,230 10,143 634 10,037 N/A 0.70 10.90 27.70 0.90 19.80 406 185 2,879 7,317 238 5,230 N/A 0.70 8.90 10.70 1.50 18.20 271 185 2,351 2,826 396 4,807 Total ......................................... 27,091 60.00 16,255 40.00 10,837 Central GOA: Jig (2.0% of TAC) ........................... Hook-and-line <50 CV .................... Hook-and-line ≥50 CV .................... Hook-and-line C/P .......................... Trawl CV ......................................... Trawl C/P ........................................ All Pot CV and Pot C/P .................. 920 6,581 3,023 2,301 18,742 1,892 12,532 N/A 9.32 5.61 4.11 21.14 2.00 17.83 552 4,199 2,528 1,851 9,526 903 8,036 N/A 5.29 1.10 1.00 20.45 2.19 9.97 368 2,383 495 450 9,216 989 4,496 Total ......................................... 45,990 60.00 27,594 40.00 18,396 Eastern GOA ......................................... .............................. Inshore (90% of Annual TAC) Offshore (10% of Annual TAC) 1,909 212 2,121 Note: Seasonal apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Classification This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would allow for harvests that exceed the appropriate allocations for Pacific cod based on the best scientific information available. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of December 24, 2014, and additional time for prior public comment would result in conservation concerns for the ESA-listed Steller sea lions. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:47 Jan 02, 2015 Jkt 235001 prior notice and opportunity for public comment. Under § 679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action to the above address until January 16, 2015. This action is required by § 679.20 and § 679.25 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 140519437–4999–02] RIN 0648–BE24 Dated: December 29, 2014. James P. Burgess, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Establishing Transit Areas Through Walrus Protection Areas at Round Island and Cape Peirce, Northern Bristol Bay, Alaska; Amendment 107 [FR Doc. 2014–30835 Filed 12–30–14; 4:15 pm] AGENCY: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P PO 00000 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. NMFS issues this final rule to implement Amendment 107 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP), as prepared and submitted by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), and approved by the Secretary of Commerce. This final rule allows vessels designated on Federal Fisheries Permits (FFPs) to SUMMARY: Frm 00052 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\05JAR1.SGM 05JAR1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 2 / Monday, January 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations transit through Walrus Protection Areas in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) near Round Island and Cape Peirce from April 1 through August 15, annually. These actions are necessary to restore the access of federally permitted vessels to transit through Walrus Protection Areas that was unintentionally limited by regulations implementing Amendment 83 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) and to maintain suitable protection for walruses on Round Island and Cape Peirce. This final rule maintains an existing prohibition on deploying fishing gear in Walrus Protection Areas by vessels designated on an FFP. This final rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the BSAI FMP, and other applicable law. DATES: Effective February 4, 2015. Electronic copies of the BSAI FMP, Amendment 107 to the BSAI FMP, and the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/ Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (Analysis) prepared for this action are available from http:// www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/ sustainablefisheries/. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Anne Marie Eich, 907–586–7228. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:47 Jan 02, 2015 Jkt 235001 NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries in the EEZ off Alaska under the GOA FMP and the BSAI FMP. The Council prepared these FMPs under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the FMPs appear at 50 CFR parts 600 and 679. This final rule implements management measures contained in Amendment 107 to the BSAI FMP. This final rule allows vessels designated on FFPs to transit through Walrus Protection Areas in the EEZ near Round Island and Cape Peirce from April 1 through August 15, annually. NMFS published the Notice of Availability (NOA) of Amendment 107 to the BSAI FMP in the Federal Register on September 24, 2014, with a 60-day comment period that ended November 24, 2014 (79 FR 57041). The Secretary of Commerce approved Amendment 107 to the BSAI FMP on December 19, 2004. NMFS published a proposed rule to implement management measures contained in Amendment 107 to the BSAI FMP on October 3, 2014 (79 FR 59733). The 30-day comment period on the proposed rule ended November 3, 2014. NMFS received four comment letters on Amendment 107 to the BSAI FMP during the NOA and proposed rule comment periods. Two comment letters were duplicates. The comment letters contained two unique comments. A summary of these comments and NMFS’ responses are provided in the ‘‘Comments and Responses’’ section of SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 195 this preamble. NMFS did not make any changes in this final rule to the regulatory text contained in the proposed rule. The proposed rule (79 FR 59733, October 3, 2014) preamble provides additional information on the development of the action, the impacts and effects of the action, and the Council’s and NMFS’ rationale for the action. The proposed rule is available from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (see ADDRESSES). Management Measures Contained in This Final Rule This final rule allows vessels designated on FFPs to enter and transit through specific areas of the Walrus Protection Areas near Round Island and Cape Peirce. This final rule applies to Federal waters in northern Bristol Bay, specifically in statistical area 514 of the BSAI, as shown in Figure 1 to 50 CFR part 679. This action does not apply in State of Alaska (State) waters. The State restricts vessel transit in State waters around Round Island but not in State waters elsewhere in the area. All vessels, including vessels designated on an FFP, can transit through State waters around Cape Peirce and The Twins. This action only affects vessels designated on an FFP. Vessels that are not designated on an FFP are not regulated in the Walrus Protection Areas and can enter and transit through Walrus Protection Areas. The transit areas implemented by this final rule are shown in Figure 1 below. E:\FR\FM\05JAR1.SGM 05JAR1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 2 / Monday, January 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Transit Area Near Round Island This final rule adds regulations at § 679.22(a)(4)(ii) to establish a transit area through the Walrus Protection Area near Round Island. This final rule establishes a transit area in the EEZ near Round Island from April 1 through August 15, annually, north of a line from 58°47.90′ N, 160°21.91′ W to 58°32.94′ N, 159°35.45′ W. (See Figure 1 of this preamble.) This transit area is at least 3 nm from Round Island at its closest point and is more than 9 nm from the haulouts on The Twins at its closest point. As noted in Section 3.2.7.2.1 of the Analysis, there has been no recorded visible disturbance to walruses from vessel traffic more than 3 nm from Round Island, but disturbance from vessel traffic has been documented within 3 nm from Round Island. This final rule does not allow vessels designated on an FFP to transit within 3 nm of Round Island or The Twins. This transit area is established to maintain suitable protection for walruses on Round Island and to allow vessels designated on an FFP access to VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:47 Jan 02, 2015 Jkt 235001 a transit route north of Round Island. NMFS expects this transit area to reduce the potential for vessels to transit near Hagemeister Island, a known walrus haulout, because vessels will be allowed to transit north of Round Island and to avoid the route near Hagemeister Island. This final rule also allows vessels to transit through Federal waters farther from shore and thereby reduces transit through shallower State waters that are more difficult to navigate. The transit area near Round Island opens April 1 to relieve the existing regulations that prohibit entry and transit to vessels designated on an FFP in Walrus Protection Areas on April 1, the start of peak walrus use in the area. This transit area closes on August 16 because of the following: (1) The herring and most salmon fisheries are completed by August 15, and tender vessels that are designated on FFPs (i.e., vessels used to carry unprocessed fish to processing facilities) are no longer active and do not require transit through Walrus Protection Areas after that date; (2) vessels transiting to deliver groundfish in northern Bristol Bay PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 typically have completed their deliveries by August 15 and do not require transit through Walrus Protection Areas after that date; and (3) limiting vessel transit by August 15 will reduce vessel traffic near walrus haulouts that could interfere with vessels used for the subsistence harvest of walruses on Round Island that begins in September of each year. Vessels designated on FFPs are still prohibited from entering and transiting through the Walrus Protection Areas near Round Island from August 16 through September 30. NMFS expects that this prohibition will not adversely affect vessels designated on FFPs because tendering operations and groundfish deliveries in northern Bristol Bay do not occur between August 16 and September 30. Transit Area Near Cape Peirce This rule adds regulations at § 679.22(a)(4)(ii) to establish a transit areas through the Walrus Protection Areas at Cape Peirce. This rule establishes a transit area in the EEZ near Cape Peirce from April 1 through August 15, annually, east of a line from E:\FR\FM\05JAR1.SGM 05JAR1 ER05JA15.000</GPH> 196 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 2 / Monday, January 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 58°30.00′ N, 161°46.20′ W to 58°21.00′ N, 161°46.20′ W. (See Figure 1 of this preamble.) This transit area is at least 3 nm from Cape Peirce at its closest point. The transit area through the Walrus Protection Areas near Cape Peirce will provide an opportunity for vessels with FFPs to travel farther from shore while tendering herring or salmon and avoid transit through State waters near walrus haulouts at Cape Peirce. NMFS expects, based on the analyses, that the transit area will reduce the likelihood of disturbance to walruses at the Cape Peirce Walrus Protection Areas. The transit area will be open from April 1 through August 15, annually, consistent with the opening and closing dates established for the Round Island transit area. As noted in the previous section of this preamble, these dates facilitate vessel transits for tendering and groundfish deliveries. Vessels designated on FFPs are still prohibited from entering and transiting through the Walrus Protection Areas near Cape Peirce from August 16 through September 30. NMFS expects this prohibition will not adversely affect vessels designated on FFPs because tendering operations and groundfish deliveries in northern Bristol Bay do not occur between August 16 and September 30. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Prohibition on Vessels With FFPs Deploying Fishing Gear in Walrus Protection Areas This final rule adds regulations at § 679.22(a)(4)(i) (incorrectly identified in the preamble of the proposed rule as § 679.22(a)(4)(ii)) to prohibit vessels designated on an FFP from deploying fishing gear in Walrus Protection Areas from April 1 through September 30, annually. As noted throughout this preamble, this rule removes a prohibition that limits vessels from entering and transiting through Walrus Protection Areas. This final rule does not allow vessels designated on FFPs to fish in Walrus Protection Areas from April 1 through September 30, annually. Section 3.1 of the Analysis explains that this final rule will not affect the timing, duration, effort, or harvest levels in the fisheries in northern Bristol Bay because this final rule does not open Walrus Protection Areas to fishing by vessels designated on an FFP. Because vessels designated on FFPs are already prohibited from deploying fishing gear in Walrus Protection Areas, this prohibition maintains the status quo prohibition on deploying fishing gear in Walrus Protection Areas. Therefore, this final rule does not affect any existing fishing operations. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:47 Jan 02, 2015 Jkt 235001 Changes From Proposed to Final Rule No changes were made from proposed to final rule. Comments and Responses NMFS received four comment letters during the NOA and proposed rule comment periods. Two comment letters were duplicates. The comment letters contained two unique comments. A summary of the comments and NMFS’ response follows. Comment 1: Commercial fishing vessels, tourist boats, and transit boats should not be allowed to transit through the walrus protected area. This area should be nominated for a marine protected area. Response: As noted in the preamble to the proposed rule and this preamble, the purpose of this action is to allow vessels designated on FFPs to enter and transit through specific areas of the Walrus Protection Areas near Round Island and Cape Peirce. Therefore, not allowing transit through these areas is inconsistent with the purpose of this action. Also, the commenter’s recommendation to nominate these areas as marine protected areas is outside of the scope of this action. NMFS notes that the Council has recommended and NMFS has implemented a series of closure areas, known as Walrus Protection Areas, around important walrus haulout sites in Bristol Bay to reduce potential disturbances to walruses from fishing activities. As noted in Section 3.2.7 of the Analysis and in the preamble of the proposed rule (79 FR 59733, October 3, 2014) for this action, all of the alternative management approaches considered, and this action specifically, were determined to be consistent with the best practices in the guidelines established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the agency responsible for the protection of walruses. Comment 2: Two commenters provided support for Amendment 107 and its associated implementing proposed rule for the following reasons: (1) Fuel use and operating costs would decrease significantly for vessels designated on FFPs with the implementation of this rule by reducing transit time, (2) vessels designated on FFPs would be less exposed to weather by being allowed to transit through the Walrus Protection Areas, (3) walrus traveling from Round Island to feeding grounds in central Bristol Bay are less likely to encounter vessel traffic if vessels designated on FFPs can use alternate transit routes, and (4) vessel PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 197 traffic will decrease near the walrus haulout on the south end of Hagemeister Island because vessels designated on FFPs would be less likely to transit through this area. Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment and agrees with the commenters’ support of this action. Additional detail on the effects of this action on vessel fuel use, exposure to weather, and vessel traffic are provided in preamble to the proposed rule and in Section 3.2 of the Analysis and are not described further here. Classification The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, determined that this final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the BSAI groundfish fishery and that it is consistent with the BSAI FMP, including Amendment 107, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws. The final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866. Small Entity Compliance Guide Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for which an agency is required to prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis, the agency shall publish one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, and shall designate such publications as ‘‘small entity compliance guides.’’ The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. The preamble to the proposed rule and the preamble to this final rule serve as the small entity compliance guide. This rule does not require any additional compliance from small entities that is not described in the preamble to the proposed rule. Copies of the proposed rule and this final rule are available from NMFS at the following Web site: http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) Section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires an agency to prepare a FRFA after being required by that section or any other law to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking and when an agency promulgates a final rule under section 553 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code. Section 604 describes the required contents of a FRFA: (1) A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule; (2) a statement of the significant issues raised by the public comments in E:\FR\FM\05JAR1.SGM 05JAR1 198 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 2 / Monday, January 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations response to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, a statement of the assessment of the agency of such issues, and a statement of any changes made in the proposed rule as a result of such comments; (3) the response of the agency to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration in response to the proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any change made to the proposed rule in the final rule as a result of the comments; (4) a description of and an estimate of the number of small entities to which the rule will apply or an explanation of why no such estimate is available; (5) a description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the rule, including an estimate of the classes of small entities which will be subject to the requirement and the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the report or record; and (6) a description of the steps the agency has taken to minimize the significant economic impact on small entities consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other significant alternatives to the rule considered by the agency which affect the impact on small entities was rejected. Need for and Objectives of the Rule A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule is contained in the preamble to this final rule and is not repeated here. This FRFA incorporates the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) and the summary of the IRFA in the proposed rule (79 FR 59733, October 3, 2014). mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Public and Chief Counsel for Advocacy Comments on the Proposed Rule NMFS published the proposed rule on October 3, 2014 (79 FR 59733). The 30day comment period on the proposed rule closed on November 3, 2014. An IRFA was prepared for the ‘‘Classification’’ section of the preamble to the proposed rule. NMFS received four letters of public comment on the proposed rule, containing a total of two comments. No comments were received on the IRFA, or on the small entity impacts of this action. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) did not file any comments on the proposed rule. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:47 Jan 02, 2015 Jkt 235001 Number and Description of Small Entities Regulated by the Final Rule The determination of the number and description of small entities regulated by this action is based on small business size standards established by the SBA. On June 12, 2014, the SBA issued an interim final rule revising the small business size standards for several industries effective July 14, 2014 (79 FR 33647, June 12, 2014). The rule increased the size standard for Finfish Fishing from $19.0 million to $20.5 million, Shellfish Fishing from $5.0 million to $5.5 million, and Other Marine Fishing from $7.0 million to $7.5 million. The entities that will be directly regulated by this action are those businesses that tender herring or salmon from fisheries to delivery locations in northern Bristol Bay, and those businesses that deliver processed groundfish from the Bering Sea to locations in northern Bristol Bay. Vessels tendering herring or salmon are transporting harvested fish. Because tender vessel operators enter into private contracts with herring and salmon fishing vessel operators to transport their catch, revenue information from tenders is not available. Based on information from 2012, the most recent year of complete data, a maximum of 64 vessels were estimated to have operated as tenders in the herring and salmon fisheries in northern Bristol Bay. These vessels could have been designated on an FFP and could be affected by this action. Because no revenue information is available on these vessels, each of these vessels was assumed to be a small entity. Based on information from 2012, the most recent year of complete data, a maximum of 6 vessels were estimated to have delivered processed groundfish to locations in northern Bristol Bay. These vessels could have been designated on an FFP and could be affected by this action. All of these vessels were affiliated through common management under cooperative fishing arrangements. These affiliated vessels had ex-vessel annual revenues in 2012 that exceeded the annual revenue limit of $20.5 million used by the SBA to define a small entity harvesting or processing groundfish (79 FR 33647, June 12, 2014). Therefore, these vessels are considered to be large entities. Recordkeeping, Reporting, and Compliance Requirements This action will not change existing reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements. PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Description of Significant Alternatives to the Final Action That Minimize Adverse Impacts on Small Entities A FRFA must describe the steps the agency has taken to minimize the significant economic impact on small entities consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other significant alternatives to the rule considered by the agency that affect the impact on small entities was rejected. The FRFA considered three alternatives. Alternative 1, the no action (status quo) alternative, would maintain the existing closures between 3 and 12 nm around Round Island and Cape Peirce, and would not allow vessels designated on an FFP to transit these areas. Therefore, Alternative 1 represents the most restrictive alternative considered and the alternative with the highest potential cost to regulated small entities. Alternative 2 would establish a transit area through the existing Walrus Protection Areas near Round Island. Alternative 2 also included three options, Options 1, 2, and 3 to allow the closest point of the transit area to be within 3 nm, 4.5 nm, and 6 nm from Round Island, respectively. Alternative 3 would establish a transit area through Walrus Protection Areas near Cape Peirce. The alternatives analyzed but not selected are Alternative 1 (status quo, do not allow transit through the protection areas) and Alternative 2, Options 2 and 3. All of these alternatives and options are more restrictive than the Council’s preferred alternatives, which are implemented by this final rule. The Council’s preferred alternatives and the actions implemented by this final rule are Alternative 2, Option 1 and Alternative 3. Alternative 2, Option 1 allows vessels to transit closer to Round Island than Alternative 2, Option 2 and Alternative 2, Option 3. Therefore, Alternative 2, Option 1 is the least restrictive of the three options under Alternative 2. Alternative 3 provides a seasonal transit area around Cape Peirce. This final rule represents the alternatives that minimize the potential cost to directly regulated small entities. The boundaries farther from Round Island (Options 2 and 3) may incrementally reduce the potential for disturbance to walruses on Round Island (see Section 3.2.7 of the Analysis), but are not likely to significantly affect the distances traveled as vessels with FFPs transit the protected area. The differences in transit E:\FR\FM\05JAR1.SGM 05JAR1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 2 / Monday, January 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations time or fuel costs are not likely to be significantly different between these options. As noted in Section 3.2.7.2.1 of the Analysis, there has been no recorded visible disturbance to walruses from vessel traffic more than 3 nm from Round Island. The Council also considered rescinding the protection areas around Round Island and Cape Peirce for all or a portion of the year, eliminating the barriers to transiting the Walrus Protection Areas. Rescission of the protection areas would reduce costs to regulated small entities more than this action. However, these alternatives were not analyzed because they do not meet the purpose and need of the action to maintain protection of walruses in these important haulout sites. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Tribal Consultation E.O. 13175 of November 6, 2000 (25 U.S.C. 450 note), the Executive Memorandum of April 29, 1994 (25 U.S.C. 450 note), the American Indian and Alaska Native Policy of the U.S. Department of Commerce (March 30, 1995), and the Department of Commerce Tribal Consultation and Coordination policy (78 FR 33331, June 4, 2013) outline the responsibilities of NMFS for Federal policies that have tribal implications. Section 161 of Public Law 108–199 (188 Stat. 452), as amended by section 518 of Public Law 109–447 (118 Stat. 3267), extends the consultation requirements of E.O. 13175 to Alaska Native corporations. Under the E.O. and agency policies, NMFS must ensure meaningful and timely input by tribal officials and representatives of Alaska Native corporations in the development of regulatory policies that have tribal implications. NMFS provided a copy of the proposed rule to the federally recognized tribes and Alaska Native corporations in the Bristol Bay area to notify them of the opportunity to comment or request a consultation on this action. Section 5(b)(2)(B) of E.O. 13175 requires NMFS to prepare a ‘‘tribal summary impact statement’’ for any regulation that has tribal implications, that imposes substantial direct VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:47 Jan 02, 2015 Jkt 235001 compliance costs on Indian tribal governments, and is not required by statute. The tribal summary impact statement must contain (1) a description of the extent of the agency’s prior consultation with tribal officials, (2) a summary of the nature of their concerns, (3) the agency’s position supporting the need to issue the regulation, and (4) a statement of the extent to which the concerns of tribal officials have been met. Tribal Summary Impact Statement Pursuant to E.O. 13175, NMFS mailed letters to approximately 162 federally recognized tribes and Alaska Native corporations in the Bristol Bay area providing information about Amendment 107 and the proposed rule. The letter invited comments and requests for consultation on this action. NMFS received no requests for consultation. This final rule is needed to restore the access of federally permitted vessels to transit through Walrus Protection Areas that was limited by regulations implementing Amendment 83 to the GOA FMP and to maintain suitable protection for walruses on Round Island and Cape Peirce. During the development of this action, the Council communicated with the USFWS and the Qayassiq Walrus Commission to avoid adverse impacts to walruses from this action. As noted in Section 3.2.7 of the Analysis and discussed in the preamble of the proposed rule for this action, all of the alternative management approaches considered, and this action specifically, were determined to be consistent with the best practices in the guidelines established by USFWS, the agency responsible for the protection of walruses. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679 Alaska, Fisheries. Dated: December 30, 2014. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. For reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 679 is amended as follows: PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 199 PART 679—FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA 1. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 108–447; Pub. L. 111–281. 2. In § 679.22, revise paragraph (a)(4) to read as follows: ■ § 679.22 Closures. (a) * * * (4) Walrus protection areas. (i) From April 1 through September 30 of each calendar year, vessels designated on a Federal fisheries permit issued under § 679.4 are prohibited from deploying fishing gear in that part of the Bering Sea subarea between 3 and 12 nm seaward of the baseline used to measure the territorial sea around islands named Round Island and The Twins, as shown on National Ocean Survey Chart 16315, and around Cape Peirce (58°33′ N. lat., 161°43′ W. long.). (ii) From April 1 through September 30 of each calendar year, vessels designated on a Federal fisheries permit issued under § 679.4 are prohibited in that part of the Bering Sea subarea between 3 and 12 nm seaward of the baseline used to measure the territorial sea around islands named Round Island and The Twins, as shown on National Ocean Survey Chart 16315, and around Cape Peirce (58°33′ N. lat., 161°43′ W. long.), except that from April 1 through August 15 of each calendar year vessels designated on a Federal fisheries permit are not prohibited from entering and transiting through waters off: (A) Round Island, north of a straight line connecting 58°47.90′ N. lat./ 160°21.91′ W. long., and 58°32.94′ N. lat./159°35.45′ W. long.; and (B) Cape Peirce, east of a straight line connecting 58°30.00′ N. lat./161°46.20′ W. long., and 58°21.00′ N. lat./ 161°46.20′ W. long. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2014–30817 Filed 1–2–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\05JAR1.SGM 05JAR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 2 (Monday, January 5, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 194-199]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-30817]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 140519437-4999-02]
RIN 0648-BE24


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Establishing 
Transit Areas Through Walrus Protection Areas at Round Island and Cape 
Peirce, Northern Bristol Bay, Alaska; Amendment 107

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: NMFS issues this final rule to implement Amendment 107 to the 
Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian 
Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP), as prepared and submitted by the 
North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), and approved by the 
Secretary of Commerce. This final rule allows vessels designated on 
Federal Fisheries Permits (FFPs) to

[[Page 195]]

transit through Walrus Protection Areas in the Exclusive Economic Zone 
(EEZ) near Round Island and Cape Peirce from April 1 through August 15, 
annually. These actions are necessary to restore the access of 
federally permitted vessels to transit through Walrus Protection Areas 
that was unintentionally limited by regulations implementing Amendment 
83 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska 
(GOA FMP) and to maintain suitable protection for walruses on Round 
Island and Cape Peirce. This final rule maintains an existing 
prohibition on deploying fishing gear in Walrus Protection Areas by 
vessels designated on an FFP. This final rule is intended to promote 
the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the BSAI FMP, and other 
applicable law.

DATES: Effective February 4, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the BSAI FMP, Amendment 107 to the BSAI 
FMP, and the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (Analysis) prepared for this action are 
available from http://www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska 
Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anne Marie Eich, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries in the 
EEZ off Alaska under the GOA FMP and the BSAI FMP. The Council prepared 
these FMPs under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 
1801, et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the 
FMPs appear at 50 CFR parts 600 and 679.
    This final rule implements management measures contained in 
Amendment 107 to the BSAI FMP. This final rule allows vessels 
designated on FFPs to transit through Walrus Protection Areas in the 
EEZ near Round Island and Cape Peirce from April 1 through August 15, 
annually.
    NMFS published the Notice of Availability (NOA) of Amendment 107 to 
the BSAI FMP in the Federal Register on September 24, 2014, with a 60-
day comment period that ended November 24, 2014 (79 FR 57041). The 
Secretary of Commerce approved Amendment 107 to the BSAI FMP on 
December 19, 2004. NMFS published a proposed rule to implement 
management measures contained in Amendment 107 to the BSAI FMP on 
October 3, 2014 (79 FR 59733). The 30-day comment period on the 
proposed rule ended November 3, 2014. NMFS received four comment 
letters on Amendment 107 to the BSAI FMP during the NOA and proposed 
rule comment periods. Two comment letters were duplicates. The comment 
letters contained two unique comments. A summary of these comments and 
NMFS' responses are provided in the ``Comments and Responses'' section 
of this preamble. NMFS did not make any changes in this final rule to 
the regulatory text contained in the proposed rule.
    The proposed rule (79 FR 59733, October 3, 2014) preamble provides 
additional information on the development of the action, the impacts 
and effects of the action, and the Council's and NMFS' rationale for 
the action. The proposed rule is available from the NMFS Alaska Region 
Web site (see ADDRESSES).

Management Measures Contained in This Final Rule

    This final rule allows vessels designated on FFPs to enter and 
transit through specific areas of the Walrus Protection Areas near 
Round Island and Cape Peirce. This final rule applies to Federal waters 
in northern Bristol Bay, specifically in statistical area 514 of the 
BSAI, as shown in Figure 1 to 50 CFR part 679. This action does not 
apply in State of Alaska (State) waters. The State restricts vessel 
transit in State waters around Round Island but not in State waters 
elsewhere in the area. All vessels, including vessels designated on an 
FFP, can transit through State waters around Cape Peirce and The Twins. 
This action only affects vessels designated on an FFP. Vessels that are 
not designated on an FFP are not regulated in the Walrus Protection 
Areas and can enter and transit through Walrus Protection Areas. The 
transit areas implemented by this final rule are shown in Figure 1 
below.

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[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR05JA15.000

Transit Area Near Round Island

    This final rule adds regulations at Sec.  679.22(a)(4)(ii) to 
establish a transit area through the Walrus Protection Area near Round 
Island. This final rule establishes a transit area in the EEZ near 
Round Island from April 1 through August 15, annually, north of a line 
from 58[deg]47.90' N, 160[deg]21.91' W to 58[deg]32.94' N, 
159[deg]35.45' W. (See Figure 1 of this preamble.)
    This transit area is at least 3 nm from Round Island at its closest 
point and is more than 9 nm from the haulouts on The Twins at its 
closest point. As noted in Section 3.2.7.2.1 of the Analysis, there has 
been no recorded visible disturbance to walruses from vessel traffic 
more than 3 nm from Round Island, but disturbance from vessel traffic 
has been documented within 3 nm from Round Island. This final rule does 
not allow vessels designated on an FFP to transit within 3 nm of Round 
Island or The Twins.
    This transit area is established to maintain suitable protection 
for walruses on Round Island and to allow vessels designated on an FFP 
access to a transit route north of Round Island. NMFS expects this 
transit area to reduce the potential for vessels to transit near 
Hagemeister Island, a known walrus haulout, because vessels will be 
allowed to transit north of Round Island and to avoid the route near 
Hagemeister Island. This final rule also allows vessels to transit 
through Federal waters farther from shore and thereby reduces transit 
through shallower State waters that are more difficult to navigate.
    The transit area near Round Island opens April 1 to relieve the 
existing regulations that prohibit entry and transit to vessels 
designated on an FFP in Walrus Protection Areas on April 1, the start 
of peak walrus use in the area. This transit area closes on August 16 
because of the following: (1) The herring and most salmon fisheries are 
completed by August 15, and tender vessels that are designated on FFPs 
(i.e., vessels used to carry unprocessed fish to processing facilities) 
are no longer active and do not require transit through Walrus 
Protection Areas after that date; (2) vessels transiting to deliver 
groundfish in northern Bristol Bay typically have completed their 
deliveries by August 15 and do not require transit through Walrus 
Protection Areas after that date; and (3) limiting vessel transit by 
August 15 will reduce vessel traffic near walrus haulouts that could 
interfere with vessels used for the subsistence harvest of walruses on 
Round Island that begins in September of each year. Vessels designated 
on FFPs are still prohibited from entering and transiting through the 
Walrus Protection Areas near Round Island from August 16 through 
September 30. NMFS expects that this prohibition will not adversely 
affect vessels designated on FFPs because tendering operations and 
groundfish deliveries in northern Bristol Bay do not occur between 
August 16 and September 30.

Transit Area Near Cape Peirce

    This rule adds regulations at Sec.  679.22(a)(4)(ii) to establish a 
transit areas through the Walrus Protection Areas at Cape Peirce. This 
rule establishes a transit area in the EEZ near Cape Peirce from April 
1 through August 15, annually, east of a line from

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58[deg]30.00' N, 161[deg]46.20' W to 58[deg]21.00' N, 161[deg]46.20' W. 
(See Figure 1 of this preamble.) This transit area is at least 3 nm 
from Cape Peirce at its closest point.
    The transit area through the Walrus Protection Areas near Cape 
Peirce will provide an opportunity for vessels with FFPs to travel 
farther from shore while tendering herring or salmon and avoid transit 
through State waters near walrus haulouts at Cape Peirce. NMFS expects, 
based on the analyses, that the transit area will reduce the likelihood 
of disturbance to walruses at the Cape Peirce Walrus Protection Areas.
    The transit area will be open from April 1 through August 15, 
annually, consistent with the opening and closing dates established for 
the Round Island transit area. As noted in the previous section of this 
preamble, these dates facilitate vessel transits for tendering and 
groundfish deliveries. Vessels designated on FFPs are still prohibited 
from entering and transiting through the Walrus Protection Areas near 
Cape Peirce from August 16 through September 30. NMFS expects this 
prohibition will not adversely affect vessels designated on FFPs 
because tendering operations and groundfish deliveries in northern 
Bristol Bay do not occur between August 16 and September 30.

Prohibition on Vessels With FFPs Deploying Fishing Gear in Walrus 
Protection Areas

    This final rule adds regulations at Sec.  679.22(a)(4)(i) 
(incorrectly identified in the preamble of the proposed rule as Sec.  
679.22(a)(4)(ii)) to prohibit vessels designated on an FFP from 
deploying fishing gear in Walrus Protection Areas from April 1 through 
September 30, annually. As noted throughout this preamble, this rule 
removes a prohibition that limits vessels from entering and transiting 
through Walrus Protection Areas. This final rule does not allow vessels 
designated on FFPs to fish in Walrus Protection Areas from April 1 
through September 30, annually. Section 3.1 of the Analysis explains 
that this final rule will not affect the timing, duration, effort, or 
harvest levels in the fisheries in northern Bristol Bay because this 
final rule does not open Walrus Protection Areas to fishing by vessels 
designated on an FFP. Because vessels designated on FFPs are already 
prohibited from deploying fishing gear in Walrus Protection Areas, this 
prohibition maintains the status quo prohibition on deploying fishing 
gear in Walrus Protection Areas. Therefore, this final rule does not 
affect any existing fishing operations.

Changes From Proposed to Final Rule

    No changes were made from proposed to final rule.

Comments and Responses

    NMFS received four comment letters during the NOA and proposed rule 
comment periods. Two comment letters were duplicates. The comment 
letters contained two unique comments. A summary of the comments and 
NMFS' response follows.
    Comment 1: Commercial fishing vessels, tourist boats, and transit 
boats should not be allowed to transit through the walrus protected 
area. This area should be nominated for a marine protected area.
    Response: As noted in the preamble to the proposed rule and this 
preamble, the purpose of this action is to allow vessels designated on 
FFPs to enter and transit through specific areas of the Walrus 
Protection Areas near Round Island and Cape Peirce. Therefore, not 
allowing transit through these areas is inconsistent with the purpose 
of this action. Also, the commenter's recommendation to nominate these 
areas as marine protected areas is outside of the scope of this action.
    NMFS notes that the Council has recommended and NMFS has 
implemented a series of closure areas, known as Walrus Protection 
Areas, around important walrus haulout sites in Bristol Bay to reduce 
potential disturbances to walruses from fishing activities.
    As noted in Section 3.2.7 of the Analysis and in the preamble of 
the proposed rule (79 FR 59733, October 3, 2014) for this action, all 
of the alternative management approaches considered, and this action 
specifically, were determined to be consistent with the best practices 
in the guidelines established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(USFWS), the agency responsible for the protection of walruses.
    Comment 2: Two commenters provided support for Amendment 107 and 
its associated implementing proposed rule for the following reasons: 
(1) Fuel use and operating costs would decrease significantly for 
vessels designated on FFPs with the implementation of this rule by 
reducing transit time, (2) vessels designated on FFPs would be less 
exposed to weather by being allowed to transit through the Walrus 
Protection Areas, (3) walrus traveling from Round Island to feeding 
grounds in central Bristol Bay are less likely to encounter vessel 
traffic if vessels designated on FFPs can use alternate transit routes, 
and (4) vessel traffic will decrease near the walrus haulout on the 
south end of Hagemeister Island because vessels designated on FFPs 
would be less likely to transit through this area.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment and agrees with the 
commenters' support of this action. Additional detail on the effects of 
this action on vessel fuel use, exposure to weather, and vessel traffic 
are provided in preamble to the proposed rule and in Section 3.2 of the 
Analysis and are not described further here.

Classification

    The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, determined that this final 
rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the BSAI 
groundfish fishery and that it is consistent with the BSAI FMP, 
including Amendment 107, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable 
laws.
    The final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866.

Small Entity Compliance Guide

    Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness 
Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for 
which an agency is required to prepare a final regulatory flexibility 
analysis, the agency shall publish one or more guides to assist small 
entities in complying with the rule, and shall designate such 
publications as ``small entity compliance guides.'' The agency shall 
explain the actions a small entity is required to take to comply with a 
rule or group of rules. The preamble to the proposed rule and the 
preamble to this final rule serve as the small entity compliance guide. 
This rule does not require any additional compliance from small 
entities that is not described in the preamble to the proposed rule. 
Copies of the proposed rule and this final rule are available from NMFS 
at the following Web site: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA)

    Section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires an agency to 
prepare a FRFA after being required by that section or any other law to 
publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking and when an agency 
promulgates a final rule under section 553 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code.
    Section 604 describes the required contents of a FRFA: (1) A 
statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule; (2) a statement 
of the significant issues raised by the public comments in

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response to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, a statement of 
the assessment of the agency of such issues, and a statement of any 
changes made in the proposed rule as a result of such comments; (3) the 
response of the agency to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for 
Advocacy of the Small Business Administration in response to the 
proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any change made to the 
proposed rule in the final rule as a result of the comments; (4) a 
description of and an estimate of the number of small entities to which 
the rule will apply or an explanation of why no such estimate is 
available; (5) a description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping 
and other compliance requirements of the rule, including an estimate of 
the classes of small entities which will be subject to the requirement 
and the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the 
report or record; and (6) a description of the steps the agency has 
taken to minimize the significant economic impact on small entities 
consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including 
a statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the 
alternative adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other 
significant alternatives to the rule considered by the agency which 
affect the impact on small entities was rejected.

Need for and Objectives of the Rule

    A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule is 
contained in the preamble to this final rule and is not repeated here. 
This FRFA incorporates the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 
(IRFA) and the summary of the IRFA in the proposed rule (79 FR 59733, 
October 3, 2014).

Public and Chief Counsel for Advocacy Comments on the Proposed Rule

    NMFS published the proposed rule on October 3, 2014 (79 FR 59733). 
The 30-day comment period on the proposed rule closed on November 3, 
2014. An IRFA was prepared for the ``Classification'' section of the 
preamble to the proposed rule.
    NMFS received four letters of public comment on the proposed rule, 
containing a total of two comments. No comments were received on the 
IRFA, or on the small entity impacts of this action. The Chief Counsel 
for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) did not file 
any comments on the proposed rule.

Number and Description of Small Entities Regulated by the Final Rule

    The determination of the number and description of small entities 
regulated by this action is based on small business size standards 
established by the SBA. On June 12, 2014, the SBA issued an interim 
final rule revising the small business size standards for several 
industries effective July 14, 2014 (79 FR 33647, June 12, 2014). The 
rule increased the size standard for Finfish Fishing from $19.0 million 
to $20.5 million, Shellfish Fishing from $5.0 million to $5.5 million, 
and Other Marine Fishing from $7.0 million to $7.5 million.
    The entities that will be directly regulated by this action are 
those businesses that tender herring or salmon from fisheries to 
delivery locations in northern Bristol Bay, and those businesses that 
deliver processed groundfish from the Bering Sea to locations in 
northern Bristol Bay. Vessels tendering herring or salmon are 
transporting harvested fish. Because tender vessel operators enter into 
private contracts with herring and salmon fishing vessel operators to 
transport their catch, revenue information from tenders is not 
available. Based on information from 2012, the most recent year of 
complete data, a maximum of 64 vessels were estimated to have operated 
as tenders in the herring and salmon fisheries in northern Bristol Bay. 
These vessels could have been designated on an FFP and could be 
affected by this action. Because no revenue information is available on 
these vessels, each of these vessels was assumed to be a small entity.
    Based on information from 2012, the most recent year of complete 
data, a maximum of 6 vessels were estimated to have delivered processed 
groundfish to locations in northern Bristol Bay. These vessels could 
have been designated on an FFP and could be affected by this action. 
All of these vessels were affiliated through common management under 
cooperative fishing arrangements. These affiliated vessels had ex-
vessel annual revenues in 2012 that exceeded the annual revenue limit 
of $20.5 million used by the SBA to define a small entity harvesting or 
processing groundfish (79 FR 33647, June 12, 2014). Therefore, these 
vessels are considered to be large entities.

Recordkeeping, Reporting, and Compliance Requirements

    This action will not change existing reporting, recordkeeping, or 
other compliance requirements.

Description of Significant Alternatives to the Final Action That 
Minimize Adverse Impacts on Small Entities

    A FRFA must describe the steps the agency has taken to minimize the 
significant economic impact on small entities consistent with the 
stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a statement of the 
factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative 
adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other significant 
alternatives to the rule considered by the agency that affect the 
impact on small entities was rejected. The FRFA considered three 
alternatives.
    Alternative 1, the no action (status quo) alternative, would 
maintain the existing closures between 3 and 12 nm around Round Island 
and Cape Peirce, and would not allow vessels designated on an FFP to 
transit these areas. Therefore, Alternative 1 represents the most 
restrictive alternative considered and the alternative with the highest 
potential cost to regulated small entities.
    Alternative 2 would establish a transit area through the existing 
Walrus Protection Areas near Round Island. Alternative 2 also included 
three options, Options 1, 2, and 3 to allow the closest point of the 
transit area to be within 3 nm, 4.5 nm, and 6 nm from Round Island, 
respectively.
    Alternative 3 would establish a transit area through Walrus 
Protection Areas near Cape Peirce.
    The alternatives analyzed but not selected are Alternative 1 
(status quo, do not allow transit through the protection areas) and 
Alternative 2, Options 2 and 3. All of these alternatives and options 
are more restrictive than the Council's preferred alternatives, which 
are implemented by this final rule. The Council's preferred 
alternatives and the actions implemented by this final rule are 
Alternative 2, Option 1 and Alternative 3. Alternative 2, Option 1 
allows vessels to transit closer to Round Island than Alternative 2, 
Option 2 and Alternative 2, Option 3. Therefore, Alternative 2, Option 
1 is the least restrictive of the three options under Alternative 2. 
Alternative 3 provides a seasonal transit area around Cape Peirce. This 
final rule represents the alternatives that minimize the potential cost 
to directly regulated small entities. The boundaries farther from Round 
Island (Options 2 and 3) may incrementally reduce the potential for 
disturbance to walruses on Round Island (see Section 3.2.7 of the 
Analysis), but are not likely to significantly affect the distances 
traveled as vessels with FFPs transit the protected area. The 
differences in transit

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time or fuel costs are not likely to be significantly different between 
these options. As noted in Section 3.2.7.2.1 of the Analysis, there has 
been no recorded visible disturbance to walruses from vessel traffic 
more than 3 nm from Round Island.
    The Council also considered rescinding the protection areas around 
Round Island and Cape Peirce for all or a portion of the year, 
eliminating the barriers to transiting the Walrus Protection Areas. 
Rescission of the protection areas would reduce costs to regulated 
small entities more than this action. However, these alternatives were 
not analyzed because they do not meet the purpose and need of the 
action to maintain protection of walruses in these important haulout 
sites.

Tribal Consultation

    E.O. 13175 of November 6, 2000 (25 U.S.C. 450 note), the Executive 
Memorandum of April 29, 1994 (25 U.S.C. 450 note), the American Indian 
and Alaska Native Policy of the U.S. Department of Commerce (March 30, 
1995), and the Department of Commerce Tribal Consultation and 
Coordination policy (78 FR 33331, June 4, 2013) outline the 
responsibilities of NMFS for Federal policies that have tribal 
implications. Section 161 of Public Law 108-199 (188 Stat. 452), as 
amended by section 518 of Public Law 109-447 (118 Stat. 3267), extends 
the consultation requirements of E.O. 13175 to Alaska Native 
corporations. Under the E.O. and agency policies, NMFS must ensure 
meaningful and timely input by tribal officials and representatives of 
Alaska Native corporations in the development of regulatory policies 
that have tribal implications. NMFS provided a copy of the proposed 
rule to the federally recognized tribes and Alaska Native corporations 
in the Bristol Bay area to notify them of the opportunity to comment or 
request a consultation on this action.
    Section 5(b)(2)(B) of E.O. 13175 requires NMFS to prepare a 
``tribal summary impact statement'' for any regulation that has tribal 
implications, that imposes substantial direct compliance costs on 
Indian tribal governments, and is not required by statute. The tribal 
summary impact statement must contain (1) a description of the extent 
of the agency's prior consultation with tribal officials, (2) a summary 
of the nature of their concerns, (3) the agency's position supporting 
the need to issue the regulation, and (4) a statement of the extent to 
which the concerns of tribal officials have been met.

Tribal Summary Impact Statement

    Pursuant to E.O. 13175, NMFS mailed letters to approximately 162 
federally recognized tribes and Alaska Native corporations in the 
Bristol Bay area providing information about Amendment 107 and the 
proposed rule. The letter invited comments and requests for 
consultation on this action. NMFS received no requests for 
consultation. This final rule is needed to restore the access of 
federally permitted vessels to transit through Walrus Protection Areas 
that was limited by regulations implementing Amendment 83 to the GOA 
FMP and to maintain suitable protection for walruses on Round Island 
and Cape Peirce. During the development of this action, the Council 
communicated with the USFWS and the Qayassiq Walrus Commission to avoid 
adverse impacts to walruses from this action. As noted in Section 3.2.7 
of the Analysis and discussed in the preamble of the proposed rule for 
this action, all of the alternative management approaches considered, 
and this action specifically, were determined to be consistent with the 
best practices in the guidelines established by USFWS, the agency 
responsible for the protection of walruses.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries.

    Dated: December 30, 2014.
Eileen Sobeck,
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.

    For reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 679 is amended as 
follows:

PART 679--FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA

0
1. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; 
Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 111-281.

0
2. In Sec.  679.22, revise paragraph (a)(4) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.22  Closures.

    (a) * * *
    (4) Walrus protection areas. (i) From April 1 through September 30 
of each calendar year, vessels designated on a Federal fisheries permit 
issued under Sec.  679.4 are prohibited from deploying fishing gear in 
that part of the Bering Sea subarea between 3 and 12 nm seaward of the 
baseline used to measure the territorial sea around islands named Round 
Island and The Twins, as shown on National Ocean Survey Chart 16315, 
and around Cape Peirce (58[deg]33' N. lat., 161[deg]43' W. long.).
    (ii) From April 1 through September 30 of each calendar year, 
vessels designated on a Federal fisheries permit issued under Sec.  
679.4 are prohibited in that part of the Bering Sea subarea between 3 
and 12 nm seaward of the baseline used to measure the territorial sea 
around islands named Round Island and The Twins, as shown on National 
Ocean Survey Chart 16315, and around Cape Peirce (58[deg]33' N. lat., 
161[deg]43' W. long.), except that from April 1 through August 15 of 
each calendar year vessels designated on a Federal fisheries permit are 
not prohibited from entering and transiting through waters off:
    (A) Round Island, north of a straight line connecting 58[deg]47.90' 
N. lat./160[deg]21.91' W. long., and 58[deg]32.94' N. lat./
159[deg]35.45' W. long.; and
    (B) Cape Peirce, east of a straight line connecting 58[deg]30.00' 
N. lat./161[deg]46.20' W. long., and 58[deg]21.00' N. lat./
161[deg]46.20' W. long.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2014-30817 Filed 1-2-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P