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Information Collection Sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Approval; OMB Control Number 1018-0127; Horseshoe Crab Tagging Program

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Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.


Notice; request for comments.


We (Fish and Wildlife Service) have sent an Information Collection Request (ICR) to OMB for review and approval. The ICR, which is summarized below, describes the nature of the collection and the estimated burden and cost. This ICR is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2008. We may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. However, under OMB regulations, we may continue to conduct or sponsor this information collection while it is pending at OMB.


You must send comments on or before January 9, 2009.


Send your comments and suggestions on this ICR to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at OMB-OIRA at (202) 395-6566 (fax) or (e-mail). Please provide a copy of your comments to Hope Grey, Information Collection Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service, MS 222-ARLSQ, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203 (mail) or (e-mail).

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To request additional information about this ICR, contact Hope Grey by mail or e-mail (see ADDRESSES) or by telephone at (703) 358-2482.

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OMB Control Number: 1018-0127.

Title: Horseshoe Crab Tagging Program.

Service Form Number(s): FWS Forms 3-2310 and 3-2311.

Type of Request: Extension of currently approved collection.

Affected Public: Tagging agencies include Federal and State agencies, universities, and biomedical companies. Members of the general public provide recapture information.

Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

Frequency of Collection: On occasion. When horseshoe crabs are tagged and when horseshoe crabs are found or captured.

ActivityNumber of annual respondentsNumber of annual responsesCompletion time per responseAnnual burden hours
FWS Form 3-23105001,50010 minutes250
FWS Form 3-2311101073 hours*730

*Average time required per response is dependent on the number of tags applied by an agency in 1 year. Agencies tag between 25 and 9,000 horseshoe crabs annually, taking between 2 to 5 minutes per crab to tag. Each agency determines the number of tags it will apply.

Abstract: Horseshoe crabs play a vital role commercially, biomedically, and ecologically along the Atlantic coast. Horseshoe crabs are commercially harvested and used as bait in eel and conch fisheries. Biomedical companies along the coast also collect and bleed horseshoe crabs at their facilities. Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate is derived from crab blood, which has no synthetic substitute, and is used by pharmaceutical companies to test sterility of products. Finally, migratory shorebirds also depend on the eggs of horseshoe crabs to refuel on their migrations from South America to the Arctic. One bird in particular, the red knot, feeds primarily on horseshoe crab eggs during its stopover. That bird is under a status review for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

In 1998, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), a management organization with representatives from each State on the Atlantic Coast, developed a horseshoe crab management plan. The ASMFC plan and its subsequent addenda established mandatory State-by-State harvest quotas, and created the 1,500 square mile Carl N. Shuster, Jr. Horseshoe Crab Sanctuary off the mouth of Delaware Bay.

Although restrictive measures have been taken in recent years, populations are not showing immediate increases. Because horseshoe crabs do not breed until they are 9 years or older, it may take some time before the population measurably increases. Federal and State agencies, universities, and biomedical companies participate in a Horseshoe Crab Cooperative Tagging Program. The Maryland Fishery Resources Office, Fish and Wildlife Service, maintains the information that we collect under this program and uses it to evaluate migratory patterns, survival, and abundance of horseshoe crabs.

Agencies that tag and release the crabs complete FWS Form 3-2311 (Horseshoe Crab Tagging) and provide the Service with:

(1) Organization name.

(2) Contact person name.

(3) Tag number.

(4) Sex of crab.

(5) Prosomal width.

(6) Capture site, latitude, longitude, waterbody, State, and date.

Members of the public who recover tagged crabs provide the following information using FWS Form 3-2310 (Horseshoe Crab Recapture Report):

(1) Tag number.

(2) Whether or not tag was removed.

(3) Whether or not the tag was circular or square.

(4) Condition of crab.

(5) Date captured/found.

(6) Crab fate.

(7) Finder type.

(8) Capture method.

(9) Capture location.

(10) Reporter information.

(11) Comments.

If the public participant who reports the tagged crab requests information, we send data pertaining to the tagging program and tag and release information on the horseshoe crab he/she found or captured.

Comments: On June 24, 2008, we published in the Federal Register (73 FR 35705) a notice of our intent to request that OMB renew this ICR. In that notice, we solicited comments for 60 days, ending on August 25, 2008. We received one comment. The commenter did not address the necessity, clarity, or accuracy of the information collection, Start Printed Page 75126but did oppose the use of horseshoe crabs by biomedical companies and proposed a ban on the use of horseshoe crabs for any purpose. We have not made any changes to our information collection as a result of the comment.

We again invite comments concerning this information collection on:

(1) Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, including whether or not the information will have practical utility;

(2) The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection of information;

(3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(4) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents.

Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask OMB in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that it will be done.

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Dated: November 18, 2008

Hope Grey,

Information Collection Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service.

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FR Doc. E8-29139 Filed 12-9-08; 08:45 am