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Marine Mammals; File No. 881-1443-04

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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


Receipt of application for amendment.


Notice is hereby given that The Alaska SeaLife Center, P.O. Box 1329, Seward, Alaska 99664 (Dr. Shannon Atkinson, Principal Investigator), has requested an amendment to scientific research Permit No. 881-1443-04.


Written or telefaxed comments must be received on or before October 22, 2001.


The amendment request and related documents are available for review upon written request or by appointment in the following office(s): -

Permits and Documentation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301)713-2289; fax (301)713-0376; and -

Alaska Region, NMFS, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668; phone (907)586-7221; fax (907)586-7249.

Written comments or requests for a public hearing on this request should be submitted to the Chief, Permits and Documentation Division, F/PR1, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Those individuals requesting a hearing should set forth the specific reasons why a hearing on this particular amendment request would be appropriate. -

Comments may also be submitted by facsimile at (301)713-0376, provided the facsimile is confirmed by hard copy submitted by mail and postmarked no later than the closing date of the comment period. Please note that comments will not be accepted by e-mail or other electronic media.

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Amy Sloan or Ruth Johnson, (301)713-2289.

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The subject amendment to Permit No. 881-1443, issued on March 27, 1998 (59 FR 14905), is requested under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the Regulations Governing the Taking and Importing of Marine Mammals (50 CFR part 216), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the regulations governing the taking, importing, and exporting of endangered and threatened species (50 CFR parts 222-226). -

Permit No. 881-1443-04 authorizes the permit holder to maintain Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) and harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) for purposes of scientific research, which includes studies on nutritional and reproductive physiology, metabolic development, and clinical health. Incidental to research activities, animals are on public display as part of an education program. -

The permit holder requests authorization to modify existing research protocols as well as add new research projects. Modifications to existing protocols include: (1) increasing frequency of blubber biopsies taken from Steller sea lions from 3 to 6 times per year for fatty acid and organochlorine testing; (2) increasing mass of blubber biopsies taken from harbor seals from 50 to 500 mg for organochlorine testing; (3) collecting saliva from Steller sea lions and harbor seals for deuterium, steroid, and hormone analyses; (4) analyzing vaginal and preputial swabs for cell cytology in Steller sea lions and harbor seals; and (5) administering stable isotopes to Steller sea lions for nutritional studies.

New projects proposed include: (1) hormone stimulation studies and collection of feces for assessment of stress or well-being in relation to diet in Steller sea lions; (2) bioenergetic studies of Steller sea lions involving determination of metabolic rates using flow respirometry and metabolic chambers, and dietary marker administration and dry holding for collection of urine and feces; (3) Start Printed Page 48664collection of skin and mucosal swabs from harbor seals and Steller sea lions for development of cell lines and microbiological analyses; (4) administration of deuterium labeled vitamin E and a vitamin A analog and increased frequency of blood sampling to determine metabolic requirements of these vitamins; and (5) photographic studies to determine pelage pattern consistency of harbor seals. -

In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), an initial determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. -

Concurrent with the publication of this notice in the Federal Register, NMFS is forwarding copies of this application to the Marine Mammal Commission and its Committee of Scientific Advisors.

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September 18, 2001.

Eugene T. Nitta,

Acting Chief, Permits and Documentation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 01-23680 Filed 9-20-01; 8:45 am]