Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Basic Requirements for Special Exception Permits and Authorizations To Take, Import, and Export Marine Mammals, Threatened and Endangered Species, and for Maintaining a Captive Marine Mammal Inventory Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Fur Seal Act, and/or the Endangered Species Act, 50409-50412 [2019-20767]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 25, 2019 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Regulations National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before November 25, 2019. ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Adrienne Thomas, PRA Officer, NOAA, 151 Patton Avenue, Room 159, Asheville, NC 28801 (or via the internet at PRAcomments@doc.gov). Comments will generally be posted without change. All Personally Identifiable Information (for example, name and address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information should be directed to Colleen Coogan, Marine Mammal Take Reduction Team Coordinator, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930; 978–281– 9181, Colleen.Coogan@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: I. Abstract Type of review: regular submission (extension of a current information collection). Any persons setting trap/pot of gillnet gear to fish commercially in some areas of the Atlantic Ocean are required to paint or otherwise mark their gear with one or two color codes, designating the type of gear and area where the gear is set. The surface buoys of this gear need to be marked to identify the vessel or fishery. These marking requirements apply in the various management areas under the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP), developed VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:25 Sep 24, 2019 Jkt 247001 under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The goal of this collection of information is to enable the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to reduce injuries and deaths of large whales, especially right whales, due to incidental entanglement in United States commercial fishing gear. In order to develop fair and effective management measures, the Take Reduction Team (Team) requires comprehensive data on when, where, and how fixed gear vessels fish, and where whales become entangled in fishing gear. Last updated in 2015, the Plan requires buoy lines in fixed gear fisheries to be marked. All buoy lines must be marked with three 12 inch (30.5. 48 cm), colored marks unique to particular fishing areas: one at the top of the buoy line, one midway along the buoy line, and one at the bottom of the buoy line. No additional markings are being proposed at this time. This gear marking, when observed on entangled whales, allows fishery managers to identify the gear type and area the entangling gear may have originated from, to tailor management measures to reduce the risk of mortality and serious injury of marine mammal incidental to commercial fishing operations. Without the information provided by the gearmarking requirements informing where entanglements occur and what type of gear is involved, future management measures may be overly broad and affect more individuals than necessary. Therefore, knowing which geographic areas and fisheries pose the greatest risk to large whales will minimize the economic impact to fishermen while maximizing the benefits for these species. II. Method of Collection Information collected is in the form of gear marking. III. Data OMB Control Number: 0648–0364. Form Number(s): None. Type of Review: Regular submission. Affected Public: Business or other forprofit organizations, and individuals or households. Estimated Number of Respondents: Approximately 4,008 vessels. Estimated Time per Response: Each mark requires approximately 5 minutes of time. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: Estimated 3 burden hours each year, per vessel, for vessels who are remarking existing gear. This results in a total of 12,024 hours per year total, for all vessels. PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 50409 Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: Estimated cost of $2.31 each year, per vessel, for vessels who are remarking existing gear. This results in a total expense of $9,258.48 per year, for all vessels who are re-marking existing gear. IV. Request for Comments Comments are invited on: (a) whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record. Sheleen Dumas, Departmental Lead PRA Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Commerce Department. [FR Doc. 2019–20769 Filed 9–24–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Basic Requirements for Special Exception Permits and Authorizations To Take, Import, and Export Marine Mammals, Threatened and Endangered Species, and for Maintaining a Captive Marine Mammal Inventory Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Fur Seal Act, and/or the Endangered Species Act National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\25SEN1.SGM 25SEN1 50410 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 25, 2019 / Notices jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before November 25, 2019. ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Adrienne Thomas, PRA Officer, NOAA, 151 Patton Avenue, Room 159, Asheville, NC 28801 (or via the internet at PRAcomments@doc.gov). Comments will generally be posted without change. All Personally Identifiable Information (for example, name and address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Amy Sloan or Carrie Hubard, NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, (301) 427– 8401, Amy.Sloan@noaa.gov or Carrie.W.Hubard@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract This request is for a revision and extension of a currently approved information collection. The Marine Mammal Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.; MMPA), Fur Seal Act (16 U.S.C. 1151 et seq.; FSA), and Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.; ESA) prohibit certain activities affecting marine mammals and endangered and threatened species, with exceptions. Pursuant to Section 104 of the MMPA and Section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA, special exception permits may be obtained for scientific research and enhancing the survival or recovery of a species or stock of marine mammals or endangered or threatened species. Section 104 of the MMPA also provides for Letters of Confirmation under a General Authorization for scientific research and permits for commercial and educational photography of marine mammals that involve only Level B harassment of marine mammals; permits for capture and/or import of marine mammals for public display; and inventory reporting pertaining to marine mammals in public display facilities. The regulations pertaining to permits and associated reporting requirements under the MMPA and FSA are at 50 CFR part 216; the regulations for permit requirements under the ESA are at 50 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:25 Sep 24, 2019 Jkt 247001 CFR part 222. The required information in this collection is used to make the determinations required by the MMPA, FSA, ESA and their implementing regulations prior to issuing a permit; to establish appropriate permit conditions; to evaluate the impacts of the proposed activity on protected species; and, to ensure compliance with the Acts. The marine mammal inventory forms ensure compliance with MMPA reporting requirements and allow NMFS to maintain the National Inventory of Marine Mammals (NIMM), as required by the MMPA. This information collection applies to certain protected species for which NMFS is responsible: Cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions); and, for ESA scientific research and enhancement permits: Sawfish (largetooth and smalltooth), sea turtles (in water), sturgeon (Atlantic and shortnose), and certain foreign ESAlisted species. This information collection may be used for future ESAlisted species. We propose to revise the currentlyapproved special exception permit application instructions to: (1) Improve readability by changing the font, adding color, removing jargon, eliminating extraneous text, incorporating bullets and numbered lists, and reorganizing sentence structure; (2) be more userfriendly by consolidating pages, shortening and moving background information to the end, and removing sections that don’t apply to specific permit types; (3) eliminate the requirement for applicants to provide scientific names of protected species; (4) update the information required to use unmanned aircraft systems; (5) reduce time spent asking for additional information from applicants by eliminating the requirement for proposed take numbers to be included in both the narrative and table sections of the application; (6) require most permit personnel to use a specialized qualifications form instead of submitting resumes, thus reducing time spent clarifying personnel experience; (7) provide examples of qualification forms for different personnel types; (8) provide detailed procedure options for those requesting parts permits; (9) put questions about potential effects to the environment in plain language; (10) improve organizational structure of the public display instructions, since those applicants do not submit via our online system; and (11) include examples of take tables for import and capture from the wild in the public display instructions. In addition, we propose to remove the requirement that permit PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 applicants provide the name and contact information of Authorized Recipients who may receive protected species parts. Moving forward, we propose to allow permit holders to designate their own Authorized Recipients, which will give them more flexibility and autonomy and will save time by removing the need to request an authorization letter. We also propose to make photography and parts permit applications accessible via our online application system known as APPS (Authorizations and Permits for Protected Species; https:// apps.nmfs.noaa.gov). The MMPA requires NMFS to establish and maintain an inventory of marine mammals in zoos and aquariums. On February 15, 2019, we published a Federal Register notice (84 FR 4443) seeking comment on policies and procedures for implementing NMFS’ National Inventory of Marine Mammals (NIMM). We extended the public comment period to July 31, 2019 (84 FR 15593). After review and consideration of public comments (available at: https:// www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAANMFS-2019-0012), we are proposing certain inventory reporting revisions. Public access to NIMM is not the subject of this notice and is not addressed here. We will provide a separate opportunity to comment on public access to NIMM. This notice only pertains to inventory reporting requirements. In addition to providing holders of marine mammals (i.e., Owners and Facilities) electronic forms to complete and submit marine mammal inventory information via email, fax, or mail (as is currently done), we propose to make the online inventory, NIMM, accessible to holders of marine mammals for those who would like to report their inventory information online. We propose revisions to the current inventory form known as the marine mammal data sheet (MMDS) to (1) define birth and clarify that a birth must be reported if the marine mammal is born alive, no matter how long it lives; (2) clarify that stillbirths are not required to be reported; and (3) standardize reporting of cause of death (when determined) to include a simple, two-tier system that reflects the primary body system or circumstance of the cause of death (Tier 1) with the significant findings underlying that body system or circumstance (Tier 2). This information could also be entered in the online format noted above. Below we respond to comments received regarding these three points during the February 15 to July 31, 2019 comment period on NIMM. E:\FR\FM\25SEN1.SGM 25SEN1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 25, 2019 / Notices Birth and Stillbirth: Several commenters opposed the reporting of stillbirths, suggested we modify our proposed definition of birth to clarify it only pertains to live animals, and remove any reference to reporting stillbirths in the cause of death section of the MMDS. We have done so in the proposed revised MMDS. One comment suggested that a stillbirth should be reported as a birth and that such information has scientific and welfare value. While we acknowledge that information in the inventory is of value to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (the agency with oversight for the humane handling care, treatment and transportation of marine mammals), we believe that the intent of the inventory is to track individual marine mammals over their lifetime. The inventory requires both birth and death information for each animal. We interpret this to imply that a marine mammal must be born alive to enter the inventory. We also propose to clarify on the MMDS that a birth of a live marine mammal must be reported regardless of how long the animal lives, as some zoos and aquariums have interpreted the requirement to report births as only including marine mammals in the inventory if they live for 30 days. Cause of Death: Some commenters supported the proposed two-tier system cause of death reporting as a ‘‘muchneeded improvement’’ and an ‘‘innovative method of standardizing and reporting’’ to allow ‘‘enough detail to accurately characterize the event.’’ We received suggestions to improve the accuracy of the cause of death information, which we have incorporated into the revised MMDS. Once a body system or circumstance is selected for the underlying cause of death (Tier 1), multiple selections can be made from the associated Tier 2 level. However, because we are seeking the primary body system or circumstance to be reported, and due to associated programming challenges, we propose that only a single Tier 1 factor may be selected at this time. We also received opposing comments to the use of the two-tier system, including that it exceeded the required statement of ‘‘cause of death,’’ was ‘‘too complicated,’’ should only have one tier, and could only be based on findings that would be developed through a necropsy. We first clarify that we do not require necropsy reports be submitted to the inventory to report cause of death. The MMPA states that cause of death must be reported ‘‘when determined,’’ implying that analyses be performed (such as necropsy and tissue VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:25 Sep 24, 2019 Jkt 247001 analysis, as is standard when determining cause of death), before reporting it to the inventory. As one commenter noted, cause of death reporting has been ‘‘uneven and variable’’ via ad libitum reports of death as provided in a text field. For example, we have received reports with vague information such as ‘‘expired after a prolonged illness’’ compared to reports with information such as ‘‘metastatic squamous cell carcinoma.’’ The two-tier system provides a mechanism to provide a standardized, simple statement of the cause of death (e.g., Liver [Tier 1 Body System]; Cancer/ Neoplastic—Primary [Tier 2 Significant Finding]). Additional Comments: Regarding additional comments we received such as on historical information in NIMM and providing a mechanism for zoos and aquariums to verify the accuracy of their information in NIMM, we propose to address those comments in a separate notice prior to making NIMM available for online reporting by marine mammal holders. As mentioned previously, public access to NIMM will be addressed in a separate notice. II. Method of Collection Currently-approved permit applications, permit report form information, and inventory forms are available as downloadable Word or PDF versions online at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permits-andforms#protected-resources or via email. Respondents may submit all applications, forms, and reports by email, facsimile, or mail. Respondents may currently also submit scientific research and enhancement permit applications (including parts permit applications) and Letters of Intent under the General Authorization online via APPS. Reports for most permits can be submitted online via APPS. Under the proposed revision, in addition to the modes of access and submission listed above, photography permit applications would be made available online via APPS, a simplified parts permit application module would be developed in APPS, and marine mammal inventory reporting would be made available online via NIMM. III. Data OMB Control Number: 0648–0084. Form Number(s): None. Type of Review: Regular submission (revision and extension of previouslyapproved collection). Affected Public: Individuals; Business or other for-profit organizations; Not-forprofit institutions; State, Local, or Tribal government; Federal government. PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 50411 Estimated Number of Respondents: 415. This is the estimated total number, annually, of persons or organizations anticipated to (1) apply for an MMPA, FSA, and/or ESA permit or authorization; (2) submit annual permit reports and modification requests; and (3) submit marine mammal inventory reports. This number is, respectively, based on (1) the number of permit applications anticipated to be received annually (from reviewing data from 2016–2018); (2) the number of current permit holders required to submit annual reports and who may request to modify their permit; and (3) the total number of currently active marine mammal facilities subject to inventory reporting requirements. Estimated Time per Response: The estimated average amount of time it takes to complete each information collection instrument is as follows. Scientific research permit applications, 50 hours; public display permit applications, 30 hours; photography permit applications, 10 hours; General Authorization Letters of Intent, 10 hours; major permit modification requests, 35 hours; minor permit modification requests, 3 hours; scientific research permit reports, 12 hours; scientific research parts only permit reports, 8 hours; General Authorization reports, 8 hours; public display permit reports, 2 hours; photography permit reports, 2 hours; public display inventory reporting, 2 hours; and general record keeping, 2 hours per each type. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 6,711. Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $1,000 in recordkeeping/ reporting costs. This represents costs for mailing in applications, forms, and reports. The majority of respondents use electronic submission formats but some still mail in applications, forms, and reports. This estimate excludes time required to complete the applications, forms, and reports, and any equipment such as computers needed to complete them. IV. Request for Comments Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information E:\FR\FM\25SEN1.SGM 25SEN1 50412 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 25, 2019 / Notices on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record. Sheleen Dumas, Departmental Lead PRA Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Commerce Department. [FR Doc. 2019–20767 Filed 9–24–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Estuary Habitat Restoration Program Inventory [Formerly National Estuaries Restoration Inventory] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before November 25, 2019. SUMMARY: Direct all written comments to Adrienne Thomas, PRA Officer, NOAA, 151 Patton Avenue, Room 159, Asheville, NC 28801 (or via the internet at PRAcomments@doc.gov). Comments will generally be posted without change. All Personally Identifiable Information (for example, name and address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Julia Royster, Office of Habitat Conservation, Restoration jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES ADDRESSES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:25 Sep 24, 2019 Jkt 247001 Center, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, 301–427–8686, or julia.royster@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract This request is for a revision and renewal of a currently approved biannual information collection. The Estuary Restoration Act of 2000 established an Estuary Habitat Restoration Program that provides funding to restoration projects. Funded projects are required to complete the collection tool so project information (e.g., location, habitat type, goals, status, monitoring information) can be included in the Estuary Habitat Restoration Program database mandated by the Estuary Restoration Act of 2000. The benefit of data collection is to document the restoration actions implemented, as well as the monitoring results to understand the success of each project. Estuary habitat restoration program project information will be submitted by habitat restoration project managers and will be accessible to the public via internet. The collection method includes paper or electronic forms, not web-based data entry. II. Method of Collection Respondents have a choice of either electronic or paper forms. Methods of submittal include email of electronic forms, and mail and facsimile transmission of paper forms. III. Data OMB Control Number: 0648–0479. Form Number(s): None. Type of Review: Regular submission (revision and extension of a currently approved collection). Affected Public: Non-profit institutions; State, local, or tribal government. Estimated Number of Respondents: 20. Estimated Time per Response: Data entry of new projects, 4 hours; updates to existing projects, 2 hours. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 100. Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $100 in recordkeeping/reporting costs. IV. Request for Comments Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record. Sheleen Dumas, Departmental Lead PRA Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Commerce Department. [FR Doc. 2019–20768 Filed 9–24–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XU003 Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of open public meeting. AGENCY: This notice sets forth the proposed schedule and agenda of a forthcoming meeting of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC). The members will discuss and provide advice on issues outlined under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION below. DATES: The meeting will be held October 15 and 16, 2019, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and October 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Silver Spring Hotel, 8777 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910; 301–589–0800. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heidi Lovett, MAFAC Assistant Director; 301–427–8034; email: Heidi.Lovett@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: As required by section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App. 2, notice is hereby given of a meeting of MAFAC. The MAFAC was established by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), and, since 1971, advises the Secretary on all living marine resource matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce. The complete charter and SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\25SEN1.SGM 25SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 186 (Wednesday, September 25, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 50409-50412]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-20767]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Basic 
Requirements for Special Exception Permits and Authorizations To Take, 
Import, and Export Marine Mammals, Threatened and Endangered Species, 
and for Maintaining a Captive Marine Mammal Inventory Under the Marine 
Mammal Protection Act, the Fur Seal Act, and/or the Endangered Species 
Act

AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 
Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort 
to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public 
and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on 
proposed and/or continuing information

[[Page 50410]]

collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before November 25, 
2019.

ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Adrienne Thomas, PRA Officer, 
NOAA, 151 Patton Avenue, Room 159, Asheville, NC 28801 (or via the 
internet at [email protected]). Comments will generally be posted 
without change. All Personally Identifiable Information (for example, 
name and address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be 
publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information. You may submit 
attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe 
PDF file formats.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or 
copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should 
be directed to Amy Sloan or Carrie Hubard, NOAA Fisheries Office of 
Protected Resources, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, 
(301) 427-8401, [email protected] or [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Abstract

    This request is for a revision and extension of a currently 
approved information collection.
    The Marine Mammal Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.; MMPA), 
Fur Seal Act (16 U.S.C. 1151 et seq.; FSA), and Endangered Species Act 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.; ESA) prohibit certain activities affecting 
marine mammals and endangered and threatened species, with exceptions. 
Pursuant to Section 104 of the MMPA and Section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA, 
special exception permits may be obtained for scientific research and 
enhancing the survival or recovery of a species or stock of marine 
mammals or endangered or threatened species. Section 104 of the MMPA 
also provides for Letters of Confirmation under a General Authorization 
for scientific research and permits for commercial and educational 
photography of marine mammals that involve only Level B harassment of 
marine mammals; permits for capture and/or import of marine mammals for 
public display; and inventory reporting pertaining to marine mammals in 
public display facilities.
    The regulations pertaining to permits and associated reporting 
requirements under the MMPA and FSA are at 50 CFR part 216; the 
regulations for permit requirements under the ESA are at 50 CFR part 
222. The required information in this collection is used to make the 
determinations required by the MMPA, FSA, ESA and their implementing 
regulations prior to issuing a permit; to establish appropriate permit 
conditions; to evaluate the impacts of the proposed activity on 
protected species; and, to ensure compliance with the Acts. The marine 
mammal inventory forms ensure compliance with MMPA reporting 
requirements and allow NMFS to maintain the National Inventory of 
Marine Mammals (NIMM), as required by the MMPA.
    This information collection applies to certain protected species 
for which NMFS is responsible: Cetaceans (whales, dolphins and 
porpoises) and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions); and, for ESA scientific 
research and enhancement permits: Sawfish (largetooth and smalltooth), 
sea turtles (in water), sturgeon (Atlantic and shortnose), and certain 
foreign ESA-listed species. This information collection may be used for 
future ESA-listed species.
    We propose to revise the currently-approved special exception 
permit application instructions to: (1) Improve readability by changing 
the font, adding color, removing jargon, eliminating extraneous text, 
incorporating bullets and numbered lists, and reorganizing sentence 
structure; (2) be more user-friendly by consolidating pages, shortening 
and moving background information to the end, and removing sections 
that don't apply to specific permit types; (3) eliminate the 
requirement for applicants to provide scientific names of protected 
species; (4) update the information required to use unmanned aircraft 
systems; (5) reduce time spent asking for additional information from 
applicants by eliminating the requirement for proposed take numbers to 
be included in both the narrative and table sections of the 
application; (6) require most permit personnel to use a specialized 
qualifications form instead of submitting resumes, thus reducing time 
spent clarifying personnel experience; (7) provide examples of 
qualification forms for different personnel types; (8) provide detailed 
procedure options for those requesting parts permits; (9) put questions 
about potential effects to the environment in plain language; (10) 
improve organizational structure of the public display instructions, 
since those applicants do not submit via our online system; and (11) 
include examples of take tables for import and capture from the wild in 
the public display instructions. In addition, we propose to remove the 
requirement that permit applicants provide the name and contact 
information of Authorized Recipients who may receive protected species 
parts. Moving forward, we propose to allow permit holders to designate 
their own Authorized Recipients, which will give them more flexibility 
and autonomy and will save time by removing the need to request an 
authorization letter. We also propose to make photography and parts 
permit applications accessible via our online application system known 
as APPS (Authorizations and Permits for Protected Species; https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov).
    The MMPA requires NMFS to establish and maintain an inventory of 
marine mammals in zoos and aquariums. On February 15, 2019, we 
published a Federal Register notice (84 FR 4443) seeking comment on 
policies and procedures for implementing NMFS' National Inventory of 
Marine Mammals (NIMM). We extended the public comment period to July 
31, 2019 (84 FR 15593). After review and consideration of public 
comments (available at: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2019-0012), we are proposing certain inventory reporting revisions. 
Public access to NIMM is not the subject of this notice and is not 
addressed here. We will provide a separate opportunity to comment on 
public access to NIMM. This notice only pertains to inventory reporting 
requirements.
    In addition to providing holders of marine mammals (i.e., Owners 
and Facilities) electronic forms to complete and submit marine mammal 
inventory information via email, fax, or mail (as is currently done), 
we propose to make the online inventory, NIMM, accessible to holders of 
marine mammals for those who would like to report their inventory 
information online. We propose revisions to the current inventory form 
known as the marine mammal data sheet (MMDS) to (1) define birth and 
clarify that a birth must be reported if the marine mammal is born 
alive, no matter how long it lives; (2) clarify that stillbirths are 
not required to be reported; and (3) standardize reporting of cause of 
death (when determined) to include a simple, two-tier system that 
reflects the primary body system or circumstance of the cause of death 
(Tier 1) with the significant findings underlying that body system or 
circumstance (Tier 2). This information could also be entered in the 
online format noted above. Below we respond to comments received 
regarding these three points during the February 15 to July 31, 2019 
comment period on NIMM.

[[Page 50411]]

    Birth and Stillbirth: Several commenters opposed the reporting of 
stillbirths, suggested we modify our proposed definition of birth to 
clarify it only pertains to live animals, and remove any reference to 
reporting stillbirths in the cause of death section of the MMDS. We 
have done so in the proposed revised MMDS. One comment suggested that a 
stillbirth should be reported as a birth and that such information has 
scientific and welfare value. While we acknowledge that information in 
the inventory is of value to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal 
and Plant Health Inspection Service (the agency with oversight for the 
humane handling care, treatment and transportation of marine mammals), 
we believe that the intent of the inventory is to track individual 
marine mammals over their lifetime. The inventory requires both birth 
and death information for each animal. We interpret this to imply that 
a marine mammal must be born alive to enter the inventory. We also 
propose to clarify on the MMDS that a birth of a live marine mammal 
must be reported regardless of how long the animal lives, as some zoos 
and aquariums have interpreted the requirement to report births as only 
including marine mammals in the inventory if they live for 30 days.
    Cause of Death: Some commenters supported the proposed two-tier 
system cause of death reporting as a ``much-needed improvement'' and an 
``innovative method of standardizing and reporting'' to allow ``enough 
detail to accurately characterize the event.'' We received suggestions 
to improve the accuracy of the cause of death information, which we 
have incorporated into the revised MMDS. Once a body system or 
circumstance is selected for the underlying cause of death (Tier 1), 
multiple selections can be made from the associated Tier 2 level. 
However, because we are seeking the primary body system or circumstance 
to be reported, and due to associated programming challenges, we 
propose that only a single Tier 1 factor may be selected at this time.
    We also received opposing comments to the use of the two-tier 
system, including that it exceeded the required statement of ``cause of 
death,'' was ``too complicated,'' should only have one tier, and could 
only be based on findings that would be developed through a necropsy. 
We first clarify that we do not require necropsy reports be submitted 
to the inventory to report cause of death. The MMPA states that cause 
of death must be reported ``when determined,'' implying that analyses 
be performed (such as necropsy and tissue analysis, as is standard when 
determining cause of death), before reporting it to the inventory. As 
one commenter noted, cause of death reporting has been ``uneven and 
variable'' via ad libitum reports of death as provided in a text field. 
For example, we have received reports with vague information such as 
``expired after a prolonged illness'' compared to reports with 
information such as ``metastatic squamous cell carcinoma.'' The two-
tier system provides a mechanism to provide a standardized, simple 
statement of the cause of death (e.g., Liver [Tier 1 Body System]; 
Cancer/Neoplastic--Primary [Tier 2 Significant Finding]).
    Additional Comments: Regarding additional comments we received such 
as on historical information in NIMM and providing a mechanism for zoos 
and aquariums to verify the accuracy of their information in NIMM, we 
propose to address those comments in a separate notice prior to making 
NIMM available for online reporting by marine mammal holders. As 
mentioned previously, public access to NIMM will be addressed in a 
separate notice.

II. Method of Collection

    Currently-approved permit applications, permit report form 
information, and inventory forms are available as downloadable Word or 
PDF versions online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permits-and-forms#protected-resources or via email. Respondents may submit all 
applications, forms, and reports by email, facsimile, or mail. 
Respondents may currently also submit scientific research and 
enhancement permit applications (including parts permit applications) 
and Letters of Intent under the General Authorization online via APPS. 
Reports for most permits can be submitted online via APPS.
    Under the proposed revision, in addition to the modes of access and 
submission listed above, photography permit applications would be made 
available online via APPS, a simplified parts permit application module 
would be developed in APPS, and marine mammal inventory reporting would 
be made available online via NIMM.

III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0084.
    Form Number(s): None.
    Type of Review: Regular submission (revision and extension of 
previously-approved collection).
    Affected Public: Individuals; Business or other for-profit 
organizations; Not-for-profit institutions; State, Local, or Tribal 
government; Federal government.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 415. This is the estimated total 
number, annually, of persons or organizations anticipated to (1) apply 
for an MMPA, FSA, and/or ESA permit or authorization; (2) submit annual 
permit reports and modification requests; and (3) submit marine mammal 
inventory reports. This number is, respectively, based on (1) the 
number of permit applications anticipated to be received annually (from 
reviewing data from 2016-2018); (2) the number of current permit 
holders required to submit annual reports and who may request to modify 
their permit; and (3) the total number of currently active marine 
mammal facilities subject to inventory reporting requirements.
    Estimated Time per Response: The estimated average amount of time 
it takes to complete each information collection instrument is as 
follows. Scientific research permit applications, 50 hours; public 
display permit applications, 30 hours; photography permit applications, 
10 hours; General Authorization Letters of Intent, 10 hours; major 
permit modification requests, 35 hours; minor permit modification 
requests, 3 hours; scientific research permit reports, 12 hours; 
scientific research parts only permit reports, 8 hours; General 
Authorization reports, 8 hours; public display permit reports, 2 hours; 
photography permit reports, 2 hours; public display inventory 
reporting, 2 hours; and general record keeping, 2 hours per each type.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 6,711.
    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $1,000 in recordkeeping/
reporting costs. This represents costs for mailing in applications, 
forms, and reports. The majority of respondents use electronic 
submission formats but some still mail in applications, forms, and 
reports. This estimate excludes time required to complete the 
applications, forms, and reports, and any equipment such as computers 
needed to complete them.

IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of 
the agency, including whether the information shall have practical 
utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden 
(including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; 
(c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the 
collection of information

[[Page 50412]]

on respondents, including through the use of automated collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized 
and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information 
collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

Sheleen Dumas,
Departmental Lead PRA Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer, 
Commerce Department.
[FR Doc. 2019-20767 Filed 9-24-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P