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Notice

Endangered and Threatened Species; Initiation of 5-Year Review for North Atlantic Right Whale

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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 of initiation of 5-year review; request for information.

SUMMARY:

NMFS announces a 5-year review of the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The purpose of these reviews is to ensure that the listing classification of a species is accurate. The 5-year review will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review; therefore, we request submission of any such information on the North Atlantic right whale that has become available since the last 5-year review in 2012. Based on the results of this 5-year review, we will make the requisite determination under the ESA.

DATES:

To allow us adequate time to conduct this review, we must receive your information no later than October 27, 2016. However, we will continue to accept new information about any listed species at any time.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit information on this document identified by NOAA-NMFS-2016-0092 by either of the following methods:

  • Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal www.regulations.gov. To submit comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the “submit a comment” icon, then enter NOAA-NMFS-2016-0092 in the keyword search. Locate the document you wish to comment on from the resulting list and click on the “Submit a Comment” icon on the right of that line.
  • Mail or hand-delivery: Therese Conant, NMFS Office of Protected Resources, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD. 20910.

Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael J. Asaro, NMFS Protected Resources Division, Greater Atlantic Region, 978-282-8469.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under the ESA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plant species at 50 CFR 17.11 (for animals and 17.12 (for plants). Section 4(c)(2)(A) of the ESA requires that we conduct a review of listed species at least once every five years. On the basis of such reviews under section 4(c)(2)(B), we determine whether or not any species should be delisted or reclassified from endangered to threatened or from threatened to endangered. Delisting a species must be supported by the best scientific and commercial data available and only considered if such data substantiates that the species is neither endangered nor threatened for one or more of the following reasons: (1) The species is considered extinct; (2) the species is considered to be recovered; and/or (3) the original data available when the species was listed, or the interpretation of such data, were in error. Any change in Federal classification would require a separate rulemaking process. The regulations in 50 CFR 424.21 require that we publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing those species currently under active review. This notice announces our active review of the North Atlantic right whale currently listed as endangered.

Background information on the North Atlantic right whale is available on the NMFS Office of Protected Species Web site at: http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/​pr/​species/​mammals/​whales/​north-atlantic-right-whale.html.

Determining if a Species is Threatened or Endangered

Section 4(a)(1) of the ESA requires that we determine whether a species is endangered or threatened based on one or more of the five following factors: (1) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (2) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (3) disease or predation; (4) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (5) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. Section 4(b) also requires that our determination be made on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available after taking into account those efforts, if any, being made by any State or foreign nation, to protect such species.

Public Solicitation of New Information

To ensure that the 5-year review is complete and based on the best available scientific and commercial information, we are soliciting new information from the public, governmental agencies, Tribes, the scientific community, industry, environmental entities, and any other interested parties concerning the status of the North Atlantic right whale. The 5-year review considers the best scientific and commercial data and all new information that has become available since the listing determination or most recent status review. Categories of requested information include: (1) Species biology including, but not limited to, population trends, distribution, abundance, demographics, and genetics; (2) habitat conditions including, but not limited to, amount, distribution, and important features for conservation; (3) status and trends of threats; (4) conservation measures that have been implemented that benefit the species, including monitoring data demonstrating effectiveness of such measures; (5) need for additional conservation measures; and (6) other new information, data, or corrections including, but not limited to, taxonomic or nomenclatural changes, identification of erroneous information contained in the list of endangered and threatened species, and improved analytical methods for evaluating extinction risk.Start Printed Page 49958

If you wish to provide information for this 5-year review, you may submit your information and materials electronically or via mail (see ADDRESSES section). We request that all information be accompanied by supporting documentation such as maps, bibliographic references, or reprints of pertinent publications. We also would appreciate the submitter's name, address, and any association, institution, or business that the person represents; however, anonymous submissions will also be accepted.

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

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Dated: July 26, 2016.

Angela Somma,

Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 2016-18004 Filed 7-28-16; 8:45 am]

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