Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the Southern California Steelhead Distinct Population Segment
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces the adoption of an Endangered Species Act (ESA) recovery plan for the Southern California Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) Distinct Population Segment (DPS), which spawn and rear in coastal rivers from the Santa Maria River to the Tijuana River California. The Final Southern California Steelhead Recovery Plan (Final Recovery Plan) and our summary of and responses to public comments are now available.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council); Public Meetings
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene public meetings.
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a series of public hearings regarding Amendment 11 to the Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan (FMP), Amendment 6 to the Golden Crab FMP and Amendment 18B to the Snapper Grouper FMP for the South Atlantic Region. The Council will concurrently hold a series of scoping meetings regarding Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 3 and Amendment 9 to the Shrimp FMP for the South Atlantic Region. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Dates and Location: The series of six public hearings will be held January 24, 2012 through February 2, 2012. The hearings will be held from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Council staff will present an overview of the amendments and will be available for informal discussions and to answer questions. Members of the public will have an opportunity to go on record at any time during the meeting hours to record their comments on the public hearing and scoping topics for consideration by the Council. Local Council representatives will attend the meetings and take public comment. Written comments will be accepted from January 13, 2012 until 5 p.m. on February 15, 2012. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for specific dates and times.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Shrimp Fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic; Revisions of Bycatch Reduction Device Testing Protocols
In accordance with the framework procedures for adjusting management measures of the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf FMP) and the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (South Atlantic FMP), this rule would certify two new bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) for use in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) and South Atlantic shrimp fisheries, and revise a harvesting restriction for shrimp vessels fishing in Federal waters of the Gulf. Both BRDs represent modifications to the Composite Panel BRD, which is provisionally certified through May 24, 2012. This rule would incorporate these BRDs to the list of allowable BRDs, and provide technical specifications for the construction and subsequent legal enforcement of these BRDs. Additionally, this rule would revise the shrimp effort reduction threshold for the Gulf shrimp fishery. The intended effect of this proposed rule is to improve bycatch reduction efforts in the Gulf and South Atlantic shrimp fisheries, provide greater flexibility to the industry, reduce the social and economic impacts to fishing communities, and meet the requirements of National Standard 9 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson- Stevens Act).
Endangered Species; File Nos. 16229 and 16548
Notice is hereby given that the North Carolina Zoo, 4401 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro, NC 27203 [David Jones, Responsible Party], and the Springfield Science Museum, 21 Edwards Street Springfield, MA 01103 [David J. Stier, Responsible Party] have been issued permits to take shortnose sturgeon for purposes of enhancement.
Endangered Species; File No. 16146
Notice is hereby given that Kristen Hart, Ph.D., U.S. Geological Survey, Southeast Ecological Science Center, Davie Field Office, Davie, FL has been issued a permit to take loggerhead (Caretta caretta), green (Chelonia mydas), and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) sea turtles for the purposes of scientific research.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Application Forms for Membership on a National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
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.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate.
Council Coordination Committee Meeting
NMFS will host a meeting of the Council Coordination Committee (CCC), consisting of the Regional Fishery Management Council chairs, vice chairs, and executive directors in January 2012. The intent of this meeting is to discuss issues of relevance to the Councils, including FY 2012 budget allocations and budget planning for FY2013 and beyond, Marine Recreational Information Program Update, Report on the Allocation of Fishery Resources, Habitat Blueprint, Managing Our Nations III Conference, and other topics related to implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson- Stevens Act).
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals: Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to U.S. Navy Operations of Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System Low Frequency Active Sonar
NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) for authorization to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting operations of Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) Low Frequency Active (LFA) sonar in areas of the world's oceans (with the exception of Arctic and Antarctic waters and certain geographic restrictions), from August 16, 2012, through August 15, 2017. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is proposing regulations to govern that take and requests information, suggestions, and comments on these proposed regulations.
2012 Annual Determination for Sea Turtle Observer Requirement
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is providing notification that the agency will not identify additional fisheries to observe on the Annual Determination (AD) for 2012, pursuant to its authority under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Through an AD, NMFS identifies fisheries operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific Ocean that will be required to take observers upon NMFS' request. The purpose of observing identified fisheries is to learn more about sea turtle interactions in a given fishery, evaluate existing measures to prevent or reduce prohibited sea turtle takes, and to determine whether additional measures to implement the prohibition against sea turtle takes may be necessary. Fisheries identified in the 2010 AD (see Table 1) remain on the AD and are therefore required to carry observers upon NMFS' request, until 2014.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast Coho Salmon Evolutionarily Significant Unit
NMFS announces the availability for public review of the draft Recovery Plan (Plan) for the Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU). NMFS is soliciting review and comment from the public and all interested parties on the Plan, and will consider all substantive comments received during the review period before submitting the Plan for final approval. In addition, public meetings will be announced as opportunities for providing comments on the Draft Plan (dates to be determined).
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2012 Gulf of Alaska Pollock and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts
NMFS is adjusting the 2012 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) pollock and Pacific cod fisheries. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined these TACs are incorrectly specified, and will ensure the GOA pollock and Pacific cod TACs are the appropriate amounts based on the best available scientific information for pollock and Pacific cod in the GOA. This action is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.
Marine Mammals; File No. 16998
Notice is hereby given that Mr. Gregory Walker, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK has applied for a permit to conduct research on Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in Alaska.
Marine Mammals; File No. 16621
Notice is hereby given that Alejandro Acevedo- Guti[eacute]rrez, Ph.D., Biology Department, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on harbor seals (Phoca vitulina).
Marine Mammals; File No. 15682
Notice is hereby given that a permit has been issued to Mithriel MacKay, Texas A&M University at Galveston, Galveston, TX 75003 to conduct research on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).
Western Pacific Fisheries; 2012 Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures
NMFS proposes annual catch limits for western Pacific bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem fisheries, and accountability measures to correct or mitigate any overages of catch limits. The proposed catch limits and accountability measures support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands.
Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; U.S. Marine Corps Training Exercises at Air Station Cherry Point
In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) to take marine mammals, by Level B harassment only, incidental to military training exercises at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point Range Complex, North Carolina. The USMC's activities are considered military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2004.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Habitat/MPA/Ecosystem Committee in January 2012 to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Joint Habitat/MPA/Ecosystem Committee and Advisory Panel (AP) in January 2012 to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery; Framework Adjustment 23
NMFS proposes to approve and implement regulations through Framework Adjustment 23 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan, which was developed and adopted by the New England Fishery Management Council and submitted to NMFS for approval. Framework Adjustment 23 includes measures to: Minimize impacts on sea turtles through the requirement of a turtle deflector dredge; improve the effectiveness of the scallop fishery's accountability measures related to the yellowtail flounder annual catch limits; adjust the limited access general category Northern Gulf of Maine management program; and modify the scallop vessel monitoring system trip notification procedures to improve flexibility for the scallop fleet.