[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 100 (Thursday, May 24, 2007)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 29207-29235]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-10096]



[[Page 29207]]

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Part II





Department of Commerce





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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration



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15 CFR Part 922

50 CFR Part 660



 Establishment of Marine Reserves and a Marine Conservation Area Within 
the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 100 / Thursday, May 24, 2007 / Rules 
and Regulations

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

15 CFR Part 922

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 0612242956-7123-01]
RIN 0648-AT18


Establishment of Marine Reserves and a Marine Conservation Area 
Within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

AGENCY: National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP), National Ocean 
Service (NOS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of 
Commerce (DOC).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: On August 11, 2006 NOAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking 
to establish a network of marine zones within the state and federal 
waters of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS or 
Sanctuary). State waters in the Sanctuary extend from the shoreline of 
the islands to approximately 3 nautical miles from shore. Federal 
waters of the Sanctuary extend from the offshore extent of state waters 
to the Sanctuary's outer boundary. In this final rule, NOAA is issuing 
final regulations for the federal-waters portion of the Sanctuary. NOAA 
has decided to defer a final decision and seeking additional comment on 
the state-waters portion of the Sanctuary pending action by the State 
of California to extend the boundaries of several existing state-waters 
zones to the three mile state-federal-waters boundary.
    Marine zones are discrete areas that have special regulations 
differing from the regulations that apply throughout or above the 
Sanctuary as a whole. The purpose of these zones within the federal 
waters of the Sanctuary is to further the protection of Sanctuary 
biodiversity and complement an existing network established by the 
State of California in October 2002, and implemented in April 2003, 
under its authorities. Two types of zones are being established by this 
action: Marine reserves and marine conservation areas. All extractive 
activities (e.g., removal of any Sanctuary resource) and injury to 
Sanctuary resources are prohibited in all marine reserves. Commercial 
and recreational lobster fishing and recreational fishing for pelagic 
species are allowed within the marine conservation area, while all 
other extraction and injury are prohibited. This action establishes 
approximately 110.5 square nautical miles of marine reserves and 1.7 
square nautical miles of marine conservation area in the federal waters 
of the Sanctuary. As part of this action, NOAA is also modifying the 
terms of designation for the Sanctuary, which were originally published 
on October 2, 1980 (45 FR 65198), to allow for the regulation of 
extractive activities, including fishing, in marine reserves and marine 
conservation areas, and a slight modification to the outer boundary of 
the CINMS.

DATES: Pursuant to section 304(b) of the National Marine Sanctuaries 
Act (NMSA), 16 U.S.C. 1434(b), the revised terms of designation and 
this final rule shall take effect and become final after the close of a 
review period of 45 days of continuous session of Congress, beginning 
on the day on which this document is published in the Federal Register. 
Announcement of the effective date of this final rule will be published 
in the Federal Register at a later date.
    Public comments on the state-waters portion of this rulemaking must 
be received by July 23, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the final environmental impact statement, 
regulatory impact review, and final regulatory flexibility analyses may 
be obtained from NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Web 
site at http://channelislands.noaa.gov/ or by writing to Sean Hastings, 
Resource Protection Coordinator, Channel Islands National Marine 
Sanctuary, 113 Harbor Way, Suite 150, Santa Barbara, CA 93109; e-mail: 
[email protected].
    You may submit comments on the state-waters portion of this 
rulemaking by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: [email protected]. Include in the 
subject line the following document identifier: Marine reserves in 
CINMS.
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Sean Hastings, Channel Islands National Marine 
Sanctuary, 113 Harbor Way, Suite 150, Santa Barbara, CA 93109.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sean Hastings, (805) 884-1472; e-mail: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

A. Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

    The CINMS area is approximately 1,113 square nautical miles 
adjacent to the following islands and offshore rocks: San Miguel 
Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island, Anacapa Island, Santa 
Barbara Island, Richardson Rock, and Castle Rock (collectively the 
Channel Islands), extending seaward to a distance of approximately 6 
nautical miles. NOAA designated the CINMS in 1980 to protect the area's 
rich and diverse range of marine life and habitats, unique and 
productive oceanographic processes and ecosystems, and culturally 
significant resources (see 45 FR 65198). The Sanctuary was designated 
pursuant to NOAA's authority under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act 
(NMSA; 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.). There are significant human uses in the 
Sanctuary as well, including commercial and recreational fishing, 
marine wildlife viewing, boating and other recreational activities, 
research and monitoring activities, numerous educational activities, 
and maritime shipping.
    The waters surrounding California's Channel Islands represent a 
globally unique and diverse assemblage of habitats and species. This 
region is a subset of the larger ecosystem of the Southern California 
Bight, an area bounded by Point Conception in the north and Punta 
Banda, Mexico in the south. In the area between Santa Barbara Island in 
the south and San Miguel Island in the northwest, the colder waters of 
the Oregonian oceanic province in the north converge and mix with the 
warmer waters of the Californian oceanic province. Each of these two 
provinces has unique oceanic conditions and species assemblages, which 
in turn are parts of distinct biogeographic regions. The mixing of 
these two provinces in the vicinity of the Channel Islands creates a 
transition zone within the island chain. Upwelling and ocean currents 
in the area create a nutrient rich environment that supports high 
species and habitat diversity.
    In the Southern California Bight, marine resources have declined 
under pressure from a variety of factors, including commercial and 
recreational fishing, changes in oceanographic conditions associated 
with El Ni[ntilde]o and other large-scale oceanographic cycles, 
introduction of disease, and increased levels of pollutants. The 
urbanization of southern California has significantly increased the 
number of people visiting the coastal zone. The burgeoning coastal 
population has greatly increased the influx of human, industrial, and 
agricultural wastes to California coastal waters. Population growth has 
also increased human demands on the ocean, including commercial and 
recreational fishing, wildlife viewing

[[Page 29209]]

and other activities. New technologies have increased the yield of 
sport and commercial fisheries. Many former natural refuges for 
targeted species, such as submarine canyons, submerged pinnacles, deep 
waters, and waters distant from harbors, can now be accessed due to 
advancements in fishing technology and increased fishing effort.
    The significant changes in ecological conditions resulting from the 
array of human activities in the Channel Islands region are just 
beginning to be understood. For example, many kelp beds have converted 
to urchin barrens, where urchins and coralline algae have replaced kelp 
as the dominant feature. Deep canyon and rock areas that were formerly 
rich rockfishing grounds have significantly reduced populations of 
larger rockfish such as cowcod and bocaccio.
    In the Southern California Bight, commercial and recreational 
fisheries target more than 100 fish species and more than 20 
invertebrate species. Targeted species have exhibited high variability 
in landings from year to year (e.g., squid) and in several cases have 
declined to the point that the fishery has had to be shut down (e.g., 
abalone). Many targeted species are considered overfished and one 
previously targeted species (white abalone) is listed as endangered. 
Excessive bycatch has caused declines of some non-targeted species. The 
removal of species that play key ecological roles, such as predatory 
fish, has altered ecosystem structure. Some types of fishing gear have 
caused temporary or permanent damage to marine habitats. The 
combination of direct take, bycatch, indirect effects, and habitat 
damage and destruction has contributed to a negative transformation of 
the marine environment around the Channel Islands.

B. Marine Zoning

    For over twenty years, NOAA has used marine zoning as a tool in 
specific national marine sanctuaries to address a wide array of 
resource protection and user conflict issues. Marine zones are discrete 
areas within or above a national marine sanctuary that have special 
regulations that differ from the regulations that apply throughout or 
above the sanctuary as a whole. For example, marine zones are used to 
regulate the use of motorized personal watercraft in the Monterey Bay 
National Marine Sanctuary. Marine zones, including areas where all 
extraction is prohibited, have also been established in the Florida 
Keys National Marine Sanctuary to provide for varying levels of 
resource protection.
    NOAA has used zoning within the CINMS since its original 
designation in 1980. For example, the CINMS regulations prohibit:
    1. Cargo vessels from coming within 1 nautical mile of any island 
in the CINMS;
    2. disturbance of marine mammals or seabirds by flying aircraft 
below 1,000 feet within 1 nautical mile of any island within the CINMS; 
and
    3. construction upon or drilling into the seabed within 2 nautical 
miles of any island in the CINMS.
    In addition to NOAA, other federal and state agencies have also 
established marine zones wholly or partially within the Sanctuary 
(e.g., California Department of Fish and Game, National Park Service). 
In 1978, commercial and recreational fishing was prohibited by the 
State of California in one small marine protected area of the Channel 
Islands, the Anacapa Island Ecological Reserve. The International 
Maritime Organization has designated a voluntary vessel traffic 
separation scheme to guide large vessel traffic running through the 
Santa Barbara Channel. The National Park Service (NPS) has established 
several zoned areas within the Channel Islands National Park for 
different public uses, principally to protect seabird colonies and 
marine mammal haul outs. More recently, the NPS is instituting a new 
zoning approach to managing park lands, coasts, and adjacent waters.
    Due to historic lows in the stocks of certain rockfish (e.g., 
cowcod and bocaccio), in 2001 the Pacific Fishery Management Council 
(PFMC) took emergency action and established large bottom closures to 
rebuild these stocks. NOAA implemented the Cowcod Conservation Area 
regulations on January 1, 2001 (66 FR 2338) and the Rockfish 
Conservation Area emergency regulations on September 13, 2002 (67 FR 
57973). The Cowcod Conservation Area and the California Rockfish 
Conservation Area partially overlay Sanctuary waters. Finally, in 2002, 
the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) authorized the 
establishment of marine reserves and marine conservation areas within 
the state waters of the Sanctuary that prohibit or limit the take of 
living, geological or cultural marine resources.

C. Marine Reserves

    The number of documented successful examples of no-take marine 
reserves is growing, providing substantial evidence that rapid 
increases in biomass, biodiversity, abundance and size of organisms 
usually result from their designation. Increased biodiversity, 
abundance, and habitat quality within closed areas generally improve 
the resiliency and ability of marine ecosystems to adapt to ongoing 
human-caused or natural disturbance, such as climate shifts, major 
storm damage, and pollution.
    The designation of marine reserves can also reinforce traditional 
fish management approaches to substantially reduce overall fishery 
impacts to the ecosystem. Traditional management, like controls on 
fishery catch and effort, may fail due to factors such as stock 
assessment errors, inadequate institutional frameworks, and 
uncertainty. Marine reserves can help to rebuild depleted populations, 
reduce bycatch and discards, and reduce known and as-yet-unknown 
ecosystem effects of fishing. In addition, marine reserves offer 
scientists and resource managers a controlled opportunity to study the 
influence of change on marine ecosystems in the absence of direct human 
disturbance.

D. Channel Islands Marine Reserves Process, Community Phase 1999-2001

    The NMSA requires NOAA to periodically review the management plan 
and regulations for each national marine sanctuary and to revise them, 
as necessary, to fulfill the purposes and policies of the NMSA (16 
U.S.C. 1434(e)). NOAA began the process to review the CINMS management 
plan and regulations in 1999. Through the scoping process, many members 
of the public voiced concern over the state of biodiversity in the 
CINMS and called for fully protected (i.e., no-take) zones to be 
established.
    In 1998, the Commission received a recommendation from a local 
recreational fishing group to create marine reserves around the 
northern Channel Islands as a response to declining fish populations. 
In response to concerns about changes in the ecosystem and comments 
raised to the Commission and during the CINMS management plan scoping 
process, NOAA and the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) 
developed a Federal-state partnership to consider the establishment of 
marine reserves in the Sanctuary.
    Since the marine reserves process is inherently complex, and is a 
stand-alone action that is programmatically independent of and 
severable from the more general suite of actions contemplated in the 
management plan review process, NOAA decided to separate the process to 
consider marine reserves from the larger CINMS management plan review 
process. The draft management plan and DEIS for the

[[Page 29210]]

management plan review were released for public comment on May 19, 2006 
(71 FR 29148). NOAA also published a proposed rule to implement the 
management plan on May 19, 2006 (71 FR 29096). Please see http://channelislands.noaa.gov for more information.
    The CINMS Advisory Council, a federal advisory board of local 
community representatives and federal, state and local government 
agency representatives, created a multi-stakeholder Marine Reserves 
Working Group (MRWG) to seek agreement on a recommendation regarding 
the potential establishment of marine reserves within the Sanctuary. 
The CINMS Advisory Council also designated a Science Advisory Panel of 
recognized experts and a NOAA-led Socio-economic Team to support the 
MRWG in its deliberations.
    Extensive scientific, social, and economic data were collected in 
support of the marine reserves assessment process. From July 1999 to 
May 2001, the MRWG met monthly to receive, weigh, and integrate advice 
from technical advisors and the public. The MRWG reached consensus on a 
set of ground rules, a mission statement, a problem statement, a list 
of species of interest, and a comprehensive suite of implementation 
recommendations. The MRWG found that in order to protect, maintain, 
restore, and enhance living marine resources, it is necessary to 
develop new management strategies that encompass an ecosystem 
perspective and promote collaboration between competing interests. A 
set of goals were also agreed upon by the MRWG:
    1. To protect representative and unique marine habitats, ecological 
processes, and populations of interest.
    2. To maintain long-term socioeconomic viability while minimizing 
short-term socioeconomic losses to all users and dependent parties.
    3. To achieve sustainable fisheries by integrating marine reserves 
into fisheries management.
    4. To maintain areas for visitor, spiritual, and recreational 
opportunities which include cultural and ecological features and their 
associated values.
    5. To foster stewardship of the marine environment by providing 
educational opportunities to increase awareness and encourage 
responsible use of resources.
    The MRWG developed over 40 different designs for potential marine 
reserves and evaluated the ecological value and potential economic 
impact of each design. To do so, members of the MRWG contributed their 
own expertise to modify designs or generate alternatives and utilized a 
geospatial tool, known as the Channel Islands Spatial Support and 
Analysis Tool (CI-SSAT). CI-SSAT provided opportunities for 
visualization, manipulation, and analysis of data for the purpose of 
designing marine reserves.
    After months of deliberation, a consensus design could not be 
reached and the MRWG selected two designs to represent the diverse 
views of the group. These designs depict the best effort that each MRWG 
representative could propose. Ultimately, the CINMS Advisory Council 
provided the MRWG's two designs, as well as all of the supporting 
information developed during the process, including background 
scientific and economic information, to NOAA and the CDFG for 
consideration and action.
    Based on this information and additional internal agency analysis, 
NOAA and the CDFG crafted a draft reserve network and sent it to the 
CINMS Advisory Council and the former MRWG, Science Panel and Socio-
Economic Team members seeking further input. The draft reserve network 
was also published in local papers and on the CINMS Web site to solicit 
input from the general public. Several meetings were held with 
constituent groups, including the CINMS Advisory Council's Conservation 
Working Group, Fishing Working Group and Ports and Harbors Working 
Group, to discuss the draft network. Following this period of input, 
the CDFG and NOAA prepared a recommendation for establishing a network 
of marine reserves and marine conservation areas. The recommendation 
proposed a network of marine reserves and marine conservation areas in 
the same general locations as the MRWG Composite Map. The composite map 
was forwarded to the CINMS Advisory Council and represented two 
versions of a reserve and conservation area network, one version from 
consumptive interests and the other from non-consumptive interests. 
These two versions were overlaid on one map, and depicted a number of 
areas that the constituent groups agreed upon. This recommendation 
became the basis for the preferred alternative in the State's 
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) environmental review 
process.

E. Establishment of State Reserves in the CINMS, 2001 to 2003

    Due to the fact that the proposed network spanned both state and 
federal waters, NOAA and the CDFG determined the implementation of the 
recommendation would need to be divided into a state phase and a 
federal phase. State waters extend from the shore to a distance of 
three nautical miles. Federal waters extend beyond the limit of state 
waters to the extent of the exclusive economic zone, with the outer 
boundary of the CINMS at a distance of approximately six nautical miles 
from shore. The state phase was to be considered by the Commission 
under its authorities.
    The CDFG completed an environmental review under the requirements 
of CEQA resulting in the publication of an environmental document. The 
draft environmental document (ED) was released for public comment on 
May 30, 2002. Comments were accepted for an extended period until 
September 1, 2002. The Commission and CDFG received 2,492 letters, e-
mails and oral comments. Of this total, 2,445 were form letters that 
made identical comments.
    The Commission certified the final ED on October 23, 2002. At this 
same meeting, the Commission approved the CDFG's preferred alternative. 
The CDFG published final regulations for its action in January 2003. As 
part of its implementation, the FGC acknowledged the need for NOAA to 
complete the network by extending the marine zones into the deeper and 
federal waters of the CINMS.

F. Federal Marine Reserves Process, 2003-2007

    Following the publication of the CDFG's final regulations in 2003, 
NOAA's NMSP initiated the federal marine reserves process, and hosted 
scoping meetings with the general public, the CINMS Advisory Council, 
and PFMC. In 2004, the NMSP released a preliminary environmental 
document with a range of alternatives for public review. In 2005, the 
NMSP consulted with local, state, and federal agencies and the PFMC on 
possible amendments to the CINMS designation document pursuant to 
section 303(b)(2) of the NMSA (16 U.S.C. 1433(b)(2)). In addition, in 
2005 the NMSP provided the PFMC with the opportunity to prepare draft 
NMSA fishing regulations pursuant to section 304(a)(5) of the NMSA (16 
U.S.C. 1434(a)(5)) for the potential establishment of marine reserves 
and marine conservation areas.
    In its response to NOAA's letter regarding draft NMSA fishing 
regulations, the PFMC stated its support for NOAA's goals and 
objectives for marine zones in the CINMS but recommended that NOAA 
issue fishing regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (MSA) and the relevant authorities of 
the states of

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California, Oregon, and Washington rather than under the NMSA. To that 
end, and in accordance with advice from the NOAA Administrator in his 
October 19, 2005 letter to the PFMC, the PFMC recommended the Channel 
Islands marine zones in federal waters be designated as Essential Fish 
Habitat and Habitat Areas of Particular Concern with corresponding 
management measures to prohibit the use of bottom contact gear under 
Amendment 19 of the Groundfish Fishery Management Plan. To complete the 
process of addressing closure of the remaining aspect of the marine 
zones (i.e., in the water column) the PFMC stated its intent to pursue 
those closures through other fishery management plan authorities and 
complementary state laws.
    NOAA reviewed the PFMC's recommendations and determined that they 
did not have the specificity or record to support the use of the MSA or 
state laws to establish limited take or no-take zones in the water 
column and thereby did not fulfill NOAA's goals and objectives for 
these marine zones in the CINMS. However, Amendment 19 to the 
Groundfish Fishery Management Plan implemented, in part, the proposed 
marine zones by prohibiting all bottom contact gear in the proposed 
zones. Accordingly, the NMSA regulations issued in this rule prohibit 
the take of resources from the zones not prohibited by the Amendment 19 
regulations. Thus, along with the regulations implementing Amendment 
19, the NMSA regulations establish comprehensive limited-take and no-
take zones in the CINMS in a manner that fulfills NOAA's goals and 
objectives for these marine zones in the CINMS.
    As stated in the summary, the purpose of these zones is to further 
the protection of Sanctuary biodiversity and complement an existing 
network established by the State of California in October 2002, and 
implemented in April, 2003, under its authorities. The goals of the 
zones are:
     To ensure the long-term protection of Sanctuary resources 
by restoring and enhancing the abundance, density, population age 
structure, and diversity of the natural biological communities.
     To protect, restore, and maintain functional and intact 
portions of natural habitats (including deeper water habitats), 
populations, and ecological processes in the Sanctuary.
     To provide, for research and education, undisturbed 
reference areas that include the full spectrum of habitats within the 
CINMS where local populations exhibit a more natural abundance, 
density, diversity, and age structure.
     To set aside, for intrinsic and heritage value, 
representative habitats and natural biological communities.
     To complement the protection of CINMS resources and 
habitats afforded by the State of California's marine reserves and 
marine conservation areas.
     To create models of and incentives for ways to conserve 
and manage the resources of CINMS.
    On August 11, 2006 NOAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (71 
FR 46134) to prohibit the take of resources from the zones not 
prohibited by the Amendment 19 regulations. NOAA subsequently issued a 
correction to this notice on October 5, 2006 (71 FR 58767) to correct 
certain figures presented on the size of the Sanctuary.
    Between August and October of 2006, NOAA received public comments 
and held two hearings on the proposed rule. Over 30,000 individuals 
submitted written comments and/or presented oral testimony on NOAA's 
proposal. 99% of these individuals supported the establishment of 
marine zones in some form, particularly Alternatives 1A and 2 as 
described in NOAA's DEIS. During the public comment period, the State 
of California also submitted comments on NOAA's proposal. In its 
October 2006 letter, the CDFG stated that it could only support 
Alternative 1C as described in NOAA's draft environmental impact 
statement (DEIS). Under Alternative 1C, NOAA would establish marine 
reserves only in federal waters. NOAA's preferred alternative in the 
DEIS, identified as Alternative 1A, would have established marine zones 
in both federal and state waters with federal regulations overlaying 
the entire network (i.e., from the outer boundary of the federal waters 
reserves to the shore of the Channel Islands). As indicated in the 
DEIS, Alternative 1C would leave gaps in protection between the 
offshore extent of some of the state waters marine zones established by 
the State of California in 2003 and the marine zones proposed by NOAA 
(refer to figure 1 for an illustration of these gaps).
    On March 16, 2007, the California Coastal Commission (Coastal 
Commission) held a public meeting on NOAA's proposal pursuant to its 
authorities under section 307 of the Coastal Zone Management Act (16 
U.S.C. 1456). See http://www.coastal.ca.gov/meetings/mtg-mm7-3.html for 
more information about this meeting. At that meeting, the Coastal 
Commission passed a motion as follows: ``In the event NOAA elects not 
to implement Alternative 1a, NOAA will implement Alternative 1c, with 
the following additional provisions: Until such time as the Resources 
Agency and the Fish and Game Commission designate the areas in between 
the existing State-designated MPAs and the 3 mile limit (i.e., the 
``gaps'' between the existing state MPAs and the federal MPAs depicted 
in Alternative 1c [and shown on Exhibit 9]), or the Fish and Game 
Commission/DFG and NOAA enter into an interagency agreement that 
establishes MPA protection for these ``gap'' areas, NOAA will expand 
Alternative 1c to include in its MPA designation these ``gaps'' between 
the outer boundaries of the existing state MPAs and the state-federal 
waters boundary (3nm from shore).'' At this meeting, the CDFG 
representative also stated that the FGC could close these gaps in 
protection using state laws by August 2007.
    Based on the record, including comments received during the public 
comment period and the record of the Coastal Commission, NOAA has 
determined that there is sufficient information and rationale to 
establish marine zones in the federal waters of the Sanctuary (i.e., 
implement NOAA's Alternative 1C). With regard to state waters of the 
Sanctuary, NOAA has decided to defer action on establishing marine 
zones until the FGC has had an opportunity to close those gaps in a 
manner consistent with the Coastal Commission's motion and the CDFG 
representative's statement. The State of California has already begun 
this process by placing it on the agenda for a decision at the August 
2007 meeting of the FGC. Also, the CDFG has begun preparing the 
necessary documentation to support the FGC's decision. NOAA is, 
therefore, leaving the record open with regard to a decision to 
establish marine zones in state waters of the Sanctuary, and will be 
accepting additional public comment on this specific issue.
    NOAA will make a final decision with regard to its action in state 
waters in fall, 2007. If the FGC is able to take sufficient action 
before this time, NOAA proposes to take no further action under the 
NMSA. If the FGC is not able to take sufficient action before this 
time, NOAA would finalize regulations under the NMSA that would 
effectively close the gaps associated with alternative 1C by extending 
federal protections into state waters to meet the boundaries of the 
marine zones established by the FGC in 2003. In either case, NOAA will 
provide public notice of this action through issuance of a Federal 
Register document at the appropriate time.

[[Page 29212]]

II. Summary of Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of 
Decision

    NOAA prepared a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the 
proposed rule to establish marine reserves and marine conservation 
areas within the Sanctuary (71 FR 46220; August 11, 2006). The DEIS was 
prepared in accordance with the NMSA and National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969 (NEPA) requirements. The DEIS was distributed for public 
comments in early August 2006. The public comment period, which closed 
on October 10, 2006, yielded many comments on NOAA's proposed action 
and suggestions for improving the DEIS. NOAA has prepared a final 
environmental impact statement (FEIS) to address these comments and 
make appropriate changes to its environmental analysis. The FEIS 
contains a statement of the purpose and need for the project, 
description of proposed alternatives including the no action 
alternative, description of the affected environment, and evaluation 
and comparison of environmental consequences including cumulative 
impacts. The preferred alternative incorporates the network of marine 
reserves and marine conservation areas originally identified for the 
federal phase in the Commission's CEQA document.
    NOAA's record of decision for this action, prepared pursuant to 40 
CFR 1505.2, is set forth below:

Record of Decision

Introduction
    Designated in 1980, the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary 
(CINMS or Sanctuary) consists of an area of approximately 1,113 square 
nautical miles (nmi2) off the southern coast of California. The 
Sanctuary boundary begins at the mean high water line and extends 
seaward to a distance of approximately six nautical miles (nmi) from 
the following islands and offshore rocks: San Miguel Island, Santa Cruz 
Island, Santa Rosa Island, Anacapa Island, Santa Barbara Island, 
Richardson Rock, and Castle Rock (collectively the Islands). Located 
offshore from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, the Sanctuary 
supports a rich and diverse range of marine life and habitats, unique 
and productive oceanographic processes and ecosystems, and culturally 
significant resources. More than 27 species of cetaceans (whales and 
dolphins) use the Sanctuary during at least part of the year. There are 
also 5 species of pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) that occur in the 
area. More than 60 species of birds feed in the sanctuary and more than 
23 species of sharks occur here. In addition, a wealth of Chumash 
Native American artifacts as well as the remains of over 100 historic 
shipwrecks line the ocean floor of the Sanctuary.
    The primary objective of the CINMS is to protect Sanctuary 
resources. In meeting this objective, NOAA is establishing federal 
marine zones in the CINMS to further the protection of Sanctuary 
biodiversity, and to complement the existing network of marine zones 
established by the State of California in October 2002 (and implemented 
under its authorities in April 2003). The regulations implementing this 
action add nine new federal marine zones to the Sanctuary (eight no-
take marine reserves and one limited-take marine conservation area).
    These zones total 110.5 nmi2 as marine reserves and 1.7 
nmi2 as marine conservation areas. The area of the total 
network, including the existing state marine zones, is 214.1 
nmi2. All extractive activities (e.g., removal of any 
sanctuary resource) and injury to Sanctuary resources are prohibited in 
marine reserves. Lobster harvest and recreational fishing for pelagic 
finfish (with hook and line only) are allowed within the marine 
conservation area, while all other extraction or injury to Sanctuary 
resources is prohibited.
    NOAA has prepared this record of decision (ROD) in accordance with 
regulations published by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 
1505.2) implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Decision
    NOAA is issuing new regulations for the CINMS. These new 
regulations prohibit take of all Sanctuary resources in marine reserves 
and limit take of all Sanctuary resources in a marine conservation 
area.
Alternatives Considered
    In its final environmental impact statement, NOAA considered three 
alternatives for this action: A no action (or status quo) alternative, 
Alternative 1, and Alternative 2.\1\
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    \1\ In addition, NOAA and the State of California considered and 
analyzed dozens of other spatial designs. See section 3 of the FEIS 
for more information about the process used to develop the range of 
alternatives.
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No Action Alternative
    The no action alternative would have maintained the status quo in 
the Sanctuary (i.e., no new marine zones would be designated). Under 
this alternative, the NMSP would not have taken any new regulatory 
action under the NMSA. Existing Sanctuary regulations (e.g., no 
discharge) would continue to apply throughout the CINMS. Existing state 
marine reserves and marine conservation areas and existing state and 
federal management of commercial and recreational activities, including 
fishing, would remain in place.
Alternative 1
    Under Alternative 1, the NMSP will establish a series of marine 
zones. The spatial extent of the overall marine zoning network 
alternative was developed by the CDFG and NMSP in 2001, based on the 
extensive work of the MRWG and its advisory panels, and is the original 
proposed project in the CDFG (2002). The portions of the marine zones 
within state waters were established by the FGC and CDFG in 2003.
    Alternative 1 contained three sub-alternatives: 1A, 1B, and 1C. In 
Alternative 1A, the boundaries of the marine zones (and their 
corresponding NMSA regulations) completely overlay the existing state 
marine zones and terminate at the mean high water line of the northern 
Channel Islands. In Alternative 1B, the boundaries of the marine zones 
(and their corresponding NMSA regulations) abut the existing state 
marine zone boundaries, thereby including a small portion of state 
waters. In Alternative 1C, the boundaries of the proposed marine zones 
terminate at the boundary between state and federal waters (3 nmi from 
shore), thereby including no state waters. Alternative 1C was NOAA's 
preferred alternative.
Alternative 2
    Alternative 2 is based on a larger network of marine reserves 
developed during the MRWG process with slight modifications to conform 
to the boundaries of the existing state marine reserves and 
conservation areas. Alternative 2 is the largest of the alternatives 
proposed, thereby increasing protection of various habitats and species 
of interest, as compared to Alternative 1A. When compared to the no-
action alternative, Alternative 2 adds 11 new marine reserves and one 
new marine conservation area. Alternative 2 has a total of 276.9 nmi 
\2\ as marine reserves and 12.1 nmi \2\ as marine conservation areas 
for a total of 289.0 nmi 2. Alternative 2 would have had the 
same regulations as Alternative 1.
Environmentally Preferred Alternative
    All alternatives, aside from the no action alternative, would 
result in

[[Page 29213]]

environmental benefits in the form of protection of sensitive marine 
habitats and species. Alternative 2 is the largest of the alternatives 
proposed and includes a network of existing state marine zones and new 
federal zones, and would increase protection of various habitats and 
species of interest, as compared to the sub-alternatives under 
Alternative 1. Therefore, this alternative is considered to be the 
environmentally preferred. It was not selected because Alternative 1 
better met NOAA's purpose and need.
Mitigation Measures
    Because the action would not result in any environmental harm, 
there are no specific mitigation measures needed to avoid, minimize, or 
compensate for environmental harm.
Decision Making Process
    Collectively referred to as the ``Channel Islands marine reserves 
process,'' the consideration of marine zones within the CINMS occurred 
in three distinct phases: (1) A community-based phase; (2) a State of 
California (State) regulatory phase; and (3) a federal regulatory 
phase. These three phases are described in detail in the Final 
Environmental Impact Statement for this action (see ADDRESSES).
    In summary, the alternatives described evolved as a result of the 
Channel Islands marine reserves process. Comprehensive marine zoning 
network options were originally developed by NOAA and the CDFG 
following a comprehensive stakeholder process conducted from 1999 
through 2002. In 2002, the FGC supported establishment of state marine 
zones in the state waters of the Sanctuary (0-3 nmi) \2\.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Refer to the Environmental Impact Report prepared by the 
State of California for its 2002 action. This document is available 
for download on NOAA's CINMS Web site at http://channelislands.noaa.gov/marineres/main.html.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Following the publication of the State's final regulations in 2003, 
NOAA hosted scoping meetings to consider the extension of the State's 
zones into deeper waters of the Sanctuary. In 2004, NOAA released a 
preliminary environmental document with a range of alternatives for 
public review. NOAA then consulted with local, state, and federal 
agencies and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) on possible 
amendments to the CINMS designation document pursuant to section 
303(b)(2) of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA) (16 U.S.C. 
1433(b)(2)). In addition, in 2005 NOAA provided the PFMC with the 
opportunity to prepare draft NMSA fishing regulations pursuant to 
section 304(a)(5) of the NMSA (16 U.S.C. 1434(a)(5)) for the potential 
establishment of marine reserves and marine conservation areas.
    The PFMC response to NOAA's letter regarding draft fishing 
regulations stated its support for NOAA's goals and objectives for 
marine zones in the CINMS, but recommended that, rather than utilizing 
the NMSA, NOAA issue fishing regulations under the Magnuson-Steven 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) and the relevant 
authorities of the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. To 
that end, and in accordance with advice from the NOAA Administrator in 
his October 19, 2005 letter to the PFMC, the PFMC recommended the 
northern Channel Islands federal marine zones be designated as 
Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) and Habitat Areas of Particular Concern 
(HAPC) under Amendment 19 of the Groundfish Fishery Management Plan 
(FMP). The water column in the marine zones would be closed under other 
fishery management plan authorities and complementary state laws.
    NOAA reviewed the PFMC's recommendations and determined that PFMC 
did not have the specificity or record to support the use of the MSA or 
state laws to establish limited take or no-take zones in the water 
column and thereby did not fulfill NOAA's goals and objectives for 
these marine zones in the CINMS. Amendment 19 to the Groundfish FMP 
implemented, in part, the proposed marine zones by prohibiting all 
bottom contact gear in those proposed zones. Accordingly, NOAA's NMSA 
regulations prohibit the take of resources from the zones not 
prohibited by the Amendment 19 regulations. Thus, along with the 
regulations implementing Amendment 19, the NMSA regulations establish 
comprehensive marine reserves and a marine conservation area in the 
federal waters part of the CINMS in a manner that fulfills NOAA's goals 
and objectives for the marine zones in the CINMS.
    In August 2006, NOAA published proposed regulations for this action 
and released the related draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) 
for public review and comment. Between August and October of 2006, NOAA 
received public comment and held two hearings on the proposed rule and 
DEIS. Over 30,000 individuals submitted written comments and/or 
presented oral testimony on NOAA's proposal. Approximately 99% of these 
individuals supported the establishment of Alternative 1A or 
Alternative 2.
    During the public comment period, the State of California also 
submitted comments on NOAA's proposal. In its October 2006 letter, the 
CDFG stated that it could only support Alternative 1C (NMSA regulations 
in federal waters only) as described in the DEIS. In subsequent 
consultations with State representatives and in a letter from the 
Secretary of Resources dated January 2, 2007, the State reiterated that 
it could only support Alternative 1C at this time. Under Alternative 
1C, NOAA would establish marine reserves and a marine conservation area 
only in federal waters. NOAA's preferred alternative, identified as 
Alternative 1A in the DEIS, would have established marine zones in both 
federal and state waters with federal regulations overlaying the entire 
network (i.e., from the outer boundary of the federal waters reserves 
to the mean high water line of the Channel Islands). As indicated in 
the DEIS, Alternative 1C leaves small gaps in protection between the 
offshore extent of some of the state waters marine zones established by 
the State of California in 2003 and the federal waters marine zones 
proposed by NOAA.
    On March 16, 2007, the Coastal Commission held a public meeting on 
NOAA's consistency determination with California's Coastal Zone 
Management Plan under section 307 of the Coastal Zone Management Act 
(see http://www.coastal.ca.gov/meetings/mtg-mm7-3.html). At that 
meeting, the Coastal Commission passed a motion as follows:

    In the event NOAA elects not to implement Alternative 1a, NOAA 
will implement Alternative 1c, with the following additional 
provisions: Until such time as the Resources Agency and the Fish and 
Game Commission designate the areas in between the existing State-
designated MPAs and the 3 mile limit (i.e., the ``gaps'' between the 
existing state MPAs and the federal MPAs depicted in Alternative 1c 
[and shown on Exhibit 9]), or the Fish and Game Commission/DFG and 
NOAA enter into an interagency agreement that establishes MPA 
protection for these ``gap'' areas, NOAA will expand Alternative 1c 
to include in its MPA designation these ``gaps'' between the outer 
boundaries of the existing state MPAs and the State-federal waters 
boundary (3nm from shore).

    At this meeting, the CDFG representative also stated that the FGC 
could close these gaps in protection using state laws by August 2007.
    Based on the record, including comments received during the public 
comment period and the record of the Coastal Commission, NOAA 
determined that at this time there is sufficient information and 
rationale to establish marine zones in the federal waters of the 
Sanctuary (i.e., implement NOAA's alternative 1C). This Record of 
Decision

[[Page 29214]]

supports that determination and represents NOAA's final decision to 
implement the regulations in the federal waters of the Sanctuary 
associated with Alternative 1C.
    With regard to state waters of the Sanctuary, NOAA has decided to 
defer action on establishing federal marine zones until the FGC has had 
an opportunity to close the gaps between the federal marine zones and 
the state marine zones in a manner consistent with the Coastal 
Commission's resolution and the CDFG representative's statement.\3\ The 
State of California has already begun this process by placing it on the 
agenda for a decision at the August 2007 meeting of the FGC. Also, the 
CDFG has begun preparing the necessary documentation to support the 
FGC's decision. If the FGC is able to take sufficient action in a 
timely manner, NOAA would take no further action under the NMSA. If the 
FGC is not able to take sufficient action in a timely manner, NOAA 
would issue regulations under the NMSA that would effectively close the 
gaps associated with Alternative 1C by extending federal protections 
into state waters to meet the boundaries of the marine zones 
established by the FGC in 2003. In that instance, a second record of 
decision for that subsequent action would be issued to finalize such 
action.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Closing the gaps would also be consistent with the public 
record supporting the 2002 decision of the California Fish and Game 
Commission to establish marine zones in the Sanctuary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conclusion
    The new regulations identified above apply to all users of the 
Sanctuary. Based on socioeconomic information gathered by NOAA and 
identified in the FEIS, the socioeconomic impacts of these regulations 
can be characterized as:

     Having a small impact on existing consumptive 
activities (commercial fishing and consumptive recreational 
activities).
     Beneficial to non-consumptive recreational users. These 
increased benefits take the form of increases in diversity and 
abundance of wildlife for viewing and photography opportunities. 
Benefits may also be derived from the decrease in the density of 
users or in the reduction in conflicts with consumptive users.
     Beneficial to management, research, and education 
because relatively undisturbed areas (i.e., reference areas) will be 
available for comparison with areas outside the marine zones; and
     Beneficial for intrinsic and heritage purposes.

    NOAA expects, therefore, that this rule will have no significant 
socioeconomic impacts and that the implementation of marine zones in 
the CINMS will have beneficial ecological impacts on marine communities 
and habitats.

III. Revised Designation Document

    Section 304(a)(4) of the NMSA requires that the terms of 
designation include the geographic area included within the Sanctuary; 
the characteristics of the area that give it conservation, 
recreational, ecological, historical, research, educational, or 
aesthetic value; and the types of activities subject to regulation by 
the Secretary to protect these characteristics. Section 304(a)(4) also 
specifies that the terms of designation may be modified only by the 
same procedures by which the original designation was made. To 
implement this action, the CINMS Designation Document, originally 
published in the Federal Register on October 2, 1980 (45 FR 65198), is 
modified to read as follows (new text in bold and deleted text in 
brackets and italics):

Preamble

    Under the authority of the Marine Protection, Research and 
Sanctuaries Act of 1972, Pub. L. 92-532, (the Act) the waters 
surrounding the northern Channel Islands and Santa Barbara Island are 
hereby designated a Marine Sanctuary for the purposes of preserving and 
protecting this unique and fragile ecological community.

Article 1. Effect of Designation

    Within the area designated as the Channel Islands National Marine 
Sanctuary (the Sanctuary), described in Article 2, the Act authorizes 
the promulgation of such regulations as are reasonable and necessary to 
protect the values of the Sanctuary. Article 4 of this Designation 
lists those activities which may require regulation but the listing of 
any activity does not by itself prohibit or restrict it. Restrictions 
or prohibitions may be accomplished only through regulation, and 
additional activities may be regulated only by amending Article 4.

Article 2. Description of the Area

    The Sanctuary consists of an area of the waters off the coast of 
California, of approximately [1252.5] 1,128 square nautical miles (nmi) 
adjacent to the northern Channel Islands and Santa Barbara Island 
seaward to a distance of approximately 6 nmi. The precise boundaries 
are defined by regulation.

Article 3. Characteristics of the Area That Give It Particular Value

    The Sanctuary is located in an area of upwelling and in a 
transition zone between the cold waters of the California Current and 
the warmer Southern California Countercurrent. Consequently, the 
Sanctuary contains an exceptionally rich and diverse biota, including 
30 species of marine mammals and several endangered species of marine 
mammals and sea birds. The Sanctuary will provide recreational 
experiences and scientific research opportunities and generally will 
have special value as an ecological, recreational, and esthetic 
resource.

Article 4. Scope of Regulation

Section 1. Activities Subject to Regulation
    In order to protect the distinctive values of the Sanctuary, the 
following activities may be regulated within the Sanctuary to the 
extent necessary to ensure the protection and preservation of its 
marine features and the ecological, recreational, and esthetic value of 
the area:
    a. Hydrocarbon operations.
    b. Discharging or depositing any substance.
    c. Dredging or alteration of, or construction on, the seabed.
    d. Navigation of vessels except fishing vessels or vessels 
[travelling] traveling within a Vessel Traffic Separation Scheme or 
Port Access Route designated by the Coast Guard outside of 1 nmi from 
any island.
    e. Disturbing marine mammals or birds by overflights below 1000 
feet.
    f. Removing or otherwise deliberately harming cultural or 
historical resources.
    g. Within a marine reserve, marine park, or marine conservation 
area, harvesting, removing, taking, injuring, destroying, possessing, 
collecting, moving, or causing the loss of any Sanctuary resource, 
including living or dead organisms or historical resources, or 
attempting any of these activities.
    h. Within a marine reserve, marine park, or marine conservation 
area, possessing fishing gear.
Section 2. Consistency With International Law
    The regulations governing the activities listed in Section 1 of 
this article will apply to foreign flag vessels and persons not 
citizens of the United States only to the extent consistent with 
recognized principles of international law including treaties and 
international agreements to which the United States is signatory.

[[Page 29215]]

Section 3. Emergency Regulations
    Where essential to prevent immediate, serious and irreversible 
damage to the ecosystem of the area, activities other than those listed 
in Section 1 may be regulated within the limits of the Act on an 
emergency basis for an interim period not to exceed 120 days, during 
which an appropriate amendment of this article would be proposed in 
accordance with the procedures specified in Article 6.

Article 5. Relation to Other Regulatory Programs

Section 1. Fishing
    The regulation of fishing is not authorized under Article 4, except 
within portions of the Sanctuary designated as marine reserves, marine 
parks, or marine conservation areas established pursuant to the goals 
and objectives of the Sanctuary and within the scope of the State of 
California's Final Environmental Document ``Marine Protected Areas in 
NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary'' (California 
Department of Fish and Game, October 2002), certified by the California 
Fish and Game Commission. However, fishing vessels may be regulated 
with respect to discharges in accordance with Article 4, Section 1, 
paragraph (b) and aircraft conducting kelp bed surveys below 1000 feet 
can be regulated in accordance with Article 4, Section 1, paragraph 
(e). All regulatory programs pertaining to fishing, including 
particularly regulations promulgated under the California Fish and Game 
Code and Fishery Management Plans promulgated under the Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act of 1976, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., shall 
remain in effect. All permits, licenses and other authorizations issued 
pursuant thereto shall be valid within the Sanctuary unless authorizing 
any activity prohibited by any regulation implementing Article 4. 
Fishing as used in this article and in Article 4 includes kelp 
harvesting.
Section 2. Defense Activities
    The regulation of those activities listed in Article 4 shall not 
prohibit any activity conducted by the Department of Defense that is 
essential for national defense or because of emergency. Such activities 
shall be consistent with the regulations to the maximum extent 
practicable.
Section 3. Other Programs
    All applicable regulatory programs shall remain in effect and all 
permits, licenses and other authorizations issued pursuant thereto 
shall be valid within the Sanctuary unless authorizing any activity 
prohibited by any regulation implementing Article 4. The Sanctuary 
regulations shall set forth any necessary certification procedures.

Article 6. Alterations to This Designation

    This Designation can be altered only in accordance with the same 
procedures by which it has been made, including public hearings, 
consultation with interested federal and state agencies and the Pacific 
Regional Fishery Management Council, and approval by the President of 
the United States.

IV. Summary of Regulations

    These final regulations implement NOAA's preferred alternative by 
establishing marine reserves and a marine conservation area within the 
federal waters of CINMS. The regulations define two new terms (pelagic 
finfish and stowed and not available for immediate use), prohibit all 
extractive activities and injury to Sanctuary resources within the 
marine reserves, and prohibit all extractive activities and injury to 
Sanctuary resources within the marine conservation area except 
recreational fishing for pelagic finfish and commercial and 
recreational lobster fishing (Anacapa Island Marine Conservation Area). 
These regulations also add two new appendices that list the boundary 
coordinates for the marine reserves and marine conservation area. These 
regulations modify subpart G of the National Marine Sanctuary Program 
Regulations (15 CFR part 922), the regulations for the Channel Islands 
National Marine Sanctuary.

A. Establishment of Marine Reserves and Marine Conservation Areas

    These regulations establish under the NMSA eight marine reserves 
and one marine conservation area within the CINMS. Refer to figure 1 
for a map depicting the locations of the marine reserves and marine 
conservation area. The marine reserves are distributed throughout the 
CINMS and extend slightly beyond the current boundaries of the CINMS in 
four locations, increasing the geographic area of the Sanctuary by 
about 15 square nautical miles. This action increases the overall size 
of the Sanctuary from approximately 1,113 square nautical miles to 
approximately 1,128 square nautical miles, an approximately 15 square 
nautical mile increase. This small amount added allows the boundary of 
four of the marine reserves to be defined by straight lines projecting 
outside the current CINMS boundary, allowing for better enforcement of 
the marine reserves. The boundaries of the marine reserves and marine 
conservation area are consistent with the marine reserves and marine 
conservation areas established by the Commission in 2002 in state 
waters-essentially extending most of them into federal waters of the 
Sanctuary. NOAA is changing the number identifying the total area of 
the CINMS from approximately 1,252.5 square nautical miles to 
approximately 1,128 square nautical miles. This change is based on 
North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83) and adjusts for technical 
corrections using updated technologies. The legal description of the 
CINMS is updated to reflect this change. This update does not 
constitute a change in the geographic area of the Sanctuary (other than 
the approximately 15 square nautical miles referred to above) but 
rather an improvement in the estimate of its size.

[[Page 29216]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR24MY07.002

    Under these final regulations, NOAA establishes two marine reserves 
in the area around San Miguel Island, one around Santa Rosa Island, two 
around Santa Cruz Island, two around Anacapa Island, and one around 
Santa Barbara Island. The marine conservation area is established off 
of Anacapa Island.
    The total area designated marine reserves under these final 
regulations is 110.5 square nautical miles. The marine conservation 
area encompasses an additional 1.7 square nautical miles.
    Based on the record, including comments received during the public 
comment period and the record of the Coastal Commission, NOAA has 
determined that there is sufficient information and rationale to 
establish marine zones in the federal waters of the Sanctuary (i.e., 
implement NOAA's Alternative 1C). With regard to state waters of the 
Sanctuary, NOAA has decided to defer action on establishing marine 
zones until the FGC has had an opportunity to close those gaps in a 
manner consistent with the Coastal Commission's motion and the CDFG 
representative's statement. The State of California has already begun 
this process by placing it on the agenda for a decision at the August 
2007 meeting of the FGC. Also, the CDFG has begun preparing the 
necessary documentation to support the FGC's decision. NOAA is, 
therefore, leaving the record open with regard to a decision to 
establish marine zones in state waters of the Sanctuary, and is 
requesting additional public comment on this specific issue.

B. Activities Prohibited Within the Marine Reserves

    Under the final regulations, NOAA prohibits any harvesting, 
removing, taking, injuring, destroying, collecting, moving, or causing 
the loss of any Sanctuary resource, including living or dead organisms 
or historical resources, or attempting to do so, within any of the 
marine reserves. The term ``sanctuary resource'' is broadly defined in 
the NMSP regulations at 15 CFR 922.3 and means any living or non-living 
resource that contributes to the conservation, recreational, 
ecological, historical, scientific, educational, or aesthetic value of 
the Sanctuary. For the CINMS, the term ``Sanctuary resource'' includes, 
for example, the seafloor and all animals and plants of the Sanctuary. 
It also includes historical resources (which, pursuant to 15 CFR 922.3, 
include cultural and archeological resources), such as shipwrecks and 
Native American remains. In addition, to enhance compliance and aid in 
enforcement, these final regulations also prohibit possessing fishing 
gear and Sanctuary resources inside a marine reserve, except in certain 
circumstances. These final regulations allow possession of legally 
harvested fish stowed on a vessel at anchor in or transiting through a 
marine reserve and also allow the possession of stowed fishing gear, 
provided the gear is not available for immediate use.
    These final regulations prohibit only those extractive activities 
within marine reserves that are not prohibited by 50 CFR part 660, the 
NOAA regulations that govern ``Fisheries off West Coast States'' (MSA 
regulations). Therefore, if an extractive activity is prohibited by MSA 
regulations, it is not prohibited by these final NMSA regulations. 
Conversely, all extractive activities not prohibited by MSA regulations 
are prohibited by these final NMSA regulations within marine reserves. 
In the future, if NOAA were to amend the MSA regulations to prohibit 
additional extractive activities within marine reserves, these NMSA 
regulations would correspondingly narrow in scope. If, for MSA 
purposes, NOAA were to amend the MSA regulations to allow additional 
extractive activities, these NMSA

[[Page 29217]]

regulations would correspondingly expand in scope to ensure all forms 
of extraction are prohibited within marine reserves. In either case, 
the MSA rulemaking making such change would provide the public with 
notice of the corresponding change in applicability of the NMSA 
regulation.
    Regardless of the specific regulatory mechanism, the intended 
result of this final rule is for all extractive activities to be 
prohibited within the marine reserves.

C. Activities Prohibited Within the Marine Conservation Areas

    These final regulations prohibit the same activities within the 
marine conservation area as within the marine reserves except that 
commercial and recreational lobster fishing and recreational fishing 
for pelagic finfish are allowed in the marine conservation area at 
Anacapa Island. Commercial fishing for pelagic finfish is prohibited 
within the marine conservation area.
    Like the final regulations for marine reserves, the final 
regulations for the marine conservation area only prohibit activities 
that are not prohibited by applicable MSA regulations codified at 50 
CFR part 660. Any changes to the applicable MSA regulations would 
result in a corresponding change in the applicability of the NMSA 
regulations, as discussed above.

D. Enforcement

    The final regulations will be enforced by NOAA and other authorized 
agencies (e.g., the California Department of Fish and Game, United 
States Coast Guard, and National Park Service) in a coordinated and 
comprehensive way. Enforcement actions for an infraction will be 
prosecuted under the appropriate statutes or regulations governing that 
infraction. The result is that enforcement actions may be taken under 
State of California authorities, the NMSA, the MSA, or other relevant 
legal authority.

E. Permitting

    The NMSP regulations, including the regulations for the CINMS, 
allow NOAA to issue permits to conduct activities that would otherwise 
be prohibited by the regulations. Most permits are issued by the 
Superintendent of the CINMS. Requirements for filing permit 
applications are specified in NMSP regulations and the Office of 
Management and Budget-approved application guidelines (OMB control 
number 0648-0141). Criteria for reviewing permit applications are 
contained in the CINMS and NMSP regulations at 15 CFR 922.77 and 
922.48, respectively. In general, permits may be issued for activities 
related to scientific research, education, and management. Permits may 
also be issued for activities associated with the salvage and recovery 
efforts for a recent air or marine casualty. (Emergency activities 
would not require a permit.)
    Nationwide, NOAA issues approximately 200 national marine sanctuary 
permits each year. Of this amount, two or three are for activities 
within the CINMS. The majority of permits issued for activities within 
the CINMS are for activities related to scientific research. NOAA 
expects this trend to continue with the final regulations. Although 
there may be an increase in the number of permits requested for 
activities within the CINMS, NOAA does not expect this increase to 
appreciably raise the average number of permits issued nationwide. 
Therefore, NOAA has determined that these final regulations do not 
necessitate a modification to its information collection approval by 
the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

V. Summary of Comments and Responses

    This section contains NOAA's responses to the substantive comments 
received on the proposed rule and DEIS. NOAA has summarized the 
comments according to the content of the statement or question put 
forward in the letters, e-mails, and written and oral testimony at the 
public hearings on this action. Many commenters submitted similar 
enough questions or statements that they could be addressed by one 
response. NOAA also made several changes in the FEIS in response to the 
public comments, e.g., updating the socioeconomic and ecological impact 
analyses. Several technical or editorial comments on the DEIS and 
proposed rule were taken under consideration by NOAA and, where 
appropriate, applied to the FEIS and this final rule. These comments 
are not, however, included in the substantive list below.
    NOAA's FEIS contains these comments and responses, but also 
includes a table listing the names of the individuals that submitted 
comments on the DEIS and proposed rule and an index indicating which 
comments were submitted by each person and NOAA's response to those 
particular comments.
    1. Comment: Collectively, the following five reasons were 
identified by commenters in support of NOAA's Alternative 2:
     It provides the greatest amount of ecosystem protection, 
habitat representation, and opportunities for species recovery/
restoration.
     It best recognizes the intrinsic values associated with 
biodiversity and ecosystem-based protection.
     It contains zones of sufficient size, space, and 
connectivity to maximize larval production and recruitment.
     It best fulfills the mandates of the National Marine 
Sanctuaries Act (NMSA) and the goals of the proposed network.
     It best achieves recommendations in the 2004 report from 
the Pew Oceans Commission and U.S. Ocean Commission.
    Response: Alternative 2 would provide the greatest amount of 
ecosystem protection as it is the largest spatial alternative. However, 
Alternative 1 (and its sub-alternatives) provides not only a robust 
level of ecosystem protection, habitat representation, and opportunity 
for species recovery and restoration, but is consistent with the 
existing network established by the State of California (State) in 
state waters of the Sanctuary and aligned with the offshore marine 
zones envisioned by the State's preferred alternative in its CEQA 
document. Also, Alternative 1 (and its three subalternatives) is 
consistent with the benthic habitat protections adopted by the PFMC and 
NOAA Fisheries through the EFH conservation areas established by NOAA 
under MSA regulations (see NOAA's final rule at 71 FR 27408; May 11, 
2006). Further, implementation of Alternative 1 would fulfill the 
mandates of the NMSA, achieve the goals of the CINMS zoning network, 
and meet several of the recommendations put forward by the Pew Oceans 
and U.S. Ocean Commissions.
    Designation of Alternative 2 under the envisioned regulatory 
structure may require additional administrative actions that may delay 
implementation. This regulatory structure, which uses a combination of 
the MSA and NMSA, may require that the current EFH designation in the 
Sanctuary, which corresponds to the zone boundaries under Alternative 
1, be re-designated to incorporate the larger zone boundaries proposed 
under Alternative 2. Alternative 1 is the most prudent course of action 
for the marine zoning network in the Sanctuary.
    2. Comment: Approximately 30,000 commenters supported NOAA's 
preferred alternative in the DEIS (Alternative 1A) as the most 
efficient and coherent zone network for protecting Channel Islands 
wildlife.
    Response: In the DEIS, the three sub-alternatives analyzed under 
Alternative 1 (1A, 1B, and 1C) provide different

[[Page 29218]]

boundary configurations for the marine zoning network based on the 
extent of federal regulatory overlap in state waters. During the public 
comment period, the CDFG submitted a letter to NOAA stating that 
Alternative 1C was the only acceptable alternative. In a January 2, 
2007 letter to NOAA, the Secretary of the California Resources Agency 
reiterated this position again stating that Alternative 1C was the only 
alternative acceptable to the State of California and that overlap by 
federal regulations in state waters was never contemplated by the 
State.
    The NMSA allows the Governor of a state for which the NMSP is 
making changes to a sanctuary's terms of designation to review and 
reject those changes with regard to state waters. Because 
implementation of Alternative 1A requires a change to the CINMS terms 
of designation (to allow regulation of fishing and other resource 
extraction in State, as well as Federal, waters), NOAA conducted a 
thorough re-evaluation of Alternatives 1A and 1C, given the Secretary 
of Resources' opposition to all NOAA alternatives but 1C.
    As identified in the DEIS, Alternative 1C leaves small gaps between 
some of the state designated marine reserves and the proposed federal 
marine reserves (see section 3.2.4 of the FEIS). The January 2, 2007 
letter also stated that the CDFG and the FGC would as soon as possible 
initiate the process to close the gaps associated with Alternative 1C 
by bringing the boundaries of a number of the existing state marine 
zones up to the State-Federal jurisdictional line; that process has 
commenced. NOAA's analysis identifies that, if these gaps are closed, 
the differences among the three sub-alternatives are distinguished by 
management considerations, not ecological and socioeconomic impacts. As 
such, because the CDFG and the FGC are closing the gaps associated with 
Alternative 1C, the net ecological benefits and socioeconomic impacts 
between Alternatives 1A (NOAA's original preferred alternative) and 1C 
(the State of California's recommended alternative) will be the same. 
NOAA has determined, therefore, that Alternative 1C will accomplish the 
goals of the zoning network while respecting the position of the State. 
If NOAA implements Alternative 1C and the State does not act to close 
the gaps in a timely manner, NOAA envisions closing the gaps via NMSA 
regulations.
    Furthermore, NOAA and the State strongly support a close, 
collaborative working relationship to implement the CINMS zoning 
network and will sign a formal agreement to ensure that management of 
the network (e.g., enforcement, education and outreach, and monitoring) 
is implemented in a collaborative, efficient, and effective manner.
    3. Comment: Several commenters support the no action alternative 
because they believe existing regulations are sufficient to meet the 
goals of NOAA's action.
    Response: NOAA has determined existing regulations are not 
sufficient to meet the goals of this action. The State of California 
has reached the same conclusion in adopting the state waters portions 
of the network and is asking NOAA for prompt action in the federal 
waters zones. NOAA's analysis discusses the relationship of the action 
with other existing management regimes in the region (see sections 3.1 
and 5.1.2 of the FEIS) and the effectiveness they have on achieving 
NOAA's goals for this action.
    Marine zones and sound fishery management are complementary 
components of a comprehensive effort to sustain marine habitats and 
fisheries. Marine zones are considered one of many tools available to 
ocean managers and are not the only tool used in the project area for 
this action. However, certain ecosystem functions cannot be protected 
as well by other management measures. For example, size, season, and 
bag limits do not prevent bycatch of non-target species or undersized 
individuals nor do they fully provide for natural predator and prey 
interactions. Traditional single species-based management measures 
alone have not been sufficient to protect groundfish and other 
populations in the CINMS region and other parts of the world. 
Incidental impacts of various fishing practices may also have 
unintended effects that would not occur in a marine zone, particularly 
in a no-take reserve. This includes both direct impacts to the 
environment (e.g., habitat damage from trawling) and indirect ecosystem 
impacts (e.g., removing all large, old fish and altering the species 
size composition). Marine zones of the type proposed here by their 
nature provide relatively undisturbed habitats and act as ``natural 
hatcheries'', which leads to benefits in total production and export of 
young.
    NOAA's action is intended to address a suite of ecological goals, 
including providing special protection of habitats and species for 
their intrinsic values. Marine zones of the type proposed here provide 
insurance for management uncertainty by providing areas where species 
can interact in a relatively undisturbed ecosystem. Furthermore, NOAA's 
action under the NMSA does not duplicate existing NOAA regulations 
promulgated under the MSA. The regulations being issued under this 
action have been carefully crafted in such a way so that the 
regulations being issued here under the NMSA are subject to NOAA's 
regulations under the MSA. This applies to the current regime and any 
future changes, so that if NOAA were to amend the MSA regulations, the 
applicability of the NMSA regulations would expand or contract 
automatically to ensure complete protection with no duplication. See 
the final regulations for how this is achieved.
    The specific integration of marine zones into fisheries management, 
including reductions in overall fleet capacity, total allowable catch, 
and allocation between user groups is more appropriately dealt with 
through the PFMC and FGC processes, which is used to establish these 
limits.
    4. Comment: Several commenters support the no action alternative 
because they believe that any additional zones can and should be 
designated by the PFMC via the MSA and the State of California via 
State statutes.
    Response: In May 2005, NOAA presented the PFMC, per section 
304(a)(5) of the NMSA, with the opportunity to prepare draft NMSA 
fishing regulations to meet the goals of the CINMS marine zones. 
Section 304(a)(5) requires that the relevant Fishery Management Council 
be given the opportunity to prepare draft fishing regulations within 
the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) portion of the given sanctuary. The 
EEZ portion of the CINMS is from 3 to 6 nmi offshore the northern 
Channel Islands. The PFMC responded and recommended that fishing 
regulations for the CINMS marine zones in federal waters be implemented 
through the existing authorities of the MSA and the states of 
California, Oregon, and Washington.
    Based on its review of the existing factual and scientific 
evidence, NOAA determined that there was a credible basis for 
regulations prohibiting the use of bottom-contact gear in the CINMS 
marine zones under the MSA. With respect to fishing throughout the 
remainder of the water column, however, NOAA determined that there was 
an insufficient factual and scientific basis to support pursuit of this 
aspect of the PFMC's proposal under the MSA. NOAA determined that the 
PFMC's recommendations did not have the specificity or record to 
support the use of the MSA or state laws to establish limited take or 
no-take zones in the water column and thereby did not fulfill the goals 
and objectives of the CINMS.

[[Page 29219]]

Further, MSA regulations cannot legally address other extractive 
activities that could be addressed under the NMSA, such as certain 
scientific research activities. In response, the PFMC changed its 
recommendation under Amendment 19 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish 
Management Plan (see next paragraph) to close the existing and proposed 
CINMS marine zones to only bottom-contact gear.
    In 2006, the PFMC submitted and NOAA approved Amendment 19 to the 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, which, among other 
things, identified and described EFH within the CINMS for groundfish 
species and designated the existing and proposed CINMS marine zones as 
Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC). Amendment 19 also 
prohibited the use of bottom-contact gear in the CINMS HAPCs.
    The final NMSA regulations for this marine zones action prohibit 
those extractive activities within the marine zones that are not 
prohibited by 50 CFR part 660, the NOAA regulations that govern 
``Fisheries off West Coast States,'' which includes the Amendment 19 
regulations. Therefore, if an extractive activity is prohibited by 
those MSA regulations, it is not prohibited by the NMSA regulations. 
Conversely, all extractive activities not prohibited by those MSA 
regulations in the marine reserves are prohibited by these NMSA 
regulations. In the future, if NOAA were to amend the MSA regulations 
to prohibit additional extractive activities in the marine zones, 
notice and opportunity for public comment would be provided regarding 
those activities no longer being prohibited by regulations under the 
NMSA. Likewise, if NOAA were to amend the MSA regulations to allow 
currently prohibited extractive activities in the marine zones, notice 
and opportunity for public comment would be provided regarding those 
additional activities being prohibited under these NMSA regulations.
    5. Comment: Ecosystem-based management should be favored over 
traditional fisheries management in this action, because it is more 
effective at meeting NOAA's purpose and need.
    Response: This action to complete the CINMS marine zoning network 
is a form of ecosystem-based management that is being applied to meet 
NOAA's responsibility to protect Sanctuary resources. Sanctuary 
resources are defined at 15 CFR 922.3 as follows:

    ``Sanctuary resource means any living or non-living resource of 
a National Marine Sanctuary that contributes to the conservation, 
recreational, ecological, historical, research, educational, or 
aesthetic value of the Sanctuary, including, but not limited to, the 
substratum of the area of the Sanctuary, other submerged features 
and the surrounding seabed, carbonate rock, corals and other bottom 
formations, coralline algae and other marine plants and algae, 
marine invertebrates, brineseep biota, phytoplankton, zooplankton, 
fish, seabirds, sea turtles and other marine reptiles, marine 
mammals and historical resources.''

    6. Comment: Limit the proposed designation document changes and 
regulations to prohibit non-fishing activities and fishing in the water 
column only.
    Response: Under the NMSA, when a national marine sanctuary is 
designated, NOAA must specify the new sanctuary's ``terms of 
designation.'' The terms of designation include the boundaries of the 
sanctuary, the characteristics that give it value, and ``the types of 
activities that will be subject to regulation'' by NOAA. Terms of 
designation may only be modified by following the same procedures by 
which the sanctuary was designated. The types of activities subject to 
regulation are usually expressed in fairly general terms. This is 
necessary to allow NOAA to make appropriate modifications to the 
regulations in the future, e.g., to allow for adaptive management. 
However, even minor changes must be made through a full public process, 
including an opportunity for the public to review the change and 
provide comment before it is finalized. Furthermore, NOAA must prepare 
all legally required analysis for such regulatory changes, including 
appropriate environmental and economic impact analyses (under the 
National Environmental Policy Act and Regulatory Flexibility Act).
    The designation document amendment has been carefully crafted and 
comments were solicited from NOAA Fisheries, other relevant resource 
management agencies, and the PFMC. It is also crafted to be consistent 
with the deliberations made throughout this process, including the 
community and state phases (see the Executive Summary of NOAA's FEIS 
for a summary of the process). As indicated above, the scope of 
authority defined in designation documents for all national marine 
sanctuaries is typically general, and the implementing regulations are 
more specific. NOAA believes this provides sufficient parameters to its 
authority while allowing flexibility to manage the network adaptively 
in the future in response to biological, ecological, and economic 
indicators of the network's effectiveness. Any proposed regulatory 
adjustment to the current network would undergo rigorous environmental 
review, analysis, and public input.
    As indicated above, in contrast to the general scope of the terms 
of designation, sanctuary regulations are often very specific and are 
developed to implement the terms of designation by defining the human 
activities that are prohibited or otherwise restricted. The final 
regulations for this NOAA action prohibit those extractive activities 
within marine reserves that are not prohibited by 50 CFR part 660, the 
NOAA regulations that govern ``Fisheries off West Coast States'' (MSA 
regulations). Therefore, if an extractive activity is prohibited by MSA 
regulations, it is not prohibited by these final NMSA regulations. 
Conversely, all extractive activities not prohibited by MSA regulations 
are prohibited by these final NMSA regulations within marine reserves.
    Furthermore, NOAA has determined that limiting the scope of the 
regulations and terms of designation to prohibiting activities only 
within the water column would leave unacceptable gaps in the cover of 
the regulations. Certain activities, such as scientific research, would 
not be covered by other regulations (either State or MSA regulations) 
thus preventing total closure of the zones. Given this, NOAA has 
determined that limiting the scope of the regulations and terms of 
designation would not meet its purpose and need for this action.
    7. Comment: The geographic scope of the proposed authority to 
regulate fishing under the NMSA, as described in the DEIS, is too 
broad.
    Response: The designation document amendment has been carefully 
crafted and comments solicited from NOAA Fisheries, other relevant 
resource management agencies, and the PFMC. It is also crafted to be 
consistent with the deliberations made throughout this process, 
including the community and state phases (see the Executive Summary of 
NOAA's FEIS for a summary of the process). The scope of authority 
defined in designation documents for all national marine sanctuaries is 
typically general, and the implementing regulations are more specific. 
NOAA believes this provides sufficient parameters to its authority 
while allowing flexibility to manage the network adaptively in the 
future in response to biological, ecological, and economic indicators 
of the network's effectiveness. Any proposed regulatory adjustment to 
the current network would undergo rigorous environmental review, 
analysis, and public input.
    8. Comment: CINMS lacks a fisheries manager position, expert 
fisheries

[[Page 29220]]

advisory bodies, an extensive stakeholder input process, and overall 
adequate organization for fisheries management, which will complicate 
existing fisheries management coordination.
    Response: The CINMS marine zoning process has required close 
coordination among staff from the PFMC, NOAA Fisheries, CDFG, FGC and 
NMSP, and the constituents involved in the respective public policy 
forums. See Appendix D of the FEIS for a meeting history among these 
organizations during the CINMS marine zoning process.
    In addition, the CINMS Advisory Council has provided, and will 
continue to provide, a robust, open, and transparent community based 
public forum to provide advice to NOAA on resource protection, 
education, and research issues, including fishing issues within the 
Sanctuary. The Advisory Council has representatives from all major 
sectors that utilize the CINMS, including commercial and recreational 
fishermen and the region's primary fisheries regulators, NOAA Fisheries 
and the CDFG. In addition, the Advisory Council's recreational fishing 
working group has representatives from local, regional, and national 
fishing organizations, including United Anglers of Southern California 
and the Recreational Fishing Alliance. The commercial fishing working 
group includes representatives from the Santa Barbara and Ventura 
fishing communities and fishing organizations such as the Sea Urchin 
Harvesters Association.
    9. Comment: Commenter requests funding for collaborative research 
involving the fishing community.
    Response: NOAA continues to support and fund the Channel Islands 
Collaborative Marine Research Program (CMRP), managed by the Channel 
Islands Marine Sanctuary Foundation, which involves the commercial and 
recreational fishing communities. To date the CMRP has funded close to 
$200,000 in research projects involving commercial and recreational 
fishermen and the scientific community. If future CINMS budgets are 
stable, funding for this program would continue.
    10. Comment: NMSA fishery regulations need to be enforceable, 
clearly understood by the public, and meet the goals and objectives of 
the PFMC and NOAA.
    Response: NOAA has utilized and continues to seek guidance on 
enforcement of NMSA regulations provided by the PFMC Enforcement Sub-
committee, CDFG wardens, National Park Service (NPS) Park Rangers, the 
NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) officials. 
These enforcement experts have provided extensive input on the 
regulations, and this input is reflected in the final rule. Further, 
this NOAA action is intended to achieve goals established for the CINMS 
marine zones under the NMSA, not specific PFMC fishery goals.
    11. Comment: The various agencies are under-funded and there are 
not enough staff members to monitor and enforce the existing or 
proposed project.
    Response: NOAA believes that adequate resources exist to manage, 
monitor, and report on the CINMS marine zones. The Channel Islands 
region benefits from the resources and coordinated efforts of multiple 
state and federal agencies and institutions. Through formal and 
informal agreements, the CDFG, NOAA, the USCG, and the NPS will 
continue to work collaboratively to monitor, enforce, and manage the 
marine reserves network.
    In addition to research by these agencies, other research 
organizations and institutions (e.g., University of California, 
California State Universities, and California Sea Grant Extension 
Program) have provided research, monitoring and evaluation programs and 
opportunities. Existing monitoring projects will continue to provide 
data on changes in the abundance of various species in the region (see 
http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/channel_islands/ monitoring.html).
    Interagency coordination will result in more efficient use of NOAA 
and State resources. CDFG enforcement staff cooperates with other 
public agencies through existing agreements and there are several 
enforcement agreements and funding mechanisms among the CDFG, the NPS 
NOAA, and the USCG.
    12. Comment: Commenter believes there is currently not enough 
research for NOAA to choose Alternatives 1 or 2 and therefore supports 
the no action alternative.
    Response: NOAA's analysis contained in the proposed rule, DEIS and 
FEIS presents detailed information on the projected biological and 
socioeconomic impacts of its alternatives for this action and believes 
this adequately supports the final action.
    13. Comment: Commenter requests installation of artificial reefs 
and rigs-to-reefs programs to create replacement fishing opportunities 
to mitigate the loss of fishing grounds.
    Response: Under NOAA's action, fishing would continue to be allowed 
in 81% of the Sanctuary (over 800 square nmi), subject to existing 
state and federal fishery regulations. NOAA expects displacement 
impacts resulting from its action will be minimal (see section 5.1 of 
the FEIS). NOAA does not believe there will be any significant loss of 
fishing grounds and, therefore, no need to develop any mitigation 
measures at this time. The CINMS social science program calls for 
monitoring displacement of fishing effort to determine if any 
mitigation efforts are warranted. Should displacement impacts prove to 
be significant in the future, NOAA and the State have the ability to 
take appropriate action under their respective authorities.
    14. Comment: The action will displace fishing effort and increase 
impacts in other areas.
    Response: Displacement from NOAA's action is expected to be minimal 
and less than significant (see section 5.1 of the FEIS). Ongoing 
monitoring, research, and evaluation after implementation will provide 
additional information on this issue. Should displacement impacts prove 
to be significant in the future, NOAA and the State have the ability to 
take appropriate action under their respective authorities.
    15. Comment: There is no dedicated source of funding at CINMS for 
education and outreach programs that explain fishery management 
measures, marine zoning, and marine access programs.
    Response: A significant amount of funding from the CINMS budget is 
dedicated to extensive education and outreach efforts on the CINMS 
marine zones. Since 2000, the CINMS education and outreach program has 
been helping the public understand what and where the state marine 
reserves and marine conservation areas are within the Sanctuary, why 
they were established, and what we can learn from them (see the Public 
Awareness and Understanding action plan in section III of the CINMS 
draft management plan at http://www.cinms.nos.noaa.gov/manplan/overview.html). The CINMS also works closely with CDFG to match funding 
for marine zoning education and outreach. Education and outreach on 
regional fishery management measures is addressed by NOAA Fisheries, 
the PFMC, and the CDFG.
    16. Comment: NOAA should consider more stringent restrictions for 
commercial lobster fishing and more lenient restrictions for 
recreational lobster fishing.
    Response: Lobster fishing is regulated by the FGC. The existing 
marine zoning network adopted by the State of California includes two 
marine conservation areas (Anacapa Island

[[Page 29221]]

MCA and Painted Cave MCA) that permit recreational lobster harvest. 
Commercial lobster fishing is allowed in the Anacapa MCA, but not in 
the Painted Cave MCA.
    17. Comment: The FEIS should discuss the effectiveness of other 
agency management actions.
    Response: NOAA's DEIS included a detailed discussion the 
relationship of NOAA's preferred action with other existing management 
regimes in the region (see, e.g., sections 2.2 and 3.1.2.1). The 
effectiveness of these regulatory regimes in achieving NOAA's goals for 
this action is also discussed. These sections are included in the FEIS.
    18. Comment: The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) 
Advisory Council (SAC) should be reformed to better address fisheries 
issues. Specifically, the SAC lacks any members with expertise in 
fisheries economics, anthropology, geography, etc.
    Response: The SAC has representatives from the CDFG and NOAA 
Fisheries. Representatives from these two entities, in addition to the 
representatives from commercial and recreational fishing interests and 
their associated community-based fishing working groups, provide NOAA 
with significant insight into fisheries issues. In addition, NOAA 
Fisheries and the CDFG representatives also serve as a conduit to the 
PFMC and FGC, respectively, which brings NOAA additional perspective on 
fisheries issues. Moreover, the vast majority of issues faced by the 
CINMS and its SAC are not related to fisheries and, therefore, require 
a broad and diverse SAC membership.
    19. Comment: The ``effective date'' provision in the proposed 
regulation is unclear, burdensome, and inconsistent with the model 
language previously presented to the PFMC by NOAA for inclusion under 
the NMSA 304(a)(5) process, and therefore should not be used.
    Response: The effective date clause has been omitted from the final 
rule.
    20. Comment: Do not remove the Marine Reserve Working Group's 
(MRWG) sustainable fisheries goal of integrating marine reserves with 
existing fisheries management.
    Response: The goals for NOAA's action are based on the NMSA. NOAA's 
goals for this action do attempt to address the goals put forward by 
the MRWG where appropriate.
    21. Comment: The CINMS should be an ``experimental station'' for 
holistic management.
    Response: NOAA manages the National Marine Sanctuary System on the 
principles of ecosystem-based management. This ``holistic'' approach 
attempts to incorporate all functions of the marine environment into 
the decision-making process at all sanctuaries, including the CINMS.
    22. Comment: NOAA should expand its assessment of the action's 
economic impacts to better account for non-monetary benefits.
    Response: NOAA believes the analysis of the passive (non-use) value 
of the marine zones is sufficient to inform its decision making on this 
action (see Section 5.2.6 of the FEIS for an evaluation of the passive 
values associated with NOAA's action).
    23. Comment: Marine reserves are superior to marine conservation 
areas in meeting NOAA's purpose and need and are more consistent with 
the MRWG's recommendations.
    Response: See section 3.1.2.2 of the FEIS for a discussion of the 
differences between marine reserves and marine conservation areas.
    24. Comment: Many commenters state NOAA should implement the 
offshore waters of the CINMS marine zone network as the final phase of 
the CINMS marine reserves process that began in 1999.
    Response: See section 2.0 of the FEIS for a description of the 
purpose of this action, which identifies complementing the existing 
state network as one of the goals.
    25. Comment: NOAA should consider fishing as an important cultural 
resource and protect it as such.
    Response: NOAA has carefully evaluated the impacts of the action on 
fishing communities and has determined the impacts to be minimal. See 
section 5.2 of the FEIS.
    26. Comment: Commenter is concerned about the impacts of bottom 
trawl and long line fishing, bycatch, harvest of bait fish, pesticides 
and pollution in the ocean, and impacts to kelp and coastal ecosystems.
    Response: Marine zones provide reference sites in which to gauge 
the impacts of many of the commenters' concerns relative to fished 
areas.
    27. Comment: Commenter recommends increasing the number of regional 
field game wardens and their wages, increasing fines, and making sure 
catch limits are enforced.
    Response: NOAA recognizes the critical role enforcement officials 
play in management of the marine zoning network. This recommendation, 
however, is outside the scope of NOAA's immediate action.
    28. Comment: NMSA fishing regulations and designation document 
amendments for the CINMS marine zones should automatically expire 
(``sunset'') at the time MSA regulations are promulgated.
    Response: NOAA has determined that provision a sunset date is not 
appropriate because it would not provide NOAA with the flexibility to 
adaptively manage and respond to unforeseen circumstances.
    29. Comment: The proposed closures don't greatly affect commercial 
fishermen, but the previous closures have been devastating.
    Response: NOAA's analysis takes existing fishery closures into 
account and acknowledges their socioeconomic and biological impacts. 
For this particular CINMS action, NOAA's analysis has determined that 
the socioeconomic impacts of new closures in the federal waters of the 
network will be minimal (see section 5.2 of the FEIS for more details).
    30. Comment: If sea urchin fishermen were offered money for their 
urchin permits, they might move on to a different career, but they 
can't transfer or sell their permits.
    Response: The issue of permit transferability is beyond the scope 
of this action and would be handled by the CDFG and FGC, who both issue 
and manage these types of permits.
    31. Comment: Pollution has a huge impact on water conditions and 
the resources in southern California.
    Response: Marine resources in the Southern California Bight, such 
as kelp forest ecosystems, have declined under pressure from a variety 
of factors, including commercial and recreational fishing, changes in 
oceanographic conditions associated with El Nino and other large-scale 
oceanographic cycles, introduction of disease, and increased levels of 
pollutants. Marine reserves offer scientists and resource managers a 
controlled opportunity to study the influence of change (e.g., 
pollution) on marine ecosystems in the absence of direct human 
disturbance (e.g., fishing pressure).
    32. Comment: The regional seal population negatively impacts the 
regional halibut population.
    Response: The management of seals and halibut as individual species 
falls under the purview of NOAA Fisheries and the PFMC and is outside 
the scope of this rule.
    33. Comment: The DEIS was not distributed to the United Anglers of 
Southern California.
    Response: NOAA records indicate the President of United Anglers of 
Southern California was sent a copy of the DEIS on Aug. 11, 2006, and 
was notified electronically via e-mail of the availability of the 
document on the

[[Page 29222]]

CINMS Web site or by requesting a copy from the CINMS.
    34. Comment: NOAA's aerial monitoring program data does not account 
for existing regulations (such as the Rockfish Conservation Area) 
displacing fishing vessels. NOAA has, therefore, erroneously concluded 
that there is little fishing activity in the proposed zones.
    Response: NOAA's aerial monitoring program, which has been 
collecting data since prior to the establishment of the Rockfish 
Conservation Area, confirms that there is little fishing activity in 
the geographic area associated with NOAA's action. See section 5.2.6.4 
of the FEIS for NOAA's analysis of this issue.
    35. Comment: There are too many marine reserves and not enough 
marine conservation areas in NOAA's proposed action.
    Response: Marine conservation areas will not achieve the purpose 
and goals of the action as well as marine reserves. However, NOAA has 
decided to establish one marine conservation area off of Anacapa Island 
to ensure consistency with the State of California's marine zone 
network, which also established a marine conservation area in that 
location. See sections 3.1.2.2 and 5.1.1.1 of the FEIS for more 
discussion on the ecological value of marine reserves compared to 
marine conservation areas.
    36. Comment: NOAA should implement marine parks where pelagic 
fishing is allowed, especially in the Footprint area.
    Response: Allowing the take of pelagic species does not fully meet 
the goals of NOAA's action. See section 3.1.2.2 of the FEIS for a 
discussion on the impacts of limited take.
    37. Comment: NOAA's action will negatively impact uses prioritized 
in the Local Coastal Plan, such as commercial fishing, tourism, and 
residential sectors, and therefore the commenter supports the no action 
alternative.
    Response: NOAA supports healthy fisheries, economies, and harbors 
and believes the zoning network is likely to support Sanctuary-
dependent and coastal dependent uses. The proposed marine zones are 
expected to promote visitation and may assist, over the long term, in 
the sustainability of local fisheries.
    On March 16, 2007, the Coastal Commission held a public meeting on 
NOAA's proposal pursuant to its authorities under section 307 of the 
Coastal Zone Management Act (16 U.S.C. Sec.  1456). At that meeting, 
the Coastal Commission issued a conditional concurrence for the 
consistency determination by NOAA on the grounds that, if modified as 
described in the Commission's conditional concurrence below, the 
project would be fully consistent, and thus consistent to the maximum 
extent practicable, with the policies of Chapter 3 of the Coastal Act. 
The conditional concurrence is: ``In the event NOAA elects not to 
implement Alternative 1a, NOAA will implement Alternative 1c, with the 
following additional provisions: until such time as the Resources 
Agency and the Fish and Game Commission designate the areas in between 
the existing State-designated MPAs and the 3 mile limit (i.e., the 
``gaps'' between the existing state MPAs and the federal MPAs depicted 
in Alternative 1c), or the Fish and Game Commission/DFG and NOAA enter 
into an interagency agreement that establishes MPA protection for these 
``gap'' areas, NOAA will expand Alternative 1c to include in its MPA 
designation these ``gaps'' between the outer boundaries of the existing 
state MPAs and the State-federal waters boundary (3nm from shore).'' 
NOAA is, therefore, leaving the record open with regard to a decision 
to establish marine zones in state waters of the Sanctuary, and is 
requesting additional public comment on this specific issue.
    38. Comment: NOAA should not reject the zone options put forward by 
local fishermen.
    Response: NOAA conducted a preliminary analysis on all of the 
fishermen options and determined that they did not adequately or 
completely protect a full range of habitats and populations in the 
Sanctuary and thus do not satisfy the purpose and goals of NOAA's 
action. For more, see section 3.2.5 of the FEIS.
    39. Comment: Incorporate into the FEIS all of the PFMC Science and 
Statistical Committee's (SSC) critique of the CINMS marine zoning 
process and Sanctuary documentation.
    Response: The input from the SSC has been addressed in NOAA's 
analysis in the FEIS. The SSC's input can be found at http://pcouncil.org/
    40. Comment: Include a verbatim copy of the original designation 
document in the FEIS and proposed rule so the public can compare the 
proposed amendments.
    Response: The original designation document, in its entirety, and 
the amendments being made by this action are included in this preamble 
to the final rule.
    41. Comment: NOAA's environmental review process is not a robust 
stake-holder process like the PFMC process, because CDFG and the PFMC 
are not represented.
    Response: The CDFG, PFMC, and NOAA Fisheries have been integral 
partners in the process to date. CDFG and NOAA Fisheries, which both 
have membership on the PFMC, also hold seats on the CINMS SAC.
    42. Comment: Include discussions and consultations with the State 
of California, other agencies within NOAA, and the other agencies 
within the government in the public record.
    Response: All official correspondence related to this action and 
all comment letters NOAA has received on this action are available on 
the CINMS Web site at http://www.cinms.nos.noaa.gov/marineres/main.html.
    43. Comment: Include in the FEIS the journal article written by 
NOAA employee Mark Helvey that critiques the community-based phase of 
the CINMS marine zoning project.
    Response: NOAA has determined this article is not integral to the 
decision making process for this action and should not, therefore, be 
included in the FEIS.
    44. Comment: Recreational fishermen have a relatively minimal 
impact on the resources and should not be excluded from the CINMS 
marine zones.
    Response: NOAA has determined that any take of marine resources 
within the marine reserves would compromise the goals for this action. 
Limited take is allowed in the Anacapa Marine Conservation areas Area 
in order to be consistent with the State's action, which in turn 
determined that the overall benefits of limited take status in the 
marine conservation areas (areas off Anacapa Island and Santa Cruz 
Island, the latter area totally in state waters) might be studied in 
comparison to the overall benefits of no-take status in marine 
reserves. Fishing is allowed throughout the rest of the Sanctuary, 
subject to other existing federal and state restrictions where 
applicable.
    45. Comment: Restrict sea lion populations in the CINMS region 
because they may be contributing to the demise of fishing.
    Response: Sea lions are protected under the Marine Mammal 
Protection Act, which is administered by NOAA Fisheries.
    46. Comment: The decline in many species, like abalone, is due to 
natural cycles and the reintroduction of sea otters, not over-fishing 
or excessive take by sport divers.
    Response: Abalone decline has been linked to a combination of human 
and natural caused influences. For more see Karpov et al. 2000 and 
Moore et al. 2002. Karpov, K. A., P. L. Haaker, I. K. Taniguchi, and L. 
Rogers-Bennett. 2000. Serial depletion and the collapse of the

[[Page 29223]]

California abalone (/Haliotis/ spp.) fishery. /In/ Workshop on 
rebuilding abalone stocks in British Columbia, A. Campbell, ed. Can. 
Spec. Publ. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 130: 11-24. Moore, J.D., C. A. Finley, T. 
T. Robbins, and C. S. Friedman. 2002. Withering syndrome and 
restoration of southern California abalone populations. CalCOFI Report. 
43: 112-117.
    47. Comment: The Gull Island and Footprint closures will greatly 
affect harpoon sword fishermen, who have limited access to these two 
areas due to weather, fishing seasons, and migration patterns of the 
fish.
    Response: While any impact may seem significant for those who 
experience it, NOAA's economic analysis has determined that the 
socioeconomic impact to fisheries from NOAA's action will be minimal.
    48. Comment: How will enforcement work with a harpooned fish that 
swims into a closed area?
    Response: Each situation is evaluated on a case by case basis to 
determine whether an enforcement response is warranted, and if so, the 
appropriate course of action.
    49. Comment: Commenter acknowledges the usefulness of creating an 
MPA for scientific study purposes, but believes there is no urgent need 
to do so in CINMS.
    Response: For more on the need for this action, see section 2.0 of 
the FEIS.
    50. The Pacific Fishery Management Council process is a fair, 
public and scientifically based process to deal with conservation and/
or fishery management questions.
    Response: NOAA recognizes and supports the PFMC's role in 
addressing fishery management issues.
    51. Comment: The proposed closures will affect the supply of 
seafood locally and nationally.
    Response: On page 25 of Leeworthy, Wiley, and Stone (2005), the 
potential impacts on supply and prices of various seafoods are assessed 
for potential losses as measured by consumer surplus (i.e., losses to 
consumers from restrictions in supply of commercial seafood). Per this 
analysis, none of the alternatives considered would change the amount 
of supply enough to have any effects on prices and thus, no loss in 
consumer surplus. Leeworthy, Vernon R., Peter C. Wiley and Edward A. 
Stone, 2005. Socioeconomic Impact Analysis of Marine Reserves for the 
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. U.S. Department of Commerce, 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean 
Service, Special Projects, Silver Spring, Maryland, May 2005.
    52. Comment: If an area is closed to commercial fishing it should 
also be closed to recreational fishing because recreational fishing has 
an impact on the resource too.
    Response: All fishing (both commercial and recreational) in the 
marine reserves is prohibited. See Response 44 for information about 
the Anacapa Marine Conservation Area.
    53. Comment: The simultaneous rule changes to both the CINMS 
management plan and designation document indicate that the NMSP 
intended to create the marine zones well in advance of it having the 
authority to do so, indicating the process has been designed simply to 
justify the preconceived conclusion.
    Response: This action and the CINMS management plan review process 
are distinct processes with separate and distinct rules and amendments 
to the CINMS designation document. With regard to the designation 
document changes and regulations for this action, NOAA has followed the 
processes to prepare NMSA regulations for fishing (and other 
activities) and to amend the CINMS designation document in compliance 
with the requirements of the NMSA. A history of the NMSA process for 
preparing fishing regulations and amending the Sanctuary's designation 
document for this action can be found on the CINMS Web site at http://channelislands.noaa.gov/marineres/main.html.
    54. Comment: NOAA fails to provide scientific support for the need 
to impose the severe restrictions on recreational fishing.
    Response: The need for NOAA's action is detailed in general in 
section 2.0 and specifically as it pertains to recreational fishing in 
section 5.1.1.1 of the FEIS.
    55. Comment: NOAA fails to adequately address the proposals of the 
Pacific Fishery Management Council with regard to management under the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    Response: The PFMC's proposal that was submitted through formal 
consultation did not fulfill the purpose and goals of this action (see, 
for example, section 3.1.2.1 of the FEIS for more details on this 
process). See also, for example, the responses to 4 and 
17 above.
    56. Comment: NOAA fails to consider the economic impacts on 
recreational fishing beyond the charter sector.
    Response: In addition to the charter sector, NOAA's economic impact 
analysis on recreational fishing included evaluation of impacts to 
private boat fishing and consumptive diving (see section 5.2.3 of the 
FEIS).
    57. Comment: The DEIS justifies a preconceived outcome, rather than 
providing the analysis of a full range of options as required by the 
National Environmental Policy Act.
    Response: The range of alternatives and analysis of them is 
sufficient under the requirements of NEPA (see section 3.1 of the 
FEIS).
    58. Comment: NOAA fails to properly follow the requirements of the 
NMSA in preparing regulations for fishing and modifying the CINMS terms 
of designation.
    Response: NOAA has followed the processes to prepare NMSA 
regulations for fishing and to amend the CINMS designation document in 
compliance with the requirements of the NMSA. A history of the NMSA 
process for preparing fishing regulations and amending the Sanctuary's 
designation document for this action can be found on the CINMS Web site 
at http://channelislands.noaa.gov/marineres/main.html. See also, for 
example, memorandum for the record from Daniel J. Basta, Director, 
National Marine Sanctuary Program, re: Reiteration of Rational for the 
Decision to Issue Fishing Regulations for the Channel Islands National 
Marine Sanctuary under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.
    59. Comment: Acknowledge in the FEIS and final rule that fishing 
regulations are being developed by the PFMC that relate to this action.
    Response: See section 3.1.2.1 of the FEIS for a description of the 
correlation between the PFMC's actions and this action. See also the 
response to 17 above.
    60. Comment: Does quantifying the difference between the biological 
benefits of marine reserves versus the biological benefits of limited 
take marine conservation areas advance the process of evaluating the 
cost benefit analysis of the project under the NEPA?
    Response: NOAA has determined that marine reserves provide greater 
biological benefit than marine conservation areas. In addition, 
prohibition of all take is necessary to achieve the goals for this 
action. (See Response 44 regarding the one marine conservation area.) 
With regard to economic evaluation, NOAA's analysis has determined that 
the potential impacts are expected to be minimal.
    61. Comment: Ecological response in areas that are not currently 
fished or lightly fished will likely be less than that response 
predicted for protection of more heavily fished areas in state 
reserves.
    Response: Final outcomes of the marine zones will be subject to a 
variety

[[Page 29224]]

of ecological and economic responses that are challenging to predict. 
As discussed, NOAA will monitor the impact of the reserves to determine 
the actual responses.
    62. Comment: Conduct an analysis of alternatives for the scale of 
no-take reserves that could mitigate mandatory stock rebuilding 
timelines and examine alternatives to the size of CINMS reserves that 
would mitigate the size of the California Rockfish Conservation zone in 
the Sanctuary as an explicit trade off in stock rebuilding tactics.
    Response: As stated in the FEIS, the purpose of NOAA's proposed 
action is to further the protection of CINMS biodiversity and to 
complement the existing network of marine zones established by the 
State. This action is not being proposed as a stock rebuilding measure.
    The scale of marine zones in the Sanctuary is expected to primarily 
affect local populations of fish, rather than stocks that range along 
the entire west coast. Marine reserves that incorporate locations where 
overfished groundfish can be found may protect a portion of the 
population from fishing mortality as well as protect habitats from 
disturbance by fishing and other gear.
    NOAA's action also addresses ecological goals that do not relate to 
fisheries management. The NOAA Fisheries and State groundfish closures 
are directed at rebuilding specific species of groundfish, not at a 
wide range of other species. In addition, the groundfish closures are 
based on annual assessments and could be removed if assessments 
improve.
    63. Comment: Assess stock rebuilding goals and an adaptive 
management approach to the MPAs in the event of an oceanographic regime 
change that results in more stable recruitment of depleted fisheries.
    Response: One of the benefits of complete no-take zones is that 
they provide research and reference areas. Monitoring of the CINMS 
zones is expected to provide information on a wide variety of ecosystem 
parameters (including oceanographic effects) and the effectiveness of 
closing these areas on Sanctuary biodiversity and habitat protection. 
In addition, as stated above, this action is to further the protection 
of biodiversity of the CINMS and to complement the existing network of 
marine zones established by the State and is not being proposed as a 
stock rebuilding measure. Any changes to groundfish conservation 
measures would require action by the implementing authorities, the PFMC 
and NOAA Fisheries.
    64. Comment: Consider habitats that are important to overfished 
groundfish, including shelf and slope habitats outside the CINMS 
boundary as a trade off in relaxing regulations in the Cow Cod 
Conservation zone.
    Response: NOAA's action was developed through analysis of network 
design based on ecological criteria within the boundaries of the CINMS. 
Further, NOAA's action is to further the protection of biodiversity and 
to complement the existing network of marine zones established by the 
State and is not being done as a stock rebuilding measure for an 
individual species of fish. Any changes to the Cow Cod Conservation 
zone would require action by the implementing authorities, the Pacific 
Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries.
    65. Comment: NOAA should not take on any more administrative 
capacity until it develops performance criteria for synthesizing and 
managing marine reserves monitoring data.
    Response: CDFG and NOAA have a State/Federal partnership to monitor 
the biological and socioeconomic changes occurring inside and outside 
of the CINMS marine zoning network. NOAA works with a multitude of 
partners, such as the National Park Service and UCSB, to analyze data 
from a variety of research projects. The Sanctuary Advisory Council's 
Research Activities Panel (RAP) reviews research priorities and 
activities related to the marine zones and assists NOAA and the CDFG 
with determining the effectiveness of the zoning network. Performance 
criteria are included in the monitoring plans (see http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/ channel--islands/monitoring.html).
    66. Comment: The Species of Interest list in the DEIS states that 
species at the edge of their range are excluded from the list. However, 
eight species on the list, including Pacific ocean perch, dark blotch 
rockfish, widow rockfish, black rockfish, canary rockfish, yelloweye 
rockfish, Pacific cod and Pacific herring, have never been caught at 
the Channel Islands.
    Response: The CINMS occurs at a biogeographic boundary between the 
colder water Oregonian province to the north and the warmer water 
Californian province to the south. The western portion of the Sanctuary 
typically lies in the colder waters of the Oregonian Province. San 
Miguel Island, with its influence of Oregonian province waters, may 
offer suitable habitat for species that are more common in central and 
northern California. For instance, yelloweye rockfish and widow 
rockfish, which are common between Alaska and northern California, have 
been documented to occasionally occur at San Miguel Island (Love et al. 
2002).
    67. Comment: A discrepancy exists between the fishing regulations 
reported in Appendix F of the DEIS and the notes regarding the status 
of fishing for certain species in Appendix G. For example, Appendix G 
lists pink, red and white abalone as fished species, while Appendix F 
states that abalone may not be taken.
    Response: Footnote 1 in Appendix G intends to identify species that 
have either been historically fished and/or currently fished in the 
CINMS. The language has been clarified to highlight that species 
denoted with the footnote could indicate either a historical or current 
fishery.
    68. Comment: The Sanctuary is only providing 1.7 square miles for 
pelagic fishing, while prohibiting fishing in approximately 130 square 
miles.
    Response: Under NOAA's action, pelagic fishing would continue to be 
allowed in 81% of the Sanctuary (over 800 square nmi), subject to 
existing state and federal fishery regulations.
    69. Comment: When reserves network experiments are designed to 
sustain fisheries, the monitoring programs must be designed to measure 
the species they are designed to manage. The commenter provides several 
specific recommendations for such a monitoring program.
    Response: Although NOAA's action is not being implemented to 
sustain fisheries, the zone monitoring program for the CINMS network is 
guided by the CDFG's Channel Islands Marine Protected Area Monitoring 
Plan and the Channel Islands Deep Water Monitoring Plan Development 
Workshop Report. The monitoring programs involve a variety of partners 
collecting data on species, communities and habitats that occur in the 
Sanctuary. Performance of the zone network will be based on analysis of 
trends in biological parameters, such as abundance, mean size and 
reproductive potential of various species. Performance may be 
determined by either examining biological parameters at an individual 
site before and after the designation of the zone or comparing 
biological parameters at sites inside and outside of the zones.
    A multitude of partners work with NOAA and CDFG conducting 
monitoring activities and collecting information on a variety of 
species and habitats. The data collected on a comprehensive suite of 
species inhabiting the Sanctuary allows for an assessment of zone 
effectiveness on both targeted and non-targeted species as well as 
community-level changes as a

[[Page 29225]]

result of prohibited activities. NOAA and the CDFG plan a major review 
of the monitoring program's results in spring of 2008. For more 
information on the monitoring program, go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/channel_islands/monitoring.html.
    70. Comment: There is no scientific validity of identifying the 
transition zone as a unique region between the Californian and 
Oregonian bioregions and therefore the recommendations on the number 
and spacing of individual zones and total size of the preferred 
alternative is flawed.
    Response: The transition zone was identified as a unique region by 
the Science Advisory Panel during the MRWG process. The zone is 
delineated by steep persistent isotherms from satellite sea surface 
temperature images. It is a region with its own dynamics relative to 
the Oregonian and Californian subregions within CINMS. Unique species 
interactions occur in the transition zone because of mixing of two 
groups of species from the adjoining bioregions.
    Marine reserves in the transition zone provide several ecological 
benefits. First, they may function as replicate sites that provide 
insurance that a single catastrophic event would most likely not impact 
all zones at the same time. Second, establishment of marine reserves in 
the transition zone enhances three of the criteria that contribute to 
biodiversity conservation: habitat representation, habitat replication, 
and connectivity between individual reserves that contribute to meeting 
the action goals (as discussed in Section 3.3 of the FEIS). Finally, 
protection of habitats and species in the transition zone is also 
valuable to scientists because it allows them to utilize the unique 
species' interactions to study marine evolution and ecology.
    71. Comment: The DEIS describes Sanctuary resources as in decline, 
which is flawed and inaccurate.
    Response: Section 4 of the FEIS, Affected Environment, has been 
updated vis-a-vis the DEIS to include a discussion of the current 
status and trends of those species that were historically in decline 
and are now showing some signs of recovery. For example, giant kelp 
distribution and productivity in California has increased since the 
1998 El Ni[ntilde]o event, potentially as a result of a decadal shift 
in climatic conditions, although not to historical levels preceding the 
1980s. However, a general declining trend in the density and abundance 
of kelp canopy over the past 40 years has been documented in the 
scientific literature, particularly in southern California. The decline 
has been attributed to a variety of both natural and human caused 
disturbances. Natural disturbances include a corresponding warming 
trend in sea surface temperatures and the frequency of severe El 
Ni[ntilde]o events. Human caused disturbances include increased 
turbidity, siltation, pollution and commercial and recreational fishing 
activities that remove animals such as California sheephead and 
California spiny lobster that affect species grazing on kelp.
    Over the past few years, oceanographic conditions have been 
characterized by relatively cool summer sea temperatures and winters 
with relatively few large swell events. Such conditions are generally 
favorable for kelp resulting in stronger recruitment and an increase in 
canopy area of some beds in southern California. It is unknown if the 
increase in kelp productivity over the last few years will be sustained 
given the inherent inter-annual variability of the oceanographic 
environment. Furthermore, the effect of oceanographic conditions on 
kelp productivity is not uniform across all kelp beds. Certain beds in 
the Sanctuary that historically had an abundance of kelp remain mostly 
devoid of kelp and are dominated by echinoderms when studied during 
summer 2006. In these locations, kelp did not respond to a change in 
oceanographic conditions, indicating that other factors drive 
productivity.
    Some marine mammal populations, such as gray whales and humpback 
whales, appear to have increased due to additional protection under the 
Marine Mammal Protection Act. Also refer to section 2.2 of the FEIS, 
Need for Action, for further details on the need for this action.
    72. Comment: Many highly migratory and epipelagic species that 
traverse through the Sanctuary receive no benefit from site specific 
MPAs.
    Response: Highly migratory and pelagic species may receive benefits 
from marine reserves even if they spend more time outside than inside 
marine reserves. Highly migratory and pelagic species fulfill an 
ecosystem role within marine reserves as predators on and forage for 
other species. Such species may benefit from fully protected zones if 
their prey is concentrated in a given area or if the zones include 
breeding, aggregating or resting grounds. Scientific research suggests 
that pelagic species gather in certain spots (usually banks or ridges), 
particularly during critical life cycle stages. Establishment of marine 
reserves in these areas is crucial, as the number and size of pelagic 
animals in the food web dictates what other organisms thrive or 
decline. In other words, direct pressure on pelagic species causes 
indirect pressure on other species present in the ecosystem.
    73. Comment: The DEIS has not addressed the ecosystem benefits of 
existing fishery management to achieve the Sanctuary's biodiversity 
goals.
    Response: Section 2.2 (Need for Action) of the DEIS and FEIS 
generally discusses the ecosystem impacts of existing fishery 
management measures, while section 5.1 addresses this issue in more 
detail.
    74. Comment: Deepwater sponges and corals should be included as 
species of interest.
    Response: NOAA recognizes that there are other important species, 
such as deepwater sponges and corals, that are not included in the 
Species of Interest list. This section of the DEIS was written in 2000, 
preceding the discovery of these deepwater species sponges and corals. 
As such, there remains the possibility of other species and communities 
yet to be discovered.
    75. Comment: NOAA should use the best available substrate 
information to update Figure 11.
    Response: NOAA has updated the substrate information using United 
States Geological Survey (USGS) high resolution data to refine 
description of each individual marine zone where data is available. The 
USGS data could not be used to re-analyze the percentage of each 
habitat type included in each alternative because it is not available 
for the entire Sanctuary. Currently, 20% of the Sanctuary has been 
mapped with high resolution technology.
    76. Comment: There is a lack of information on marine zone benefits 
in temperate waters. Based on data from tropical reef ecosystems, 
marine reserves may only benefit a small group of west coast nearshore 
resident species.
    Response: Over the last five years, many peer-reviewed research 
articles have highlighted the effects of marine reserves on temperate 
marine ecosystems. A meta-analysis of temperate water marine reserves 
shows that many species tend to benefit from the establishment of 
marine reserves as measured by biomass, density and size of individuals 
as well as diversity of communities within their bounds. See Section 
5.1.1 of the FEIS for a discussion of marine reserve benefits in 
temperate marine ecosystems.
    77. Comment: The FEIS should address the benefits of the proposed 
marine reserves to southern sea otter recovery.
    Response: There are no formal studies on the benefits of marine 
reserves to

[[Page 29226]]

southern sea otter recovery. Sea otter sightings in the zones are rare 
at this time. However, marine reserves are generally expected to 
increase the biomass of apex species within their bounds and could 
potentially benefit sea otters by increasing the populations of their 
prey, such as abalone, urchins, clams, and crabs.
    78. Comment: Provide a detailed discussion of habitat patch 
replication for Alternative 1A.
    Response: A discussion on habitat patch replication of Alternative 
1 has been added to Section 3.3 in the FEIS.
    79. Comment: Provide an analysis and discussion that describes the 
actual distances between protected habitats within an MPA for each 
alternative rather than the average distance.
    Response: A discussion on connectivity has been added to Section 
3.3, specifically, by providing a figure and discussion on the 
distances between individual marine zones for each alternative.
    80. Comment: Provide more detailed information on the number and 
distances between patches of rocky substrate included in the MPA 
network.
    Response: The discussion on connectivity has been updated to 
include distances between patches of rocky substrate.
    81. Comment: Include Alternative 2 in the analysis of management 
considerations and in the table summarizing the alternatives' 
management considerations.
    Response: As stated in the DEIS, the same management considerations 
for Alternative 1A apply to Alternative 2. A column has been added to 
Table 52 of the FEIS.
    82. Comment: In Section 5.1 of the DEIS, NOAA claims adverse 
ecological impacts are ``unlikely.'' If adverse ecological impacts are 
defined as declines in abundance, then this term should be redefined.
    Response: NOAA considers ``adverse impacts'' as those impacts that 
are counter to the goals identified for this action, such as ensuring 
the long-term protection of Sanctuary resources by restoring and 
enhancing the abundance, density, population age structure, and 
diversity of the natural biological communities. NOAA recognizes that 
declines in abundance of certain species are an expected outcome of 
zone designation, but does not consider this in all cases to be an 
adverse ecological impact. For example, certain commercially targeted 
species may increase in abundance (e.g., spiny lobsters) due to reduced 
fishing pressure while their prey items decrease (e.g., purple urchin) 
because of an increase in lobster predation.
    83. Comment: Language in Section 5.1 indicates that relatively 
little fishing activity occurs in the proposed marine zones. The 
statement does not account for the fact that other regulations 
currently restrict fishing in these areas. The discussion should 
clarify this point by adding ``currently'' before ``relatively little 
activity.''
    Response: This recommendation has been added to the FEIS.
    84. Comment: Provide references for assertions regarding the 
ecological impacts of the no-action alternative made in section 5.1.2 
of the DEIS.
    Response: Section 5.1.2 provides references regarding current and 
future anthropogenic stresses on California's coastal environment.
    85. Comment: Add a reference for the recommended distances between 
marine zones.
    Response: References for recommended distances between marine zones 
have been added.
    86. Comment: The statement in the DEIS (section 5.1.6) that the 
spot prawn trawling prohibition is a response to declining catch and 
bycatch of bocaccio is incomplete and needs clarification. The trawl 
closure for spot prawns was implemented primarily due to concerns of 
potential damage to high relief habitat from roller gear and from 
overall levels of bycatch, particularly finfishes, relative to spot 
prawn catch.
    Response: As the commenter states, the trawl closure for spot 
prawns was implemented primarily due to concerns of potential damage to 
high relief habitat from roller gear and from overall levels of 
bycatch, particularly finfishes, relative to spot prawn catch. The FEIS 
has been revised accordingly (see page 102 of the FEIS).
    87. Comment: It is illogical to include potential impacts from the 
existing Channel Islands state marine zones as this impact should have 
already occurred.
    Response: Under NEPA guidelines NOAA is required to consider 
cumulative impacts which include the impacts of the state MPAs in the 
analysis. Please see Table 25 of the FEIS, (Commercial Fishing and 
Kelp--Summary of Impacts by Alternative Step 1 Analysis), which clearly 
distinguishes the cumulative impact of the ``Total New Proposal.''
    88. Comment: The kelp fishery should not be included in the 
analysis, since no kelp beds occur in the proposed MPAs.
    Response: NOAA agrees there is no impact to kelp harvesting in the 
federal water marine zones (see Table 26 of the FEIS, which indicates 
the ex-vessel value of kelp at 0% in the additional state and federal 
water areas). However, under its NEPA guidelines (NOAA Administrative 
Order 216-6), NOAA is required to consider cumulative impacts, which 
include the impacts to kelp harvesting in the existing state marine 
zones (Table 26 indicates the ex-vessel value for these areas is 
5.48%).
    89. Comment: Table 26 and Table 31 are confusing because the column 
headers say ``value'' but what the tables depict is actually ``impact'' 
to the fisheries. It would help to add another column just before the 
last one that lists the total value of each fishery.
    Response: Ex vessel value is what the fishermen receive as revenue 
for their catch and only represents one category or portion of the 
total impact, i.e., the impact to fishermen. Other categories include 
income, employment, etc. To use the word ``impact'' in the table would 
be misleading, because the tables contain ``maximum potential loss'', 
i.e., all ex vessel value associated with the alternative, which is not 
expected as the final impact, as one would expect fishers to engage in 
mitigating behavior. The total value of each fishery is provided in 
Table 18 of the FEIS.
    90. Comment: If $24,233,406 is used as the total value of all 
fisheries (Table 24, Column 2), and $3,012,974 is the total potential 
impact (Table 26 bottom of next to last column), then the percent total 
impact should be 12.43, and not 12.50 as listed at the bottom of the 
last column in Table 26. For Table 31, a similar problem occurs.
    Response: The commenter's calculations are incorrect because they 
used the total baseline kelp and commercial fishing as the numerator, 
not the total of species for which the analysts have spatial data.
    91. Comment: In 2003 to 2005, the landings for the port of Santa 
Barbara for the nearshore, shelf, and slope rockfish fisheries should 
not be considered as having ``steep'' declines. Shelf rockfish landings 
actually increased during this period.
    Response: The commenter's estimate of what is sustainable for 
rockfish, and therefore the baseline for assessing socioeconomic 
impact, is still most likely an overstatement given the generally 
strong downward trend of the entire species group.
    92. Comment: There isn't much fishing pressure in the proposed 
reserve areas, thus the economic impact of reserve establishment will 
be minimal.
    Response: NOAA's analysis shows that the fishing activity in the 
marine zones is indeed minimal.
    93. Comment: Further closures, particularly in the Smugglers' Cove/

[[Page 29227]]

Yellow Banks area, would result in economic harm to the sportfishing 
industry.
    Response: There are no marine zones proposed for the Smugglers' 
Cove/Yellow Banks area. Furthermore, the economic analysis associated 
with this action predicts the overall impacts to the sportfishing 
industry will be minimal. See section 5.2.3 of the FEIS.
    94. Comment: The data used in NOAA's economic analysis are dated 
and there are additional sources now available that should be used to 
update the document.
    Response: The estimates from Leeworthy, Wiley, and Stone (2005) are 
based on the best available information. Adding one or two years of 
recent data does not necessarily provide a better estimate. In 
statistics, this would be recognized as an ``outlier'' influencing the 
estimate of the mean.
    More recent trends show that for some species the 2000-2003 
averages are better measures of what could be sustainable than the 
1996-1999 average used in prior analyses. Economic impacts were updated 
based on these new assessments of what is sustainable and can be found 
in Leeworthy, Wiley, and Stone (2005).
    Although some of the information is several years old, it is the 
only spatially distributed data available. The distributions represent 
a historical average of areas fished over four to five year time 
periods and were provided by fishermen. For a more detailed 
socioeconomic impact analysis, see Leeworthy, Wiley, and Stone (2005).
    95. Comment: The socioeconomic analysis underestimates the impacts 
of the preferred alternative to commercial fishing.
    Response: It can be expected that there will be short-term losses 
to the commercial fisheries from Alternative 1. However, overall the 
impacts are small and the net cost or benefits to commercial fisheries 
are likely to be negligible. See also response 29 above.
    96. Comment: Please clarify how the ``Baseline person days of 
recreation activity'' were determined and re-evaluate these statistics. 
Discrepancies between the ratio of private and charter boat dives, and 
consumptive vs. non-consumptive divers seem inaccurate. Commenter 
questions whether trips in Santa Barbara are less expensive than in Los 
Angeles.
    Response: Baseline person-days of recreation activity were 
determined by a survey of all charter and party boat operations active 
in the CINMS. Private boat fishing and consumptive diving data were 
compiled from a variety of sources (see Leeworthy, Wiley and Stone, 
2005, Appendix B).
    The data does not show discrepancies or relative price differences 
among geographic areas.
    97. Comment: Clarify the meaning of ``employment'' in private boat 
diving.
    Response: Employment related to private boat fishing and diving 
occurs through the expenditures paid by those engaged in the activity. 
This includes fuel, food, beverages, lodging, transportation, launch 
fees, etc. For each industry, there is an assumed ratio of sales and 
employment. Additionally, there is a multiplier effect, which accounts 
for additional employment of businesses supplying these businesses. For 
a complete explanation, see Leeworthy, Wiley, and Stone (2005).
    98. Comment: The kayaking statistics seem inaccurate. Commenter 
claims that last year, for example, there were 7,000 kayaking days at 
Scorpion Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island.
    Response: The kayaking statistics only include that activity 
associated with charter/party operations. The analysis does not include 
non-consumptive activity undertaken with private household boats. No 
institution estimates this activity. A project currently underway in 
the Socioeconomic Research & Monitoring Program for the CINMS is 
tracking the amount of this activity.
    99. Comment: Make the tables easier to understand, and if 
appropriate presented as figures instead. If the numbers are estimates, 
add confidence intervals. If differences are significant, that should 
be noted with the level of significance. Clarify the time period and 
area in which the data was gathered.
    Response: Figures would not provide the level of detail required to 
provide all of the necessary information. None of the estimates were 
derived through a stochastic process and therefore confidence intervals 
are not calculable. The time period is stated clearly in the text.
    100. Comment: Commenter states that the negative perception toward 
Channel Islands MPAs by recreational fishermen has resulted in 
diminished recreational fishing effort and, consequently, lower 
revenues for businesses that serve recreational fishing interests in 
Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
    Response: Scientifically credible and verifiable data regarding the 
statements made was not provided by the commenter and NOAA is not aware 
of any such data.
    101. Comment: Add an expenditure that represents guiding fees for 
kayaking, e.g., a day kayaking trip is approximately $180.00 (including 
boat fee).
    Response: Kayaking fees are included in the analysis. See page 31 
of Leeworthy, Wiley, and Stone (2005) for all recreation expenditure 
information.
    102. Comment: Add data from the National Economics Project, 
National Park Service, and Chris LaFranchi.
    Response: The commenter did not provide NOAA with sufficient 
information to provide a response.
    103. Comment: The impacts shown are partially an artifact of the 
proposed zoned areas being temporarily closed by fisheries management 
measures. Recommend noting that current EFH rules may change.
    Response: In the Step 2 analysis in the FEIS, other regulations are 
discussed and how they might impact the estimates presented in the Step 
1 analysis, which includes ``maximum potential loss''.
    104. Comment: To protect the fisheries dependent infrastructure of 
Ventura Harbor, integrate into the NOAA action goals for sustainable 
fisheries, maintenance of long-term socioeconomic viability, and 
minimization of short-term socioeconomic loses to all uses and 
dependent parties.
    Response: The goals for NOAA's action are guided by the NMSA and 
are clearly stated in section 2.0 of the FEIS as well as earlier in 
this preamble to the final rule.
    105. Comment: Regulatory agencies should promote collaboration 
between competing interests to accomplish mutual fisheries goals.
    Response: The SAC/MRWG process and State/Federal partnership and 
coordination with the PFMC have promoted collaboration between all 
interested parties. NOAA's goals for this action are not fisheries-
specific.
    106. Comment: Multiplier effects for the local community and the 
state economy must be factored into socioeconomic data for a fisheries 
management plan to be effective.
    Response: NOAA's socioeconomic analysis includes indirect impacts 
to fisheries-related support services and businesses (multiplier 
effects). This methodology is detailed in Leeworthy, Wiley, and Stone 
(2005) on pages 13-16 for commercial fishing and 28-29 for the 
recreation industry. The analysis utilized multipliers created 
specifically for the commercial fishing industry. The multipliers were 
obtained from the Fishery Economic Assessment Model (FEAM). The FEAM 
was developed under contract to the PFMC, and is based on input-output 
models detailing inter-industry relationships. The FEAM

[[Page 29228]]

was designed for regional economic analysis and processing of the 
commercial fishery landings taking place within the county where the 
port is located.
    107. Comment: Ex-Vessel value reported in Table 19 of the DEIS 
suggests that current regulations have effectively reduced the number 
of commercial fishing operators and show lower catch volumes. These 
trends translate into less fish harvested in the region. The percentage 
of vessels reporting catch from CINMS has declined from 79% in 2000 to 
an average of 47% in subsequent years.
    Response: Table 19 shows a decline in vessels reporting catch from 
CINMS from 79 percent in 2000 down to 34 percent in 2002, followed by 
an increase between 2002 and 2003.
    108. Comment: Commenter indicates there is a decrease of 86% in the 
cumulative ex-vessel value for the Ventura Harbor when comparing the 
study area totals for ex-vessel value by port in Table 17 (Commercial 
Fishing: Study Area Totals Ex Vessel Value by Port) to Table 27 
(Commercial Fishing--Alternative 1 Study Area Totals, Ex Vessel Value 
by Port)
    Response: The two tables are not showing the same estimate. Table 
17 shows the study area total, while Table 27 shows the total in 
Alternative 1. The estimate in Table 17 did not ``decrease'' to the 
estimate in Table 27.
    109. Comment: Ventura County has the highest economic dependency on 
activities in the CINMS, relative to all counties in the study area, as 
shown in Table 11 (Local/Regional Economic Dependence on CINMS Baseline 
Personal Income).
    Response: While any impact may seem significant for those who 
experience it, the table also shows that the baseline personal income 
associated with all activities in CINMS for Ventura County is less than 
one quarter of one percent of personal income for the county.
    110. Comment: Ensure that non-consumptive activities are 
sustainable in the CINMS by balancing and promoting collaboration 
between competing interests.
    Response: NOAA believes that the CINMS Advisory Council provides an 
ideal forum for ``competing'' interests to discuss their respective 
issues regarding use of the Sanctuary and to provide input and advice 
on such matters to the CINMS superintendent.
    111. Comment: Provide the sources of data for analysis of charter/
party and private boating impacts.
    Response: The source of the information is Leeworthy, Wiley, and 
Stone (2005) and is cited at the beginning of sections 4.3.1 and 5.2 of 
the FEIS. In Leeworthy, Wiley, and Stone (2005), Appendix C documents 
all data used in the assessment for the recreation industry. A 
cumulative analysis of impacts, including the state areas of closure, 
is provided.
    112. Comment: The socioeconomic analysis fails to adequately 
address displacement and impacts on recreational access, ignores the 
cumulative impact of existing state and federal closures, and projects 
unverified supply benefits.
    Response: In the Step 2 analysis in the FEIS, the potential short- 
and long-term impacts to a fisherman's ability to relocate fishing 
activity to areas outside marine zones is noted in qualitative terms 
using an ecological-economic model. It is not possible to estimate the 
net outcomes of how the ecological and economic processes will play 
out. For example, replenishment effects from the closed areas could 
offset the impacts of displacement or vice versa. The possibility of 
long-term losses to the recreational fishing industry by restricted 
access is acknowledged. Several ecological and socioeconomic monitoring 
efforts are underway, while others are planned. Monitoring will help 
determine what actual outcomes will occur, and the major stakeholders 
were involved in developing the priority monitoring items.
    113. Comment: Please update Table 11 (Local/Regional Economic 
Dependence on CINMS: Baseline Personal Income) and Table 12 (Local/
Regional Economic Dependence on CINMS--Baseline Employment) and the 
text explanations to reflect socioeconomic impacts to all direct and 
indirect incomes related to commercial and recreational fishing.
    Response: The estimates in Tables 11 and 12 do reflect 
socioeconomic impacts to all direct, indirect, and induced incomes 
related to commercial and recreational fishing. This methodology is 
detailed in Leeworthy, Wiley and Stone (2005) on pages 13-16 for 
commercial fishing and 28-29 for the recreation industry.
    114. Comment: Include Leeworthy, Wiley, and Stone (2005) as an 
appendix to the Final EIS.
    Response: Leeworthy, Wiley, and Stone (2005) includes the sources 
of all the economic data used in determining the economic impacts. This 
report is available at http://channelislands.noaa.gov/marineres/main.html. As such, to avoid bulk, it was not added to the FEIS as an 
appendix.
    115. Comment: The references and data that analyze the value and 
employment associated with ``Total Consumptive Activities'' (Table 1.3 
and 1.4) ignore the additional value of businesses and services 
dedicated to supporting commercial and recreational fishing; recommend 
that the FEIS include the value of these businesses and support 
services in order to assess overall economic impact.
    Response: The additional businesses and services dedicated to 
supporting commercial and recreational fishing are included in the 
estimates in Leeworthy, Wiley and Stone (2005) on Tables 1.3 and 1.4 
through the multiplier process. This methodology is detailed on pages 
13-16 for commercial fishing and 28-29 for the recreation industry.
    116. Comment: The potential impact on ports and the potential 
economic costs of the percentage reductions in catch landings should be 
included.
    Response: Throughout the analyses the percentage impacts on ex 
vessel value of the catch is presented. Ex vessel value of the catch is 
just pounds of catch times the price per pound and reflects both 
effects on supply and demand. There is no added value of listing 
percentage of pounds of catch separately.
    117. Comment: The overall potential reductions in annual income and 
full and part time employment should include the values as percentages 
of the regional and local commercial fishing industries as well as the 
overall regional economy.
    Response: The suggested percentages are in Table 25 of the FEIS.
    118. Comment: Tables 27, 28, 29, 32, 33, and 34 (Commercial Fishing 
Impact) do not include the values of support services and businesses 
associated with commercial and recreational fishing.
    Response: The impacts on ex value of the commercial fisheries are 
shown in Tables 27 and 32. The impacts on support services and 
businesses associated with commercial fisheries are included in Tables 
33 and 34. Table 35 includes multiplier impacts for income and 
employment for recreational fishing as noted in footnotes 3 and 4 of 
Table 35.
    119. Comment: Provide additional details on the socioeconomic, 
education, and outreach options that minimize or mitigate potential 
increased social costs and lawsuits, and increased costs of 
enforcement.
    Response: The State of California and NOAA have developed 
ecological and socioeconomic monitoring plans to gauge the effects of 
the marine zones. In addition, the agencies have developed interpretive 
enforcement education

[[Page 29229]]

materials (e.g., brochures, signage) with affected stakeholders to 
better inform users of the marine zones. Effective communication of 
monitoring results through education and outreach and the application 
of interpretive enforcement tools may defray or avoid these social 
costs.
    120. Comment: Partnering with the Sanctuary to manage the zoning 
network is very important.
    Response: During the community phase and establishment of state 
marine zones, NOAA has relied on partners such as State of California, 
National Park Service, and U.S. Coast Guard, to implement the zone 
network. See the response to comment 2 for more information on 
this issue.
    121. Comment: The CDFG supports Alternative 1C. It will work with 
FGC to fill any spatial gaps between the existing zones and the federal 
water zones.
    Response: NOAA acknowledges the CDFG's position on the alternatives 
analyzed in the DEIS. See the response to comment 2 for more 
information on this issue.
    122. Comment: The CDFG supports the proposed CINMS designation 
document amendments.
    Response: NOAA acknowledges the CDFG's support for the proposed 
changes to the CINMS designation document.
    123. Comment: NOAA's action may reduce conflicts between seabirds 
and fisheries, thus complementing NOAA's Office of Spill Prevention and 
Response seabird restoration efforts.
    Response: Although this outcome is not a direct intent of this 
action, NOAA supports the Office of Spill Prevention and Response's 
seabird restoration efforts. Seabirds may become entangled or hooked on 
fishing gear and their feeding and breeding behaviors disrupted by 
fishing activity, such as fishing at night with bright lights.
    124. Comment: Consultation with the State of California is required 
under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
    Response: NOAA has complied with all required consultations, 
including the National Historic Preservation Act.
    125. Comment: A number of commenters expressed general support for 
marine reserves, marine conservation in general, and expanding the 
CINMS.
    Response: NOAA acknowledges these comments.
    126. Comment: The NOAA document should define short-term losses to 
both recreational and commercial fisheries, why losses will be short-
term, and how the temporal nature of the impacts will be measured.
    Response: As described in section 5.2.2.2 of the FEIS, short-term 
losses are defined as impacts over the next 1-5 years and long-term 
impacts are defined as 5-20 years. NOAA expects the projected maximum 
potential economic impacts to be primarily short-term because NOAA 
expects the affected community will be able to adapt to the new 
regulatory environment.
    NOAA's socioeconomic monitoring plan calls for monitoring value of 
commercial fisheries catch (both inside and outside the CINMS and in 
state waters). Monitoring State-wide trends helps to separate out 
effects that have nothing to do with the CINMS marine reserves.
    For the recreational fisheries, NOAA plans to monitor the 
following: (1) Spatial use patterns and intensity of use (total number 
of person-days of use); (2) charter/party boats using CDFG logbooks for 
Charter Passenger Fishing Vessels (CPFV); (3) private boats using the 
new California recreational fishing statistics data; (4) socioeconomic 
profiles of fishermen, including expenditure profiles; (5) net value or 
consumer's surplus; and (6) knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of 
management strategies and regulations.
    For more information, see the Socioeconomic Monitoring Plan at 
http://www.cinms.nos.noaa.gov/marineres/main.html.
    127. Comment: The expected socioeconomic impacts to the 
recreational and commercial fisheries and fishermen's income should be 
compared to that sector's total income by county and not to the total 
county income and regional data.
    Response: The FEIS details how value of catch by each species/
species group and the total across all species/species group are 
impacted as a percent of all commercial fishing catch from the CINMS. 
This is also done by port and the percentages present how the percent 
of the total ports value of catch is impacted by each alternative. See 
appendix tables in Leeworthy, Wiley and Stone (2005) for more 
information on the impacts by port and by county with the percents 
being the percents of the totals for each county.
    For the recreation industry, greater detail is provided in 
Leeworthy, Wiley and Stone (2005) on the total impacts by county and 
percents of the total CINMS recreation impacted from the total CINMS 
recreation in the county.
    128. Comment: As the focus of the action is Santa Barbara Channel, 
data relevant to this area, not the State as a whole, should be used. A 
statement is made that ``almost 20 percent of those who use 
California's coastal areas for recreation are interstate or 
international visitors * * *'' Does this figure also apply to the more 
geographically limited Channel Islands area? Another statement is made 
that as numbers of people increase (referring to coastal population 
growth), so do the number of CINMS users. Are there any data to support 
this statement? Does the increase in CINMS use parallel the rates of 
increase elsewhere?
    Response: Recognizing there is a paucity of data specific to the 
CINMS or the specific local surrounding area of Santa Barbara, Ventura, 
and Los Angeles counties, NOAA used the best available data to estimate 
the amount of activity in the CINMS.
    There were two sources of time series data for assessing trends: 
NOAA Fisheries' Marine Fishing Statistics Survey (MRFSS), which has now 
been replaced with the California Recreational Fishing Statistics 
Program, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Survey of 
Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Associated Recreation. Both estimate use 
for Southern California. Leeworthy, Wiley, and Stone (2005) summarize 
trends from these two sources (page 27) and the trends from the two 
sources were not consistent. From 1993-1999, MRFSS shows a downward 
trend, while from 1991-1996 (survey is done every five years) it shows 
an upward trend. From 1999-2002, MRFSS shows an upward trend.
    A 1997 California Resources Agency report estimated that for all 
coastal areas 20 percent of recreation is done by out of State 
visitors. A Santa Barbara County Conference & Visitors Bureau and Film 
Commission report included an estimate that 20 percent of the visitors 
to Santa Barbara County were foreign visitors. There are not any 
surveys of the visitors to the CINMS to know if the same would hold 
true for recreational users of the CINMS. The statement that ``as 
coastal population grows, so will number of CINMS users'' is an 
extrapolation from an assessment of national trends for ocean and 
coastal (marine) recreation from the National Survey on Recreation and 
the Environment (NSRE) 2000. Year 2000 data were analyzed for 
demographic factors related to participation in marine recreation 
activities and equations used to forecast future participation for 
years 2005 and 2010. Generally, national participation rates (the 
percent of the U.S. population doing an activity) are projected to 
decline. However, the total number of participants is projected to 
increase because the population growth more than compensates for the 
lower participation rates. The statement

[[Page 29230]]

presumes these same trends may hold for California or the CINMS.
    129. Comment: There is no quantitative evidence to show that non-
consumptive activities will increase in the new zones, especially 
because all of the non-consumptive use occurs nearshore.
    Response: The establishment of the new marine zones is expected to 
result in benefits to nonconsumptive recreational users. While there is 
no data currently available to directly estimate the magnitude of these 
benefits, NOAA conducted a benefits transfer/policy analysis simulation 
to quantify potential benefits. In addition, a two year study is now 
underway to help quantify these benefits. Non-consumptive uses in the 
proposed new zones are a relatively small percentage of the total non-
consumptive uses that are concentrated in the nearshore waters of the 
Sanctuary. See section 5.2.5 of the FEIS for further discussion.
    130. Comment: It is not clear how closures will affect the marine 
zones or how they will benefit the intent of those closures. The DEIS 
indicates that the proposed action would supplement the closures by 
``establishing temporally permanent zones,'' but no details are given 
and the statement is confusing.
    Response: The action partially supplements the existing fishery 
closures, such as the Cowcod Conservation Area. The designation of 
marine reserves in or near areas protected by fishery closures adds 
another layer of protection, further ensuring that no fishing will 
occur on targeted species in the fishery closures and the adjacent 
areas protected by the marine reserves. Protection of the water column 
and all biophysical characteristics of marine reserves likely will 
enhance the recovery of targeted species protected by fishery closures 
by eliminating bycatch and further protection of habitats. Synergistic 
effects may result from protection by marine reserves of species and 
ecological processes consistent and adjacent to fishery closures.
    131. Comment: Alternative 2 may cause negative financial impacts to 
coastal communities, recreational and commercial boating, and 
specifically, the ability of a local agency to repay existing state 
loans that are used for the construction and improvement of small craft 
harbors.
    Response: The state marine zones have been in place for over three 
years and there is no evidence that the ability of local agencies to 
repay small harbor construction and improvement loans has been 
exacerbated due to impacts on recreational and commercial boating from 
the state zones. Furthermore, there is a marginal increase in the 
estimated ``maximum potential impact'' to recreational and commercial 
boating with the extension of marine zones from the existing state 
marine zones into deeper waters of the Sanctuary with either 
Alternative 1 or 2.
    132. Comment: The DEIS should specifically address Environmental 
Justice. The Council on Environmental Quality requires this inclusion, 
and the counties under consideration differ in income and social 
structure.
    Response: See Section 6.7 of the FEIS for a discussion on 
Environmental Justice and all other required consultations.
    133. Comment: The commercial fishing sector developed five 
alternatives that have lower economic impacts to both recreational and 
commercial fishermen than the preferred alternative, because a balance 
of marine conservation areas and marine reserves was used instead of 
marine reserves only.
    Response: Marine conservation areas, where certain fishing activity 
and impacts to habitat and species still occurs, would not achieve the 
purpose and goals of the proposed project as well as marine reserves. 
However, NOAA has decided to establish one marine conservation area off 
of Anacapa Island to ensure consistency with the State of California's 
marine zone network, which also established a marine conservation area 
in that location. See section 3.1.2.2 of the FEIS. Also, see response 
44 for the reason the one marine conservation area is 
included.

VI. Changes From Proposed Rule

    NOAA made changes to the proposed rule issued on August 11, 2006 to 
respond to public comments. The changes are as follows:
    In paragraphs (a) and (b) of Sec.  922.73, the reference to the 
effective date of the final rule has been removed. The purpose of this 
provision was to ensure that changes made to NOAA's MSA regulations 
after the effective date of the final NMSA regulations would not affect 
the applicability of the NMSA regulations without public notice. NOAA 
has decided (1) to insert a reference to these NMSA regulations in 
NOAA's MSA regulations at 50 CFR part 660 as part of this final 
rulemaking, and (2) in future notices proposing to amend 50 CFR part 
660, to advise the public and seek comment on any consequences as it 
relates to the regulations at 15 CFR 922.73 (e.g., that because 50 CFR 
part 660 is being amended to prohibit fishing in the water column of 
the marine reserves, these activities would no longer be prohibited 
under 15 CFR 922.73; or because 50 CFR part 660 is being amended to 
allow the use of bottom contact gear, that activity would be prohibited 
under 15 CFR 922.73).
    In paragraph (b)(3) of Sec.  922.73, the exception to the 
prohibition on possessing Sanctuary resources has been broadened 
somewhat to ensure fish that were harvested in the marine conservation 
area are allowed to be in a person's possession regardless of the 
status of the person's vessel.
    In paragraph (a)(1), (a)(3), (b)(1), and (b)(3), the phrase ``any 
living or dead organism, historical resource, or other Sanctuary 
resource'' has been replaced with ``any Sanctuary resource, including 
living or dead organisms or historical resources'' in each place it 
appears to clarify the application of the regulation to all Sanctuary 
resources.
    The reference to the Painted Cave Marine Conservation Area in 
paragraph (b) of Sec.  922.73 been removed. The Painted Cave Marine 
Conservation Area is completely within state waters of the Sanctuary, 
and is therefore (as discussed in the preamble) not subject to this 
rulemaking.
    The coordinates for the marine reserves and marine conservation 
area in appendices B and C, respectively, have been modified so that 
only federal waters are included in this final rule. As discussed in 
the preamble, should NOAA decide to extend these marine reserves and 
marine conservation area into state waters of the Sanctuary, another 
final rulemaking action will further modify these coordinates as 
appropriate.

VII. Miscellaneous Rulemaking Requirements

A. National Marine Sanctuaries Act

    Section 304 of the NMSA (16 U.S.C. 1434) requires the Secretary of 
Commerce in designating a sanctuary to submit Sanctuary designation 
documents to the United States Congress (Committee on Resources of the 
House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate) and Governor of each state in which any 
part of the Sanctuary would be located. The designation documents are 
to be submitted on the same date the notice is published and must 
include the proposed terms of the designation, the proposed 
regulations, a draft environmental impact statement, and a draft 
management plan. The terms of designation may only be modified by the 
same procedures by which the original designation is made. In

[[Page 29231]]

accordance with Section 304, the appropriate documents have been 
submitted to the specified Congressional Committees and the Governor of 
California.

B. National Environmental Policy Act

    In accordance with Section 304(a)(2) of the NMSA (16 U.S.C. 
1434(a)(2)), and the provisions of NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370(a)), an 
FEIS has been prepared for the proposed action. Copies of the FEIS are 
available upon request to NOAA at the address listed in the ADDRESSES 
section. The FEIS notice of availability was published on April 20, 
2007 (72 FR 19928). The 30-day period for the FEIS ended on May 21, 
2007.

C. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Impact

    This rule has been determined to be not significant within the 
meaning of Executive Order 12866.

D. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    The Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental and Legislative 
Affairs, Department of Commerce, has consulted with appropriate elected 
officials in the State of California, as appropriate. Since 1999, NOAA 
has partnered with and supported the State in this effort. During the 
federal phase, NOAA has continually briefed the Secretary of Resources 
and the Director of the California Department of Fish and Game. NOAA 
also held numerous consultations with all California resource 
management agencies as required under section 303(b)(2) of the NMSA.

E. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In accordance with the requirements of section 604(a) of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 604(a)), NOAA has prepared a final 
regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) describing the impact of the 
proposed action on small businesses. Section 604(a) requires that each 
FRFA contain:
    1. A succinct statement of the need for, and objectives of, the 
rule;
    2. A summary of the significant issues raised by the public 
comments in response to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, a 
summary of the assessment of the agency of such issues, and a statement 
of any changes made in the proposed rule as a result of such comments;
    3. A description of and an estimate of the number of small entities 
to which the rule will apply or an explanation of why no such estimate 
is available;
    4. A description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping and 
other compliance requirements of the rule, including an estimate of the 
classes of small entities which will be subject to the requirement and 
the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the report 
or record; and
    5. A description of the steps the agency has taken to minimize the 
significant economic impact on small entities consistent with the 
stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a statement of the 
factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative 
adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other significant 
alternatives to the rule considered by the agency which affect the 
impact on small entities was rejected. The FRFA is available upon 
request to NOAA at the address listed in the ADDRESSES section above. A 
summary of the FRFA follows.
Summary of the Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis
    1. Statement of need. A statement of why action by NOAA is being 
considered and the objectives of, and legal basis for, this final rule 
is contained in the preamble section of this final rule and is not 
repeated here.
    2. Summary of public comments. Section V. in the preamble of this 
final rule contains a summary of all of the comments submitted to NOAA 
and NOAA's responses thereto. Some comments about the economic impact 
of the proposed action were submitted. Refer, for example, to comment 
numbers 86 through 133 for summaries of these comments and NOAA's 
responses thereto.
    3. Number of small entities affected. The Small Business 
Administration has established thresholds on the designation of 
businesses as ``small entities''. A fish-harvesting business is 
considered a ``small'' business if it has annual receipts not in excess 
of $3.5 million (13 CFR 121.201). Sports and recreation businesses and 
scenic and sightseeing transportation businesses are considered 
``small'' businesses if they have annual receipts not in excess of $6 
million (13 CFR 121.201). According to these limits, each of the 
businesses listed below are considered small entities. (All analyses 
are based on the most recently updated and best available information.)
    a. Number of commercial fishing operations. In 2003, there were 441 
commercial fishing operations that reported catches from the CINMS. 
Total commercial fishing revenue from the CINMS was $17.3 million in 
2003.
    b. Number of consumptive recreational operations. In 1999, there 
were 18 recreational fishing charter/party boats operating in the 
CINMS. In 1999, there were 10 consumptive diving charter/party boats 
operating in the CINMS. Total reported 1999 gross revenue from these 
consumptive recreational activities was $8.8 million. Total costs for 
1999 were reported at $8.4 million. After all costs were paid, the 
consumptive recreational activities resulted in $420,000 in profit.
    c. Number of non-consumptive recreational operations. In 1999, 
there were 8 whale watching operations, 7 non-consumptive diving 
operations, 4 operations that offered kayaking or island sightseeing 
activities, and 8 sailing operations, within the CINMS. Total reported 
1999 gross revenue from these non-consumptive recreational activities 
was $2.6 million. Total costs for 1999 were reported at $2.5 million. 
After all costs were paid, the non-consumptive recreational activities 
resulted in $82,000 in profit.
    4. There are no new reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance 
requirements.
    5. Two alternatives plus a no-action alternative were considered. 
The no action (status quo) alternative would not establish marine 
reserves and marine conservation areas in the Sanctuary. Therefore 
there is no economic impact.
    Alternative 1C, the proposed alternative, including both the 
existing state network and proposed extensions, would include 
approximately 110.5 square nautical miles of marine reserves and 1.7 
square nautical miles of marine conservation areas for a total of 214.1 
square nautical miles of the CINMS when combined with the existing 
state zones. The new proposed federal areas of Alternative 1C 
potentially impact 0.51% (approximately $124,000) of ex vessel value of 
commercial catch in the CINMS. The total maximum potential loss to the 
income of commercial fishing businesses is 0.61% ($440,000) and to the 
employment of commercial fishing businesses is 0.66% (13 jobs). For 
consumptive recreation in the CINMS, the estimated maximum potential 
loss associated with alternative 1 is $935,000 (3.5%) in annual income 
and about 42 full and part-time jobs (3.7%) in the local county 
economies. For non-consumptive recreation in the CINMS, the estimated 
range of potential increases in income generated in the local county 
economies associated with alternative 1 is between $337 and about 
$380,000. The estimated range of potential increases in employment in 
the local county economies is between 0.02 and 19 full- and part-time 
jobs. Alternative 1C was chosen as NOAA's preferred alternative because 
it best accomplished the purpose and need of

[[Page 29232]]

furthering the protection of Sanctuary biodiversity while complementing 
the existing State-designated network. Alternatives 1A and 1B were 
rejected because they involved the establishment of federal marine 
reserves and marine conservation areas in state waters of the 
Sanctuary; which was opposed by the State of California.
    Alternative 2, including both the existing state network and 
proposed extensions, would encompass approximately 275.8 square 
nautical miles of marine reserves and 12.1 square nautical miles of 
marine conservation areas for a total of 287.8 square nautical miles of 
the CINMS. Alternative 2 is larger than alternative 1, and proposes 
some different reserve areas not proposed in alternative 1. The new 
proposed federal areas of alternative 2 potentially impact 0.82% 
(approximately $197,000) of ex vessel value of commercial catch in the 
CINMS. The total maximum potential loss to the income of commercial 
fishing businesses is 0.91% ($650,000) and to the employment of 
commercial fishing businesses is 0.97% (19 jobs). For consumptive 
recreation in the CINMS, the estimated maximum potential loss 
associated with alternative 2 is $1,300,000 (5.0%) in annual income and 
about 59 full and part-time jobs (5.2%) in the local county economies. 
For non-consumptive recreation in the CINMS, the estimated range of 
potential increases in income generated in the local county economies 
associated with alternative 2 is between $748 and about $841,000. The 
estimated range of potential increases in employment in the local 
county economies is between 0.04 and 44 full- and part-time jobs. 
Please refer to comment/response 1 for the reasons alternative 
2 was rejected.

F. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule contains a collection-of-information requirement subject 
to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) which has been approved by OMB 
under control number 0648-0141. The public reporting burden for 
national marine sanctuary permits is estimated to average 1 hour per 
response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching 
existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and 
completing and reviewing the collection of information. This rule would 
not modify the average annual number of respondents or the reporting 
burden for this information requirement, so a modification to this 
approval is not necessary. Send comments regarding this burden 
estimate, or any other aspect of this data collection, including 
suggestions for reducing the burden, to NOAA (see ADDRESSES) and by e-
mail to [email protected], or fax to (202) 395-7285.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty 
for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays 
a currently valid OMB Control Number.

G. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This final rule contains no federal mandates (under the regulatory 
provisions of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(UMRA)) for State, local, and tribal governments or the private sector. 
Thus, this rule is not subject to the requirements of section 202 and 
205 of UMRA.

List of Subjects

15 CFR Part 922

    Administrative practice and procedure, Coastal zone, Education, 
Environmental protection, Marine resources, Natural resources, 
Penalties, Recreation and recreation areas, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Research.

50 CFR Part 660

    Administrative practice and procedure, American Samoa, Fisheries, 
Fishing, Guam, Hawaiian Natives, Indians, Northern Mariana Islands, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: May 18, 2007
John H. Dunnigan,
Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management.
    Dated: May 17, 2007.
William T. Hogarth,
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries.

0
For the reasons stated in the preamble, 15 CFR chapter IX and 50 CFR 
chapter VI are amended as follows:

15 CFR CHAPTER IX

PART 922--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority for part 922 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.


0
2. Revise Sec.  922.70 to read as follows:


Sec.  922.70  Boundary.

    The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (Sanctuary) consists 
of an area of the waters off the coast of California of approximately 
1,128 square nautical miles (nmi) adjacent to the following islands and 
offshore rocks: San Miguel Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa 
Island, Anacapa Island, Santa Barbara Island, Richardson Rock, and 
Castle Rock (collectively the Islands) extending seaward to a distance 
of approximately six nmi. The boundary coordinates are listed in 
appendix A to this subpart.

0
3. Redesignate Sec. Sec.  922.71 and 922.72 as Sec. Sec.  922.72 and 
922.74, respectively.
0
4. Add Sec.  922.71 to subpart G of part 922 to read as follows:


Sec.  922.71  Definitions.

    In addition to those definitions found at Sec.  922.3, the 
following definitions apply to this subpart:
    Pelagic finfish are defined as: northern anchovy (Engraulis 
mordax), barracudas (Sphyraena spp.), billfishes (family 
Istiophoridae), dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus), Pacific herring 
(Clupea pallasi), jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus), Pacific 
mackerel (Scomber japonicus), salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), Pacific 
sardine (Sardinops sagax), blue shark (Prionace glauca), salmon shark 
(Lamna ditropis), shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), thresher 
sharks (Alopias spp.), swordfish (Xiphias gladius), tunas (family 
Scombridae), and yellowtail (Seriola lalandi).
    Stowed and not available for immediate use means not readily 
accessible for immediate use, e.g., by being securely covered and 
lashed to a deck or bulkhead, tied down, unbaited, unloaded, or 
partially disassembled (such as spear shafts being kept separate from 
spear guns).
0
5. Add Sec.  922.73 to subpart G to read as follows:


Sec.  922.73  Marine reserves and marine conservation area.

    (a) Marine reserves. Unless prohibited by 50 CFR part 660 
(Fisheries off West Coast States), the following activities are 
prohibited and thus unlawful for any person to conduct or cause to be 
conducted within a marine reserve described in Appendix B to this 
subpart:
    (1) Harvesting, removing, taking, injuring, destroying, collecting, 
moving, or causing the loss of any Sanctuary resource, including living 
or dead organisms or historical resources, or attempting any of these 
activities.
    (2) Possessing fishing gear on board a vessel unless such gear is 
stowed and not available for immediate use.
    (3) Possessing any Sanctuary resource, including living or dead 
organisms or historical resources, except legally harvested fish on 
board a vessel at anchor or in transit.
    (b) Marine conservation area. Unless prohibited by 50 CFR part 660 
(Fisheries

[[Page 29233]]

off West Coast States), the following activities are prohibited and 
thus unlawful for any person to conduct or cause to be conducted within 
the marine conservation area described in Appendix C to this subpart:
    (1) Harvesting, removing, taking, injuring, destroying, collecting, 
moving, or causing the loss of any Sanctuary resource, including living 
or dead organisms or historical resources, or attempting any of these 
activities, except:
    (i) Recreational fishing for pelagic finfish; or
    (ii) Commercial and recreational fishing for lobster.
    (2) Possessing fishing gear on board a vessel, except legal fishing 
gear used to fish for lobster or pelagic finfish, unless such gear is 
stowed and not available for immediate use.
    (3) Possessing any Sanctuary resource, including living or dead 
organisms or historical resources, except legally harvested fish.

0
6. In Sec.  922.74, as redesignated, revise paragraph (a) introductory 
text to read as follows:


Sec.  922.74  Permit procedures and criteria.

    (a) Any person in possession of a valid permit issued by the 
Director in accordance with this section and Sec.  922.48 may conduct 
any activity within the Sanctuary prohibited under Sec. Sec.  922.72 or 
922.73 if such activity is either:
* * * * *

0
7. Revise Appendix A to subpart G to read as follows:

Appendix A to Subpart G of Part 922--Channel Islands National Marine 
Sanctuary Boundary Coordinates

    [Coordinates listed in this Appendix are unprojected 
(Geographic) and based on the North American Datum of 1983.]

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Point                   Latitude (N)      Longitude (W)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1...................................         33.94138        -119.27422
2...................................         33.96776        -119.25010
3...................................         34.02607        -119.23642
4...................................         34.07339        -119.25686
5...................................         34.10185        -119.29178
6...................................         34.11523        -119.33040
7...................................         34.11611        -119.39120
8...................................         34.11434        -119.40212
9...................................         34.11712        -119.42896
10..................................         34.11664        -119.44844
11..................................         34.13389        -119.48081
12..................................         34.13825        -119.49198
13..................................         34.14784        -119.51194
14..................................         34.15086        -119.54670
15..................................         34.15450        -119.54670
16..................................         34.15450        -119.59170
17..................................         34.15142        -119.61254
18..................................         34.13411        -119.66024
19..................................         34.14635        -119.69780
20..................................         34.15988        -119.76688
21..................................         34.15906        -119.77800
22..................................         34.15928        -119.79327
23..................................         34.16213        -119.80347
24..................................         34.16962        -119.83643
25..................................         34.17266        -119.85240
26..................................         34.17588        -119.88903
27..................................         34.17682        -119.93357
28..................................         34.17258        -119.95830
29..................................         34.13535        -120.01964
30..................................         34.13698        -120.04206
31..................................         34.12994        -120.08582
32..................................         34.12481        -120.11104
33..................................         34.12519        -120.16076
34..................................         34.11008        -120.21190
35..................................         34.11128        -120.22707
36..................................         34.13632        -120.25292
37..................................         34.15341        -120.28627
38..................................         34.16408        -120.29310
39..................................         34.17704        -120.30670
40..................................         34.20492        -120.30670
41..................................         34.20492        -120.38830
42..................................         34.20707        -120.41801
43..................................         34.20520        -120.42859
44..................................         34.19254        -120.46041
45..................................         34.20540        -120.50728
46..................................         34.20486        -120.53987
47..................................         34.18182        -120.60041
48..................................         34.10208        -120.64208
49..................................         34.08151        -120.63894
50..................................         34.05848        -120.62862
51..................................         34.01940        -120.58567
52..................................         34.01349        -120.57464
53..................................         33.98698        -120.56582
54..................................         33.95039        -120.53282
55..................................         33.92694        -120.46132
56..................................         33.92501        -120.42170
57..................................         33.91403        -120.37585
58..................................         33.91712        -120.32506
59..................................         33.90956        -120.30857
60..................................         33.88976        -120.29540
61..................................         33.84444        -120.25482
62..................................         33.83146        -120.22927
63..................................         33.81763        -120.20284
64..................................         33.81003        -120.18731
65..................................         33.79425        -120.13422
66..................................         33.79379        -120.10207
67..................................         33.79983        -120.06995
68..................................         33.81076        -120.04351
69..................................         33.81450        -120.03158
70..................................         33.84125        -119.96508
71..................................         33.84865        -119.92316
72..................................         33.86993        -119.88330
73..................................         33.86195        -119.88330
74..................................         33.86195        -119.80000
75..................................         33.86110        -119.79017
76..................................         33.86351        -119.77130
77..................................         33.85995        -119.74390
78..................................         33.86233        -119.68783
79..................................         33.87330        -119.65504
80..................................         33.88594        -119.62617
81..................................         33.88688        -119.59423
82..................................         33.88809        -119.58278
83..................................         33.89414        -119.54861
84..................................         33.90064        -119.51936
85..................................         33.90198        -119.51609
86..................................         33.90198        -119.43311
87..................................         33.90584        -119.43311
88..................................         33.90424        -119.42422
89..................................         33.90219        -119.40730
90..................................         33.90131        -119.38373
91..................................         33.90398        -119.36333
92..................................         33.90635        -119.35345
93..................................         33.91304        -119.33280
94..................................         33.91829        -119.32206
95..................................         33.48250        -119.16874
96..................................         33.44235        -119.16797
97..................................         33.40555        -119.14878
98..................................         33.39059        -119.13283
99..................................         33.36804        -119.08891
100.................................         33.36375        -119.06803
101.................................         33.36241        -119.04812
102.................................         33.36320        -119.03670
103.................................         33.36320        -118.90879
104.................................         33.47500        -118.90879
105.................................         33.48414        -118.90712
106.................................         33.52444        -118.91492
107.................................         33.53834        -118.92271
108.................................         33.58616        -118.99540
109.................................         33.59018        -119.02374
110.................................         33.58516        -119.06745
111.................................         33.58011        -119.08521
112.................................         33.54367        -119.14460
113.................................         33.51161        -119.16367
------------------------------------------------------------------------


0
8. Add Appendix B to subpart G to read as follows:

Appendix B to Subpart G of Part 922--Marine Reserve Boundaries

    [Coordinates listed in this Appendix are unprojected 
(Geographic) and based on the North American Datum of 1983.]

B.1. Richardson Rock (San Miguel Island) Marine Reserve

    The Richardson Rock Marine Reserve (Richardson Rock) boundary is 
defined by the 3 nmi State boundary, the coordinates provided in 
Table B-1, and the following textual description.
    The Richardson Rock boundary extends from Point 1 to Point 2 
along a straight line. It then extends from Point 2 to Point 3 along 
a straight line. The boundary then extends along a straight line 
from Point 3 to the 3 nmi State boundary established under the 
Submerged Lands Act (3 nmi State boundary) where a line defined by 
connecting Point 3 and Point 4 with a straight line intersects the 3 
nmi State boundary. The boundary then extends northwestward and then 
eastward along the 3 nmi State boundary until it intersects the line 
defined by connecting Point 5 and Point 6 with a straight line. At 
that intersection, the boundary extends from the 3 nmi SLA boundary 
to Point 6 along a straight line.

      Table B-1.--Richardson Rock (San Miguel Island) Marine Reserve
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Point                      Latitude        Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.....................................  34.17333 [deg]N       120.60483
                                                                 [deg]W
2.....................................  34.17333 [deg]N       120.47000
                                                                 [deg]W
3.....................................  34.12900 [deg]N       120.47000
                                                                 [deg]W
4.....................................  34.03685 [deg]N       120.52120
                                                                 [deg]W
5.....................................  34.03685 [deg]N       120.60483
                                                                 [deg]W
6.....................................  34.17333 [deg]N       120.60483
                                                                 [deg]W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

B.2. Harris Point (San Miguel Island) Marine Reserve

    The Harris Point Marine Reserve (Harris Point) boundary is 
defined by the 3 nmi State

[[Page 29234]]

boundary, the coordinates provided in Table B-2, and the following 
textual description.
    The Harris Point boundary extends from Point 1 to Point 2 along 
a straight line. It then extends along a straight line from Point 2 
to the 3 nmi State boundary where a line defined by connecting Point 
2 and Point 3 with a straight line intersects the 3 nmi State 
boundary. The boundary then follows the 3 nmi State boundary 
northwestward until it intersects the line defined by connecting 
Point 4 and Point 5 with a straight line. At that intersection, the 
boundary extends from the 3 nmi State boundary to Point 5 along a 
straight line.

       Table B-2.--Harris Point (San Miguel Island) Marine Reserve
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Point                      Latitude        Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.....................................  34.20492 [deg]N       120.38830
                                                                 [deg]W
2.....................................  34.20492 [deg]N       120.30670
                                                                 [deg]W
3.....................................  34.10260 [deg]N       120.30670
                                                                 [deg]W
4.....................................  34.15200 [deg]N       120.38830
                                                                 [deg]W
5.....................................  34.20492 [deg]N       120.38830
                                                                 [deg]W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

B.3. South Point (Santa Rosa Island) Marine Reserve

    The South Point Marine Reserve (South Point) boundary is defined 
by the 3 nmi State boundary, the coordinates provided in Table B-3, 
and the following textual description.
    The South Point boundary extends from Point 1 to Point 2 along a 
straight line. It then extends along a straight line from Point 2 to 
the 3 nmi State boundary where a line defined by connecting Point 2 
and Point 3 with a straight line intersects the 3 nmi State 
boundary. The boundary follows the 3 nmi State boundary 
southeastward until it intersects the line defined by connecting 
Point 4 and Point 5 along a straight line. At that intersection, the 
boundary extends from the 3 nmi State boundary to Point 5 along a 
straight line.

       Table B-3.--South Point (Santa Rosa Island) Marine Reserve
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Point                      Latitude        Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.....................................  33.84000 [deg]N       120.10830
                                                                 [deg]W
2.....................................  33.84000 [deg]N       120.16670
                                                                 [deg]W
3.....................................  33.86110 [deg]N       120.16670
                                                                 [deg]W
4.....................................  33.84700 [deg]N       120.10830
                                                                 [deg]W
5.....................................  33.84000 [deg]N       120.10830
                                                                 [deg]W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

B.4. Gull Island (Santa Cruz Island) Marine Reserve

    The Gull Island Marine Reserve (Gull Island) boundary is defined 
by the 3 nmi State boundary, the coordinates provided in Table B-4, 
and the following textual description.
    The Gull Island boundary extends from Point 1 to Point 2 along a 
straight line. It then extends along a straight line from Point 2 to 
the 3 nmi State boundary where a line defined by connecting Point 2 
and Point 3 with a straight line intersects the 3 nmi State 
boundary. The boundary then follows the 3 nmi State boundary 
westward until it intersects the line defined by connecting Point 4 
and Point 5 with a straight line. At that intersection, the boundary 
extends from the 3 nmi State boundary to Point 5 along a straight 
line.

       Table B-4.--Gull Island (Santa Cruz Island) Marine Reserve
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Point                      Latitude        Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.....................................  33.86195 [deg]N       119.80000
                                                                 [deg]W
2.....................................  33.86195 [deg]N       119.88330
                                                                 [deg]W
3.....................................  33.92690 [deg]N       119.88330
                                                                 [deg]W
4.....................................  33.90700 [deg]N       119.80000
                                                                 [deg]W
5.....................................  33.86195 [deg]N       119.80000
                                                                 [deg]W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

B.5. Scorpion (Santa Cruz Island) Marine Reserve

    The Scorpion Marine Reserve (Scorpion) boundary is defined by 
the 3 nmi State boundary, the coordinates provided in Table B-5, and 
the following textual description.
    The Scorpion boundary extends from Point 1 to Point 2 along a 
straight line. It then extends along a straight line from Point 2 to 
the 3 nmi State boundary where a line defined by connecting Point 2 
and Point 3 with a straight line intersects the 3 nmi State 
boundary. The boundary then follows the 3 nmi State boundary 
westward until it intersects the line defined by connecting Point 4 
and Point 5 with a straight line. At that intersection, the boundary 
extends from the 3 nmi State boundary to Point 5 along a straight 
line.

         Table B-5.--Scorpion (Santa Cruz Island) Marine Reserve
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Point                      Latitude        Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.....................................  34.15450 [deg]N       119.59170
                                                                 [deg]W
2.....................................  34.15450 [deg]N       119.54670
                                                                 [deg]W
3.....................................  34.10140 [deg]N       119.54670
                                                                 [deg]W
4.....................................  34.10060 [deg]N       119.59170
                                                                 [deg]W
5.....................................  34.15450 [deg]N       119.59170
                                                                 [deg]W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

B.6. Footprint Marine Reserve

    The Footprint Marine Reserve (Footprint) boundary is defined by 
the 3 nmi State boundary, the coordinates provided in Table B-6, and 
the following textual description.
    The Footprint boundary extends from Point 1 to Point 2 along a 
straight line. It then extends along a straight line from Point 2 to 
the 3 nmi State boundary where a line defined by connecting Point 2 
and Point 3 with a straight line intersects the 3 nmi State 
boundary. The boundary follows the 3 nmi State boundary 
northeastward and then southeastward until it intersects the line 
defined by connecting Point 4 and Point 5 along a straight line. At 
that intersection, the boundary extends from the 3 nmi State 
boundary to Point 5 along a straight line.

                  Table B-6.--Footprint Marine Reserve
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Point                      Latitude        Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.....................................  33.90198 [deg]N       119.43311
                                                                 [deg]W
2.....................................  33.90198 [deg]N       119.51609
                                                                 [deg]W
3.....................................  33.96120 [deg]N       119.51609
                                                                 [deg]W
4.....................................  33.95710 [deg]N       119.43311
                                                                 [deg]W
5.....................................  33.90198 [deg]N       119.43311
                                                                 [deg]W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

B.7. Anacapa Island Marine Reserve

    The Anacapa Island Marine Reserve (Anacapa Island) boundary is 
defined by the 3 nmi State boundary, the coordinates provided in 
Table B-7, and the following textual description.
    The Anacapa Island boundary extends from Point 1 to Point 2 
along a straight line. It then extends to the 3 nmi State boundary 
where a line defined by connecting Point 2 and Pont 3 with a 
straight line intersects the 3 nmi State boundary. The boundary 
follows the 3 nmi State boundary westward until it intersects the 
line defined by connecting Point 4 and Point 5 with a straight line. 
At that intersection, the boundary extends from the 3 nmi State 
boundary to Point 5 along a straight line.

                Table B-7.--Anacapa Island Marine Reserve
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Point                      Latitude        Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.....................................  34.08330 [deg]N       119.41000
                                                                 [deg]W
2.....................................  34.08330 [deg]N       119.35670
                                                                 [deg]W
3.....................................  34.06450 [deg]N       119.35670
                                                                 [deg]W
4.....................................  34.06210 [deg]N       119.41000
                                                                 [deg]W
5.....................................  34.08330 [deg]N       119.41000
                                                                 [deg]W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

 B.8. Santa Barbara Island Marine Reserve

    The Santa Barbara Island Marine Reserve (Santa Barbara) boundary 
is defined by the 3 nmi State boundary, the coordinates provided in 
Table B-8, and the following textual description.
    The Santa Barbara boundary extends from Point 1 to Point 2 along 
a straight line. It then extends along a straight line from Point 2 
to the 3 nmi State boundary where a line defined by connecting Point 
2 and Point 3 with a straight line intersects the 3 nmi State 
boundary. The boundary follows the 3 nmi State boundary 
northeastward until it intersects the line defined by connecting 
Point 4 and Point 5 with a straight line. At that intersection, the 
boundary extends from the 3 nmi State boundary to Point 5 along a 
straight line. The boundary then extends from Point 5 to Point 6 
along a straight line.

             Table B-8.--Santa Barbara Island Marine Reserve
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Point                      Latitude        Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.....................................  33.36320 [deg]N       118.90879
                                                                 [deg]W
2.....................................  33.36320 [deg]N       119.03670
                                                                 [deg]W
3.....................................  33.41680 [deg]N       119.03670
                                                                 [deg]W
4.....................................  33.47500 [deg]N       118.97080
                                                                 [deg]W
5.....................................  33.47500 [deg]N       118.90879
                                                                 [deg]W
6.....................................  33.36320 [deg]N       118.90879
                                                                 [deg]W
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 29235]]

Appendix C to Subpart G of Part 9222--Marine Conservation Area Boundary

C.1. Anacapa Island Marine Conservation Area

    The Anacapa Island Marine Conservation Area (AIMCA) boundary is 
defined by the 3 nmi State boundary, the coordinates provided in 
Table C-1, and the following textual description.
    The AIMCA boundary extends from Point 1 to Point 2 along a 
straight line. It then extends to the 3 nmi State boundary where a 
line defined by connecting Point 2 and Point 3 with a straight line 
intersects the 3 nmi State boundary. The boundary follows the 3 nmi 
State boundary westward until it intersects the line defined by 
connecting Point 4 and Point 5 with a straight line. At that 
intersection, the boundary extends from the 3 nmi State boundary to 
Point 5 along a straight line.

           Table C-1.--Anacapa Island Marine Conservation Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Point                      Latitude        Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.....................................  34.08330 [deg]N       119.44500
                                                                 [deg]W
2.....................................  34.08330 [deg]N       119.41000
                                                                 [deg]W
3.....................................  34.06210 [deg]N       119.41000
                                                                 [deg]W
4.....................................  34.06300 [deg]N       119.44500
                                                                 [deg]W
5.....................................  34.08330 [deg]N       119.44500
                                                                 [deg]W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

50 CFR CHAPTER VI

PART 660--[AMENDED]

0
10. The authority for part 660 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

0
11. Revise Sec.  660.2 to read as follows:

Sec.  660.2  Relation to other laws.

    (a) NMFS recognizes that any state law pertaining to vessels 
registered under the laws of that state while operating in the 
fisheries regulated under this part, and that is consistent with this 
part and the FMPs implemented by this part, shall continue in effect 
with respect to fishing activities regulated under this part.
    (b) Fishing activities addressed by this Part may also be subject 
to regulation under 15 CFR part 922, subpart G, if conducted in the 
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
 [FR Doc. E7-10096 Filed 5-23-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-NK-P