Endangered and Threatened Species; Removal of the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin Distinct Population Segment of Canary Rockfish From the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species, and Removal of Designated Critical Habitat, and Update and Amend the Listing Descriptions for the Yelloweye Rockfish DPS and Bocaccio DPS, 43979-43985 [2016-15923]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 129 / Wednesday, July 6, 2016 / Proposed Rules References Cited Lists of the references cited in the petition findings are available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the appropriate person, as specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Authors The primary authors of this document are the staff members of the Unified Listing Team, Ecological Services Program. Authority The authority for this section is section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Dated: June 24, 2016. Stephen Guertin, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2016–15935 Filed 7–5–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 223 and 224 [Docket No. 160524463–6544–01] RIN 0648–XE657 Endangered and Threatened Species; Removal of the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin Distinct Population Segment of Canary Rockfish From the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species, and Removal of Designated Critical Habitat, and Update and Amend the Listing Descriptions for the Yelloweye Rockfish DPS and Bocaccio DPS National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: We, NMFS, are issuing a proposed rule to remove the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger) Distinct Population Segment (DPS) from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species and remove its critical habitat designation as recommended in the recent five-year review under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We propose these actions based on newly obtained genetic information that demonstrates that the Puget Sound/ ehiers on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: 13:12 Jul 05, 2016 Information and comments on the subject action must be received by September 6, 2016. ADDRESSES: Reference materials supporting this rulemaking can be obtained via the Internet at: http:// www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ or by submitting a request to Dan Tonnes, Protected Resources Division, West Coast Region, National Marine Fisheries Service, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle WA, 98115. You may submit comments, identified by the code: NOAA–NMFS–2016–0070 by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20160070. Click the ‘‘Comment Now’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Send comments to Chris Yates, Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, NMFS, West Coast Regional Office, Attn: Dan Tonnes, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115. Instructions: You must submit comments by one of the above methods to ensure that we receive, document, and consider them. Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on http://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or DATES: DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE VerDate Sep<11>2014 Georgia Basin canary rockfish population does not meet the DPS criteria and therefore does not qualify for listing under the ESA. We also propose to update and amend the listing description for the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin yelloweye rockfish (S. ruberrimus) DPS based on a geographic description to include fish within specified boundaries. Further, although the current listing description is not based on boundaries, with this proposal we are also correcting a descriptive boundary for the DPS depicted on maps to include an area in the northern Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Channel in waters of Canada consistent with newly obtained genetic information on yelloweye rockfish population grouping. We also propose to update and amend the listing description for the bocaccio DPS based on a geographic description and to include fish within specified boundaries. Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 43979 otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. We will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Tonnes, NMFS, West Coast Region, Protected Resources Division, 206–526– 4643; or Chelsey Young, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources, 301–427–8403. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background We have been petitioned several times to list various ‘‘DPSs’’ of rockfish in the Puget Sound region. In response to a petition in 1999, we conducted a status review of brown rockfish, copper rockfish, and quillback rockfish (Stout et al. 2001). During this status review, the Biological Review Team (BRT) that we established determined that the available genetic information for each species demonstrated population structure and supported a determination of discreteness as defined by the joint NMFS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) 1996 DPS Policy (61 FR 4722; February 7, 1996). Based on this examination, the BRT identified a DPS for each of the three rockfish species in Puget Sound proper that can be considered a species under the ESA, and concluded that none of the identified DPSs were at risk of extinction (Stout et al. 2001). On April 9, 2007, we received a petition from Mr. Sam Wright (Olympia, Washington) to list DPSs of five rockfish species (yelloweye, canary, bocaccio, greenstriped and redstripe) in Puget Sound, as endangered or threatened species under the ESA and to designate critical habitat. We found that this petition did not present substantial scientific or commercial information to suggest that the petitioned actions may be warranted (72 FR 56986; October 5, 2007). On October 29, 2007, we received a letter from Mr. Wright presenting information that was not included in the April 2007 petition, and requesting reconsideration of the decision not to initiate a review of the species’ status. We considered the supplemental information as a new petition and concluded that there was enough information in this new petition to warrant conducting status reviews of these five rockfish species. The status review was initiated on March 17, 2008 (73 FR 14195) and completed in 2010 (Drake et al. 2010). In the 2010 status review, the BRT used the best scientific and commercial data available at that time, including environmental and ecological features of E:\FR\FM\06JYP1.SGM 06JYP1 ehiers on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 43980 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 129 / Wednesday, July 6, 2016 / Proposed Rules the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin, but noted that the limited genetic and demographic data for the five petitioned rockfish species populations created some uncertainty in the DPS determinations (Drake et al. 2010). The BRT assessed genetic data from the Strait of Georgia (inside waters of eastern Vancouver Island) for yelloweye rockfish (Yamanaka et al. 2006), that indicated a distinct genetic cluster that differed consistently from coastal samples of yelloweye rockfish, but also observed that genetic data from Puget Sound were not available for this species. The BRT also noted there was genetic information for canary rockfish (Wishard et al. 1980) and bocaccio (Matala et al. 2004, Field et al. 2009) in coastal waters, but no genetic data for either species from inland Puget Sound waters. The BRT found that in spite of these data limitations there was other evidence to conclude that each noted population of rockfish within inland waters of the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin was discrete from its coastal counterpart. Specifically, the BRT noted similar life histories of rockfish and based their determinations, in part, on the status review of brown rockfish, copper rockfish, and quillback rockfish (Stout et al. 2001) and the genetic information for those species that supported separate DPSs for inland compared to coastal populations (Drake et al. 2010). Thus, based on information related to rockfish life history, genetic variation among populations, and the environmental and ecological features of Puget Sound and the Georgia Basin, the BRT identified Puget Sound/Georgia Basin DPSs for yelloweye rockfish, canary rockfish, and bocaccio, and a Puget Sound proper DPS for greenstriped rockfish and redstripe rockfish (Drake et al. 2010). Informed by the BRT recommendations and our interpretation of best available scientific and commercial data, on April 28, 2010, we listed the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin DPSs of yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish as threatened under the ESA, and the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin DPS of bocaccio as endangered (75 FR 22276). The final critical habitat rule for the listed DPSs of rockfishes was published in the Federal Register on November 1, 2014 (79 FR 68041). We determined that greenstriped rockfish (S. elongatus) and redstripe rockfish (S. proriger) within Puget Sound proper each qualified as a DPS, but these DPSs were not at risk of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their ranges (Drake et al. 2010). In 2013, we appointed a recovery team and initiated recovery planning for VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:12 Jul 05, 2016 Jkt 238001 the listed rockfish species. Through the process of recovery planning, priority research and recovery actions emerged. One such action was to seek specific genetic data for each of these rockfish species to better evaluate and determine whether differences exist in the genetic structure of the listed species’ populations between inland basins where the DPSs occur and the outer coast. In 2014 and 2015, we partnered with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, several local fishing guides, and Puget Sound Anglers to collect samples and compare the genetic structure of the species’ populations between the different basins of the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin DPSs area and the outer coast. In 2015, we announced a five-year review (80 FR 6695; February 6, 2015) for the three rockfish DPSs. The fiveyear review was completed on May 5, 2016 (NMFS 2016), and is available at: http:// www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ publications/protected_species/other/ rockfish/5.5.2016_5yr_review_report_ rockfish.pdf. To complete the review, we collected, evaluated, and incorporated all information on the species that has become available since April 2010, the date of the listing, including the 2014 final critical habitat designation and the newly obtained genetic information. This newly obtained genetic information and the five-year review inform the conclusions in this proposed rule. Policies for Delineating and Listing Species Under the ESA Under the ESA, the term ‘‘species’’ means a species, a subspecies, or a DPS of a vertebrate species (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). A joint NMFS–USFWS policy clarifies the Services’ interpretation of the phrase ‘‘Distinct Population Segment,’’ or DPS (61 FR 4722; February 7, 1996). The DPS Policy requires the consideration of two elements when evaluating whether a vertebrate population segment qualifies as a DPS under the ESA: (1) Discreteness of the population segment in relation to the remainder of the species/taxon; and, if discrete, (2) the significance of the population segment to the species/taxon to which it belongs. Thus, under the DPS policy a population segment is considered a DPS if it is both discrete from other populations within its taxon and significant to its taxon. A population may be considered discrete if it satisfies either one of the following conditions: (1) It is markedly separated from other populations of the same taxon as a consequence of PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 physical, physiological, ecological, or behavioral factors; or (2) it is delimited by international governmental boundaries within which differences in control of exploitation, management of habitat, conservation status, or regulatory mechanisms exist that are significant in light of section 4(a)(1)(D) of the ESA (61 FR 4722; February 7, 1996). According to the policy, quantitative measures of genetic or morphological discontinuity can be used to provide evidence for item (1) below. A population may be considered significant if it satisfies any one of the following conditions: (1) Persistence of the discrete segment in an ecological setting unusual or unique for the taxon; (2) evidence that loss of the discrete segment would result in a significant gap in the range of the taxon; (3) evidence that the discrete segment represents the only surviving natural occurrence of a taxon that may be more abundant elsewhere as an introduced population outside its historical range; or 4) evidence that the discrete segment differs markedly from other populations of the species in its genetic characteristics. The ESA gives us clear authority to make listing determinations and to revise the Federal list of endangered and threatened species to reflect these determinations. Section 4(a)(1) of the ESA authorizes us to determine by regulation whether ‘‘any species,’’ which is defined to include species, subspecies, and DPSs, is an endangered species or a threatened species based on certain factors. Review of a species’ status may be commenced at any time, either on the Services’ own initiative— through a status review or in connection with a five-year review under Section 4(c)(2)—or in response to a petition. Because a DPS is not a scientifically recognized entity, but rather one created under the language of the ESA and effectuated through our DPS Policy (61 FR 4722; February 7, 1996), we have some discretion to determine whether populations of a species should be identified as DPSs and, based upon their range and propensity for movement, what boundaries should be recognized for a DPS. Section 4(c)(1) of the ESA gives us authority to update the Federal list of threatened and endangered species to reflect these determinations. This can include revising the list to remove a species or reclassify the listed entity. Under sections 4(c)(1) and 4(a)(1) of the ESA, the Secretary shall undertake a five-year review of a listed species and consider, among other things, whether a species’ listing status should be E:\FR\FM\06JYP1.SGM 06JYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 129 / Wednesday, July 6, 2016 / Proposed Rules continued. Pursuant to implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.11(d), a species shall be removed from the list if the Secretary of Commerce determines, based on the best scientific and commercial data available after conducting a review of the species’ status, that the species is no longer threatened or endangered because of one or a combination of the section 4(a)(1) factors. A species may be delisted only if such data substantiate that it is neither endangered nor threatened for one or more of the following reasons: (1) Extinction. Unless all individuals of the listed species had been previously identified and located, and were later found to be extirpated from their previous range, a sufficient period of time must be allowed before delisting to indicate clearly that the species is extinct. (2) Recovery. The principal goal of the Services is to return listed species to a point at which protection under the ESA is no longer required. A species may be delisted on the basis of recovery only if the best scientific and commercial data available indicate that it is no longer endangered or threatened. (3) Original data for classification in error. Subsequent investigations may show that the best scientific or commercial data available when the species was listed, or the interpretation of such data, were in error (50 CFR 424.11(d)). DPS and Status Determinations ehiers on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Genetics Data Collection and Analysis Methods Analysis of the geographical distribution of genetic variation is a powerful method of identifying discrete populations (Drake et al. 2010); thus, genetic analysis provides useful information to address the uncertainties associated with the limited information that informed our initial discreteness determinations for yelloweye rockfish, canary rockfish and bocaccio. To address the need for specific genetic data from yelloweye rockfish, canary rockfish and bocaccio within the inland Puget Sound/Georgia Basin area to compare to genetic data from rockfish in coastal areas as defined during recovery planning, we collected biological samples for genetic analysis several ways. Over the course of 74 fishing trips, biological samples were gathered from listed rockfishes using hook-and-line recreational fishing methods in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Additional samples were gathered from archived sources from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:12 Jul 05, 2016 Jkt 238001 NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s Fisheries Resource Division, and the NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s West Coast groundfish bottom trawl survey. Samples collected from these sources were used to examine the population structure for each species. Population structure was examined using three methods: principal components analysis, calculation of FST (fixation index; measure of population differentiation) among geographic groups, and a population genetics based model clustering analysis (termed STRUCTURE) (NMFS 2016). NMFS’ Puget Sound/Georgia Basin rockfish BRT reviewed the results from the new genetic information. Their recommendations (Ford 2015) informed and were further evaluated during the five-year review. The results are summarized below. Yelloweye Rockfish Findings Several different analytical methods indicated significant genetic differentiation between the inland and coastal samples of yelloweye rockfish at a level consistent with the limited genetic data for this species (Yamanaka et al. 2006) that were available at the time of the 2010 status review. The BRT concluded that these new data represent the best available science and commercial data and are consistent with and confirm the existence of an inland population of Puget Sound/Georgia Basin yelloweye rockfish that is discrete from coastal yelloweye rockfish (Ford 2015). In addition, yelloweye rockfish from Hood Canal were genetically differentiated from other Puget Sound/ Georgia Basin fish, indicating a previously unknown degree of population differentiation within the DPS. The BRT also found that new genetic information from Canada demonstrates that yelloweye rockfish occurring in the northern Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Channel clustered genetically with yelloweye rockfish occurring in the northern Strait of Georgia, the San Juan Islands, and Puget Sound. This is consistent with additional genetic analysis identifying a population of yelloweye rockfish inside the waters of eastern Vancouver Island (Yamanaka et. al. 2006, COSEWIC 2008, Yamanaka et al. 2012, Seigle et al. 2013). Based on this information and the five-year review, this proposed rule would correct the previous description of the northern boundary of the threatened Puget Sound/Georgia Basin yelloweye rockfish (S. ruberrimus) DPS to include this area. This proposed rule would also update and amend the description of the PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 43981 DPS as fish residing within certain boundaries (including this geographic area farther north in the Strait of Georgia waters in Canada). We propose this change because this description better aligns with yelloweye rockfish lifehistory and their sedentary behavior as adults, rather than the current description of fish originating from the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin. Canary Rockfish Findings These same analytical methods were used to analyze population structure in canary rockfish. These current analyses indicate a lack of genetic differentiation of canary rockfish between coastal and inland Puget Sound/Georgia Basin samples. FST values, a metric of population differentiation, among groups were not significantly different from zero among geographic regions, and STRUCTURE analysis did not provide evidence supporting population structure in the data. None of these analyses provided any evidence of genetic differentiation between canary rockfish along the coast from the canary rockfish within the boundaries of the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin DPS (NMFS 2016). The BRT noted that the very large number of loci provided considerable power to detect differentiation among sample groups and concluded that the lack of such differentiation indicated that it is unlikely that the inland Puget Sound/Georgia Basin samples are discrete from coastal areas (Ford 2015). In the context of this newly obtained genetic information, the BRT considered whether other factors that supported the original discreteness determination, such as oceanography and ecological differences among locations, continue to support a finding of discreteness for this population. In considering this newly obtained genetic data in the context of the other evidence, the BRT found that their original interpretation of the scientific data informing discreteness is no longer supported. Rather, they concluded that the lack of genetic differentiation indicates sufficient dispersal to render a discreteness determination based on environmental factors implausible. The BRT found that current genetic data evaluated and interpreted in the context of all available scientific information now provides strong evidence that canary rockfish of the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin are not discrete from coastal area canary rockfish. Based on the BRT findings, the five-year review, and best available science and commercial information, and in accordance with the DPS policy, we have determined that the canary rockfish of the Puget Sound/ E:\FR\FM\06JYP1.SGM 06JYP1 43982 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 129 / Wednesday, July 6, 2016 / Proposed Rules ehiers on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Georgia Basin do not meet the criteria to be considered a DPS. The new genetic data reveal that canary rockfish of the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin are part of the larger population occupying the Pacific Coast. Canary rockfish of the Pacific Coast was declared overfished in 2000 and a rebuilding plan under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act was put in place in 2001. NMFS determined the stock to be ‘‘rebuilt’’ in 2015 (Thorson and Wetzel 2015, NMFS 2016). Based on the discussion above and the recommendation of the five-year review, we are proposing to remove Puget Sound/Georgia Basin canary rockfish from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species because the new genetic data evaluated and interpreted in the context of all best available science indicate they are not a discrete population. Under section 4(c)(1) of the ESA and the implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.11(d)(3), we may propose to delist canary rockfish if, among other things, subsequent investigation demonstrates that our interpretation of best scientific or commercial information was in error. After considering this newly obtained genetic data in the context of the other evidence supporting discreteness, we determined that our original interpretation of discreteness for Puget Sound/Georgia Basin canary rockfish is no longer supported and was in error. Based on this reasoning, there is no VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:12 Jul 05, 2016 Jkt 238001 need for a post-delisting monitoring plan. originating from the Puget Sound/ Georgia Basin. Bocaccio Findings Bocaccio are rare within the DPS area and we were able to obtain only a few samples of them in the genetic study. Because of their rarity, the genetic analysis for bocaccio included only two samples from within the DPS area, and this is not sufficient information to change our prior status review determination that Puget Sound/Georgia Basin bocaccio are discrete from coastal fish (Ford, 2015). The BRT noted that bocaccio have a propensity for greater adult movement than more benthic rockfish species, similar to the case for canary rockfish. The BRT considered that the lack of genetic differentiation between coastal and Puget Sound/Georgia Basin canary rockfish might suggest a similar lack of genetic differentiation for bocaccio because of similarities in the life history of the two species. However, the BRT concluded that the new information was not sufficient to change the conclusions of the previous BRT documented in Drake et al. (2010). This is consistent with the five-year review recommendation (NMFS 2016) and is based upon best available scientific data and commercial information. Similar to yelloweye rockfish, we propose to update and amend the listing description of the bocaccio DPS to describe boundaries to include fish residing within the Puget Sound/ Georgia Basin rather than fish Effects of the New Determinations PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Based on the new information and the BRT’s determination, we propose that Puget Sound/Georgia Basin canary rockfish be removed from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species. The Puget Sound/Georgia Basin yelloweye rockfish DPS shall remain threatened under the ESA, and the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin bocaccio DPS shall remain endangered. We also propose to remove designated critical habitat for canary rockfish. The critical habitat designation for the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin yelloweye rockfish and bocaccio DPSs will remain in place. The area removed as designated critical habitat for canary rockfish will continue to be designated critical habitat for bocaccio and, thus, there will be no change to the spatial area that was originally designated. Maps of critical habitat can be found on our Web site at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov and in the final critical habitat rule (79 FR 68041; November 13, 2014). Additionally, we propose to update and amend the listing description of the yelloweye rockfish DPS to define geographical boundaries including an area farther north of the Johnstone Strait in Canada (Figure 1). This boundary would not have an effect on critical habitat, because we do not designate critical habitat outside U.S. territory. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\06JYP1.SGM 06JYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 129 / Wednesday, July 6, 2016 / Proposed Rules References Cited If the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin canary rockfish DPS is delisted, then the requirements under section 7 of the ESA would no longer apply. Federal agencies would be relieved of the need to consult with us on their actions that may affect Puget Sound/Georgia Basin canary rockfish and their designated critical habitat and to insure that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of canary rockfish or adversely modify their critical habitat. ESA section 7 consultation requirements will remain in place for the Puget Sound/ Georgia Basin yelloweye rockfish and bocaccio DPSs. Recovery planning efforts will continue for these listed DPSs as well. VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:12 Jul 05, 2016 Jkt 238001 The complete citations for the references used in this document can be obtained by contacting NMFS (See ADDRESSES and FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) or on our Web page at: http:// www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov. Information Quality Act and Peer Review In December 2004, OMB issued a Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review pursuant to the Information Quality Act. The Bulletin was published in the Federal Register on January 14, 2005 (70 FR 2664). The Bulletin established minimum peer review standards, a transparent process for public disclosure of peer review planning, and opportunities for public participation with regard to certain PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 types of information disseminated by the Federal Government. Peer review under the OMB Peer Review Bulletin ensures that our listing determinations are based on the best available scientific and commercial information. Prior to a final rule, and during the public comment period, NMFS will solicit the expert opinions of three qualified specialists selected from the academic and scientific community, Federal and state agencies, or the private sector to review our five-year review and underlying science supporting this action, to ensure the best biological and commercial information is being used in the decision-making process. E:\FR\FM\06JYP1.SGM 06JYP1 EP06JY16.000</GPH> ehiers on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 3510–22–C 43983 43984 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 129 / Wednesday, July 6, 2016 / Proposed Rules National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) The 1982 amendments to the ESA, in section 4(b)(1)(A), restrict the information that may be considered when assessing species for listing. Based on this limitation of criteria for a listing decision and the opinion in Pacific Legal Foundation v. Andrus, 657 F. 2d 829 (6th Cir. 1981), we have concluded that NEPA does not apply to ESA listing actions. (See NOAA Administrative Order 216–6.) Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Flexibility Act, and Paperwork Reduction Act Executive Order 13122, Federalism In accordance with E.O. 13132, we determined that this proposed rule does not have significant federalism effects and that a federalism assessment is not required. In keeping with the intent of the Administration and Congress to provide continuing and meaningful dialogue on issues of mutual state and Federal interest, this proposed rule will be shared with the relevant state agencies in Washington state. List of Subjects 50 CFR Part 224 Endangered and threatened species. * * * Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531–1543; subpart B, § 223.201–202 also issued under 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 5503(d) for § 223.206(d)(9). * * * * * * Yelloweye rockfish residing within the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin, inclusive of the Queen Charlotte Channel to Malcom Island, in a straight line between the western shores of Numas and Malcom Islands—N. 50 50′46″, W. 127 5′55″ and N. 50 36′49″, W. 127 10′17″. The Western Boundary of the U.S. side in the Strait of Juan de Fuca is N. 48 7′16″, W. 123 17′15″ in a straight line to the Canadian side at N. 48 24′40″, 123 17′38″. * * * (e) * * * Citation(s) for listing determination(s) Description of listed entity * Sebastes ruberrimus. 1. The authority citation for part 223 continues to read as follows: ■ § 223.102 Enumeration of threatened marine and anadromous species. Scientific name * Rockfish, yelloweye (Puget Sound/ Georgia Basin DPS). PART 223—THREATENED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES 2. In § 223.102, in the table in paragraph (e), under the subheading ‘‘Fishes’’, remove the entry for ‘‘Rockfish, canary (Puget Sound/Georgia Basin DPS)’’; and revise the table entries for ‘‘Rockfish, yelloweye (Puget Sound/ Georgia Basin DPS)’’, to read as follows: Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Transportation. Species 1 * FISHES For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR parts 223 and 224 are proposed to be amended as follows: ■ 50 CFR Part 223 As noted in the Conference Report on the 1982 amendments to the ESA, economic impacts cannot be considered when assessing the status of a species. Therefore, the economic analysis requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act are not applicable to the listing process. In addition, this proposed rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. This proposed rule does not contain a Common name Dated: June 23, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. collection of information requirement for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act. Classification * Critical habitat * * 75 FR 22276, Apr 28, 2010. * * * ESA rules * * * 226.224 * NA * 1 Species includes taxonomic species, subspecies, distinct population segments (DPSs) (for a policy statement, see 61 FR 4722, February, 1996), and evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) (for a policy statement, see 56 FR 58612, November 20, 1991). PART 224—ENDANGERED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531–1543 and 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq. table entry for ‘‘Bocaccio (Puget Sound/ Georgia Basin DPS)’’ to read as follows: 3. The authority citation for part 224 continues to read as follows: ■ 4. In § 224.101, paragraph (h), under the subheading ‘‘Fishes’’, revise the § 224.101 Enumeration of endangered marine and anadromous species. ehiers on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS ■ * VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:12 Jul 05, 2016 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 * * (h) * * * E:\FR\FM\06JYP1.SGM 06JYP1 * * 43985 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 129 / Wednesday, July 6, 2016 / Proposed Rules Species 1 Common name * FISHES Bocaccio (Puget Sound/Georgia Basin DPS). Scientific name * * Sebastes paucispinis. * Citation(s) for listing determination(s) Description of listed entity * * Bocaccio residing within the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin to the Northern Boundary of the Northern Strait of Georgia along the southern contours of Quadra Island, Maurelle Island and Sonora Island, all of Bute Inlet. The Western Boundary of the U.S. side in the Strait of Juan de Fuca is N. 48 7′16″, W. 123 17′15″ in a straight line to the Canadian side at N. 48 24′40″, 123 17′38″. * * * Critical habitat * 75 FR 22276, Apr 28, 2010. * * 226.224 * 1 Species ESA rules NA * includes taxonomic species, subspecies, distinct population segments (DPSs) (for a policy statement, see 61 FR 4722, February, 1996), and evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) (for a policy statement, see 56 FR 58612, November 20, 1991). [FR Doc. 2016–15923 Filed 7–5–16; 8:45 am] ehiers on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:12 Jul 05, 2016 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\06JYP1.SGM 06JYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 129 (Wednesday, July 6, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 43979-43985]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-15923]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 223 and 224

[Docket No. 160524463-6544-01]
RIN 0648-XE657


Endangered and Threatened Species; Removal of the Puget Sound/
Georgia Basin Distinct Population Segment of Canary Rockfish From the 
Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species, and Removal of 
Designated Critical Habitat, and Update and Amend the Listing 
Descriptions for the Yelloweye Rockfish DPS and Bocaccio DPS

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We, NMFS, are issuing a proposed rule to remove the Puget 
Sound/Georgia Basin canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger) Distinct 
Population Segment (DPS) from the Federal List of Threatened and 
Endangered Species and remove its critical habitat designation as 
recommended in the recent five-year review under the Endangered Species 
Act (ESA). We propose these actions based on newly obtained genetic 
information that demonstrates that the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin canary 
rockfish population does not meet the DPS criteria and therefore does 
not qualify for listing under the ESA.
    We also propose to update and amend the listing description for the 
Puget Sound/Georgia Basin yelloweye rockfish (S. ruberrimus) DPS based 
on a geographic description to include fish within specified 
boundaries. Further, although the current listing description is not 
based on boundaries, with this proposal we are also correcting a 
descriptive boundary for the DPS depicted on maps to include an area in 
the northern Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Channel in waters of 
Canada consistent with newly obtained genetic information on yelloweye 
rockfish population grouping.
    We also propose to update and amend the listing description for the 
bocaccio DPS based on a geographic description and to include fish 
within specified boundaries.

DATES: Information and comments on the subject action must be received 
by September 6, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Reference materials supporting this rulemaking can be 
obtained via the Internet at: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ 
or by submitting a request to Dan Tonnes, Protected Resources Division, 
West Coast Region, National Marine Fisheries Service, 7600 Sand Point 
Way NE., Seattle WA, 98115.
    You may submit comments, identified by the code: NOAA-NMFS-2016-
0070 by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0070. Click the ``Comment Now'' icon, 
complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
     Mail: Send comments to Chris Yates, Assistant Regional 
Administrator, Protected Resources Division, NMFS, West Coast Regional 
Office, Attn: Dan Tonnes, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115.
    Instructions: You must submit comments by one of the above methods 
to ensure that we receive, document, and consider them. Comments sent 
by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received 
after the end of the comment period, may not be considered. All 
comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be 
posted for public viewing on http://www.regulations.gov without change. 
All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), 
confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information 
submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. We 
will accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if 
you wish to remain anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Tonnes, NMFS, West Coast Region, 
Protected Resources Division, 206-526-4643; or Chelsey Young, NMFS, 
Office of Protected Resources, 301-427-8403.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    We have been petitioned several times to list various ``DPSs'' of 
rockfish in the Puget Sound region. In response to a petition in 1999, 
we conducted a status review of brown rockfish, copper rockfish, and 
quillback rockfish (Stout et al. 2001). During this status review, the 
Biological Review Team (BRT) that we established determined that the 
available genetic information for each species demonstrated population 
structure and supported a determination of discreteness as defined by 
the joint NMFS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) 1996 DPS 
Policy (61 FR 4722; February 7, 1996). Based on this examination, the 
BRT identified a DPS for each of the three rockfish species in Puget 
Sound proper that can be considered a species under the ESA, and 
concluded that none of the identified DPSs were at risk of extinction 
(Stout et al. 2001).
    On April 9, 2007, we received a petition from Mr. Sam Wright 
(Olympia, Washington) to list DPSs of five rockfish species (yelloweye, 
canary, bocaccio, greenstriped and redstripe) in Puget Sound, as 
endangered or threatened species under the ESA and to designate 
critical habitat. We found that this petition did not present 
substantial scientific or commercial information to suggest that the 
petitioned actions may be warranted (72 FR 56986; October 5, 2007). On 
October 29, 2007, we received a letter from Mr. Wright presenting 
information that was not included in the April 2007 petition, and 
requesting reconsideration of the decision not to initiate a review of 
the species' status. We considered the supplemental information as a 
new petition and concluded that there was enough information in this 
new petition to warrant conducting status reviews of these five 
rockfish species. The status review was initiated on March 17, 2008 (73 
FR 14195) and completed in 2010 (Drake et al. 2010).
    In the 2010 status review, the BRT used the best scientific and 
commercial data available at that time, including environmental and 
ecological features of

[[Page 43980]]

the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin, but noted that the limited genetic and 
demographic data for the five petitioned rockfish species populations 
created some uncertainty in the DPS determinations (Drake et al. 2010). 
The BRT assessed genetic data from the Strait of Georgia (inside waters 
of eastern Vancouver Island) for yelloweye rockfish (Yamanaka et al. 
2006), that indicated a distinct genetic cluster that differed 
consistently from coastal samples of yelloweye rockfish, but also 
observed that genetic data from Puget Sound were not available for this 
species. The BRT also noted there was genetic information for canary 
rockfish (Wishard et al. 1980) and bocaccio (Matala et al. 2004, Field 
et al. 2009) in coastal waters, but no genetic data for either species 
from inland Puget Sound waters. The BRT found that in spite of these 
data limitations there was other evidence to conclude that each noted 
population of rockfish within inland waters of the Puget Sound/Georgia 
Basin was discrete from its coastal counterpart. Specifically, the BRT 
noted similar life histories of rockfish and based their 
determinations, in part, on the status review of brown rockfish, copper 
rockfish, and quillback rockfish (Stout et al. 2001) and the genetic 
information for those species that supported separate DPSs for inland 
compared to coastal populations (Drake et al. 2010). Thus, based on 
information related to rockfish life history, genetic variation among 
populations, and the environmental and ecological features of Puget 
Sound and the Georgia Basin, the BRT identified Puget Sound/Georgia 
Basin DPSs for yelloweye rockfish, canary rockfish, and bocaccio, and a 
Puget Sound proper DPS for greenstriped rockfish and redstripe rockfish 
(Drake et al. 2010).
    Informed by the BRT recommendations and our interpretation of best 
available scientific and commercial data, on April 28, 2010, we listed 
the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin DPSs of yelloweye rockfish and canary 
rockfish as threatened under the ESA, and the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin 
DPS of bocaccio as endangered (75 FR 22276). The final critical habitat 
rule for the listed DPSs of rockfishes was published in the Federal 
Register on November 1, 2014 (79 FR 68041). We determined that 
greenstriped rockfish (S. elongatus) and redstripe rockfish (S. 
proriger) within Puget Sound proper each qualified as a DPS, but these 
DPSs were not at risk of extinction throughout all or a significant 
portion of their ranges (Drake et al. 2010).
    In 2013, we appointed a recovery team and initiated recovery 
planning for the listed rockfish species. Through the process of 
recovery planning, priority research and recovery actions emerged. One 
such action was to seek specific genetic data for each of these 
rockfish species to better evaluate and determine whether differences 
exist in the genetic structure of the listed species' populations 
between inland basins where the DPSs occur and the outer coast.
    In 2014 and 2015, we partnered with the Washington Department of 
Fish and Wildlife, several local fishing guides, and Puget Sound 
Anglers to collect samples and compare the genetic structure of the 
species' populations between the different basins of the Puget Sound/
Georgia Basin DPSs area and the outer coast.
    In 2015, we announced a five-year review (80 FR 6695; February 6, 
2015) for the three rockfish DPSs. The five-year review was completed 
on May 5, 2016 (NMFS 2016), and is available at: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/protected_species/other/rockfish/5.5.2016_5yr_review_report_rockfish.pdf. To complete the 
review, we collected, evaluated, and incorporated all information on 
the species that has become available since April 2010, the date of the 
listing, including the 2014 final critical habitat designation and the 
newly obtained genetic information. This newly obtained genetic 
information and the five-year review inform the conclusions in this 
proposed rule.

Policies for Delineating and Listing Species Under the ESA

    Under the ESA, the term ``species'' means a species, a subspecies, 
or a DPS of a vertebrate species (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). A joint NMFS-
USFWS policy clarifies the Services' interpretation of the phrase 
``Distinct Population Segment,'' or DPS (61 FR 4722; February 7, 1996). 
The DPS Policy requires the consideration of two elements when 
evaluating whether a vertebrate population segment qualifies as a DPS 
under the ESA: (1) Discreteness of the population segment in relation 
to the remainder of the species/taxon; and, if discrete, (2) the 
significance of the population segment to the species/taxon to which it 
belongs. Thus, under the DPS policy a population segment is considered 
a DPS if it is both discrete from other populations within its taxon 
and significant to its taxon.
    A population may be considered discrete if it satisfies either one 
of the following conditions: (1) It is markedly separated from other 
populations of the same taxon as a consequence of physical, 
physiological, ecological, or behavioral factors; or (2) it is 
delimited by international governmental boundaries within which 
differences in control of exploitation, management of habitat, 
conservation status, or regulatory mechanisms exist that are 
significant in light of section 4(a)(1)(D) of the ESA (61 FR 4722; 
February 7, 1996). According to the policy, quantitative measures of 
genetic or morphological discontinuity can be used to provide evidence 
for item (1) below.
    A population may be considered significant if it satisfies any one 
of the following conditions: (1) Persistence of the discrete segment in 
an ecological setting unusual or unique for the taxon; (2) evidence 
that loss of the discrete segment would result in a significant gap in 
the range of the taxon; (3) evidence that the discrete segment 
represents the only surviving natural occurrence of a taxon that may be 
more abundant elsewhere as an introduced population outside its 
historical range; or 4) evidence that the discrete segment differs 
markedly from other populations of the species in its genetic 
characteristics.
    The ESA gives us clear authority to make listing determinations and 
to revise the Federal list of endangered and threatened species to 
reflect these determinations. Section 4(a)(1) of the ESA authorizes us 
to determine by regulation whether ``any species,'' which is defined to 
include species, subspecies, and DPSs, is an endangered species or a 
threatened species based on certain factors. Review of a species' 
status may be commenced at any time, either on the Services' own 
initiative--through a status review or in connection with a five-year 
review under Section 4(c)(2)--or in response to a petition. Because a 
DPS is not a scientifically recognized entity, but rather one created 
under the language of the ESA and effectuated through our DPS Policy 
(61 FR 4722; February 7, 1996), we have some discretion to determine 
whether populations of a species should be identified as DPSs and, 
based upon their range and propensity for movement, what boundaries 
should be recognized for a DPS. Section 4(c)(1) of the ESA gives us 
authority to update the Federal list of threatened and endangered 
species to reflect these determinations. This can include revising the 
list to remove a species or reclassify the listed entity.
    Under sections 4(c)(1) and 4(a)(1) of the ESA, the Secretary shall 
undertake a five-year review of a listed species and consider, among 
other things, whether a species' listing status should be

[[Page 43981]]

continued. Pursuant to implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.11(d), a 
species shall be removed from the list if the Secretary of Commerce 
determines, based on the best scientific and commercial data available 
after conducting a review of the species' status, that the species is 
no longer threatened or endangered because of one or a combination of 
the section 4(a)(1) factors. A species may be delisted only if such 
data substantiate that it is neither endangered nor threatened for one 
or more of the following reasons:
    (1) Extinction. Unless all individuals of the listed species had 
been previously identified and located, and were later found to be 
extirpated from their previous range, a sufficient period of time must 
be allowed before delisting to indicate clearly that the species is 
extinct.
    (2) Recovery. The principal goal of the Services is to return 
listed species to a point at which protection under the ESA is no 
longer required. A species may be delisted on the basis of recovery 
only if the best scientific and commercial data available indicate that 
it is no longer endangered or threatened.
    (3) Original data for classification in error. Subsequent 
investigations may show that the best scientific or commercial data 
available when the species was listed, or the interpretation of such 
data, were in error (50 CFR 424.11(d)).

DPS and Status Determinations

Genetics Data Collection and Analysis Methods

    Analysis of the geographical distribution of genetic variation is a 
powerful method of identifying discrete populations (Drake et al. 
2010); thus, genetic analysis provides useful information to address 
the uncertainties associated with the limited information that informed 
our initial discreteness determinations for yelloweye rockfish, canary 
rockfish and bocaccio.
    To address the need for specific genetic data from yelloweye 
rockfish, canary rockfish and bocaccio within the inland Puget Sound/
Georgia Basin area to compare to genetic data from rockfish in coastal 
areas as defined during recovery planning, we collected biological 
samples for genetic analysis several ways. Over the course of 74 
fishing trips, biological samples were gathered from listed rockfishes 
using hook-and-line recreational fishing methods in Puget Sound and the 
Strait of Juan de Fuca. Additional samples were gathered from archived 
sources from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the NMFS Southwest Fisheries 
Science Center's Fisheries Resource Division, and the NMFS Northwest 
Fisheries Science Center's West Coast groundfish bottom trawl survey. 
Samples collected from these sources were used to examine the 
population structure for each species. Population structure was 
examined using three methods: principal components analysis, 
calculation of FST (fixation index; measure of population 
differentiation) among geographic groups, and a population genetics 
based model clustering analysis (termed STRUCTURE) (NMFS 2016).
    NMFS' Puget Sound/Georgia Basin rockfish BRT reviewed the results 
from the new genetic information. Their recommendations (Ford 2015) 
informed and were further evaluated during the five-year review. The 
results are summarized below.

Yelloweye Rockfish Findings

    Several different analytical methods indicated significant genetic 
differentiation between the inland and coastal samples of yelloweye 
rockfish at a level consistent with the limited genetic data for this 
species (Yamanaka et al. 2006) that were available at the time of the 
2010 status review. The BRT concluded that these new data represent the 
best available science and commercial data and are consistent with and 
confirm the existence of an inland population of Puget Sound/Georgia 
Basin yelloweye rockfish that is discrete from coastal yelloweye 
rockfish (Ford 2015). In addition, yelloweye rockfish from Hood Canal 
were genetically differentiated from other Puget Sound/Georgia Basin 
fish, indicating a previously unknown degree of population 
differentiation within the DPS.
    The BRT also found that new genetic information from Canada 
demonstrates that yelloweye rockfish occurring in the northern 
Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Channel clustered genetically with 
yelloweye rockfish occurring in the northern Strait of Georgia, the San 
Juan Islands, and Puget Sound. This is consistent with additional 
genetic analysis identifying a population of yelloweye rockfish inside 
the waters of eastern Vancouver Island (Yamanaka et. al. 2006, COSEWIC 
2008, Yamanaka et al. 2012, Seigle et al. 2013). Based on this 
information and the five-year review, this proposed rule would correct 
the previous description of the northern boundary of the threatened 
Puget Sound/Georgia Basin yelloweye rockfish (S. ruberrimus) DPS to 
include this area. This proposed rule would also update and amend the 
description of the DPS as fish residing within certain boundaries 
(including this geographic area farther north in the Strait of Georgia 
waters in Canada). We propose this change because this description 
better aligns with yelloweye rockfish life-history and their sedentary 
behavior as adults, rather than the current description of fish 
originating from the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin.

Canary Rockfish Findings

    These same analytical methods were used to analyze population 
structure in canary rockfish. These current analyses indicate a lack of 
genetic differentiation of canary rockfish between coastal and inland 
Puget Sound/Georgia Basin samples. FST values, a metric of 
population differentiation, among groups were not significantly 
different from zero among geographic regions, and STRUCTURE analysis 
did not provide evidence supporting population structure in the data. 
None of these analyses provided any evidence of genetic differentiation 
between canary rockfish along the coast from the canary rockfish within 
the boundaries of the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin DPS (NMFS 2016).
    The BRT noted that the very large number of loci provided 
considerable power to detect differentiation among sample groups and 
concluded that the lack of such differentiation indicated that it is 
unlikely that the inland Puget Sound/Georgia Basin samples are discrete 
from coastal areas (Ford 2015). In the context of this newly obtained 
genetic information, the BRT considered whether other factors that 
supported the original discreteness determination, such as oceanography 
and ecological differences among locations, continue to support a 
finding of discreteness for this population. In considering this newly 
obtained genetic data in the context of the other evidence, the BRT 
found that their original interpretation of the scientific data 
informing discreteness is no longer supported. Rather, they concluded 
that the lack of genetic differentiation indicates sufficient dispersal 
to render a discreteness determination based on environmental factors 
implausible. The BRT found that current genetic data evaluated and 
interpreted in the context of all available scientific information now 
provides strong evidence that canary rockfish of the Puget Sound/
Georgia Basin are not discrete from coastal area canary rockfish. Based 
on the BRT findings, the five-year review, and best available science 
and commercial information, and in accordance with the DPS policy, we 
have determined that the canary rockfish of the Puget Sound/

[[Page 43982]]

Georgia Basin do not meet the criteria to be considered a DPS. The new 
genetic data reveal that canary rockfish of the Puget Sound/Georgia 
Basin are part of the larger population occupying the Pacific Coast. 
Canary rockfish of the Pacific Coast was declared overfished in 2000 
and a rebuilding plan under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act was put in place in 2001. NMFS determined the stock 
to be ``rebuilt'' in 2015 (Thorson and Wetzel 2015, NMFS 2016).
    Based on the discussion above and the recommendation of the five-
year review, we are proposing to remove Puget Sound/Georgia Basin 
canary rockfish from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered 
Species because the new genetic data evaluated and interpreted in the 
context of all best available science indicate they are not a discrete 
population. Under section 4(c)(1) of the ESA and the implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR 424.11(d)(3), we may propose to delist canary 
rockfish if, among other things, subsequent investigation demonstrates 
that our interpretation of best scientific or commercial information 
was in error. After considering this newly obtained genetic data in the 
context of the other evidence supporting discreteness, we determined 
that our original interpretation of discreteness for Puget Sound/
Georgia Basin canary rockfish is no longer supported and was in error. 
Based on this reasoning, there is no need for a post-delisting 
monitoring plan.

Bocaccio Findings

    Bocaccio are rare within the DPS area and we were able to obtain 
only a few samples of them in the genetic study. Because of their 
rarity, the genetic analysis for bocaccio included only two samples 
from within the DPS area, and this is not sufficient information to 
change our prior status review determination that Puget Sound/Georgia 
Basin bocaccio are discrete from coastal fish (Ford, 2015).
    The BRT noted that bocaccio have a propensity for greater adult 
movement than more benthic rockfish species, similar to the case for 
canary rockfish. The BRT considered that the lack of genetic 
differentiation between coastal and Puget Sound/Georgia Basin canary 
rockfish might suggest a similar lack of genetic differentiation for 
bocaccio because of similarities in the life history of the two 
species. However, the BRT concluded that the new information was not 
sufficient to change the conclusions of the previous BRT documented in 
Drake et al. (2010). This is consistent with the five-year review 
recommendation (NMFS 2016) and is based upon best available scientific 
data and commercial information.
    Similar to yelloweye rockfish, we propose to update and amend the 
listing description of the bocaccio DPS to describe boundaries to 
include fish residing within the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin rather than 
fish originating from the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin.

Effects of the New Determinations

    Based on the new information and the BRT's determination, we 
propose that Puget Sound/Georgia Basin canary rockfish be removed from 
the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species. The Puget Sound/
Georgia Basin yelloweye rockfish DPS shall remain threatened under the 
ESA, and the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin bocaccio DPS shall remain 
endangered.
    We also propose to remove designated critical habitat for canary 
rockfish. The critical habitat designation for the Puget Sound/Georgia 
Basin yelloweye rockfish and bocaccio DPSs will remain in place. The 
area removed as designated critical habitat for canary rockfish will 
continue to be designated critical habitat for bocaccio and, thus, 
there will be no change to the spatial area that was originally 
designated. Maps of critical habitat can be found on our Web site at 
http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov and in the final critical 
habitat rule (79 FR 68041; November 13, 2014).
    Additionally, we propose to update and amend the listing 
description of the yelloweye rockfish DPS to define geographical 
boundaries including an area farther north of the Johnstone Strait in 
Canada (Figure 1). This boundary would not have an effect on critical 
habitat, because we do not designate critical habitat outside U.S. 
territory.
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[[Page 43983]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP06JY16.000

BILLING CODE 3510-22-C
    If the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin canary rockfish DPS is delisted, 
then the requirements under section 7 of the ESA would no longer apply. 
Federal agencies would be relieved of the need to consult with us on 
their actions that may affect Puget Sound/Georgia Basin canary rockfish 
and their designated critical habitat and to insure that any action 
they authorize, fund, or carry out is not likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of canary rockfish or adversely modify their 
critical habitat. ESA section 7 consultation requirements will remain 
in place for the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin yelloweye rockfish and 
bocaccio DPSs. Recovery planning efforts will continue for these listed 
DPSs as well.

References Cited

    The complete citations for the references used in this document can 
be obtained by contacting NMFS (See ADDRESSES and FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT) or on our Web page at: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov.

Information Quality Act and Peer Review

    In December 2004, OMB issued a Final Information Quality Bulletin 
for Peer Review pursuant to the Information Quality Act. The Bulletin 
was published in the Federal Register on January 14, 2005 (70 FR 2664). 
The Bulletin established minimum peer review standards, a transparent 
process for public disclosure of peer review planning, and 
opportunities for public participation with regard to certain types of 
information disseminated by the Federal Government. Peer review under 
the OMB Peer Review Bulletin ensures that our listing determinations 
are based on the best available scientific and commercial information. 
Prior to a final rule, and during the public comment period, NMFS will 
solicit the expert opinions of three qualified specialists selected 
from the academic and scientific community, Federal and state agencies, 
or the private sector to review our five-year review and underlying 
science supporting this action, to ensure the best biological and 
commercial information is being used in the decision-making process.

[[Page 43984]]

Classification

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    The 1982 amendments to the ESA, in section 4(b)(1)(A), restrict the 
information that may be considered when assessing species for listing. 
Based on this limitation of criteria for a listing decision and the 
opinion in Pacific Legal Foundation v. Andrus, 657 F. 2d 829 (6th Cir. 
1981), we have concluded that NEPA does not apply to ESA listing 
actions. (See NOAA Administrative Order 216-6.)

Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Flexibility Act, and Paperwork 
Reduction Act

    As noted in the Conference Report on the 1982 amendments to the 
ESA, economic impacts cannot be considered when assessing the status of 
a species. Therefore, the economic analysis requirements of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act are not applicable to the listing process. 
In addition, this proposed rule is exempt from review under Executive 
Order 12866. This proposed rule does not contain a collection of 
information requirement for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction 
Act.

Executive Order 13122, Federalism

    In accordance with E.O. 13132, we determined that this proposed 
rule does not have significant federalism effects and that a federalism 
assessment is not required. In keeping with the intent of the 
Administration and Congress to provide continuing and meaningful 
dialogue on issues of mutual state and Federal interest, this proposed 
rule will be shared with the relevant state agencies in Washington 
state.

List of Subjects

50 CFR Part 223

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, 
Transportation.

50 CFR Part 224

    Endangered and threatened species.

    Dated: June 23, 2016.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR parts 223 and 224 
are proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 223--THREATENED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES

0
1. The authority citation for part 223 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1531-1543; subpart B, Sec.  223.201-202 
also issued under 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 5503(d) for 
Sec.  223.206(d)(9).

0
2. In Sec.  223.102, in the table in paragraph (e), under the 
subheading ``Fishes'', remove the entry for ``Rockfish, canary (Puget 
Sound/Georgia Basin DPS)''; and revise the table entries for 
``Rockfish, yelloweye (Puget Sound/Georgia Basin DPS)'', to read as 
follows:


Sec.  223.102  Enumeration of threatened marine and anadromous species.

* * * * *
    (e) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Species \1\
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Citation(s) for listing     Critical        ESA rules
             Common name                    Scientific name       Description of listed entity      determination(s)          habitat
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
                Fishes
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Rockfish, yelloweye (Puget Sound/      Sebastes ruberrimus.....  Yelloweye rockfish residing    75 FR 22276, Apr 28,             226.224              NA
 Georgia Basin DPS).                                              within the Puget Sound/        2010.
                                                                  Georgia Basin, inclusive of
                                                                  the Queen Charlotte Channel
                                                                  to Malcom Island, in a
                                                                  straight line between the
                                                                  western shores of Numas and
                                                                  Malcom Islands--N. 50
                                                                  50'46'', W. 127 5'55'' and
                                                                  N. 50 36'49'', W. 127
                                                                  10'17''.
                                                                 The Western Boundary of the
                                                                  U.S. side in the Strait of
                                                                  Juan de Fuca is N. 48
                                                                  7'16'', W. 123 17'15'' in a
                                                                  straight line to the
                                                                  Canadian side at N. 48
                                                                  24'40'', 123 17'38''.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Species includes taxonomic species, subspecies, distinct population segments (DPSs) (for a policy statement, see 61 FR 4722, February, 1996), and
  evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) (for a policy statement, see 56 FR 58612, November 20, 1991).

PART 224--ENDANGERED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES

0
3. The authority citation for part 224 continues to read as follows:


    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531-1543 and 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.

0
4. In Sec.  224.101, paragraph (h), under the subheading ``Fishes'', 
revise the table entry for ``Bocaccio (Puget Sound/Georgia Basin DPS)'' 
to read as follows:


Sec.  224.101  Enumeration of endangered marine and anadromous species.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

[[Page 43985]]



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Species \1\
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Citation(s) for listing     Critical        ESA rules
             Common name                    Scientific name       Description of listed entity      determination(s)          habitat
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
                Fishes
Bocaccio (Puget Sound/Georgia Basin    Sebastes paucispinis....  Bocaccio residing within the   75 FR 22276, Apr 28,             226.224              NA
 DPS).                                                            Puget Sound/Georgia Basin to   2010.
                                                                  the Northern Boundary of the
                                                                  Northern Strait of Georgia
                                                                  along the southern contours
                                                                  of Quadra Island, Maurelle
                                                                  Island and Sonora Island,
                                                                  all of Bute Inlet.
                                                                 The Western Boundary of the
                                                                  U.S. side in the Strait of
                                                                  Juan de Fuca is N. 48
                                                                  7'16'', W. 123 17'15'' in a
                                                                  straight line to the
                                                                  Canadian side at N. 48
                                                                  24'40'', 123 17'38''.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Species includes taxonomic species, subspecies, distinct population segments (DPSs) (for a policy statement, see 61 FR 4722, February, 1996), and
  evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) (for a policy statement, see 56 FR 58612, November 20, 1991).

[FR Doc. 2016-15923 Filed 7-5-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P