Proposed Rule to Amend a Program Authorizing the Subsistence Harvest of Pacific Halibut in Waters Off Alaska
This proposed action is an amendment to the existing subsistence halibut regulations. With this proposed rule, NMFS intends to change the regulations found at § 300.65 - 300.66 to better manage the subsistence halibut fishery. This proposed action amends the regulatory language at § 300.65 - 300.66 to narrowly adjust gear and harvest restrictions for subsistence halibut in several discrete regions. Additionally, this proposed action implements tribe and community-based permit measures that centralize fishing effort.
After reviewing the proposed action in relation to NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6, including the criteria used to determine significance, we have concluded that this notification would not have a significant effect, individually or cumulatively, on the human environment beyond those effects identified in previous NEPA analysis. An environmental assessment/regulatory impact review (EA/RIR) (dated January 2003) was prepared for the final rule implementing the original subsistence halibut regulations (68 FR 18145, April 15, 2003). The scope of the EA/RIR includes the potential impacts of this proposed action because the EA/RIR analyzed the original subsistence halibut policy, which included analysis of gear and harvest restrictions and their impacts on tribes and rural communities. Based on the nature of the proposed action and the previous environmental analysis, we have concluded that the proposed action is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement, in accordance with Section 5.05b of NAO 216-6.