Sea Turtle Conservation; Shrimp Trawling Requirements, 61911-61913 [05-21485]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 207 / Thursday, October 27, 2005 / Rules and Regulations exceptionally large or small restraints. This combination of restraints is needed to assure the robustness of automatic suppression systems under real world conditions. It is also important to note that when Appendix A was amended in November 2003, the Britax Expressway ISOFIX was unique in design, in that it was the only child restraint system available with rigid Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) attachments. While the agency has identified a small percentage of child restraint systems that weigh more than the Britax Expressway ISOFIX, the inclusion of heavier child restraint system designs is not inconsistent with the intent of Appendix A of FMVSS No. 208. Further, while the Britax Expressway ISOFIX is approximately 0.5 kg (1.1 lb) heavier than the heaviest child restraint system that was removed from Appendix A as amended in the November 2003 final rule, the agency does not consider this to be an indication that child restraint system designs are increasing in weight. As noted earlier, FMVSS No. 213 is a performance standard, and does not specify particular design constraints such as mass and/or dimensions. Honda did not provide any rationale for its proposal to limit child restraint system designs to a maximum of 8.5 kg (18.7 lb). NHTSA has not identified any realworld data to support the need to limit the weight of child restraint systems, and specifically as it relates to the performance of occupant detection systems for automatic air bag suppression. Further, specification of a child restraint system mass limit, when considered in conjunction with the mass of the dummy used in air bag suppression testing, would effectively establish a weight threshold for weightbased air bag suppression systems. It is not the intent of the agency to specify such a threshold. Each vehicle manufacturer is responsible for meeting the requirements of FMVSS No. 208 when using any of the child restraint systems listed in Appendix A. In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA is denying Honda’s petition for rulemaking to amend FMVSS No. 213 to adopt a design weight limit for child restraint systems used with the 3-yearold dummy. In accordance with 49 CFR Part 552, this completes the agency’s review of the petition. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117 and 30166; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:58 Oct 26, 2005 Jkt 208001 Issued on: October 13, 2005. Stephen R. Kratzke, Associate Administrator for Rulemaking. [FR Doc. 05–21465 Filed 10–26–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 222 and 223 [Docket No.050922245–5276–02; I.D. 092005A, 100505D] RIN 0648–AT89 Sea Turtle Conservation; Shrimp Trawling Requirements National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS issues this temporary rule to allow shrimp fishermen to continue to use limited tow times as an alternative to Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in inshore and offshore waters from the Florida/Alabama border, westward to the boundary shared by Matagorda and Brazoria Counties, Texas, and extending offshore 50 nautical miles, as initially authorized in rules published on September 28 and October 14, 2005. This action is necessary because environmental conditions resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita persist on the fishing grounds, preventing some fishermen from using TEDs effectively. DATES: Effective from October 24, 2005, through 11:59 p.m, local time, November 23, 2005. ADDRESSES: Requests for copies of the Environmental Assessment on this action should be addressed to the Chief, Marine Mammal Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 EastWest Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Barnette, 727–551–5794. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background All sea turtles that occur in U.S. waters are listed as either endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). The Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtles are listed as endangered. The loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 61911 (Chelonia mydas) turtles are listed as threatened, except for breeding populations of green turtles in Florida and on the Pacific coast of Mexico, which are listed as endangered. Sea turtles are incidentally taken, and some are killed, as a result of numerous activities, including fishery-related trawling activities in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic seaboard. Under the ESA and its implementing regulations, the taking of sea turtles is prohibited, with exceptions identified in 50 CFR 223.206(d), or according to the terms and conditions of a biological opinion issued under section 7 of the ESA, or according to an incidental take permit issued under section 10 of the ESA. The incidental taking of turtles during shrimp or summer flounder trawling is exempted from the taking prohibition of section 9 of the ESA if the conservation measures specified in the sea turtle conservation regulations (50 CFR 223) are followed. The regulations require most shrimp trawlers and summer flounder trawlers operating in the southeastern United States (Atlantic area, Gulf area, and summer flounder sea turtle protection area, see 50 CFR 223.206) to have a NMFS-approved TED installed in each net that is rigged for fishing to allow sea turtles to escape. TEDs currently approved by NMFS include single-grid hard TEDs and hooped hard TEDs conforming to a generic description, the flounder TED, and one type of soft TED the Parker soft TED (see 50 CFR 223.207). TEDs incorporate an escape opening, usually covered by a webbing flap, which allows sea turtles to escape from trawl nets. To be approved by NMFS, a TED design must be shown to be 97 percent effective in excluding sea turtles during testing based upon specific testing protocols (50 CFR 223.207(e)(1)). Most approved hard TEDs are described in the regulations (50 CFR 223.207(a)) according to generic criteria based upon certain parameters of TED design, configuration, and installation, including height and width dimensions of the TED opening through which the turtles escape. The regulations governing sea turtle take prohibitions and exemptions provide for the use of limited tow times as an alternative to the use of TEDs for vessels with certain specified characteristics or under certain special circumstances. The provisions of 50 CFR 223.206(d)(3)(ii) specify that the NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries (AA) may authorize compliance with tow time restrictions as an alternative to the TED requirement if the AA determines that the presence of algae, seaweed, debris, or other E:\FR\FM\27OCR1.SGM 27OCR1 61912 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 207 / Thursday, October 27, 2005 / Rules and Regulations special environmental conditions in a particular area makes trawling with TED-equipped nets impracticable. The provisions of 50 CFR 223.206(d)(3)(i) specify the maximum tow times that may be used when tow time limits are authorized as an alternative to the use of TEDs. Each tow may be no more than 55 minutes from April 1 through October 31 and no more than 75 minutes from November 1 through March 31, as measured from the time that the trawl doors enter the water until they are removed from the water. These tow time limits are designed to minimize the level of mortality of sea turtles that are captured by trawl nets not equipped with TEDs. Recent Events On September 12, 2005, the NMFS Southeast Regional Administrator received requests from the Marine Fisheries Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ALDCNR) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LADWF) to allow the use of tow times as an alternative to TEDs in inshore and offshore waters because of excessive storm-related debris on the fishing grounds as a result of Hurricane Katrina. NMFS received a similar request from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) on September 13. On September 27, 2005, the NMFS Southeast Regional Administrator received requests from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LADWF) and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to allow the use of tow times as an alternative to TEDs in inshore and offshore waters because of excessive storm-related debris on the fishing grounds as a result of Hurricane Rita. Subsequent to these requests, NMFS issued 30–day exemptions to the TED requirements from September 23 through October 23, 2005, and October 11 through November 10, 2005, for waters affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, respectively (70 FR 56593 and 70 FR 60013, respectively). On October 11, 2005, the NMFS Southeast Regional Administrator received requests from the ALDCNR, MDMR, LADWF, and the TPWD for an additional 30–day period allowing the use of restricted tow times as an alternative to TEDs in inshore and offshore waters because of excessive storm-related debris that is still present on the fishing grounds as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. After an investigation, NMFS has determined that this debris is still affecting fishermen’s ability to use TEDs effectively, which is not expected to VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:58 Oct 26, 2005 Jkt 208001 dissipate anytime soon. When a TED is clogged with debris it can no longer catch shrimp effectively nor can it effectively exclude turtles. NMFS has investigated the continuing problems with debris and has determined that shrimp fisherman may continue to use limited two times as an alterative to TEDs in inshore and offshore waters in the affected area off Alabama westward through Texas. Special Environmental Conditions The AA finds that debris washed into inshore and offshore waters by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita off Alabama, westward to the boundary shared by Matagorda and Brazoria Counties, Texas, and extending offshore 50 nautical miles, has created ongoing special environmental conditions that make trawling with TED-equipped nets impracticable. Therefore, the AA issues this notification to extend the two previous authorizations for the use of restricted tow times as an alternative to the use of TEDs in inshore and offshore waters off Alabama, westward to the boundary shared by Matagorda and Brazoria Counties, Texas, and extending offshore 50 nautical miles, through 11:59 p.m. on November 23, 2005. Tow times must be limited to no more than 55 minutes measured from the time trawl doors enter the water until they are retrieved from the water through October 31, 2005, and no more than 75 minutes from the time trawl doors enter the water until they are retrieved, November 1 through November 23, 2005; thus, the permitted tow time will change part way through this exemption period. Continued Use of TEDs NMFS encourages shrimp trawlers in the affected areas to continue to use TEDs if possible, even though they are authorized under this action to use restricted tow times. NMFS’ gear experts have provided several general operational recommendations to fishermen to maximize the debris exclusion ability of TEDs that may allow some fishermen to continue using TEDs without resorting to restricted tow times. To exclude debris, NMFS recommends the use of hard TEDs made of either solid rod or of hollow pipe that incorporate a bent angle at the escape opening, in a bottom-opening configuration. In addition, the installation angle of a hard TED in the trawl extension is an important performance element in excluding debris from the trawl. High installation angles can trap debris either on or in front of the bars of the TED; NMFS recommends an installation PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 angle of 45°, relative to the normal horizontal flow of water through the trawl, to optimize the TED’s ability to exclude turtles and debris. Furthermore, the use of accelerator funnels, which are allowable modifications to hard TEDs, is not recommended in areas with heavy amounts of debris or vegetation. Lastly, the webbing flap that is usually installed to cover the turtle escape opening may be modified to help exclude debris quickly: the webbing flap can either be cut horizontally to shorten it so that it does not overlap the frame of the TED or be slit in a fore-and-aft direction to facilitate the exclusion of debris. The use of the double cover flap TED will also aid in debris exclusion. All of these recommendations represent legal configurations of TEDs for shrimpers fishing in the affected areas. This action does not authorize any other departure from the TED requirements, including any illegal modifications to TEDs. In particular, if TEDs are installed in trawl nets, they may not be sewn shut. Alternative to Required Use of TEDs The authorization provided by this rule applies to all shrimp trawlers that would otherwise be required to use TEDs in accordance with the requirements of 50 CFR 223.206(d)(2) who are operating in inshore and offshore waters affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita off Alabama, westward to the boundary shared by Matagorda and Brazoria Counties, Texas, and extending offshore 50 nautical miles, through November 23, 2005. Through this temporary rule, shrimp trawlers may choose either restricted tow times or TEDs to comply with the sea turtle conservation regulations, as prescribed above. Alternative to Required Use of TEDs; Termination The AA, at any time, may withdraw or modify this temporary authorization to use tow time restrictions in lieu of TEDs through publication of a notice in the Federal Register, if necessary to ensure adequate protection of endangered and threatened sea turtles. Under this procedure, the AA may modify the affected area or impose any necessary additional or more stringent measures, including more restrictive tow times, synchronized tow times, or withdrawal of the authorization if the AA determines that the alternative authorized by this rule is not sufficiently protecting turtles or no longer needed. The AA may also terminate this authorization if information from enforcement, state authorities, or NMFS indicates E:\FR\FM\27OCR1.SGM 27OCR1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 207 / Thursday, October 27, 2005 / Rules and Regulations compliance cannot be monitored effectively. This authorization will expire automatically at 11:59 p.m., local time, on November 23, 2005, unless it is explicitly extended through another notification published in the Federal Register. Classification This action has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The AA has determined that this action is necessary to respond to special environmental conditions to allow more efficient fishing for shrimp, while providing adequate protection for endangered and threatened sea turtles pursuant to the ESA and applicable regulations. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the AA finds that there is good cause to waive prior notice and opportunity to comment on this rule. The AA finds that VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:58 Oct 26, 2005 Jkt 208001 unusually high amounts of debris has created ongoing special environmental conditions that make trawling with TED-equipped nets impracticable. Prior notice and opportunity to comment are impracticable and contrary to the public interest in this instance because providing notice and comment would prevent the agency from providing the affected industry relief from the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in a timely manner. The AA finds that there is good cause to waive the 30–day delay in effective date pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to provide alternatives to comply with the sea turtle regulations in a timely manner. Many fishermen may be unable to operate under the special environmental conditions created by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita without an alternative to using TEDs. Providing a 30–day delay in effective date would prevent the agency from providing the PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 61913 affected industry relief from the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in a timely manner. For the reasons stated above, the AA finds that this temporary rule should not be subject to a 30–day delay in effective date, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1). Since prior notice and an opportunity for public comment are not required to be provided for this action by 5 U.S.C. 553, or by any other law, the analytical requirements of 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. are inapplicable. The AA prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for this rule. Copies of the EA are available (see ADDRESSES). Dated: October 24, 2005. James W. Balsiger, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 05–21485 Filed 10–24–05; 2:28 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\27OCR1.SGM 27OCR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 207 (Thursday, October 27, 2005)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 61911-61913]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-21485]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 222 and 223

[Docket No.050922245-5276-02; I.D. 092005A, 100505D]
RIN 0648-AT89


Sea Turtle Conservation; Shrimp Trawling Requirements

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Temporary rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NMFS issues this temporary rule to allow shrimp fishermen to 
continue to use limited tow times as an alternative to Turtle Excluder 
Devices (TEDs) in inshore and offshore waters from the Florida/Alabama 
border, westward to the boundary shared by Matagorda and Brazoria 
Counties, Texas, and extending offshore 50 nautical miles, as initially 
authorized in rules published on September 28 and October 14, 2005. 
This action is necessary because environmental conditions resulting 
from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita persist on the fishing grounds, 
preventing some fishermen from using TEDs effectively.

DATES: Effective from October 24, 2005, through 11:59 p.m, local time, 
November 23, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Requests for copies of the Environmental Assessment on this 
action should be addressed to the Chief, Marine Mammal Division, Office 
of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 
20910.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Barnette, 727-551-5794.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    All sea turtles that occur in U.S. waters are listed as either 
endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
(ESA). The Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback 
(Dermochelys coriacea), and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtles 
are listed as endangered. The loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green 
(Chelonia mydas) turtles are listed as threatened, except for breeding 
populations of green turtles in Florida and on the Pacific coast of 
Mexico, which are listed as endangered.
    Sea turtles are incidentally taken, and some are killed, as a 
result of numerous activities, including fishery-related trawling 
activities in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic seaboard. Under 
the ESA and its implementing regulations, the taking of sea turtles is 
prohibited, with exceptions identified in 50 CFR 223.206(d), or 
according to the terms and conditions of a biological opinion issued 
under section 7 of the ESA, or according to an incidental take permit 
issued under section 10 of the ESA. The incidental taking of turtles 
during shrimp or summer flounder trawling is exempted from the taking 
prohibition of section 9 of the ESA if the conservation measures 
specified in the sea turtle conservation regulations (50 CFR 223) are 
followed. The regulations require most shrimp trawlers and summer 
flounder trawlers operating in the southeastern United States (Atlantic 
area, Gulf area, and summer flounder sea turtle protection area, see 50 
CFR 223.206) to have a NMFS-approved TED installed in each net that is 
rigged for fishing to allow sea turtles to escape. TEDs currently 
approved by NMFS include single-grid hard TEDs and hooped hard TEDs 
conforming to a generic description, the flounder TED, and one type of 
soft TED the Parker soft TED (see 50 CFR 223.207).
    TEDs incorporate an escape opening, usually covered by a webbing 
flap, which allows sea turtles to escape from trawl nets. To be 
approved by NMFS, a TED design must be shown to be 97 percent effective 
in excluding sea turtles during testing based upon specific testing 
protocols (50 CFR 223.207(e)(1)). Most approved hard TEDs are described 
in the regulations (50 CFR 223.207(a)) according to generic criteria 
based upon certain parameters of TED design, configuration, and 
installation, including height and width dimensions of the TED opening 
through which the turtles escape.
    The regulations governing sea turtle take prohibitions and 
exemptions provide for the use of limited tow times as an alternative 
to the use of TEDs for vessels with certain specified characteristics 
or under certain special circumstances. The provisions of 50 CFR 
223.206(d)(3)(ii) specify that the NOAA Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries (AA) may authorize compliance with tow time restrictions as 
an alternative to the TED requirement if the AA determines that the 
presence of algae, seaweed, debris, or other

[[Page 61912]]

special environmental conditions in a particular area makes trawling 
with TED-equipped nets impracticable. The provisions of 50 CFR 
223.206(d)(3)(i) specify the maximum tow times that may be used when 
tow time limits are authorized as an alternative to the use of TEDs. 
Each tow may be no more than 55 minutes from April 1 through October 31 
and no more than 75 minutes from November 1 through March 31, as 
measured from the time that the trawl doors enter the water until they 
are removed from the water. These tow time limits are designed to 
minimize the level of mortality of sea turtles that are captured by 
trawl nets not equipped with TEDs.

Recent Events

    On September 12, 2005, the NMFS Southeast Regional Administrator 
received requests from the Marine Fisheries Division of the Alabama 
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ALDCNR) and the 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LADWF) to allow the use 
of tow times as an alternative to TEDs in inshore and offshore waters 
because of excessive storm-related debris on the fishing grounds as a 
result of Hurricane Katrina. NMFS received a similar request from the 
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) on September 13. On 
September 27, 2005, the NMFS Southeast Regional Administrator received 
requests from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries 
(LADWF) and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to allow the 
use of tow times as an alternative to TEDs in inshore and offshore 
waters because of excessive storm-related debris on the fishing grounds 
as a result of Hurricane Rita. Subsequent to these requests, NMFS 
issued 30-day exemptions to the TED requirements from September 23 
through October 23, 2005, and October 11 through November 10, 2005, for 
waters affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, respectively (70 FR 
56593 and 70 FR 60013, respectively).
    On October 11, 2005, the NMFS Southeast Regional Administrator 
received requests from the ALDCNR, MDMR, LADWF, and the TPWD for an 
additional 30-day period allowing the use of restricted tow times as an 
alternative to TEDs in inshore and offshore waters because of excessive 
storm-related debris that is still present on the fishing grounds as a 
result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. After an investigation, NMFS has 
determined that this debris is still affecting fishermen's ability to 
use TEDs effectively, which is not expected to dissipate anytime soon. 
When a TED is clogged with debris it can no longer catch shrimp 
effectively nor can it effectively exclude turtles. NMFS has 
investigated the continuing problems with debris and has determined 
that shrimp fisherman may continue to use limited two times as an 
alterative to TEDs in inshore and offshore waters in the affected area 
off Alabama westward through Texas.

Special Environmental Conditions

    The AA finds that debris washed into inshore and offshore waters by 
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita off Alabama, westward to the boundary 
shared by Matagorda and Brazoria Counties, Texas, and extending 
offshore 50 nautical miles, has created ongoing special environmental 
conditions that make trawling with TED-equipped nets impracticable. 
Therefore, the AA issues this notification to extend the two previous 
authorizations for the use of restricted tow times as an alternative to 
the use of TEDs in inshore and offshore waters off Alabama, westward to 
the boundary shared by Matagorda and Brazoria Counties, Texas, and 
extending offshore 50 nautical miles, through 11:59 p.m. on November 
23, 2005. Tow times must be limited to no more than 55 minutes measured 
from the time trawl doors enter the water until they are retrieved from 
the water through October 31, 2005, and no more than 75 minutes from 
the time trawl doors enter the water until they are retrieved, November 
1 through November 23, 2005; thus, the permitted tow time will change 
part way through this exemption period.

Continued Use of TEDs

    NMFS encourages shrimp trawlers in the affected areas to continue 
to use TEDs if possible, even though they are authorized under this 
action to use restricted tow times.
    NMFS' gear experts have provided several general operational 
recommendations to fishermen to maximize the debris exclusion ability 
of TEDs that may allow some fishermen to continue using TEDs without 
resorting to restricted tow times. To exclude debris, NMFS recommends 
the use of hard TEDs made of either solid rod or of hollow pipe that 
incorporate a bent angle at the escape opening, in a bottom-opening 
configuration. In addition, the installation angle of a hard TED in the 
trawl extension is an important performance element in excluding debris 
from the trawl. High installation angles can trap debris either on or 
in front of the bars of the TED; NMFS recommends an installation angle 
of 45[deg], relative to the normal horizontal flow of water through the 
trawl, to optimize the TED's ability to exclude turtles and debris. 
Furthermore, the use of accelerator funnels, which are allowable 
modifications to hard TEDs, is not recommended in areas with heavy 
amounts of debris or vegetation. Lastly, the webbing flap that is 
usually installed to cover the turtle escape opening may be modified to 
help exclude debris quickly: the webbing flap can either be cut 
horizontally to shorten it so that it does not overlap the frame of the 
TED or be slit in a fore-and-aft direction to facilitate the exclusion 
of debris. The use of the double cover flap TED will also aid in debris 
exclusion.
    All of these recommendations represent legal configurations of TEDs 
for shrimpers fishing in the affected areas. This action does not 
authorize any other departure from the TED requirements, including any 
illegal modifications to TEDs. In particular, if TEDs are installed in 
trawl nets, they may not be sewn shut.

Alternative to Required Use of TEDs

    The authorization provided by this rule applies to all shrimp 
trawlers that would otherwise be required to use TEDs in accordance 
with the requirements of 50 CFR 223.206(d)(2) who are operating in 
inshore and offshore waters affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita off 
Alabama, westward to the boundary shared by Matagorda and Brazoria 
Counties, Texas, and extending offshore 50 nautical miles, through 
November 23, 2005. Through this temporary rule, shrimp trawlers may 
choose either restricted tow times or TEDs to comply with the sea 
turtle conservation regulations, as prescribed above.

Alternative to Required Use of TEDs; Termination

    The AA, at any time, may withdraw or modify this temporary 
authorization to use tow time restrictions in lieu of TEDs through 
publication of a notice in the Federal Register, if necessary to ensure 
adequate protection of endangered and threatened sea turtles. Under 
this procedure, the AA may modify the affected area or impose any 
necessary additional or more stringent measures, including more 
restrictive tow times, synchronized tow times, or withdrawal of the 
authorization if the AA determines that the alternative authorized by 
this rule is not sufficiently protecting turtles or no longer needed. 
The AA may also terminate this authorization if information from 
enforcement, state authorities, or NMFS indicates

[[Page 61913]]

compliance cannot be monitored effectively. This authorization will 
expire automatically at 11:59 p.m., local time, on November 23, 2005, 
unless it is explicitly extended through another notification published 
in the Federal Register.

Classification

    This action has been determined to be not significant for purposes 
of Executive Order 12866.
    The AA has determined that this action is necessary to respond to 
special environmental conditions to allow more efficient fishing for 
shrimp, while providing adequate protection for endangered and 
threatened sea turtles pursuant to the ESA and applicable regulations.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the AA finds that there is good 
cause to waive prior notice and opportunity to comment on this rule. 
The AA finds that unusually high amounts of debris has created ongoing 
special environmental conditions that make trawling with TED-equipped 
nets impracticable. Prior notice and opportunity to comment are 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest in this instance 
because providing notice and comment would prevent the agency from 
providing the affected industry relief from the effects of Hurricanes 
Katrina and Rita in a timely manner.
    The AA finds that there is good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effective date pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to provide alternatives 
to comply with the sea turtle regulations in a timely manner. Many 
fishermen may be unable to operate under the special environmental 
conditions created by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita without an 
alternative to using TEDs. Providing a 30-day delay in effective date 
would prevent the agency from providing the affected industry relief 
from the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in a timely manner. For 
the reasons stated above, the AA finds that this temporary rule should 
not be subject to a 30-day delay in effective date, pursuant to 5 
U.S.C. 553(d)(1).
    Since prior notice and an opportunity for public comment are not 
required to be provided for this action by 5 U.S.C. 553, or by any 
other law, the analytical requirements of 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. are 
inapplicable.
    The AA prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for this rule. 
Copies of the EA are available (see ADDRESSES).

    Dated: October 24, 2005.
James W. Balsiger,
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 05-21485 Filed 10-24-05; 2:28 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S