National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Receipt of application.
Notice is hereby given that the Georgia Aquarium, 2451 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 3639, Atlanta, Georgia 30339-6157, has applied in due form for a permit to import two beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) for the purposes of public display.
Written or telefaxed comments must be received on or before August 4, 2005.
The application and related documents are available for review upon written request or by appointment in the following office(s):
Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301)713-2289; fax (301)427-2521; http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/review.htm; and
Southeast Region, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701; phone (727)824-5312; fax (727)824-5309.
Written comments or requests for a public hearing on this application should be mailed to the Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division, F/PR1, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room Start Printed Page 3865913705, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Those individuals requesting a hearing should set forth the specific reasons why a hearing on this particular request would be appropriate.
Comments may also be submitted by facsimile at (301)427-2521, provided the facsimile is confirmed by hard copy submitted by mail and postmarked no later than the closing date of the comment period.
Comments may also be submitted by e-mail. The mailbox address for providing email comments is NMFS.Pr1Comments@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line of the e-mail comment the following document identifier: File No. 1078-1796.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jennifer Skidmore or Amy Sloan, (301/713-2289).End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
The subject permit is requested under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), and the Regulations Governing the Taking and Importing of Marine Mammals (50 CFR part 216).
The applicant requests authorization to import two male, adult beluga whales from Grupo Empresarial Chapultepec, S.A. DE C.V., Mexico City, Mexico to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, or alternatively the Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, Connecticut. The applicant requests this import for the purpose of public display. The receiving facility, the Georgia Aquarium located at 225 Baker Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30313, is scheduled to open November 23, 2005, and aquaria contacts are aware of the public display criteria for holding marine mammals for public display and their obligation to demonstrate said criteria prior to acquiring these animals. Alternatively, these animals may be transported to the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration, 55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, Connecticut 06355, for temporary holding while the Georgia Aquarium completes its facility. Mystic Aquarium is: (1) open to the public on regularly scheduled basis with access that is not limited or restricted other than by charging for an admission fee; (2) offers an educational program based on professionally accepted standards of the AZA and the Alliance for Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums; and (3) holds an Exhibitor's License, number 16-C-0025, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2131-59).
In addition to determining whether the applicant meets the three public display criteria, NMFS must determine whether the applicant has demonstrated that the proposed activity is humane and does not represent any unnecessary risks to the health and welfare of marine mammals; that the proposed activity by itself, or in combination with other activities, will not likely have a significant adverse impact on the species or stock; and that the applicant's expertise, facilities and resources are adequate to accomplish successfully the objectives and activities stated in the application.
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.Start Signature
Dated: June 29, 2005.
Acting Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 05-13181 Filed 7-1-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S