Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS); Pelagic Longline Research, 62441-62444 [07-5474]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 213 / Monday, November 5, 2007 / Notices EE442 (Daily Math Practice Journal Grades 1 - 3); EE443 and EE444 (Daily Math Practice Journal Grades 4 - 6); EE651 and EE652 (Daily Language Practice, Grades 1-3); EE653 and EE654 (Daily Language Practice Journal, Grades 4 - 6), are included within the scope of the antidumping duty order; requested December 7, 2006; initiated May 7, 2007. Multiple Countries A-423-808 and C-423-809: Stainless Steel Plate in Coils from Belgium; A475-822: Stainless Steel Plate in Coils from Italy; A-580-831: Stainless Steel Plate in Coils from South Korea; A-583830: Stainless Steel Plate in Coils from Taiwan; A-791-805 and C-791-806: Stainless Steel Plate in Coils from South Africa Requestor: Ugine & ALZ Belgium N.V.; whether stainless steel products with an actual thickness of less than 4.75 mm, regardless of nominal thickness, are within the scope of the antidumping and countervailing duty orders; requested June 8, 2007; initiated July 23, 2007. A-533-809: Certain Forged Stainless Steel Flanges from India; A-583-821: Certain Forged Stainless Steel Flanges from Taiwan Anticircumvention Rulings Pending as of September 30, 2007: People’s Republic of China A-570-001: Potassium Permanganate from the People’s Republic of China Requestor: Specialty Products International, Inc.; whether sodium permanganate is later-developed merchandise that is circumventing the antidumping duty order; requested October 10, 2006. ycherry on PRODPC74 with NOTICES A-570-868: Folding Metal Tables and Chairs from the People’s Republic of China Requestor: Meco Corporation; whether the common leg table (a folding metal table affixed with cross bars that enable the legs to fold in pairs) produced in the PRC is a minor alteration that circumvents the antidumping duty order; requested October 31, 2005; initiated June 1, 2006. 15:04 Nov 02, 2007 Jkt 214001 Requestor: Seaman Paper Company; whether imports of tissue paper from Vietnam made out of jumbo rolls of tissue paper from the PRC are circumventing the antidumping duty order; requested July 19, 2006; initiated September 5, 2006. Interested parties are invited to comment on the completeness of this list of pending scope and anticircumvention inquiries. Any comments should be submitted to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for D/CVD Operations, Import Administration, International Trade Administration, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room 1870, Washington, DC 20230. This notice is published in accordance with 19 C.F.R. 351.225(o). Dated: October 25, 2007. Stephen J. Claeys, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Import Administration. [FR Doc. E7–21707 Filed 11–2–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Requestor: Lokring Technology Corporation; whether certain assemblies comprising stainless steel flanges from India or Taiwan welded to stainless steel ‘‘half-bodies’’ with swage rings, and completed in Canada, are within the scope of the order; requested September 18, 2007. VerDate Aug<31>2005 A-570-894: Certain Tissue Paper Products from the People’s Republic of China National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XD57 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS); Pelagic Longline Research National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS announces the availability of an Environmental Assessment (EA) analyzing the impacts of conducting research with pelagic longline (PLL) vessels in portions of the East Florida Coast (EFC) and Charleston Bump closed areas. Given the nearly rebuilt status of north Atlantic swordfish and recent bycatch reduction measures implemented throughout the U.S. PLL fishery, NMFS is proposing to collect baseline PLL fishery data in the closed areas to evaluate the effectiveness of existing bycatch reduction measures. The EA analyzes monthly and annual PLL logbook and pelagic observer program (POP) data on catch and bycatch rates of all species in the proposed research area from 1995– 2000 to determine potential impacts of the research fishery on target and non- PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 62441 target species. NMFS invites comments from interested parties on the EA. DATES: Written comments on the EA must be received by 5 p.m. on November 20, 2007. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods: • Email: PLL.ResearchEA@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line the following identifier: I.D. PLL Research EA. • Mail: Margo Schulze-Haugen, Highly Migratory Species Management Division (F/SF1), NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Please mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘Comments on PLL Research EA.’’ • Fax: (301)713–1917 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Russell Dunn, 727–824–5399; fax: 727– 824–5398, or Chris Rilling 301–713– 2347; fax: 301–713–1917. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS proposes to conduct research with a limited number of vessels (two are proposed, but backup vessels may be used if breakdowns occur) in portions of the EFC and Charleston Bump closed areas (Figure 1). The latitude and longitude coordinates of the proposed research area are provided in Table 1. In the EFC closed area, the proposed research area would be north of Fort Pierce, FL, beginning at 28 degrees north latitude and proceeding north, seaward of the axis of the Gulf Stream, to the northern boundary of the EFC closed area at 31 degrees north latitude. In the Charleston Bump, the proposed research area would be north of 31 degrees north latitude and following the 200 meter isobath ( ∼100 fathom contour) to the northern and eastern boundaries of the Charleston Bump closed area. The two areas are hereafter referred to collectively as the proposed research area. NMFS closed the EFC and Charleston Bump closed areas to PLL gear in early 2001 to reduce bycatch of juvenile swordfish, billfish, and other HMS (65 FR 47214, August 1, 2000). The Charleston Bump closed area is a seasonal closure from February through April every year, whereas the EFC closed area is closed year-round to PLL gear. Since that time, the swordfish stock has been nearly rebuilt (B=0.99BMSY) and new bycatch reduction measures have been implemented throughout the PLL fishery (e.g., circle hook requirements, bait requirements, bycatch release gear, and careful handling and release workshops). No PLL fishing has been authorized in the closed areas since 2001, and NMFS has not collected information on the effectiveness of current bycatch reduction measures in closed areas where bycatch rates may be E:\FR\FM\05NON1.SGM 05NON1 62442 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 213 / Monday, November 5, 2007 / Notices ycherry on PRODPC74 with NOTICES higher than in other areas. NMFS thus proposes to collect information under scientifically rigorous protocols to determine the effectiveness of bycatch reduction measures in these closed areas. This information will assist NMFS in making appropriate management decisions regarding the effectiveness of existing closed areas and bycatch reduction technologies, as well as any potential modifications to the closed areas. NMFS proposes to make a total of 289 sets distributed inside and outside the proposed research area over a 12 month period beginning in late 2007 or early 2008. Each set would consist of 500 18/ 0 circle hooks with an offset not to exceed 10 degrees with whole dead finfish bait and/or squid bait. Vessels would be subject to 100 percent observer coverage, and observers or research staff would collect data that includes, but is not limited to, catch per unit effort (CPUE) for target and bycatch species; discard rates; interaction rates with protected species; size of target species; hooking location; mortality at haul back; bycatch mortality; and if possible, an evaluation of the condition of fish at haul back to allow post-release mortality estimates. All targeted catch (tunas, swordfish, and sharks) that can be legally landed could be harvested and sold by the vessel owners. No other compensation would be provided to the vessels. All bycatch would be released using NMFSapproved dehooking equipment and appropriate safe handling and release protocols. Incidental catch of bluefin tuna would be landed consistent with existing regulations. Any mortalities of Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA) regulated species (i.e., tunas and swordfish) and sharks would be counted against the appropriate quotas. Nontarget species and protected resources would be tagged and released alive, consistent with requirements of the Terms and Conditions of the 2004 Biological Opinion issued for the fishery, and research objectives. The EA analyzed the status quo and two alternatives on different proposed research areas within the EFC and Charleston Bump areas. A fourth VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:04 Nov 02, 2007 Jkt 214001 alternative to conduct research throughout the entire EFC and Charleston Bump closed areas was considered but not further analyzed. Based on analysis in the EA of PLL and POP data from 1995–2000 and prior to the closures and circle hook requirements going into effect, a limited number of interactions with leatherback sea turtles (four based on PLL data and six based on POP data over six years) and loggerhead sea turtles (five based on PLL data and 12 based on POP data over six years) occurred in the proposed research area. Under a worst case scenario using estimates from the POP data, and applying anticipated fishing effort in the research fishery to preclosure J-hook catch rates, two leatherback and six loggerhead sea turtle interactions may occur as a result of the research fishery. Given the significantly lower interaction and mortality rates of Atlantic sea turtles with circle hooks, this action is not expected to significantly increase fishery interactions with, or mortalities of, sea turtles. The predicted interactions would not cause the Incidental Take Statement in the 2004 Biological Opinion for the PLL fishery to be exceeded, and would not be expected to jeopardize the continued existence of sea turtles. Incidental takes of, or interactions with, protected species that are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act taking place under the research fishery would be counted against the authorized incidental take levels specified in the 2004 Biological Opinion for the PLL fishery. The EA includes similar analyses of PLL and POP data from 1995–2000 on catch rates, live and dead discard rates, and retained numbers of swordfish, bluefin, yellowfin, and bigeye tunas, large coastal sharks, and pelagic sharks. Based on the worst case scenario from the POP data, and applying anticipated fishing effort in the research fishery to pre-closure J-hook catch rates, an estimated 1,083 swordfish are predicted to be retained, 973 discarded alive, and 360 discarded dead; zero (0) bluefin tuna are predicted to be caught or discarded; nine white marlin are PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 predicted to be discarded alive and 13 dead; 10 blue marlin are predicted to be discarded alive and 14 dead; 113 large coastal sharks are predicted to be kept; 124 discarded alive, and 50 discarded dead (depending upon available quota); and 21 pelagic sharks are predicted to be kept, 81 discarded alive, and 11 discarded dead (depending upon available quota). Given the known and anticipated mortality reduction benefits of circle hooks for Atlantic HMS relative to J-hooks, the estimates above are likely over-estimates. As a result, this action is not expected to significantly increase the retention or bycatch of HMS. All fishing activities would be monitored by Federal fisheries observers or trained research staff to provide data on longline gear configuration; target and incidental catch; bycatch of billfish, juvenile swordfish, and bluefin tuna; and sea turtle interactions. NMFS currently collects this information on selected PLL vessels through the POP. Even though fishing effort will increase in the proposed research area, fishing effort across the entire fishery is not anticipated to increase because vessels participating in the research fishery would have otherwise been fishing commercially for HMS in open areas. The regulations that prohibit the proposed activities absent issuance of an EFP, include requirements for vessel reporting (50 CFR 635.4) and fishing in a closed area (50 CFR 635.21(c)(2)). All other relevant regulations concerning HMS at 50 CFR Part 635 would apply. NMFS is requesting public comment on the EA because the fishing activities are proposed to occur in closed areas, specifically the EFC and Charleston Bump. If NMFS proceeds with the proposed research as described in the EA, then NMFS would issue the necessary exempted fishing permits to authorize the research activity. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: October 30, 2007. Emily H. Menashes Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\05NON1.SGM 05NON1 VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:04 Nov 02, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\05NON1.SGM 05NON1 62443 EN05NO07.001</GPH> ycherry on PRODPC74 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 213 / Monday, November 5, 2007 / Notices 62444 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 213 / Monday, November 5, 2007 / Notices TABLE 1. COORDINATES OF THE PROPOSED RESEARCH AREA (PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE 3) SHOWN IN FIGURE 1 BEGINNING WITH LOCATION NUMBER 1 AND PROCEEDING CLOCKWISE THROUGH LOCATION NUMBER 12. Latitude Longitude Point Degrees 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 34 31 31 28 28 28 31 31 31 32 33 34 Minutes ................................... ................................... ................................... ................................... ................................... ................................... ................................... ................................... ................................... ................................... ................................... ................................... [FR Doc. 07–5474 Filed 11–2–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–C DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Proposed Findings Document, Environmental Assessment, and Finding of No Significant Impact National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. ACTION: Notice of Availability of Proposed Findings Document, Environmental Assessment, and Finding of No Significant Impact on Approval of the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program for Indiana. ycherry on PRODPC74 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of the availability of the Proposed Findings Document, Environmental Assessment, and Finding of No Significant Impact for Indiana’s Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program. Coastal states and territories are required to submit their coastal nonpoint programs to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval. The Findings Document was prepared by NOAA and EPA to provide the rationale for the agencies’ decision to approve the state coastal nonpoint pollution control program. Section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA), 16 U.S.C. 1455b, requires states and territories with coastal zone management programs that have VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:04 Nov 02, 2007 Jkt 214001 Seconds 0 0 0 17 0 0 0 0 47 29 5 0 Degrees 0 0 0 6.8 0 0 0 0 7.2 12.1 35.8 0 received approval under section 306 of the Coastal Zone Management Act to develop and implement coastal nonpoint programs. The Environmental Assessment was prepared by NOAA, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. sections 4321 et seq., to assess the environmental impacts associated with the approval of the coastal nonpoint pollution control program submitted to NOAA and EPA by Indiana. NOAA and EPA have proposed to approve, with conditions, the coastal nonpoint program submitted by Indiana. The requirements of 40 CFR Parts 1500– 1508 (Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations to implement the National Environmental Policy Act) apply to the preparation of these Environmental Assessments. Specifically, 40 CFR section 1506.6 requires agencies to provide public notice of the availability of environmental documents. This notice is part of NOAA’s action to comply with this requirement. Copies of the proposed Findings Document, Environmental Assessment, and Finding of No Significant Impact may be found on the NOAA Web site at https://coastalmanagement.noaa.gov/ assessments/welcome.html or may be obtained upon request from: Allison Castellan, Coastal Programs Division (N/ ORM3), Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, NOS, NOAA, 1305 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, phone (301) 713–3155, extension 125, e-mail allison.castellan@noaa.gov. Individuals or organizations wishing to submit comments on the proposed Findings or Environmental Assessment should do so by December 5, 2007. ADDRESSES: Comments should be made to: John King, Chief, Coastal Programs DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Minutes 76 76 78 79 79 79 79 79 78 78 77 76 Seconds 0 0 0 11 23 40 40 54 21 40 27 15 0 0 0 54.5 47.9 0 0 38.9 50.5 21.0 15.7 26.5 Division (N/ORM3), Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, NOS, NOAA, 1305 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, phone (301) 713–3155 extension 188, e-mail john.king@noaa.gov. (Federal Domestic Assistance Catalog 11.419 Coastal Zone Management Program Administration). John H. Dunnigan, Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Benjamin H. Grumbles, Assistant Administrator, Office of Water, Environmental Protection Agency. [FR Doc. 07–5473 Filed 11–2–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–08–M DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000–0037] Federal Acquisition Regulation;Information Collection; Presolicitation Notice and Response Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). ACTION: Notice of request for public comments regarding an extension to an existing OMB clearance. AGENCIES: SUMMARY: Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Secretariat will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve E:\FR\FM\05NON1.SGM 05NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 213 (Monday, November 5, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 62441-62444]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 07-5474]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XD57


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS); Pelagic Longline 
Research

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

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS announces the availability of an Environmental Assessment 
(EA) analyzing the impacts of conducting research with pelagic longline 
(PLL) vessels in portions of the East Florida Coast (EFC) and 
Charleston Bump closed areas. Given the nearly rebuilt status of north 
Atlantic swordfish and recent bycatch reduction measures implemented 
throughout the U.S. PLL fishery, NMFS is proposing to collect baseline 
PLL fishery data in the closed areas to evaluate the effectiveness of 
existing bycatch reduction measures. The EA analyzes monthly and annual 
PLL logbook and pelagic observer program (POP) data on catch and 
bycatch rates of all species in the proposed research area from 1995-
2000 to determine potential impacts of the research fishery on target 
and non-target species. NMFS invites comments from interested parties 
on the EA.

DATES: Written comments on the EA must be received by 5 p.m. on 
November 20, 2007.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Email: PLL.ResearchEA@noaa.gov. Include in the subject 
line the following identifier: I.D. PLL Research EA.
     Mail: Margo Schulze-Haugen, Highly Migratory Species 
Management Division (F/SF1), NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver 
Spring, MD 20910. Please mark the outside of the envelope ``Comments on 
PLL Research EA.''
     Fax: (301)713-1917

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Russell Dunn, 727-824-5399; fax: 727-
824-5398, or Chris Rilling 301-713-2347; fax: 301-713-1917.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS proposes to conduct research with a 
limited number of vessels (two are proposed, but backup vessels may be 
used if breakdowns occur) in portions of the EFC and Charleston Bump 
closed areas (Figure 1). The latitude and longitude coordinates of the 
proposed research area are provided in Table 1. In the EFC closed area, 
the proposed research area would be north of Fort Pierce, FL, beginning 
at 28 degrees north latitude and proceeding north, seaward of the axis 
of the Gulf Stream, to the northern boundary of the EFC closed area at 
31 degrees north latitude. In the Charleston Bump, the proposed 
research area would be north of 31 degrees north latitude and following 
the 200 meter isobath ( ~100 fathom contour) to the northern and 
eastern boundaries of the Charleston Bump closed area. The two areas 
are hereafter referred to collectively as the proposed research area. 
NMFS closed the EFC and Charleston Bump closed areas to PLL gear in 
early 2001 to reduce bycatch of juvenile swordfish, billfish, and other 
HMS (65 FR 47214, August 1, 2000). The Charleston Bump closed area is a 
seasonal closure from February through April every year, whereas the 
EFC closed area is closed year-round to PLL gear. Since that time, the 
swordfish stock has been nearly rebuilt (B=0.99BMSY) and new 
bycatch reduction measures have been implemented throughout the PLL 
fishery (e.g., circle hook requirements, bait requirements, bycatch 
release gear, and careful handling and release workshops). No PLL 
fishing has been authorized in the closed areas since 2001, and NMFS 
has not collected information on the effectiveness of current bycatch 
reduction measures in closed areas where bycatch rates may be

[[Page 62442]]

higher than in other areas. NMFS thus proposes to collect information 
under scientifically rigorous protocols to determine the effectiveness 
of bycatch reduction measures in these closed areas. This information 
will assist NMFS in making appropriate management decisions regarding 
the effectiveness of existing closed areas and bycatch reduction 
technologies, as well as any potential modifications to the closed 
areas.
    NMFS proposes to make a total of 289 sets distributed inside and 
outside the proposed research area over a 12 month period beginning in 
late 2007 or early 2008. Each set would consist of 500 18/0 circle 
hooks with an offset not to exceed 10 degrees with whole dead finfish 
bait and/or squid bait. Vessels would be subject to 100 percent 
observer coverage, and observers or research staff would collect data 
that includes, but is not limited to, catch per unit effort (CPUE) for 
target and bycatch species; discard rates; interaction rates with 
protected species; size of target species; hooking location; mortality 
at haul back; bycatch mortality; and if possible, an evaluation of the 
condition of fish at haul back to allow post-release mortality 
estimates.
    All targeted catch (tunas, swordfish, and sharks) that can be 
legally landed could be harvested and sold by the vessel owners. No 
other compensation would be provided to the vessels. All bycatch would 
be released using NMFS-approved dehooking equipment and appropriate 
safe handling and release protocols. Incidental catch of bluefin tuna 
would be landed consistent with existing regulations. Any mortalities 
of Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA) regulated species (i.e., tunas 
and swordfish) and sharks would be counted against the appropriate 
quotas. Non-target species and protected resources would be tagged and 
released alive, consistent with requirements of the Terms and 
Conditions of the 2004 Biological Opinion issued for the fishery, and 
research objectives.
    The EA analyzed the status quo and two alternatives on different 
proposed research areas within the EFC and Charleston Bump areas. A 
fourth alternative to conduct research throughout the entire EFC and 
Charleston Bump closed areas was considered but not further analyzed. 
Based on analysis in the EA of PLL and POP data from 1995-2000 and 
prior to the closures and circle hook requirements going into effect, a 
limited number of interactions with leatherback sea turtles (four based 
on PLL data and six based on POP data over six years) and loggerhead 
sea turtles (five based on PLL data and 12 based on POP data over six 
years) occurred in the proposed research area. Under a worst case 
scenario using estimates from the POP data, and applying anticipated 
fishing effort in the research fishery to pre-closure J-hook catch 
rates, two leatherback and six loggerhead sea turtle interactions may 
occur as a result of the research fishery. Given the significantly 
lower interaction and mortality rates of Atlantic sea turtles with 
circle hooks, this action is not expected to significantly increase 
fishery interactions with, or mortalities of, sea turtles. The 
predicted interactions would not cause the Incidental Take Statement in 
the 2004 Biological Opinion for the PLL fishery to be exceeded, and 
would not be expected to jeopardize the continued existence of sea 
turtles. Incidental takes of, or interactions with, protected species 
that are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered 
Species Act taking place under the research fishery would be counted 
against the authorized incidental take levels specified in the 2004 
Biological Opinion for the PLL fishery.
    The EA includes similar analyses of PLL and POP data from 1995-2000 
on catch rates, live and dead discard rates, and retained numbers of 
swordfish, bluefin, yellowfin, and bigeye tunas, large coastal sharks, 
and pelagic sharks. Based on the worst case scenario from the POP data, 
and applying anticipated fishing effort in the research fishery to pre-
closure J-hook catch rates, an estimated 1,083 swordfish are predicted 
to be retained, 973 discarded alive, and 360 discarded dead; zero (0) 
bluefin tuna are predicted to be caught or discarded; nine white marlin 
are predicted to be discarded alive and 13 dead; 10 blue marlin are 
predicted to be discarded alive and 14 dead; 113 large coastal sharks 
are predicted to be kept; 124 discarded alive, and 50 discarded dead 
(depending upon available quota); and 21 pelagic sharks are predicted 
to be kept, 81 discarded alive, and 11 discarded dead (depending upon 
available quota). Given the known and anticipated mortality reduction 
benefits of circle hooks for Atlantic HMS relative to J-hooks, the 
estimates above are likely over-estimates. As a result, this action is 
not expected to significantly increase the retention or bycatch of HMS.
    All fishing activities would be monitored by Federal fisheries 
observers or trained research staff to provide data on longline gear 
configuration; target and incidental catch; bycatch of billfish, 
juvenile swordfish, and bluefin tuna; and sea turtle interactions. NMFS 
currently collects this information on selected PLL vessels through the 
POP.
    Even though fishing effort will increase in the proposed research 
area, fishing effort across the entire fishery is not anticipated to 
increase because vessels participating in the research fishery would 
have otherwise been fishing commercially for HMS in open areas.
    The regulations that prohibit the proposed activities absent 
issuance of an EFP, include requirements for vessel reporting (50 CFR 
635.4) and fishing in a closed area (50 CFR 635.21(c)(2)). All other 
relevant regulations concerning HMS at 50 CFR Part 635 would apply.
    NMFS is requesting public comment on the EA because the fishing 
activities are proposed to occur in closed areas, specifically the EFC 
and Charleston Bump. If NMFS proceeds with the proposed research as 
described in the EA, then NMFS would issue the necessary exempted 
fishing permits to authorize the research activity.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: October 30, 2007.
Emily H. Menashes
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S

[[Page 62443]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN05NO07.001


[[Page 62444]]



  Table 1. Coordinates of the proposed research area (preferred alternative 3) shown in Figure 1 beginning with
                     location number 1 and proceeding clockwise through location number 12.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Latitude                                      Longitude
       Point        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Degrees             Minutes       Seconds      Degrees      Minutes      Seconds
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1                                         34   0             0             76           0            0
2                                         31   0             0             76           0            0
3                                         31   0             0             78           0            0
4                                         28   17            6.8           79           11           54.5
5                                         28   0             0             79           23           47.9
6                                         28   0             0             79           40           0
7                                         31   0             0             79           40           0
8                                         31   0             0             79           54           38.9
9                                         31   47            7.2           78           21           50.5
10                                        32   29            12.1          78           40           21.0
11                                        33   5             35.8          77           27           15.7
12                                        34   0             0             76           15           26.5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[FR Doc. 07-5474 Filed 11-2-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-C