Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area, 48801-48802 [2017-22733]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 202 / Friday, October 20, 2017 / Notices is an occasional chest rather than a bedroom chest; August 17, 2016. Interested parties are invited to comment on the completeness of this list of completed scope inquiries. Any comments should be submitted to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., APO/Dockets Unit, Room 18022, Washington, DC 20230. This notice is published in accordance with 19 CFR 351.225(o). Dated: October 16, 2017. James Maeder, Senior Director performing the duties of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations. [FR Doc. 2017–22804 Filed 10–19–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF701 Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the HawaiiSouthern California Training and Testing Study Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; receipt of application for Letters of Authorization; request for comments and information. AGENCY: NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to training and testing activities conducted in the HawaiiSouthern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Study Area for a period of five years, from December 26, 2018 through December 25, 2023. Pursuant to regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing receipt of the Navy’s request for the development and implementation of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals. NMFS invites the public to provide information, suggestions, and comments on the Navy’s application and request. DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than November 20, 2017. ADDRESSES: Comments on the application should be addressed to Jolie srobinson on DSKBC5CHB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:22 Oct 19, 2017 Jkt 244001 Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments should be sent to ITP.Egger@noaa.gov. Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including all attachments, must not exceed a 25megabyte file size. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to the Internet at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/ permits/incidental/military.htm without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie Egger, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. An electronic copy of the Navy’s application may be obtained online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ incidental/military.htm. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above. 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 (Secretary) 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 geographic region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, 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. PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 48801 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. The MMPA states that the term ‘‘take’’ means to harass, hunt, capture, kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. 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). The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Pub. L. 108– 136) removed the ‘‘small numbers’’ and ‘‘specified geographical region’’ limitations indicated above and amended the definition of ‘‘harassment’’ as it applies to a ‘‘military readiness activity’’ to read as follows (Section 3(18)(B) of the MMPA): (i) Any act that injures or has the significant potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A Harassment); or (ii) Any act that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a point where such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly altered (Level B Harassment). Summary of Request On October 12, 2017, NMFS received an adequate and complete application from the Navy requesting authorization for take of marine mammals, by Level A and B harassment, incidental to training, testing, and routine military operations (all categorized as military readiness activities) from the use of sonar and other transducers, in-water detonations, airguns, and pile driving. In addition, the Navy is requesting authorization of three takes of large whales by serious injury or mortality resulting from vessel strikes. The requested regulations would be valid for five years, from 2018 through 2023. This will be the third time NMFS has promulgated incidental take regulations pursuant to the MMPA relating to similar military readiness activities in E:\FR\FM\20OCN1.SGM 20OCN1 48802 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 202 / Friday, October 20, 2017 / Notices srobinson on DSKBC5CHB2PROD with NOTICES HSTT, following those effective from January 5, 2009, through January 5, 2014, (74 FR 1456; January 12, 2009) and from December 24, 2013, through December 24, 2018 (78 FR 78106; December 24, 2013). Description of the Specified Activity The HSTT Study Area includes areas in the north-central Pacific Ocean, from Southern California west to Hawaii and the International Date Line, and including the Hawaii and Southern California (SOCAL) Range Complexes, as well as the Silver Strand Training Complex and overlaps a portion of the Point Mugu Sea Range. The Hawaii Range Complex encompasses ocean areas around the Hawaiian Islands, extending from 16 degrees north latitude to 43 degrees north latitude and from 150 degrees west longitude to the International Date Line. The SOCAL Range Complex is located approximately between Dana Point and San Diego, California, and extends southwest into the Pacific Ocean and also includes a small portion of the Point Mugu Sea Range. The Silver Strand Training Complex is an integrated set of training areas located on and adjacent to the Silver Strand, a narrow, sandy isthmus separating the San Diego Bay from the Pacific Ocean. Please refer to Figure 1–1 of the application for a map of the HSTT Study Area, Figures 2–1 to 2–4 for the Hawaii Operating Area (where the majority of training and testing activities occur within the Hawaii Range Complex), Figures 2–5 to 2–7 for the SOCAL Range Complex, and Figure 2– 8 for the Silver Strand Training Complex. The following types of training and testing, which are classified as military readiness activities pursuant to section 315(f) of Public Law 101–314 (16 U.S.C. 703), are included in the specified activity described in the Navy’s application: amphibious warfare (in-water detonations), anti-submarine warfare (sonar and other transducers, inwater detonations), surface warfare (inwater detonations), mine warfare (sonar and other transducers, in-water detonations), and other (sonar and other transducers, pile driving, air guns). The Navy’s application includes proposed mitigation measures for marine mammals that would be implemented during training and testing activities in the HSTT Study Area. Proposed procedural mitigation measures generally include: (1) The use of one or more trained lookouts to diligently observe for specific biological resources within a mitigation zone, (2) requirements for lookouts to immediately communicate sightings of VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:22 Oct 19, 2017 Jkt 244001 specific biological resources to the appropriate watch station for information dissemination, and (3) requirements for the watch station to implement mitigation (e.g., halt an activity) until certain recommencement conditions have been met. Mitigation measures are also proposed for specific mitigation areas and consist of a variety of measures in those areas including, but not limited to: Conducting a limited number of major training exercises per year, not planning or avoiding planning major training exercises, minimizing or not conducting active sonar, conducting a limited amount of hull-mounted midfrequency active sonar per year, and not expending explosive or non-explosive ordnance. The Navy also proposes to undertake monitoring and reporting efforts to track compliance with incidental take authorizations and to help investigate the effectiveness of implemented mitigation measures in the HSTT Study Area. This can include Adaptive Management, the Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Program, the Strategic Planning Process, and Annual Monitoring and Exercise and Testing Reports. As an example, under the Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Program, the monitoring relating to the effects of Navy training and testing activities on protected marine species are designed to increase the understanding of the likely occurrence of marine mammals in the vicinity of the action (i.e., presence, abundance, distribution, and density of species) and to increase the understanding of the nature, scope, or context of the likely exposure of marine mammals to any of the potential stressors associated with the action. Information Solicited Interested persons may submit information, suggestions, and comments concerning the Navy’s request (see ADDRESSES). NMFS will consider all information, suggestions, and comments related to the request during the development of proposed regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals by the Navy, if appropriate. Dated: October 16, 2017. Cathryn E. Tortorici, Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–22733 Filed 10–19–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF690 Fisheries Off West Coast States; Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Seabird Cable Strike Mitigation Workshop; Public Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of public meeting. AGENCY: Emerging seabird mitigation technologies will be discussed at the Seabird Cable Strike Mitigation Workshop. DATES: The meeting will be held November 7, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and November 8, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Pacific Standard Time. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the NOAA Western Regional Center, Building 9 (Kelly C. Sandy III Auditorium), 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115. For information on building access, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anne Marie Eich, 907–586–7172, or Vanessa Tuttle, 206–860–3479. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Seabirds congregate around trawlers to feed on offal putting them at risk of colliding with cables (trawl warps and data cables) that run aft of trawlers. Cable strikes are a known source of seabird mortality, particularly on at-sea factory trawlers (referred to as catcher/ processors). Research projects observing seabird cable strikes have been conducted in the Alaska catcher/ processor fleet targeting pollock in the Bering Sea and in the West Coast at-sea hake fishery. Data from both studies indicate that estimated mortalities for cable strikes are greater than observed mortalities collected as part of typical observer duties. To address this issue, NMFS will host a 1.5-day workshop on gear modification strategies for reducing seabird cable strike mortality in West Coast trawl (hake) fisheries. The goal is to develop mitigation strategies that reduce cable strikes and could be used by both West Coast hake and Alaska pollock trawlers. This collaborative workshop will bring together the at-sea processing industry, engineers, biologists and fisheries managers to develop innovative, practical gearmodifications for reducing seabird cable strike mortality. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\20OCN1.SGM 20OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 202 (Friday, October 20, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 48801-48802]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-22733]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XF701


Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals 
Incidental to U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Hawaii-
Southern California Training and Testing Study Area

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

ACTION: Notice; receipt of application for Letters of Authorization; 
request for comments and information.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) for 
authorization to take marine mammals incidental to training and testing 
activities conducted in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and 
Testing (HSTT) Study Area for a period of five years, from December 26, 
2018 through December 25, 2023. Pursuant to regulations implementing 
the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing receipt of 
the Navy's request for the development and implementation of 
regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals. NMFS 
invites the public to provide information, suggestions, and comments on 
the Navy's application and request.

DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than November 
20, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Comments on the application should be addressed to Jolie 
Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should 
be sent to 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and 
electronic comments should be sent to ITP.Egger@noaa.gov.
    Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any 
other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the 
end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including 
all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. Attachments 
to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or 
Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted to the Internet at 
www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/military.htm without change. 
All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily 
submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit 
confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected 
information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie Egger, Office of Protected 
Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. An electronic copy of the Navy's 
application may be obtained online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/military.htm. In case of problems accessing these documents, 
please call the contact listed above.

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 (Secretary) 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 geographic region if certain 
findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking 
is limited to harassment, 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.
    The MMPA states that the term ``take'' means to harass, hunt, 
capture, kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine 
mammal.
    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).
    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Pub. 
L. 108-136) removed the ``small numbers'' and ``specified geographical 
region'' limitations indicated above and amended the definition of 
``harassment'' as it applies to a ``military readiness activity'' to 
read as follows (Section 3(18)(B) of the MMPA): (i) Any act that 
injures or has the significant potential to injure a marine mammal or 
marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A Harassment); or (ii) Any act 
that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal 
stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural behavioral patterns, 
including, but not limited to, migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, 
feeding, or sheltering, to a point where such behavioral patterns are 
abandoned or significantly altered (Level B Harassment).

Summary of Request

    On October 12, 2017, NMFS received an adequate and complete 
application from the Navy requesting authorization for take of marine 
mammals, by Level A and B harassment, incidental to training, testing, 
and routine military operations (all categorized as military readiness 
activities) from the use of sonar and other transducers, in-water 
detonations, airguns, and pile driving. In addition, the Navy is 
requesting authorization of three takes of large whales by serious 
injury or mortality resulting from vessel strikes. The requested 
regulations would be valid for five years, from 2018 through 2023.
    This will be the third time NMFS has promulgated incidental take 
regulations pursuant to the MMPA relating to similar military readiness 
activities in

[[Page 48802]]

HSTT, following those effective from January 5, 2009, through January 
5, 2014, (74 FR 1456; January 12, 2009) and from December 24, 2013, 
through December 24, 2018 (78 FR 78106; December 24, 2013).

Description of the Specified Activity

    The HSTT Study Area includes areas in the north-central Pacific 
Ocean, from Southern California west to Hawaii and the International 
Date Line, and including the Hawaii and Southern California (SOCAL) 
Range Complexes, as well as the Silver Strand Training Complex and 
overlaps a portion of the Point Mugu Sea Range. The Hawaii Range 
Complex encompasses ocean areas around the Hawaiian Islands, extending 
from 16 degrees north latitude to 43 degrees north latitude and from 
150 degrees west longitude to the International Date Line. The SOCAL 
Range Complex is located approximately between Dana Point and San 
Diego, California, and extends southwest into the Pacific Ocean and 
also includes a small portion of the Point Mugu Sea Range. The Silver 
Strand Training Complex is an integrated set of training areas located 
on and adjacent to the Silver Strand, a narrow, sandy isthmus 
separating the San Diego Bay from the Pacific Ocean. Please refer to 
Figure 1-1 of the application for a map of the HSTT Study Area, Figures 
2-1 to 2-4 for the Hawaii Operating Area (where the majority of 
training and testing activities occur within the Hawaii Range Complex), 
Figures 2-5 to 2-7 for the SOCAL Range Complex, and Figure 2-8 for the 
Silver Strand Training Complex. The following types of training and 
testing, which are classified as military readiness activities pursuant 
to section 315(f) of Public Law 101-314 (16 U.S.C. 703), are included 
in the specified activity described in the Navy's application: 
amphibious warfare (in-water detonations), anti-submarine warfare 
(sonar and other transducers, in-water detonations), surface warfare 
(in-water detonations), mine warfare (sonar and other transducers, in-
water detonations), and other (sonar and other transducers, pile 
driving, air guns).
    The Navy's application includes proposed mitigation measures for 
marine mammals that would be implemented during training and testing 
activities in the HSTT Study Area. Proposed procedural mitigation 
measures generally include: (1) The use of one or more trained lookouts 
to diligently observe for specific biological resources within a 
mitigation zone, (2) requirements for lookouts to immediately 
communicate sightings of specific biological resources to the 
appropriate watch station for information dissemination, and (3) 
requirements for the watch station to implement mitigation (e.g., halt 
an activity) until certain recommencement conditions have been met. 
Mitigation measures are also proposed for specific mitigation areas and 
consist of a variety of measures in those areas including, but not 
limited to: Conducting a limited number of major training exercises per 
year, not planning or avoiding planning major training exercises, 
minimizing or not conducting active sonar, conducting a limited amount 
of hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar per year, and not expending 
explosive or non-explosive ordnance.
    The Navy also proposes to undertake monitoring and reporting 
efforts to track compliance with incidental take authorizations and to 
help investigate the effectiveness of implemented mitigation measures 
in the HSTT Study Area. This can include Adaptive Management, the 
Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Program, the Strategic Planning 
Process, and Annual Monitoring and Exercise and Testing Reports. As an 
example, under the Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Program, the 
monitoring relating to the effects of Navy training and testing 
activities on protected marine species are designed to increase the 
understanding of the likely occurrence of marine mammals in the 
vicinity of the action (i.e., presence, abundance, distribution, and 
density of species) and to increase the understanding of the nature, 
scope, or context of the likely exposure of marine mammals to any of 
the potential stressors associated with the action.

Information Solicited

    Interested persons may submit information, suggestions, and 
comments concerning the Navy's request (see ADDRESSES). NMFS will 
consider all information, suggestions, and comments related to the 
request during the development of proposed regulations governing the 
incidental taking of marine mammals by the Navy, if appropriate.

     Dated: October 16, 2017.
Cathryn E. Tortorici,
Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-22733 Filed 10-19-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P