Marine Mammals and Endangered Species
Notice is hereby given that permits and permit amendments have been issued to the following entities under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as applicable.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications; 2021-2022 Annual Specifications and Management Measures for Pacific Sardine
NMFS is implementing annual harvest specifications and management measures for the northern subpopulation of Pacific sardine (hereafter, Pacific sardine), for the fishing year, which runs from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022. This final rule will prohibit most directed commercial fishing for Pacific sardine off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. Pacific sardine harvest will be allowed only in the live bait fishery, minor directed fisheries, as incidental catch in other fisheries, or as authorized under exempted fishing permits. The incidental harvest of Pacific sardine will be limited to 20 percent by weight of all fish per trip when caught with other stocks managed under the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan, or up to 2 metric tons per trip when caught with non- Coastal Pelagic Species stocks. The annual catch limit for the 2021- 2022 Pacific sardine fishing year is 3,329 metric tons. This final rule is intended to conserve and manage the Pacific sardine stock off the U.S. West Coast.
Pacific Island Fisheries; Exemption for Large U.S. Longline Vessels To Fish in Portions of the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area; Court Order
NMFS implements a regulatory exemption that allows certain U.S. longline vessels 50 ft (15.2 m) and larger (``large longline vessels'') to fish in portions of the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA). The intent is to comply with a U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision and Order that reversed a district court ruling that had vacated and set aside the exemption.
Fisheries of the South Atlantic; South Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting of its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) via webinar. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
Endangered Species; File Nos. 25696 and 25716
Notice is hereby given that Inwater Research Group, Inc., 4160 NE Hyline Dr., Jensen Beach, FL 34957 (Responsible Party: Michael Bresette) and the NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), 166 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543 (Responsible Party: Jon Hare), have applied in due form for a permit to take green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), and unidentified hardshell sea turtles for purposes of scientific research.
Marine Mammals; File No. 24054
Notice is hereby given that Terrie Williams, Ph.D., University of California at Santa Cruz, Long Marine Lab, Center for Ocean Health, 115 McAllister Way, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on captive marine mammals.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Cost Recovery Program
NMFS publishes notification of a 1.09 percent fee for cost recovery under the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program. This action is intended to provide holders of crab allocations with the 2021/2022 crab fishing year fee percentage so they can calculate the required cost recovery fee payment, which must be submitted by July 31, 2022.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Elkhorn Slough Tidal Marsh Restoration, Phase II in Monterey County, California
In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued a Renewal incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment only, marine mammals incidental to construction activities associated with the second phase of the Elkhorn Slough Tidal Marsh Restoration Project in Monterey County, California.
International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Requirements To Safeguard Fishery Observers
Under authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFC Implementation Act), NMFS issues this final rule establishing requirements to safeguard fishery observers and establishing pre-trip notification procedures for observer placement. This action is necessary to satisfy the obligations of the United States under the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention), to which it is a Contracting Party.
Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary; Announcement of Public Meetings; Request for Public Comments
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has prepared a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) that considers three alternatives for the proposed designation of a national marine sanctuary to manage a nationally significant collection of shipwrecks and other underwater cultural resources in New York's eastern Lake Ontario and the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River. NOAA also prepared a draft management plan that describes the proposed goals, objectives, and strategies for managing the proposed sanctuary. NOAA is soliciting public comment on the DEIS and draft management plan.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Northeast Trawl Advisory Panel (NTAP) Working Group will hold a public webinar meeting.
Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Greater Atlantic Region Permit Family of Forms
The Department of Commerce, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed, and continuing information collections, which helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. The purpose of this notice is to allow for 60 days of public comment preceding submission of the collection to OMB.
Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) will hold an online meeting to consider information on marine planning and offshore development planning and activities. This meeting is open to the public.
Endangered Species; File Nos. 24140 and 24368
Notice is hereby given that Jane Provancha, Herndon Solutions Group, LLC., 2562 Meadow Lane, Cocoa, FL 32926 and the NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC), 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, FL 33149 (Responsible Party: Lisa Desfosse), have applied in due form for permits to take green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), olive ridley (L. olivacea), and unidentified hardshell sea turtles for purposes of scientific research.
Marine Mammals; File No. 25761
Notice is hereby given that Earthscape Productions, Ltd., St Stephens Avenue, Bristol, BS1 1YL, United Kingdom, (Responsible Party: Tina Razdan), has applied in due form for a permit to conduct commercial or educational photography on pinnipeds.
Draft Revised Management Plan for the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is soliciting comments from the public regarding a proposed revision of the management plan for the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve. The management plan provides a framework for the direction and timing of a reserve's programs; allows reserve managers to assess a reserve's success in meeting its goals and to identify any necessary changes in direction; and is used to guide programmatic evaluations of the reserve. Plan revisions are required of each reserve in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System at least every five years. This revised plan is intended to replace the plan approved in 2015.
Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Caribbean Fishery Management Council (CFMC) will hold the 174th public meeting (virtual) to address the items contained in the tentative agenda included in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting
The Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Mid- Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting.
Fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico; Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR); Public Meeting
The SEDAR 74 assessment of Gulf of Mexico red snapper will consist of a Data workshop, a series of assessment webinars, and a Review workshop. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
Pacific Island Fisheries; Amendment 9 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific; Modifications to the American Samoa Longline Fishery Limited Entry Program
NMFS announces that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) proposes to amend the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific (FEP). If approved, Amendment 9 would reduce regulatory barriers that may be limiting small vessel participation in the American Samoa longline fishery. Specifically, Amendment 9 would consolidate vessel class sizes, modify permit eligibility requirements, and reduce the minimum harvest requirements for small vessels. The Council recommended Amendment 9 to provide for sustained community and indigenous American Samoan participation in the small vessel longline fishery.
Taking and Importing of Marine Mammals
The NMFS Assistant Administrator (Assistant Administrator) has completed an affirmative finding annual renewal for the Governments of Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Spain. (referred to hereafter as ``The Nations'') under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). These affirmative findings will continue to allow the importation into the United States of yellowfin tuna and yellowfin tuna products harvested in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP) for 1 year in compliance with the Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program (AIDCP) by purse seine vessels operating under The Nations' jurisdiction or exported from The Nations. NMFS bases the affirmative finding annual renewals on reviews of documentary evidence submitted by the Governments of The Nations and of information obtained from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; Exempted Fishing Permit
NMFS announces the receipt of an application for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) from the NMFS Panama City, FL laboratory. If granted, the EFP would authorize NMFS or NMFS contracted observers and commercial fishers aboard contracted commercial fishing vessels to collect certain deep-water snapper species in waters of the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off Puerto Rico. The EFP would exempt this activity from complying with certain seasonal and area closures and from certain bag limits in the U.S. Caribbean EEZ. The purpose of the EFP is to describe benthic habitats for deep-water reef fish species off Puerto Rico and to determine life history information for black, blackfin, cardinal, queen, silk, and wenchman snappers.
Fisheries of the South Atlantic; Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR); Public Meeting
The SEDAR Procedural Workshop 8 for Fishery Independent Index Development will consist of a series of webinars, and an in-person workshop. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Caribbean Fishery Management Council's (Council) Outreach and Education Advisory Panel (OEAP) will hold a 2-day public virtual meeting on July 28-29, 2021, to discuss the items contained in the agenda in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List Harbor Seals in Iliamna Lake as a Threatened or Endangered Species
We, NMFS, announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) in Iliamna Lake as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and to designate critical habitat. We find that the petition and information readily available in our files does not present new information or analyses that had not been previously considered in our 2016 distinct population segment (DPS) assessment and petition finding and, therefore, the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Modification of the West Coast Commercial Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Action #17
NMFS announces an inseason action in the 2021 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 Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Gray Triggerfish Management Measures
NMFS issues regulations to implement management measures described in a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). This final rule modifies catch limits in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for gray triggerfish. The purpose of this final rule and the framework action is to modify the catch limits, as applicable, consistent with the most recent interim analysis for gray triggerfish and to achieve optimum yield (OY) for the stock.
Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specific Activities; Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Pile Driving and Removal Activities During the Metlakatla Seaplane Facility Refurbishment Project, Metlakatla, Alaska
NMFS has received a request from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (AKDOT&PF) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to pile driving/removal and down-the- hole drilling (DTH) activities during maintenance improvements to the existing Metlakatla Seaplane Facility (MSF) in Southeast Alaska. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS is also requesting comments on a possible one-year renewal that could be issued under certain circumstances and if all requirements are met, as described in Request for Public Comments at the end of this notice. NMFS will consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the issuance of the requested MMPA authorizations and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of our decision.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Notice of Initiation of a 5-Year Review of the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
NMFS and USFWS announce the initiation of a 5-year review for the Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii). We are required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to conduct 5-year reviews to ensure that the species' listing status remains accurate. The 5-year review must be based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review. We request submission of any such information on the Kemp's ridley, particularly information on the status, threats, and recovery of the species that has become available since the last 5- year review was published in July of 2015.
Plan for Periodic Review of Regulations
The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires that NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) periodically review existing regulations that have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, such as small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. This plan describes how ONMS will perform this review and describes the regulations proposed for review in fiscal year 2022.
Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; 2020-2021 Commercial Closure for King Mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico Northern Zone
NMFS implements an accountability measure (AM) for commercial king mackerel in the northern zone of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone (EEZ). NMFS projects that the commercial quota for king mackerel in the northern zone of the Gulf EEZ has been reached. Therefore, NMFS closes the northern zone of the Gulf EEZ to commercial king mackerel fishing on June 28, 2021. This closure is necessary to protect the Gulf king mackerel resource.
Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Commercial Closure for Atlantic Spanish Mackerel in the Northern Zone
NMFS implements an accountability measure (AM) for commercial Spanish mackerel in the northern zone of the Atlantic exclusive economic zone (EEZ). NMFS projects that the commercial quota for Spanish mackerel in the northern zone of the Atlantic EEZ will be reached by June 28, 2021. Therefore, NMFS closes the northern zone in the Atlantic EEZ to commercial harvest of Spanish mackerel on June 28, 2021. This closure is necessary to protect the Spanish mackerel resource in the Atlantic.
Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council: Public Meeting
Notice is hereby given of a meeting of the Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council (council). The meeting is open to the public, and an opportunity for oral and written comments will be provided.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will hold a meeting of its Coastal Migratory Pelagic Advisory Panel via webinar.
Evaluation of National Estuarine Research Reserve; Public Meeting; Request for Comments
NOAA's Office for Coastal Management will hold a public meeting to solicit comments on the performance evaluation of the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Management Track Assessment for Atlantic Mackerel, Black Sea Bass, Golden Tilefish, and Scup Public Meeting
NMFS and the Assessment Oversight Panel (AOP) will convene the Management Track Assessment Peer Review Meeting for the purpose of reviewing Atlantic mackerel, black sea bass, golden tilefish, and scup. The Management Track Assessment Peer Review is a formal scientific peer-review process for evaluating and presenting stock assessment results to managers for fish stocks in the offshore U.S. waters of the northwest Atlantic. Assessments are prepared by the lead stock assessment analyst and reviewed by an independent panel of stock assessment experts called the AOP. The public is invited to attend the presentations and discussions between the review panel and the scientists who have participated in the stock assessment process.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Golden Tilefish Fishery; Extension of Emergency Action
This temporary rule extends emergency measures that allow a limited one-time carryover of up to 5 percent of unharvested fishing quota from the 2020 fishing year into the 2021 fishing year. This action is necessary to allow the golden tilefish individual fishing quota shareholders that were eligible for carryover under the emergency measures, but have not yet fully harvested that carryover, an opportunity to use it. This action is intended to provide additional time for quota shareholders to fully harvest their allocations.
Evaluation of National Estuarine Research Reserve; Public Meeting; Request for Comments
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office for Coastal Management will hold a public meeting to solicit comments on the performance evaluation of the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to U.S. Navy Marine Structure Maintenance and Pile Replacement in Washington
In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given that two Letters of Authorization (LOA) have been issued to the U.S. Navy (Navy) for the take of marine mammals incidental to maintenance construction activities at facilities in Washington.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Marine Site Characterization Surveys Off of Delaware and New Jersey
In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an IHA to Garden State Offshore Energy, LLC (Garden State) to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment, marine mammals incidental to marine site characterization surveys offshore of Delaware and New Jersey in the area of the Commercial Lease of Submerged Lands for Renewable Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS-A 0482) and along potential export cable routes to landfall locations in Delaware and New Jersey.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Construction of the Vineyard Wind Offshore Wind 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 Vineyard Wind 1, LLC (Vineyard Wind) to take, by Level A harassment and Level B harassment, marine mammals during construction of a commercial wind energy project offshore Massachusetts.
Notice of Availability of a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Surveying and Mapping Projects in U.S. Waters for Coastal and Marine Data Acquisition
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Ocean Service (NOS) has prepared a draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), to analyze the potential environmental impacts associated with NOS's recurring data collection projects to characterize submerged features (e.g., habitat, bathymetry, marine debris). The ``action area'' for these projects encompasses United States (U.S.) rivers, states' offshore waters, the U.S. territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (U.S. EEZ), and coastal and riparian lands. As a part of the Proposed Action, NOS may use active acoustic equipment such as sub- bottom profilers, single beam and multibeam echo sounders, side-scan sonars, and Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers. The Draft PEIS analyzes NOS data collection projects for a time period of 6 years. Publication of this document begins the 60-day public comment period for the Draft PEIS.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment
NMFS implements the measures of the New England Fishery Management Council's Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment. This action protects deep-sea corals from the impacts of commercial fishing gear on Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine. These management measures are intended to reduce, to the extent practicable, impacts of fishing gear on deep-sea corals in New England while balancing the continued operations of commercial fisheries.
Marine Mammals; File No. 25508
Notice is hereby given that Sea World LLC (Responsible Party: Christopher Dold, DVM), 6240 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32821, has applied in due form for a permit to continue captive maintenance and enhancement activities on two non-releasable Guadalupe fur seals (Arctocephalus townsendi) with the option of holding up to six non- releasable furs seals at any given time.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 61
This action proposes to approve and implement Framework Adjustment 61 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This rule would revise the status determination criteria for Georges Bank and Southern New England-Mid Atlantic winter flounder, implement a revised rebuilding plan for white hake, set or adjust catch limits for 17 of the 20 multispecies (groundfish) stocks, and implement a universal exemption for sectors to target Acadian redfish. This action is necessary to respond to updated scientific information and to achieve the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan. The proposed measures are intended to help prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, achieve optimum yield, and ensure that management measures are based on the best scientific information available.