National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration January 23, 2014 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

Domestic Fisheries; Management Strategy Evaluation for Sacramento River Winter Chinook Salmon
Document Number: 2014-01239
Type: Notice
Date: 2014-01-23
Agency: Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has requested that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) take into consideration alternative harvest control rules for Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon (winter-run), a species listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and impacted by ocean salmon fisheries that the Council and NMFS manage. The Council is concerned that the existing control rule may be unnecessarily restrictive in years of low winter-run abundance, particularly when the 3-year average escapement drops below 500 fish. The current control rule specifies zero fishery impacts at this level of abundance rather than the de minimis impacts that are allowed under fishery control rules that limit impacts on other ESA listed species. The Council has expressed interest in exploring alternatives that would provide some limited harvest opportunity on other Chinook salmon stocks when winter-run abundance is low, without significantly increasing the risk to winter-run. To help facilitate consideration of such alternatives, NMFS is requesting public comment on alternative harvest control rules analyzed in a Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) for winter-run. These alternative harvest control rules include the current control rule implemented by NMFS on May 1, 2012, as part of the ESA consultation standard on the ocean salmon fishery and additional control rules that reduce the impact rate at low abundance.
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