Designation of Critical Habitat for Puget Sound/Georgia Basin Rockfish
We, NOAA Fisheries, issued a final rule to designate critical habitat for three species of rockfish listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA):
- The threatened yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) Distinct Population Segment (DPS).
- The threatened canary rockfish (S. pinniger) DPS.
- The endangered bocaccio (S. paucispinus) DPS (listed rockfish) pursuant to section 4 of the ESA.
The specific areas in the final designation include 590.4 square miles (1529 square km) of nearshore habitat for canary rockfish and bocaccio, and 414.1 square miles (1072.5 square km) of deepwater habitat for yelloweye rockfish, canary rockfish, and bocaccio. This final designation represents a reduction of approximately 15.2 percent (180.3 sq mi, 467 sq km) for canary rockfish and bocaccio, and a reduction of approximately 28 percent (160 sq mi, 416.2 sq km) for yelloweye rockfish, compared to our proposed critical habitat rule on August 6, 2013 (78 FR 47635).
We exclude some particular areas from designation because the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion and exclusion of those areas will not result in the extinction of the species. No areas were excluded based on economic impacts. On November 13, 2014, NOAA Fisheries announced the designation of Critical Habitat for Puget Sound/Georgia Basin Rockfish.
The draft Biological Report underwent pre-dissemination peer review and revision prior to this critical habitat designation.