Draft 2013 Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports, 66681-66683 [2013-26598]

Download as PDF 66681 Notices Federal Register Vol. 78, No. 215 Wednesday, November 6, 2013 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of the Census Census Advisory Committees Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of Public Meeting. AGENCY: The Bureau of the Census (Census Bureau) is giving notice of a meeting, the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations (NAC). The committee will address census policies, research and methodology, tests, operations, communications/messaging and other activities to ascertain needs and best practices to improve censuses, surveys, operations and programs. The NAC will meet in a plenary session on December 5–6, 2013. Last-minute changes to the schedule are possible, which could prevent giving advance public notice of schedule adjustments. DATES: December 5–6, 2013. On December 5, the meeting will begin at approximately 8:30 a.m. and end at approximately 5:00 p.m. On December 6, the meeting will begin at approximately 8:30 a.m. and end at approximately 1:45 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the U.S. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Suitland, Maryland 20746. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeri Green, Jeri.Green@census.gov, Committee Liaison Officer, Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Room 8H182, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233, telephone 301– 763–6590. For TTY callers, please use the Federal Relay Service 1–800–877– 8339. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: Bureau. The Committee will advise the Director of the Census Bureau on the full range of economic, housing, demographic, socioeconomic, linguistic, technological, methodological, geographic, behavioral and operational variables affecting the cost, accuracy and implementation of Census Bureau programs and surveys, including the decennial census. The Committee also assists the Census Bureau on ways that census data can best be disseminated to diverse race and ethnic populations and other users. The Committee is established in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Title 5, United States Code, Appendix 2). All meetings are open to the public. A brief period will be set aside at the meeting for public comment on December 6. However, individuals with extensive questions or statements must submit them in writing to Ms. Jeri Green at least three days before the meeting. If you plan to attend the meeting, please register by Monday, December 2, 2013. You may access the online registration from with the following link: http:// www.regonline.com/nac_dec2013_ meeting. Seating is available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Committee Liaison Officer as soon as possible, preferably two weeks prior to the meeting. Due to increased security and for access to the meeting, please call 301– 763–9906 upon arrival at the Census Bureau on the day of the meeting. A photo ID must be presented in order to receive your visitor’s badge. Visitors are not allowed beyond the first floor. Dated: October 31, 2013. John H. Thompson, Director, Bureau of the Census. [FR Doc. 2013–26577 Filed 11–5–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–07–P The NAC comprises up to thirty-two members. The Committee provides an organized and continuing channel of communication between race, ethnic, and other populations and the Census SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:25 Nov 05, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XC853 Draft 2013 Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS reviewed the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regional marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs) in accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act. SARs for marine mammals in the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regions were revised according to new information. NMFS solicits public comments on the draft 2013 SARs. DATES: Comments must be received by February 4, 2014. ADDRESSES: The 2013 draft SARs are available in electronic form via the Internet at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ pr/sars/draft.htm. Copies of the Alaska Regional SARs may be requested from Dee Allen, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way, NE BIN 15700, Seattle, WA 98115–0070. Copies of the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean 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 Jim Carretta, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 8604 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037–1508. You may submit comments, identified by [NOAA–NMFS–2013–0136], by any of the following methods: Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http:// www.regulations.gov. Mail: Send comments or requests for copies of reports to: Chief, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910–3226, Attn: Stock Assessments. Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\06NON1.SGM 06NON1 66682 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 215 / Wednesday, November 6, 2013 / Notices generally be posted to http:// www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shannon Bettridge, Office of Protected Resources, 301–427–8402, Shannon.Bettridge@noaa.gov; Dee Allen 206–526–4048, Dee.Allen@noaa.gov, regarding Alaska regional stock assessments; Gordon Waring, 508–495– 2311, Gordon.Waring@noaa.gov, regarding Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean regional stock assessments; or Jim Carretta, 858–546–7171, Jim.Carretta@noaa.gov, regarding Pacific regional stock assessments. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 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, including the Exclusive Economic Zone. These reports must contain 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 three years for non-strategic stocks. The term ‘‘strategic stock’’ means a marine mammal stock: (A) For which the level of direct humancaused mortality exceeds the potential biological removal level; (B) which, based on the best available scientific information, is declining and is likely to be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) within the foreseeable future; or (C) which is listed as a threatened species or endangered species under the ESA. NMFS and the FWS are required to VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:25 Nov 05, 2013 Jkt 232001 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 independent 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 updated its serious injury designation and reporting process, which uses guidance from previous serious injury workshops, expert opinion, and analysis of historic injury cases to develop new criteria for distinguishing serious from non-serious injury. The NMFS Serious Injury Determination Policy was finalized in January 2012 and was first applied to the draft 2013 marine mammal SARs. The SARs report five-year averages for serious injury; thus, application of the new procedure involved retroactively reviewing the past five years of injury determinations for 2007–2011. NMFS defines serious injury as an ‘‘injury that is more likely than not to result in mortality’’ (50 CFR 229.2). Injury determinations for stock assessments revised in 2013 or later incorporate the new serious injury guidelines, based on the most recent five-year period for which data are available. NMFS solicits public comments on the draft 2013 SARs. Alaska Reports In the Alaska region (waters off Alaska that are under the jurisdiction of the United States), SARs for 25 Alaska stocks (16 ‘‘strategic’’, 9 ‘‘non-strategic’’) were updated. All stocks were reviewed and the following stocks were revised for 2013: Steller sea lion (western and eastern U.S. stocks), northern fur seal, bearded seal, ringed seal, ribbon seal, Cook Inlet beluga whales, narwhal, killer whale (Alaska resident; northern resident; Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, and Bering Sea transient; AT1 transient; west coast transient stocks), harbor porpoise (southeast Alaska, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea stocks), sperm whale, beaked whales (Baird’s, Cuvier’s, and Stejneger’s), western and central stocks of humpback whales, fin whale, eastern North Pacific right whale, and bowhead whale. Most revisions included updates of abundance and/or mortality and serious injury estimates. For the fin whale SAR, the previous minimum population estimate was based on summing estimates from two surveys occurring in different years: one survey conducted along the Aleutian Islands, and another survey conducted in the Bering Sea. New information indicates that fin whales surveyed in the PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Aleutian Islands could migrate into the Bering Sea and be counted during the Bering Sea surveys. There are also indications that fin whale distribution in the Bering Sea is related to oceanographic conditions, making it possible that whales could be double counted when estimates from different years are summed. Therefore, the minimum abundance estimate of the entire stock is unknown and potential biological removal level (PBR) was changed to undetermined. Two of the Alaska region updates resulted in change of status of a stock: Ringed seal and bearded seal stocks changed from non-strategic to strategic. On December 28, 2012, NMFS listed the Alaska Stocks of bearded seals and ringed seals as ‘‘threatened’’ under the Endangered Species Act (77 FR 76740). Because of the threatened status under the ESA, these stocks are considered ‘‘depleted’’ under the MMPA and are classified as strategic stocks. Information on the remaining Alaska region stocks can be found in the final 2012 reports (Allen and Angliss, 2013). Typically, the most recent five years of data are used for estimating average annual serious injury and mortality of stocks. In 2007, the NMFS Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) developed a new database for the fisheries observer data and analytical methods for estimating bycatch were updated. As a result of these changes, AFSC determined that data from 2007 onward could not be combined with data from analyses of data prior to 2006. As a result, for the 2012 SARs fishery observer serious injury and mortality estimates were based on an analysis of the most recent four-year period from 2007–2010. For the 2013 SARs, mortality and serious injury data are summarized for the five-year period from 2007–2011 for the Alaska groundfish fisheries. The new injury guidelines for assessing human-caused marine mammal injuries have been implemented in the draft 2013 SARs. Data from 2007–2011 were analyzed (or re-analyzed under the new guidelines), where available, and determinations were made under new guidance defined in the policy and procedural directives. Appendix 8 to the Alaska SARs, which summarizes humpback whale mortalities and serious injuries, is no longer being maintained and has been removed. These data will be available and determination decisions depicted in more detail in the Alaska mortality and serious injury report for 2007–2012, currently in preparation (Allen and Helker in prep). E:\FR\FM\06NON1.SGM 06NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 215 / Wednesday, November 6, 2013 / Notices Atlantic Reports In the Atlantic region (including the Atlantic coast, Gulf Coast, and U.S. territories in the Caribbean), 45 Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico SARs were updated and one added—the Northern South Carolina Estuarine System stock of bottlenose dolphins, a strategic stock. Most revisions included updates of abundance and/or serious injury and mortality estimates. Strategic stocks included: North Atlantic right whale, humpback whale, fin whale, sei whale, sperm whale, bottlenose dolphin (Western North Atlantic: coastal/ northern migratory, coastal/southern migratory, coastal/South Carolina/ Georgia, coastal/northern Florida, coastal/central Florida; Northern North Carolina Estuarine System; Southern North Carolina Estuarine System; Charleston Estuarine System; Northern Georgia/Southern South Carolina Estuarine System; Southern Georgia Estuarine System; Jacksonville Estuarine System; Indian River Lagoon Estuarine System; Biscayne Bay) and harbor porpoise (Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy). Non-strategic stocks included: Minke whale, dwarf sperm whale, pygmy sperm whale, Cuvier’s beaked whale, Blainville’s beaked whale, Gervais beaked whale, Sowerby’s beaked whale, True’s beaked whale, long-finned pilot whale, short-finned pilot whale, Atlantic white-sided dolphin, shortbeaked common dolphin, Atlantic spotted dolphin; pantropical spotted dolphin, striped dolphin, rough-toothed dolphin, Clymene dolphin, spinner dolphin, bottlenose dolphin (Western North Atlantic/offshore; Florida Bay; Gulf of Mexico Oceanic), gray seal, harp seal, harbor seal, and Risso’s dolphin (Western North Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico Oceanic). The status of long-finned pilot whales changed from strategic to non-strategic, because serious injury and mortality likely do not exceed PBR. Information on the remaining Atlantic region stocks can be found in the final 2012 reports (Waring et al., 2012). mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Pacific Reports In the Pacific region (waters along the west coast of the United States, within waters surrounding the main and Northwest Hawaiian Islands, and within waters surrounding U.S. territories in the Western Pacific), SARs were revised for 52 stocks under NMFS jurisdiction. Two stocks changed from non-strategic to strategic: Cuvier’s beaked whale, CA/ OR/WA, and mesoplodont beaked whales, CA/OR/WA. Strategic stocks included: Monk seal, killer whale (Eastern North Pacific VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:25 Nov 05, 2013 Jkt 232001 Southern Resident), Mesoplodont beaked whales (CA/OR/WA), Cuvier’s beaked whale (CA/OR/WA), humpback whale, blue whale (Central North Pacific, Eastern North Pacific), fin whale (Hawaii, CA/OR/WA), false killer whale (Main Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii Pelagic), sperm whale (Hawaii), and sei whale. Non-strategic stocks included: Harbor seal (OR/WA coast, Northern Washington Inland waters, Southern Puget Sound, and Hood Canal), northern fur seal, harbor porpoise (Morro Bay, Monterey Bay, San Francisco—Russian River, Northern California/Southern Oregon, Northern Oregon/Washington coast), Baird’s beaked whale, Pacific white-sided dolphin, common bottlenose dolphin (CA/OR/WA Offshore, Hawaii Pelagic, ‘Kaua’I and Ni’ihau, O’ahu, four-islands region, Hawaii Island), gray whale, Risso’s dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin (Hawaii pelagic, O’ahu, four-islands region, Hawaii Island), striped dolphin, Fraser’s dolphin, melon-headed whale (Hawaiian Islands, Kohala Resident), pygmy killer whale, false killer whale (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands), killer whale (Hawaii), short-finned pilot whale, Blainville’s beaked whale, Longman’s beaked whale, Cuvier’s beaked whale (Hawaii), pygmy sperm whale, dwarf sperm whale, minke whale, Bryde’s whale. Information on the remaining Pacific region stocks can be found in the final 2012 reports (Carretta et al., 2013). Three new prospective stocks of harbor seals in Washington inland waters are presented (Hood Canal, Southern Puget Sound, and Washington Inland Waters), based on recent genetic and pupping phenology data. The Hawaii stock of melon-headed whales was split into two: The Kohala resident stock and the Hawaiian Islands stock (both non-strategic). The Hawaii stock of pantropical spotted dolphin was split into four (all non-strategic): The Oahu stock, the 4-Islands stock, the Hawaii Island stock, and the Hawaii pelagic stock. NMFS intended to prepare a separate stock assessment report for the western stock of gray whales in 2013; however, the agency was awaiting completion of the Report of the NMFS Gray Whale Stock Identification Workshop (NMFS 2013) before drafting a SAR for this stock. NMFS anticipates preparing a SAR for the western stock of gray whales in 2014. The San Miguel Island stock of northern fur seal has been renamed the ‘‘California Northern Fur Seal stock,’’ to reflect that in addition to San Miguel Island, this species regularly breeds at the Farallon Islands of California. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 66683 Dated: October 31, 2013. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2013–26598 Filed 11–5–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XC791 Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability of final environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact for the issuance of a special coral reef ecosystem fishing permit. AGENCY: NMFS issued a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit that authorizes Kampachi Farms, LLC, to culture and harvest a coral reef ecosystem management unit fish species in a floating pen in Federal waters west of the Island of Hawaii. This notice informs the public that NMFS prepared an environmental assessment of the potential impacts of the proposed activity, and finds that there will be no significant impact to the environment from the activity. DATES: The special coral reef ecosystem fishing permit is effective from October 25, 2013, through October 24, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may review the final environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2013–0125, at the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20130125. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Phyllis Ha, Sustainable Fisheries, NMFS PIR, tel 808–944–2265. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS issued a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit to Kampachi Farms, LLC, consistent with Federal regulations for Hawaii fisheries at 50 CFR § 665.224, pertaining to management of coral reef ecosystem fisheries, and in accordance with the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Hawaii Archipelago (FEP). The permit authorizes the culture and harvest of the native coral reef ecosystem management unit fish species Seriola rivoliana, marketed as Kona Kampachi®, using a E:\FR\FM\06NON1.SGM 06NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 215 (Wednesday, November 6, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66681-66683]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-26598]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XC853


Draft 2013 Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports

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

ACTION: Notice; 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. SARs for marine mammals in the Alaska, 
Atlantic, and Pacific regions were revised according to new 
information. NMFS solicits public comments on the draft 2013 SARs.

DATES: Comments must be received by February 4, 2014.

ADDRESSES: The 2013 draft SARs are available in electronic form via the 
Internet at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/draft.htm.
    Copies of the Alaska Regional SARs may be requested from Dee Allen, 
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way, NE BIN 
15700, Seattle, WA 98115-0070.
    Copies of the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean 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 Jim 
Carretta, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 8604 La Jolla Shores 
Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037-1508.
    You may submit comments, identified by [NOAA-NMFS-2013-0136], by 
any of the following methods:
    Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov.
    Mail: Send comments or requests for copies of reports to: Chief, 
Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Division, Office of Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, 
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3226, Attn: Stock Assessments.
    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record 
and will

[[Page 66682]]

generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All 
Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) 
voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do 
not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or 
protected information.
    NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required 
fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit attachments to 
electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF 
file formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shannon Bettridge, Office of Protected 
Resources, 301-427-8402, Shannon.Bettridge@noaa.gov; Dee Allen 206-526-
4048, Dee.Allen@noaa.gov, regarding Alaska regional stock assessments; 
Gordon Waring, 508-495-2311, Gordon.Waring@noaa.gov, regarding 
Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean regional stock assessments; or 
Jim Carretta, 858-546-7171, Jim.Carretta@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, 
including the Exclusive Economic Zone. These reports must contain 
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 three years for non-strategic 
stocks. The term ``strategic stock'' means a marine mammal stock: (A) 
For which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds the 
potential biological removal level; (B) which, based on the best 
available scientific information, is declining and is likely to be 
listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) 
within the foreseeable future; or (C) which is listed as a threatened 
species or endangered species under the ESA. 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 independent 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 updated its serious injury designation and reporting process, 
which uses guidance from previous serious injury workshops, expert 
opinion, and analysis of historic injury cases to develop new criteria 
for distinguishing serious from non-serious injury. The NMFS Serious 
Injury Determination Policy was finalized in January 2012 and was first 
applied to the draft 2013 marine mammal SARs. The SARs report five-year 
averages for serious injury; thus, application of the new procedure 
involved retroactively reviewing the past five years of injury 
determinations for 2007-2011. NMFS defines serious injury as an 
``injury that is more likely than not to result in mortality'' (50 CFR 
229.2). Injury determinations for stock assessments revised in 2013 or 
later incorporate the new serious injury guidelines, based on the most 
recent five-year period for which data are available. NMFS solicits 
public comments on the draft 2013 SARs.

Alaska Reports

    In the Alaska region (waters off Alaska that are under the 
jurisdiction of the United States), SARs for 25 Alaska stocks (16 
``strategic'', 9 ``non-strategic'') were updated. All stocks were 
reviewed and the following stocks were revised for 2013: Steller sea 
lion (western and eastern U.S. stocks), northern fur seal, bearded 
seal, ringed seal, ribbon seal, Cook Inlet beluga whales, narwhal, 
killer whale (Alaska resident; northern resident; Gulf of Alaska, 
Aleutian Islands, and Bering Sea transient; AT1 transient; west coast 
transient stocks), harbor porpoise (southeast Alaska, Gulf of Alaska, 
and Bering Sea stocks), sperm whale, beaked whales (Baird's, Cuvier's, 
and Stejneger's), western and central stocks of humpback whales, fin 
whale, eastern North Pacific right whale, and bowhead whale. Most 
revisions included updates of abundance and/or mortality and serious 
injury estimates. For the fin whale SAR, the previous minimum 
population estimate was based on summing estimates from two surveys 
occurring in different years: one survey conducted along the Aleutian 
Islands, and another survey conducted in the Bering Sea. New 
information indicates that fin whales surveyed in the Aleutian Islands 
could migrate into the Bering Sea and be counted during the Bering Sea 
surveys. There are also indications that fin whale distribution in the 
Bering Sea is related to oceanographic conditions, making it possible 
that whales could be double counted when estimates from different years 
are summed. Therefore, the minimum abundance estimate of the entire 
stock is unknown and potential biological removal level (PBR) was 
changed to undetermined.
    Two of the Alaska region updates resulted in change of status of a 
stock: Ringed seal and bearded seal stocks changed from non-strategic 
to strategic. On December 28, 2012, NMFS listed the Alaska Stocks of 
bearded seals and ringed seals as ``threatened'' under the Endangered 
Species Act (77 FR 76740). Because of the threatened status under the 
ESA, these stocks are considered ``depleted'' under the MMPA and are 
classified as strategic stocks. Information on the remaining Alaska 
region stocks can be found in the final 2012 reports (Allen and 
Angliss, 2013).
    Typically, the most recent five years of data are used for 
estimating average annual serious injury and mortality of stocks. In 
2007, the NMFS Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) developed a new 
database for the fisheries observer data and analytical methods for 
estimating bycatch were updated. As a result of these changes, AFSC 
determined that data from 2007 onward could not be combined with data 
from analyses of data prior to 2006. As a result, for the 2012 SARs 
fishery observer serious injury and mortality estimates were based on 
an analysis of the most recent four-year period from 2007-2010. For the 
2013 SARs, mortality and serious injury data are summarized for the 
five-year period from 2007-2011 for the Alaska groundfish fisheries.
    The new injury guidelines for assessing human-caused marine mammal 
injuries have been implemented in the draft 2013 SARs. Data from 2007-
2011 were analyzed (or re-analyzed under the new guidelines), where 
available, and determinations were made under new guidance defined in 
the policy and procedural directives. Appendix 8 to the Alaska SARs, 
which summarizes humpback whale mortalities and serious injuries, is no 
longer being maintained and has been removed. These data will be 
available and determination decisions depicted in more detail in the 
Alaska mortality and serious injury report for 2007-2012, currently in 
preparation (Allen and Helker in prep).

[[Page 66683]]

Atlantic Reports

    In the Atlantic region (including the Atlantic coast, Gulf Coast, 
and U.S. territories in the Caribbean), 45 Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico 
SARs were updated and one added--the Northern South Carolina Estuarine 
System stock of bottlenose dolphins, a strategic stock. Most revisions 
included updates of abundance and/or serious injury and mortality 
estimates. Strategic stocks included: North Atlantic right whale, 
humpback whale, fin whale, sei whale, sperm whale, bottlenose dolphin 
(Western North Atlantic: coastal/northern migratory, coastal/southern 
migratory, coastal/South Carolina/Georgia, coastal/northern Florida, 
coastal/central Florida; Northern North Carolina Estuarine System; 
Southern North Carolina Estuarine System; Charleston Estuarine System; 
Northern Georgia/Southern South Carolina Estuarine System; Southern 
Georgia Estuarine System; Jacksonville Estuarine System; Indian River 
Lagoon Estuarine System; Biscayne Bay) and harbor porpoise (Gulf of 
Maine/Bay of Fundy). Non-strategic stocks included: Minke whale, dwarf 
sperm whale, pygmy sperm whale, Cuvier's beaked whale, Blainville's 
beaked whale, Gervais beaked whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, True's 
beaked whale, long-finned pilot whale, short-finned pilot whale, 
Atlantic white-sided dolphin, short-beaked common dolphin, Atlantic 
spotted dolphin; pantropical spotted dolphin, striped dolphin, rough-
toothed dolphin, Clymene dolphin, spinner dolphin, bottlenose dolphin 
(Western North Atlantic/offshore; Florida Bay; Gulf of Mexico Oceanic), 
gray seal, harp seal, harbor seal, and Risso's dolphin (Western North 
Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico Oceanic).
    The status of long-finned pilot whales changed from strategic to 
non-strategic, because serious injury and mortality likely do not 
exceed PBR. Information on the remaining Atlantic region stocks can be 
found in the final 2012 reports (Waring et al., 2012).

Pacific Reports

    In the Pacific region (waters along the west coast of the United 
States, within waters surrounding the main and Northwest Hawaiian 
Islands, and within waters surrounding U.S. territories in the Western 
Pacific), SARs were revised for 52 stocks under NMFS jurisdiction. Two 
stocks changed from non-strategic to strategic: Cuvier's beaked whale, 
CA/OR/WA, and mesoplodont beaked whales, CA/OR/WA.
    Strategic stocks included: Monk seal, killer whale (Eastern North 
Pacific Southern Resident), Mesoplodont beaked whales (CA/OR/WA), 
Cuvier's beaked whale (CA/OR/WA), humpback whale, blue whale (Central 
North Pacific, Eastern North Pacific), fin whale (Hawaii, CA/OR/WA), 
false killer whale (Main Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii Pelagic), sperm whale 
(Hawaii), and sei whale. Non-strategic stocks included: Harbor seal 
(OR/WA coast, Northern Washington Inland waters, Southern Puget Sound, 
and Hood Canal), northern fur seal, harbor porpoise (Morro Bay, 
Monterey Bay, San Francisco--Russian River, Northern California/
Southern Oregon, Northern Oregon/Washington coast), Baird's beaked 
whale, Pacific white-sided dolphin, common bottlenose dolphin (CA/OR/WA 
Offshore, Hawaii Pelagic, `Kaua'I and Ni'ihau, O'ahu, four-islands 
region, Hawaii Island), gray whale, Risso's dolphin, pantropical 
spotted dolphin (Hawaii pelagic, O'ahu, four-islands region, Hawaii 
Island), striped dolphin, Fraser's dolphin, melon-headed whale 
(Hawaiian Islands, Kohala Resident), pygmy killer whale, false killer 
whale (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands), killer whale (Hawaii), short-
finned pilot whale, Blainville's beaked whale, Longman's beaked whale, 
Cuvier's beaked whale (Hawaii), pygmy sperm whale, dwarf sperm whale, 
minke whale, Bryde's whale. Information on the remaining Pacific region 
stocks can be found in the final 2012 reports (Carretta et al., 2013).
    Three new prospective stocks of harbor seals in Washington inland 
waters are presented (Hood Canal, Southern Puget Sound, and Washington 
Inland Waters), based on recent genetic and pupping phenology data. The 
Hawaii stock of melon-headed whales was split into two: The Kohala 
resident stock and the Hawaiian Islands stock (both non-strategic). The 
Hawaii stock of pantropical spotted dolphin was split into four (all 
non-strategic): The Oahu stock, the 4-Islands stock, the Hawaii Island 
stock, and the Hawaii pelagic stock.
    NMFS intended to prepare a separate stock assessment report for the 
western stock of gray whales in 2013; however, the agency was awaiting 
completion of the Report of the NMFS Gray Whale Stock Identification 
Workshop (NMFS 2013) before drafting a SAR for this stock. NMFS 
anticipates preparing a SAR for the western stock of gray whales in 
2014.
    The San Miguel Island stock of northern fur seal has been renamed 
the ``California Northern Fur Seal stock,'' to reflect that in addition 
to San Miguel Island, this species regularly breeds at the Farallon 
Islands of California.

    Dated: October 31, 2013.
Donna S. Wieting,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-26598 Filed 11-5-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P