Notice of Availability of Draft Stock Assessment Reports, 42815-42816 [E6-12126]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 145 / Friday, July 28, 2006 / Notices Dated: July 25, 2006. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service [FR Doc. E6–12130 Filed 7–27–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [I.D. 070306C] Vessel Monitoring Systems; Amendment to the Announcement of Mobile Transmitter Unit and Enhanced Mobile Transmitter Unit Reimbursement Program; Additional Eligibility Criteria National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Amendment to the notice of vessel monitoring systems reimbursement program. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: On July 21, 2006, NMFS announced the availability of approximately $4.5 million in grant funds for fiscal year (FY) 2006 for vessel owners and/or operators who have purchased a Mobile Transmitter Unit (MTU) or Enhanced-Mobile Transmitter Unit (E-MTU) for the purpose of complying with fishery regulations requiring the use of Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) which became effective during FY 2006. The funds will be used to reimburse vessel owners and/or operators for the purchase price of the MTU or E-MTU. These amendments are intended to correct the contact information for the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) located under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT and ADDRESSES and to declare an additional reimbursement eligibility criteria. ADDRESSES: The correct contact information for a reimbursement application is Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), 205 SE Spokane Street, Suite 100, Portland, OR 97202, phone 503–595–3100, fax 503– 595–3232. To obtain copies of the list of NOAAapproved VMS mobile transmitting units and NOAA-approved VMS communications service providers write to the VMS Support Center, NOAA Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement (OLE), 8484 Georgia Avenue, Suite 415, Silver Spring, MD 20910. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The correct contact information for questions regarding reimbursement VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:47 Jul 27, 2006 Jkt 208001 applications is Randy Fisher, Executive Director, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), 205 SE Spokane Street, Suite 100, Portland, OR 97202, phone 503–595–3100, fax 503–595– 3232. For questions regarding MTU or EMTU type approval or information regarding the status of VMS systems being evaluated by NOAA for approval, contact Jonathan Pinkerton, National VMS Program Manager, phone 301– 427–2300; fax 301–427–0049. For questions regarding VMS installation or activation checklists, contact the VMS Support Center, NOAA Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement (OLE), 8484 Georgia Avenue, Suite 415, Silver Spring, MD 20910, phone 888– 219–9228, fax 301–427–0049. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In addition to the eligibility requirements detailed in the July 21, 2006 (71 FR 41425) notice, the following requirement regarding vessel owners and/or operators with outstanding unpaid civil monetary penalties shall also apply. Additional Eligibility Criteria To be eligible to receive reimbursement vessel owners and/or operators must not be in arrears with a payment owed to the Agency for a civil monetary penalty. Affected vessel owners and/or operators may become eligible for the reimbursement if the outstanding penalty is paid in full within 30 days of the denial of the reimbursement. After payment, vessel owners and/or operators must contact the VMS Support Center and provide documentation to support the defrayment of the penalty to receive a confirmation code for reimbursement purposes. Dated: July 25, 2006. William T. Hogarth, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fishery Service. [FR Doc. E6–12125 Filed 7–27–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 42815 Notice of availability; request for comments. ACTION: SUMMARY: NMFS reviewed the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regional marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs) in accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). SARs for marine mammals in the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regions were revised according to new information. NMFS solicits public comments on draft 2006 SARs. DATES: Comments must be received by October 26, 2006. ADDRESSES: The 2006 draft stock assessment reports are available in electronic form via the Internet at http:// www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/. Copies of the Alaska Regional SARs may be requested from Robyn Angliss, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way, NE BIN 15700, Seattle, WA 98115–0070. Copies of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Regional SARs may be requested from Gordon Waring, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 166 Water St., Woods Hole, MA 02543. Copies of the Pacific Regional SARs may be requested from Tina Fahy, Southwest Regional Office, NMFS, 501 West Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90802–4213. Send comments or requests for copies of reports to: Chief, Marine Mammal Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910– 3226, Attn: Stock Assessments. Comments may also be sent via facsimile (fax) to 301–427–2516 or via email to mmsar.2006@noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Eagle, Office of Protected Resources, 301–713–2322, ext. 105, e-mail Tom.Eagle@noaa.gov; Robyn Angliss 206- 526–4032, e-mail Robyn.Angliss@noaa.gov, regarding Alaska regional stock assessments; Gordon Waring, 508–495–2311, e-mail Gordon.Waring@noaa.gov, regarding Atlantic regional stock assessments; or Tina Fahy, 562–280–4060, e-mail Christina.Fahy@noaa.gov, regarding Pacific regional stock assessments. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background [I.D. 053106C] Notice of Availability of Draft Stock Assessment Reports National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Section 117 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) requires NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to prepare stock assessments for each stock of marine mammals occurring in waters under the jurisdiction of the United States. These reports must contain E:\FR\FM\28JYN1.SGM 28JYN1 42816 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 145 / Friday, July 28, 2006 / Notices rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES information regarding the distribution and abundance of the stock, population growth rates and trends, estimates of annual human-caused mortality and serious injury from all sources, descriptions of the fisheries with which the stock interacts, and the status of the stock. Initial reports were completed in 1995. The MMPA requires NMFS and FWS to review the SARs at least annually for strategic stocks and stocks for which significant new information is available, and at least once every 3 years for nonstrategic stocks. NMFS and the FWS are required to revise a SAR if the status of the stock has changed or can be more accurately determined. NMFS, in conjunction with the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific Scientific Review Groups (SRGs), reviewed the status of marine mammal stocks as required and revised reports in the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regions to incorporate new information. NMFS solicits public comments on the draft 2006 SARs. Alaska Reports In the Alaska region, 18 reports were revised, and 18 were not revised. Most changes were updates of abundance or mortality estimates and did not change the status of the stock. SARs for the Alaska harbor seals (Southeast Alaska, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea stocks) were updated to include recent information on abundance, trends in abundance, fishery-related serious injury and mortality, and subsistence harvest levels. Although the abundance estimates now reflected in the Alaska harbor seal SARs are higher than the estimates in the past, this apparent increase is due to changes in analytical procedures and does not necessarily reflect changes in abundance. The best available information on Alaska harbor seal stock structure suggests that there are more than the current three stocks identified in the stock assessment reports; NMFS, in cooperation with appropriate Alaska Native organizations, is evaluating the new genetic information and anticipates making a joint recommendation regarding stock structure in 2006. Abundance estimates and Potential Biological Removal (PBR) levels increased for northern fur seals and Steller sea lions. The increase in the northern fur seal abundance was due to a recent survey of one rookery on Bogoslof Island, which was last assessed in 1998 and has grown appreciably since that time. The western Steller sea lion stock assessment report acknowledges that genetics differences between animals in western Alaska and Russia may be sufficient to support a VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:47 Jul 27, 2006 Jkt 208001 designation of an Asian stock of Steller sea lions. The PBR level for Dall’s porpoise is no longer calculated because the abundance estimate is more than 8 years old and, according to NMFS’ guidelines for preparing SARs, is considered unreliable for use in conservation decisions. The fisheries with which this stock overlaps are observed regularly and have had low levels of Dall’s porpoise serious injury or mortality over at least the past 10 years. Because the best available information indicates that human-related serious injury and mortality is likely not a major concern, the stock remains classified as ‘‘not strategic’’. The PBR level for the Cook Inlet stock of beluga whales is no longer calculated. The abundance is well below the maximum estimate in the late 1970s, and the population may be declining due to unidentified causes. Therefore, underlying assumption (that reducing or eliminating human-caused mortality would allow the population to increase) of the PBR approach does not appear to be valid, and NMFS cannot estimate a maximum number of animals that may be removed from the population while allowing the population to recover to its optimum sustainable population levels. The three stocks of harbor porpoise in the Alaska region (Southeast Alaska, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea stocks) were changed from ‘‘not strategic’’ to ‘‘strategic’’. For each stock, abundance estimates are old. A number of fisheries in Alaska overlap harbor porpoise distribution and may take porpoise; however, few fisheries have observer data for estimating mortality. Furthermore, harbor porpoise sightings on surveys for killer whales in Southeast Alaska indicate fewer porpoise sightings per unit effort in recent years than in earlier surveys. NMFS has, therefore, labeled these three stocks of harbor porpoise as ‘‘strategic’’ stocks as a precautionary approach. The status of Pacific white-sided dolphin, North Pacific stock, was changed from ‘‘strategic’’ to ‘‘not strategic’’. There are no recent, reliable estimates of abundance and mortality/ serious injury for this stock; however, white-sided dolphins have been seen during historical surveys in portions of the stock’s range at densities that suggest sufficient numbers of dolphins to sustain the low levels of mortality that were previously estimated since the termination of high-seas driftnet fishing in 1991. Atlantic Reports Sixteen reports (four strategic and 12 non-strategic) were revised in the PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Atlantic region, and 39 reports, including all reports for marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico, were not revised. Most updates were to include new abundance and mortality estimates and did not change the status of the affected stocks. Estimates of incidental mortality and serious injury for the northeast and midAtlantic bottom trawl fisheries were not completed in time for this draft release. SRG review of the estimates will be completed prior to the commencement of the Atlantic trawl take reduction team meeting in September 2006. Therefore, mortality estimates and strategic status determinations are pending for longfinned and short-finned pilot whales, common dolphin, Risso’s dolphin and Atlantic white-sided dolphin and will be included in the draft 2007 reports. Pacific Reports Of the 61 reports in the Pacific region, nine were revised for 2006. All revisions were updates to abundance and PBR or mortality estimates, and none resulted in a change of the MMPA status (strategic or not strategic). The SAR for killer whales, Eastern North Pacific southern resident stock, was revised to indicate its listing as endangered under the ESA; however, the stock was already ‘‘strategic’’ under the MMPA due to its earlier designation as depleted. Dated: July 25, 2006. James H. Lecky, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E6–12126 Filed 7–27–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Publication of North American Datum of 1983 State Plane Coordinates in Feet in New Jersey National Geodetic Survey (NGS), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) will publish North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83) State Plane Coordinate (SPC) grid values, in both meters, and U.S. Survey Feet (1 ft = 1200/3937 m) in New Jersey, for all well defined geodetic survey control monuments maintained by NGS in the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS) and computed from various geodetic positioning utilities. The E:\FR\FM\28JYN1.SGM 28JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 145 (Friday, July 28, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 42815-42816]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-12126]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[I.D. 053106C]


Notice of Availability of Draft Stock Assessment Reports

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

ACTION:  Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY:  NMFS reviewed the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regional 
marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs) in accordance with the 
Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). SARs for marine mammals in the 
Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regions were revised according to new 
information. NMFS solicits public comments on draft 2006 SARs.

DATES:  Comments must be received by October 26, 2006.

ADDRESSES:  The 2006 draft stock assessment reports are available in 
electronic form via the Internet at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/.
    Copies of the Alaska Regional SARs may be requested from Robyn 
Angliss, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way, NE 
BIN 15700, Seattle, WA 98115-0070.
    Copies of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Regional SARs may be 
requested from Gordon Waring, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 166 
Water St., Woods Hole, MA 02543.
    Copies of the Pacific Regional SARs may be requested from Tina 
Fahy, Southwest Regional Office, NMFS, 501 West Ocean Boulevard, Long 
Beach, CA 90802-4213.
    Send comments or requests for copies of reports to: Chief, Marine 
Mammal Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National 
Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 
20910-3226, Attn: Stock Assessments. Comments may also be sent via 
facsimile (fax) to 301-427-2516 or via e-mail to mmsar.2006@noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Tom Eagle, Office of Protected 
Resources, 301-713-2322, ext. 105, e-mail Tom.Eagle@noaa.gov; Robyn 
Angliss 206- 526-4032, e-mail Robyn.Angliss@noaa.gov, regarding Alaska 
regional stock assessments; Gordon Waring, 508-495-2311, e-mail 
Gordon.Waring@noaa.gov, regarding Atlantic regional stock assessments; 
or Tina Fahy, 562-280-4060, e-mail Christina.Fahy@noaa.gov, regarding 
Pacific regional stock assessments.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 117 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) (16 U.S.C. 
1361 et seq.) requires NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(FWS) to prepare stock assessments for each stock of marine mammals 
occurring in waters under the jurisdiction of the United States. These 
reports must contain

[[Page 42816]]

information regarding the distribution and abundance of the stock, 
population growth rates and trends, estimates of annual human-caused 
mortality and serious injury from all sources, descriptions of the 
fisheries with which the stock interacts, and the status of the stock. 
Initial reports were completed in 1995.
    The MMPA requires NMFS and FWS to review the SARs at least annually 
for strategic stocks and stocks for which significant new information 
is available, and at least once every 3 years for non-strategic stocks. 
NMFS and the FWS are required to revise a SAR if the status of the 
stock has changed or can be more accurately determined. NMFS, in 
conjunction with the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific Scientific Review 
Groups (SRGs), reviewed the status of marine mammal stocks as required 
and revised reports in the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regions to 
incorporate new information. NMFS solicits public comments on the draft 
2006 SARs.

Alaska Reports

    In the Alaska region, 18 reports were revised, and 18 were not 
revised. Most changes were updates of abundance or mortality estimates 
and did not change the status of the stock. SARs for the Alaska harbor 
seals (Southeast Alaska, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea stocks) were 
updated to include recent information on abundance, trends in 
abundance, fishery-related serious injury and mortality, and 
subsistence harvest levels. Although the abundance estimates now 
reflected in the Alaska harbor seal SARs are higher than the estimates 
in the past, this apparent increase is due to changes in analytical 
procedures and does not necessarily reflect changes in abundance. The 
best available information on Alaska harbor seal stock structure 
suggests that there are more than the current three stocks identified 
in the stock assessment reports; NMFS, in cooperation with appropriate 
Alaska Native organizations, is evaluating the new genetic information 
and anticipates making a joint recommendation regarding stock structure 
in 2006.
    Abundance estimates and Potential Biological Removal (PBR) levels 
increased for northern fur seals and Steller sea lions. The increase in 
the northern fur seal abundance was due to a recent survey of one 
rookery on Bogoslof Island, which was last assessed in 1998 and has 
grown appreciably since that time. The western Steller sea lion stock 
assessment report acknowledges that genetics differences between 
animals in western Alaska and Russia may be sufficient to support a 
designation of an Asian stock of Steller sea lions.
    The PBR level for Dall's porpoise is no longer calculated because 
the abundance estimate is more than 8 years old and, according to NMFS' 
guidelines for preparing SARs, is considered unreliable for use in 
conservation decisions. The fisheries with which this stock overlaps 
are observed regularly and have had low levels of Dall's porpoise 
serious injury or mortality over at least the past 10 years. Because 
the best available information indicates that human-related serious 
injury and mortality is likely not a major concern, the stock remains 
classified as ``not strategic''.
    The PBR level for the Cook Inlet stock of beluga whales is no 
longer calculated. The abundance is well below the maximum estimate in 
the late 1970s, and the population may be declining due to unidentified 
causes. Therefore, underlying assumption (that reducing or eliminating 
human-caused mortality would allow the population to increase) of the 
PBR approach does not appear to be valid, and NMFS cannot estimate a 
maximum number of animals that may be removed from the population while 
allowing the population to recover to its optimum sustainable 
population levels.
    The three stocks of harbor porpoise in the Alaska region (Southeast 
Alaska, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea stocks) were changed from ``not 
strategic'' to ``strategic''. For each stock, abundance estimates are 
old. A number of fisheries in Alaska overlap harbor porpoise 
distribution and may take porpoise; however, few fisheries have 
observer data for estimating mortality. Furthermore, harbor porpoise 
sightings on surveys for killer whales in Southeast Alaska indicate 
fewer porpoise sightings per unit effort in recent years than in 
earlier surveys. NMFS has, therefore, labeled these three stocks of 
harbor porpoise as ``strategic'' stocks as a precautionary approach.
    The status of Pacific white-sided dolphin, North Pacific stock, was 
changed from ``strategic'' to ``not strategic''. There are no recent, 
reliable estimates of abundance and mortality/serious injury for this 
stock; however, white-sided dolphins have been seen during historical 
surveys in portions of the stock's range at densities that suggest 
sufficient numbers of dolphins to sustain the low levels of mortality 
that were previously estimated since the termination of high-seas 
driftnet fishing in 1991.

Atlantic Reports

    Sixteen reports (four strategic and 12 non-strategic) were revised 
in the Atlantic region, and 39 reports, including all reports for 
marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico, were not revised. Most updates 
were to include new abundance and mortality estimates and did not 
change the status of the affected stocks.
    Estimates of incidental mortality and serious injury for the 
northeast and mid-Atlantic bottom trawl fisheries were not completed in 
time for this draft release. SRG review of the estimates will be 
completed prior to the commencement of the Atlantic trawl take 
reduction team meeting in September 2006. Therefore, mortality 
estimates and strategic status determinations are pending for long-
finned and short-finned pilot whales, common dolphin, Risso's dolphin 
and Atlantic white-sided dolphin and will be included in the draft 2007 
reports.

Pacific Reports

    Of the 61 reports in the Pacific region, nine were revised for 
2006. All revisions were updates to abundance and PBR or mortality 
estimates, and none resulted in a change of the MMPA status (strategic 
or not strategic). The SAR for killer whales, Eastern North Pacific 
southern resident stock, was revised to indicate its listing as 
endangered under the ESA; however, the stock was already ``strategic'' 
under the MMPA due to its earlier designation as depleted.

    Dated: July 25, 2006.
James H. Lecky,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. E6-12126 Filed 7-27-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S