Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List 10 Sturgeon Species as Endangered or Threatened, 58507-58510 [2013-22879]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 185 / Tuesday, September 24, 2013 / Proposed Rules (e) Applicability to ticketing. This section does not apply to a respondent who fails to pay a civil penalty assessed by a ticket issued pursuant to § 107.310 of this subchapter. (f) Applicability to debtors. This section does not apply to a respondent who is unable to pay a civil penalty because the respondent is a debtor in a case under chapter 11, title 11, United States Code. A respondent who is a debtor in a case under chapter 11, title 11, United States Code must provide the following information to the agency decision maker identified in the original agency order or on its certificate of service. (1) The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code under which the bankruptcy proceeding is filed; (2) The bankruptcy case number; (3) The court in which the bankruptcy proceeding was filed; and (4) Any other information requested by the agency to determine a debtor’s bankruptcy status. (g) Penalties for Prohibited Hazardous Materials Operations. A respondent that continues to conduct hazardous materials operations in violation of this section may be subject to additional penalties, including criminal prosecution pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 5124. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS (a) If a full payment of a civil penalty, or an installment payment as part of agreed upon payment plan, has not been made within 45 days after the date specified for payment by the final agency order, the agency may issue a cessation of hazardous materials operations order to the respondent. (b) The cessation of hazardous materials operations order issued under this section shall include the following information: (1) A citation to the statutory provision or regulation the respondent was found to have violated and to the terms of the order or agreement requiring payment; (2) A statement indicating that if the respondent fails to pay the full outstanding balance of the civil penalty within 90 days after the payment due date, the respondent shall be prohibited from conducting any activity regulated under the Federal hazardous material transportation law, this subchapter or subchapter C of this chapter, or an exemption or special permit, approval, or registration issued under this subchapter or under subchapter C of this chapter; (3) A statement describing the respondent’s options for responding to 17:25 Sep 23, 2013 Jkt 229001 Issued in Washington, DC, on September 16, 2013, under authority delegated in 49 CFR Part 106. Magdy El-Sibaie, Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. [FR Doc. 2013–22952 Filed 9–23–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–60–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR § 109.103 Notice of Nonpayment of Penalties. VerDate Mar<15>2010 the order which will include an option to file an appeal for reconsideration of the cessation of operations order within 20 days of receipt of the order; and (4) A description of the manner in which the respondent can make payment of any money due the United States as a result of the proceeding (i.e., the full outstanding balance of the civil penalty). (c) The cessation of hazardous materials operation order will be delivered by personal service, unless such service is impossible or impractical. If personal service is impossible or impractical then service may be made by certified mail or commercial express service. If a respondent’s principal place of business is in a foreign country, it will be delivered to the respondent’s designated agent (as prepared in accordance with § 105.40 of this subchapter). Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2013–0051; 450 003 0115] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List 10 Sturgeon Species as Endangered or Threatened Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of petition finding and initiation of status review. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list 10 sturgeon species as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Based on our review, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of this notice, we are initiating a review of the status of these species to determine if listing these 10 species is warranted. To ensure that this status review is comprehensive, we request scientific and commercial data SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 58507 and other information regarding these species. At the conclusion of this review, we will issue a 12-month finding on the petition, as provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act. DATES: To allow us adequate time to conduct this review, we request that we receive information on or before November 25, 2013. After this date, you must submit information directly to the office listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section below. Please note that we may not be able to address or incorporate information that we receive after the above requested date. ADDRESSES: You may submit information by one of the following methods: • Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. In the Search field, enter Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES– 2013–0051, which is the docket number for this action. Then click on the Search button. You may submit a comment by clicking on ‘‘Comment Now!’’ If your comments will fit in the provided comment box, please use this feature of http://www.regulations.gov, as it is most compatible with our comment review procedures. If you attach your comments as a separate document, our preferred file format is Microsoft Word. If you attach multiple comments (such as form letters), our preferred format is a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel. • By Hard Copy: U.S. mail or handdelivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–HQ–ES–2013–0051, Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203. We will not accept comments by email or fax. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Information Requested section, below, for more information). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janine Van Norman, Chief, Branch of Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203; telephone 703– 358–2171; facsimile 703–358–1735. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Information Requested For the status review to be complete and based on the best available scientific and commercial information, E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 58508 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 185 / Tuesday, September 24, 2013 / Proposed Rules we request information on 10 sturgeon species (see list in Table 1, below) from government agencies (including foreign national and provincial governments within the range of each of these species), the scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties. We seek information on: (1) Each species’ biology, range, and population trends, including: (a) Habitat requirements for feeding, breeding, and sheltering; (b) Genetics and taxonomy; (c) Historical and current range, including distribution patterns, particularly regarding their seasonal migrations; (d) Historical and current population levels, and current and projected population trends; (e) Potential threats to each species such as harvest or other threats not identified; and (f) Past and ongoing conservation measures for each species or its habitat. (2) The factors that are the basis for making a listing determination for a species or subspecies under section 4(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), which are: (a) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of their habitat or range; (b) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes, particularly data on hunting; (c) Disease or predation; (d) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (e) Other natural or manmade factors affecting their continued existence. (3) The potential effects of climate change on each species and its habitat. Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as full references) to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial information you include. Submissions merely stating support for or opposition to the action under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in making a determination. Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that determinations as to whether any species is an endangered or threatened species must be made ‘‘solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.’’ You may submit your information concerning this status review by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:25 Sep 23, 2013 Jkt 229001 submission—including any personal identifying information—will be posted on the Web site. If you submit a hard copy that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this personal identifying information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all hard copy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov. Information and supporting documentation that we received and used in preparing this finding will be available to review at http:// www.regulations.gov, or you may make an appointment during normal business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Program, Branch of Foreign Species (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Background Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires that we make a finding on whether a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. We are to base this finding on information provided in the petition, supporting information submitted with the petition, and information otherwise available in our files. To the maximum extent practicable, we are to make this finding within 90 days of our receipt of the petition and publish our notice of the finding promptly in the Federal Register. Our standard for substantial scientific or commercial information within the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) with regard to a 90-day petition finding is ‘‘that amount of information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the measure proposed in the petition may be warranted’’ (50 CFR 424.14(b)). If we find that substantial scientific or commercial information was presented, we are required to promptly initiate a species status review, which we subsequently summarize in our 12month finding. Petition History On March 12, 2012, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) received a petition dated March 8, 2012, from WildEarth Guardians and Friends of Animals to list as endangered or threatened under the Act the following 15 sturgeon species: Adriatic sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii); Baltic sturgeon (A. sturio); Russian sturgeon (A. PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 gueldenstaedtii); ship sturgeon (A. nudiventris); Persian sturgeon (A. persicus); stellate sturgeon (A. stellatus); Siberian sturgeon (A. baerii); Yangtze sturgeon (A. dabryanus); Chinese sturgeon (A. sinensis); Sakhalin sturgeon (A. mikadoi); Amur sturgeon (A. schrenckii); Kaluga sturgeon (Huso dauricus); Syr Darya sturgeon (Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi); dwarf sturgeon (P. hermanni); and Amu Darya sturgeon (P. kaufmanni). The petition states that all 15 petitioned sturgeon species are affected by similar threats, which are primarily: Both legal and illegal harvest for meat and/or roe; habitat loss and degradation including dams or dam construction, and water pollution. The petition is available at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/ petitions/sturgeon15_petition2012.pdf. NMFS acknowledged receipt of this petition in a letter dated April 14, 2012, and informed the petitioners that NMFS would determine, under section 4 of the Act, whether the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. Although the petition was initially sent to NMFS, as a result of subsequent discussions between NMFS and the Service regarding the August 28, 1974, Memorandum of Understanding pertaining to ‘‘Jurisdictional Responsibilities and Listing Procedures Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973,’’ we have determined that 10 of the 15 petitioned sturgeon species are within the jurisdiction of the Service. Therefore, in April 2012, the Service notified WildEarth Guardians that we have jurisdiction over the 10 sturgeon species, listed below, that are the subject of this 90-day finding. This 90-day finding considers whether the petitioned action may be warranted for the following 10 sturgeon species included in the petition: Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii), Yangtze sturgeon (A. dabryanus), Russian sturgeon (A. gueldenstaedtii), ship sturgeon (A. nudiventris), Persian sturgeon (A. persicus), Amur sturgeon (A. schrenckii), stellate sturgeon (A. stellatus), Syr-Darya sturgeon (Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi), dwarf sturgeon (P. hermanni), and the Amu Darya sturgeon (P. kaufmanni). The best available information regarding the current ranges and population trends is summarized in Table 1, below. E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 185 / Tuesday, September 24, 2013 / Proposed Rules 58509 TABLE 1—LIST OF SPECIES IN THIS 90-DAY FINDING IUCN Status Population trend Current range Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii) ................ Yangtze sturgeon (Acipenser dabryanus) ........ Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) Endangered ................ Critically Endangered Critically Endangered Decreasing ................. Decreasing ................. Decreasing ................. Ship sturgeon (Acipenser nudiventris) ............. Critically Endangered Decreasing ................. Persian sturgeon (Acipenser persicus) ............ Critically Endangered Decreasing ................. Amur sturgeon (Acipenser schrenckii) ............. Stellate sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus) ............ Critically Endangered Critically Endangered Decreasing ................. Decreasing ................. Syr Darya sturgeon (Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi). Dwarf sturgeon (Pseudoscaphirhynchus hermanni). Amu Darya sturgeon (Pseudoscaphirhynchus kaufmanni). mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Species Critically Endangered Unknown .................... China; Kazakhstan; Mongolia; Russia. China. Azerbaijan; Bulgaria; Georgia; Iran; Kazakhstan; Moldova; Romania; Russia; Serbia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine. Azerbaijan; Georgia; Hungary; Iran; Kazakhstan; Russia; Serbia; Turkey. Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey. China; Russia. Azerbaijan; Bulgaria; Iran; Kazakhstan; Moldova; Romania; Russia; Serbia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine. Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. Critically Endangered Decreasing ................. Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. Critically Endangered Decreasing ................. Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. Introduction These 10 sturgeon species are either anadromous (spend part of their lives in salt water and return to rivers to breed) or live solely in fresh water. Many sturgeon species are prized for their roe, which is made into caviar. The primary factors indicated in the petition as affecting these species include overharvest and damming of rivers, which affect the continued survival of all the petitioned sturgeon with the exception, at least at present, of those in the Amur River basin. In 1997, Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) agreed to include all sturgeon species not already in the CITES Appendices in Appendix II. The listing became effective in April 1998. All 10 species of sturgeon in this finding were included in CITES Appendix II at that time. Pursuant to Article II, paragraph 2(a) of CITES, Appendix II includes species that are not necessarily threatened now with extinction, but may become so unless trade in specimens of such species is subject to strict regulation in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival. In addition, Appendix II also includes species that may be listed due to their similarity in appearance with other species that are regulated under the treaty (CITES Article II 2(b)). Some of the 10 species of sturgeon in this finding were listed in accordance with the CITES criteria under paragraph 2(a) of Article II, while others were listed based upon the similarity of appearance provision. CITES is a multinational agreement between governments. CITES Parties (signatory countries) regulate and monitor international trade in CITESlisted species (that is, their import, export, and re-export) through a system of permits and certificates. CITES lists species in one of three appendices— Appendix I, II, or III. VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:48 Sep 23, 2013 Jkt 229001 Evaluation of Information for a 90-Day Finding on a Petition Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and its implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424 set forth the procedures for adding a species to, or removing a species from, the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. A species may be determined to be an endangered or threatened species due to one or more of the five factors described in section 4(a)(1) of the Act: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) Disease or predation; (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. In making this 90-day finding, we evaluated whether information regarding threats to each species, as presented in the petition and other information available in our files, is substantial, thereby indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. Our evaluation of this information is presented in Appendix A. in Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2013–0051 on http:// www.regulations.gov. Finding On the basis of our review under section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act, we PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 determine that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing these 10 sturgeon species as endangered or threatened may be warranted. This finding is based on information provided in the petition regarding the five factors: The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range (Factor A); overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes (Factor B); disease and predation (Factor C); the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (Factor D); and other natural or manmade factors affecting the species’ continued existence (Factor E). The primary factors identified in the petition as affecting these species are dams constructed within their range that fragment their habitat (Factor A); pollution that causes health and reproduction issues (Factor A); severe levels of overharvest (Factor B); and the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) to address those threats. The petitioners also note that all of the petitioned species are affected by more than one factor (Petition, p. 50). These species occur in several countries, and the factors affecting these species are complex and interrelated. Because we have found that the petition presents substantial information indicating that listing these 10 sturgeon species may be warranted, we are initiating a status review to determine whether listing these 10 sturgeon species under the Act as endangered or threatened is warranted. The ‘‘substantial information’’ standard for a 90-day finding differs from the Act’s ‘‘best scientific and commercial data available’’ standard E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 58510 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 185 / Tuesday, September 24, 2013 / Proposed Rules mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS that applies to a 12-month finding (status review) 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. In a 12-month finding, we will determine whether a petitioned action is warranted after we have completed a thorough status review of the species, which is conducted following a substantial 90day finding. Because the Act’s standards for 90-day and 12-month findings are different, as described above, a substantial 90-day finding does not VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:25 Sep 23, 2013 Jkt 229001 mean that the 12-month finding will result in a warranted finding. Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. References Cited A complete list of all references cited in this 90-day finding is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2013–0051 or upon request from the Branch of Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Authority Author The primary author of this finding is Amy Brisendine, Branch of Foreign PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Dated: September 9, 2013. Stephen D. Guertin, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2013–22879 Filed 9–23–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 185 (Tuesday, September 24, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 58507-58510]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-22879]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0051; 450 003 0115]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on 
a Petition To List 10 Sturgeon Species as Endangered or Threatened

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of petition finding and initiation of status review.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 
90-day finding on a petition to list 10 sturgeon species as endangered 
or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act). Based on our review, we find that the petition presents 
substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that the 
petitioned action may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of 
this notice, we are initiating a review of the status of these species 
to determine if listing these 10 species is warranted. To ensure that 
this status review is comprehensive, we request scientific and 
commercial data and other information regarding these species. At the 
conclusion of this review, we will issue a 12-month finding on the 
petition, as provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act.

DATES: To allow us adequate time to conduct this review, we request 
that we receive information on or before November 25, 2013. After this 
date, you must submit information directly to the office listed in the 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section below. Please note that we may 
not be able to address or incorporate information that we receive after 
the above requested date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit information by one of the following methods:
     Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: 
http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search field, enter Docket No. FWS-
HQ-ES-2013-0051, which is the docket number for this action. Then click 
on the Search button. You may submit a comment by clicking on ``Comment 
Now!'' If your comments will fit in the provided comment box, please 
use this feature of http://www.regulations.gov, as it is most 
compatible with our comment review procedures. If you attach your 
comments as a separate document, our preferred file format is Microsoft 
Word. If you attach multiple comments (such as form letters), our 
preferred format is a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.
     By Hard Copy: U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments 
Processing, Attn: FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0051, Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax 
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will not accept comments by email or fax. We will post all 
comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we 
will post any personal information you provide us (see the Information 
Requested section, below, for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janine Van Norman, Chief, Branch of 
Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203; 
telephone 703-358-2171; facsimile 703-358-1735. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Information Requested

    For the status review to be complete and based on the best 
available scientific and commercial information,

[[Page 58508]]

we request information on 10 sturgeon species (see list in Table 1, 
below) from government agencies (including foreign national and 
provincial governments within the range of each of these species), the 
scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties. We 
seek information on:
    (1) Each species' biology, range, and population trends, including:
    (a) Habitat requirements for feeding, breeding, and sheltering;
    (b) Genetics and taxonomy;
    (c) Historical and current range, including distribution patterns, 
particularly regarding their seasonal migrations;
    (d) Historical and current population levels, and current and 
projected population trends;
    (e) Potential threats to each species such as harvest or other 
threats not identified; and
    (f) Past and ongoing conservation measures for each species or its 
habitat.
    (2) The factors that are the basis for making a listing 
determination for a species or subspecies under section 4(a) of the Act 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), which are:
    (a) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of their habitat or range;
    (b) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes, particularly data on hunting;
    (c) Disease or predation;
    (d) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
    (e) Other natural or manmade factors affecting their continued 
existence.
    (3) The potential effects of climate change on each species and its 
habitat.
    Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as 
full references) to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial 
information you include. Submissions merely stating support for or 
opposition to the action under consideration without providing 
supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in 
making a determination. Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that 
determinations as to whether any species is an endangered or threatened 
species must be made ``solely on the basis of the best scientific and 
commercial data available.''
    You may submit your information concerning this status review by 
one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. If you submit 
information via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire submission--
including any personal identifying information--will be posted on the 
Web site. If you submit a hard copy that includes personal identifying 
information, you may request at the top of your document that we 
withhold this personal identifying information from public review. 
However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will 
post all hard copy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov.
    Information and supporting documentation that we received and used 
in preparing this finding will be available to review at http://www.regulations.gov, or you may make an appointment during normal 
business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered 
Species Program, Branch of Foreign Species (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).

Background

    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires that we make a finding on 
whether a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species presents 
substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the 
petitioned action may be warranted. We are to base this finding on 
information provided in the petition, supporting information submitted 
with the petition, and information otherwise available in our files. To 
the maximum extent practicable, we are to make this finding within 90 
days of our receipt of the petition and publish our notice of the 
finding promptly in the Federal Register.
    Our standard for substantial scientific or commercial information 
within the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) with regard to a 90-day 
petition finding is ``that amount of information that would lead a 
reasonable person to believe that the measure proposed in the petition 
may be warranted'' (50 CFR 424.14(b)). If we find that substantial 
scientific or commercial information was presented, we are required to 
promptly initiate a species status review, which we subsequently 
summarize in our 12-month finding.

Petition History

    On March 12, 2012, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) 
received a petition dated March 8, 2012, from WildEarth Guardians and 
Friends of Animals to list as endangered or threatened under the Act 
the following 15 sturgeon species: Adriatic sturgeon (Acipenser 
naccarii); Baltic sturgeon (A. sturio); Russian sturgeon (A. 
gueldenstaedtii); ship sturgeon (A. nudiventris); Persian sturgeon (A. 
persicus); stellate sturgeon (A. stellatus); Siberian sturgeon (A. 
baerii); Yangtze sturgeon (A. dabryanus); Chinese sturgeon (A. 
sinensis); Sakhalin sturgeon (A. mikadoi); Amur sturgeon (A. 
schrenckii); Kaluga sturgeon (Huso dauricus); Syr Darya sturgeon 
(Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi); dwarf sturgeon (P. hermanni); and 
Amu Darya sturgeon (P. kaufmanni). The petition states that all 15 
petitioned sturgeon species are affected by similar threats, which are 
primarily: Both legal and illegal harvest for meat and/or roe; habitat 
loss and degradation including dams or dam construction, and water 
pollution. The petition is available at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/petitions/sturgeon15_petition2012.pdf.
    NMFS acknowledged receipt of this petition in a letter dated April 
14, 2012, and informed the petitioners that NMFS would determine, under 
section 4 of the Act, whether the petition presents substantial 
scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned 
action may be warranted. Although the petition was initially sent to 
NMFS, as a result of subsequent discussions between NMFS and the 
Service regarding the August 28, 1974, Memorandum of Understanding 
pertaining to ``Jurisdictional Responsibilities and Listing Procedures 
Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973,'' we have determined that 10 
of the 15 petitioned sturgeon species are within the jurisdiction of 
the Service. Therefore, in April 2012, the Service notified WildEarth 
Guardians that we have jurisdiction over the 10 sturgeon species, 
listed below, that are the subject of this 90-day finding.
    This 90-day finding considers whether the petitioned action may be 
warranted for the following 10 sturgeon species included in the 
petition: Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii), Yangtze sturgeon (A. 
dabryanus), Russian sturgeon (A. gueldenstaedtii), ship sturgeon (A. 
nudiventris), Persian sturgeon (A. persicus), Amur sturgeon (A. 
schrenckii), stellate sturgeon (A. stellatus), Syr-Darya sturgeon 
(Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi), dwarf sturgeon (P. hermanni), and 
the Amu Darya sturgeon (P. kaufmanni). The best available information 
regarding the current ranges and population trends is summarized in 
Table 1, below.

[[Page 58509]]



                                 Table 1--List of Species in This 90-Day Finding
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Species                       IUCN Status            Population trend          Current range
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii).  Endangered.............  Decreasing.............  China; Kazakhstan;
                                                                                          Mongolia; Russia.
Yangtze sturgeon (Acipenser            Critically Endangered..  Decreasing.............  China.
 dabryanus).
Russian sturgeon (Acipenser            Critically Endangered..  Decreasing.............  Azerbaijan; Bulgaria;
 gueldenstaedtii).                                                                        Georgia; Iran;
                                                                                          Kazakhstan; Moldova;
                                                                                          Romania; Russia;
                                                                                          Serbia; Turkey;
                                                                                          Turkmenistan; Ukraine.
Ship sturgeon (Acipenser nudiventris)  Critically Endangered..  Decreasing.............  Azerbaijan; Georgia;
                                                                                          Hungary; Iran;
                                                                                          Kazakhstan; Russia;
                                                                                          Serbia; Turkey.
Persian sturgeon (Acipenser persicus)  Critically Endangered..  Decreasing.............  Azerbaijan, Georgia,
                                                                                          Iran, Kazakhstan,
                                                                                          Russia, Turkey.
Amur sturgeon (Acipenser schrenckii).  Critically Endangered..  Decreasing.............  China; Russia.
Stellate sturgeon (Acipenser           Critically Endangered..  Decreasing.............  Azerbaijan; Bulgaria;
 stellatus).                                                                              Iran; Kazakhstan;
                                                                                          Moldova; Romania;
                                                                                          Russia; Serbia;
                                                                                          Turkey; Turkmenistan;
                                                                                          Ukraine.
Syr Darya sturgeon                     Critically Endangered..  Unknown................  Kazakhstan, Tajikistan,
 (Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi).                                                     Uzbekistan.
Dwarf sturgeon (Pseudoscaphirhynchus   Critically Endangered..  Decreasing.............  Afghanistan,
 hermanni).                                                                               Turkmenistan,
                                                                                          Uzbekistan.
Amu Darya sturgeon                     Critically Endangered..  Decreasing.............  Turkmenistan,
 (Pseudoscaphirhynchus kaufmanni).                                                        Uzbekistan.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Introduction

    These 10 sturgeon species are either anadromous (spend part of 
their lives in salt water and return to rivers to breed) or live solely 
in fresh water. Many sturgeon species are prized for their roe, which 
is made into caviar. The primary factors indicated in the petition as 
affecting these species include overharvest and damming of rivers, 
which affect the continued survival of all the petitioned sturgeon with 
the exception, at least at present, of those in the Amur River basin.
    In 1997, Parties to the Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) agreed to include 
all sturgeon species not already in the CITES Appendices in Appendix 
II. The listing became effective in April 1998. All 10 species of 
sturgeon in this finding were included in CITES Appendix II at that 
time. Pursuant to Article II, paragraph 2(a) of CITES, Appendix II 
includes species that are not necessarily threatened now with 
extinction, but may become so unless trade in specimens of such species 
is subject to strict regulation in order to avoid utilization 
incompatible with their survival. In addition, Appendix II also 
includes species that may be listed due to their similarity in 
appearance with other species that are regulated under the treaty 
(CITES Article II 2(b)). Some of the 10 species of sturgeon in this 
finding were listed in accordance with the CITES criteria under 
paragraph 2(a) of Article II, while others were listed based upon the 
similarity of appearance provision.
    CITES is a multinational agreement between governments. CITES 
Parties (signatory countries) regulate and monitor international trade 
in CITES-listed species (that is, their import, export, and re-export) 
through a system of permits and certificates. CITES lists species in 
one of three appendices--Appendix I, II, or III.

Evaluation of Information for a 90-Day Finding on a Petition

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and its implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR 424 set forth the procedures for adding a species 
to, or removing a species from, the Federal Lists of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants. A species may be determined to be an 
endangered or threatened species due to one or more of the five factors 
described in section 4(a)(1) of the Act:
    (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (C) Disease or predation;
    (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
    (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence.
    In making this 90-day finding, we evaluated whether information 
regarding threats to each species, as presented in the petition and 
other information available in our files, is substantial, thereby 
indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. Our evaluation 
of this information is presented in Appendix A. in Docket No. FWS-HQ-
ES-2013-0051 on http://www.regulations.gov.

Finding

    On the basis of our review under section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act, we 
determine that the petition presents substantial scientific or 
commercial information indicating that listing these 10 sturgeon 
species as endangered or threatened may be warranted. This finding is 
based on information provided in the petition regarding the five 
factors: The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range (Factor A); overutilization for 
commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes (Factor 
B); disease and predation (Factor C); the inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms (Factor D); and other natural or manmade factors 
affecting the species' continued existence (Factor E).
    The primary factors identified in the petition as affecting these 
species are dams constructed within their range that fragment their 
habitat (Factor A); pollution that causes health and reproduction 
issues (Factor A); severe levels of overharvest (Factor B); and the 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) to address 
those threats. The petitioners also note that all of the petitioned 
species are affected by more than one factor (Petition, p. 50).
    These species occur in several countries, and the factors affecting 
these species are complex and interrelated. Because we have found that 
the petition presents substantial information indicating that listing 
these 10 sturgeon species may be warranted, we are initiating a status 
review to determine whether listing these 10 sturgeon species under the 
Act as endangered or threatened is warranted.
    The ``substantial information'' standard for a 90-day finding 
differs from the Act's ``best scientific and commercial data 
available'' standard

[[Page 58510]]

that applies to a 12-month finding (status review) 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. In a 12-month finding, we will determine whether a petitioned 
action is warranted after we have completed a thorough status review of 
the species, which is conducted following a substantial 90-day finding. 
Because the Act's standards for 90-day and 12-month findings are 
different, as described above, a substantial 90-day finding does not 
mean that the 12-month finding will result in a warranted finding.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this 90-day finding is 
available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. 
FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0051 or upon request from the Branch of Foreign Species, 
Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Author

    The primary author of this finding is Amy Brisendine, Branch of 
Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service.

Authority

    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: September 9, 2013.
Stephen D. Guertin,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-22879 Filed 9-23-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P