Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus, 61015-61016 [E8-24484]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 200 / Wednesday, October 15, 2008 / Proposed Rules Therefore, we are initiating a status review to determine if listing the species is warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial information regarding the least chub. It is important to note that the ‘‘substantial information’’ standard for a 90-day finding is in contrast to the Act’s ‘‘best scientific and commercial data’’ standard that applies to a 12-month finding as to whether a petitioned action is warranted. A 90-day finding is not a status assessment of the species and does not constitute a status review under the Act. Our final determination as to whether a petitioned action is warranted is not made until we have completed a thorough status review of the species, which is conducted following a positive 90-day finding. Because the Act’s standards for 90-day and 12-month findings are different, as described above, a positive 90-day finding does not mean that the 12month finding also will be positive. We encourage interested parties to continue gathering data that will assist with the conservation and monitoring of the least chub. The petitioners requested that critical habitat be designated for this species. If we determine in our 12month finding that listing the least chub is warranted, we will address the designation of critical habitat at the time of the proposed rulemaking. References Cited A complete list of all references cited in this document is available upon request from the Utah Ecological Services Field Office (see the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section). Author The primary authors of this document are staff of the Utah Ecological Services Field Office (see the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section). Authority erowe on PROD1PC64 with PROPOSALS-1 The authority for this action is section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Dated: October 7, 2008. Paul R. Schmidt, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. E8–24467 Filed 10–14–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:21 Oct 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 RIN 0648–AV61 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) Resources of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Minimum Conservation Standards for Imported Spiny Lobster National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Announcement of availability of fishery management plan amendments; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS announces the availability of Amendment 4 to the Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan (FMP) of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and Amendment 8 to the Joint Spiny Lobster FMP of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic prepared by the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils (Councils). Amendments 4 and 8 would establish minimum conservation standards for imported spiny lobster. The intended effect of Amendments 4 and 8 is to eliminate the primary market for lobster that do not meet the minimum size limit or mean size at sexual maturity, which is expected to result in a reduction in the foreign harvest of these undersized animals and increase the spawning stock biomass and long-term potential yield within the pan-Caribbean spiny lobster fishery. DATES: Written comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern time, on December 15, 2008. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods: • E-mail: 0648–AV61.NOA@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line the following document identifier: 0648–AV61–NOA. • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Jason Rueter, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. • Fax: 727–824–5308, Attention: Jason Rueter. Copies of Amendments 4 and 8, which include an Environmental Impact Statement, a Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), and an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis are available from NMFS Southeast Regional Office, 263 PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 61015 13th Avenue South, St Petersburg, FL 33701; e-mail: jason.rueter@noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Rueter, 727–824–5305; fax 727– 824–5308; e-mail: jason.rueter@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The United States is a major importer of spiny lobster, importing over 88,000 tons (over 194 million lbs) over the past 10 years, worth an estimated $2.27 billion dollars. The United States imports over 90 percent of the spiny lobster harvested in South and Central America and the Caribbean countries. Some of the exporting countries have minimum size limits, but other countries do not. As a result, some of the imported product is legally harvested, but the majority of the undersized product is illegally harvested in the exporting countries. The major exporters to the United States are the Bahamas, Brazil, Honduras, and Nicaragua. All of these exporting countries have some form of minimum size requirement, but the requirements are variable and enforcement is severely lacking. Therefore, NOAA Fisheries Service in coordination with the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils is considering minimum conservation standards on imports to curtail the flow of imported undersized lobster harvested in foreign countries. The panCaribbean spiny lobster stock is considered to be fully exploited or overexploited in much of its range. Therefore, additional restrictions on the harvest of animals below the mean size at sexual maturity (i.e., undersized animals) would greatly benefit the stock. Eliminating the primary market for undersized lobster is expected to result in a reduction in the foreign harvest of undersized animals and increase the spawning stock biomass and long-term potential yield within the panCaribbean spiny lobster fishery. A proposed rule that would implement the measures outlined in Amendments 4 and 8 has been received from the Councils. In accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), NMFS is evaluating the proposed rule to determine whether it is consistent with the FMPs, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. If that determination is affirmative, NMFS will publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register for public review and comment. Comments received by December 15, 2008 whether specifically directed to the Amendments 4 and 8 or the E:\FR\FM\15OCP1.SGM 15OCP1 61016 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 200 / Wednesday, October 15, 2008 / Proposed Rules erowe on PROD1PC64 with PROPOSALS-1 proposed rule, will be considered by NMFS in its decision to approve, disapprove, or partially approve the amendments. Comments received after that date will not be considered by NMFS in this decision. All comments VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:21 Oct 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 received by NMFS on the amendments or the proposed rule during their respective comment periods will be addressed in the final rule. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. PO 00000 Dated: October 9, 2008. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E8–24484 Filed 10–14–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\15OCP1.SGM 15OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 200 (Wednesday, October 15, 2008)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 61015-61016]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-24484]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

RIN 0648-AV61


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) Resources of the Caribbean, Gulf of 
Mexico, and South Atlantic; Minimum Conservation Standards for Imported 
Spiny Lobster

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

ACTION: Announcement of availability of fishery management plan 
amendments; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces the availability of Amendment 4 to the Spiny 
Lobster Fishery Management Plan (FMP) of Puerto Rico and the U.S. 
Virgin Islands and Amendment 8 to the Joint Spiny Lobster FMP of the 
Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic prepared by the Caribbean, South 
Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils (Councils). 
Amendments 4 and 8 would establish minimum conservation standards for 
imported spiny lobster. The intended effect of Amendments 4 and 8 is to 
eliminate the primary market for lobster that do not meet the minimum 
size limit or mean size at sexual maturity, which is expected to result 
in a reduction in the foreign harvest of these undersized animals and 
increase the spawning stock biomass and long-term potential yield 
within the pan-Caribbean spiny lobster fishery.

DATES: Written comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern 
time, on December 15, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: 0648-AV61.NOA@noaa.gov. Include in the subject 
line the following document identifier: 0648-AV61-NOA.
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Jason Rueter, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 
13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
     Fax: 727-824-5308, Attention: Jason Rueter.
    Copies of Amendments 4 and 8, which include an Environmental Impact 
Statement, a Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), and an Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis are available from NMFS Southeast Regional Office, 
263 13th Avenue South, St Petersburg, FL 33701; e-mail: 
jason.rueter@noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Rueter, 727-824-5305; fax 727-
824-5308; e-mail: jason.rueter@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The United States is a major importer of 
spiny lobster, importing over 88,000 tons (over 194 million lbs) over 
the past 10 years, worth an estimated $2.27 billion dollars. The United 
States imports over 90 percent of the spiny lobster harvested in South 
and Central America and the Caribbean countries. Some of the exporting 
countries have minimum size limits, but other countries do not. As a 
result, some of the imported product is legally harvested, but the 
majority of the undersized product is illegally harvested in the 
exporting countries. The major exporters to the United States are the 
Bahamas, Brazil, Honduras, and Nicaragua. All of these exporting 
countries have some form of minimum size requirement, but the 
requirements are variable and enforcement is severely lacking. 
Therefore, NOAA Fisheries Service in coordination with the Caribbean, 
South Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils is 
considering minimum conservation standards on imports to curtail the 
flow of imported undersized lobster harvested in foreign countries. The 
pan-Caribbean spiny lobster stock is considered to be fully exploited 
or over-exploited in much of its range. Therefore, additional 
restrictions on the harvest of animals below the mean size at sexual 
maturity (i.e., undersized animals) would greatly benefit the stock. 
Eliminating the primary market for undersized lobster is expected to 
result in a reduction in the foreign harvest of undersized animals and 
increase the spawning stock biomass and long-term potential yield 
within the pan-Caribbean spiny lobster fishery.
    A proposed rule that would implement the measures outlined in 
Amendments 4 and 8 has been received from the Councils. In accordance 
with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
(Magnuson-Stevens Act), NMFS is evaluating the proposed rule to 
determine whether it is consistent with the FMPs, the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act, and other applicable law. If that determination is affirmative, 
NMFS will publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register for public 
review and comment.
    Comments received by December 15, 2008 whether specifically 
directed to the Amendments 4 and 8 or the

[[Page 61016]]

proposed rule, will be considered by NMFS in its decision to approve, 
disapprove, or partially approve the amendments. Comments received 
after that date will not be considered by NMFS in this decision. All 
comments received by NMFS on the amendments or the proposed rule during 
their respective comment periods will be addressed in the final rule.

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

    Dated: October 9, 2008.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. E8-24484 Filed 10-14-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S