Review Draft - Regulatory Impact Review - Revision to Regulatory Requirements for the Subsistence Taking of Northern Fur Seals on St. Paul and St. George Island, Alaska
Evaluation of the costs and benefits of a revision to the northern fur seal subsistence use regulations.
NOAA Fisheries is evaluating alternatives, which consider balancing the use of federal regulations and cooperative management with Aleut Community of St. Paul Island (ACSPI) Tribal Government, to manage subsistence use. The different combinations of regulatory and non-regulatory restrictions within each alternative would provide greater harvest flexibility and food security, while allowing Privilovians to resume certain traditional practices, preserve their cultural values and identity, and practice environmental stewardship of a subsistence use resource, compared to the no action alternative. Under any alternative, NMFS and ACSPI would both co-manage subsistence use consistent with the requirements of Marine Mammal Protection Act and regulate aspects of subsistence use under the Fur Seal Act. For St. Paul Island, the alternatives evaluate the potential effects of: changes in the subsistence use range setting process, such as setting the number of fur seals needed for subsistence purposes in regulation as opposed to the triennial review and specification process; allowing a portion of the harvest to be comprised of male fur seal pups; hunting seals using firearms; expanding the seasons and changing the season dates; restricting in regulation the location, timing, and frequency of take; authorizing accidental mortality of a certain number of female fur seals and creating suspension and termination provisions based on total accidental mortality of female fur seals; and transferring more management and enforcement responsibility of the subsistence use to the locally-based Co-Management Council. For St. Paul Island, the alternatives include different combinations of regulatory and non-regulatory provisions listed above to manage subsistence use. NOAA Fisheries did not consider regulatory actions affecting St. George Island in the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for St. Paul Island, as we did not anticipate any changes for St. George. Upon drafting the proposed rule for St. Paul Island, NOAA Fisheries determined that changing the regulation for the triennial review and range specification process applied to both St. Paul and St. George Islands. Accordingly, the proposed rule would create a fixed annual limit of 2,000 male seals on St. Paul Island and a fixed annual limit of 500 male seals on St. George Island to replace the triennial range specification process. In addition to removal of unnecessary regulations for St. Paul Island, NOAA Fisheries determined that the removal of some unnecessary regulations for St. George Island was appropriate to consider in the proposed rulemaking. For St. George Island, NOAA Fisheries has considered the no-action alternative of no change to the existing regulations for St. George Island compared to the proposed action that would set the annual limit in regulation and eliminate or modify unnecessary and duplicative regulations. Prior to the final rule, NOAA Fisheries will prepare a Supplemental Information Report to the 2014 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Management of the Subsistence Harvest of Northern Fur Seals on St. George Island, Alaska.