Whale Comment Period & other updates (fwd)

From: Mike Williamson (williams@whale.wheelock.edu)
Date: Fri Jul 25 2003 - 08:39:34 EDT


Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2003 16:17:23 -0400
From: Diane Borggaard <Diane.Borggaard@noaa.gov>
To: Diane Borggaard <Diane.Borggaard@noaa.gov>
Subject: Whale Comment Period & other updates

Dear ALWTRT Member or Interested Party:

NOAA Fisheries is providing the below updates on large whale and related
issues.

ALWTRP Website:
The Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP) website
(http://www.nero.noaa.gov/whaletrp/) has recently been updated. NOAA
Fisheries hopes that these changes make the site clearer and easier to
navigate.

Reminder of ALWTRP Notice of Intent Comment Period:
As noted in a previous e-mail, NOAA Fisheries published a Notice of
Intent (NOI) announcing its intention to prepare an Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS), conduct public scoping meetings, and request comments
on the scope of the ALWTRP EIS. The NOI and scoping document
summarizing the ALWTRT options from the April 2003 meeting and
subsequent subgroup meetings are currently posted on the ALWTRP website
under "What's New."

NOAA Fisheries is accepting comments from the public on management
options, including those provided by the ALWTRT, for this action.
Additionally, NOAA
Fisheries is seeking information on the range of impacts that should be
considered for the various options identified to reduce the mortality
and serious
injury of right, humpback, and finback whales incidentally taken in
commercial fisheries. Written comments must be postmarked or
transmitted via fascimile (fax) at
the appropriate address or fax number indicated in the Federal Register
notice, no later than 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 30, 2003. As
an ALWTRT Member or Interested Party, NOAA Fisheries appreciates your
assistance in spreading the word about the availability of the scoping
document and duration of the comment period.

2003 List of Fisheries:
The Final List of Fisheries for 2003 is now available on the ALWTRP
website under "What's New." Fishery classifications pertinent to the
ALWTRP include:

1. The "Mid-Atlantic Coastal Gillnet Fishery" is moved from Category II
to Category I; and

2. The "Mid-Atlantic Mixed Species Trap/Pot Fishery" and the "U.S.
Mid-Atlantic and Southeast U.S. Atlantic Black Seabass Trap/Pot
Fisheries," formerly Category III fisheries, are combined with the
"Northeast Trap/Pot Fisheries," currently Category II, and any other
trap/pot fishery gear in the Atlantic that is not included in other
trap/pot fisheries specifically identified in the LOF, into the
"Atlantic Mixed Species Trap/Pot Fisheries." This newly-defined fishery
is classified as Category II.

Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Define the Zero Mortality Rate
Goal (ZMRG):
NOAA Fisheries is considering options for defining the Zero Mortality
Rate Goal (ZMRG), which is a statuatory requirement for commercial
fisheries to reduce incidental mortality and serious injury of marine
mammals to insignificant levels approaching a zero mortality and serious
injury rate, as identified in the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).
To evaluate progress toward this goal, NOAA Fisheries is promulgating
regulations to identify what levels of incidental mortality and serious
injury would satisfy the goal of insignificant levels approaching a zero
rate. An Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) is now posted on
the ALWTRP website under "What's New" and includes options for such
mortality and serious injury levels, as well as a comment period on
these options and other aspects of the ZMRG. Written comments must be
postmarked or transmitted via fascimile (fax) at the appropriate address
or fax number indicated in the Federal Register notice, no later than
September 8, 2003. For additional information call Tom Eagle at (301)
713-2322.

***
Diane Borggaard
Large Whale Coordinator
NOAA/NMFS/NERO Protected Resources Division
1 Blackburn Dr.
Gloucester, MA 01930
Ph: 978-281-9328 ext. 6503
Fax: 978-281-9394
e-mail: diane.borggaard@noaa.gov



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