50 CFR 216.72 - Restrictions on taking.

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§ 216.72 Restrictions on subsistence fur seal harvests.

(a) The harvests of seals on St. Paul and St. George Islands shall be treated independently for the purposes of this section. Any suspension, termination, or extension of the harvest is applicable only to the island for which it is issued.

(b) By April 1 of every third year, beginning April 1994, the Assistant Administrator will publish in the Federal Register a summary of the preceding 3 years of harvesting and a discussion of the number of seals expected to be taken annually over the next 3 years to satisfy the subsistence requirements of each island. This discussion will include an assessment of factors and conditions on St. Paul and St. George Islands that influence the need by Pribilof Aleuts to take seals for subsistence uses and an assessment of any changes to those conditions indicating that the number of seals that may be taken for subsistence each year should be made higher or lower. Following a 30-day public comment period, a final notification of the expected annual harvest levels for the next 3 years will be published.

(c)[Reserved]

(d) St. George Island. The subsistence fur seal harvest restrictions described in paragraphs (d)(1) through (d)(5) of this section apply exclusively to the harvest of sub-adult fur seals; restrictions that apply exclusively to the harvest of young of the year fur seals can be found in paragraphs (d)(6) through (d)(11) of this section.

(1) Pribilovians may only harvest sub-adult male fur seals 124.5 centimeters or less in length from June 23 through August 8 annually on St. George Island up to the lower end of the harvest range established in paragraph (b) of this section. When the lower end of the range has been reached paragraphs (f)(1)(iii) and (f)(3) of this section apply.

(2) Pribilovians may harvest sub-adult male fur seals at the hauling grounds shown in Figure 1 to part 216. No hauling ground may be harvested more than twice per week.

(3) Seals with tags and/or entangling debris may only be taken if so directed by NMFS scientists.

(4) The scheduling of the sub-adult male harvest is at the discretion of the Pribilovians, but must be such as to minimize stress to the harvested seals. The Pribilovians must give adequate advance notice of their harvest schedules to the NMFS representatives to allow for necessary monitoring activities. No fur seal may be taken except by experienced sealers using the traditional harvesting methods, including stunning followed immediately by exsanguination. The harvesting method shall include organized drives of sub-adult male fur seals to killing fields, unless the NMFS representatives determine, in consultation with the Pribilovians conducting the harvest, that alternative methods will not result in increased disturbance to the rookery or the increased accidental take of female seals.

(5) Any taking of adult fur seals or young of the year, or the intentional taking of sub-adult female fur seals is prohibited.

(6) Pribilovians may only harvest male young of the year from September 16 through November 30 annually on St. George Island. Pribilovians may harvest up to 150 male fur seal young of the year annually up to the lower end of the harvest range established for St. George in the notice published pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section. When the lower end of the harvest range has been reached paragraphs (f)(1)(iii) and (f)(3) of this section apply.

(7) No more than 50 male young of the year may be harvested from each of the following regions where fur seals congregate: East region includes the breeding areas known as East Reef and East Cliffs rookeries and the associated non-breeding hauling grounds; South region includes the breeding areas known as Zapadni and South rookeries and the associated non-breeding hauling grounds; and North region includes the breeding areas known as North and Staraya Artil rookeries and associated non-breeding hauling grounds, as shown in Figure 1 to part 216. No area may be harvested more than twice per week and must be in accordance with paragraph (d)(10) of this section.

(8) The scheduling of the young of the year harvest is at the discretion of the Pribilovians, but must be such as to minimize stress to the harvested and un-harvested fur seals and minimize the take of female fur seals. The Pribilovians must give adequate advance notice of their harvest schedules to the NMFS representatives to allow for necessary monitoring activities. No fur seal may be taken except by sealers using the harvesting methods implemented to reduce disturbance, injury, and accidental mortality of female fur seals. Pribilovians may use, but are not limited to, organized drives of young of the year fur seals from congregating areas to inland killing fields. Methods of harvest must include identification of male young of the year, followed by stunning and immediate exsanguination, unless the NMFS representatives, in consultation with the Pribilovians conducting the harvest, determine that alternative methods will not result in increased stress to harvested and un-harvested fur seals, increased disturbance or injury to resting fur seals, or the accidental mortality of female seals.

(9) Any harvest of sub adult or adult fur seals or intentional harvest of young of the year female fur seals is prohibited.

(10) No young of the year fur seals may be taken from any designated breeding area or its associated hauling ground(s) where the most recent NMFS analysis projects that pup production has greater than a 5 percent probability of falling below a level capable of sustaining a harvest in 10 years.

(11) No more than 120 days after the final subsistence harvest each calendar year, NMFS representatives and St. George Island community members must review the implementation of the harvest and consider best harvest practices and determine if implementation can be improved to better meet the subsistence needs of the St. George Island community or reduce negative effects on fur seals.

(e) St. Paul Island. Seals may only be harvested from the following haulout areas: Zapadni, English Bay, Northeast Point, Polovina, Lukanin, Kitovi, and Reef. No haulout area may be harvested more than once per week.

(1) The scheduling of the harvest is at the discretion of the Pribilovians, but must be such as to minimize stress to the harvested fur seals. The Pribilovians must give adequate advance notice of their harvest schedules to the NMFS representatives to allow for necessary monitoring activities.

(2) No fur seal may be taken on the Pribilof Islands before June 23 of each year.

(3) No fur seal may be taken except by experienced sealers using the traditional harvesting methods, including stunning followed immediately by exsanguination. The harvesting method shall include organized drives of subadult males to killing fields unless it is determined by the NMFS representatives, in consultation with the Pribilovians conducting the harvest, that alternative methods will not result in increased disturbance to the rookery or the increased accidental take of female seals.

(4) Any taking of adult fur seals or pups, or the intentional taking of subadult female fur seals is prohibited.

(5) Only subadult male fur seals 124.5 centimeters or less in length may be taken.

(6) Seals with tags and/or entangling debris may only be taken if so directed by NMFS scientists.

(f) Harvest suspension provisions.

(1) The Assistant Administrator is required to suspend the take provided for in §§ 216.71 and 216.72 when:

(i) (S)He determines, after reasonable notice by NMFS representatives to the Pribilovians on the island, that the subsistence needs of the Pribilovians on the island have been satisfied; or

(ii) (S)He determines that the harvest is otherwise being conducted in a wasteful manner; or

(iii) The lower end of the range of the estimated subsistence level provided in the notice issued under paragraph (b) of this section is reached; or

(iv) With regard to St. George Island, two female fur seals have been killed on St. George Island.

(2) A suspension based on a determination under paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section may be lifted by the Assistant Administrator if (s)he finds that the conditions that led to the determination that the harvest was being conducted in a wasteful manner have been remedied.

(3) A suspension issued in accordance with paragraph (f)(1)(iii) of this section may not exceed 48 hours in duration and shall be followed immediately by a review of the harvest data to determine if a finding under paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section is warranted. If the harvest is not suspended under paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section, the Assistant Administrator must provide a revised estimate of the number of seals required to satisfy the Pribilovians' subsistence needs.

(4) A suspension based on a determination under paragraph (f)(1)(iv) of this section may be lifted by the Assistant Administrator if (s)he finds that the conditions that led to the killing of two female fur seals have been remedied and additional or improved methods to detect female fur seals in the harvest are being implemented.

(g) Harvest termination provisions.

(1) The Assistant Administrator shall terminate the annual take provided for in § 216.71 on August 8 for sub-adult males on St. Paul and St. George Islands and on November 30 for male young of the year on St. George Island.

(2) The Assistant Administrator shall terminate the take provided for in § 216.71 when (s)he determines under paragraph (f)(1)(i) or (f)(1)(iii) of this section that the subsistence needs of the Pribilovians on the island have been satisfied or the upper end of the harvest range has been reached, whichever occurs first.

(3) The Assistant Administrator shall terminate the take on St. George Island provided for in § 216.71 if a total of three female fur seals are killed during the season on St. George Island.

[51 FR 24840, July 9, 1986, as amended at 57 FR 33902, July 31, 1992; 59 FR 35474, July 12, 1994. Redesignated at 61 FR 11750, Mar. 22, 1996, as amended at 79 FR 65337, Nov. 4, 2014]

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