2016 Annual Determination To Implement the Sea Turtle Observer Requirement, 80323-80324 [2015-32425]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 247 / Thursday, December 24, 2015 / Notices issued to Point Blue and its designees for the take of marine mammals incidental to their seabird research activities, provided they incorporate the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements. Dated: December 18, 2015. Perry F. Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–32409 Filed 12–23–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XE191 2016 Annual Determination To Implement the Sea Turtle Observer Requirement National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is providing notification that the agency will not identify additional fisheries to observe on the Annual Determination (AD) for 2016, pursuant to its authority under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Through the AD, NMFS identifies U.S. fisheries operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific Ocean that will be required to take observers upon NMFS’ request. The purpose of observing identified fisheries is to learn more about sea turtle interactions in a given fishery, evaluate measures to prevent or reduce sea turtle takes, and implement the prohibition against sea turtle takes. Fisheries identified on the 2015 AD (see Table 1) remain on the AD for a 5-year period and are required to carry observers upon NMFS’ request until December 31, 2019. ADDRESSES: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for a listing of all Regional Offices. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sara McNulty, Office of Protected Resources, 301–427–8402; Ellen Keane, Greater Atlantic Region, 978–282–8476; Dennis Klemm, Southeast Region, 727–824– 5312; Dan Lawson, West Coast Region, 562–980–3209; Irene Kelly, Pacific Islands Region, 808–725–5141. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the hearing impaired may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1–800– 877–8339 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:57 Dec 23, 2015 Jkt 238001 Eastern time, Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Availability of Published Materials Information regarding the Sea Turtle Observer Requirement for Fisheries (72 FR 43176, August 3, 2007) may be obtained at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/ species/turtles/regulations.htm or from any NMFS Regional Office at the addresses listed below: • NMFS, Greater Atlantic Region, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930; • NMFS, Southeast Region, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701; • NMFS, West Coast Region, 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802; • NMFS, Pacific Islands Region, Protected Resources, 1845 Wasp Blvd., Building 176, Honolulu, HI 96818. Purpose of the Sea Turtle Observer Requirement Under the ESA, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., NMFS has the responsibility to implement programs to conserve marine species listed as endangered or threatened. All sea turtles found in U.S. waters are listed as either endangered or threatened under the ESA. Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), loggerhead (Caretta caretta; North Pacific distinct population segment), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) sea turtles are listed as endangered. Loggerhead (Caretta caretta; Northwest Atlantic distinct population segment), green (Chelonia mydas), and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtles are listed as threatened, except for breeding colony populations of green sea turtles in Florida and on the Pacific coast of Mexico, and breeding colony populations of olive ridley sea turtles on the Pacific coast of Mexico, which are listed as endangered. Due to the inability to distinguish between populations of green and olive ridley turtles away from the nesting beach, NMFS considers these turtles endangered wherever they occur in U.S. waters. While some sea turtle populations have shown signs of recovery, many populations continue to decline. On March 23, 2015, NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) found that the green sea turtle is composed of 11 distinct population segments (DPSs) that qualify as ‘‘species’’ for listing under the ESA. NMFS and USFWS proposed to remove the current range-wide listing and, in its place, list eight DPSs as threatened and three as endangered. PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 80323 Incidental take, or bycatch, in fishing gear is the primary anthropogenic source of sea turtle injury and mortality in U.S. waters. Section 9 of the ESA prohibits the take (including harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, collecting or attempting to engage in any such conduct), including incidental take, of endangered sea turtles. Pursuant to section 4(d) of the ESA, NMFS has issued regulations extending the prohibition of take, with exceptions, to threatened sea turtles (50 CFR 223.205 and 223.206). The purpose of the sea turtle observer requirement and the AD is ultimately to implement ESA sections 9 and 4(d), which prohibit the incidental take of endangered and threatened sea turtles, respectively, and to conserve sea turtles. Section 11 of the ESA provides for civil and criminal penalties for anyone who violates a regulation issued pursuant to the ESA, including regulations that implement the take prohibition, as well as for the issuance of regulations to enforce the take prohibitions. NMFS may grant exceptions to the take prohibitions for activities that are covered by an incidental take statement or an incidental take permit issued pursuant to ESA section 7 or 10, respectively. To do so, NMFS must determine the activity that will result in incidental take is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the affected listed species. For some Federal fisheries and most state fisheries, NMFS has not granted an exception for incidental takes of sea turtles primarily because we lack information about fishery-sea turtle interactions. The most effective way for NMFS to learn about sea turtle-fishery interactions, in order to implement management measures and prevent or minimize take, is to place observers aboard fishing vessels. In 2007, NMFS issued a regulation (50 CFR 222.402) establishing procedures to annually identify, pursuant to specified criteria and after notice and opportunity for comment, those fisheries in which the agency intends to place observers (72 FR 43176, August 3, 2007). These regulations specify that NMFS may place observers on U.S. fishing vessels, commercial or recreational, operating in U.S. territorial waters, the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ), or on the high seas, or on vessels that are otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Failure to comply with the requirements under this rule may result in civil or criminal penalties under the ESA. Where observers are required, NMFS will pay the direct costs for vessels to E:\FR\FM\24DEN1.SGM 24DEN1 80324 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 247 / Thursday, December 24, 2015 / Notices carry observers. These include observer salary and insurance costs. NMFS may also evaluate other potential direct costs, should they arise. Once selected, a fishery will be eligible to be observed for a period of 5 years without further action by NMFS. This will enable NMFS to develop an appropriate sampling protocol to investigate whether, how, when, where, and under what conditions incidental takes are occurring; evaluate whether existing measures are minimizing or preventing takes; and develop ESA management measures that implement the prohibitions against take and that conserve sea turtles. 2016 Annual Determination Pursuant to 50 CFR 222.402, NOAA’s Assistant Administrator for Fisheries (AA), in consultation with Regional Administrators and Fisheries Science Center Directors, annually identifies fisheries for inclusion on the AD based on the extent to which: (1) The fishery operates in the same waters and at the same time as sea turtles are present; (2) The fishery operates at the same time or prior to elevated sea turtle strandings; or (3) The fishery uses a gear or technique that is known or likely to result in incidental take of sea turtles based on documented or reported takes in the same or similar fisheries; and (4) NMFS intends to monitor the fishery and anticipates that it will have the funds to do so. NMFS is providing notification that the agency is not identifying additional fisheries to observe on the 2016 AD, pursuant to its authority under the ESA. NMFS is not identifying additional fisheries at this time given lack of dedicated resources to implement new observer programs or expand existing observer programs to focus on sea turtles (50 CFR 222.402(a)(4)). The 14 fisheries identified on the 2015 AD (see Table 1) remain on the AD for a 5-year period and are therefore required to carry observers upon NMFS’ request until December 31, 2019. TABLE 1—STATE AND FEDERAL COMMERCIAL FISHERIES INCLUDED ON THE 2015 ANNUAL DETERMINATION. Years eligible to carry observers Fishery Trawl Fisheries Southeastern U.S. Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawl .............................................................................................................. Gulf of Mexico mixed species fish trawl ........................................................................................................................................ 2015–2019 2015–2019 Gillnet Fisheries California halibut, white seabass and other species set gillnet (>3.5 in mesh) ........................................................................... California yellowtail, barracuda, and white seabass drift gillnet (mesh size >3.5 in. and <14 in.) ............................................... Chesapeake Bay inshore gillnet .................................................................................................................................................... Long Island inshore gillnet ............................................................................................................................................................. North Carolina inshore gillnet ........................................................................................................................................................ Gulf of Mexico gillnet ..................................................................................................................................................................... 2015–2019 2015–2019 2015–2019 2015–2019 2015–2019 2015–2019 Trap/pot Fisheries Atlantic blue crab trap/pot .............................................................................................................................................................. Atlantic mixed species trap/pot ...................................................................................................................................................... Northeast/Mid-Atlantic American lobster trap/pot .......................................................................................................................... 2015–2019 2015–2019 2015–2019 Pound Net/Weir/Seine Fisheries Mid-Atlantic haul/beach seine ........................................................................................................................................................ Mid-Atlantic menhaden purse seine .............................................................................................................................................. Rhode Island floating trap ............................................................................................................................................................. Dated: December 21, 2015. Perry F. Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–32425 Filed 12–23–15; 8:45 am] ACTION: Notice; public meeting. The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Herring Advisory Panel to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate. SUMMARY: BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XE362 This meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, at 10 a.m. DATES: New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:57 Dec 23, 2015 Jkt 238001 Meeting address: The meeting will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 50 Ferncroft Road, Danvers, ADDRESSES: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 2015–2019 2015–2019 2015–2019 MA 01950; phone: (978) 777–2500; fax: (978) 750–7911. Council address: New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council; telephone: (978) 465–0492. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Agenda The Advisory Panel (AP) plans to review Amendment 8 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan related to the Acceptable Biological Catch control rule, and the localized depletion in inshore waters. The panel will also discuss the potential for using E:\FR\FM\24DEN1.SGM 24DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 247 (Thursday, December 24, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 80323-80324]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-32425]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XE191


2016 Annual Determination To Implement the Sea Turtle Observer 
Requirement

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

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is providing 
notification that the agency will not identify additional fisheries to 
observe on the Annual Determination (AD) for 2016, pursuant to its 
authority under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Through the AD, NMFS 
identifies U.S. fisheries operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of 
Mexico, and Pacific Ocean that will be required to take observers upon 
NMFS' request. The purpose of observing identified fisheries is to 
learn more about sea turtle interactions in a given fishery, evaluate 
measures to prevent or reduce sea turtle takes, and implement the 
prohibition against sea turtle takes. Fisheries identified on the 2015 
AD (see Table 1) remain on the AD for a 5-year period and are required 
to carry observers upon NMFS' request until December 31, 2019.

ADDRESSES: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for a listing of all Regional 
Offices.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sara McNulty, Office of Protected 
Resources, 301-427-8402; Ellen Keane, Greater Atlantic Region, 978-282-
8476; Dennis Klemm, Southeast Region, 727-824-5312; Dan Lawson, West 
Coast Region, 562-980-3209; Irene Kelly, Pacific Islands Region, 808-
725-5141. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the 
hearing impaired may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-
800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through 
Friday, excluding Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Availability of Published Materials

    Information regarding the Sea Turtle Observer Requirement for 
Fisheries (72 FR 43176, August 3, 2007) may be obtained at 
www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/regulations.htm or from any NMFS 
Regional Office at the addresses listed below:
     NMFS, Greater Atlantic Region, 55 Great Republic Drive, 
Gloucester, MA 01930;
     NMFS, Southeast Region, 263 13th Avenue South, St. 
Petersburg, FL 33701;
     NMFS, West Coast Region, 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, 
Long Beach, CA 90802;
     NMFS, Pacific Islands Region, Protected Resources, 1845 
Wasp Blvd., Building 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.

Purpose of the Sea Turtle Observer Requirement

    Under the ESA, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., NMFS has the responsibility 
to implement programs to conserve marine species listed as endangered 
or threatened. All sea turtles found in U.S. waters are listed as 
either endangered or threatened under the ESA. Kemp's ridley 
(Lepidochelys kempii), loggerhead (Caretta caretta; North Pacific 
distinct population segment), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and 
hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) sea turtles are listed as 
endangered. Loggerhead (Caretta caretta; Northwest Atlantic distinct 
population segment), green (Chelonia mydas), and olive ridley 
(Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtles are listed as threatened, except 
for breeding colony populations of green sea turtles in Florida and on 
the Pacific coast of Mexico, and breeding colony populations of olive 
ridley sea turtles on the Pacific coast of Mexico, which are listed as 
endangered. Due to the inability to distinguish between populations of 
green and olive ridley turtles away from the nesting beach, NMFS 
considers these turtles endangered wherever they occur in U.S. waters. 
While some sea turtle populations have shown signs of recovery, many 
populations continue to decline. On March 23, 2015, NMFS and the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) found that the green sea turtle is 
composed of 11 distinct population segments (DPSs) that qualify as 
``species'' for listing under the ESA. NMFS and USFWS proposed to 
remove the current range-wide listing and, in its place, list eight 
DPSs as threatened and three as endangered.
    Incidental take, or bycatch, in fishing gear is the primary 
anthropogenic source of sea turtle injury and mortality in U.S. waters. 
Section 9 of the ESA prohibits the take (including harassing, harming, 
pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, 
collecting or attempting to engage in any such conduct), including 
incidental take, of endangered sea turtles. Pursuant to section 4(d) of 
the ESA, NMFS has issued regulations extending the prohibition of take, 
with exceptions, to threatened sea turtles (50 CFR 223.205 and 
223.206). The purpose of the sea turtle observer requirement and the AD 
is ultimately to implement ESA sections 9 and 4(d), which prohibit the 
incidental take of endangered and threatened sea turtles, respectively, 
and to conserve sea turtles. Section 11 of the ESA provides for civil 
and criminal penalties for anyone who violates a regulation issued 
pursuant to the ESA, including regulations that implement the take 
prohibition, as well as for the issuance of regulations to enforce the 
take prohibitions. NMFS may grant exceptions to the take prohibitions 
for activities that are covered by an incidental take statement or an 
incidental take permit issued pursuant to ESA section 7 or 10, 
respectively. To do so, NMFS must determine the activity that will 
result in incidental take is not likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of the affected listed species. For some Federal fisheries 
and most state fisheries, NMFS has not granted an exception for 
incidental takes of sea turtles primarily because we lack information 
about fishery-sea turtle interactions.
    The most effective way for NMFS to learn about sea turtle-fishery 
interactions, in order to implement management measures and prevent or 
minimize take, is to place observers aboard fishing vessels. In 2007, 
NMFS issued a regulation (50 CFR 222.402) establishing procedures to 
annually identify, pursuant to specified criteria and after notice and 
opportunity for comment, those fisheries in which the agency intends to 
place observers (72 FR 43176, August 3, 2007). These regulations 
specify that NMFS may place observers on U.S. fishing vessels, 
commercial or recreational, operating in U.S. territorial waters, the 
U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ), or on the high seas, or on vessels 
that are otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. 
Failure to comply with the requirements under this rule may result in 
civil or criminal penalties under the ESA.
    Where observers are required, NMFS will pay the direct costs for 
vessels to

[[Page 80324]]

carry observers. These include observer salary and insurance costs. 
NMFS may also evaluate other potential direct costs, should they arise. 
Once selected, a fishery will be eligible to be observed for a period 
of 5 years without further action by NMFS. This will enable NMFS to 
develop an appropriate sampling protocol to investigate whether, how, 
when, where, and under what conditions incidental takes are occurring; 
evaluate whether existing measures are minimizing or preventing takes; 
and develop ESA management measures that implement the prohibitions 
against take and that conserve sea turtles.

2016 Annual Determination

    Pursuant to 50 CFR 222.402, NOAA's Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries (AA), in consultation with Regional Administrators and 
Fisheries Science Center Directors, annually identifies fisheries for 
inclusion on the AD based on the extent to which:
    (1) The fishery operates in the same waters and at the same time as 
sea turtles are present;
    (2) The fishery operates at the same time or prior to elevated sea 
turtle strandings; or
    (3) The fishery uses a gear or technique that is known or likely to 
result in incidental take of sea turtles based on documented or 
reported takes in the same or similar fisheries; and
    (4) NMFS intends to monitor the fishery and anticipates that it 
will have the funds to do so.
    NMFS is providing notification that the agency is not identifying 
additional fisheries to observe on the 2016 AD, pursuant to its 
authority under the ESA. NMFS is not identifying additional fisheries 
at this time given lack of dedicated resources to implement new 
observer programs or expand existing observer programs to focus on sea 
turtles (50 CFR 222.402(a)(4)). The 14 fisheries identified on the 2015 
AD (see Table 1) remain on the AD for a 5-year period and are therefore 
required to carry observers upon NMFS' request until December 31, 2019.

  Table 1--State and Federal Commercial Fisheries Included on the 2015
                          Annual Determination.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Years eligible to
                       Fishery                          carry observers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Trawl Fisheries
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Southeastern U.S. Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico shrimp              2015-2019
 trawl...............................................
Gulf of Mexico mixed species fish trawl..............          2015-2019
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Gillnet Fisheries
------------------------------------------------------------------------
California halibut, white seabass and other species            2015-2019
 set gillnet (>3.5 in mesh)..........................
California yellowtail, barracuda, and white seabass            2015-2019
 drift gillnet (mesh size >3.5 in. and <14 in.)......
Chesapeake Bay inshore gillnet.......................          2015-2019
Long Island inshore gillnet..........................          2015-2019
North Carolina inshore gillnet.......................          2015-2019
Gulf of Mexico gillnet...............................          2015-2019
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           Trap/pot Fisheries
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atlantic blue crab trap/pot..........................          2015-2019
Atlantic mixed species trap/pot......................          2015-2019
Northeast/Mid-Atlantic American lobster trap/pot.....          2015-2019
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Pound Net/Weir/Seine Fisheries
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mid-Atlantic haul/beach seine........................          2015-2019
Mid-Atlantic menhaden purse seine....................          2015-2019
Rhode Island floating trap...........................          2015-2019
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Dated: December 21, 2015.
Perry F. Gayaldo,
Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-32425 Filed 12-23-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P