Subsistence Taking of Northern Fur Seals on the Pribilof Islands; Summary of Fur Seal Harvests for 2014-2016 and Proposed Annual Subsistence Harvest Needs for 2017-2019, 22797-22801 [2017-10089]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 95 / Thursday, May 18, 2017 / Proposed Rules III. Ordering Clauses 110. It is ordered that, pursuant to the authority contained in sections 1, 2, 4(i), 4(j), 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, and 332 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 154(j), 301, 302a, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, and 332, the FNPRM in GN Docket No. 13–111 is adopted. 111. It is further ordered that, pursuant to applicable procedures set forth in sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments on the FNPRM on or before 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and reply comments on or before 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. 112. It is further ordered that, pursuant to section 801(a)(1)(A) of the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A), the Commission shall send a copy of the FNPRM to Congress and to the Government Accountability Office. 113. It is further ordered that the Commission’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of the FNPRM, including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 20 Communications common carriers, Radio. Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. Proposed Rules For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to further amend 47 CFR part 20, as amended in a final rule published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, as set forth below: PART 20—COMMERCIAL MOBILE RADIO SERVICES 1. The authority citation for part 20 continues to read as follows: jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS ■ Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151, 152(a), 154(i), 157, 160, 201, 214, 222, 251(e), 301, 302, 303, 303(b), 303(r), 307, 307(a), 309, 309(j)(3), 316, 316(a), 332, 610, 615, 615a, 615b, 615c, unless otherwise noted. 2. Amend § 20.23 by adding paragraph (b) to read as follows: ■ § 20.23 Contraband wireless devices in correctional facilities. * * * * * (b) Disabling contraband wireless devices. A Designated Correctional VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:41 May 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 Facility Official may request that a CMRS licensee disable a contraband wireless device in a correctional facility detected by a Contraband Interdiction System as described below. (1) Licensee obligation. A licensee providing CMRS service must: (i) Upon request of a Designated Correctional Facility Official, provide a point of contact suitable for receiving qualifying requests to disable devices; and (ii) Upon request of a Designated Correctional Facility Office to disable a contraband wireless devices, verify that the request is a qualifying request and, if so, permanently disable the device. (2) Qualifying request. A qualifying request must be made in writing via a verifiable transmission mechanism, contain the certifications in paragraph (3) of this section and the device and correctional facility identifying information in paragraph (4) of this section, and be signed by a Designated Correctional Facility Official. For purposes of this section, a Designated Correctional Facility Official means a state or local official responsible for the correctional facility where the contraband device is located. (3) Certifications. A qualifying request must include the following certifications by the Designated Correctional Facility Official: (i) The CIS used to identify the device is authorized for operation through a Commission license or approved lease agreement, referencing the applicable ULS identifying information; (ii) The Designated Correctional Facility Official has contacted all CMRS licensees providing service in the area of the correctional facility in order to establish a verifiable transmission mechanism for making qualifying requests and for receiving notifications from the CMRS licensee; (iii) The Designated Correctional Facility Official has substantial evidence that the contraband wireless device was used in the correctional facility, and that such use was observed within the 30 day period immediately prior to the date of submitting the request; and (iv) The CIS used to identify the device is an Eligible CIS as defined in paragraph (5) of this section. The Designated Correctional Facility Official must include a copy of a FCC Public Notice listing the eligible CIS. (4) Device and correctional facility identifying information. The request must identify the device to be disabled and correctional facility by providing the following information: (i) Identifiers sufficient to uniquely describe the device in question; PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 22797 (ii) Licensee providing CMRS service to the device; (iii) Name of correctional facility; (iv) Street address of correctional facility; (v) Latitude and longitude coordinates sufficient to describe the boundaries of the correctional facility; and (vi) Call signs of FCC Licenses and/or Leases authorizing the CIS. (5) Eligible CIS. (i) In order to be listed on a FCC Public Notice as an Eligible CIS, a CIS operator must demonstrate to the Commission that: (A) All radio transmitters used as part of the CIS have appropriate equipment authorization pursuant to Commission rules; (B) The CIS is designed and will be configured to locate devices solely within a correctional facility, secure and protect the collected information, and is capable of being programmed not to interfere with emergency 911 calls; and (C) The methodology to be used in analyzing data collected by the CIS is sufficiently robust to provide a high degree of certainty that the particular wireless device is in fact located within a correctional facility. (ii) Periodically, the Commission will issue Public Notices listing all Eligible CISs. [FR Doc. 2017–09886 Filed 5–17–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 216 [Docket No. 170303228–7228–01] RIN 0648–BG71 Subsistence Taking of Northern Fur Seals on the Pribilof Islands; Summary of Fur Seal Harvests for 2014–2016 and Proposed Annual Subsistence Harvest Needs for 2017–2019 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: Pursuant to the regulations governing the subsistence taking of North Pacific fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) (northern fur seals), this document summarizes the annual fur seal subsistence harvests on St. George and St. Paul Islands (the Pribilof Islands) in Alaska for 2014–2016 and proposes annual estimates of northern SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\18MYP1.SGM 18MYP1 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 22798 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 95 / Thursday, May 18, 2017 / Proposed Rules fur seal subsistence harvest on the Pribilof Islands for 2017–2019. The proposed number of fur seals expected to satisfy the subsistence requirements of Alaska Natives residing on the Pribilof Islands (Pribilovians) during the years 2017–2019 is 300 to 500 for St. George and 1,645 to 2,000 for St. Paul. These harvest levels are unchanged from the levels established for 2014– 2016. NMFS solicits public comments on the proposed subsistence harvest needs for 2017–2019. DATES: Comments must be received no later than June 19, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2017–0018 by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20170018, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Jon Kurland, Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. Instructions: 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 by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Two Final Environmental Impact Statements and one Draft EIS are available on the Internet at the following address under the NEPA Analyses tab: https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/pr/furseal. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Williams, NMFS Alaska Region, 907–271–5117, michael.williams@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The Eastern Pacific stock of northern fur seals (fur seals) is considered depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), 16 U.S.C. 1361, et seq. The subsistence harvest from this VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:41 May 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 stock on the Pribilof Islands is governed by regulations found in 50 CFR part 216, subpart F, published under the authority of the Fur Seal Act (FSA), 16 U.S.C. 1151, et seq. The regulations authorize Pribilovians to take fur seals on the Pribilof Islands if such taking is for subsistence uses and not accomplished in a wasteful manner. Since 1997, the allowable harvest level for St. George has been 300 to 500 fur seals and the allowable harvest level for St. Paul has been 1,645 to 2,000 fur seals. On both islands, if the harvest reaches the lower level and the Pribilovians have not met their subsistence harvest needs they must obtain the concurrence of NMFS before harvesting up to the upper level. NMFS has restricted the subsistence harvest of fur seals on the Pribilof Islands to sub-adult male fur seals less than 124.5 cm in length during a 47-day season (from June 23 to August 8) on the Pribilof Islands. In 2014, NMFS created a second harvest season on St. George Island (from September 16 to November 30), authorizing the harvest of up to 150 male pups (79 FR 65327; November 4, 2014). The authority to harvest 150 male pups on St. George Island did not change the lower or upper harvest level established previously (79 FR 45728; August 5, 2014). The purposes of these regulations are to (1) limit the take of fur seals to a sustainable level that provides for the subsistence requirements of Pribilovians, and (2) restrict taking by sex, age, location, and season to ensure conservation of the species. Pursuant to subsistence harvest regulations at 50 CFR 216.72(b), every three years NMFS must publish in the Federal Register a summary of the Pribilovians’ fur seal harvest for the previous three-year period. NMFS is also required to include an estimate of the number of fur seals expected to satisfy the subsistence requirements of Pribilovians in the subsequent threeyear period. Since 2000, NMFS estimated the number of seals necessary to satisfy the subsistence requirements of Pribilovians based on discussions with the St. Paul and St. George Tribal Governments (Tribal Governments) as established in their respective comanagement agreements pursuant to Section 119 of the MMPA. NMFS works with the Tribal Governments to estimate a lower and upper number of fur seals to be harvested annually to satisfy the subsistence requirements of the Pribilovians. Other Actions Potentially Affecting the Fur Seal Subsistence Harvest Estimates In response to a petition from the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 NMFS recently published a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the effects relevant to environmental concerns of potential changes to the regulations governing subsistence harvest of fur seals on St. Paul Island (82 FR 4336; January 13, 2017). Based on review of the public comments, NMFS is considering whether to undertake proposed and final rulemaking to revise fur seal subsistence harvest regulations at 50 CFR 216.72. Should NMFS undertake such rulemaking the triennial process of assessing the Pribilovians’ subsistence needs and setting lower and upper levels for the maximum allowable harvest of fur seals may be modified or removed from the regulations. NMFS is not seeking comment on these potential proposals here. Fur Seal Status and Subsistence Needs Based on the most recent fur seal stock assessment report (2016), NMFS estimates that the current abundance of the eastern Pacific fur seals stock is 648,534. The potential biological removal (PBR) level (i.e., the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from the stock while allowing the stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population level) is 11,802 animals (Muto et al., 2016). Harvest of the maximum allowable level on both St. George and St. Paul Islands (2,500 sub-adult male fur seals; a level that the Pribilovians have not reached since 1985) would amount to 21.2 percent of the PBR level. However, the populationlevel effect of the harvest on the stock is lower than 21.2 percent of the PBR because PBR assumes random mortality across all ages and both sexes, and the subsistence harvest is regulated to select sub-adult male fur seals (including male pups on St. George). Fur seal reproduction depends disproportionately on females, so harvesting males has much less influence on the population. Limiting the harvest of fur seals to males that have not reached adulthood has been the basis of sustainable harvests on the Pribilofs for over 100 years. The mortality from the subsistence harvest is in addition to other sources of known human-caused mortality that are described in the annual stock assessment reports (Muto et al., 2016), including bycatch in commercial fisheries, entanglement in derelict fishing gear and marine debris as well as accidental death during research. The 5-year average (2009–2013) annual estimates of the sources of known human-caused mortality of fur seals, as identified in the 2016 stock assessment E:\FR\FM\18MYP1.SGM 18MYP1 22799 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 95 / Thursday, May 18, 2017 / Proposed Rules report (Muto et al., 2016), are: fisheries bycatch (average = 1.1); entanglement (average = 12); research (average <1); and subsistence harvests (average = 432). These sources of known humancaused mortality of fur seals are less than 4 percent of PBR. During the past 5 years, there have been no reports of illegal shooting by fishermen, and one seal was killed in 2015 when it was struck by a car on St. Paul. NMFS Office of Law Enforcement has been unable to identify suspects in cases where illegal harvest of fur seals is suspected. The 1985 and subsequent estimates of the number of fur seals required to meet subsistence needs were based on pounds of meat estimated to have been consumed by Pribilovians from the turn of the century (50 FR 27914, July 4, 1985; 51 FR 17896, May 15, 1986). The short seasons required by the regulations forced employers, employees, and fishermen to choose between wage earning jobs and volunteer participation in the subsistence harvest. Public comments on those notices of the number of fur seals required to meet their subsistence need suggested that NMFS should reduce the lower level of the subsistence need because the actual harvest seldom reached the lower level established in the early years of the subsistence regulations (51 FR 17896, May 15, 1986; 51 FR 24828, July 9, 1986; 53 FR 28886, August 1, 1998; 56 FR 25066, June 3, 1991). NMFS responded by reducing the estimates of Pribilovians’ subsistence need to its lowest level in 1990 and 1991 (1,326–2,300), and in 1991 both islands made written requests to exceed the lower end of the range and ultimately harvested the highest number of fur seals allowed under the subsistence regulations (Table 1). NMFS increased the estimated subsistence need through 1997, and the harvest has not reached the lower level established for either island since 1993 (Table 1). The lower level may only be exceeded if the Assistant Administrator (1) reviews the harvest data, (2) determines that additional harvest is necessary to satisfy Pribilovians’ subsistence needs, and (3) provides a revised estimate of the number of seals required to satisfy subsistence needs in accordance with 50 CFR 216.72(f). Exceedance of the upper harvest level is not authorized. The current lower harvest level of 1,945, while higher than actual harvest levels in the past decade, provides a degree of flexibility that allows for environmental changes and accommodates unanticipated community needs. The communities of St. Paul and St. George Islands rely on marine mammals as a major food source and a cornerstone of their culture. Several factors affect both the subsistence harvest of northern fur seals and the number of fur seals required to meet subsistence needs. Weather conditions and availability of subsistence resources and store-bought foods vary annually. The availability of wage-earning jobs affects the time available for community members to harvest fur seals and other subsistence resources. For example, the subsistence harvest season is concurrent with the Pacific halibut commercial fishing season. Individual community members may choose to participate in wageearning jobs rather than volunteer to participate in the subsistence harvest fur seals. In addition, some seasonal employment opportunities, such as commercial crab fishing, may interfere with community members’ ability to harvest Steller sea lions, increasing their reliance upon the northern fur seal as a subsistence food source. Summary of Harvest Operations and Monitoring From 2014 to 2016 The harvests of sub-adult male fur seals from 2014 to 2016 were conducted in the established manner and employed the standard harvest methods required under 50 CFR 216.72. NMFS personnel, a harvest observer contracted by NMFS, and tribal government staff monitored the harvests during the period of 2014 through 2016. The NMFS personnel, harvest observer, and tribal government staff communicated during and after the harvests to further improve the efficiency of the annual harvest, encourage full utilization of the animals taken, and reduce stress to unharvested seals. NMFS received annual harvest reports from the tribal governments of both islands and the harvest observers. These reports were reviewed and verified by NMFS prior to finalization and public distribution. Through comanagement, the tribal governments on both St. Paul and St. George Islands have taken responsibility for ensuring the subsistence harvest of male fur seals from the age classes authorized on the respective islands is not accomplished in a wasteful manner, minimizes the accidental take of females, and does not result in increased disturbance to the fur seals on rookeries. The Pribilovians have requested more autonomy to undertake and monitor the fur seal harvest themselves via co-management, and NMFS continues to balance that request with the need to independently observe a portion of the harvests on both islands each year (see 51 FR 17896; May 15, 1986, 53 FR 28886; August 1, 1988, 58 FR 42027; August 6, 1993, 79 FR 65327; November 4, 2014). The reported fur seal subsistence harvest for St. Paul was 266 animals in 2014, 314 in 2015, and 309 in 2016 (Lestenkof et al., 2015, Lestenkof et al., 2016, Melovidov et al., 2017). The reported total subsistence harvest of fur seals on St. George Island in 2014, 2015, and 2016 was 158, 118, and 83, respectively, of which the sub-adult harvest was 104 in 2014, 61 in 2015, and 37 in 2016 (Kashevarof 2015, Kashevarof 2016, Lekanof 2017) and the pup harvest was 54 in 2014, 57 in 2015, and 46 in 2016 (Testa 2016, IAG 2016, and IAG 2017). From 1986 to 2016, the reported number of sub-adult male fur seals harvested on St. Paul and St. George ranged from 266–1704 and 37– 319, respectively (Table 1). The average number of male seals harvested annually during the past decade on St. Paul was 318 (range: 262 to 383), and on St. George was 119 (range: 63 to 206) including pups. TABLE 1—HARVEST LEVELS AND ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE HARVEST LEVELS OF SUB-ADULT MALE NORTHERN FUR SEALS ON THE PRIBILOF ISLANDS, 1986–2016 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS [Accidental female harvests and the pup harvest from 2014–16 are not included] Harvest levels Actual harvest Year St. Paul 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:41 May 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4702 2,400–8,000 1,600–2,400 1,800–2,200 1,600–1,800 1,145–1,800 1,145–1,800 Sfmt 4702 St. George 800–1,800 533–1,800 600–740 533–600 181–500 181–500 E:\FR\FM\18MYP1.SGM 18MYP1 St. Paul 1,299 1,704 1,145 1,340 1,077 1,644 St. George 124 92 113 181 164 281 22800 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 95 / Thursday, May 18, 2017 / Proposed Rules TABLE 1—HARVEST LEVELS AND ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE HARVEST LEVELS OF SUB-ADULT MALE NORTHERN FUR SEALS ON THE PRIBILOF ISLANDS, 1986–2016—Continued [Accidental female harvests and the pup harvest from 2014–16 are not included] Harvest levels Actual harvest Year St. Paul 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................. 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 1,645–2,000 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS A single accidental harvest of a subadult female fur seal occurred during 2014–2016 on St. George. On St. Paul harvesters accidentally killed seven subadult females during 2014–2016. The average annual accidental harvest of females is two on St. Paul and less than one on St. George since 1986. Under section 119 of the MMPA, NMFS signed agreements with St. Paul in 2000 and with St. George in 2001 for the cooperative management of subsistence uses of northern fur seals and Steller sea lions. The processes described in the cooperative agreements have facilitated a collaborative working relationship between NMFS and tribal authorities to manage efficient harvests for food and to promote full utilization for traditional arts, crafts, and other uses permitted under regulations at 50 CFR 216.73 (Melovidov et al., 2017, IAG 2016, IAG 2017). accommodates environmental changes, and unanticipated community needs. NMFS will continue to work with the Tribal Governments of St. Paul and St. George under section 119 of the MMPA to ensure their subsistence needs are met in a manner that is consistent with the sustainable use and conservation of fur seals. NMFS seeks public comments on these proposed estimates of the annual number of fur seals expected to satisfy the subsistence requirements of Pribilovians from 2017 through 2019. NMFS will continue to monitor the harvest on St. Paul and St. George Islands during 2017, 2018, and 2019, and coordinate regular monitoring and reporting through the agreements signed for cooperative management of the subsistence use of fur seals. Estimate of Subsistence Need for 2017 Through 2019 For the 3-year period from 2017 through 2019, NMFS proposes no change to the current allowable harvest ranges of 1,645–2,000 sub-adult male fur seals for St. Paul Island and 300–500 sub-adult male fur seals for St. George Island (including up to 150 male pups). Retaining the allowable harvest levels at the current range provides for fur seal conservation, flexibility that NMFS prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) evaluating the impacts on the human environment of the subsistence harvest of northern fur seals, which is available on the NMFS Web site (see Reviewing Documents). A draft EIS was available for public review (69 FR 53915; September 3, 2004), and NMFS incorporated the comments into the final EIS (May 2005). A draft Supplemental EIS (SEIS) was prepared regarding the management of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:41 May 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 Classification National Environmental Policy Act PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 St. George 281–500 281–500 281–500 281–500 281–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 300–500 St. Paul 1,480 1,518 1,615 1,263 1,588 1,153 1,297 1,000 754 595 646 522 493 466 396 269 328 341 357 322 383 298 262 312 308 St. George 194 319 161 259 232 227 256 193 121 184 202 132 123 139 212 206 170 113 78 120 63 80 103 61 37 subsistence harvest of northern fur seals on St. George Island, made available for public review (79 FR 31110; May 30, 2014), and NMFS incorporated the public comments into the final SEIS (79 FR 49774; August 22, 2014). A draft Supplemental EIS (SEIS) was prepared regarding the management of the subsistence harvest of northern fur seals on St. Paul Island, made available for public review (82 FR 4336; January 13, 2017), and NMFS is reviewing those public comments separate from the action considered here. An SEIS should be prepared if (1) the agency makes substantial changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental concerns; or (2) significant new circumstances or information exist relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts (40 CFR 1502.9(c)(1)). After reviewing the information contained in the 2005 EIS and 2014 SEIS, the Regional Administrator has determined that (1) approval of the proposed 2017–2019 fur seal subsistence harvest notice does not constitute a change in the action; and (2) there are no significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts. Additionally, the proposed 2017–2019 fur seal subsistence harvest levels will result in environmental impacts within E:\FR\FM\18MYP1.SGM 18MYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 95 / Thursday, May 18, 2017 / Proposed Rules the scope of those analyzed and disclosed in the previous EIS. Therefore, supplemental NEPA documentation is not necessary to implement the 2017– 2019 fur seal subsistence harvest levels proposed in this document. Executive Order 12866 and 13563 This proposed action is authorized under 50 CFR 216.72(b) and is not significant for the purposes of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563. Regulatory Flexibility Act The Chief Counsel for Regulation, Department of Commerce, certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The harvest of fur seals on the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, is for subsistence purposes only. This action directly regulates the subsistence harvest of northern fur seals by Pribilovians. The estimates of subsistence need are derived based on historic harvest levels and direct consultation with the Tribal Governments from each community. NMFS has identified two small entities that may be affected by this action—the communities of St. Paul and St. George, both of which have populations less than 500. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Estimate of Economic Impacts on Small Entities This action would have no adverse economic impact and may provide a net economic benefit for the communities of St. Paul and St. George. The upper limit of the estimated subsistence harvest need is unlikely to restrict the number of animals taken by subsistence users. NMFS compared historic harvest levels on each island to the upper and lower harvest limits. The total annual harvests on each island have never exceeded the upper limit of the proposed subsistence need, and have only exceeded the lower limit three times; in 1991 on both islands and in 1993 on St. George. The regulated entities will not experience any change from the status quo since the proposed allowable subsistence harvest levels remain unchanged since 1997. The subsistence harvest of fur seals provides a local, affordable source of fresh and frozen meat for the communities’ consumption. Fresh storebought meat is not available on either St. Paul or St. George Islands. Subsistence hunting and fishing are the VerDate Sep<11>2014 12:41 May 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 primary means by which the communities meet their dietary needs. No other fish and wildlife species are predictably available to replace fresh fur seal meat. Livestock meat shipped to the islands is extremely expensive, represents a dietary alternative rather than a replacement for fur seal meat, and is only available when air or barge service can deliver it. In addition, marine mammals such as fur seals are the culturally-preferred meat resource for Aleuts and other coastal Alaska Natives. Explanation of the Criteria Used To Evaluate Whether the Action Would Impose ‘‘Significant Economic Impacts’’ The proposed action will not place any small entities at a disadvantage relative to large entities or impose significant economic impacts on any small entities. The criteria recommended to determine the significance of the economic impacts of the action are profitability and disproportionality. The guidance states that ‘‘the concept of profitability may not be appropriate for a non-profit small organization or a small government jurisdiction.’’ Based on this guidance NMFS believes disproportionality is the appropriate standard given that the regulated entities are small government jurisdictions. No large entities are allowed to harvest northern fur seals; therefore the regulatory allowance for the small entities on St. Paul and St. George to harvest northern fur seals does not create a disproportionate impact that would disadvantage them. Explanation of the Criteria Used To Evaluate Whether the Action Would Impose Impacts on a ‘‘Substantial Number’’ of Small Entities The proposed action would not impose adverse economic impacts on any small entities. Because this action will not impose significant economic impacts on any small entities, it will not impose impacts on a substantial number of small entities. This action may have beneficial economic impacts on the directly regulated Alaska Native residents of St. Paul and St. George and will not have an adverse economic impact on any small entities. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none was prepared. PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 22801 Paperwork Reduction Act This proposed action does not require the collection of information for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act. Executive Order 13132—Federalism This proposed action does not contain policies with federalism implications sufficient to warrant preparation of a federalism assessment under E.O. 13132 because this action does not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Nonetheless, NMFS worked closely with local governments in the Pribilof Islands, and these estimates of subsistence use and need were prepared by the local governments in St. Paul and St. George, with assistance from NMFS officials. Executive Order 13175—Native Consultation Executive Order 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 Native Policy of the U.S. Department of Commerce (March 30, 1995), the Department of Commerce’s Tribal Consultation Policy (including the Department of Commerce Administrative Order 218–8, April 26, 2012), and the NOAA Procedures for Government-to-Government Consultation With Federally Recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations (November 12, 2013) outline the responsibilities of NMFS in matters affecting tribal interests. Section 161 of Public Law 108–100 (188 Stat. 452) as amended by section 518 of Public Law 108–447 (118 Stat. 3267) extends the consultation requirements of E.O. 13175 to Alaska Native corporations. NMFS has contacted the tribal governments of St. Paul and St. George Islands and their respective local Native corporations (Tanadgusix and Tanaq) about setting the next three years’ harvest estimates and received and considered their input. Dated: May 15, 2017. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–10089 Filed 5–16–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\18MYP1.SGM 18MYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 95 (Thursday, May 18, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 22797-22801]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-10089]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 216

[Docket No. 170303228-7228-01]
RIN 0648-BG71


Subsistence Taking of Northern Fur Seals on the Pribilof Islands; 
Summary of Fur Seal Harvests for 2014-2016 and Proposed Annual 
Subsistence Harvest Needs for 2017-2019

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

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: Pursuant to the regulations governing the subsistence taking 
of North Pacific fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) (northern fur seals), 
this document summarizes the annual fur seal subsistence harvests on 
St. George and St. Paul Islands (the Pribilof Islands) in Alaska for 
2014-2016 and proposes annual estimates of northern

[[Page 22798]]

fur seal subsistence harvest on the Pribilof Islands for 2017-2019. The 
proposed number of fur seals expected to satisfy the subsistence 
requirements of Alaska Natives residing on the Pribilof Islands 
(Pribilovians) during the years 2017-2019 is 300 to 500 for St. George 
and 1,645 to 2,000 for St. Paul. These harvest levels are unchanged 
from the levels established for 2014-2016. NMFS solicits public 
comments on the proposed subsistence harvest needs for 2017-2019.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than June 19, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2017-0018 by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2017-0018, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Jon Kurland, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, 
AK 99802-1668.
    Instructions: 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 by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, 
or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender 
will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter 
``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).
    Two Final Environmental Impact Statements and one Draft EIS are 
available on the Internet at the following address under the NEPA 
Analyses tab: https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/pr/fur-seal.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Williams, NMFS Alaska Region, 
907-271-5117, michael.williams@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The Eastern Pacific stock of northern fur seals (fur seals) is 
considered depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), 16 
U.S.C. 1361, et seq. The subsistence harvest from this stock on the 
Pribilof Islands is governed by regulations found in 50 CFR part 216, 
subpart F, published under the authority of the Fur Seal Act (FSA), 16 
U.S.C. 1151, et seq. The regulations authorize Pribilovians to take fur 
seals on the Pribilof Islands if such taking is for subsistence uses 
and not accomplished in a wasteful manner. Since 1997, the allowable 
harvest level for St. George has been 300 to 500 fur seals and the 
allowable harvest level for St. Paul has been 1,645 to 2,000 fur seals. 
On both islands, if the harvest reaches the lower level and the 
Pribilovians have not met their subsistence harvest needs they must 
obtain the concurrence of NMFS before harvesting up to the upper level.
    NMFS has restricted the subsistence harvest of fur seals on the 
Pribilof Islands to sub-adult male fur seals less than 124.5 cm in 
length during a 47-day season (from June 23 to August 8) on the 
Pribilof Islands. In 2014, NMFS created a second harvest season on St. 
George Island (from September 16 to November 30), authorizing the 
harvest of up to 150 male pups (79 FR 65327; November 4, 2014). The 
authority to harvest 150 male pups on St. George Island did not change 
the lower or upper harvest level established previously (79 FR 45728; 
August 5, 2014). The purposes of these regulations are to (1) limit the 
take of fur seals to a sustainable level that provides for the 
subsistence requirements of Pribilovians, and (2) restrict taking by 
sex, age, location, and season to ensure conservation of the species.
    Pursuant to subsistence harvest regulations at 50 CFR 216.72(b), 
every three years NMFS must publish in the Federal Register a summary 
of the Pribilovians' fur seal harvest for the previous three-year 
period. NMFS is also required to include an estimate of the number of 
fur seals expected to satisfy the subsistence requirements of 
Pribilovians in the subsequent three-year period. Since 2000, NMFS 
estimated the number of seals necessary to satisfy the subsistence 
requirements of Pribilovians based on discussions with the St. Paul and 
St. George Tribal Governments (Tribal Governments) as established in 
their respective co-management agreements pursuant to Section 119 of 
the MMPA. NMFS works with the Tribal Governments to estimate a lower 
and upper number of fur seals to be harvested annually to satisfy the 
subsistence requirements of the Pribilovians.

Other Actions Potentially Affecting the Fur Seal Subsistence Harvest 
Estimates

    In response to a petition from the Aleut Community of St. Paul 
Island, NMFS recently published a Draft Supplemental Environmental 
Impact Statement to evaluate the effects relevant to environmental 
concerns of potential changes to the regulations governing subsistence 
harvest of fur seals on St. Paul Island (82 FR 4336; January 13, 2017). 
Based on review of the public comments, NMFS is considering whether to 
undertake proposed and final rulemaking to revise fur seal subsistence 
harvest regulations at 50 CFR 216.72. Should NMFS undertake such 
rulemaking the triennial process of assessing the Pribilovians' 
subsistence needs and setting lower and upper levels for the maximum 
allowable harvest of fur seals may be modified or removed from the 
regulations. NMFS is not seeking comment on these potential proposals 
here.

Fur Seal Status and Subsistence Needs

    Based on the most recent fur seal stock assessment report (2016), 
NMFS estimates that the current abundance of the eastern Pacific fur 
seals stock is 648,534. The potential biological removal (PBR) level 
(i.e., the maximum number of animals, not including natural 
mortalities, that may be removed from the stock while allowing the 
stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population level) is 
11,802 animals (Muto et al., 2016). Harvest of the maximum allowable 
level on both St. George and St. Paul Islands (2,500 sub-adult male fur 
seals; a level that the Pribilovians have not reached since 1985) would 
amount to 21.2 percent of the PBR level. However, the population-level 
effect of the harvest on the stock is lower than 21.2 percent of the 
PBR because PBR assumes random mortality across all ages and both 
sexes, and the subsistence harvest is regulated to select sub-adult 
male fur seals (including male pups on St. George). Fur seal 
reproduction depends disproportionately on females, so harvesting males 
has much less influence on the population. Limiting the harvest of fur 
seals to males that have not reached adulthood has been the basis of 
sustainable harvests on the Pribilofs for over 100 years.
    The mortality from the subsistence harvest is in addition to other 
sources of known human-caused mortality that are described in the 
annual stock assessment reports (Muto et al., 2016), including bycatch 
in commercial fisheries, entanglement in derelict fishing gear and 
marine debris as well as accidental death during research. The 5-year 
average (2009-2013) annual estimates of the sources of known human-
caused mortality of fur seals, as identified in the 2016 stock 
assessment

[[Page 22799]]

report (Muto et al., 2016), are: fisheries bycatch (average = 1.1); 
entanglement (average = 12); research (average <1); and subsistence 
harvests (average = 432). These sources of known human-caused mortality 
of fur seals are less than 4 percent of PBR. During the past 5 years, 
there have been no reports of illegal shooting by fishermen, and one 
seal was killed in 2015 when it was struck by a car on St. Paul. NMFS 
Office of Law Enforcement has been unable to identify suspects in cases 
where illegal harvest of fur seals is suspected.
    The 1985 and subsequent estimates of the number of fur seals 
required to meet subsistence needs were based on pounds of meat 
estimated to have been consumed by Pribilovians from the turn of the 
century (50 FR 27914, July 4, 1985; 51 FR 17896, May 15, 1986). The 
short seasons required by the regulations forced employers, employees, 
and fishermen to choose between wage earning jobs and volunteer 
participation in the subsistence harvest. Public comments on those 
notices of the number of fur seals required to meet their subsistence 
need suggested that NMFS should reduce the lower level of the 
subsistence need because the actual harvest seldom reached the lower 
level established in the early years of the subsistence regulations (51 
FR 17896, May 15, 1986; 51 FR 24828, July 9, 1986; 53 FR 28886, August 
1, 1998; 56 FR 25066, June 3, 1991). NMFS responded by reducing the 
estimates of Pribilovians' subsistence need to its lowest level in 1990 
and 1991 (1,326-2,300), and in 1991 both islands made written requests 
to exceed the lower end of the range and ultimately harvested the 
highest number of fur seals allowed under the subsistence regulations 
(Table 1). NMFS increased the estimated subsistence need through 1997, 
and the harvest has not reached the lower level established for either 
island since 1993 (Table 1). The lower level may only be exceeded if 
the Assistant Administrator (1) reviews the harvest data, (2) 
determines that additional harvest is necessary to satisfy 
Pribilovians' subsistence needs, and (3) provides a revised estimate of 
the number of seals required to satisfy subsistence needs in accordance 
with 50 CFR 216.72(f). Exceedance of the upper harvest level is not 
authorized. The current lower harvest level of 1,945, while higher than 
actual harvest levels in the past decade, provides a degree of 
flexibility that allows for environmental changes and accommodates 
unanticipated community needs.
    The communities of St. Paul and St. George Islands rely on marine 
mammals as a major food source and a cornerstone of their culture. 
Several factors affect both the subsistence harvest of northern fur 
seals and the number of fur seals required to meet subsistence needs. 
Weather conditions and availability of subsistence resources and store-
bought foods vary annually. The availability of wage-earning jobs 
affects the time available for community members to harvest fur seals 
and other subsistence resources. For example, the subsistence harvest 
season is concurrent with the Pacific halibut commercial fishing 
season. Individual community members may choose to participate in wage-
earning jobs rather than volunteer to participate in the subsistence 
harvest fur seals. In addition, some seasonal employment opportunities, 
such as commercial crab fishing, may interfere with community members' 
ability to harvest Steller sea lions, increasing their reliance upon 
the northern fur seal as a subsistence food source.

Summary of Harvest Operations and Monitoring From 2014 to 2016

    The harvests of sub-adult male fur seals from 2014 to 2016 were 
conducted in the established manner and employed the standard harvest 
methods required under 50 CFR 216.72. NMFS personnel, a harvest 
observer contracted by NMFS, and tribal government staff monitored the 
harvests during the period of 2014 through 2016. The NMFS personnel, 
harvest observer, and tribal government staff communicated during and 
after the harvests to further improve the efficiency of the annual 
harvest, encourage full utilization of the animals taken, and reduce 
stress to unharvested seals. NMFS received annual harvest reports from 
the tribal governments of both islands and the harvest observers. These 
reports were reviewed and verified by NMFS prior to finalization and 
public distribution. Through co-management, the tribal governments on 
both St. Paul and St. George Islands have taken responsibility for 
ensuring the subsistence harvest of male fur seals from the age classes 
authorized on the respective islands is not accomplished in a wasteful 
manner, minimizes the accidental take of females, and does not result 
in increased disturbance to the fur seals on rookeries. The 
Pribilovians have requested more autonomy to undertake and monitor the 
fur seal harvest themselves via co-management, and NMFS continues to 
balance that request with the need to independently observe a portion 
of the harvests on both islands each year (see 51 FR 17896; May 15, 
1986, 53 FR 28886; August 1, 1988, 58 FR 42027; August 6, 1993, 79 FR 
65327; November 4, 2014).
    The reported fur seal subsistence harvest for St. Paul was 266 
animals in 2014, 314 in 2015, and 309 in 2016 (Lestenkof et al., 2015, 
Lestenkof et al., 2016, Melovidov et al., 2017). The reported total 
subsistence harvest of fur seals on St. George Island in 2014, 2015, 
and 2016 was 158, 118, and 83, respectively, of which the sub-adult 
harvest was 104 in 2014, 61 in 2015, and 37 in 2016 (Kashevarof 2015, 
Kashevarof 2016, Lekanof 2017) and the pup harvest was 54 in 2014, 57 
in 2015, and 46 in 2016 (Testa 2016, IAG 2016, and IAG 2017). From 1986 
to 2016, the reported number of sub-adult male fur seals harvested on 
St. Paul and St. George ranged from 266-1704 and 37-319, respectively 
(Table 1). The average number of male seals harvested annually during 
the past decade on St. Paul was 318 (range: 262 to 383), and on St. 
George was 119 (range: 63 to 206) including pups.

    Table 1--Harvest Levels and Actual Subsistence Harvest Levels of Sub-Adult Male Northern Fur Seals on the
                                           Pribilof Islands, 1986-2016
                 [Accidental female harvests and the pup harvest from 2014-16 are not included]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Harvest levels                  Actual harvest
                      Year                       ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     St. Paul       St. George       St. Paul       St. George
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1986............................................     2,400-8,000       800-1,800           1,299             124
1987............................................     1,600-2,400       533-1,800           1,704              92
1988............................................     1,800-2,200         600-740           1,145             113
1989............................................     1,600-1,800         533-600           1,340             181
1990............................................     1,145-1,800         181-500           1,077             164
1991............................................     1,145-1,800         181-500           1,644             281

[[Page 22800]]

 
1992............................................     1,645-2,000         281-500           1,480             194
1993............................................     1,645-2,000         281-500           1,518             319
1994............................................     1,645-2,000         281-500           1,615             161
1995............................................     1,645-2,000         281-500           1,263             259
1996............................................     1,645-2,000         281-500           1,588             232
1997............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500           1,153             227
1998............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500           1,297             256
1999............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500           1,000             193
2000............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             754             121
2001............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             595             184
2002............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             646             202
2003............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             522             132
2004............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             493             123
2005............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             466             139
2006............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             396             212
2007............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             269             206
2008............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             328             170
2009............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             341             113
2010............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             357              78
2011............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             322             120
2012............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             383              63
2013............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             298              80
2014............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             262             103
2015............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             312              61
2016............................................     1,645-2,000         300-500             308              37
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A single accidental harvest of a sub-adult female fur seal occurred 
during 2014-2016 on St. George. On St. Paul harvesters accidentally 
killed seven sub-adult females during 2014-2016. The average annual 
accidental harvest of females is two on St. Paul and less than one on 
St. George since 1986.
    Under section 119 of the MMPA, NMFS signed agreements with St. Paul 
in 2000 and with St. George in 2001 for the cooperative management of 
subsistence uses of northern fur seals and Steller sea lions. The 
processes described in the cooperative agreements have facilitated a 
collaborative working relationship between NMFS and tribal authorities 
to manage efficient harvests for food and to promote full utilization 
for traditional arts, crafts, and other uses permitted under 
regulations at 50 CFR 216.73 (Melovidov et al., 2017, IAG 2016, IAG 
2017).

Estimate of Subsistence Need for 2017 Through 2019

    For the 3-year period from 2017 through 2019, NMFS proposes no 
change to the current allowable harvest ranges of 1,645-2,000 sub-adult 
male fur seals for St. Paul Island and 300-500 sub-adult male fur seals 
for St. George Island (including up to 150 male pups). Retaining the 
allowable harvest levels at the current range provides for fur seal 
conservation, flexibility that accommodates environmental changes, and 
unanticipated community needs. NMFS will continue to work with the 
Tribal Governments of St. Paul and St. George under section 119 of the 
MMPA to ensure their subsistence needs are met in a manner that is 
consistent with the sustainable use and conservation of fur seals. NMFS 
seeks public comments on these proposed estimates of the annual number 
of fur seals expected to satisfy the subsistence requirements of 
Pribilovians from 2017 through 2019.
    NMFS will continue to monitor the harvest on St. Paul and St. 
George Islands during 2017, 2018, and 2019, and coordinate regular 
monitoring and reporting through the agreements signed for cooperative 
management of the subsistence use of fur seals.

Classification

National Environmental Policy Act

    NMFS prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) evaluating 
the impacts on the human environment of the subsistence harvest of 
northern fur seals, which is available on the NMFS Web site (see 
Reviewing Documents). A draft EIS was available for public review (69 
FR 53915; September 3, 2004), and NMFS incorporated the comments into 
the final EIS (May 2005). A draft Supplemental EIS (SEIS) was prepared 
regarding the management of the subsistence harvest of northern fur 
seals on St. George Island, made available for public review (79 FR 
31110; May 30, 2014), and NMFS incorporated the public comments into 
the final SEIS (79 FR 49774; August 22, 2014). A draft Supplemental EIS 
(SEIS) was prepared regarding the management of the subsistence harvest 
of northern fur seals on St. Paul Island, made available for public 
review (82 FR 4336; January 13, 2017), and NMFS is reviewing those 
public comments separate from the action considered here.
    An SEIS should be prepared if (1) the agency makes substantial 
changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental 
concerns; or (2) significant new circumstances or information exist 
relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action 
or its impacts (40 CFR 1502.9(c)(1)). After reviewing the information 
contained in the 2005 EIS and 2014 SEIS, the Regional Administrator has 
determined that (1) approval of the proposed 2017-2019 fur seal 
subsistence harvest notice does not constitute a change in the action; 
and (2) there are no significant new circumstances or information 
relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action 
or its impacts. Additionally, the proposed 2017-2019 fur seal 
subsistence harvest levels will result in environmental impacts within

[[Page 22801]]

the scope of those analyzed and disclosed in the previous EIS. 
Therefore, supplemental NEPA documentation is not necessary to 
implement the 2017-2019 fur seal subsistence harvest levels proposed in 
this document.

Executive Order 12866 and 13563

    This proposed action is authorized under 50 CFR 216.72(b) and is 
not significant for the purposes of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation, Department of Commerce, certified 
to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration 
that this proposed action would not have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities. The harvest of fur seals on 
the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, is for subsistence purposes only. This 
action directly regulates the subsistence harvest of northern fur seals 
by Pribilovians. The estimates of subsistence need are derived based on 
historic harvest levels and direct consultation with the Tribal 
Governments from each community. NMFS has identified two small entities 
that may be affected by this action--the communities of St. Paul and 
St. George, both of which have populations less than 500.

Estimate of Economic Impacts on Small Entities

    This action would have no adverse economic impact and may provide a 
net economic benefit for the communities of St. Paul and St. George. 
The upper limit of the estimated subsistence harvest need is unlikely 
to restrict the number of animals taken by subsistence users. NMFS 
compared historic harvest levels on each island to the upper and lower 
harvest limits. The total annual harvests on each island have never 
exceeded the upper limit of the proposed subsistence need, and have 
only exceeded the lower limit three times; in 1991 on both islands and 
in 1993 on St. George. The regulated entities will not experience any 
change from the status quo since the proposed allowable subsistence 
harvest levels remain unchanged since 1997.
    The subsistence harvest of fur seals provides a local, affordable 
source of fresh and frozen meat for the communities' consumption. Fresh 
store-bought meat is not available on either St. Paul or St. George 
Islands. Subsistence hunting and fishing are the primary means by which 
the communities meet their dietary needs. No other fish and wildlife 
species are predictably available to replace fresh fur seal meat. 
Livestock meat shipped to the islands is extremely expensive, 
represents a dietary alternative rather than a replacement for fur seal 
meat, and is only available when air or barge service can deliver it. 
In addition, marine mammals such as fur seals are the culturally-
preferred meat resource for Aleuts and other coastal Alaska Natives.

Explanation of the Criteria Used To Evaluate Whether the Action Would 
Impose ``Significant Economic Impacts''

    The proposed action will not place any small entities at a 
disadvantage relative to large entities or impose significant economic 
impacts on any small entities.
    The criteria recommended to determine the significance of the 
economic impacts of the action are profitability and 
disproportionality. The guidance states that ``the concept of 
profitability may not be appropriate for a non-profit small 
organization or a small government jurisdiction.'' Based on this 
guidance NMFS believes disproportionality is the appropriate standard 
given that the regulated entities are small government jurisdictions. 
No large entities are allowed to harvest northern fur seals; therefore 
the regulatory allowance for the small entities on St. Paul and St. 
George to harvest northern fur seals does not create a disproportionate 
impact that would disadvantage them.

Explanation of the Criteria Used To Evaluate Whether the Action Would 
Impose Impacts on a ``Substantial Number'' of Small Entities

    The proposed action would not impose adverse economic impacts on 
any small entities. Because this action will not impose significant 
economic impacts on any small entities, it will not impose impacts on a 
substantial number of small entities. This action may have beneficial 
economic impacts on the directly regulated Alaska Native residents of 
St. Paul and St. George and will not have an adverse economic impact on 
any small entities. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required and none was prepared.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed action does not require the collection of information 
for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Executive Order 13132--Federalism

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

Executive Order 13175--Native Consultation

    Executive Order 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 Native Policy of the U.S. Department of Commerce (March 
30, 1995), the Department of Commerce's Tribal Consultation Policy 
(including the Department of Commerce Administrative Order 218-8, April 
26, 2012), and the NOAA Procedures for Government-to-Government 
Consultation With Federally Recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native 
Corporations (November 12, 2013) outline the responsibilities of NMFS 
in matters affecting tribal interests. Section 161 of Public Law 108-
100 (188 Stat. 452) as amended by section 518 of Public Law 108-447 
(118 Stat. 3267) extends the consultation requirements of E.O. 13175 to 
Alaska Native corporations. NMFS has contacted the tribal governments 
of St. Paul and St. George Islands and their respective local Native 
corporations (Tanadgusix and Tanaq) about setting the next three years' 
harvest estimates and received and considered their input.

    Dated: May 15, 2017.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-10089 Filed 5-16-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P