FR Notice – 2018 Annual Determination To Implement the Sea Turtle Observer Requirement (May 10, 2018)

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) publishes its final Annual Determination (AD) for 2018, pursuant to its authority under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Through the AD, NMFS identifies U.S. fisheries operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific Ocean that will be required to take fisheries observers upon NMFS’ request. The purpose of observing identified fisheries is to learn more about sea turtle interactions in a given fishery, evaluate measures to prevent or reduce sea turtle takes and to implement the prohibition against sea turtle takes. Fisheries identified on the 2018 AD (see Table 1) will be eligible to carry observers as of the effective date of this rulemaking, and will remain on the AD for a five-year period until December 31, 2022.

DATES: Effective June 9, 2018. ADDRESSES: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for a listing of all Regional Offices.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sara Wissmann, Office of Protected Resources, (301) 427-8402; Ellen Keane, Greater Atlantic Region, (978) 282–8476; Dennis Klemm, Southeast Region, (727) 824–5312; Dan Lawson, West Coast Region, (206) 526–4740; Irene Kelly, Pacific Islands Region, (808) 725–5141. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the hearing impaired may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1 (800) 877–8339 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays.

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