Fisheries Off West Coast States; West Coast Salmon Fisheries; Rebuilding Coho Salmon Stocks, 61912-61918 [2020-19884]

Download as PDF 61912 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 191 / Thursday, October 1, 2020 / Proposed Rules any), city, and State, and, in the case of mailed comments, all address information, including email addresses. TTB may omit voluminous attachments or material that the Bureau considers unsuitable for posting. You may also obtain copies of this proposed rule, all related petitions, maps and other supporting materials, and any electronic or mailed comments that TTB receives about this proposal at 20 cents per 8.5- × 11-inch page. Please note that TTB is unable to provide copies of USGS maps or any similarlysized documents that may be included as part of the AVA petition. Contact TTB’s Regulations and Rulings Division by email using the web form at https:// www.ttb.gov/contact-rrd, or by telephone at 202–453–1039, ext. 175, to request copies of comments or other materials. Regulatory Flexibility Act TTB certifies that this proposed regulation, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The proposed regulation imposes no new reporting, recordkeeping, or other administrative requirement. Any benefit derived from the use of an AVA name would be the result of a proprietor’s efforts and consumer acceptance of wines from that area. Therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required. Executive Order 12866 It has been determined that this proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action as defined by Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993. Therefore, no regulatory assessment is required. Drafting Information Kate M. Bresnahan of the Regulations and Rulings Division drafted this notice of proposed rulemaking. List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9 Wine. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Proposed Regulatory Amendment For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB proposes to amend title 27, chapter I, part 9, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows: PART 9—AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS 1. The authority citation for part 9 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205. VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:45 Sep 30, 2020 Jkt 253001 Subpart C—Approved American Viticultural Areas 2. Subpart C is amended by adding § 9.lll to read as follows: ■ § 9.lll Oregon. Mount Pisgah, Polk County, (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this section is ‘‘Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon’’. For purposes of part 4 of this chapter, ‘‘Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon’’ and ‘‘Mt. Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon’’ are terms of viticultural significance. (b) Approved maps. The two United States Geological Survey (USGS) 1:24,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of the Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon viticultural area are titled: (1) Dallas, OR, 2014; and (2) Airlie North, OR, 2014. (c) Boundary. The Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon viticultural area is located in Polk County, Oregon. The boundary of the Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon viticultural area is as described below: (1) The beginning point is on the Dallas map at the point where the 320foot elevation contour intersects Mistletoe Road south of the unnamed road known locally as SE Lewis Street. From the beginning point, proceed south along Mistletoe Road for approximately 2 miles to the road’s second intersection with the 740-foot elevation contour; then (2) Proceed due west approximately 0.5 miles to the 400-foot elevation contour; then (3) Proceed south along the 400-foot elevation contour, crossing onto the Airlie North map, to the contour’s intersection with Cooper Hollow Road near Fisher Reservoir; then (4) Proceed southeasterly along Cooper Hollow Road to its intersection with McCaleb Road; then (5) Proceed east, then northeast, then east along McCaleb Road for approximately 1.6 miles to its intersection with Mistletoe Road and the 260-foot elevation contour; then (6) Proceed easterly along the 260-foot elevation contour until it intersects again with Mistletoe Road; then (7) Proceed east along Mistletoe Road for 0.3 mile to its intersection with Matney Road; then (8) Proceed north along Matney Road for 0.6 mile to its intersection with the 260-foot elevation contour at a 90 degree turn in the road; then (9) Proceed northwesterly along the 260-foot elevation contour to its intersection with Bursell Road; then PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 (10) Proceed east along Bursell Road for 0.2 mile to its intersection with the 260-foot elevation contour; then (11) Proceed north along the 260-foot elevation contour, crossing onto the Dallas map, to the contour’s intersection with Whiteaker Road; then (12) Proceed southeasterly along Whiteaker Road for 1.0 mile to its intersection with the 260-foot elevation contour at a 90 degree turn in the road; then (13) Proceed north, then west along the 260-foot elevation contour to its intersection with Ballard Road; then (14) Proceed south along Ballard Road to its intersection with the 300-foot elevation contour; then (15) Proceed northwesterly along the 300-foot elevation contour, to its intersection with Cherry Knoll Road; then (16) Proceed south along Cherry Knoll Road to its intersection with the 320foot elevation contour; then (17) Proceed northwesterly along the 320-foot elevation contour, returning to the beginning point. Signed: May 28, 2020. Mary G. Ryan, Acting Administrator. Approved: June 17, 2020. Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary, (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy). Editorial Note: This document was received for publication by the Office of the Federal Register on August 11, 2020. [FR Doc. 2020–17854 Filed 9–30–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–31–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 200902–0231] RIN 0648–BJ05 Fisheries Off West Coast States; West Coast Salmon Fisheries; Rebuilding Coho Salmon Stocks National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes to approve and implement rebuilding plans recommended by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) for three overfished stocks: Juan de Fuca, Queets, SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\01OCP1.SGM 01OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 191 / Thursday, October 1, 2020 / Proposed Rules and Snohomish natural coho salmon (collectively, the overfished coho stocks). NMFS determined in June 2018 that these stocks were overfished. NMFS also announces the availability for public review and comment of a draft environmental assessment (EA) analyzing the environmental impacts of implementing these rebuilding plans. Public comments must be received by November 2, 2020. DATES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2019–0138, by any 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–2019– 0138, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Peggy Mundy, NMFS West Coast Region, Sustainable Fisheries Division 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115. 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 considered 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, etc.), 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). The Council and NMFS prepared a draft environmental assessment (EA) which includes a regulatory flexibility analysis for each of the three overfished coho stock rebuilding plans. Electronic copies of these documents may be obtained from the West Coast Regional Office website at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/west-coast/ laws-and-policies/west-coast-regionnational-environmental-policy-actdocuments. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Peggy Mundy at 206–526–4323. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:45 Sep 30, 2020 Jkt 253001 Background The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) established a national program for the conservation and management of the fishery resources of the United States to prevent overfishing and to rebuild overfished stocks. To that end, the MSA requires fishery management plans (FMPs) to specify objective and measurable criteria for identifying when the fishery to which the FMP applies is overfished (MSA section 303(a)(10)). The MSA includes national standards which must be followed in any FMP. NMFS has developed guidelines, based on the national standards, to assist in the development and review of FMPs, amendments, and regulations prepared by the Councils and the Secretary (50 CFR 600.305(a)(1)). National Standard 1 (NS1) addresses the need under the MSA for FMPs to specify conservation and management measures that shall prevent overfishing while achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from each fishery for the U.S. fishing industry (50 CFR 600.310). The NS1 guidelines include status determination criteria (SDC) and other reference points that are used to determine if overfishing has occurred, or if the stock or stock complex is overfished (50 CFR 600.310(e)(2)), and specifies Council actions required to address overfishing and rebuilding for stocks and stock complexes (50 CFR 600.310(j)). Ocean salmon fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) (3 to 200 nautical miles offshore) off Washington, Oregon, and California are managed under the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Council) Pacific Coast Salmon FMP (Salmon FMP). The Salmon FMP identifies stocks that are in the fishery and the SDC and reference points that are used to determine when a stock is overfished and when it is rebuilt. For salmon, these metrics are based on the stock’s spawning escapement (i.e., fish that escape the ocean and in-river fisheries to spawn) and the abundance of adult spawners that is expected, on average, to produce maximum sustained yield (MSY), which is expressed as SMSY. The SDC for overfished is defined in the Salmon FMP to be when the threeyear geometric mean of a salmon stock’s annual spawning escapements falls below the reference point known as the minimum stock size threshold (MSST), PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 61913 where MSST is generally defined as 0.5*SMSY or 0.75*SMSY—depending on the stock. The default SDC in the Salmon FMP for determining that an overfished stock is rebuilt is when the three-year geometric mean spawning escapement exceeds SMSY. Stockspecific values for the SMSY and MSST reference points are listed in Table 3–1 of the Salmon FMP, which is available on the Council’s website (www.pcouncil.org). The status of salmon stocks is assessed annually. When NMFS determines that a stock is overfished, by virtue of meeting the overfished criteria in the Salmon FMP, described above, NMFS notifies the Council. The MSA requires Councils to develop and implement a rebuilding plan within two years of being notified by NMFS that a stock is overfished. In 2018, NMFS determined that two stocks of Chinook salmon and three stocks of coho salmon were overfished (83 FR 38292, August 6, 2018). NMFS published a proposed rule to approve the Council’s rebuilding plans for the two Chinook salmon stocks and amend 50 CFR part 660 to add § 660.413 Overfished species rebuilding plans (85 FR 6135, February 4, 2020). Overfished Determination for Three Coho Stocks The annual stock assessments for the three overfished coho stocks in 2018 used escapement data for 2014 through 2016 to determine if the stocks were overfished. The three-year geometric mean spawning escapement for Juan de Fuca coho for the period 2014–2016 was 6,842, which is less than the stock’s MSST of 7,000 (Table 1). The three-year geometric mean spawning escapement for Queets coho for the period 2014– 2016 was 4,291, which is less than the stock’s MSST of 4,350 (Table 1). The three-year geometric mean spawning escapement for Snohomish coho for the period 2014–2016 was 29,677, which is less than the stock’s MSST of 31,000. NMFS notified the Council that these stocks were overfished on June 18, 2018, and the overfished determinations were announced in the Federal Register on August 6, 2018 (83 FR 38292). To be determined to be rebuilt, these stocks must achieve a three-year geometric mean escapement of SMSY or greater. SMSY for Juan de Fuca coho is 11,000. SMSY for Queets coho is 5,800. SMSY for Snohomish coho is 50,000. E:\FR\FM\01OCP1.SGM 01OCP1 61914 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 191 / Thursday, October 1, 2020 / Proposed Rules TABLE 1—REFERENCE POINTS AND 2014–2016 GEOMETRIC MEAN SPAWNING ESCAPEMENT FOR JUAN DE FUCA, QUEETS, AND SNOHOMISH NATURAL COHO Spawning escapement Coho stock 2014–2016 Geometric mean jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Juan de Fuca ............................................................................................................................... Queets ......................................................................................................................................... Snohomish ................................................................................................................................... Fishery Management for the Overfished Coho Stocks U.S. ocean salmon fisheries impact the three coho stocks in the EEZ north of Cape Falcon, OR. These stocks are also harvested in ocean fisheries off Alaska, British Columbia, and in Washington state waters, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound. Management of these stocks is subject to the provisions of the Pacific Salmon Treaty Act, which implements the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST) between the U.S. and Canada, and also must be consistent with Indian tribal treaty fishing rights. The State of Washington and Indian tribes with reserved fishing rights on the Washington Coast and in Puget Sound negotiate annual fisheries through the North of Falcon Process and under the auspices of Hoh v. Baldrige and U.S. v. Washington. Salmon fisheries under the jurisdiction of the Council (Council-managed) are managed to meet agreed upon exploitation rates (i.e., proportion of potential spawners removed by fishing) and escapement goals set under the PST and the North of Falcon Process for several salmon stocks, including the three overfished coho stocks. Total fishing mortality for these coho stocks includes preterminal (i.e., fisheries impacts outside a given stock’s natal river or estuary, including mixed-stock ocean fisheries) and terminal (i.e., fisheries impacts within a given stock’s natal river or estuary). These exploitation rates, or stepped harvest rates, are set annually based on forecast stock abundance, as described below for each stock (see Rebuilding Plans). In addition to these exploitation rates, Council salmon fisheries are also managed to meet conservation objectives and status determination criteria specified in the Salmon FMP under Amendment 16 (76 FR 81851, December 29, 2011). However, annual natural spawning escapement targets for many Washington coast and Puget Sound salmon stocks, including the three overfished coho stocks, may vary from Salmon FMP conservation objectives if agreed to by the Washington tribal and state co- VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:45 Sep 30, 2020 Jkt 253001 managers, under the provisions of Hoh v. Baldrige, U.S. v. Washington, or subsequent U.S. District Court orders (Table 3–1 of the Salmon FMP). Juan de Fuca natural coho. The Juan de Fuca coho stock contributes to U.S. ocean salmon fisheries north of Cape Falcon and to ocean salmon fisheries off British Columbia, and to marine and freshwater Puget Sound salmon fisheries. For the period 2004–2017, the total exploitation rate on Juan de Fuca coho averaged 10.5 percent, distributed as follows: Alaskan and Canadian ocean salmon fisheries—23 percent, Councilmanaged ocean salmon fisheries—23 percent, and other preterminal and terminal salmon fisheries (primarily sport, net, and troll fisheries in the Strait of Juan de Fuca)—54 percent. Queets natural coho. The Queets coho stock contributes to ocean salmon fisheries off of British Columbia and Washington state, as well as Washington coast in-river salmon fisheries. For the period 2004–2017, the total exploitation rate on Queets coho averaged 38.5 percent, distributed as follows: Alaskan and Canadian ocean salmon fisheries— 8 percent, Council-managed ocean salmon fisheries—20 percent, and other preterminal and terminal salmon fisheries (including freshwater sport and net fisheries in the Quinault, Hoh, and Queets Rivers on the Washington coast)—72 percent. Snohomish natural coho. The Snohomish coho stock contributes to U.S. ocean salmon fisheries north of Cape Falcon and to ocean salmon fisheries off British Columbia, and to marine and freshwater Puget Sound salmon fisheries. For the period 2004– 2017, the total exploitation rate on Snohomish coho averaged 24.4 percent, distributed as follows: Alaskan and Canadian ocean salmon fisheries—5 percent, Council-managed ocean salmon fisheries—9 percent, and other preterminal and terminal salmon fisheries within Puget Sound—86 percent. Rebuilding Plans The Council transmitted their recommended rebuilding plans for the PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 6,842 4,291 29,677 MSST (overfished threshold) 7,000 4,350 31,000 SMSY (target for rebuilt) 11,000 5,800 50,000 three overfished coho stocks to NMFS on October 17, 2019. The plans were developed over the course of several Council meetings in 2018 and 2019 and were informed by the analyses of the Council’s Salmon Technical Team (STT). The STT held public meetings and work sessions with state and Federal agencies, tribal governments, and the general public to assess available information on various factors that could impact the productivity of these stocks and lead to the overfished determination. These factors include: Freshwater survival, marine survival, harvest impacts, and assessment and fishery management errors. Overfishing on the three overfished coho stocks, defined as the exploitation rate on a stock exceeding the maximum fishing mortality threshold (MFMT), did not occur during the years that lead to the overfished determination. The STT’s report concluded that the overfished situation for these stocks was primarily the result of poor marine survival; abundance in 2015 was substantially lower than anticipated in preseason forecasts for many Washington coho stocks. Freshwater habitat conditions and fishery management may have exacerbated the problem caused by low marine survival, but these were not identified in the STT’s report as the proximate cause of the overfished status of any of the three coho stocks. Based on 2015–2017 abundance, Juan de Fuca coho would likely have met the overfished criteria even in the absence of fishing in that time period. The STT’s report is contained within the draft EA (see ADDRESSES). The Council considered two alternatives for the rebuilding plan for each stock: (1) The existing control rule and (2) a buffered exploitation rate or escapement goal. The Council’s recommendations for rebuilding the overfished coho stocks, which NMFS proposes to approve, are to maintain the existing control rules for Juan de Fuca coho and Queets coho, and to manage for a ten-percent buffer on the SMSY escapement goal for Snohomish coho. Each of the three rebuilding plans E:\FR\FM\01OCP1.SGM 01OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 191 / Thursday, October 1, 2020 / Proposed Rules recommended by the Council meets the MSA requirement to rebuild the stock as quickly as possible, taking into account the status and biology of any overfished stock and the needs of fishing communities (50 CFR 600.310(j)(3)(i)). When a stock or stock complex is overfished, a Council must specify a time period for rebuilding the stock or stock complex based on factors specified in MSA section 304(e)(4). This target time for rebuilding (Ttarget) shall be as short as possible, taking into account: The status and biology of any overfished stock, the needs of fishing communities, recommendations by international organizations in which the U.S. participates, and interaction of the stock within the marine ecosystem. In addition, the time period shall not exceed 10 years, except where biology of the stock, other environmental conditions, or management measures under an international agreement to which the U.S. participates, dictate otherwise (50 CFR 600.310(j)(3)(i)). The NS1 guidelines also describe the following rebuilding benchmarks: The minimum time to rebuild (Tmin) and the maximum time to rebuild (Tmax) (50 CFR 600.310(j)(3)(i)). These benchmarks serve to establish the range of target times to rebuild that the Council may consider. Under the NS1 guidelines, Tmin is calculated by assuming no fishery mortality, regardless of the source of the mortality. It is not possible, however, for the Council and NMFS to implement a Tmin scenario for the overfished coho stocks, because the MSA only provides regulatory authority over fisheries in the EEZ. Therefore, the Council and NMFS have no authority to suspend non-federal fisheries in state waters. However, the Council analyzed a no-fishing scenario to identify Tmin and to serve as a bookend in the analysis of rebuilding probabilities. Council-area salmon fisheries management measures are set annually each April. The Council’s Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Document for the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan (SAFE document) is released annually in February and provides escapement data for previous years. Analyses to determine rebuilding times in the Council’s recommended rebuilding plans used available escapement data in the SAFE document issued February 2019, which included escapement data for the overfished coho stocks through 2017. Year 1 in the STT’s calculations of Tmin and Ttarget was defined as 2018. This convention was adopted due to data availability, as the most recent estimates of ocean abundance and spawning escapement for the three overfished coho stocks were from 2017. Rebuilding times projected by the STT assume the control rules defined in the 61915 alternatives were first applied to 2018 fisheries, and each of the nine years thereafter; however, the STT and the Council acknowledged that adopted rebuilding plans were likely be first implemented in 2020. Juan de Fuca Natural Coho Tmin. The Council’s analysis determined that, with no fishing mortality, there was a 54 percent probability that Juan de Fuca coho would rebuild in four years. Therefore, Tmin = four years or 2021. Tmax. NS1 guidelines state that if Tmin for the stock or stock complex is 10 years or less, then Tmax is 10 years (50 CFR 600.310(j)(3)(i)(B)(1)). Since Tmin for Juan de Fuca coho is four years or 2021, Tmax = 10 years or 2027. Ttarget. The Council has recommended the existing control rule to rebuild Juan de Fuca coho. As described above, this stock is managed using a stepped harvest rate control rule which sets annual exploitation rate ceilings based upon forecast stock abundance. Applying that control rule to Juan de Fuca coho results in a matrix of age-3 ocean abundance and total allowable exploitation rates that the Council uses when developing annual management measures (coho salmon from stocks managed under the FMP mature at age 3 years) (Table 2). TABLE 2—MATRIX INFORMED BY THE CURRENT FMP HARVEST CONTROL RULE APPLIED TO JUAN DE FUCA COHO Age-3 ocean abundance Abundance category Normal ......................................................................................................................................................... Low .............................................................................................................................................................. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Critical .......................................................................................................................................................... In the seven years for which we have escapement data for Juan de Fuca coho since the implementation of Amendment 16 (2012 through 2018), two of those years had escapement above SMSY. The Council’s analysis, contained in the draft EA (see ADDRESSES), used 2018 as year one in calculating Ttarget. Under the existing control rule, there is a 56 percent probability that Juan de Fuca coho will meet the rebuilt criteria by year six (Ttarget = 2023). This means that the three-year geometric mean of Juan de Fuca coho escapement for 2021–2023 is expected to meet or exceed SMSY. The spawning escapement from 2023 will be included in the 2025 stock assessment. VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:45 Sep 30, 2020 Jkt 253001 MSA consistency. As mentioned above, the MSA requires overfished stocks to be rebuilt in as short a time as possible, while taking into account the needs of fishing communities. The Council considered an alternative that would limit the annual exploitation rate on Juan de Fuca coho in Southern U.S. salmon fisheries (i.e., ocean and inland salmon fisheries south of the U.S./ Canada border, including Council area, State, and tribal fisheries) to 10 percent until the stock is rebuilt. The Council’s analysis of this alternative estimated this would result in an economic loss of $4.34 million over the rebuilding period (in 2016 dollars), not including losses in tribal fisheries, compared to the existing control rule. This alternative would PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Greater than 27,445 Between 11,679 and 27,445 11,679 or less Total allowable exploitation rate (percent) 60 40 20 rebuild Juan de Fuca coho one year earlier than under the existing control rule; the Council’s analysis indicates that Ttarget would be achieved in 2022 under this alternative. Therefore, taking into account the negative economic impacts of the limited exploitation rate alternative and the minimal difference in rebuilding time, the existing control rule meets the MSA requirement to have a rebuilding period that is as short as possible while considering the needs of fishing communities. Queets Natural Coho Tmin. The Council’s analysis determined that, with no fishing mortality, there was a 61 percent probability that Queets coho would E:\FR\FM\01OCP1.SGM 01OCP1 61916 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 191 / Thursday, October 1, 2020 / Proposed Rules rebuild in one year. Therefore, Tmin = one year or 2018. Tmax. NS1 guidelines state that if Tmin for the stock or stock complex is 10 years or less, then Tmax is 10 years (50 CFR 600.310(j)(3)(i)(B)(1)). Since Tmin for Queets coho is one year or 2018, Tmax = 10 years or 2027. Ttarget. The Council has recommended the existing control rule to rebuild Queets coho. As described above, this stock is managed using a stepped harvest rate control rule which sets annual exploitation rate ceilings based upon forecast stock abundance. Applying that control rule to Queets coho results in a matrix of age-3 ocean abundance and total allowable exploitation rates that the Council uses when developing annual management measures (Table 3). TABLE 3—MATRIX INFORMED BY THE CURRENT FMP HARVEST CONTROL RULE APPLIED TO QUEETS COHO Age-3 ocean abundance Abundance category Normal ......................................................................................................................................................... Low .............................................................................................................................................................. Critical .......................................................................................................................................................... jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS In the seven years for which we have escapement data for Queets coho since the implementation of Amendment 16 (2012 through 2018), one of those years had escapement above SMSY. The Council’s analysis, contained in the draft EA (see ADDRESSES), used 2018 as year one in calculating Ttarget. Under the existing control rule, the Council’s analysis determined there was a 54 percent probability that Queets coho would meet the rebuilt criteria by year two (Ttarget = 2019). This means that the three-year geometric mean of Queets coho escapement for 2017–2019 is expected to meet or exceed SMSY. Because of the timing of coho spawning, there is a delay in the availability of coho escapement data; for example, the Council’s Review of 2019 Ocean Salmon Fisheries (February 2020) included coho spawning escapement through 2018. The 2019 spawning escapement for Queets coho, and the 2017–2019 escapement geometric mean, will be available in February 2021 in the Council’s Review of 2020 Ocean Salmon Fisheries. The Council’s annual reviews of ocean salmon fisheries are available on the Council’s website (www.pcouncil.org). MSA consistency. As mentioned above, the MSA requires overfished stocks to be rebuilt in as short a time as possible, while taking into account the needs of fishing communities. The Council considered an alternative that would buffer the existing control rule for Queets coho by limiting the total exploition rate at forecast ocean age-3 VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:45 Sep 30, 2020 Jkt 253001 abundance between 5,800 and 7,250, beginning at 15 percent and ramping linearly to 20 percent. During the preseason process, if spawning escapement is projected to be less than 4,930 (85 percent of SMSY), the nontreaty Council-area fisheries north of Cape Falcon, OR, would be structured to minimize impacts on Queets coho. The Council’s analysis of this alternative estimated this would result in an economic loss of $1.28 million over the rebuilding period (in 2016 dollars), not including losses in tribal fisheries, compared to the existing control rule. This alternative would not improve the rebuilding time compared to the existing control rule; the Council calculated Ttarget would be achieved in 2019 under the buffered control rule, the same as under the existing control rule. Therefore, due to the negative economic impacts of the buffered control rule alternative and negligible difference in rebuilding time, NMFS and the Council found that the existing control rule meets the MSA requirement to have a rebuilding period that is as short as possible while considering the needs of fishing communities. Snohomish Natural Coho Tmin. The Council’s analysis determined that, with no fishing mortality, there was a 78 percent probability that Snohomish coho would rebuild in three years. Therefore, Tmin = three years or 2020. Tmax. NS1 guidelines state that if Tmin for the stock or stock complex is 10 years or less, then Tmax is 10 years (50 PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Greater than 9,667 Between 7,250 and 9,667 Less than 7,250 Total allowable exploitation rate (percent) 41–65 21–40 Up to 20 CFR 600.310(j)(3)(i)(B)(1)). Since Tmin for Snohomish coho is three years or 2020, Tmax = 10 years or 2027. Ttarget. The Council has recommended a rebuilding plan that uses a buffered control rule to rebuild Snohomish coho as the preferred alternative. As described above, this stock is managed using a stepped harvest rate control rule which sets annual exploitation rate ceilings based upon forecast stock abundance. Applying that control rule to Snohomish coho results in a matrix of age-3 ocean abundance and total allowable exploitation rates that the Council uses when developing annual management measures (Table 4, below). In the seven years for which we have escapement data for Snohomish coho since the implementation of Amendment 16 (2012 through 2018), three of those years had escapement above SMSY. Under the preferred alternative rebuilding plan, Council-area salmon fisheries would limit impacts on Snohomish natural coho consistent with escapement thresholds and exploitation rate limits identified by the Washington tribal and state co-managers, and consistent with the Salmon FMP. The tribal and state co-managers will increase the annual MSY escapement goal of 50,000 by 10 percent, to 55,000, until rebuilt status is achieved and adjust the age-3 ocean abundance break points that establish the annual allowable exploitation rate, as shown in Table 4. E:\FR\FM\01OCP1.SGM 01OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 191 / Thursday, October 1, 2020 / Proposed Rules 61917 TABLE 4—MATRIX FOR SETTING ANNUAL ALLOWABLE EXPLOITATION RATE ON SNOHOMISH COHO UNDER THE CURRENT FMP HARVEST CONTROL RULE AND THE PROPOSED REBUILDING PLAN Age-3 ocean abundance Abundance category Normal ......................................................................................... Low .............................................................................................. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Critical .......................................................................................... The Council’s analysis, contained in the draft EA (see ADDRESSES), used 2018 as year one in calculating Ttarget. Under the Council’s preferred alternative rebuilding plan, there is a 62 percent probability that Snohomish coho will meet the rebuilt criteria by year three (Ttarget = 2020). This means that the three-year geometric mean of Snohomish coho escapement for 2018– 2020 is expected to meet or exceed SMSY. The spawning escapement from 2020 will be included in the 2022 stock assessment. MSA consistency. As mentioned above, the MSA requires overfished stocks to be rebuilt in as short a time as possible, while taking into account the needs of fishing communities. The Council considered an alternative that would use the existing control rule for Snohomish coho as well as the preferred alternative. The Council’s analysis of the alternatives estimates that the preferred alternative would result in an economic loss of $432 thousand over the rebuilding period (in 2016 dollars), not including losses in tribal fisheries, compared to no such loss under the existing control rule. The rebuilding time under both the status quo alternative (existing control rule) and the preferred alternative rebuilding plan would have the same rebuilding time; the Council calculated Ttarget would be achieved in 2020 under both alternatives. The state and tribal comanagers supported the Council’s preferred alternative rebuilding plan, and the fishing communities did not oppose it. The preferred alternative rebuilding plan has the same Ttarget as the status quo alternative and is supported by fishery managers and fishing communities, and therefore meets the MSA requirement to have a rebuilding period that is as short as possible while considering the needs of fishing communities. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) The draft EA for this action is an integrated document that includes the Council’s analysis of the overfished stocks, analysis of environmental and VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:45 Sep 30, 2020 Jkt 253001 FMP control rule Proposed rebuilding plan Greater than 125,000 ......... Between 51,667 and 125,000. Less than 51,667 ............... Greater than 137,500 ......... Between 51,667 and 137,500. Less than 51,667 ............... socioeconomic effects under NEPA, the regulatory impact review, and regulatory flexibility analysis. The draft EA for this action is posted on the NMFS West Coast Region website (see ADDRESSES). Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the MSA, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan, other provisions of the MSA, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. This proposed rule is not an Executive Order 13771 regulatory action because this rule is not significant under Executive Order 12866. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Using the catch area description in the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission Information Network (PacFIN), the most recent year of complete fishing data, 2018, NMFS determined that 357 distinct commercial vessels land fish caught north of Cape Falcon. The Council’s 2020 SAFE document lists ex-vessel value for 2018 salmon landings in Washington state at $2.4 million (in 2019 dollars). Therefore, no vessel met NMFS’ threshold for being a large entity, which is $11 million in annual gross receipts. We note, however, that the rebuilding plans implemented by this proposed rule would not change harvest policy, and, thus, by definition, would have no direct or indirect economic impact on these small entities. Because all directly regulated entities are small, these regulations are not expected to place small entities at a significant disadvantage in comparison PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Total allowable exploitation rate (percent) 60 40 20 with large entities. The Council recommended, and NMFS proposes approving, the status quo alternatives for the Juan de Fuca coho rebuilding plan and the Queets coho rebuilding plan. The state and tribal co-managers recommended, and NMFS proposes approving a rebuilding plan that includes a buffered SMSY target for Snohomish coho. These rebuilding plans are consistent with the provisions of the existing Salmon FMP. Therefore, this proposed rule to approve and implement the rebuilding plans, consistent with the parameters required under NS1, is largely administrative. This action does not change salmon harvest policy, and economic activity is not expected to change from the baseline at all for Juan de Fuca coho and Queets coho, and is expected to change only minimally, as described above, for Snohomish coho. Therefore, this action is also not expected to significantly reduce profit for the directly regulated small entities. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. This proposed rule was developed after meaningful collaboration with the tribal representative on the Council, and the Council subsequently agreed with the provisions that apply to tribal vessels. This proposed rule does not include a collection-of-information requirement subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Dated: September 2, 2020. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposes to amend 50 CFR part 660 as follows: PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: ■ E:\FR\FM\01OCP1.SGM 01OCP1 61918 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 191 / Thursday, October 1, 2020 / Proposed Rules Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq. 2. In § 660.413 (proposed to be added at 85 FR 6135), add paragraphs (c) through (e) to read as follows: ■ § 660.413 plans. Overfished species rebuilding * * * * * (c) Juan de Fuca coho. The Juan de Fuca coho salmon stock was declared overfished in 2018. The target year for rebuilding Juan de Fuca coho is 2023. The harvest control rule during the rebuilding period for Juan de Fuca coho is the abundance-based stepped harvest rate as shown in table 1 to this paragraph (c). TABLE 1 TO PARAGRAPH (C) Juan de Fuca coho stepped harvest rates Abundance category Age-3 ocean abundance Normal .......................................................................................................................................... Low ............................................................................................................................................... Greater than 27,445 ........... Between 11,679 and 27,445. 11,679 or less .................... Critical ........................................................................................................................................... (d) Queets coho. The Queets coho salmon stock was declared overfished in 2018. The target year for rebuilding Queets coho is 2019. The harvest control rule during the rebuilding period for Queets coho is the Total allowable exploitation rate (percent) 60 40 20 abundance-based stepped harvest rate as shown in table 2 to this paragraph (d). TABLE 2 TO PARAGRAPH (D) Queets coho stepped harvest rates Abundance category Age-3 abundance Normal .......................................................................................................................................... Low ............................................................................................................................................... Critical ........................................................................................................................................... Greater than 9,667 ............. Between 7,250 and 9,667 .. Less than 7,250 ................. (e) Snohomish coho. (1) The Snohomish coho salmon stock was declared overfished in 2018. The target year for rebuilding Snohomish coho is 2020. The harvest control rule during the rebuilding period for Snohomish Total allowable exploitation rate 65 40 20 coho is the abundance-based stepped harvest rate as shown in table 3 to this paragraph (e). TABLE 3 TO PARAGRAPH (E) Snohomish coho stepped harvest rates Abundance category Age-3 abundance Normal .......................................................................................................................................... Low ............................................................................................................................................... Greater than 137,000 ......... Between 51,667 and 137,000. Less than 51,667 ............... Critical ........................................................................................................................................... (2) In years when Snohomish coho abundance is forecast to exceed 137,000, the total allowable exploitation rate will be limited to target achieving a Total allowable exploitation rate (percent) spawning escapement of 55,000 Snohomish coho. [FR Doc. 2020–19884 Filed 9–30–20; 8:45 am] jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:45 Sep 30, 2020 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\01OCP1.SGM 01OCP1 60 40 20

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 191 (Thursday, October 1, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 61912-61918]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-19884]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 200902-0231]
RIN 0648-BJ05


Fisheries Off West Coast States; West Coast Salmon Fisheries; 
Rebuilding Coho Salmon Stocks

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to approve and implement rebuilding plans 
recommended by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) for 
three overfished stocks: Juan de Fuca, Queets,

[[Page 61913]]

and Snohomish natural coho salmon (collectively, the overfished coho 
stocks). NMFS determined in June 2018 that these stocks were 
overfished. NMFS also announces the availability for public review and 
comment of a draft environmental assessment (EA) analyzing the 
environmental impacts of implementing these rebuilding plans.

DATES: Public comments must be received by November 2, 2020.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2019-0138, by any 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-2019-0138, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Peggy Mundy, NMFS West Coast Region, Sustainable 
Fisheries Division 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.
    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 considered 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, etc.), 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).
    The Council and NMFS prepared a draft environmental assessment (EA) 
which includes a regulatory flexibility analysis for each of the three 
overfished coho stock rebuilding plans. Electronic copies of these 
documents may be obtained from the West Coast Regional Office website 
at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/west-coast/laws-and-policies/west-coast-region-national-environmental-policy-act-documents.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peggy Mundy at 206-526-4323.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) 
established a national program for the conservation and management of 
the fishery resources of the United States to prevent overfishing and 
to rebuild overfished stocks. To that end, the MSA requires fishery 
management plans (FMPs) to specify objective and measurable criteria 
for identifying when the fishery to which the FMP applies is overfished 
(MSA section 303(a)(10)). The MSA includes national standards which 
must be followed in any FMP. NMFS has developed guidelines, based on 
the national standards, to assist in the development and review of 
FMPs, amendments, and regulations prepared by the Councils and the 
Secretary (50 CFR 600.305(a)(1)). National Standard 1 (NS1) addresses 
the need under the MSA for FMPs to specify conservation and management 
measures that shall prevent overfishing while achieving, on a 
continuing basis, the optimum yield from each fishery for the U.S. 
fishing industry (50 CFR 600.310). The NS1 guidelines include status 
determination criteria (SDC) and other reference points that are used 
to determine if overfishing has occurred, or if the stock or stock 
complex is overfished (50 CFR 600.310(e)(2)), and specifies Council 
actions required to address overfishing and rebuilding for stocks and 
stock complexes (50 CFR 600.310(j)).
    Ocean salmon fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) (3 to 
200 nautical miles offshore) off Washington, Oregon, and California are 
managed under the Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council) 
Pacific Coast Salmon FMP (Salmon FMP). The Salmon FMP identifies stocks 
that are in the fishery and the SDC and reference points that are used 
to determine when a stock is overfished and when it is rebuilt. For 
salmon, these metrics are based on the stock's spawning escapement 
(i.e., fish that escape the ocean and in-river fisheries to spawn) and 
the abundance of adult spawners that is expected, on average, to 
produce maximum sustained yield (MSY), which is expressed as 
SMSY.
    The SDC for overfished is defined in the Salmon FMP to be when the 
three-year geometric mean of a salmon stock's annual spawning 
escapements falls below the reference point known as the minimum stock 
size threshold (MSST), where MSST is generally defined as 
0.5*SMSY or 0.75*SMSY--depending on the stock. 
The default SDC in the Salmon FMP for determining that an overfished 
stock is rebuilt is when the three-year geometric mean spawning 
escapement exceeds SMSY. Stock-specific values for the 
SMSY and MSST reference points are listed in Table 3-1 of 
the Salmon FMP, which is available on the Council's website 
(www.pcouncil.org). The status of salmon stocks is assessed annually. 
When NMFS determines that a stock is overfished, by virtue of meeting 
the overfished criteria in the Salmon FMP, described above, NMFS 
notifies the Council. The MSA requires Councils to develop and 
implement a rebuilding plan within two years of being notified by NMFS 
that a stock is overfished.
    In 2018, NMFS determined that two stocks of Chinook salmon and 
three stocks of coho salmon were overfished (83 FR 38292, August 6, 
2018). NMFS published a proposed rule to approve the Council's 
rebuilding plans for the two Chinook salmon stocks and amend 50 CFR 
part 660 to add Sec.  660.413 Overfished species rebuilding plans (85 
FR 6135, February 4, 2020).

Overfished Determination for Three Coho Stocks

    The annual stock assessments for the three overfished coho stocks 
in 2018 used escapement data for 2014 through 2016 to determine if the 
stocks were overfished. The three-year geometric mean spawning 
escapement for Juan de Fuca coho for the period 2014-2016 was 6,842, 
which is less than the stock's MSST of 7,000 (Table 1). The three-year 
geometric mean spawning escapement for Queets coho for the period 2014-
2016 was 4,291, which is less than the stock's MSST of 4,350 (Table 1). 
The three-year geometric mean spawning escapement for Snohomish coho 
for the period 2014-2016 was 29,677, which is less than the stock's 
MSST of 31,000. NMFS notified the Council that these stocks were 
overfished on June 18, 2018, and the overfished determinations were 
announced in the Federal Register on August 6, 2018 (83 FR 38292). To 
be determined to be rebuilt, these stocks must achieve a three-year 
geometric mean escapement of SMSY or greater. 
SMSY for Juan de Fuca coho is 11,000. SMSY for 
Queets coho is 5,800. SMSY for Snohomish coho is 50,000.

[[Page 61914]]



    Table 1--Reference Points and 2014-2016 Geometric Mean Spawning Escapement for Juan de Fuca, Queets, and
                                             Snohomish Natural Coho
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                Spawning escapement
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                           Coho stock                                                  MSST        SMSY  (target
                                                                     2014-2016      (overfished    for  rebuilt)
                                                                  Geometric mean    threshold)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Juan de Fuca....................................................           6,842           7,000          11,000
Queets..........................................................           4,291           4,350           5,800
Snohomish.......................................................          29,677          31,000          50,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fishery Management for the Overfished Coho Stocks

    U.S. ocean salmon fisheries impact the three coho stocks in the EEZ 
north of Cape Falcon, OR. These stocks are also harvested in ocean 
fisheries off Alaska, British Columbia, and in Washington state waters, 
including the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound. Management of 
these stocks is subject to the provisions of the Pacific Salmon Treaty 
Act, which implements the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST) between the U.S. 
and Canada, and also must be consistent with Indian tribal treaty 
fishing rights. The State of Washington and Indian tribes with reserved 
fishing rights on the Washington Coast and in Puget Sound negotiate 
annual fisheries through the North of Falcon Process and under the 
auspices of Hoh v. Baldrige and U.S. v. Washington. Salmon fisheries 
under the jurisdiction of the Council (Council-managed) are managed to 
meet agreed upon exploitation rates (i.e., proportion of potential 
spawners removed by fishing) and escapement goals set under the PST and 
the North of Falcon Process for several salmon stocks, including the 
three overfished coho stocks. Total fishing mortality for these coho 
stocks includes preterminal (i.e., fisheries impacts outside a given 
stock's natal river or estuary, including mixed-stock ocean fisheries) 
and terminal (i.e., fisheries impacts within a given stock's natal 
river or estuary). These exploitation rates, or stepped harvest rates, 
are set annually based on forecast stock abundance, as described below 
for each stock (see Rebuilding Plans). In addition to these 
exploitation rates, Council salmon fisheries are also managed to meet 
conservation objectives and status determination criteria specified in 
the Salmon FMP under Amendment 16 (76 FR 81851, December 29, 2011). 
However, annual natural spawning escapement targets for many Washington 
coast and Puget Sound salmon stocks, including the three overfished 
coho stocks, may vary from Salmon FMP conservation objectives if agreed 
to by the Washington tribal and state co-managers, under the provisions 
of Hoh v. Baldrige, U.S. v. Washington, or subsequent U.S. District 
Court orders (Table 3-1 of the Salmon FMP).
    Juan de Fuca natural coho. The Juan de Fuca coho stock contributes 
to U.S. ocean salmon fisheries north of Cape Falcon and to ocean salmon 
fisheries off British Columbia, and to marine and freshwater Puget 
Sound salmon fisheries. For the period 2004-2017, the total 
exploitation rate on Juan de Fuca coho averaged 10.5 percent, 
distributed as follows: Alaskan and Canadian ocean salmon fisheries--23 
percent, Council-managed ocean salmon fisheries--23 percent, and other 
preterminal and terminal salmon fisheries (primarily sport, net, and 
troll fisheries in the Strait of Juan de Fuca)--54 percent.
    Queets natural coho. The Queets coho stock contributes to ocean 
salmon fisheries off of British Columbia and Washington state, as well 
as Washington coast in-river salmon fisheries. For the period 2004-
2017, the total exploitation rate on Queets coho averaged 38.5 percent, 
distributed as follows: Alaskan and Canadian ocean salmon fisheries--8 
percent, Council-managed ocean salmon fisheries--20 percent, and other 
preterminal and terminal salmon fisheries (including freshwater sport 
and net fisheries in the Quinault, Hoh, and Queets Rivers on the 
Washington coast)--72 percent.
    Snohomish natural coho. The Snohomish coho stock contributes to 
U.S. ocean salmon fisheries north of Cape Falcon and to ocean salmon 
fisheries off British Columbia, and to marine and freshwater Puget 
Sound salmon fisheries. For the period 2004-2017, the total 
exploitation rate on Snohomish coho averaged 24.4 percent, distributed 
as follows: Alaskan and Canadian ocean salmon fisheries--5 percent, 
Council-managed ocean salmon fisheries--9 percent, and other 
preterminal and terminal salmon fisheries within Puget Sound--86 
percent.

Rebuilding Plans

    The Council transmitted their recommended rebuilding plans for the 
three overfished coho stocks to NMFS on October 17, 2019. The plans 
were developed over the course of several Council meetings in 2018 and 
2019 and were informed by the analyses of the Council's Salmon 
Technical Team (STT). The STT held public meetings and work sessions 
with state and Federal agencies, tribal governments, and the general 
public to assess available information on various factors that could 
impact the productivity of these stocks and lead to the overfished 
determination. These factors include: Freshwater survival, marine 
survival, harvest impacts, and assessment and fishery management 
errors.
    Overfishing on the three overfished coho stocks, defined as the 
exploitation rate on a stock exceeding the maximum fishing mortality 
threshold (MFMT), did not occur during the years that lead to the 
overfished determination. The STT's report concluded that the 
overfished situation for these stocks was primarily the result of poor 
marine survival; abundance in 2015 was substantially lower than 
anticipated in preseason forecasts for many Washington coho stocks. 
Freshwater habitat conditions and fishery management may have 
exacerbated the problem caused by low marine survival, but these were 
not identified in the STT's report as the proximate cause of the 
overfished status of any of the three coho stocks. Based on 2015-2017 
abundance, Juan de Fuca coho would likely have met the overfished 
criteria even in the absence of fishing in that time period. The STT's 
report is contained within the draft EA (see ADDRESSES).
    The Council considered two alternatives for the rebuilding plan for 
each stock: (1) The existing control rule and (2) a buffered 
exploitation rate or escapement goal. The Council's recommendations for 
rebuilding the overfished coho stocks, which NMFS proposes to approve, 
are to maintain the existing control rules for Juan de Fuca coho and 
Queets coho, and to manage for a ten-percent buffer on the 
SMSY escapement goal for Snohomish coho. Each of the three 
rebuilding plans

[[Page 61915]]

recommended by the Council meets the MSA requirement to rebuild the 
stock as quickly as possible, taking into account the status and 
biology of any overfished stock and the needs of fishing communities 
(50 CFR 600.310(j)(3)(i)).
    When a stock or stock complex is overfished, a Council must specify 
a time period for rebuilding the stock or stock complex based on 
factors specified in MSA section 304(e)(4). This target time for 
rebuilding (Ttarget) shall be as short as possible, taking 
into account: The status and biology of any overfished stock, the needs 
of fishing communities, recommendations by international organizations 
in which the U.S. participates, and interaction of the stock within the 
marine ecosystem. In addition, the time period shall not exceed 10 
years, except where biology of the stock, other environmental 
conditions, or management measures under an international agreement to 
which the U.S. participates, dictate otherwise (50 CFR 
600.310(j)(3)(i)). The NS1 guidelines also describe the following 
rebuilding benchmarks: The minimum time to rebuild (Tmin) 
and the maximum time to rebuild (Tmax) (50 CFR 
600.310(j)(3)(i)). These benchmarks serve to establish the range of 
target times to rebuild that the Council may consider. Under the NS1 
guidelines, Tmin is calculated by assuming no fishery 
mortality, regardless of the source of the mortality. It is not 
possible, however, for the Council and NMFS to implement a 
Tmin scenario for the overfished coho stocks, because the 
MSA only provides regulatory authority over fisheries in the EEZ. 
Therefore, the Council and NMFS have no authority to suspend non-
federal fisheries in state waters. However, the Council analyzed a no-
fishing scenario to identify Tmin and to serve as a bookend 
in the analysis of rebuilding probabilities.
    Council-area salmon fisheries management measures are set annually 
each April. The Council's Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation 
Document for the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan (SAFE 
document) is released annually in February and provides escapement data 
for previous years. Analyses to determine rebuilding times in the 
Council's recommended rebuilding plans used available escapement data 
in the SAFE document issued February 2019, which included escapement 
data for the overfished coho stocks through 2017. Year 1 in the STT's 
calculations of Tmin and Ttarget was defined as 
2018. This convention was adopted due to data availability, as the most 
recent estimates of ocean abundance and spawning escapement for the 
three overfished coho stocks were from 2017. Rebuilding times projected 
by the STT assume the control rules defined in the alternatives were 
first applied to 2018 fisheries, and each of the nine years thereafter; 
however, the STT and the Council acknowledged that adopted rebuilding 
plans were likely be first implemented in 2020.
    Juan de Fuca Natural Coho
    Tmin. The Council's analysis determined that, with no 
fishing mortality, there was a 54 percent probability that Juan de Fuca 
coho would rebuild in four years. Therefore, Tmin = four 
years or 2021.
    Tmax. NS1 guidelines state that if Tmin for 
the stock or stock complex is 10 years or less, then Tmax is 
10 years (50 CFR 600.310(j)(3)(i)(B)(1)). Since Tmin for 
Juan de Fuca coho is four years or 2021, Tmax = 10 years or 
2027.
    Ttarget. The Council has recommended the existing 
control rule to rebuild Juan de Fuca coho. As described above, this 
stock is managed using a stepped harvest rate control rule which sets 
annual exploitation rate ceilings based upon forecast stock abundance. 
Applying that control rule to Juan de Fuca coho results in a matrix of 
age-3 ocean abundance and total allowable exploitation rates that the 
Council uses when developing annual management measures (coho salmon 
from stocks managed under the FMP mature at age 3 years) (Table 2).

Table 2--Matrix Informed by the Current FMP Harvest Control Rule Applied
                          to Juan de Fuca Coho
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Total allowable
        Abundance category             Age-3 ocean     exploitation rate
                                        abundance           (percent)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Normal............................       Greater than                 60
                                               27,445
Low...............................     Between 11,679                 40
                                           and 27,445
Critical..........................     11,679 or less                 20
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the seven years for which we have escapement data for Juan de 
Fuca coho since the implementation of Amendment 16 (2012 through 2018), 
two of those years had escapement above SMSY.
    The Council's analysis, contained in the draft EA (see ADDRESSES), 
used 2018 as year one in calculating Ttarget. Under the 
existing control rule, there is a 56 percent probability that Juan de 
Fuca coho will meet the rebuilt criteria by year six 
(Ttarget = 2023). This means that the three-year geometric 
mean of Juan de Fuca coho escapement for 2021-2023 is expected to meet 
or exceed SMSY. The spawning escapement from 2023 will be 
included in the 2025 stock assessment.
    MSA consistency. As mentioned above, the MSA requires overfished 
stocks to be rebuilt in as short a time as possible, while taking into 
account the needs of fishing communities. The Council considered an 
alternative that would limit the annual exploitation rate on Juan de 
Fuca coho in Southern U.S. salmon fisheries (i.e., ocean and inland 
salmon fisheries south of the U.S./Canada border, including Council 
area, State, and tribal fisheries) to 10 percent until the stock is 
rebuilt. The Council's analysis of this alternative estimated this 
would result in an economic loss of $4.34 million over the rebuilding 
period (in 2016 dollars), not including losses in tribal fisheries, 
compared to the existing control rule. This alternative would rebuild 
Juan de Fuca coho one year earlier than under the existing control 
rule; the Council's analysis indicates that Ttarget would be 
achieved in 2022 under this alternative. Therefore, taking into account 
the negative economic impacts of the limited exploitation rate 
alternative and the minimal difference in rebuilding time, the existing 
control rule meets the MSA requirement to have a rebuilding period that 
is as short as possible while considering the needs of fishing 
communities.
    Queets Natural Coho
    Tmin. The Council's analysis determined that, with no 
fishing mortality, there was a 61 percent probability that Queets coho 
would

[[Page 61916]]

rebuild in one year. Therefore, Tmin = one year or 2018.
    Tmax. NS1 guidelines state that if Tmin for 
the stock or stock complex is 10 years or less, then Tmax is 
10 years (50 CFR 600.310(j)(3)(i)(B)(1)). Since Tmin for 
Queets coho is one year or 2018, Tmax = 10 years or 2027.
    Ttarget. The Council has recommended the existing 
control rule to rebuild Queets coho. As described above, this stock is 
managed using a stepped harvest rate control rule which sets annual 
exploitation rate ceilings based upon forecast stock abundance. 
Applying that control rule to Queets coho results in a matrix of age-3 
ocean abundance and total allowable exploitation rates that the Council 
uses when developing annual management measures (Table 3).

Table 3--Matrix Informed by the Current FMP Harvest Control Rule Applied
                             To Queets Coho
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Total allowable
        Abundance category             Age-3 ocean     exploitation rate
                                        abundance           (percent)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Normal............................       Greater than              41-65
                                                9,667
Low...............................  Between 7,250 and              21-40
                                                9,667
Critical..........................    Less than 7,250           Up to 20
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the seven years for which we have escapement data for Queets 
coho since the implementation of Amendment 16 (2012 through 2018), one 
of those years had escapement above SMSY.
    The Council's analysis, contained in the draft EA (see ADDRESSES), 
used 2018 as year one in calculating Ttarget. Under the 
existing control rule, the Council's analysis determined there was a 54 
percent probability that Queets coho would meet the rebuilt criteria by 
year two (Ttarget = 2019). This means that the three-year 
geometric mean of Queets coho escapement for 2017-2019 is expected to 
meet or exceed SMSY. Because of the timing of coho spawning, 
there is a delay in the availability of coho escapement data; for 
example, the Council's Review of 2019 Ocean Salmon Fisheries (February 
2020) included coho spawning escapement through 2018. The 2019 spawning 
escapement for Queets coho, and the 2017-2019 escapement geometric 
mean, will be available in February 2021 in the Council's Review of 
2020 Ocean Salmon Fisheries. The Council's annual reviews of ocean 
salmon fisheries are available on the Council's website 
(www.pcouncil.org).
    MSA consistency. As mentioned above, the MSA requires overfished 
stocks to be rebuilt in as short a time as possible, while taking into 
account the needs of fishing communities. The Council considered an 
alternative that would buffer the existing control rule for Queets coho 
by limiting the total exploition rate at forecast ocean age-3 abundance 
between 5,800 and 7,250, beginning at 15 percent and ramping linearly 
to 20 percent. During the preseason process, if spawning escapement is 
projected to be less than 4,930 (85 percent of SMSY), the 
non-treaty Council-area fisheries north of Cape Falcon, OR, would be 
structured to minimize impacts on Queets coho. The Council's analysis 
of this alternative estimated this would result in an economic loss of 
$1.28 million over the rebuilding period (in 2016 dollars), not 
including losses in tribal fisheries, compared to the existing control 
rule. This alternative would not improve the rebuilding time compared 
to the existing control rule; the Council calculated Ttarget 
would be achieved in 2019 under the buffered control rule, the same as 
under the existing control rule. Therefore, due to the negative 
economic impacts of the buffered control rule alternative and 
negligible difference in rebuilding time, NMFS and the Council found 
that the existing control rule meets the MSA requirement to have a 
rebuilding period that is as short as possible while considering the 
needs of fishing communities.
    Snohomish Natural Coho
    Tmin. The Council's analysis determined that, with no 
fishing mortality, there was a 78 percent probability that Snohomish 
coho would rebuild in three years. Therefore, Tmin = three 
years or 2020.
    Tmax. NS1 guidelines state that if Tmin for 
the stock or stock complex is 10 years or less, then Tmax is 
10 years (50 CFR 600.310(j)(3)(i)(B)(1)). Since Tmin for 
Snohomish coho is three years or 2020, Tmax = 10 years or 
2027.
    Ttarget. The Council has recommended a rebuilding plan that uses a 
buffered control rule to rebuild Snohomish coho as the preferred 
alternative. As described above, this stock is managed using a stepped 
harvest rate control rule which sets annual exploitation rate ceilings 
based upon forecast stock abundance. Applying that control rule to 
Snohomish coho results in a matrix of age-3 ocean abundance and total 
allowable exploitation rates that the Council uses when developing 
annual management measures (Table 4, below). In the seven years for 
which we have escapement data for Snohomish coho since the 
implementation of Amendment 16 (2012 through 2018), three of those 
years had escapement above SMSY.
    Under the preferred alternative rebuilding plan, Council-area 
salmon fisheries would limit impacts on Snohomish natural coho 
consistent with escapement thresholds and exploitation rate limits 
identified by the Washington tribal and state co-managers, and 
consistent with the Salmon FMP. The tribal and state co-managers will 
increase the annual MSY escapement goal of 50,000 by 10 percent, to 
55,000, until rebuilt status is achieved and adjust the age-3 ocean 
abundance break points that establish the annual allowable exploitation 
rate, as shown in Table 4.

[[Page 61917]]



 Table 4--Matrix for Setting Annual Allowable Exploitation Rate on Snohomish Coho Under the Current FMP Harvest Control Rule and the Proposed Rebuilding
                                                                          Plan
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                             Age-3 ocean abundance                                      Total allowable
           Abundance category            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- exploitation rate
                                                         FMP control rule                          Proposed rebuilding plan                 (percent)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Normal..................................  Greater than 125,000.........................  Greater than 137,500........................                 60
Low.....................................  Between 51,667 and 125,000...................  Between 51,667 and 137,500..................                 40
Critical................................  Less than 51,667.............................  Less than 51,667............................                 20
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Council's analysis, contained in the draft EA (see ADDRESSES), 
used 2018 as year one in calculating Ttarget. Under the 
Council's preferred alternative rebuilding plan, there is a 62 percent 
probability that Snohomish coho will meet the rebuilt criteria by year 
three (Ttarget = 2020). This means that the three-year 
geometric mean of Snohomish coho escapement for 2018-2020 is expected 
to meet or exceed SMSY. The spawning escapement from 2020 
will be included in the 2022 stock assessment.
    MSA consistency. As mentioned above, the MSA requires overfished 
stocks to be rebuilt in as short a time as possible, while taking into 
account the needs of fishing communities. The Council considered an 
alternative that would use the existing control rule for Snohomish coho 
as well as the preferred alternative. The Council's analysis of the 
alternatives estimates that the preferred alternative would result in 
an economic loss of $432 thousand over the rebuilding period (in 2016 
dollars), not including losses in tribal fisheries, compared to no such 
loss under the existing control rule. The rebuilding time under both 
the status quo alternative (existing control rule) and the preferred 
alternative rebuilding plan would have the same rebuilding time; the 
Council calculated Ttarget would be achieved in 2020 under 
both alternatives. The state and tribal co-managers supported the 
Council's preferred alternative rebuilding plan, and the fishing 
communities did not oppose it. The preferred alternative rebuilding 
plan has the same Ttarget as the status quo alternative and 
is supported by fishery managers and fishing communities, and therefore 
meets the MSA requirement to have a rebuilding period that is as short 
as possible while considering the needs of fishing communities.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    The draft EA for this action is an integrated document that 
includes the Council's analysis of the overfished stocks, analysis of 
environmental and socioeconomic effects under NEPA, the regulatory 
impact review, and regulatory flexibility analysis. The draft EA for 
this action is posted on the NMFS West Coast Region website (see 
ADDRESSES).

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the MSA, the NMFS Assistant 
Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with 
the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan, other provisions of 
the MSA, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration 
after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    This proposed rule is not an Executive Order 13771 regulatory 
action because this rule is not significant under Executive Order 
12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    Using the catch area description in the Pacific States Marine 
Fisheries Commission Information Network (PacFIN), the most recent year 
of complete fishing data, 2018, NMFS determined that 357 distinct 
commercial vessels land fish caught north of Cape Falcon. The Council's 
2020 SAFE document lists ex-vessel value for 2018 salmon landings in 
Washington state at $2.4 million (in 2019 dollars). Therefore, no 
vessel met NMFS' threshold for being a large entity, which is $11 
million in annual gross receipts. We note, however, that the rebuilding 
plans implemented by this proposed rule would not change harvest 
policy, and, thus, by definition, would have no direct or indirect 
economic impact on these small entities.
    Because all directly regulated entities are small, these 
regulations are not expected to place small entities at a significant 
disadvantage in comparison with large entities. The Council 
recommended, and NMFS proposes approving, the status quo alternatives 
for the Juan de Fuca coho rebuilding plan and the Queets coho 
rebuilding plan. The state and tribal co-managers recommended, and NMFS 
proposes approving a rebuilding plan that includes a buffered 
SMSY target for Snohomish coho. These rebuilding plans are 
consistent with the provisions of the existing Salmon FMP. Therefore, 
this proposed rule to approve and implement the rebuilding plans, 
consistent with the parameters required under NS1, is largely 
administrative. This action does not change salmon harvest policy, and 
economic activity is not expected to change from the baseline at all 
for Juan de Fuca coho and Queets coho, and is expected to change only 
minimally, as described above, for Snohomish coho. Therefore, this 
action is also not expected to significantly reduce profit for the 
directly regulated small entities. As a result, an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared.
    This proposed rule was developed after meaningful collaboration 
with the tribal representative on the Council, and the Council 
subsequently agreed with the provisions that apply to tribal vessels.
    This proposed rule does not include a collection-of-information 
requirement subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: September 2, 2020.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration proposes to amend 50 CFR part 660 as 
follows:

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows:


[[Page 61918]]


    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 
16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.

0
2. In Sec.  660.413 (proposed to be added at 85 FR 6135), add 
paragraphs (c) through (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  660.413   Overfished species rebuilding plans.

* * * * *
    (c) Juan de Fuca coho. The Juan de Fuca coho salmon stock was 
declared overfished in 2018. The target year for rebuilding Juan de 
Fuca coho is 2023. The harvest control rule during the rebuilding 
period for Juan de Fuca coho is the abundance-based stepped harvest 
rate as shown in table 1 to this paragraph (c).

                                            Table 1 to Paragraph (c)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                     Juan de Fuca coho stepped harvest rates
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                Total allowable
             Abundance category                            Age-3 ocean abundance               exploitation rate
                                                                                                    (percent)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Normal.....................................  Greater than 27,445.............................                 60
Low........................................  Between 11,679 and 27,445.......................                 40
Critical...................................  11,679 or less..................................                 20
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (d) Queets coho. The Queets coho salmon stock was declared 
overfished in 2018. The target year for rebuilding Queets coho is 2019. 
The harvest control rule during the rebuilding period for Queets coho 
is the abundance-based stepped harvest rate as shown in table 2 to this 
paragraph (d).

                                            Table 2 to Paragraph (d)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Queets coho stepped harvest rates
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                Total allowable
             Abundance category                               Age-3 abundance                  exploitation rate
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Normal.....................................  Greater than 9,667..............................                 65
Low........................................  Between 7,250 and 9,667.........................                 40
Critical...................................  Less than 7,250.................................                 20
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (e) Snohomish coho. (1) The Snohomish coho salmon stock was 
declared overfished in 2018. The target year for rebuilding Snohomish 
coho is 2020. The harvest control rule during the rebuilding period for 
Snohomish coho is the abundance-based stepped harvest rate as shown in 
table 3 to this paragraph (e).

                                            Table 3 to Paragraph (e)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Snohomish coho stepped harvest rates
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                Total allowable
             Abundance category                               Age-3 abundance                  exploitation rate
                                                                                                    (percent)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Normal.....................................  Greater than 137,000............................                 60
Low........................................  Between 51,667 and 137,000......................                 40
Critical...................................  Less than 51,667................................                 20
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (2) In years when Snohomish coho abundance is forecast to exceed 
137,000, the total allowable exploitation rate will be limited to 
target achieving a spawning escapement of 55,000 Snohomish coho.

[FR Doc. 2020-19884 Filed 9-30-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P