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Overlap between vulnerable top predators and fisheries in the Benguela upwelling system: implications for marine protected areas

Citation Information: MEPS 391:199-208 (2009)

DOI: 10.3354/meps08283

Authors: L. Pichegru, P. G. Ryan, C. Le Bohec, C. D. van der Lingen, R. Navarro, S. Petersen, S. Lewis, J. van der Westhuizen, D. Grémillet

Abstract: Industrial-scale fisheries are often thought to reduce food availability for top predators. It is essential to estimate the spatial and temporal overlap over a fine scale between fisheries and predators during their breeding season, when their energy demand is greatest and when they are most spatially constrained, in order to understand and manage this potential impact on their populations. In the Benguela upwelling region, 2 endemic vulnerable seabirds, Cape gannets Morus capensis and African penguins Spheniscus demersus, mainly eat anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus and sardine Sardinops sagax, both of which are exploited by the purse-seine fishery. A recent eastward displacement of small pelagic fish off the South African coast has reduced fish availability for both birds and fisheries along the west coast. Using GPS-recorders, we studied the foraging dispersal of birds from 8 colonies containing 95% of the global Cape gannet and 60% of the global African penguin populations to assess their overlap with fish catches. Despite the fact that bird data were gathered at very fine spatial and temporal scales (meters and hours), and fisheries data were recorded at much coarser spatial and temporal scales (20 km and months), there was clear overlap in areas used. The main foraging areas of both species were located where purse-seine fisheries caught most fish, with most catches occurring during the birds’ breeding season. As birds and fisheries also overlap in the size of the targeted prey and the depth of exploitation, our study suggests the potential for intense competition between purse-seine fisheries and decreasing seabird populations in the southern Benguela. Long-term protection of these seabird species requires the inclusion of a suitable ecological buffer when setting fishery quotas, and implementing marine protected areas closed to fishing around key breeding sites and foraging hotspots may improve their breeding success.

External Panel Review Report of the National Marine Protected Areas Center 2001-2011

Citation Information: National Marine Protected Areas Center (U.S.). External Review Panel

Date: April 2012

Executive Summary: The National Marine Protected Areas Center was established by Executive Order 13158 to "help protect the significant natural and cultural resources within the marine environment for the benefit of present and future generations." The Center opened in 2001 and has focused on three major goals of the Executive Order:

  1. build and maintain the national system of MPAs;
  2. improve MPA stewardship and effectiveness; and
  3. facilitate international, national and regional coordination of MPAs activities.

After an initial ramping-up, funding has been chronically variable and less than needed to meet this ambitious mandate. Despite these funding challenges, the National System of MPAs was established in 2009, and currently includes nearly 300 MPAs. The MPA Center has also conducted a variety of activities and produced a variety of products designed to improve MPA stewardship and effectiveness, and MPA Center staff have regularly participated in -- and at times convened -- regional, national, and international meetings regarding MPA activities.

Following a change in its leadership in 2011, the MPA Center conducted an external review of its first decade of operations (2001-2011). Input for the review included information provided by the MPA Center, public comments in response to a Federal Register notice and a posting on www.mpa.gov, comments directly solicited from key stakeholders, comments from a fivemember panel of experts, and the deliberations of a four-member external review panel. The following recommendations are not intended to represent a consensus, but rather area compilation of the individual inputs of the members of the external review panel.

Protecting Persistent Dynamic Oceanographic Features: Transboundary Conservation Efforts Are Needed for the Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater

Citation Information: PLoS One. 2012; 7(5): e35728. Published online 2012 May 10.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035728

Authors: Maite Louzao, Karine Delord, David García, Amélie Boué, and Henri Weimerskirch

Abstract: The protection of key areas for biodiversity at sea is not as widespread as on land and research investment is necessary to identify biodiversity hotspots in the open ocean. Spatially explicit conservation measures such as the creation of representative networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) is a critical step towards the conservation and management of marine ecosystems, as well as to improve public awareness. Conservation efforts in ecologically rich and threatened ecosystems are specially needed. This is particularly urgent for the Mediterranean marine biodiversity, which includes highly mobile marine vertebrates. Here, we studied the at sea distribution of one of the most endangered Mediterranean seabird, the critically endangered Balearic shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus. Present knowledge, from vessel-based surveys, suggests that this species has a coastal distribution over the productive Iberian shelf in relation to the distribution of their main prey, small pelagic fish. We used miniaturised satellite transmitters to determine the key marine areas of the southern population of Balearic shearwaters breeding on Eivissa and spot the spatial connections between breeding and key marine areas. Our tracking study indicates that Balearic shearwaters do not only forage along the Iberian continental shelf but also in more distant marine areas along the North African coast, in particular W of Algeria, but also NE coast of Morocco. Birds recurrently visit these shelf areas at the end of the breeding season. Species distribution modelling identified chlorophyll a as the most important environmental variable in defining those oceanographic features characterizing their key habitats in the western Mediterranean. We identified persistent oceanographic features across time series available in the study area and discuss our results within the current conservation scenario in relation to the ecology of the species.

Incorporating evolutionary principles into environmental management and policy

Citation Information: Evol Appl. 2011 March; 4(2): 315–325.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-4571.2010.00171.x

Authors: Richard Lankau, Peter Søgaard Jørgensen, David J Harris, and Andrew Sih

Abstract: As policymakers and managers work to mitigate the effects of rapid anthropogenic environmental changes, they need to consider organisms’ responses. In light of recent evidence that evolution can be quite rapid, this now includes evolutionary responses. Evolutionary principles have a long history in conservation biology, and the necessary next step for the field is to consider ways in which conservation policy makers and managers can proactively manipulate evolutionary processes to achieve their goals. In this review, we aim to illustrate the potential conservation benefits of an increased understanding of evolutionary history and prescriptive manipulation of three basic evolutionary factors: selection, variation, and gene flow. For each, we review and propose ways that policy makers and managers can use evolutionary thinking to preserve threatened species, combat pest species, or reduce undesirable evolutionary changes. Such evolution-based management has potential to be a highly efficient and consistent way to create greater ecological resilience to widespread, rapid, and multifaceted environmental change.

Western Pacific Pelagic Fisheries; Revised Swordfish Trip Limits in the Hawaii Deep-Set Longline Fishery

50 CFR Part 665
[Docket No. 120330236–2002–01]
RIN 0648–BB48

Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

Action: Proposed rule; request for comments.

Summary: This proposed rule would revise the limits on the number of swordfish that fishermen may possess or land during any given Hawaii-based deep-set longline-fishing trip north of the Equator. This proposed rule would also revise the definition of deep-set longline fishing to be consistent with the proposed swordfish retention limits. All other measures applicable to the deep-set fishery would remain unchanged. The proposed rule intends to reduce regulatory discards and optimize the yield of swordfish.

Dates: NMFS must receive comments on the proposed rule by July 2, 2012.

Western Pacific Pelagic Fisheries; Revised Limits on Sea Turtle Interactions in the Hawaii Shallow-Set Longline Fishery

50 CFR Part 665
[Docket No. 120416010–2119–01]
RIN 0648–BB84

Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce

Action: Proposed rule; request for comments.

Summary: NMFS proposes to revise the annual number of allowable incidental interactions that may occur between the Hawaii-based shallow-set pelagic longline fishery and leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles. NMFS also proposes administrative housekeeping changes to the regulations relating to the shallow-set longline fishery. The proposed rule would implement terms and conditions of the current biological opinion on this fishery, and clarify the regulations.

Dates: NMFS must receive comments on the proposed rule by July 11, 2012.

SWiM in Marine Sanctuaries: The Challenge of Monitoring a System of Protected Areas

Citation Information: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Marine Sanctuaries Division; 0-933957-31-9

Date: 01 September 2003

Author: S.R. Gittings

Abstract: A System-Wide Monitoring (SWiM) program is currently in development to provide an approach for integrated design, implementation, and reporting for the National Marine Sanctuary System. It will serve individual marine sanctuaries, regional networks of sanctuaries, and the collective system. It allows for tailored monitoring in all sanctuaries, providing information critical to management, while also contributing to and benefiting from other local, regional, and national monitoring programs.

Managing the natural resources of a protected area is generally accomplished by controlling the human activities that affect them. Seldom are activities undertaken to directly manage the resources themselves (with some exceptions, such as cases involving habitat restoration and stock enhancement). Critical to effective management is knowledge about the structure and function of ecosystems, the stresses affecting them, and how the resources and processes are changing as a result of the stresses. Such understanding is achieved through active characterization, monitoring, and research programs.

Building Co-Management as a Process: Problem Solving Through Partnerships in Aboriginal Country, Australia

Citation Information: Environmental Management; Volume 49, Number 6 (2012), 1130-1142

DOI: 10.1007/s00267-012-9845-2

Authors: Melanie Zurba, Helen Ross, Arturo Izurieta, Philip Rist, Ellie Bock and Fikret Berkes

Abstract: Collaborative problem solving has increasingly become important in the face of the complexities in the management of resources, including protected areas. The strategy undertaken by Girringun Aboriginal Corporation in north tropical Queensland, Australia, for developing co-management demonstrates the potential for a problem solving approach involving sequential initiatives, as an alternative to the more familiar negotiated agreements for co-management. Our longitudinal case study focuses on the development of indigenous ranger units as a strategic mechanism for the involvement of traditional owners in managing their country in collaboration with government and other interested parties. This was followed by Australia’s first traditional use of marine resources agreement, and development of a multi-jurisdictional, land to sea, indigenous protected area. In using a relationship building approach to develop regional scale co-management, Girringun has been strengthening its capabilities as collaborator and regional service provider, thus, bringing customary decision-making structures into play to ‘care for country’. From this evolving process we have identified the key components of a relationship building strategy, ‘the pillars of co-management’. This approach includes learning-by-doing, the building of respect and rapport, sorting out responsibilities, practical engagement, and capacity-building. 

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Monitoring and Enforcement Requirements in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Freezer Longline Fleet

50 CFR Part 679
[Docket No. 120416007–2150–01]
RIN 0648–BB67

Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce

Action: Proposed rule; request for comments

Summary: NMFS issues a proposed rule that would modify equipment and operational requirements for freezer longliners (catcher/processors) named on License Limitation Program (LLP) licenses endorsed to catch and process Pacific cod at sea with hook-and-line gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI). If approved, the proposed regulations would require vessel owners to select between two monitoring options: carry two observers so that all catch can be sampled, or carry one observer and use a motion-compensated scale to weigh Pacific cod before it is processed. The selected monitoring option would be required to be used when the vessel is operating in either the BSAI or Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries when directed fishing for Pacific cod is open in the BSAI, or while the vessel is fishing for groundfish under the Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program. A vessel owner who notifies NMFS that the vessel will not be used to conduct directed fishing for Pacific cod in the BSAI or to conduct groundfish CDQ fishing at any time during a particular year would not be required to select one of the monitoring options and would continue to follow observer coverage and catch reporting requirements that apply to catcher/processors not subject to this proposed action. These regulatory amendments address the need for enhanced catch accounting, monitoring, and enforcement created by the formation of a voluntary cooperative by the BSAI longline catcher/processor subsector in 2010, and are necessary to improve the precision of the accounting for allocated quota species. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and other applicable laws.

Dates: Written comments must be received no later than 1700 hours, Alaska local time (A.L.T.) July 16, 2012

Proposal to protect marine areas around Antarctica

Citation Information: EOS, TRANSACTIONS AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION, VOL. 93, NO. 22, PAGE 211, 2012 doi:10.1029/2012EO220008

Date: 29 May 2012

Author: Randy Showstack

Abstract: Forty percent of Antarctica's Southern Ocean should be protected in a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) and no-take marine reserves, according to a 21 May report by the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, which is composed of about 20 environmental groups. The protected areas should include the 19 Antarctic marine habitats outlined in the report, along with existing MPAs and areas identified through previous conservation and planning analyses, the report notes. Protected areas should include the Antarctic Peninsula, the Weddell and Ross seas, the Indian Ocean Benthic Environment, and Pacific seamounts, according to the report. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which manages living resources for the Southern Ocean, has already agreed to establish an initial network of Antarctic MPAs this year, the report states.

Evaluating Connectivity between Marine Protected Areas Using CODAR High-Frequency Radar

Citation Information: June 2010; 0-933957-38-1; California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Center for Coastal Marine Sciences

Authors: Brian Zelenke, Mark A. Moline, Burt H. Jones, Steven R. Ramp, Greg B. Crawford, John L. Largier, Eric J. Terrill, Newell Garfield III, Jeffrey D. Paduan, Libe Washburn

Abstract: To investigate the connectivity between central California marine protected areas (MPAs), back-projections were calculated using the network of high-frequency (HF) radar ocean surface current mapping stations operated along the California coast by the member institutions of the Coastal Ocean Currents Monitoring Program with funding provided by California voters through Propositions 40 & 50 and administered by the State Coastal Conservancy. Trajectories of 1 km resolution grids of water particles were back-projected from ten MPAs each hour, out through 40 days in the past, from each day in 2008, producing a map of where surface waters travel over a 40-day period to reach the MPAs and visualizations of the length of time the waters travel along these paths. By comparing the travel times of those back-projected track-points that crossed between MPA regions, the connection time between MPAs along the States central coast was assessed. Repeating these calculations resulted in a connectivity matrix between the MPAs in the region, and may be useful for assessing connectivity for the important invertebrate and fish larvae that are restricted to the surface ocean during a fraction of their lifecycle.

Development and validation of fish-based, multimetric indices for assessing the ecological health of Western Australian estuaries

Citation Information: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science; Volumes 104–105, 1 June 2012, Pages 102–113

Authors: Chris S. Hallett, Fiona J. Valesini, K. Robert Clarke, S. Alex Hesp, Steeg D. Hoeksema

Abstract: We describe the development of the first fish-based, multimetric indices for assessing and monitoring the health of Australian estuaries, and their application to the nearshore (<2 m depth) and offshore (>2 m depth) waters of the Swan Estuary, Western Australia. Suites of fish community metrics, including measures of species composition, diversity and abundance, trophic structure and life history function, were selected via a novel weight of evidence approach on the basis of their sensitivity to detect inter-annual change in estuarine condition. For each selected metric, seasonally-adjusted reference conditions were established for each spatial management zone of the Swan Estuary using 30 years of standardised historical fish assemblage data. This extensive data set provided a sound basis for determining the ‘best available’ standard of biotic integrity recorded over that time period and thus a reliable benchmark against which the current and future health of the estuary may be assessed and compared. The nearshore and offshore indices were robust to the effects of natural, intra-seasonal variability in environmental conditions, and so provide reliable tools for quantifying and classifying the ecological health of the Swan Estuary and its constituent management zones. The response of the nearshore index to an algal bloom confirmed that it is sufficiently sensitive to quantify ecological health responses to local-scale environmental perturbations and to track the subsequent recovery of the system following their removal. The indices provide managers with a reliable, quantitative method for assessing and communicating the health of the Swan Estuary and, similarly, of other estuaries across south-western Australia.

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Dusky Gopher Frog (Previously Mississippi Gopher Frog); Final Rule and Proposed Rule

50 CFR Part 17
[Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2010–0024; 4500030114]
RIN 1018–AW89

Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service

Action: Final rule

Summary: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, designate critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog under the Endangered Species Act. In previous publications, we used the common name ‘‘Mississippi gopher frog’’ for this species. We are taking this action to fulfill our obligations under the Act. Land in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, and Forrest, Harrison, Jackson, and Perry Counties, Mississippi, is being designated under a court approved settlement agreement to finalize critical habitat for the species. The effect of this regulation is to conserve the habitat upon which dusky gopher frog depends.

Dates: This rule becomes effective on July 12, 2012.

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for the Pacific Coast Population of the Western Snowy Plover; Final Rule

50 CFR Part 17

Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2010–0070; 4500030114

RIN 1018–AX10

Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service

Action: Final rule

Summary: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), designate revised critical habitat for the Pacific Coast distinct population segment (DPS) (Pacific Coast WSP) of the western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus, formerly C. alexandrinus nivosus) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In total, approximately 24,527 acres (9,926 hectares) of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP in Washington, Oregon, and California, fall within the boundaries of the critical habitat designation. This revised final designation constitutes an increase of approximately 12,377 ac (5,009 ha) from the 2005 designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP. A taxonomic name change has occurred and been accepted for the snowy plover. Throughout the remainder of this document, we will use the currently recognized name for the subspecies, Charadrius nivosus nivosus, to which the listed entity (Pacific Coast WSP) belongs for references to the Pacific Coast WSP.

Dates: This rule becomes effective on July 19, 2012.

Ocean Energy Technology Overview

Citation Information: Federal Energy Management Program, Office of energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy; DOE/GO-102009-2823

Date: July 2009

Authors: Kari Burman and Andy Walker

Executive Summary: This paper presents an overview of ocean energy technology as a source of renewable energy for U.S. Federal sites. It investigates ocean energy resources and new technologies under development to capture that energy. These technologies span:

  • Wave energy
  • Tidal energy
  • Marine current energy
  • Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC)

A brief history of the technologies is presented, as well as each technology’s commercial market development status. Benefits and barriers to research and development are also examined along with various devices currently being validated in the field. Significant growth has occurred in the number of devices developed for ocean energy conversion since 2003. Multiple countries are now becoming involved in technology research and development. As many of these technologies near commercial deployment, some governments are proposing market support policies to reduce the current cost gap and help accelerate the rate of commercialization.

Ocean energy resources are significant around the United States. New energy conversion devices could help alleviate U.S. dependency on foreign oil while reducing Federal Government utility costs. Federal sites should take this opportunity to consider ocean energy development to generate renewable energy and help meet Federal mandates, such as the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007).

In general, Federal research and development funding for ocean energy technologies is increasing. There are several projects being sponsored by the Navy and other Federal entities. Support from national laboratories in testing new devices may help greatly in demonstrating design concepts and reliability of new devices. As long as progress is being made in the development of ocean energy technologies, the increasing trend in Federal expenditures is likely to continue to rise.

Subtle Effects of Biological Invasions: Cellular and Physiological Responses of Fish Eating the Exotic Pest Caulerpa racemosa

Citation Information: Felline S, Caricato R, Cutignano A, Gorbi S, Lionetto MG, et al. (2012) Subtle Effects of Biological Invasions: Cellular and Physiological Responses of Fish Eating the Exotic Pest Caulerpa racemosa. PLoS ONE 7(6): e38763. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038763

Authors: Serena Felline, Roberto Caricato, Adele Cutignano, Stefania Gorbi, Maria Giulia Lionetto, Ernesto Mollo, Francesco Regoli, Antonio Terlizzi

Abstract: The green alga Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea has invaded Mediterranean seabed including marine reserves, modifying the structure of habitats and altering the distributional patterns of associated organisms. However, the understanding of how such invasion can potentially affect functional properties of Mediterranean subtidal systems is yet to be determined. In this study, we show that C. racemosa changes foraging habit of the native white seabream, Diplodus sargus. In invaded areas, we found a high frequency of occurrence of C. racemosa in the stomach contents of this omnivorous fish (72.7 and 85.7%), while the alga was not detected in fish from a control area. We also found a significant accumulation of caulerpin, one of the main secondary metabolites of C. racemosa, in fish tissues. The level of caulerpin in fish tissues was used here as an indicator of the trophic exposure to the invasive pest and related with observed cellular and physiological alterations. Such effects included activation of some enzymatic pathways (catalase, glutathione peroxidases, glutathione S-transferases, total glutathione and the total oxyradical scavenging capacity, 7-ethoxy resorufin O-deethylase), the inhibition of others (acetylcholinesterase and acylCoA oxidase), an increase of hepatosomatic index and decrease of gonadosomatic index. The observed alterations might lead to a detrimental health status and altered behaviours, potentially preventing the reproductive success of fish populations. Results of this study revealed that the entering of alien species in subtidal systems can alter trophic webs and can represent an important, indirect mechanism which might contribute to influence fluctuations of fish stocks and, also, the effectiveness of protection regimes.

Environmental Assessment for AquAdvantage Salmon

Citation Information: Aqua Bounty Technologies, Inc.; Submitted to the Center for Veterinary Medicine US Food and Drug Administration; August 25, 2010

Summary: An Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) bearing a single copy of the stably integrated α-form of the opAFP-GHc2 gene construct at the α-locus in the EO-1α line. AquAdvantage Salmon is a genetically-engineered Atlantic salmon with a rapid-growth phenotype that has been developed over the past 15 years. The genetic modification comprises one copy of a salmon growth hormone transgene that is stably integrated at a specific site in a specific line. Triploid eyed-eggs for AquAdvantage Salmon are produced in a manner that results in the culture of an all-female population of triploid fish that are otherwise substantially equivalent to farmed Atlantic salmon. The monosex nature of the population derives from the use of a breeding strategy that is 100% effective; and, the induction of triploidy, which renders the animal reproductively incapable, is achieved using a validated method with an average effectiveness of more than 99% at commercial scale.

Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan

RIN 0648–XC011

Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce; Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Interior.

Action: Notice of availability of final environmental impact statement, multi-species habitat conservation plan, and implementing agreement.

Summary: This document announces the availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the applications from the Fruit Growers Supply Company (FGS) for Incidental Take Permits (ITPs) and a multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for take of endangered and threatened species in accordance with the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service (Services) and FGS have also developed an Implementing Agreement (IA) which details how the Services and FGS will work together to implement the HCP. The applicant seeks the ITPs to authorize incidental take of the covered species during forest management and timber harvest in Siskiyou County, CA, where FGS owns lands, during the term of the proposed 50-year ITPs and HCP. This document is provided under National Environmental Policy Act regulations to inform the public that the Final EIS and multispecies HCP, and the Services’ responses to public comments are available for review, and that we have filed the Final EIS with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for public notice. The Services will not make a decision on issuing ITPs to FGS sooner than 45 days after publication of EPA’s notice.

Dates: Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. Pacific Time, August 6, 2012.

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Rulemaking To Revise Critical Habitat for Hawaiian Monk Seals

50 CFR Part 226
Docket No. 110207102–2084–02
RIN 0648–BA81

Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

Action: Proposed rule; notice of 6-month extension of the deadline for a final critical habitat determination.

Summary: We, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on June 2, 2011, proposing to revise critical habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and requesting information related to the proposed action. This document announces a 6-month extension of the deadline for a final determination on the proposed rule. Based on comments received during the public comment period, we find that substantial disagreement exists regarding the sufficiency and accuracy of the data and analyses used to support the scope of the proposed critical habitat designation in the Main Hawaiian Islands. Accordingly, we are extending the deadline for the final revision to critical habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal an additional 6 months to further analyze data and consider concerns raised by State, Federal, and other entities, and better inform our determinations for the final revision of Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat under the ESA.

Dates: A final revision will be made no later than December 2, 2012.

Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; 2012 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for Gulf of Mexico Gray Triggerfish

50 CFR Part 622
Docket No. 120417412–2412–01
RIN 0648–XCO76

Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

Action: Temporary rule; closure

Summary: NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for the commercial sector of gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) for the 2012 fishing year through this final temporary rule. Based on the projected commercial landings estimates, NMFS determined that the commercial annual catch target (ACT) for Gulf gray triggerfish will be met by July 1, 2012. Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial sector for gray triggerfish on July 1, 2012, through the remainder of the fishing year in the Gulf exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This action is necessary to reduce overfishing of the Gulf gray triggerfish resource.

Dates: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time on July 1, 2012, until 12:01 a.m., local time on January 1, 2013.

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