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Taking and Importing of Marine Mammals

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


Notice of affirmative finding.


The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NMFS, (Assistant Administrator) renewed the affirmative finding for the Republic of El Salvador under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). This affirmative finding renewal will allow yellowfin tuna harvested in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) in compliance with the International Dolphin Conservation Program (IDCP) by El Salvadorian-flag purse seine vessels or purse seine vessels operating under El Salvador's jurisdiction to continue to be imported into the United States. The affirmative finding was based on review of documentary evidence submitted by the Republic of El Salvador and obtained from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Department of State.


Effective April 1, 2005, through March 31, 2006.

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Regional Administrator, Southwest Region, NMFS, 501 West Ocean Boulevard, Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802-4213; Phone 562-980-4000; Fax 562-980-4018.

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The MMPA, 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq., allows the entry into the United States of yellowfin tuna harvested by purse seine vessels in the ETP under certain conditions. If requested by the harvesting nation, the Assistant Administrator will determine whether to make an affirmative finding based upon documentary evidence provided by the government of the harvesting nation, the IATTC, or the Department of State.

The affirmative finding process requires that the harvesting nation meet several conditions related to compliance with the IDCP. Every five years, the government of the harvesting nation must request an affirmative finding and submit the required documentary evidence directly to the Assistant Administrator. On an annual basis NMFS will review the affirmative finding and determine whether El Start Printed Page 25549Salvador continues to meet the requirements. A nation may opt to provide information regarding compliance with the IDCP directly to NMFS on an annual basis or authorize the IATTC to release the information to NMFS in years when NMFS will conduct an annual review of the affirmative finding.

An affirmative finding will be terminated, in consultation with the Secretary of State, if the Assistant Administrator determines that the requirements of 50 CFR 216.24(f) are no longer being met or that a nation is consistently failing to take enforcement actions on violations which diminish the effectiveness of the IDCP.

As a part of the affirmative finding process set forth in 50 CFR 216.24(f), the Assistant Administrator considered documentary evidence submitted by the Republic of El Salvador and obtained from the IATTC and the Department of State and determined that El Salvador has met the MMPA's requirements to receive and affirmative finding.

After consultation with the Department of State, NMFS renewed the Republic of El Salvador's affirmative finding allowing the continued importation into the United States of yellowfin tuna and products derived from yellowfin tuna harvested in the ETP, by El Salvadorian-flag purse seine vessels or vessels under El Salvadorian jurisdiction. The affirmative finding will remain in effect until March 31, 2006.

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Dated: May 10, 2005.

John Oliver,

Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 05-9603 Filed 5-12-05; 8:45 am]