[Federal Register: June 22, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 119)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 36033-36036]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Forest Service

36 CFR Part 242


Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 100

Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, 
Subpart D; Seasonal Adjustments--Copper and Stikine Rivers

AGENCIES: Forest Service, USDA; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Seasonal adjustments.


SUMMARY: This provides notice of the Federal Subsistence Board's in-
season management actions to protect sockeye salmon escapement in the 
Copper River, while still providing for a subsistence harvest 
opportunity and to provide for a more efficient harvest method for 
chinook salmon in the Stikine River. The revised fishing schedule for 
the Chitina Subdistrict of the Copper River and net mesh size revision 
will provide an exception to the Subsistence Management Regulations for 
Public Lands in Alaska, published in the Federal Register on March 21, 
2005. Those regulations established seasons, harvest limits, methods, 
and means relating to the taking of fish and shellfish for subsistence 
uses during the 2005 regulatory year.

DATES: The fishing schedule for the Chitina Subdistrict of the Upper 
Copper River District is effective June 2, 2005, through August 2, 
2005. The mesh size revision for the Stikine River is effective June 4, 
2005, through June 20, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas H. Boyd, Office of Subsistence 
Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, telephone (907) 786-3888. 
For questions specific to National Forest System lands, contact Steve 
Kessler, Subsistence Program Manager, USDA--Forest Service, Alaska 
Region, telephone (907) 786-3592.



    Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act

[[Page 36034]]

(ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126) requires that the Secretary of the 
Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretaries) implement a 
joint program to grant a preference for subsistence uses of fish and 
wildlife resources on public lands in Alaska, unless the State of 
Alaska enacts and implements laws of general applicability that are 
consistent with ANILCA and that provide for the subsistence definition, 
preference, and participation specified in Sections 803, 804, and 805 
of ANILCA. In December 1989, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the 
rural preference in the State subsistence statute violated the Alaska 
Constitution and, therefore, negated State compliance with ANILCA.
    The Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture 
(Departments) assumed, on July 1, 1990, responsibility for 
implementation of Title VIII of ANILCA on public lands. The Departments 
administer Title VIII through regulations at title 50, part 100 and 
title 36, part 242 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Consistent 
with subparts A, B, and C of these regulations, as revised January 8, 
1999 (64 FR 1276), the Departments established a Federal Subsistence 
Board to administer the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The 
Board's composition includes a Chair appointed by the Secretary of the 
Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture; the Alaska 
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Alaska Regional 
Director, National Park Service; the Alaska State Director, Bureau of 
Land Management; the Alaska Regional Director, Bureau of Indian 
Affairs; and the Alaska Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service. Through 
the Board, these agencies participate in the development of regulations 
for subparts A, B, and C, which establish the program structure and 
determine which Alaska residents are eligible to take specific species 
for subsistence uses, and the annual subpart D regulations, which 
establish seasons, harvest limits, and methods and means for 
subsistence take of species in specific areas. Subpart D regulations 
for the 2005 fishing seasons, harvest limits, and methods and means 
were published on March 21, 2005 (70 FR 13377).
    Because this action relates to public lands managed by an agency or 
agencies in both the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior, 
identical closures and adjustments would apply to 36 CFR part 242 and 
50 CFR part 100.
    The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), under the direction 
of the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF), manages sport, commercial, 
personal use, and State subsistence harvest on all lands and waters 
throughout Alaska. However, on Federal lands and waters, the Federal 
Subsistence Board implements a subsistence priority for rural residents 
as provided by Title VIII of ANILCA. In providing this priority, the 
Board may, when necessary, preempt State harvest regulations for fish 
or wildlife on Federal lands and waters.
    These actions are authorized and in accordance with 50 CFR 
100.19(d-e) and 36 CFR 242.19(d-e).

Copper River--Chitina Subdistrict

    In December 2001, the Board adopted regulatory proposals 
establishing a new Federal subsistence fishery in the Chitina 
Subdistrict of the Copper River. This fishery is open to Federally 
qualified users having customary and traditional use of salmon in this 
Subdistrict. The State conducts a personal use fishery in this 
Subdistrict that is open to all Alaska residents.
    Management of the fishery is based on the numbers of salmon 
returning to the Copper River. A larger than predicted salmon run will 
allow additional fishing time. A smaller than predicted run will 
require restrictions to achieve upriver passage and spawning escapement 
goals. A run that approximates the pre-season forecast will allow 
fishing to proceed similar to the pre-season schedule with some 
adjustments made to fishing time based on in-season data. Adjustments 
to the preseason schedule are expected as a normal function of an 
abundance-based management strategy. State and Federal managers, 
reviewing and discussing all available in-season information, will make 
these adjustments.
    While Federal and State regulations currently differ for this 
Subdistrict, the Board indicated that Federal in-season management 
actions regarding fishing periods were expected to mirror State 
actions. The State established a preseason schedule of allowable 
fishing periods based on daily projected sonar estimates. The preseason 
schedule was intended to distribute the harvest throughout the salmon 
run and provide salmon for upriver subsistence fisheries and the 
spawning escapement. Data regarding the salmon return to the Copper 
River is now available from estimates made by the Miles Lake sonar. 
Data from the sonar indicate that there are now sufficient salmon in 
the Copper River to allow additional fishing time in the Chitina 
Subdistrict, provide for the needs of upper Copper River users and 
achieve spawning escapement objectives. Shown below are the fishing 
schedule openings for the Chitina Subdistrict of the Copper River:

Monday, June 6, 12:01 a.m.-Sunday, June 12, 11:59 p.m.
Monday, June 13, 12:01 a.m.-Sunday, June 19, 11:59 p.m.
Monday, June 20, 12:01 a.m.-Sunday, June 26, 11:59 p.m.
Monday, June 27, 12:01 a.m.-Sunday, July 3, 11:59 p.m.
Tuesday, July 5, 12:01 a.m.-Sunday, July 10, 11:59 p.m.
Wednesday, July 13, 8 a.m.-Sunday, July 17, 11:59 p.m.
Tuesday, July 19, 12:01 a.m.-Sunday, July 24, 11:59 p.m.
Monday, July 25, 12:01 a.m.-Friday, September 30, 11:59 p.m.

    State personal use and Federal subsistence fisheries in this 
Subdistrict close simultaneously by regulation on September 30, 2005. 
No deviation from this date is anticipated.

Stikine River

    The Pacific Salmon Commission, established by treaty between the 
United States and Canada in 1985, and its Panels, address the 
management of transboundary salmon stocks, including those of the 
Stikine River. The Transboundary Panel approves a joint management plan 
for enhancement and harvest of Chinook, sockeye and coho salmon 
populations. Each year the Transboundary Technical Committee meets 
prior to the season to update joint management and enhancement plans, 
develop run forecasts and determine new parameters for input into the 
inseason run forecast model, referred to as the Stikine Management 
Model. Fisheries targeting the Stikine River stocks are addressed in 
Annex IX of the U.S.-Canada Treaty.
    In December of 2003, the Board approved a regulation, pending 
coordination with the PSC process, which provided for methods, a season 
and guideline harvest limits for Stikine River chinook salmon. Included 
in the methods was a maximum gillnet mesh size of 5\1/2\ inches for all 
species. The PSC reached agreement on the chinook fisheries in 2005.
    Chinook salmon populations in the Stikine River are healthy. 
Gillnet mesh restrictions are not necessary for management of the very 
limited Stikine River subsistence salmon fisheries. The fisheries are 
constrained by having permits valid for only 15-day time periods, 
restricting the length of gillnets to 15 fathoms, specifying a season, 
specifying individual harvests (5 chinook) and providing for an overall 
guideline harvest for each species (125 chinook). The increased mesh 
size will

[[Page 36035]]

promote efficiency by allowing users to use a gillnet sized 
appropriately to harvest chinook salmon. Although the Southeast 
Regional Advisory Council requested an unlimited mesh size, Canada 
requested an 8 inch maximum mesh size. The Stikine River U.S.--Canada 
Chinook in-river test fishing program uses a 7\1/4\ inch gillnet mesh 
to harvest Chinook salmon. Limiting the mesh size to 8 inches should 
not result in reduced chinook harvest for subsistence fishing.
    The Federal Subsistence Board approved a larger mesh size to 8 
inches for gillnets during the remainder of the chinook salmon season 
on the Stikine River in 2005. This is effective June 4, through June 
20, 2005.
    The Board finds that additional public notice and comment 
requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) for these 
adjustments are impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public 
interest. Lack of appropriate and immediate conservation measures could 
seriously affect the continued viability of fish populations, adversely 
impact future subsistence opportunities for rural Alaskans, and would 
generally fail to serve the overall public interest. Therefore, the 
Board finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) to waive 
additional public notice and comment procedures prior to implementation 
of these actions and pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to make this rule 
effective as indicated in the DATES section.

Conformance With Statutory and Regulatory Authorities

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    A Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published on 
February 28, 1992, and a Record of Decision on Subsistence Management 
for Federal Public Lands in Alaska (ROD) was signed April 6, 1992. The 
final rule for Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in 
Alaska, subparts A, B, and C (57 FR 22940, published May 29, 1992), 
implemented the Federal Subsistence Management Program and included a 
framework for an annual cycle for subsistence hunting and fishing 
regulations. A final rule that redefined the jurisdiction of the 
Federal Subsistence Management Program to include waters subject to the 
subsistence priority was published on January 8, 1999 (64 FR 1276.)

Compliance With Section 810 of ANILCA

    The intent of all Federal subsistence regulations is to accord 
subsistence uses of fish and wildlife on public lands a priority over 
the taking of fish and wildlife on such lands for other purposes, 
unless restriction is necessary to conserve healthy fish and wildlife 
populations. A Section 810 analysis was completed as part of the FEIS 
process. The final Section 810 analysis determination appeared in the 
April 6, 1992, ROD, which concluded that the Federal Subsistence 
Management Program, under Alternative IV with an annual process for 
setting hunting and fishing regulations, may have some local impacts on 
subsistence uses, but the program is not likely to significantly 
restrict subsistence uses.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The adjustment and emergency closures do not contain information 
collection requirements subject to Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

Other Requirements

    The adjustments have been exempted from OMB review under Executive 
Order 12866.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) 
requires preparation of flexibility analyses for rules that will have a 
significant effect on a substantial number of small entities, which 
include small businesses, organizations, or governmental jurisdictions. 
The exact number of businesses and the amount of trade that will result 
from this Federal land-related activity is unknown. The aggregate 
effect is an insignificant economic effect (both positive and negative) 
on a small number of small entities supporting subsistence activities, 
such as boat, fishing gear, and gasoline dealers.
    The number of small entities affected is unknown; however, the 
effects will be seasonally and geographically-limited in nature and 
will likely not be significant. The Departments certify that the 
adjustments will not have a significant economic effect on a 
substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act. Under the Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), this rule is not a 
major rule. It does not have an effect on the economy of $100 million 
or more, will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, and 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 
    Title VIII of ANILCA requires the Secretaries to administer a 
subsistence preference on public lands. The scope of this program is 
limited by definition to certain public lands. Likewise, the 
adjustments have no potential takings of private property implications 
as defined by Executive Order 12630.
    The Service has determined and certifies pursuant to the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that the adjustments will 
not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local or 
State governments or private entities. The implementation is by Federal 
agencies, and no cost is involved to any State or local entities or 
Tribal governments.
    The Service has determined that the adjustments meet the applicable 
standards provided in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 
12988, regarding civil justice reform.
    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the adjustments do not 
have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
federalism assessment. Title VIII of ANILCA precludes the State from 
exercising subsistence management authority over fish and wildlife 
resources on Federal lands. Cooperative salmon run assessment efforts 
with ADF&G will continue.
    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and 512 DM 2, we 
have evaluated possible effects on Federally recognized Indian tribes 
and have determined that there are no effects. The Bureau of Indian 
Affairs is a participating agency in this rulemaking.
    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on 
regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or 
use. This Executive Order requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. As these actions are 
not expected to significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or 
use, they are not significant energy actions and no Statement of Energy 
Effects is required.

Drafting Information

    Bill Knauer drafted this document under the guidance of Thomas H. 
Boyd, of the Office of Subsistence Management, Alaska Regional Office, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska. Taylor Brelsford, 
Alaska State Office, Bureau of Land Management; Rod Simmons, Alaska 
Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Nancy Swanton, Alaska

[[Page 36036]]

Regional Office, National Park Service; Dr. Glenn Chen, Alaska Regional 
Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs; and Steve Kessler, USDA-Forest 
Service, provided additional guidance.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 3, 472, 551, 668dd, 3101-3126; 18 U.S.C. 
3551-3586; 43 U.S.C. 1733.

    Dated: June 6, 2005.
Thomas H. Boyd,
Acting Chair, Federal Subsistence Board.

    Dated: June 6, 2005.
Steve Kessler,
Subsistence Program Leader, USDA-Forest Service.
[FR Doc. 05-12159 Filed 6-21-05; 8:45 am]