Notification of Receipt of a Petition To Ban Imports of All Fish and Fish Products From New Zealand That Do Not Satisfy the Marine Mammal Protection Act, 5977-5978 [2019-03132]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 37 / Monday, February 25, 2019 / Proposed Rules this document for publication on February 14, 2019. John J. Howard, Administrator, World Trade Center Health Program and Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services. [FR Doc. 2019–02941 Filed 2–22–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163–18–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 216 RIN 0648–XG809 Notification of Receipt of a Petition To Ban Imports of All Fish and Fish Products From New Zealand That Do Not Satisfy the Marine Mammal Protection Act National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Receipt of petition to ban imports through emergency rulemaking; request for information and comments. AGENCY: NMFS announces receipt of a petition for emergency rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act. Sea Shepherd Legal, Sea Shepherd New Zealand Ltd., and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce and other relevant Departments to initiate emergency rulemaking under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (‘‘MMPA’’), to ban importation of commercial fish or products from fish that have been caught with commercial fishing technology that results in incidental mortality or serious injury of Ma¯ui dolphin in excess of United States standards. DATES: Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on March 27, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2019–0013, by either of the following methods: 1. Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20190013, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields and enter or attach your comments. 2. Mail: Submit written comments to: Director, Office of International Affairs amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with PROPOSALS1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:08 Feb 22, 2019 Jkt 247001 and Seafood Inspection, Attn: MMPA Petition, NMFS, F/IASI, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on http://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe portable document file (PDF) formats only. The complete text of the petition is available via the internet at the following web address: http:// www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ia/. In addition, copies of this petition may be obtained by contacting NMFS at the above address. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nina Young, NMFS F/IASI at Nina.Young@noaa.gov or 301–427– 8383. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Section 101(a)(2) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), 16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(2), states that: ‘‘The Secretary of the Treasury shall ban the importation of commercial fish or products from fish which have been caught with commercial fishing technology which results in the incidental kill or incidental serious injury of ocean mammals in excess of United States standards.’’ In August 2016, NMFS published a final rule (81 FR 54390; August 15, 2016) implementing the fish and fish product import provisions in section 101(a)(2) of the MMPA. This rule established conditions for evaluating a harvesting nation’s regulatory programs to address incidental and intentional mortality and serious injury of marine mammals in fisheries operated by nations that export fish and fish products to the United States. In that rule’s preamble, NMFS stated that it may consider emergency rulemaking to ban imports of fish and fish products from an export or exempt fishery having or likely to have an immediate and significant adverse impact on a marine mammal stock. PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 5977 Information in the Petition NMFS received the petition on February 6, 2019. The petition alleges that the Secretaries of Commerce and other relevant federal Departments are required to carry out non-discretionary duties under section 101(a)(2) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(2)), to ‘‘ban the importation of commercial fish or products from fish’’ sourced in a manner that ‘‘results in the incidental kill or incidental serious injury’’ of Ma¯ui dolphin ‘‘in excess of United States standards.’’ The petition requested that the relevant Secretary ban the importation of all fish and fish products caught in set nets or trawls inside the Ma¯ui dolphin’s range and from either the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island or the Cook Strait, unless affirmatively identified as having been caught with a gear type other than set nets or trawls or affirmatively identified as caught outside the Ma¯ui dolphin’s range. As support for the need for this action, the petition cites several reports and studies noting various estimates of decline. The petitioners assert that for the Ma¯ui dolphin, set net and trawl bycatch has driven the species from a population of approximately 2,000 individuals in 1971, to 111 in 2004, to 55 in 2011. Further, the petition notes that in 2018 the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission reported an abundance estimate of 57 individuals, with a 95% confidence interval of 44 to 75 individuals, which equates to an average decline of 2% every year and a total decline of 59% over the 31-year period from 1985 to 2016. The petitioners maintain that any fishery using set nets, trawls, or gillnets in the Ma¯ui dolphin range along the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island violates U.S. standards under the MMPA. The petitioners provide a list of 11 fish species harvested within the Ma¯ui dolphin range by set nets, trawls, or gillnets that are potentially imported into the U.S. as fish or fish products. As noted in the petition, New Zealand has attempted to address the bycatch problem by (1) restricting set nets and trawls in certain areas, and (2) increasing observer coverage and other monitoring mechanisms. In the case of gear and area/seasonal restrictions, trawling has been banned in approximately 5% of the habitat of Ma¯ui dolphin, while gillnets are banned in an additional 14% of that habitat. In addition, New Zealand’s Hector’s and Ma¯ui dolphin Threat Management Plan is currently under review for updates, with decision documents scheduled to E:\FR\FM\25FEP1.SGM 25FEP1 5978 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 37 / Monday, February 25, 2019 / Proposed Rules amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with PROPOSALS1 be provided to Ministers in May 2019 (See: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/ protection-and-response/sustainablefisheries/managing-our-impact-onmarine-life/protecting-hectors-andmaui-dolphins/). NMFS will consider public comments received in evaluating the request by the petitioners. In addition to general comments on the petition, NMFS specifically requests comments on: • The adequacy of existing measures regulating commercial fishing VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:08 Feb 22, 2019 Jkt 247001 throughout the range of the Ma¯ui dolphin; • Whether such measures can be considered comparable in effectiveness to the U.S. regulatory program; • Whether the apparent decline in the Ma¯ui dolphin population due to commercial fishing meets the standard of ‘‘immediate and significant adverse impact on a marine mammal stock’’ within the MMPA; and • Which specific fisheries are or may be directly associated with potential PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 mortality of Ma¯ui dolphin and therefore fall within the scope of the petition for emergency action. Dated: February 19, 2019. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–03132 Filed 2–22–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\25FEP1.SGM 25FEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 37 (Monday, February 25, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 5977-5978]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-03132]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 216

RIN 0648-XG809


Notification of Receipt of a Petition To Ban Imports of All Fish 
and Fish Products From New Zealand That Do Not Satisfy the Marine 
Mammal Protection Act

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

ACTION: Receipt of petition to ban imports through emergency 
rulemaking; request for information and comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS announces receipt of a petition for emergency rulemaking 
under the Administrative Procedure Act. Sea Shepherd Legal, Sea 
Shepherd New Zealand Ltd., and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society 
petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce and other relevant 
Departments to initiate emergency rulemaking under the Marine Mammal 
Protection Act (``MMPA''), to ban importation of commercial fish or 
products from fish that have been caught with commercial fishing 
technology that results in incidental mortality or serious injury of 
M[amacr]ui dolphin in excess of United States standards.

DATES: Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on 
March 27, 2019.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2019-0013, by either of the following methods:
    1. Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic comments via the 
Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2019-0013, click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, 
complete the required fields and enter or attach your comments.
    2. Mail: Submit written comments to: Director, Office of 
International Affairs and Seafood Inspection, Attn: MMPA Petition, 
NMFS, F/IASI, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public 
record and will generally be posted for public viewing on http://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).
    Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft 
Word, Excel, or Adobe portable document file (PDF) formats only. The 
complete text of the petition is available via the internet at the 
following web address: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ia/. In addition, 
copies of this petition may be obtained by contacting NMFS at the above 
address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nina Young, NMFS F/IASI at 
Nina.Young@noaa.gov or 301-427-8383.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Section 101(a)(2) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), 16 
U.S.C. 1371(a)(2), states that: ``The Secretary of the Treasury shall 
ban the importation of commercial fish or products from fish which have 
been caught with commercial fishing technology which results in the 
incidental kill or incidental serious injury of ocean mammals in excess 
of United States standards.'' In August 2016, NMFS published a final 
rule (81 FR 54390; August 15, 2016) implementing the fish and fish 
product import provisions in section 101(a)(2) of the MMPA. This rule 
established conditions for evaluating a harvesting nation's regulatory 
programs to address incidental and intentional mortality and serious 
injury of marine mammals in fisheries operated by nations that export 
fish and fish products to the United States. In that rule's preamble, 
NMFS stated that it may consider emergency rulemaking to ban imports of 
fish and fish products from an export or exempt fishery having or 
likely to have an immediate and significant adverse impact on a marine 
mammal stock.

Information in the Petition

    NMFS received the petition on February 6, 2019. The petition 
alleges that the Secretaries of Commerce and other relevant federal 
Departments are required to carry out non-discretionary duties under 
section 101(a)(2) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(2)), to ``ban the 
importation of commercial fish or products from fish'' sourced in a 
manner that ``results in the incidental kill or incidental serious 
injury'' of M[amacr]ui dolphin ``in excess of United States 
standards.'' The petition requested that the relevant Secretary ban the 
importation of all fish and fish products caught in set nets or trawls 
inside the M[amacr]ui dolphin's range and from either the west coast of 
New Zealand's North Island or the Cook Strait, unless affirmatively 
identified as having been caught with a gear type other than set nets 
or trawls or affirmatively identified as caught outside the M[amacr]ui 
dolphin's range.
    As support for the need for this action, the petition cites several 
reports and studies noting various estimates of decline. The 
petitioners assert that for the M[amacr]ui dolphin, set net and trawl 
bycatch has driven the species from a population of approximately 2,000 
individuals in 1971, to 111 in 2004, to 55 in 2011. Further, the 
petition notes that in 2018 the Scientific Committee of the 
International Whaling Commission reported an abundance estimate of 57 
individuals, with a 95% confidence interval of 44 to 75 individuals, 
which equates to an average decline of 2% every year and a total 
decline of 59% over the 31-year period from 1985 to 2016.
    The petitioners maintain that any fishery using set nets, trawls, 
or gillnets in the M[amacr]ui dolphin range along the west coast of New 
Zealand's North Island violates U.S. standards under the MMPA. The 
petitioners provide a list of 11 fish species harvested within the 
M[amacr]ui dolphin range by set nets, trawls, or gillnets that are 
potentially imported into the U.S. as fish or fish products.
    As noted in the petition, New Zealand has attempted to address the 
bycatch problem by (1) restricting set nets and trawls in certain 
areas, and (2) increasing observer coverage and other monitoring 
mechanisms. In the case of gear and area/seasonal restrictions, 
trawling has been banned in approximately 5% of the habitat of 
M[amacr]ui dolphin, while gillnets are banned in an additional 14% of 
that habitat. In addition, New Zealand's Hector's and M[amacr]ui 
dolphin Threat Management Plan is currently under review for updates, 
with decision documents scheduled to

[[Page 5978]]

be provided to Ministers in May 2019 (See: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/sustainable-fisheries/managing-our-impact-on-marine-life/protecting-hectors-and-maui-dolphins/).
    NMFS will consider public comments received in evaluating the 
request by the petitioners. In addition to general comments on the 
petition, NMFS specifically requests comments on:
     The adequacy of existing measures regulating commercial 
fishing throughout the range of the M[amacr]ui dolphin;
     Whether such measures can be considered comparable in 
effectiveness to the U.S. regulatory program;
     Whether the apparent decline in the M[amacr]ui dolphin 
population due to commercial fishing meets the standard of ``immediate 
and significant adverse impact on a marine mammal stock'' within the 
MMPA; and
     Which specific fisheries are or may be directly associated 
with potential mortality of M[amacr]ui dolphin and therefore fall 
within the scope of the petition for emergency action.

    Dated: February 19, 2019.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-03132 Filed 2-22-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P