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Notice

Taking and Importing of Marine Mammals

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Notice; affirmative finding.

SUMMARY:

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

DATES:

Effective June 9, 2005 through March 31, 2006.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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 Start Printed Page 33735nation, 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. 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 Government of Spain or obtained from the IATTC and the Department of State and determined that Spain has met the MMPA's requirements to receive an affirmative finding.

After consultation with the Department of State, the Assistant Administrator issued the Government of Spain's affirmative finding allowing the importation into the United States of yellowfin tuna and products derived from yellowfin tuna harvested in the ETP by Spanish-flag purse seine vessels or purse seine vessels operating under Spanish jurisdiction. The affirmative finding will remain valid through March 31, 2010, provided that the NMFS's annual review of the finding determines that the harvesting nation is still in compliance with the required conditions for a finding. This annual review will occur for the years 2006 to 2009.

Every 5 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 Spain continues to meet the requirements. A nation may provide information regarding its compliance with the IDCP directly to NMFS on an annual basis or may authorize the IATTC to release the information to NMFS in years when NMFS will review and consider whether to issue an affirmative finding determination without an application from the harvesting nation.

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, thereby diminishing the effectiveness of the IDCP.

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Dated: June 6, 2005.

William T. Hogarth,

Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 05-11463 Filed 6-8-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S