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FR Notice – False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan; Trigger for the Southern Exclusion Zone Closure Met in 2021 (Mar. 8, 2022)

Federal Register Notices, News and Updates, Protected Species

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Notice; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In 2021, four observed mortalities or serious injuries (M&SI) of false killer whales occurred incidental to the Hawaii deep-set longline fishery within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around Hawaii on January 18, 2021, March 26, 2021, April 17, 2021, and November 19, 2021. These M&SI met the established annual trigger of four observed M&SI for closing the Southern Exclusion Zone (SEZ) to deep-set longline fishing under the False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan (Plan) regulations. In accordance with the Plan regulations a closure of the SEZ is required through the end of the fishing year. Because the injury determination for the fourth interaction meeting the trigger was not available until January 2022, the timeframe for closing the SEZ in 2021 had passed, and the SEZ was not closed. In accordance with the Plan regulations, the requirements for closure of the SEZ were met in 2021, therefore, if the trigger is met in 2022, the process for closure of the SEZ will follow the procedures described in the Plan regulations.

DATES:

Comments on this notice must be received by April 7, 2022.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2022-0027 by either of the following methods:

Electronic Submission:

Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to https://www.regulations.gov and enter NOAA-NMFS-2022-0027 in the search box. Click the “Comment” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

Mail:

Submit written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), attention Diana Kramer, Protected Resources, 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.

Instructions:

NMFS may not consider comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Diana Kramer, Protected Resources, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office, 808-725-5167, diana.kramer@noaa.gov; or Kristy Long, NMFS Office of Protected Resources, 301-427-8402, kristy.long@noaa.gov.

Click here for complete FR Notice.

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