[Federal Register: August 16, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 159)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 53511-53520]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 92

RIN 1018-AH88

Procedures for Establishing Spring/Summer Subsistence Harvest 
Regulations for Migratory Birds in Alaska

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) adopts 
regulations establishing procedures for implementing a spring/summer 
migratory bird subsistence harvest in Alaska. The 1916 Convention for 
the Protection of Migratory Birds Between the United States and Great 
Britain (for Canada) established a closed season for the taking of 
migratory birds between March 10 and September 1. Residents of northern 
Alaska and Canada traditionally harvested migratory birds for 
nutritional purposes during the spring and summer months. The 
governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States recently amended 
the 1916 Convention and the subsequent 1936 Mexico Convention for the 
Protection of Migratory Birds and Game Mammals. The amended treaties 
provide for the legal subsistence harvest of migratory birds and their 
eggs in Alaska and Canada during the closed season. This rule 
establishes procedures for implementing that change and for 
incorporating subsistence management into the continental migratory 
bird management program.

DATES: This rule is effective August 16, 2002.

ADDRESSES: The administrative record for this rule may be viewed at the 
office of the Regional Director, Alaska Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 1011 E. Tudor Road, Anchorage, Alaska, 99503.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Fred Armstrong, (907) 786-3887 or Bill 
Ostrand, (907) 786-3849, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1011 E. Tudor 
Road, Mail Stop 201, Anchorage, Alaska 99503.


What Events Led to This Action?

    By the beginning of the twentieth century, this nation began to 
witness the depletion of many species of migratory birds. Commercial or 
``market'' hunting took a significant toll as restaurant owners paid 
top dollar for wild birds and the millinery industry demanded large 
numbers of feathers for hats. Individual States did not establish 
regulations or other management programs to adequately protect the 
migratory bird resources.
    In 1916, the United States and Great Britain (on behalf of Canada) 
signed the Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds in Canada 
and the United States. The treaty prohibited market hunting and 
specified a closed season on taking migratory game birds between March 
10 and September 1 of each year. In 1936, the United States and Mexico 
signed the Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds and Game 
Mammals. The Mexico treaty prohibited the taking of wild ducks between 
March 10 and September 1. Neither treaty, however, took into account 
and allowed for the traditional harvest of migratory birds by northern 
indigenous people during the spring and summer months. This harvest, 
which had occurred for centuries, was necessary to the subsistence 
lifestyle of the northern people and thus continued despite the closed 
    The Canada treaty and the Mexico treaty, as well as the other 
migratory bird treaties with Japan (1972) and Russia (1976), have been 
implemented in the United States through the Migratory Bird Treaty Act 
(MBTA). The courts have construed the MBTA as prohibiting the Federal 
Government from permitting any harvest of migratory birds that is 
inconsistent with the terms of any of the migratory bird treaties. The 
restrictive terms of the Canada and Mexico treaties thus prevented the 
Federal Government from permitting the traditional subsistence harvest 
of migratory birds during spring and summer in Alaska. To remedy this 
situation, the United States negotiated Protocols amending both the 
Canada and Mexico treaties to allow for spring/summer subsistence 
harvest of migratory birds by indigenous inhabitants of identified 
subsistence harvest areas in Alaska. The U.S. Senate approved the 
amendments to both treaties in 1997.

What Will the Amended Treaty Accomplish?

    The major goals of the amended treaty with Canada are to allow for 
traditional subsistence harvest and to improve conservation of 
migratory birds by allowing effective regulation of this harvest. The 
amended treaty with Canada allows permanent residents of villages 
within subsistence harvest areas, regardless of race, to continue 
harvesting migratory birds between March 10 and September 1 as they 
have done for thousands of years. The Letter of Submittal from the 
Department of State to the White House states that lands north and west 
of the Alaska Range and within the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak 
Archipelago, and the Aleutian Islands generally qualify as subsistence 
harvest areas. Treaty language provides for further refinement of this 
determination by management bodies.
    The amendments, however, are not intended to cause significant 
increases in the take of migratory birds relative to their continental 
population sizes. Therefore, the Letter of Submittal places limitations 
on who is eligible to harvest and where they can harvest migratory 
birds. Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna and Fairbanks North Star 
Boroughs, the Kenai Peninsula roaded

[[Page 53512]]

area, the Gulf of Alaska roaded area, and Southeast Alaska generally do 
not qualify as subsistence harvest areas. Limited exceptions may be 
made so that some individual communities within these excluded areas 
could qualify for designation as subsistence harvest areas for specific 
purposes. For example, future regulations could allow some villages in 
Southeast Alaska to collect gull eggs.
    The amended treaty with Canada calls for creation of management 
bodies to ensure an effective and meaningful role for Alaska's 
indigenous inhabitants in the conservation of migratory birds. 
According to the Letter of Submittal, management bodies are to include 
Alaska Native, Federal, and State of Alaska representatives as equals. 
They will develop recommendations for, among other things: Seasons and 
bag limits, methods and means of take, law enforcement policies, 
population and harvest monitoring, education programs, research and use 
of traditional knowledge, and habitat protection. The management bodies 
will involve village councils to the maximum extent possible in all 
aspects of management.
    Relevant recommendations developed by the management bodies will be 
submitted to the Service and to the Flyway Councils. Restrictions in 
harvest levels for the purpose of conservation will be shared equitably 
by users in Alaska and users in other States, taking into account 
nutritional needs of subsistence users in Alaska. The treaty amendments 
are not intended to create a preference in favor of any group of users 
in the United States or to modify any preference that may exist. 
Neither do they create any private rights of action under U.S. law.

What Has the Service Accomplished Since Ratification of the Amended 

    In 1998, we began a public involvement process to determine how to 
structure management bodies in order to provide the most effective and 
efficient involvement for subsistence users. We began by publishing a 
notice in the Federal Register stating that we intended to establish 
management bodies to implement the spring and summer subsistence 
harvest (63 FR 49707, September 17, 1998). Public forums attended by 
the Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Native 
Migratory Bird Working Group were held to provide information regarding 
the amended treaties and to listen to the needs of subsistence users. 
The Native Migratory Bird Working Group was a consortium of Alaska 
Natives formed by the Rural Alaska Community Action Program to 
represent Alaska Native subsistence hunters of migratory birds during 
the treaty negotiations. We held forums in Nome, Kotzebue, Fort Yukon, 
Allakaket, Naknek, Bethel, Dillingham, Barrow, and Copper Center. We 
led additional briefings and discussions at the annual meeting of the 
Association of Village Council Presidents in Hooper Bay and for the 
Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes in Juneau. Staff 
members from Alaska national wildlife refuges conducted public meetings 
in the villages within their refuge areas and discussed the amended 
treaties at those meetings.
    On July 1, 1999, we published in the Federal Register (64 FR 35674) 
a notice of availability of an options document, entitled ``Forming 
management bodies to implement legal spring and summer migratory bird 
subsistence hunting in Alaska.'' This document described four possible 
models for establishing management bodies and was released to the 
public for review and comment. We mailed copies of the document to 
approximately 1,350 individuals and organizations, including all tribal 
councils and municipal governments in Alaska, Native regional 
corporations and their associated nonprofit organizations, the Alaska 
Department of Fish and Game, Federal land management agencies, 
representatives of the four Flyway Councils, conservation and other 
affected organizations, and interested businesses and individuals. We 
distributed an additional 600 copies at public meetings held in Alaska 
to discuss the four models. We also made the document available on the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service web page.
    During the public comment period, we received 60 written comments 
addressing the formation of management bodies. Of those 60 comments, 26 
were from tribal governments, 20 from individuals, 10 from non-
government organizations, 2 from the Federal Government, 1 from the 
State of Alaska, and 1 from the Native Migratory Bird Working Group. In 
addition to the 60 written comments, 9 of the 10 Federal Subsistence 
Regional Advisory Councils passed resolutions regarding the four models 
    On March 28, 2000, we published in the Federal Register (65 FR 
16405) the Notice of Decision, ``Establishment of Management Bodies in 
Alaska To Develop Recommendations Related to the Spring/Summer 
Subsistence Harvest of Migratory Birds.'' This notice described the way 
in which management bodies would be established and organized.
    Based on the wide range of views expressed on the options document, 
the decision incorporated key aspects of two of the models. The 
decision established one statewide management body consisting of 1 
Federal member, 1 State member, and 7-12 Alaska Native members, with 
each component serving as equals. Decisions and recommendations of the 
Council will be by consensus wherever possible; however, if a vote 
becomes necessary, each component, Federal, State, and Native, will 
have one vote. This body will set a framework for annual regulations 
for spring and summer subsistence harvest of migratory birds. Seven 
regional bodies, consisting of local subsistence users working within 
the framework, will forward their recommendations to the statewide 
management body. That body will act on those recommendations and 
forward its recommendations to the Service and to the Flyway Councils.
    In April 2000, we met with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game 
and the Native Migratory Bird Working Group to discuss bylaws for the 
statewide management body. At that meeting, we decided to name the 
statewide management body the ``Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management 
Council.'' On October 30, 2000, the Co-management Council convened for 
the first time and began preparation for the development of 
recommendations for regulations to be implemented in spring of 2003. 
The regulations in this document will: (1) Provide the authority for 
the Co-management Council to operate; (2) establish the procedures by 
which the Co-management Council will conduct its business; (3) provide 
authority to the Co-management Council to make recommendations 
regarding applicability and scope of subsistence harvest and who is 
eligible to participate in subsistence harvest; (4) give the Co-
management Council the authority to set up a process by which migratory 
birds can be used and possessed under subsistence harvest regulations; 
(5) define Regional management areas; (6) describe the relationship the 
rule has to the process for developing national hunting regulations for 
migratory birds, and (7) allow for future development of regulations 
pertaining to methods and means of harvest traditionally used for 
subsistence purposes. At future meetings, the Co-management Council 
will continue to develop recommendations on harvest and methods and 
means of harvest as necessary to protect the migratory bird resource.

[[Page 53513]]

Summary of Public Involvement

    This rule places into regulation many of the decisions that were 
published in the March 28, 2000, Federal Register Notice (65 FR 16405). 
Prior to that Decision Notice being published, we conducted an 
extensive public involvement process consisting of public meetings in 
many regions of Alaska. On April 8, 2002, we published in the Federal 
Register (67 FR 16709) a proposed rule to establish procedures for 
implementing a spring/summer migratory bird subsistence harvest in 
Alaska. The proposed rule provided for a public comment period of 46 
days. We mailed copies of the proposed rule to more than 1,200 
individuals and organizations that were on the project mailing list. We 
conducted two public meetings in Anchorage where people could ask 
questions or provide formal comment.
    By the close of the public comment period on May 24, 2002, we had 
received written responses from 11 entities. Four of the responses were 
from individuals, five from organizations, one from the Alaska 
Legislature, and one from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. 
Several of the comments were of an editorial nature or suggesting 
alternative wording for clarification. We completed those changes when 
appropriate. Many comments requested or suggested changes to statements 
that came directly from the Protocol, the Senate Report, or the Letter 
of Submittal from the State Department to the White House. We declined 
to alter what we believed to be the intent of the Protocol. The 
following analysis addresses those comments that directly address the 
content of the proposed rule, and that do not conflict with the 
Protocol language.

Response to Public Comments

    Most sections of the proposed rule were addressed by commenters. 
This discussion addresses comments section by section beginning with 
those of a general nature.

General Comments

    A respondent requested that the regulations require research and 
monitoring and publication of an annual report on the findings. The 
ability to monitor the harvest is a major advantage of legalizing 
spring and summer subsistence harvesting of migratory birds and their 
eggs. Harvest monitoring will be expanded. The regulations state that 
the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council (AMBCC) will make 
recommendations concerning research and use of traditional knowledge. 
Such recommendations will supplement research efforts currently being 
conducted. Research results will be published upon completion. 
Subsistence harvest data are published annually in the Service's 
Pacific Flyway Data Book. Accomplishing such activities continues to be 
a matter of policy. Regulating them appears unnecessary and 
    An individual requested that the word ``Native'' be replaced 
throughout the regulations with the term ``indigenous inhabitant.'' The 
Letter of Submittal differentiates between the two terms and, 
therefore, we chose to be consistent with the use of those terms as 
they are applied in the Letter. In order to be consistent with the 
Letter of Submittal, the term ``Native'' is used to identify the 
composition of the management bodies. The term ``indigenous 
inhabitants'' refers to the eligibility of residents in a designated 
harvest area as defined in the Letter of Submittal. The elimination of 
one term or use of one term over another would misconstrue the explicit 
intent of Congress when they ratified the Treaty amendments. The same 
commenter also requested that the definition of ``Native'' be removed 
from the definitions in Sec. 92.4. Because the term ``Native'' will 
remain in the final rule, we will not delete the definition.
    A respondent stated that the heading of subpart C, Methods and 
Means, was too limiting in scope, because other types of regulations 
not needing to be published annually would be in this subpart. We agree 
and have changed the heading in the final rule to read ``General 
Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest.''

Supplementary Information

    A commenter noted that the Supplementary Information referenced 
sources other than the Protocol language. A Letter of Submittal 
prepared by the State Department accompanied the Protocol to the White 
House. Some of the language in this section referencing the Protocol 
actually is in the Letter of Submittal. Referencing in the final rule 
is clarified.
    A commenter stated that the scope of these regulations would be 
clearer if they used the term ``spring and summer hunting'' rather than 
the word ``subsistence.'' We believe that the language in the proposed 
rule clearly stated that these regulations apply only to the spring and 
summer subsistence harvest of migratory birds between the dates of 
March 10 and September 1. We have made the change, however, in those 
situations where it seemed to add clarification.
    In the Supplementary Information we stated that the treaty 
amendments are not intended to create a preference in favor of any 
group of users in the United States. A commenter noted that the 
amendments do not create any rights to harvest birds. Both these points 
are stated in the Letter of Submittal. In the final rule, we have, 
therefore, added a statement that no private rights of action under 
U.S. law are created by the amended treaty.
    In the section titled, ``What Events Led to This Action?'' we 
referred to subsistence zones. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game 
correctly noted that the term ``zones'' has a specific regulatory 
definition in part 20. To avoid confusion, we have referred to 
``subsistence harvest areas'' in the final rule, and no longer use the 
term ``zones.''
    In the paragraph addressing the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, we 
stated that the cost to the partner organizations for coordinating the 
regional programs would be approximately $300,000 for travel and 
associated costs for regional meetings. One comment stated that the 
cost would exceed that amount and requested that the figure be 
increased. As stated in this section, the Service has entered into 
grant agreements to help offset those costs. During the first year of 
this project, the regional partners charged less than $150,000 to those 
grant agreements. No evidence exists at this time that the cost 
estimate quoted should be increased.
    In the paragraph addressing Regulatory Planning and Review, we 
certified that this rule will not have an annual economic effect of 
$100 million. Using figures from a published report, we estimated that 
the maximum economic value derived from the consumption of harvested 
migratory birds in the spring and summer would be approximately $6 
million. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game commented that we made 
assumptions in the calculations that led to an elevated value. We 
agree. The point of this paragraph is to demonstrate that the value is 
less than $100 million. Therefore, we attempted to demonstrate that the 
highest estimate would be substantially less than $100 million. Because 
of variations in data quality and quantity, and in species harvested 
throughout the State, statewide economic value estimates are not 
reliable. We therefore have added wording to the paragraph making clear 
that these figures are of little value for any purpose other than 
demonstrating a high-end economic impact for this project.

[[Page 53514]]

Section 92.3  Applicability and Scope

    One commenter said this section would allow the State of Alaska to 
regulate the spring and summer subsistence hunt without regard for the 
provisions of the Treaties and regulations. We do not agree. In section 
92.3(e), the regulations clearly state that any laws and regulations 
enacted by the State under its other authorities must be consistent 
with the applicable international conventions, including the Protocol, 
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the regulations adopted under this 
part. The State could not implement subsistence hunting regulations 
that would conflict with this Federal rule.
    Another commenter noted an error in the dates of the open season 
regulated by part 20. We stated that the open season is between 
September 1 through March 10. It has been corrected in the final rule 
to reflect that the open season is from September 1 through March 10 
and, therefore, includes both dates.

Section 92.4  Definitions

    Two commenters requested changes to the definition of ``immediate 
family.'' One noted that the definition included grandparents, but did 
not include grandchildren. ``Immediate family'' as described in the 
Letter of Submittal includes grandparents but not grandchildren. We 
agree that this is an oversight and have made the change to the 
definition in the final rule. The second commenter stated that the 
definition should include aunts, uncles, and cousins because extended 
family is important and is a part of Native traditions. Although the 
extended family may be important in traditional activities, the Letter 
of Submittal emphasizes the need to include immediate family members in 
the traditional migratory bird harvest, while meeting the purpose of 
the Protocol that states ``* * * it is not the intent of this Protocol 
to cause significant increases in the take of species of migratory 
birds relative to their continental population sizes.'' Expanding the 
definition of immediate family to include extended family would not be 
consistent with that intent.
    A commenter stated that a definition of ``permanent resident'' 
would be helpful to the understanding of eligibility under Sec. 92.5. 
This is a term that was not defined in the Protocol language or in the 
accompanying documents. Since the writing of the proposed rule, the 
term has been defined by the AMBCC in a public meeting. We are, 
therefore, including that definition in the final rule. The same 
commenter stated that the regulation should be clear that the local 
tribal government is the entity that is responsible for identifying the 
permanent residents in their respective communities. No entity has yet 
been given the responsibility for determining who qualifies as a 
permanent resident. Each individual is expected to apply the definition 
to his or her own situation. If questioned by an enforcement officer, 
proof of residency must be available.
    A commenter requested that the term ``tribal'' be eliminated from 
the definition of ``partner organization or regional partner.'' The 
commenter referenced a dispute regarding tribal status of Alaska 
Natives other than for certain statutory purposes. The commenter stated 
that there is no purpose for specifying tribal involvement in this rule 
and that ``federally recognized tribes'' will be included within the 
purview of the phrase ``regional or local organization, or local 
government.'' Although ``federally recognized tribes'' or ``tribal 
organizations'' are not specifically identified in the Protocol 
language or the accompanying language, it is not clear that those terms 
would be considered included within the purview of the phrase 
``regional or local organization, or a local government.'' It is our 
intention that tribes and tribal organizations have the same 
opportunity as local governments and regional and local organizations 
to be partner organizations. It should be clear, however, that none of 
these entities has preference in being so designated.
    One commenter felt that the definition of ``non-wasteful taking'' 
was not adequate because the definition had no requirement for 
preserving harvested birds that were not immediately consumed. The 
definition has been changed to read, ``* * * consumed or preserved for 
    A commenter stated a concern that the term, ``for their own'' in 
the definition of ``subsistence'' did not allow for traditional sharing 
and exchanging of birds among eligible subsistence users. Article 
II4(b)(i) of the amended Treaty states that harvesting ``* * * shall be 
consistent with customary and traditional uses by such indigenous 
inhabitants for their own nutritional and other essential needs.'' The 
use of this term is essential for understanding that harvest is to be 
for certain subsistence needs only. The term, however, is intended to 
apply to eligible indigenous inhabitants collectively and not solely to 
individual users. The use of the term, therefore, does not restrict 
traditional sharing among eligible users. For further clarification we 
have changed ``traditional harvest and use'' to ``traditional harvest 
or use.''
    At the request of a commenter, and for the purpose of 
clarification, we have added the words ``during the spring and summer'' 
to the end of the definition of the term ``eligible person''.

Section 92.5 Who is Eligible to Participate?

    One commenter suggested additional wording in paragraph (a). The 
proposed rule states that any person may submit a petition to exclude a 
previously included community. Although the proposed rule states that 
the AMBCC will make recommendations regarding the petition, it is not 
clearly stated who is to receive the petition. Wording has been added 
to the final rule stating that petitions will first be considered by 
the appropriate regional management body before being acted on by the 
    The suggestion was made that in paragraph (b) we add the words 
``spring and summer'' before the words ``subsistence harvest area.'' 
The sentence now reads ``* * * may petition the Co-management Council 
through their designated regional management body for designation as a 
spring and summer subsistence harvest area.''
    We received several comments regarding paragraph (c). Several of 
those comments indicated that the paragraph was vague and that it did 
not adequately address the requirements of the amended Treaty, that we 
are to accommodate traditional spring and summer harvests without 
creating new traditions or increasing harvests. We have re-written the 
entire paragraph to accommodate those concerns. We also responded to a 
request for clarity by adding the words ``spring and summer'' to the 
heading of paragraph (c).
    Numerous other comments addressed the five criteria in paragraph 
(c). Comments expressed concern that the 1916 date used in criterion 
(1) was too far back for data to be available when determining 
traditional use patterns. Also, some communities have moved and been 
renamed, and have developed a traditional use of migratory birds since 
1916. They would be unable to successfully petition for inclusion. We 
agree that the earlier date, which was based upon the signing of the 
original migratory bird treaty with Canada, was too restrictive. The 
argument could certainly be made that communities with a demonstrated 
use pattern prior to the effective date of the amended treaty should be 
able to petition for inclusion. We have, therefore, changed the date 
from 1916 to 1999.
    Several commenters stated that those criteria used to establish a 

[[Page 53515]]

subsistence harvest should not be limited to migratory birds, and that 
a subsistence use of other fish and wildlife species should be 
sufficient to qualify for a future subsistence harvest of migratory 
birds. We believe that eligibility for future subsistence harvest of 
migratory birds should be dependent upon past reliance on that same 
resource. One of the purposes of the amended treaty is to allow for the 
regulated continuation of past practices within designated subsistence 
harvest areas. We, therefore, will not add other fish and wildlife 
species to the list of criteria.
    A request was made to change criterion (3) by adding the words 
``through oral traditions, family training, and cultural community 
activities or events.'' The purpose of the recommended change would be 
to better tailor the criteria to define the cultures and traditions of 
Alaska Native people. We believe, however, that the additional wording 
unnecessarily limits the manner in which such knowledge could be handed 
down through the generations. Criterion (3) remains unchanged in the 
final rule.
    A commenter stated that paragraph (d) does not clearly identify 
where invited family members may participate. We feel the paragraph is 
clear on that point, but did need to state that participation requires 
the permission of the Village Council. Wording has been added 

Section 92.6  Use and Possession of Migratory Birds

    A commenter stated that this rule should allow for the purchase of 
feathers for dance regalia, because that is part of the tradition of 
some Native cultures. Because the purchase and sale of migratory birds 
and their parts is a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is 
not in the purview of this rule to allow for the purchase of feathers.

Section 92.10  Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council

    A respondent asked that we add to the list of AMBCC roles and 
responsibilities the facilitation of the development of inter-regional 
conservation plans, harvest strategies, and management programs for 
shared populations of migratory birds. We believe this function is 
adequately stated in paragraph (c)(7).
    Paragraph (c)(8) has been re-worded as suggested by a commenter in 
order to make it less awkward and to be clear that we are referring to 
the AMBCC regional representatives.
    A commenter wanted more specific language in paragraph (d)(3) that 
all AMBCC meetings are open to the public. Language has been added to 
the final rule to accommodate that request.

Section 92.11  Regional Management Areas

    A commenter stated that identified partner organizations must be 
willing and able to coordinate the regional programs on behalf of all 
subsistence hunters within the region. We have added the word ``all'' 
to accommodate that request.

Section 92.12  Relationship to the Process for Developing National 
Hunting Regulations for Migratory Game Birds

    A commenter stated that paragraph (b) was not clear in the 
intention that the annual regulations in subpart D would be published 
separately and apart from part 20 of title 50 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR). Wording has been added to this paragraph to help 
clarify the issue. We intend that annual regulations published pursuant 
to part 20 and those published pursuant to part 92 will be subject to 
the same review process and submitted to the Federal Register at 
approximately the same time. They will be published, however, within 
their respective parts in the CFR. Section 92.30, paragraph (d), states 
that Secs. 92.31-92.39 provide for the annual harvest of migratory 
birds and their eggs during spring and summer for subsistence users in 
Alaska. Text for those sections will be published in the Federal 
Register this fall, to be in place for the spring and summer of 2003.

Statutory Authority

    We derive our authority to issue these regulations from the 
Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.), which 
implements the 1916 Convention, as amended, between the United States 
and Great Britain (for Canada) for the protection of migratory birds.
    Specifically, these regulations are issued pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 
712(1), which authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to ``issue such 
regulations as may be necessary to assure that the taking of migratory 
birds and the collection of their eggs, by the indigenous inhabitants 
of the State of Alaska, shall be permitted for their own nutritional 
and other essential needs, as determined by the Secretary of the 
Interior, during seasons established so as to provide for the 
preservation and maintenance of stocks of migratory birds.''

Effective Date

    Under the Administrative Procedure Act, our normal practice is to 
publish rules with a 30-day delay in effective date. But in this case, 
we are using the ``good cause'' exemption under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to 
make this rule effective upon publication in order to ensure 
conservation of the resource for the upcoming spring/summer subsistence 
harvest. The rule needs to be made effective immediately for the 
following reasons: (1) The AMBCC has spent a considerable amount of 
time developing recommendations to the SRC to legalize the spring/
summer harvest of migratory birds in Alaska. The last meeting of the 
SRC for the 2002-03 season is scheduled to meet on July 31 and August 
1, 2002, to consider these and other recommendations. These procedural 
regulations give the AMBCC the authority to provide recommendations. If 
this rule is not in effect when the SRC meets, a question of whether or 
not the recommendations are legal will arise and leave the AMBCC 
vulnerable to legal challenges; and (2) although it is very difficult 
to get three different and distinct groups of people together (state, 
federal and Alaska Native) with a common goal and be able to move 
forward as they have, all three parties to the AMBCC have a commitment 
to develop a management system that will provide conservation measures 
for the spring/summer harvest of migratory birds in Alaska. That 
commitment to conservation is the foundation for the AMBCC and success 
will be measured by the harmony that has been created. Anything to 
jeopardize it at this early stage of development could impact the 
structure of the AMBCC. The expediency of the publication of the 
procedural regulations will ensure that the AMBCC recommendations are 
heard and acted upon by the Service.

Regulatory Planning and Review

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this 
document is not a significant rule subject to OMB review under E.O. 
    a. This rule will not have an annual economic effect of $100 
million or adversely affect an economic sector, productivity, jobs, the 
environment, or other units of government. A cost-benefit and economic 
analysis is not required. This rule is administrative, technical, and 
procedural in nature, establishing the procedures for implementing 
spring and summer harvest of migratory birds as provided for in the 
amended Convention with Canada. The rule does not provide for new or 
additional hunting opportunities and therefore will have minimal 
economic or environmental impact.

[[Page 53516]]

    This rule benefits those participants who engage in the subsistence 
harvest of migratory birds in Alaska in two identifiable ways: first, 
participants receive the consumptive value of the birds harvested and 
second, participants get the cultural benefit associated with the 
maintenance of a subsistence economy and way of life. The Service can 
estimate the consumptive value for birds harvested under this rule but 
does not have a dollar value for the cultural benefit of maintaining a 
subsistence economy and way of life.
    The economic value derived from the consumption of the harvested 
migratory birds has been estimated using the results of a paper by 
Robert J. Wolfe titled ``Subsistence Food Harvests in Rural Alaska, and 
Food Safety Issues,'' August 13, 1996.'' Using data from Wolfe's paper 
and applying it to the areas that will be included in this process, a 
maximum economic value of $6 million is determined. This is the 
estimated economic benefit of the consumptive part of this rule for 
participants in subsistence hunting. The cultural benefits of 
maintaining a subsistence economy and way of life can be of 
considerable value to the participants, and is not included in this 
    b. This rule will not create inconsistencies with other agencies' 
actions. We are the Federal agency responsible for the management of 
migratory birds, coordinating with the Alaska Department of Fish and 
Game on management programs within the State of Alaska. The State of 
Alaska is a member of the AMBCC.
    c. This rule will not materially affect entitlements, grants, user 
fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their recipients. 
The rule does not affect entitlement programs.
    d. This rule will not raise novel legal or policy issues. The 
annual subsistence harvest regulations will go through the same 
National regulatory process as the existing annual migratory bird 
hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of the Interior certifies that this rule will not 
have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small 
entities as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 
et seq.). An initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. 
Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide is not required. The rule 
legalizes a pre-existing subsistence activity, and the resources 
harvested will be consumed by the harvesters or persons within their 
local community.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, as discussed in the 
Regulatory Planning and Review section above.
    a. This rule does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 
million or more. It will legalize and regulate a traditional 
subsistence activity. It will not result in a substantial increase in 
subsistence harvest or a significant change in harvesting patterns.
    The commodities being regulated under this rule are migratory 
birds. This rule deals with legalizing the subsistence harvest of 
migratory birds and, as such, does not involve commodities traded in 
the marketplace. A small economic benefit from this rule derives from 
the sale of equipment and ammunition to carry out subsistence hunting. 
Most, if not all, businesses that sell hunting equipment in rural 
Alaska would qualify as small businesses. The Service has no reason to 
believe that this rule will lead to a disproportionate distribution of 
    b. This rule will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions. This rule does not deal with traded 
commodities and, therefore, does not have an impact on prices for 
    c. This rule does not have significant adverse effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the 
ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based 
enterprises. This rule deals with the harvesting of wildlife for 
personal consumption. It does not regulate the marketplace in any way 
to generate effects on the economy or the ability of businesses to 

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    We have determined and certify pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) that this rule will not impose a 
cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local, State, or 
tribal governments or private entities. A statement containing the 
information required by this Act is therefore not necessary.
    Participation on regional management bodies and the Co-management 
Council will require travel expenses for some Alaska Native 
organizations and local governments. In addition they will assume some 
expenses related to coordinating involvement of village councils in the 
regulatory process. Total coordination and travel expenses for all 
Alaska Native organizations are estimated to be less than $300,000 per 
year. In the Notice of Decision, 65 FR 16405, March 28, 2000, we 
identified 12 partner organizations to be responsible for administering 
the regional programs. When possible, we will make annual grant 
agreements available to the partner organizations to help offset their 
expenses. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will incur expenses 
for travel to the Co-management Council meetings and to meetings of the 
regional management bodies. In addition, the State will be required to 
provide technical staff support to each of the regional management 
bodies and to the Co-management Council. Expenses for the State's 
involvement may exceed $100,000 per year, but should not exceed 
$150,000 per year.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule has been examined under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995, and has been found to contain no information collection 
requirements. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not 
required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays 
a currently valid OMB control number.

Federalism Effects

    As discussed in the Regulatory Planning and Review and Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act sections above, this rule does not have sufficient 
federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism 
Assessment under Executive Order 13132. We worked with the State of 
Alaska on development of these regulations.

Civil Justice Reform--Executive Order 12988

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Office of the 
Solicitor has determined that the rule does not unduly burden the 
judicial system and that it meets the requirements of Section 3 of the 

Takings Implication Assessment

    This rule is not specific to particular land ownership, but applies 
to the harvesting of migratory bird resources throughout Alaska. 
Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 12630, this rule does not 
have significant takings implications.

Government-to-Government Relations With Native American Tribal 

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations With Native American Tribal

[[Page 53517]]

Governments'' (59 FR 22951), and Executive Order 13175, 65 FR 67249 
(November 6, 2000), concerning consultation and coordination with 
Indian Tribal Governments, we have consulted with Alaska tribes, 
evaluated the rule for possible effects on them and have determined 
that there are no significant effects. This rule establishes procedures 
by which the individual tribes in Alaska will be able to become 
significantly involved in the annual regulatory process for spring and 
summer subsistence harvesting of migratory birds and their eggs. The 
rule will legalize the subsistence harvest for tribal members, as well 
as for other indigenous inhabitants.

Endangered Species Act Consideration

    Prior to issuance of annual spring and summer subsistence 
regulations, we will consider provisions of the Endangered Species Act 
of 1973, as amended, (16 U.S.C. 1531-1543; hereinafter the Act) to 
ensure that harvesting is not likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of any species designated as endangered or threatened or 
modify or destroy their critical habitats, and that it is consistent 
with conservation programs for those species. Consultations under 
Section 7 of this Act may cause us to change recommendations for annual 

National Environmental Policy Act Consideration

    We determined that establishing the procedures for future 
development of subsistence harvest regulations does not require an 
environmental assessment because the impacts to the environment are 
negligible. We therefore filed a categorical exclusion dated April 30, 
1999. Copies of the categorical exclusion are available at the address 
shown in the section of this document entitled, ADDRESSES. An 
environmental assessment will be prepared for the annual subsistence 
take regulations due to be published later as a proposed rule in the 
summer of 2002.

Energy Supply, Distribution or Use (Executive Order 13211)

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on 
regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, and 
use. Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. Because this rule only 
allows for traditional subsistence harvest and improves conservation of 
migratory birds by allowing effective regulation of this harvest, it is 
not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 and is 
not expected to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, and 
use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action and no 
Statement of Energy Effects is required.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 92

    Hunting, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Subsistence, 
Treaties, Wildlife.

    For the reasons identified in the preamble, the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service adds part 92 to subchapter G of chapter 1, title 50 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations, to read as follows:


Subpart A--General Provisions
92.1   Purpose of regulations.
92.2   Authority.
92.3   Applicability and scope.
92.4   Definitions.
92.5   Who is eligible to participate?
92.6   Use and possession of migratory birds.
92.7-92.9   [Reserved]
Subpart B--Program Structure
92.10  Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council.
92.11  Regional management areas.
92.12  Relationship to the process for developing national hunting 
regulations for migratory game birds.
92.13-92.19  [Reserved]
Subpart C--General Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest
92.20--92.29  [Reserved]
Subpart D--Annual Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest
92.30  General overview of regulations.
92.31-92.39  [Reserved]

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 703-712.

Subpart A--General Provisions

Sec. 92.1  Purpose of regulations.

    The regulations in this part implement the Alaska migratory bird 
subsistence program as provided for in Article II(4)(b) of the 1916 
Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds in Canada and the 
United States (the ``Canada Treaty''), as amended.

Sec. 92.2  Authority.

    The Secretary of the Interior issues the regulations in this part 
under the authority granted to the Secretary by the Migratory Bird 
Treaty Act (MBTA), 16 U.S.C. 703-712.

Sec. 92.3  Applicability and scope.

    (a) In general. The regulations in this part apply to all eligible 
persons harvesting migratory birds and their eggs for subsistence 
purposes in Alaska between the dates of March 10 and September 1. The 
provisions in this part do not replace or alter the regulations set 
forth in part 20 of this chapter, which relate to the hunting of 
migratory game birds and crows during the regular open season from 
September 1 through March 10. The provisions set forth in this part 
implement the exception to the closed season, which authorizes the 
taking of migratory birds in Alaska for subsistence purposes between 
March 10 and September 1.
    (b) Land ownership. This part does not alter the legal authorities 
of Federal and State land managing agencies or the legal rights of 
private land owners to close their respective lands to the taking of 
migratory birds.
    (c) Federal public lands. The provisions of this part are in 
addition to, and do not supersede, any other provision of law or 
regulation pertaining to national wildlife refuges or other federally 
managed lands.
    (d) Migratory bird permits. The provisions of this part do not 
alter the terms of any permit or other authorization issued pursuant to 
part 21 of this chapter.
    (e) State laws for the protection of migratory birds. No statute or 
regulation of the State of Alaska relieves a person from the 
restrictions, conditions, and requirements contained in this part. 
Nothing in this part, however, prevents the State of Alaska from making 
and enforcing laws or regulations that are consistent with the 
regulations in this part, the conventions between the United States and 
any foreign country for the protection of migratory birds, and the 
Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and that give further protection to 
migratory birds.

Sec. 92.4  Definitions.

    The following definitions apply to all regulations contained in 
this part:
    Alaska Native means the same as ``Native,'' defined in section 3(b) 
of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, 16 U.S.C. 1602(b).
    Co-management Council means the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management 
Council, consisting of Alaska Native, Federal, and State of Alaska 
representatives as equals.
    Eligible person means an individual within the State of Alaska who 
qualifies to harvest migratory birds and their eggs for subsistence 
purposes during the spring and summer.
    Excluded areas are defined in Sec. 92.5.
    Flyway Council means the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, or Pacific 
Flyway Council.
    Immediate family means spouse, children, parents, grandchildren, 
grandparents, and siblings.
    Included areas are defined in Sec. 92.5.

[[Page 53518]]

    Indigenous inhabitant means a permanent resident of a village 
within a subsistence harvest area, regardless of race.
    Migratory bird, for the purposes of this part, means the same as 
defined in Sec. 10.12 of this chapter. Species are listed in Sec. 10.13 
of this chapter.
    Native means the same as ``Alaska Native'' as defined in this 
    Nonwasteful taking means making a reasonable effort to retrieve all 
birds killed or wounded, and retaining such birds in possession between 
the place where taken and the hunter's permanent or temporary place of 
residence, or to the location where the birds will be consumed or 
preserved for food.
    Partner organization or regional partner means a regional or local 
organization, or a local or tribal government that has entered into a 
formal agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the 
purpose of coordinating the regional programs necessary to involve 
subsistence hunters in the regulatory process described in this part.
    Permanent resident means any person whose primary, permanent home 
for the previous 12 months was within a subsistence harvest area in 
Alaska. Whenever absent from this primary, permanent home, the person 
has the intention of returning to it. Factors demonstrating a person's 
primary, permanent home may include: an address listed on an Alaska 
Permanent Fund dividend application; an Alaska license to drive, hunt, 
fish, or engage in an activity regulated by a government entity; voter 
registration; location of residences owned, rented, or leased; location 
of stored household goods; the residence of the person's spouse, minor 
children, or dependents; tax documents; whether the person claims 
residence in another location for any purpose; or status as a tribal 
member of a tribe in a subsistence harvest area.
    Service Regulations Committee means the Migratory Bird Regulations 
Committee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    State means State of Alaska.
    Subsistence means the customary and traditional harvest or use of 
migratory birds and their eggs by eligible indigenous inhabitants for 
their own nutritional and other essential needs.
    Subsistence harvest areas encompass customary and traditional 
hunting areas of villages in Alaska that qualify for a spring or summer 
subsistence harvest of migratory birds under this part.
    Village is defined as a permanent settlement with one or more year-
round residents.

Sec. 92.5  Who is eligible to participate?

    If you are a permanent resident of a village within a subsistence 
harvest area, you will be eligible to harvest migratory birds and their 
eggs for subsistence purposes in the spring and summer.
    (a) Included areas. Village areas located within the Alaska 
Peninsula, Kodiak Archipelago, the Aleutian Islands, or in areas north 
and west of the Alaska Range are subsistence harvest areas, except that 
villages within these areas not meeting the criteria for a subsistence 
harvest area as identified in paragraph (c) of this section will be 
excluded from the spring and summer subsistence harvest. Any person may 
request the Co-management Council to recommend that an otherwise 
included area be excluded by submitting a petition stating how the area 
does not meet the criteria identified in paragraph (c) of this section. 
The Co-management Council will forward petitions to the appropriate 
regional management body for review and recommendation. The Co-
management Council will then consider each petition and will submit to 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service any recommendations to exclude areas 
from the spring and summer subsistence harvest. The U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service will publish any approved recommendations to exclude 
areas in subpart D of this part.
    (b) Excluded areas. Village areas located in Anchorage, the 
Matanuska-Susitna or Fairbanks North Star Boroughs, the Kenai Peninsula 
roaded area, the Gulf of Alaska roaded area, or Southeast Alaska 
generally do not qualify for a spring or summer harvest. Communities 
located within one of these areas may petition the Co-management 
Council through their designated regional management body for 
designation as a spring and summer subsistence harvest area. The 
petition must state how the community meets the criteria identified in 
paragraph (c) of this section. The Co-management Council will consider 
each petition and will submit to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service any 
recommendations to designate a community as a spring and summer 
subsistence harvest area. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will 
publish any approved recommendations to designate a community as a 
spring and summer subsistence harvest area in subpart D of this part.
    (c) Criteria for determining designation as a spring and summer 
subsistence harvest area. A previously excluded community may be 
included in the spring/summer harvest regulations if recommended by the 
Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council. The Alaska Migratory Bird 
Co-management Council will recommend designation of subsistence harvest 
areas based on a deliberative process using the best available 
information on nutritional and cultural needs and customary and 
traditional use. The Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council 
recommendations will accommodate traditional spring and summer harvests 
without creating new traditions or increasing harvest of migratory 
birds. Recommendations will be made based on the majority of factors 
and the weight of the evidence using the following criteria:
    (1) A pattern of use recurring in the spring and summer of each 
year prior to 1999, excluding interruptions by circumstances beyond the 
user's control;
    (2) The consistent harvest and use of migratory birds on or near 
the user's permanent residence;
    (3) A use pattern that includes the handing down of knowledge of 
hunting skills and values from generation to generation;
    (4) A use pattern in which migratory birds are shared or 
distributed among others within a definable community of persons; a 
community for purposes of subsistence uses may include specific 
villages or towns, with a historical pattern of subsistence use; and
    (5) A use pattern that includes reliance for subsistence purposes 
upon migratory birds or their eggs and that meets nutritional and other 
essential needs including, but not limited to, cultural, social, and 
economic elements of the subsistence way of life.
    (d) Participation by residents in excluded areas. In cases where it 
is appropriate to assist indigenous inhabitants in meeting their 
nutritional and other essential needs, or for the teaching of cultural 
knowledge to or by their immediate family members, residents of 
excluded areas may participate in the customary spring and summer 
subsistence harvest in a village's subsistence harvest area with the 
permission of the village council. Eligibility for participation will 
be developed and recommended by the Co-management Council and adopted 
or amended by regulations published in subpart D of this part.

Sec. 92.6  Use and possession of migratory birds.

    Harvest and possession of migratory birds must be done using 
nonwasteful taking. You may not take birds for purposes other than 
human consumption. You may not sell, offer for sale, purchase, or offer 
to purchase migratory birds, their parts, or their eggs

[[Page 53519]]

taken under this part. Nonedible by-products of migratory birds taken 
for food may be used for other purposes only by individuals qualified 
to possess those birds. You may possess migratory birds, their parts, 
and their eggs, taken under this part, only if you are an eligible 
participant as determined in Sec. 92.5.

Secs. 92.7--92.9  [Reserved]

Subpart B--Program Structure

Sec. 92.10  Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council.

    (a) Establishment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hereby 
establishes, as authorized by the Protocol amending the Canada Treaty, 
a statewide management body to be known as the Alaska Migratory Bird 
Co-management Council.
    (b) Membership. The Co-management Council must include Alaska 
Native, Federal, and State of Alaska representatives, as equals.
    (1) The Federal and State governments will each seat one 
representative. The Federal representative will be appointed by the 
Alaska Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the 
State representative will be appointed by the Commissioner of the 
Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Regional partner organizations will 
seat 1 representative from each of the 7 regions identified in 
Sec. 92.11(a), except that a region having more than 1 partner 
organization may send a representative from each partner organization 
for a maximum of 12 regional representatives.
    (2) The Federal and State representatives and the collective Native 
representatives will each have one vote, for a total of three votes for 
the entire council.
    (c) Roles and responsibilities. The Co-management Council is 
authorized to:
    (1) Hold public meetings for the purpose of conducting business 
related to spring and summer subsistence harvest of migratory birds;
    (2) Develop recommendations for regulations governing the spring 
and summer subsistence harvest of migratory birds and their eggs;
    (3) Develop recommendations for, among other things, law 
enforcement policies, population and harvest monitoring, education 
programs, research and use of traditional knowledge, and habitat 
    (4) Develop procedures and criteria by which areas and communities 
can be determined to be eligible or ineligible for a spring/summer 
subsistence harvest;
    (5) Provide guidelines to the regional management bodies each year 
for formulation of annual regulations;
    (6) Consolidate regional recommendations and resolve interregional 
differences in order to prepare statewide recommendations;
    (7) Establish committees to gather or review data, develop plans 
for Co-management Council actions, and coordinate programs with 
regional management bodies;
    (8) Send regional representatives from the Co-management Council to 
meetings of the Pacific Flyway Council and to meetings of the other 
Flyway Councils as needed, and to meetings of the Service Regulations 
    (9) Elect officers; and
    (10) Conduct other business as the Council may determine is 
necessary to accomplish its purpose.
    (d) Meetings. Meetings of the Co-management Council will be open to 
the public. The Co-management Council will:
    (1) Hold meetings at least twice annually;
    (2) Conduct meetings in accordance with bylaws approved by the Co-
management Council;
    (3) Provide an opportunity at each meeting for public comment;
    (4) Establish the dates, times, and locations of meetings; and
    (5) Maintain a written record of all meetings.
    (e) Staff support. Administrative support for the Co-management 
Council will be provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will 
include, but not be limited to:
    (1) Making arrangements for the meeting rooms and associated 
logistics related to Co-management Council meetings;
    (2) Preparing public notices announcing Co-management Council 
    (3) Maintaining records of discussions and actions taken by the Co-
management Council;
    (4) Coordinating with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to 
provide technical information needed by the Co-management Council for 
its deliberations;
    (5) Preparing documents and gathering information needed by the Co-
management Council for its meetings; and
    (6) Preparing the annual subpart D regulations package recommended 
by the Co-management Council for submission to the flyway councils and 
the Service Regulations Committee.

Sec. 92.11  Regional management areas.

    (a) Regions identified. The Alaska Regional Director of the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service hereby establishes seven geographic regions 
based on common subsistence resource use patterns. You may obtain maps 
delineating the boundaries of the seven regions from the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 1011 E. Tudor Road, Anchorage, Alaska 99503. The 
regions are identified as follows:
    (1) Southeast, Gulf of Alaska and Cook Inlet;
    (2) Aleutian/Pribilof Islands and Kodiak Archipelago;
    (3) Bristol Bay;
    (4) Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta;
    (5) Bering Straits;
    (6) Northwest Arctic and Arctic Slope; and
    (7) Interior.
    (b) Regional partnerships. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will 
establish partner agreements with at least one partner organization in 
each of the seven regions. The partner organization identified must be 
willing and able to coordinate the regional program on behalf of all 
subsistence hunters within that region. A regional partner will:
    (1) Organize or identify one or more management bodies within the 
region in which it is located.
    (2) Determine how the management body for the region should be 
organized, the manner in which it should function, its size, who serves 
on it, the length of terms, methods of involving subsistence users, and 
other related matters.
    (3) Coordinate regional meetings and the solicitation of proposals.
    (4) Ensure appointment of a person to represent the region by 
serving on the Co-management Council. If a region consists of more than 
one partner organization, each partner organization may appoint a 
member to sit on the Co-management Council.
    (5) Keep the residents of villages within the region informed of 
issues related to the subsistence harvest of migratory birds.
    (6) Work cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and 
the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to gather harvest data, numbers 
of subsistence users, and other management data and traditional 
knowledge for the benefit of the management bodies.
    (c) Regional management bodies. (1) Regional management bodies must 
provide a forum for the collection and expression of opinions and 
recommendations regarding spring and summer subsistence harvesting of 
migratory birds. They must develop requests and recommendations from 
the region to be presented to the Co-management Council for 
deliberation. They must provide for public

[[Page 53520]]

participation in the meetings at which recommendations and requests are 
    (2) Requests and recommendations to the Co-management Council may 
involve seasons and bag limits, methods and means, law enforcement 
policies, population and harvest monitoring, education programs, 
research and use of traditional knowledge, habitat protection, and 
other concerns related to migratory bird subsistence programs.
    (3) Regional management bodies may be established specifically for 
the purpose of carrying out the responsibilities identified in this 
part, or they may be existing entities that can add these 
responsibilities to their existing duties.

Sec. 92.12  Relationship to the process for developing national hunting 
regulations for migratory game birds.

    (a) Flyway councils. (1) Proposed annual regulations recommended by 
the Co-management Council will be submitted to all flyway councils for 
review and comment. The Council's recommendations must be submitted 
prior to the SRC's last regular meeting of the calendar year in order 
to be approved for spring/summer harvest beginning March 11 of the 
following calendar year.
    (2) Alaska Native representatives may be appointed by the Co-
management Council to attend meetings of one or more of the four flyway 
councils to discuss recommended regulations or other proposed 
management actions.
    (b) Service regulations committee. Proposed annual regulations 
recommended by the Co-management Council will be submitted to the 
Service Regulations Committee for their review and recommendation to 
the Service Director. Following the Service Director's review and 
recommendation, the proposals will be forwarded to the Department of 
Interior for approval. Proposed annual regulations will then be 
published in the Federal Register for public review and comment, 
similar to the annual migratory game bird hunting regulations (found in 
part 20 of this chapter). Final spring/summer regulations for Alaska 
will be published in the Federal Register in the preceding Fall.

Secs. 92.13--92.19  [Reserved]

Subpart C--General Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest

Secs. 92.20--92.29  [Reserved]

Subpart D--Annual Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest

Sec. 92.30  General overview of regulations.

    (a) The taking, possession, transportation, and other uses of 
migratory birds are generally prohibited unless specifically authorized 
by regulation developed in accordance with the Migratory Bird Treaty 
Act. Therefore, harvesting migratory birds is prohibited unless 
regulations are established ensuring the protection of the various 
populations of migratory birds. Migratory bird population levels, 
production, and habitat conditions vary annually. These conditions 
differ within Alaska and throughout North America. Therefore, the 
regulations governing migratory bird hunting may include annual 
adjustments to keep harvests within acceptable levels.
    (b) The development of the regulations in this part, like the 
development of the annual migratory game bird hunting regulations in 
part 20 of this chapter, involves annual data gathering programs to 
determine migratory bird population status and trends, evaluate habitat 
conditions, determine harvests, and consider other factors having an 
impact on the anticipated size of annual populations.
    (c) The Service proposes annual migratory game bird hunting 
regulations in the Federal Register in the spring for seasons beginning 
September 1 of that year. Following consideration of additional 
biological information and public comment, the Service publishes 
supplemental proposals throughout the summer. These are also open to 
public comment.
    (d) Sections 92.31 through 92.39 provide for the annual harvest of 
migratory birds and their eggs during spring and summer for subsistence 
users in Alaska.

Secs. 92.31--92.39  [Reserved]

    Dated: August 8, 2002.
David P. Smith,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 02-20717 Filed 8-15-02; 8:45 am]