Hydrographic Services Review Panel; Membership Solicitation
In accordance with the Hydrographic Service Improvements Act of 1998, as amended (33 U.S.C. 892 et seq.), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is soliciting nominations for membership on its Hydrographic Services Review Panel (HSRP). The HSRP, a Federal advisory committee, advises the Administrator on matters related to the responsibilities and authorities set forth in section 303 of the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act and such other appropriate matters as the Administrator refers to the Panel for review and advice. Those responsibilities and authorities include, but are not limited to: Acquiring and disseminating hydrographic data and providing hydrographic services, as those terms are defined in the Act; promulgating standards for hydrographic data and services; ensuring comprehensive geographic coverage of hydrographic services; and testing, developing, and operating vessels, equipment, and technologies necessary to ensure safe navigation and maintain operational expertise in hydrographic data acquisition and hydrographic services. The Act states that ``voting members of the Panel shall be individuals who, by reason of knowledge, experience, or training, are especially qualified in one or more of the disciplines and fields relating to hydrographic data and hydrographic services, marine transportation, port administration, vessel pilotage, coastal and fishery management, and other disciplines as determined appropriate by the Administrator.'' As such, the NOAA Administrator welcomes applications from individuals with expertise in marine navigation, port administration, marine shipping or other intermodal transportation industries, cartography and geographic information systems, geospatial data management, geodesy, physical oceanography, coastal resource management, including coastal resilience and emergency response, and other related fields. As a Federal Advisory Committee, NOAA seeks to balance the HSRP composition to ensure a range of membership viewpoints, expertise, and geographic representation. To apply for membership on the Panel, applicants are asked to provide: (1) A cover letter that responds to the five ``Short Response Questions'' listed below as a statement of interest to serve on the Panel, and to highlight specific areas of expertise relevant to the purpose of the Panel; (2) the nominee's area(s) of expertise from the list above; (3) a current resume; and (4) the nominee's full name, title, institutional affiliation, and contact information. Applications should be submitted electronically to the email address specified below or use the nomination form at the following address, http:// www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/ocs/hsrp/hsrp.htm. The entire package should be 6 pages or fewer in total. NOAA is an equal opportunity employer.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder Fishery; Quota Transfer
NMFS announces that the State of North Carolina is transferring a portion of its 2015 commercial summer flounder quota to the Commonwealth of Virginia. These quota adjustments are necessary to comply with the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan quota transfer provision. This announcement is intended to inform the public of the revised commercial quota for each state involved.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 2015 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for South Atlantic Snowy Grouper
NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for commercial snowy grouper in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic. NMFS projects commercial landings for snowy grouper will reach the commercial annual catch limit (ACL) (commercial quota) by June 30, 2015. Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial sector for snowy grouper in the South Atlantic EEZ on June 30, 2015, and it will remain closed until the start of the next fishing season on January 1, 2016. This closure is necessary to protect the snowy grouper resource.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical and Geotechnical Survey in Cook Inlet, Alaska
NMFS has received an application from ExxonMobil Alaska LNG LLC (AK LNG) for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to a geophysical and geotechnical survey in Cook Inlet, Alaska. This action is proposed to occur for 84 days after August 7, 2015. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an IHA to AK LNG to incidentally take, by Level B Harassment only, marine mammals during the specified activity.
Marine Mammals; File No. 15537
Notice is hereby given that NMFS is considering an amendment to Permit No. 15337 issued to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS), P.O. Box 207, Gulfport, MS 39502 (Dr. Moby Solangi, Responsible Party). This permit authorizes the acquisition of stranded, releasable California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) from the National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program for the purposes of public display. The permit amendment is in response to a court decision to remand this permit to NMFS for reconsideration.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology Omnibus Amendment
This final rule implements approved management measures contained in the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology Omnibus Amendment to the fishery management plans of the Greater Atlantic Region, developed and submitted to NMFS by the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils. This amendment is necessary to respond to a remand by the U.S. District of Columbia Court of Appeals decision concerning observer coverage levels specified by the SBRM and to add various measures to improve and expand on the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology previously in place. The intended effect of this action is to implement the following: A new prioritization process for allocation of observers if agency funding is insufficient to achieve target observer coverage levels; bycatch reporting and monitoring mechanisms; analytical techniques and allocation of at-sea fisheries observers; a precision-based performance standard for discard estimates; a review and reporting process; framework adjustment and annual specifications provisions; and provisions for industry-funded observers and observer set-aside programs.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Re-Opening of Commercial Sector for Atlantic Dolphin
NMFS announces the re-opening of the commercial sector for Atlantic dolphin (dolphin) in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Atlantic states (Maine through the east coast of Florida) through this temporary rule. The most recent landings for dolphin indicate the commercial annual catch limit (ACL) has not yet been reached. Therefore, NMFS re-opens the commercial sector for dolphin at 4:15 p.m., local time, June 24, 2015, and it will close at 12:01 a.m., local time, June 30, 2015 in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Atlantic. A June 30, 2015, closure will minimize the risk of the commercial ACL being exceeded and provides more sufficient notice to fishermen of the closure.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications
NMFS issues this final rule to implement annual management measures and harvest specifications to establish the allowable catch levels (i.e. annual catch limit (ACL)/harvest guideline (HG)) for the northern subpopulation of Pacific sardine (hereafter, simply Pacific sardine), in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Pacific coast for the fishing season of July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. These specifications were determined according to the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). This action includes a prohibition on directed non-tribal Pacific sardine commercial fishing for Pacific sardine off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California, which is required because the estimated 2015 biomass of Pacific sardine has dropped below the cutoff threshold in the HG control rule. Under this action Pacific sardine may still be harvested as part of either the live bait or tribal fishery or incidental to other fisheries; the incidental harvest of Pacific sardine will initially be limited to 40-percent by weight of all fish per trip when caught with other CPS or up to 2 metric tons (mt) when caught with non- CPS. The ACL for 2015-2016 Pacific sardine fishing year is 7,000 mt. This rule is intended to conserve and manage the Pacific sardine stock off the U.S. West Coast.
Stock Status Determination for Atlantic Highly Migratory Atlantic Smooth Dogfish Shark and the Gulf of Mexico Smoothhound Sharks Complex
This action serves as a notice that NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), has determined that the Atlantic smooth dogfish shark (Mustelus canis) and the Gulf of Mexico smoothhound shark complex, which is comprised of Atlantic smooth dogfish, Florida smoothhound (M. norrisi), and Gulf smoothhound (M. sinusmexicanus), are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring.
Marine Mammals; File No. 14809
Notice is hereby given that Douglas Nowacek, Ph.D., Duke UniversityMarine Laboratory, 135 Duke Marine Lab Rd., Beaufort, NC 28516, has applied for an amendment to Scientific Research Permit No. 14809-01.
Endangered Species; File No. 19255
Notice is hereby given that the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DENREC) [Responsible Party: Michael Stangl], 3002 Bayside Dr., Dover, Delaware 19977, has submitted a revised application for a permit to take shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) and Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus) in the Delaware River for purposes of scientific research.
Marine Mammals; File Nos. 18722, 18897, 19425, and 19497
Notice is hereby given that the following entities have applied in due form for a permit to receive, import, and export specimens of marine mammals for scientific research: File No. 18722: Cornell University, 157 Biotechnology Building, Ithaca, NY 14850 [Responsible Party: Sharron Mitchell, Ph.D.]; File No. 18897: Kathleen Colegrove, Ph.D., University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine, Zoological Pathology Program, LUMC Room 0745, Building 101, 2160 South First Street, Maywood, IL 60153; File No. 19425: Melissa McKinney, Ph.D., University of Connecticut, Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering, 3107 Horsebarn Hill Road, U-4210, Storrs, CT 06269; File No. 19497: University of Florida, Aquatic Animal Health Program, College of Veterinary Medicine, Gainesville, FL 32608 [Responsible Party: Thomas Waltzek, Ph.D.].
Marine Mammals; File No. 19444
Notice is hereby given that a permit has been issued to Richard Breezy Wynn, 7216 Wellington Drive, Knoxville, TN 37919, to conduct commercial or educational photography on killer (Orcinus orca) and beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) whales.
Endangered Species; File No. 18688
Notice is hereby given that NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO), 1601 Kapiolani Boulevard, Suite 1110, Honolulu, HI 96814 [Responsible Party: Michael Tosatto], has been issued a permit to take hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), leatherback (Dermochelys imbricata), loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtles for purposes of scientific research.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Modifications of the West Coast Commercial Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Actions #3, #4, #5, and #6
NMFS announces four inseason actions in the ocean salmon fisheries. These inseason actions modified the commercial salmon fisheries in the area from the U.S./Canada border to Cape Falcon, OR.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Trimester Total Allowable Catch Area Closures for the Common Pool Fishery and Trip and Possession Limit Adjustment
This action closes the Gulf of Maine cod Trimester Total Allowable Catch Area to all Northeast multispecies common pool vessels; the American plaice Trimester Total Allowable Catch Area to Northeast multispecies common pool trawl vessels; and the Cape Cod/Gulf of Maine yellowtail flounder Trimester Total Allowable Catch Area to Northeast multispecies common pool trawl and gillnet vessels, for the remainder of Trimester 1, through August 31, 2015. The closures are required by regulation because the common pool fishery has caught over 90 percent of its Trimester 1 quotas for Gulf of Maine cod, American plaice, and Cape Cod/Gulf of Maine yellowtail flounder. These closures are intended to prevent the overharvest of the common pool's allocation for these stocks. Because the common pool catch of American plaice and Cape Cod/ Gulf of Maine yellowtail flounder is not limited to the respective stocks' Trimester Total Allowable Catch Area, this action also reduces possession and trip limits for the American plaice and Cape Cod/Gulf of Maine yellowtail flounder stocks to zero for all common pool vessels through August 31, 2015, in order to prevent the overharvest of the common pool's allocation of both stocks from areas not closed by this action. The possession and trip limit for GOM cod was set to zero in a previous action.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to a Wharf Maintenance Project
In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to the U.S. Navy (Navy) to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment only, five species of marine mammals during construction activities as part of a wharf maintenance project conducted in the Hood Canal, Washington.
Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits
The NMFS Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit application from the University of Rhode Island contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on Exempted Fishing Permit applications.
Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; 2015 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for Atlantic Dolphin
NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for the commercial sector for Atlantic dolphin (dolphin) in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Atlantic states (Maine through the east coast of Florida) for the 2015 fishing year through this temporary rule. Commercial landings for dolphin, as estimated by the Science and Research Director, are projected to reach the commercial annual catch limit (ACL) by June 24, 2015. Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial sector for dolphin on June 24, 2015, through the remainder of the fishing year in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Atlantic. This closure is necessary to protect the dolphin resource.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Atka Mackerel in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Atka mackerel in the Central Aleutian district (CAI) of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI) by vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery. This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2015 total allowable catch (TAC) of Atka mackerel in this area allocated to vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Progress Report on Cooperative Halibut Prohibited Species Catch Minimization
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.
Marine Mammals; File Nos. 13846 and 14353
Notice is hereby given that Jim Darling, Ph.D., Whale Trust, P.O. Box 384, Tofino, BC, V0R2Z0, Canada, and Ann Zoidis, Cetos Research Organization, 11 Des Isle Ave Bar Harbor, ME 04609, have been issued minor amendments to Scientific Research Permit Nos. 13846 and 14353, respectively.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to an Exploration Drilling Program in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska
In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. (Shell) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to offshore exploration drilling on Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leases in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (Council) Atlantic Bluefish Advisory Panel will hold a public meeting.
Fisheries of the South Atlantic; Southeast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR); Public Meeting
A post workshop webinar will be held, if necessary, following the June 22-26, 2015 SEDAR Procedural Workshop 7 to develop best practice recommendations for SEDAR Data Workshops, in Atlanta, GA. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
Fisheries of the South Atlantic; South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC); Public Meetings
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a series of public input meetings to collect input on the draft Vision Blueprint for the snapper grouper fishery as part of the Council Visioning Project. The meetings will be held via webinar and also utilize comment stations.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List Bottlenose Dolphins in Fiordland, New Zealand as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act
We, NMFS, announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) within Fiordland, New Zealand as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Based on our review of the best scientific and commercial data available, we have determined that the bottlenose dolphins within Fiordland do not meet the criteria for identification as a distinct population segment. Therefore, these dolphins do not warrant listing, and we do not propose to list these dolphins under the ESA.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Recreational Management Measures for the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; Fishing Year 2015
NMFS is implementing management measures for the 2015 summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass recreational fisheries. The implementing regulations for these fisheries require NMFS to publish recreational measures for each fishing year. The intent of these measures is to constrain recreational catch to established limits and prevent overfishing of the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass resources.
Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Revisions to Charter Halibut Fisheries Management in Alaska
NMFS issues regulations that revise Federal regulations regarding sport fishing guide services for Pacific halibut in International Pacific Halibut Commission Regulatory Areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska). The regulations remove the requirement that a guided sport (charter) vessel guide be on board the same vessel as a charter vessel angler to meet the definition of providing sport fishing guide services. This final rule clarifies that all sport fishing for halibut in which anglers receive assistance from a compensated guide would be managed under charter fishery regulations, and all harvest (except halibut harvested under the Guided Angler Fish Program) would accrue toward charter allocations. This final rule aligns Federal regulations with State of Alaska regulations. This final rule makes additional minor changes to the regulatory text pertaining to the charter halibut fishery to maintain consistency in the regulations with these new definitions. This action is necessary to achieve the halibut fishery management goals of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
Final NOAA Restoration Center Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
The National Marine Fisheries Service is providing notice that the Final NOAA Restoration Center (RC) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) is complete and available. The NOAA RC proposes to fund or otherwise implement habitat restoration activities through its existing programmatic framework and related procedures. The NOAA RC programs, which are authorized to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources, will support, fund, or otherwise implement habitat restoration activities throughout the coastal United States. NOAA RC identified a suite of appropriate restoration approaches that it believes will most effectively conserve and restore the coastal and marine resources, and the ecosystem services they provide under NOAA trusteeship. The PEIS evaluates the potential impacts to the human and natural environment of implementing these approaches and sets the stage so that future decisions by NOAA at the project-specific level can be documented as included under, or effectively tiered from, this programmatic analysis.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Possession Limit Adjustments for the Common Pool Fishery
This action decreases the possession and landing limit for Gulf of Maine cod to zero for Northeast multispecies common pool vessels for the remainder of the 2015 fishing year. NMFS is taking this action because the common pool has caught 44.5 percent of its Trimester 1 Total Allowable Catch Gulf of Maine cod quota in the first month of the trimester. This action is intended to prevent the overharvest of the common pool's fishing year 2015 allocation of Gulf of Maine cod and prevent the closure of the Gulf of Maine to all common pool vessels before the end of the Trimester.
This notice sets forth the intention of the Communication and Education (CommEd) Division of CPO to purchase and distribute prizes (1 t-shirt and 1 mug per month) to the monthly winners of the Climate Challengethe social media game with a purpose.
Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; 2015 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for the South Atlantic Lesser Amberjack, Almaco Jack, and Banded Rudderfish Complex
NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for the commercial sector for the lesser amberjack, almaco jack, and banded rudderfish complex in the South Atlantic for the 2015 fishing year through this temporary rule. Commercial landings for the lesser amberjack, almaco jack, and banded rudderfish complex, as estimated by the Science and Research Director, are projected to reach their combined commercial annual catch limit (ACL) on June 23, 2015. Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial sector for this complex on June 23, 2015, through the remainder of the fishing year in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic. This closure is necessary to protect the lesser amberjack, almaco jack, and banded rudderfish resources.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Identification and Proposed Listing of Eleven Distinct Population Segments of Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) as Endangered or Threatened and Revision of Current Listings; Public Hearings; Extension of Comment Period
On March 23, 2015, we (NMFS and USFWS, or the Services) published a proposed rule to revise the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas; hereafter referred to as the green turtle) listings under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We proposed to remove the current range- wide listing and, in its place, list eight distinct population segments (DPSs) as threatened and three as endangered. We opened a public comment period that lasted through June 22, 2015, announced a public hearing in Honolulu, Hawaii, and solicited requests for additional public hearings. With this document, we announce additional public hearings in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and American Samoa. To allow adequate time for comments after the last public hearing, we extend the public comment period through July 27, 2015.
Marine Mammals; File No. 14610
Notice is hereby given that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), Division of Wildlife Conservation, Juneau, AK (Principal Investigator: Lori Quakenbush) has been issued a minor amendment to Scientific Research Permit No. 14610-03.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Shell Ice Overflight Surveys in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Alaska
In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. (Shell) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to ice overflight surveys in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Alaska.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Land Survey Activities Within the Eastern Aleutian Islands Archipelago, Alaska, 2015
In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations, we, NMFS, hereby give notification that the National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to take marine mammals, by harassment incidental to conducting a one-day field- based land survey of cultural sites located on a small island within the eastern Aleutian Islands archipelago, Alaska, June through July, 2015.