Fisheries off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; Pelagic Fisheries; Additional Measures to Reduce the Incidental Catch of Seabirds in the Hawaii Pelagic Longline Fishery
This proposed rule would require all Hawaii-based longline fishing vessels to either side-set (set longline gear from the side of the vessel rather than from the stern), or use a combination of other seabird mitigation measures to prevent seabirds, e.g., Laysan and black-footed albatrosses, from being accidentally hooked or entangled, and killed during fishing operations. This proposed rule is also intended to reduce the potential for interaction with endangered short- tailed albatrosses that are known to be in the area in which the fishery operates.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Modification of Access to the Eastern U.S./Canada Area
The Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has projected that the total allowable catch (TAC) for Georges Bank (GB) cod allocated for harvest from the Eastern U.S./ Canada Area will be fully harvested prior to the end of the fishing year if the rate of GB cod harvest remains at the current level. In response, this action limits all Northeast (NE) multispecies days-at- sea (DAS) vessels to one trip into the Eastern U.S./Canada Area per month through the end of the 2005 fishing year. In addition, this action requires all NE multispecies DAS vessels fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area to use a haddock separator trawl for the remainder of the fishing year. This action is being taken to slow the rate of GB cod harvest from the Eastern U.S./Canada Area and to prolong access to the Eastern U.S./Canada Area throughout the 2005 fishing year and to help prevent over-harvesting the GB cod TAC from the Eastern U.S./Canada Area during the 2005 fishing year in accordance with the Magnuson- Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Endangered Species; File No. 1541
Notice is hereby given that Kristen M. Hart, Ph.D., United States Geologic Survey, Florida Integrated Science Center, Center for Coastal & Watershed Studies, has applied in due form for a permit to take green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) for purposes of scientific research.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Submission of Conservation Efforts To Make Listings Unnecessary Under the Endangered Species Act
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.
Petition for Emergency Rulemaking to Protect Deep-Sea Coral and Sponge Habitat from Mobile Bottom-Tending Fishing Gear Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Essential Fish Habitat Provisions
NMFS announces its decision on a petition for rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Oceana, a non-governmental organization (NGO), petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce to promulgate immediately a rule to protect deep-sea coral and sponge (DSCS) habitat from the impacts of mobile bottom-tending fishing gear. NMFS finds that the petitioned emergency rulemaking is not warranted. NMFS will work actively with each Regional Fishery Management Council (Council) to evaluate, and take action where appropriate to protect DSCS and may pursue future rulemakings to protect DSCS in specific locations based on analyses for specific fisheries. Additionally, NMFS plans to develop a strategy to address research, conservation, and management issues regarding DSCS habitat, which eventually may result in rulemaking for some fisheries.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; License Limitation Program for the Scallop Fishery
NMFS issues a final rule to implement Amendment 10 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Scallop Fishery off Alaska (FMP), which modifies the gear endorsements under the License Limitation Program (LLP) for the scallop fishery. This action is necessary to allow increased participation by LLP license holders in the scallop fisheries off Alaska. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the FMP, and other applicable laws.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permit
The Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has made a preliminary determination that the subject Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application contains all the required information and warrants further consideration. The Regional Administrator has also made a preliminary determination that the activities authorized under the EFP would be consistent with the goals and objectives of the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan (FMP). However, further review and consultation may be necessary before a final determination is made to issue the EFP. Therefore, NMFS announces that the Regional Administrator proposes to issue an EFP that would allow one or more vessels to conduct fishing operations that are otherwise restricted by the regulations governing the fisheries of the Northeastern United States. The EFP would allow for exemptions from the Atlantic sea scallop possession and landings restrictions specified at 50 CFR 648.53(a). The experiment proposes to conduct underwater videotaping of sea turtle interactions with scallop dredge gear. The EFP would allow these exemptions for one or more commercial vessels for a total of 20 days of fishing. All experimental work would be monitored by Coonamessett Farm, Inc., (CFI) personnel. Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for proposed EFPs.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits
The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Northeast Region, NMFS (Assistant Regional Administrator) has made a preliminary determination that the subject Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application contains all the required information and warrants further consideration. The Assistant Regional Administrator has also made a preliminary determination that the activities authorized under the EFP would be consistent with the goals and objectives of the Northeast (NE) Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). However, further review and consultation may be necessary before a final determination is made to issue the EFP. Therefore, the Assistant Regional Administrator proposes to recommend that an EFP be issued to test gear modification to reduce bycatch in the NE multispecies fishery that would allow three commercial fishing vessels to conduct fishing operations that are otherwise restricted by the regulations governing the fisheries of the Northeastern United States. The EFP would allow for exemptions from the FMP as follows: The Gulf of Maine (GOM) minimum mesh size requirements. Initially, the applicant requested an EFP to conduct research during May to July 15, 2005, and requested an exemption from the regulations pertaining to the GOM Rolling Closure Areas II and III at Sec. 648.81(f)(1)(ii) and (iii), respectively. Due to an oversight, exemptions from GOM minimum mesh size requirements and from the GOM Rolling Closure Area IV (Sec. 648.81(f)(1)(iv)) were omitted from the May 16, 2005 Federal Register notice (70 FR 25814) announcing the EFP for the project. This revision proposes a GOM minimum mesh size exemption (the GOM Rolling Closure Area exemptions would no longer be necessary due to the timing of this action) and would extend the duration of the project to August 12, 2005. Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for proposed EFPs.
Endangered and Threatened Species: Recovery Plan Preparation for 16 Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs) of Pacific Salmon and Steelhead
NMFS announces its intent to develop recovery plans for 16 ESUs of Pacific salmon and steelhead in the Northwest listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and requests information from the public. NMFS is required by the ESA to develop and implement recovery plans for the conservation and survival of listed species. NMFS is working with state, Federal, tribal and local entities in Washington, Oregon and Idaho to produce draft recovery plans by December 2005.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish
Notice is hereby given that NMFS has received applications to grant permits to (Permit 1534), Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery, Smith River, CA (Permit 1539), Siskiyou Resource Conservation District (RCD), Etna, CA. These permits would affect Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). This document serves to notify the public of the availability of the permit application for review and comment before a final approval or disapproval is made by NMFS.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic; Amendment 15
NMFS issues this final rule to implement Amendment 15 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic (FMP). This final rule establishes a limited access system for the commercial fishery for Gulf and Atlantic migratory group king mackerel by capping participation at the current level. The final rule also changes the fishing year for Atlantic migratory group king and Spanish mackerel to March through February. The intended effects of this final rule are to provide economic and social stability in the fishery by preventing speculative entry into the fishery and to mitigate adverse impacts associated with potential quota closures.
Small Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Coastal Commercial Fireworks Displays at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, CA
In accordance with the provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) to take marine mammals by Level B harassment incidental to permitting professional fireworks displays within the Sanctuary in California waters.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Haddock Incidental Catch Allowance for the 2005 Atlantic Herring Fishery; Emergency Fishery Closure Due to the Presence of the Toxin That Causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning; Correction
NMFS is clarifying emergency regulations that closed portions of Federal waters of the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and southern New England to the harvest of bivalve shellfish due to the presence of the toxin that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). This correction will allow for the collection and testing of samples for the toxin that causes PSP. In addition, this rule will correct the effective date for the definition of a ``Category 1 herring vessel'' and reinstate a prohibition on the sale of certain haddock that was inadvertently overwritten by the emergency rule.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Total Allowable Catches for Georges Bank Cod, Haddock, and Yellowtail Flounder in the U.S./Canada Management Area for Fishing Year 2005
The following Total Allowable Catches (TACs) in the U.S./ Canada Management Area are implemented for the 2005 fishing year (FY): 260 mt of Georges Bank (GB) cod, 7,590 mt of GB haddock, and 4,260 mt of yellowtail flounder. This action is intended to meet the conservation and management requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Environmental Statements; Notice of Intent: Alaska Coastal Management Program; Scoping Meetings; Correction
OCRM published a document in the Federal Register of June 24, 2005, announcing dates of the public scoping meetings pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The document contained incorrect citations of Alaska State regulations, and the years when the regulatory and legislative changes were made, and misstated the type of information NOAA is seeking from the public in the first sentence of DATES, and did not provide information regarding where the public could find a copy of the Alaska program change.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Summer Flounder Monitoring Committee, Scup Monitoring Committee, Black Sea Bass Monitoring Committee, and Bluefish Monitoring Committee will hold a public meeting.
Marine Mammals; File No. 932-1489
Notice is hereby given that the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding and Response Program (MMHSRP), National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD, has been issued an amendment to Permit No. 932-1489 to continue stranding response activities for marine mammal species under NMFS jurisdiction.
Endangered and Threatened Species: Extension of Public Comment Period on Proposed Listing Determination for the Southern Distinct Population Segment of North American Green Sturgeon
In April 2005, NMFS proposed to list the Southern Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the North American green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris; hereafter ``green sturgeon'') as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. NMFS is extending the public comment period on the proposed listing determination until July 27, 2005.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; “Other Flatfish” in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS apportions amounts of the non-specified reserve of groundfish to the ``other flatfish'' initial total allowable catch (ITAC) in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to allow the fishery to continue operating. It is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan for the BSAI.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; “Other Flatfish” in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for ``other flatfish'' in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2005 ``other flatfish'' total allowable catch (TAC) in the BSAI.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council's (Council) Scallop Oversight Committee will meet to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Marine Mammals; File No. 1078-1796
Notice is hereby given that the Georgia Aquarium, 2451 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 3639, Atlanta, Georgia 30339-6157, has applied in due form for a permit to import two beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) for the purposes of public display.
Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments
NMFS announces adjustments to management measures in the commercial Pacific Coast groundfish fishery. These actions, which are authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), will allow fisheries to access more abundant groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted stocks.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Rock Sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for rock sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2005 rock sole total allowable catch (TAC) in the BSAI.
NOAA Recreational Fisheries Action Team Public Meeting
NMFS is hosting a public meeting in July 2005, in Santa Ana, California. The purpose of the meeting is to identify programs and projects to be implemented as part of the NOAA Recreational Fisheries Strategic Plan 2005-2010, and to gather input from the public.
Availability of Grant Funds for Fiscal Year 2006
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announces the availability of grant funds for Fiscal Year 2006. The purpose of this notice is to provide the general public with a single source of program and application information related to the Agency's competitive grant offerings, and it contains the information about those programs required to be published in the Federal Register. This omnibus notice is designed to replace the multiple Federal Register notices that traditionally advertised the availability of NOAA's discretionary funds for its various programs. It should be noted that additional program initiatives unanticipated at the time of the publication of this notice may be announced through both subsequent Federal Register notices and the NOAA Web site. These announcements will also be available through Grants.gov.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the South Atlantic; Exempted Fishing Permit
NMFS announces the receipt of an application for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) from David R. Griffin on behalf of The North Carolina Aquariums. If granted, the EFP would authorize the applicant, with certain conditions, to collect up to 50 red porgy and up to 500 lb (227 kg) of live rock. Specimens would be collected from Federal waters off the coast of North Carolina during 2005 and 2006, and displayed at three North Carolina Aquarium facilities located on Roanoke Island, near Morehead City, and south of Wilmington, North Carolina.
U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment
Notice is hereby given of a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. The meeting will be held in Koror, Palau. This meeting, the 14th bi-annual meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, provides a forum for coordinated planning and action among federal agencies, state and territorial governments, and nongovernmental partners. Held in Koror, Palau, this is the first Coral Reef Task Force meeting to be held outside the United States states, territories, or commonwealths and provides an opportunity to learn about coral reef science and management strategies in the Freely Associated States. This meeting has time allotted for public comment and provides exhibit space. All public comment must be submitted in written format at the meeting if able to attend or prior to the meeting if unable to attend. If you plan to attend, please register in advance by visiting the Web site listed below. Registration for public comment and exhibit space is also available at this site. Those who wish to attend but cannot due to travel and other considerations can find background materials at the Web site listed below and may submit written statements to the e-mail, fax, or mailing address listed below. A written summary of the meeting will be posted on the Web site within two months of its occurrence.
Availability of Seats for the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS or Sanctuary) is seeking applicants for the following vacant seats on its Sanctuary Advisory Council (Council): Recreational Diving, Diving Operations, Oil and Gas Industry, Recreational Fishing, Commercial Fishing, Research, Education, and Conservation. Applicants are chosen based upon their particular expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying; community and professional affiliations; philosophy regarding the protection and management of marine resources; and possibly the length of residence in the area affected by the Sanctuary. Applicants who are chosen as members should expect to serve 3-year terms, pursuant to the Council's Charter.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Notice of Public Meeting
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council)/Board of Fisheries (BOF) Interim Joint Protocol committee will meet on July 14, 2005, at Anchorage at the Hilton Hotel.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene public meetings.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene will hold a series of public workshops to provide information about, and seek input on, ecosystem objectives for fisheries management.
Marine Mammals; Files No. 369-1757-00 and 522-1785-00
Notice is hereby given that Bruce R. Mate, Ph.D., Holder/ Principal Investigator, Oregon State University, Hatfield Marine Science Center, 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR 97365, and Randall S. Wells, Ph.D., Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, c/o Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236, have each been issued a permit to take marine mammals for scientific research.
Endangered Species; Permits
Notice is hereby given that on June 9, 2005, as authorized by the provisions of the Endangered Species Act, NMFS issued a permit (PRT-1488) to the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, Eureka, California subject to certain conditions set forth therein. The permit was granted only after NMFS determined that it was applied for in good faith, that granting the permit will not be to the disadvantage of the threatened species, and that it will be consistent with the purposes and policy set forth in the Endangered Species Act, as amended.
Notice of Availability of Draft Stock Assessment Reports
NMFS reviewed the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regional marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs) in accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). SARs for marine mammals in the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regions were revised according to new information. NMFS solicits public comments on draft 2005 SARs.
Marine Mammals; File No. 358-1787 and Permit No. 821-1588-02
Notice is hereby given that the following applicants have applied in due form for a permit or permit amendment to conduct research on marine mammals: File No. 358-1787: Alaska Department of Fish and Game, D ivision of Wildlife Conservation, 1255 West 8th Street, Juneau, AK 99802 (Principal Investigator: Robert Smalls, Ph.D.); and Permit No. 821-1588-02: Texas A&M University, Department of Marine Biology, 5007 Avenue U, Galveston, TX 77551 (Principal Investigator: Randall Davis, Ph.D.).
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; 2005 Trip Authorization for Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder Special Access Program
NMFS announces that no trips are authorized into the Closed Area (CA) II Yellowtail Flounder Special Access Program (SAP) for the 2005 fishing year. The Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has determined that the available catch of Georges Bank (GB) yellowtail flounder is insufficient to support a minimum level of fishing activity within the CA II Yellowtail Flounder SAP for the 2005 fishing year. This action is intended to help achieve optimum yield (OY) in the fishery by allowing Northeast (NE) multispecies days-at-sea (DAS) vessels to achieve, but not exceed, the GB yellowtail flounder total allowable catch (TAC) specified for the Eastern U.S./Canada Area throughout the 2005 fishing year, in accordance with the Magnuson- Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Tilefish Fishery; Quota Harvested for Full-time Tier 2 Category
NMFS announces that the percentage of the tilefish annual total allowable landings (TAL) available to the Full-time Tier 2 permit category for the 2005 fishing year has been harvested. In response, commercial vessels fishing under the Full-time Tier 2 tilefish category may not harvest tilefish from within the Golden Tilefish Management Unit for the remainder of the 2005 fishing year (through October 31, 2005). Regulations governing the tilefish fishery require publication of this notification to advise the public of this closure.
Marine Mammals; File No. 1073-1777
Notice is hereby given that Dr. Kathy Carlstead, Honolulu Zoo, 151 Kapahulu Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815, has been issued a permit to import marine mammal specimens for purposes of scientific research.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Adjustment of the Quarter III Quota Allocation for Loligo Squid
NMFS announces that it has adjusted the commercial quota allocation for the Quarter III fishery for Loligo squid in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The regulations for the Atlantic mackerel, squid and butterfish fisheries require this adjustment to be made if landings in the Quarter I fishery exceed the commercial quota allocated to that period. This action is necessary to prevent the fishery from exceeding the annual commercial quota and to allow for effective management of this stock.
Endangered and Threatened Species: Final Listing Determinations for 16 ESUs of West Coast Salmon, and Final 4(d) Protective Regulations for Threatened Salmonid ESUs
We, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), are issuing final determinations to list 16 Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs) of West Coast salmon (chum, Oncorhynchus keta; coho, O. kisutch, sockeye, O. nerka; Chinook, O. tshawytscha; pink, O. gorbuscha) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended. We have concluded that four ESUs are endangered, and twelve ESUs are threatened, in California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Fifteen of these ESUs were previously listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA, and one ESU was previously designated as a candidate species. With respect to the Oregon Coast coho ESU and ten O. mykiss ESUs, we have found that substantial disagreement regarding the sufficiency or accuracy of the relevant data precludes making final listing determinations at this time, and accordingly we are extending the deadline for making our final determinations for these 11 ESUs for an additional 6 months. The findings regarding the extension of the final listing determination for the Oregon Coast coho ESU and for the ten O. mykiss ESUs appear in the Proposed Rules section in today's Federal Register issue. The ten O. mykiss ESUs were previously listed and remain listed pending final agency action. Also in this notice, we are finalizing amendments to the ESA 4(d) protective regulations for threatened salmonid ESUs. As part of the proposed listing determinations in June 2004, we proposed changes to these protective regulations to provide the necessary flexibility to ensure that fisheries and artificial propagation programs are managed consistently with the conservation needs of ESA-listed ESUs, and to clarify the existing regulations so that they can be more efficiently and effectively interpreted and followed by all affected parties. Finally, we are soliciting biological and economic information relevant to designating critical habitat for the Lower Columbia River coho salmon ESU.
Endangered and Threatened Species: 6-month Extension of the Final Listing Determination for the Oregon Coast Evolutionarily Significant Unit of Coho Salmon
In June 2004, we (NMFS) proposed that the Oregon Coast coho Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU) (Oncorhynchus kisutch) be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In March 2005, the State of Oregon released a draft Oregon Coastal Coho Assessment (draft assessment) of the viability of the Oregon Coast coho ESU and the contributions of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds (OPSW) to conserving the Oregon Coast coho ESU. The draft assessment concluded that the Oregon Coast coho ESU is viable. On February 9, 2005, we announced in a Federal Register notice that we would consider the information presented by Oregon in determining the final listing status for the ESU, and we solicited public comment on the draft assessment. The comments received by NMFS and Oregon raised a number of concerns regarding the sufficiency and adequacy of the data and analyses used in the draft assessment. On May 6, 2005, Oregon released a final Oregon Coastal Coho Assessment (final assessment) that incorporates and responds to the comments received and includes several substantive changes in response, regarding the sufficiency and adequacy of the draft assessment. We are extending the deadline for the final listing determination for the Oregon Coast coho ESU by 6 months to analyze Oregon's final assessment in light of the comments received on the draft assessment. This extension will enable NMFS to make a final listing determination based upon the best available scientific information. Additionally, we are soliciting additional information regarding the sufficiency and adequacy of the final assessment.
Policy on the Consideration of Hatchery-Origin Fish in Endangered Species Act Listing Determinations for Pacific Salmon and Steelhead
We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), announce a final policy addressing the role of artificially propagated (hatchery produced) Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, O. keta, O. kisutch, O. nerka, O. tshawytscha) and steelhead (O. mykiss) in listing determinations under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended. This final policy supersedes the Interim Policy on Artificial Propagation of Pacific Salmon under the Endangered Species Act, published in the Federal Register on April 5, 1993. The Interim Policy is being revised in light of a 2001 United States District Court ruling that NMFS improperly listed only the naturally spawning component of Oregon Coast coho salmon under the ESA, excluding hatchery stocks that the agency had determined were part of the same ``distinct population segment'' (DPS) as the listed natural populations. The Court's ruling invalidated the practice described in the Interim Policy of generally excluding hatchery stocks in a DPS from listing unless it was determined that they contained a substantial proportion of the DPS's remaining genetic diversity and were ``essential for recovery.'' Under this new policy, hatchery stocks determined to be part of a DPS will be considered in determining whether a DPS is threatened or endangered under the ESA, and will be included in any listing of the DPS. This policy applies only to Pacific salmon and steelhead and only in the context of making ESA listing determinations.
Endangered and Threatened Species: 6-month Extension of the Final Listing Determinations for Ten Evolutionarily Significant Units of West Coast Oncorhynchus mykiss
In June 2004, we (NMFS) proposed that ten Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs) of West Coast Oncorhynchus mykiss (O. mykiss, which includes anadromous steelhead and resident rainbow trout) be listed as endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In April-May 2005, we received three independent scientific reports containing information on the relationship of anadromous and resident O. mykiss and on the viability of ESUs containing a diversity of types of populations. In June 2005, we received a letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), stating its concerns about the basis for final listing determinations for the ten O. mykiss ESUs and specifying three issues regarding the relationship between anadromous and resident O. mykiss, over which there is substantial disagreement about the underlying data. We are extending the deadline for final listing determinations for the ten O. mykiss ESUs for 6 months to analyze the three reports, to work with FWS to resolve the disagreements about the data relevant to its issues of concern, and to solicit additional information from scientific studies and other newly available data. Additionally, we are soliciting comments and information from the public regarding the reports, the issues raised by FWS, and about resident and anadromous O. mykiss generally. This extension will enable us to make a final listing determination based upon the best available scientific information.
Marine Protected Areas Center Gulf of Mexico Region Public Dialogue Meeting
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announcement of the Marine Protected Areas Center Gulf of Mexico Region Public Dialogue Meeting appeared in the Federal Register dated June 17, 2005 (70 FR 116), pages 35227-35228. The document was incorrectly titled as, ``Marine Protected Areas Center New England Region Public Dialogue Meeting.'' All other information regarding the Gulf of Mexico Public Dialogue Meeting in the document is correct.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed Approval of Amendments to the Alaska Coastal Management Program
NOAA announces its intention to prepare an EIS in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 for the proposed approval of amendments submitted by the State of Alaska to its Coastal Management Program. The State has adopted regulatory changes to its Process for Consistency Review (11 AAC 150), Standards for the Alaska Coastal Management Program (11 AAC 180), and Guidelines of the Alaska Coastal Management Program (11 AAC 185).
Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Oregon Sport Fisheries
NMFS announces changes to the regulations for the Area 2A sport halibut fisheries off the central coast of Oregon. This action would clarify the halibut regulations for the central Oregon coast sport fishery sub-area to specify that halibut may be onboard recreational fishing vessels trolling for salmon within the Oregon yelloweye rockfish conservation area (YRCA). The purpose of this action is to allow recreational salmon vessels to retain halibut caught legally outside of the YRCA while those vessels are legally fishing for salmon within the YRCA.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Public Workshop
NMFS will present a workshop on proposed catch-monitoring standards for the non-American Fisheries Act (AFA) trawl catcher/ processor sector. These standards are necessary to support proposed groundfish and prohibited species allocations to this sector that are under consideration by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications
NMFS issues a regulation to implement the annual harvest guideline for Pacific sardine in the U.S. exclusive economic zone off the Pacific coast for the fishing season January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2005. This action adopts a harvest guideline and initial subarea allocations for Pacific sardine off the Pacific coast that have been calculated according to the regulations implementing the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP).