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Notice

Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits

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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), Department of Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Northeast Region, NMFS (Assistant Regional Administrator), has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application submitted by the Mount Desert Oceanarium (MDO), Southwest Harbor, ME, contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. The EFP would allow one fishing vessel to fish for, retain, and land small numbers of regulated fish species, and several unmanaged fish and invertebrate species, for the purpose of public display. The Assistant Regional Administrator has made a preliminary determination that the activities authorized under this EFP would be consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) for these species. However, further review and consultation may be necessary before a final determination is made to issue an EFP.

Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for proposed EFPs.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before March 30, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments should be sent to Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, NMFS, NE Regional Office, 1 Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope “Comments on MDO Specimen Collection, DA6-043.” Comments may also be sent via fax to (978) 281-9135. Comments may also be submitted via e-mail to the following address: DA6-043@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line of the e-mail “Comments on MDO Specimen Collection.”

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Douglas Potts, Fishery Management Specialist, 978-281-9341.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The MDO submitted an application for an EFP on February 9, 2006, to collect several species of fish and invertebrates for public display. The target species would include American plaice (dab), winter flounder (blackback), yellowtail flounder, witch flounder (grey sole), Atlantic halibut, monkfish, eel pouts, sculpins, sea raven, Atlantic cod, lumpfish, Atlantic wolffish, spiny dogfish, little skate, barndoor skate, and various species of the Phyla Arthropoda (excluding lobsters) and Echinodermata.

One chartered fishing vessel would use a shrimp otter trawl with 2-inch (5.08-cm) mesh to collect marine fish and invertebrates for a maximum of 4 days—2 days during the period May 16-28, 2006, and 2 days during the period June 23-30, 2006. The specimens would be cared for in chilled and aerated seawater while on board the fishing vessel and would be transferred live to tanks the day they are caught. The fish would be brought to shore, maintained in tanks for public display for a period of time not to exceed 5 months, and would be returned to the sea in October 2006.

Collection would be made within the Small Mesh Northern Shrimp Fishery Exemption Area, specifically within an area off the coast of Maine. Because the shrimp fishery will be closed at the time of the proposed collection, and this area lies within the Gulf of Maine Regulated Mesh Area, an exemption from the Northeast (NE) multispecies minimum mesh requirements of 6-inch (15.24-cm) diamond/6.5-inch (16.51-cm) square mesh at 50 CFR 648.80(a)(3) would be required.

The applicant would retain a maximum of six individuals per species, juveniles and adults combined, with the exception of Atlantic halibut. In addition to an exemption from the NE multispecies minium mesh requirements, the applicant would only be permitted to retain a total of one Atlantic halibut with a minimum length of 36 inches (91.44 cm). The applicant has requested the following exemptions from the NE Multispecies and Monkfish Fishery Management Plans: Effort control program requirements at §§ 648.82(a) and 648.92(a); minimum fish sizes at §§ 648.83(a)(1) and 648.93(a)(1); and monkfish possession Start Printed Page 13358restrictions at § 648.94(b)(6). The EFP would also exempt the vessels from the possession and landing restrictions for the NE skate complex fishery at § 648.322(c).

Any fishing activity conducted outside the scope of the exempted fishing activity would be prohibited.

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

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Dated: March 10, 2006.

Alan D. Risenhoover,

Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. E6-3703 Filed 3-14-06; 8:45 am]

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