[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 29 (Monday, February 12, 1996)]
[Pages 5385-5386]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-3014]


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
[I.D. 020696C]

Pacific Offshore Fisheries Take Reduction Team Meeting

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

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.


SUMMARY: The Take Reduction Team (TRT) for the Pacific offshore 
cetacean/drift gillnet fishery will hold its first meeting to develop a 
Take Reduction Plan (TRP) as described in the Marine Mammal Protection 
Act (MMPA) focusing on reducing bycatch in the California/Oregon drift 
gillnet fishery for thresher shark and swordfish.

DATES: The meeting will be held on February 13 and 14, 1996, at 10 a.m. 
and 9 a.m., until 5:30 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The TRT meeting will be held at the Crown Sterling Suites 
Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport, 1440 East Imperial Avenue, 
El Segundo, CA 90245, (310) 640-3600.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Irma Lagomarsino, (310) 980-4016, or 
Victoria Cornish, (301) 713-2322.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On April 30, 1994, the 1994 Amendments to 
the MMPA were signed into law. Section 117 of the MMPA requires that 
NMFS complete stock assessment reports for all marine mammal stocks 
within U.S. waters. Each stock assessment report is required to 
categorize the status of the stock as one that either has a level of 
human-caused mortality and serious injury that is not likely to cause 
the stock to be reduced below its optimum sustainable population; or is 
a strategic stock, with a description of the reasons therefore; and 
estimate the potential biological removal (PBR) level for the stock, 
describing the information used to calculate it, including the recovery 
factor. Stock Assessment Reports and the calculated PBR were published 
by NMFS in July 1995.
    The MMPA defines a ``strategic stock'' as a marine mammal stock for 
which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds the PBR level; 
which, based on the best available scientific information, is declining 
and is likely to be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973 (ESA) within the foreseeable future; which is 
listed as a threatened species or endangered species under the ESA, or 
is designated as depleted under the MMPA. The MMPA further defines the 
term ``potential biological removal,'' or 

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PBR, as ``the maximum number of animals, not including natural 
mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while 
allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable 
population.'' The California/Oregon drift gillnet fishery for thresher 
shark and swordfish interacts with several strategic marine mammal 
stocks including: Several Mesoplodon species of beaked whales, Baird's 
beaked whale, Cuvier's beaked whale, the sperm whale, the humpback 
whale, the pygmy sperm whale, and the short-finned pilot whale. These 
stocks are considered strategic under the MMPA because they are either 
listed as an endangered or threatened species under the ESA or because 
the level of human-caused mortality is greater than their PBR levels.
    Section 118(f) of the MMPA requires NMFS to establish a TRT to 
prepare a draft TRP designed to assist in the recovery or prevent the 
depletion of each strategic marine mammal stock that interacts with 
certain fisheries. Section 118(f)(6)(C) requires that members of the 
TRTs have expertise regarding the conservation or biology of the marine 
mammal species that the TRP will address, or the fishing practices that 
result in the incidental mortality and serious injury of such species. 
The MMPA further specifies that members of the TRT shall include 
representatives of Federal agencies, each coastal state with fisheries 
that interact with the species or stock, appropriate Regional Fishery 
Management Councils, interstate fisheries commissions, academic and 
scientific organizations, environmental groups, all commercial and 
recreational fisheries groups and gear types which incidentally take 
the species or stock, Alaska Native organizations, or Indian tribal 
organizations, and others as the Secretary of Commerce deems 
    As a result of stock assessment reports developed under section 117 
of the MMPA, and an extended interview process conducted by a NMFS-
contracted facilitator, NMFS, through a letter dated February 1996, has 
asked the following individuals to be a member of the TRT, which will 
focus on reducing bycatch of the strategic marine mammals stocks taken 
as bycatch in the California/Oregon drift gillnet fishery for thresher 
shark and swordfish:
    Doyle Hanan, California Department of Fish and Game; Marilyn 
Beeson, California Department of Fish and Game; Dave Hanson, Pacific 
States Marine Fisheries Commission; Anthony West, California 
Gillnetters Association; Chuck Janisse, Pacific Offshore Fishermen's 
Association; Lynn Stephy, drift gillnet fisher; Oriville Gardner, drift 
gillnet fisher; John Heyning, Los Angeles Museum of Natural History; 
John Calambokidis, Cascadia Research Collective; Sus Kato, retired 
research fishery biologist; Marcie Glazer, Center for Marine 
Conservation; Ann Nothoff, Natural Resources Defense Council; Hannah 
Bernard, Hui Moana; Irma Lagomarsino, NMFS Southwest Regional Office; 
Jay Barlow, NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center; David Holts, NMFS 
Southwest Fisheries Science Center. The TRT will be facilitated by 
Alana Knaster, Mediation Institute, Woodland Hills, CA.
    NMFS fully intends to convene a TRT process in a way that provides 
for national consistency yet accommodates the unique regional needs and 
characteristics of any one team. TRTs are not subject to the Federal 
Advisory Committee Act (5 App. U.S.C.). Meetings are open to the 

    Dated: February 6, 1996.
Patricia A. Montanio,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 96-3014 Filed 2-9-96; 8:45 am]