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Notice

Information Collection To Be Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Approval Under the Paperwork Reduction Act

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of intent to request information collection authority.

SUMMARY:

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have submitted the collection of information described below to OMB for approval under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Copies of specific information collection requirements, related forms, and explanatory materials may be obtained by contacting our Information Collection Officer at the address or phone number listed below.

DATES:

You must submit comments on or before October 9, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Send your comments and suggestions on specific requirements to the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Attention: Department of the Interior Desk Officer, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503, and to Rebecca Mullin, Information Collection Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS 222-ARLSQ, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jeffrey L. Horwath, Division of Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance and Habitat Restoration, Arlington, Virginia, at 703/358-1718, or Well Stephensen, Office of Marine Mammals Management, Anchorage, Alaska, at 907/786-3815.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

We have submitted the following information collection clearance requirements to the OMB for review and approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. The OMB has up to 60 days to approve or disapprove information collection, but they may respond after 30 days. Therefore, for your comments and suggestions to receive maximum consideration, the OMB should receive your input October 9, 2001.

Currently, we have approval from the OMB to collect information under OMB control number 1018-0066. This approval expires on October 31, 2001. We may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless we display a currently valid OMB control number.

On March 6, 2001, we published in the Federal Register (66 FR 13564) a 60-day notice of our intention to request information collection authority from the OMB; our notice solicited public comments. We received no comments in response to that notice.

As with our 60-day notice, this 30-day notice invites your comments on: (1) Whether this collection of information is necessary for us to properly perform our functions, including whether this information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of our estimate of burden, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions we use; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information we are proposing to collect; and (4) ways for us to minimize the burden of the collection of information on people who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological Start Printed Page 46650collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

In October 1988, pursuant to provisions of Section 109(i) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361-1407), we implemented formal Marking, Tagging, and Reporting Regulations at 50 CFR 18.23(f) for Alaska Natives harvesting polar bear, northern sea otter, and Pacific walrus in Alaska. Under Section 101(b) of the MMPA, Alaska Natives residing in Alaska and dwelling on the coast of the North Pacific or Arctic Oceans may harvest these species for subsistence or handicraft purposes. Section 109(i) of the MMPA authorized us, acting on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, to prescribe marking, tagging, and reporting regulations applicable to this Native subsistence and handicraft take.

Our regulations have enabled us to gether data on the Native subsistence and handicraft harvest, and on the biology of polar bear, sea otter, and Pacific walrus in Alaska in order to determine what effect such take is having on these populations. The regulations have also provided us with a means of monitoring the disposition of the harvest to ensure that any commercial use of products created from these species meets the criteria set forth in Section 101(b) of the MMPA.

The information that we propose to continue to collect from Alaska Natives beyond the currently authorized period that expires on October 31, 2001 (under OMB Clearance Number 1018-0066), will be used to improve our decision-making ability by substantially expanding the quality and quantity of harvest and biological data upon which we can base future management decisions. It will provide us with the ability to make inferences about the condition and general health of these populations, and to consider the importance and impacts to these populations resulting from the Native harvest and habitat degradation. without authority to collect this harvest information, our ability to measure the take of polar bear, sea otter and walrus is inadequate. We believe that mandatory marking, tagging, and reporting is essential for us, in concert with Alaska Natives, to be able to improve the quality and quantity of harvest and biological data necessary to base future management decisions. It allows us to make rational, knowledgeable decisions regarding the Native harvest and habitat degradation within the range of these species.

We estimate that the annual burden associated with this request will be 674 hours for each year of the 3-year period of OMB authorization. We calculated this estimated burden based on previous experience suggesting that Alaska Natives annually will take about 2,695 polar bears, sea otter, and Pacific walrus for subsistence and handicraft purposes, and that 15 minutes will be needed to provide the required information for each animal taken.

Title: Marine Mammal Marking, Tagging, and Reporting Program.

Bureau form numbers: R7-51, and R7-52.

Frequency of collection: Occasional.

Description of respondents: Individuals and households.

Number of respondents: Approximately 2,695 per year.

Estimated completion time: 15 minutes per response.

Annual burden hours: 674 hours.

Current OMB Clearance Number: 1018-0066.

Approval expires: October 31, 2001.

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Dated: July 18, 2001.

Rebecca Mullin,

Information Collection Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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[FR Doc. 01-22345 Filed 9-5-01; 8:45 am]

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