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Request for Comment: Establishment of Time-Area Closures for Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (Comments due by Dec. 27, 2021)

Federal Register Notices, News and Updates

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Proposed rule; request for comment.

SUMMARY:

We, NMFS, propose a regulation under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to establish mandatory time-area closures of Hawaiian spinner dolphins’ essential daytime habitats at five selected sites in the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). These regulatory measures are intended to reduce take of Hawaiian spinner dolphins from occurring in inshore marine areas at essential daytime habitats, and where high levels of disturbance from human activities are most prevalent. During designated times, unless subject to an exception as described in this rule, these regulatory measures would prohibit any person or vessel, on or below the surface, to enter, cause to enter, solicit to enter, or remain within any of the five time-area closures, for the purpose of preventing take of Hawaiian spinner dolphins in areas identified as important essential daytime habitats for spinner dolphins that have high levels of human disturbance. The proposed mandatory time-area closures would occur from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily in areas of Kealakekua Bay, Hōnaunau Bay, Kauhakō Bay (Ho`okena), and Makako Bay on Hawai`i Island, and La Perouse Bay on Maui.

DATES:

Comments on this proposal must be received by December 27, 2021.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by the docket number NOAA-NMFS-2021-0091, by either of the following methods:

Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov and enter NOAA-NMFS-2021-0091 in the search box. Click on the “Comment” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. Copies of this rule and the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) can be obtained from the website https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/​action/​enhancing-protections-hawaiian-spinner-dolphins. Written requests for copies of these documents should be addressed to

Mail: Kevin Brindock, Deputy Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Regional Office, 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.

Instructions: You must submit comments by one of the above methods to ensure that we receive, document, and consider them. Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kevin Brindock, NMFS, Pacific Islands Region, Deputy Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, 808-725-5146; or Trevor Spradlin, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources, Deputy Chief, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, 301-427-8402.

Click here for complete FR Notice.

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