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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BM42 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: ●Amendment 16 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Salmon Fisheries in the EEZ Off Alaska; Cook Inlet 

If approved, this action (Amendment 16) would incorporate the Cook Inlet EEZ into the Alaska Salmon FMP, thereby bringing the Cook Inlet EEZ and the salmon fisheries that occur within it under Federal management by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS. Previously, the Cook Inlet EEZ was not included in a Federal fishery management plan (FMP), deferring management to the State of Alaska (State). Commercial fishermen challenged this as inconsistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA). Ultimately, the Ninth Circuit held that the Cook Inlet EEZ must be included in an FMP. The Council previously took action to address this issue in 2020 and NMFS implemented their recommendation as Amendment 14, which closed the Federal area to commercial salmon fishing. Amendment 14 was challenged by commercial fishermen and vacated. A new amendment addressing the area must be promulgated by May 1, 2024. Four management alternatives were considered: 1) no action, 2) delegating management authority to the State consistent with the MSA, 3) Federal management, and 4) Federal management that closes the area to commercial salmon fishing. Alternatives 1 and 4 were not viable given the court rulings, and the State would not accept delegated management. This left Alternative 3 as the only viable alternative. However, the Council did not take action and, NMFS must now take action through a Secretarial FMP amendment pursuant to MSA section 304(c) to meet the court’s deadline. NMFS will implement Alternative 3 to federally manage all salmon fishing in the Cook Inlet EEZ. Federal management may reduce commercial salmon harvest in the EEZ area as a result of increased scientific and management uncertainty. Additional litigation is expected from commercial fishermen. NMFS developed the elements of this rule with input from the public during two North Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings, a virtual public hearing, and multiple meetings and consultations with Tribal entities.

Agency: Department of Commerce(DOC)  Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 50 CFR 679    50 CFR 600   
Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
Final  Judicial  Alaska District Court Order (UCIDA et al. v. NMFS)  05/01/2024 
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  10/19/2023  88 FR 72314   
NPRM Comment Period End  12/18/2023 
Final Action  01/00/2024 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: State 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Jon Kurland
Regional Administrator, Alaska Region
Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
709 West Ninth Street,
Juneau, AK 99801
Phone:907 586-7638