Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Northeast Fisheries Science Center Fisheries Research, 64442-64443 [2016-22582]

Download as PDF sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES 64442 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 182 / Tuesday, September 20, 2016 / Notices distributed to the Board, but may not be reviewed prior to the meeting date. Seats will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Special Accomodations: These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mrs. Jennifer Hinden using the methods under the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by Monday, September 26, 2016. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Established by Section 209 of the Act and as amended the National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110–394), the duties of the Board are as follows: (1) In general. The Board shall advise the Secretary and the National Sea Grant College Program Director (Director) concerning: (A) Strategies for utilizing the Sea Grant College Program to address the Nation’s highest priorities regarding the understanding, assessment, development, management, utilization, and conservation of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources; (B) The designation of Sea Grant Colleges and Sea Grant Institutes; and (C) Such other matters as the Secretary refer to the Board for review and advice. (2) Biennial Report. The Board shall report to the Congress every two years on the state of the National Sea Grant College Program. The Board shall indicate in each such report the progress made toward meeting the priorities identified in the strategic plan in effect under section 204(c). The Secretary shall make available to the Board such information, personnel, and administrative services and assistance as it may reasonably require carrying out its duties under this title. The Board shall consist of 15 voting members who will be appointed by the Secretary for a 4-year term. The Director and a director of a Sea Grant program who is elected by the various directors of Sea Grant programs shall serve as nonvoting members of the Board. Not less than 8 of the voting members of the Board shall be individuals who, by reason of knowledge, experience, or training, are especially qualified in one or more of the disciplines and fields included in marine science. The other voting members shall be individuals who, by reason of knowledge, experience, or training, are especially qualified in, or representative of, education, marine affairs and resource management, coastal management, extension services, State government, VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Sep 19, 2016 Jkt 238001 industry, economics, planning, or any other activity which is appropriate to, and important for, any effort to enhance the understanding, assessment, development, management, utilization, or conservation of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources. No individual is eligible to be a voting member of the Board if the individual is (A) the director of a Sea Grant College or Sea Grant Institute; (B) an applicant for, or beneficiary (as determined by the Secretary) of, any grant or contract under section 205 [33 U.S.C. 1124]; or (C) a full-time officer or employee of the United States. Dated: September 14, 2016. Jason Donaldson, Chief Financial Officer, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [FR Doc. 2016–22620 Filed 9–19–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–KA–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XE883 Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Northeast Fisheries Science Center Fisheries Research National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of issuance of Letter of Authorization. AGENCY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given that a Letter of Authorization (LOA) has been issued to the NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) for the take of marine mammals incidental to fisheries research conducted in the Atlantic coast region. DATES: Effective through September 9, 2021. SUMMARY: The LOA and supporting documentation is available online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ incidental/research.htm. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed below. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ben Laws, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: ADDRESSES: PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Background Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review. An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth. NMFS has defined ‘‘negligible impact’’ in 50 CFR 216.103 as ‘‘an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.’’ Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines ‘‘harassment’’ as: any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment]. Summary of Request On December 17, 2014, we received an adequate and complete request from NEFSC for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to fisheries research activities. On July 9, 2015 (80 FR 39542), we published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register, requesting comments and information related to the NEFSC request for thirty days. We subsequently published corrections to the notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register on August 6, 2015 (80 FR 46939), and August 17, 2015 (80 FR 49196), including an extension of the comment period. The final rule was published in the Federal Register on August 11, 2016 (81 FR 53061). For E:\FR\FM\20SEN1.SGM 20SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 182 / Tuesday, September 20, 2016 / Notices sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES detailed information on this action, please refer to those documents. The regulations include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements for the incidental take of marine mammals during fisheries research activities in the specified geographic region. NEFSC conducts fisheries research using pelagic trawl gear used at various levels in the water column, bottomcontact trawl gear, pelagic and demersal longlines with multiple hooks, gillnets, fyke nets, dredges, pots, traps, and other gear. If a marine mammal interacts with gear deployed by NEFSC, the outcome could potentially be Level A harassment, serious injury (i.e., any injury that will likely result in mortality), or mortality. We pooled the estimated number of incidents of take resulting from gear interactions and assessed the potential impacts accordingly. NEFSC also uses various active acoustic devices in the conduct of fisheries research, and use of these devices has the potential to result in Level B harassment of marine mammals. Level B harassment of pinnipeds hauled out on land may also occur as a result of visual disturbance from vessels conducting NEFSC research. The NEFSC conducts fisheries research surveys in the Atlantic coast region which spans the United StatesCanadian border to Florida. This specified geographic region includes the following subareas: the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, Southern New England waters, the Mid-Atlantic Bight, and the coastal waters of northeast Florida. The NEFSC is authorized to take individuals of 10 species by Level A harassment, serious injury, or mortality (hereafter referred to as M/SI + Level A) and of 19 species by Level B harassment. Authorization We have issued an LOA to NEFSC authorizing the take of marine mammals incidental to fisheries research activities, as described above. Take of marine mammals will be minimized through implementation of the following mitigation measures: (1) Required monitoring of the sampling areas to detect the presence of marine mammals before deployment of pelagic trawl nets, bottom-contact trawl gear, pelagic or demersal longline gear, gillnets, fyke nets, pots, traps, and other gears; (2) Required implementation of standard tow durations of not more than 30 minutes to reduce the likelihood of incidental take of marine mammals; (3) Required implementation of the mitigation strategy known as the ‘‘moveon rule,’’ which incorporates best professional judgment, when necessary VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Sep 19, 2016 Jkt 238001 during trawl and longline operations; (4) Required compliance with applicable vessel speed restrictions; and (5) Required compliance with applicable and relevant take reduction plans for marine mammals. Additionally, the rule includes an adaptive management component that allows for timely modification of mitigation or monitoring measures based on new information, when appropriate. The NEFSC will submit reports as required. Based on these findings and the information discussed in the preamble to the final rule, the activities described under these LOAs will have a negligible impact on marine mammal stocks and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the affected marine mammal stock for subsistence uses. Dated: September 13, 2016. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–22582 Filed 9–19–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board (SAB); Meeting Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Department of Commerce (DOC). ACTION: Notice of open meeting. AGENCY: The Science Advisory Board (SAB) was established by a Decision Memorandum dated September 25, 1997, and is the only Federal Advisory Committee with responsibility to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere on strategies for research, education, and application of science to operations and information services. SAB activities and advice provide necessary input to ensure that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) science programs are of the highest quality and provide optimal support to resource management. Time and Date: The meeting will be held Thursday November 17, 2016 from 9:45 a.m. EST to 5:45 p.m. EST and on Friday November 18, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. EST to 1:45 p.m. EST. These times and the agenda topics described below are subject to change. Please refer to the Web page www.sab.noaa.gov/ SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 64443 SABMeetings.aspx for the most up-todate meeting times and agenda. Place: The meeting will be held at The Nature Conservancy, 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, Virginia 22203. Status: The meeting will be open to public participation with a 15-minute public comment period on November 17 from 5:30–5:45 p.m. EST (check Web site to confirm time). The SAB expects that public statements presented at its meetings will not be repetitive of previously submitted verbal or written statements. In general, each individual or group making a verbal presentation will be limited to a total time of two (2) minutes. Individuals or groups planning to make a verbal presentation should contact the SAB Executive Director by November 10, 2016 to schedule their presentation. Written comments should be received in the SAB Executive Director’s Office by November 10, 2016, to provide sufficient time for SAB review. Written comments received by the SAB Executive Director after November 10, 2016, will be distributed to the SAB, but may not be reviewed prior to the meeting date. Seating at the meeting will be available on a firstcome, first-served basis. Special Accommodations: These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for special accommodations may be directed no later than 12:00 p.m. on November 10, 2016, to Dr. Cynthia Decker, SAB Executive Director, SSMC3, Room 11230, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910; Email: Cynthia.Decker@noaa.gov. Matters To Be Considered: The meeting will include the following topics: (1) Report from the Review of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES); (2) Updates from the NOAA Administrator and Chief Scientist; (3) Discussion on the Ecosystem Services Valuation Report; (4) Discussion on the GOES–R Level 0 Data report; (5) Discussion on RESTORE Act Metrics and Communication report; (6) SAB Strategy Discussion and Implications for NOAA; and (7) Discussion of the SAB Working Group Concept of Operations. Dr. Cynthia Decker, Executive Director, Science Advisory Board, NOAA, Room 11230, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Email: Cynthia.Decker@noaa.gov; or visit the NOAA SAB Web site at http:// www.sab.noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: E:\FR\FM\20SEN1.SGM 20SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 182 (Tuesday, September 20, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 64442-64443]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-22582]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XE883


Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals 
Incidental to Northeast Fisheries Science Center Fisheries Research

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

ACTION: Notice of issuance of Letter of Authorization.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as 
amended, and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given 
that a Letter of Authorization (LOA) has been issued to the NMFS 
Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) for the take of marine 
mammals incidental to fisheries research conducted in the Atlantic 
coast region.

DATES: Effective through September 9, 2021.

ADDRESSES: The LOA and supporting documentation is available online at: 
www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/research.htm. In case of 
problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed 
below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ben Laws, Office of Protected 
Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) 
direct the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request, the 
incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine 
mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than 
commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain 
findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking 
is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is 
provided to the public for review.
    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS 
finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or 
stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the 
availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where 
relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements 
pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings 
are set forth. NMFS has defined ``negligible impact'' in 50 CFR 216.103 
as ``an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be 
reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely 
affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of 
recruitment or survival.''
    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the 
MMPA defines ``harassment'' as: any act of pursuit, torment, or 
annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or 
marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the 
potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild 
by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not 
limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or 
sheltering [Level B harassment].

Summary of Request

    On December 17, 2014, we received an adequate and complete request 
from NEFSC for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to 
fisheries research activities. On July 9, 2015 (80 FR 39542), we 
published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register, 
requesting comments and information related to the NEFSC request for 
thirty days. We subsequently published corrections to the notice of 
proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register on August 6, 2015 (80 FR 
46939), and August 17, 2015 (80 FR 49196), including an extension of 
the comment period. The final rule was published in the Federal 
Register on August 11, 2016 (81 FR 53061). For

[[Page 64443]]

detailed information on this action, please refer to those documents. 
The regulations include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting 
requirements for the incidental take of marine mammals during fisheries 
research activities in the specified geographic region.
    NEFSC conducts fisheries research using pelagic trawl gear used at 
various levels in the water column, bottom-contact trawl gear, pelagic 
and demersal longlines with multiple hooks, gillnets, fyke nets, 
dredges, pots, traps, and other gear. If a marine mammal interacts with 
gear deployed by NEFSC, the outcome could potentially be Level A 
harassment, serious injury (i.e., any injury that will likely result in 
mortality), or mortality. We pooled the estimated number of incidents 
of take resulting from gear interactions and assessed the potential 
impacts accordingly. NEFSC also uses various active acoustic devices in 
the conduct of fisheries research, and use of these devices has the 
potential to result in Level B harassment of marine mammals. Level B 
harassment of pinnipeds hauled out on land may also occur as a result 
of visual disturbance from vessels conducting NEFSC research.
    The NEFSC conducts fisheries research surveys in the Atlantic coast 
region which spans the United States-Canadian border to Florida. This 
specified geographic region includes the following subareas: the Gulf 
of Maine, Georges Bank, Southern New England waters, the Mid-Atlantic 
Bight, and the coastal waters of northeast Florida. The NEFSC is 
authorized to take individuals of 10 species by Level A harassment, 
serious injury, or mortality (hereafter referred to as M/SI + Level A) 
and of 19 species by Level B harassment.

Authorization

    We have issued an LOA to NEFSC authorizing the take of marine 
mammals incidental to fisheries research activities, as described 
above. Take of marine mammals will be minimized through implementation 
of the following mitigation measures: (1) Required monitoring of the 
sampling areas to detect the presence of marine mammals before 
deployment of pelagic trawl nets, bottom-contact trawl gear, pelagic or 
demersal longline gear, gillnets, fyke nets, pots, traps, and other 
gears; (2) Required implementation of standard tow durations of not 
more than 30 minutes to reduce the likelihood of incidental take of 
marine mammals; (3) Required implementation of the mitigation strategy 
known as the ``move-on rule,'' which incorporates best professional 
judgment, when necessary during trawl and longline operations; (4) 
Required compliance with applicable vessel speed restrictions; and (5) 
Required compliance with applicable and relevant take reduction plans 
for marine mammals. Additionally, the rule includes an adaptive 
management component that allows for timely modification of mitigation 
or monitoring measures based on new information, when appropriate. The 
NEFSC will submit reports as required.
    Based on these findings and the information discussed in the 
preamble to the final rule, the activities described under these LOAs 
will have a negligible impact on marine mammal stocks and will not have 
an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the affected 
marine mammal stock for subsistence uses.

    Dated: September 13, 2016.
Donna S. Wieting,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-22582 Filed 9-19-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P