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Notice

Endangered and Threatened Species; Notice of Initiation of a 5-Year Review of Northwest Atlantic Ocean and Seven Foreign Distinct Population Segments of Loggerhead Sea Turtle

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AGENCY:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce, and Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Interior.

ACTION:

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

SUMMARY:

NMFS and USFWS announce the initiation of a 5-year review for the following distinct population segments (DPS) of loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta): The Mediterranean Sea DPS, the Northeast Atlantic Ocean DPS, the North Indian Ocean DPS, the South Pacific Ocean DPS, the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS, the South Atlantic Ocean DPS, the Southeast Indo-Pacific Ocean DPS, and the Southwest Indian Ocean DPS. NMFS and USFWS are required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to conduct 5-year reviews to ensure that the listing classifications of species are accurate. The 5-year review must be based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review. We request submission of any such information on these loggerhead DPSs, particularly information on the status, threats, and recovery of the DPSs that has become available since their listing on September 22, 2011 (76 FR 58868).

DATES:

To allow us adequate time to conduct this review, we must receive your information no later than February 24, 2020.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit information on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2019-0150, by either of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submission: Submit electronic information via the Federale-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov and enter NOAA-NMFS-2019-0150. Click on the “Comment Now!” icon and complete the required fields. Enter or attach your comments.
  • Mail: Submit written comments to Adrienne Lohe, Endangered Species Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13626, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or Start Printed Page 70959individual, or received after the end of the specified 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.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous submissions (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Adrienne Lohe at the above address, by phone at (301) 427-8442 or Adrienne.Lohe@noaa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This notice announces our review of the following loggerhead sea turtle DPSs: The endangered Mediterranean Sea DPS, the endangered Northeast Atlantic Ocean DPS, the endangered North Indian Ocean DPS, the endangered South Pacific Ocean, the threatened Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS, the threatened South Atlantic Ocean DPS, the threatened Southeast Indo-Pacific Ocean DPS, and the threatened Southwest Indian Ocean DPS (76 FR 58868; September 22, 2011). It does not include the North Pacific Ocean DPS review, which we initiated in 2016 (81 FR 70394; October 12, 2016). Section 4(c)(2)(A) of the ESA requires that we conduct a review of listed species at least once every 5 years. This will be the first review of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean and foreign loggerhead DPSs since they were listed in 2011. The regulations in 50 CFR 424.21 require that we publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing species currently under active review. On the basis of such reviews under section 4(c)(2)(B), we determine whether any species should be removed from the list (i.e., delisted) or reclassified from endangered to threatened or from threatened to endangered (16 U.S.C. 1533(c)(2)(B)). As described by the regulations in 50 CFR 424.11(e), the Secretary shall delist a species if the Secretary finds that, after conducting a status review based on the best scientific and commercial data available: (1) The species is extinct; (2) the species does not meet the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species; and/or (3) the listed entity does not meet the statutory definition of a species. Any change in Federal classification would require a separate rulemaking process.

Background information on all DPSs of loggerhead is available on the NMFS website at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/​species/​loggerhead-turtle.

Public Solicitation of New Information

To ensure that the reviews are 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 all loggerhead DPSs other than the North Pacific Ocean DPS. 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 to the species and its habitats; (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 and improved analytical methods for evaluating extinction risk.

If you wish to provide information for the reviews, 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: December 18, 2019.

Angela Somma,

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

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[FR Doc. 2019-27700 Filed 12-23-19; 8:45 am]

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