[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 195 (Monday, October 7, 1996)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 52403-52404]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-25664]


50 CFR Part 23

RIN 1018--AD63

Export of River Otters Taken in Missouri in the 1996-97 and 
Subsequent Seasons

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Reopening of comment period on the proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to advise the public of the 
availability of additional information that has been received and will 
be considered prior to the Service's decision on issuance of the 
Scientific Authority and Management Authority findings on the proposed 
export of river otters harvested in the State of Missouri. The Service 
may apply these findings to harvests of river otters in Missouri during 
the 1996-97 season and subsequent seasons, subject to the conditions 
applying to approved States.

DATES: The Service will consider comments received on or before October 
28, 1996, in making its determination on the proposed rule.

ADDRESSES: Please send correspondence concerning the proposed rule to 
the Office of Scientific Authority; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 
4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 750; Arlington, Virginia 22203. Comments 
and materials received will be available for public inspection by 
appointment, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the 
Arlington Square Building, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scientific Authority--Dr. Marshall A. 
Howe, Office of Scientific Authority; phone 703-358-1708; fax 703-358-
    Management Authority/State Export Programs--Ms. Carol Carson, 
Office of Management Authority; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 
North Fairfax Drive, Room 430; Arlington, Virginia 22203; phone 703-
358-2095; fax 703-358-2281.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulates 
international trade in certain animal and plant species. Exports of 
animals and plants listed in Appendix II of CITES require an export 
permit from the country of origin. As a general rule, export permits 
only are issued after two conditions are met. First, the exporting 
country's CITES Scientific Authority must advise the permit-issuing 
CITES Management Authority that such exports will not be detrimental to 
the survival of the species. This advice is known as a ``no-detriment'' 
finding. Second, the Management Authority must make a determination 
that the animals or plants were not obtained in violation of laws for 
their protection. If live specimens are being exported, the Management 
Authority must also determine that the specimens are being shipped in a 
humane manner with minimal risk of injury or damage to health.
    On January 5, 1984 (49 FR 590), the Service published a rule 
granting export approval for river otters (Lontra canadensis) and 
certain other CITES-listed species of furbearing mammals from specified 
States and Indian Nations and Tribes for the 1983-84 and subsequent 
harvest seasons. In succeeding years, approval for export of one or 
more species of furbearers has been granted to other States and Indian 
Nations, Tribes, or Reservations through the rule-making process. These 
approvals were and continue to be subject to certain population 
monitoring and export requirements. Further information on the CITES 
requirements and the bases for the Service's Scientific Authority and 
Management Authority findings, as well as a summary of the information 
previously received from the State of Missouri, are presented in the 
proposed rule published in the April 2, 1996, Federal Register (61 FR 
    Since the close of that proposed rule's comment period (on June 3, 
1996), the Service has met with staff members of the Missouri 
Department of Conservation and received several documents including: 
(1) A graph showing the relationship between the number of licensed 
trappers in Missouri and the price of raccoon pelts; (2) a report on 
``Ownership and Use of Traps by Trappers in the United States in 1992'' 
prepared for the International Association of Fish and Wildlife 
Agencies; (3) trapping regulations in Missouri for the 1996-97 season; 
(4) a report titled ``Missouri Furbearer Update, Vol. III: 1990-91''; 
(5) a summary of current research projects on river otters in Missouri; 
and (6) a portion of Missouri's Conservation Commission charter, which, 
among other things, stipulates that the Director of the Missouri 
Department of Conservation is authorized to act for the Commission on 
emergency matters, subject to ratification by the Commission at its 
next regular meeting. This includes authority for emergency closure of 
trapping seasons.
    In addition, the Service requested updated population model 
scenarios based on there being no harvest season for river otters in 
Missouri during the 1995-96 season and using different

[[Page 52404]]

mortality assumptions. Furthermore, discussions have been and are being 
held with selected individuals concerning trapper behavior, and 
information obtained on the percentage of individuals trapping beaver 
in Missouri. The Service also is reviewing other published references 
including ones on the impact of market dynamics on Missouri's furbearer 
harvest system and on an examination of variables influencing the fur 
harvest in Missouri.
    In addition to the information regarding Missouri since the comment 
period, the Service has received, will consider, and may rely upon 
additional information contained in letters and documents submitted by 
several States as part of the annual monitoring described in the 
January 5, 1984, Federal Register (49 FR 590), including information 
that was solicited in advance from the State of Tennessee.

Proposed Export Decision

    As stated in the April 2, 1996, Federal Register (61 FR 14543), the 
Service proposes to approve exports of Missouri river otters harvested 
during the 1996-97 and subsequent harvest seasons, on the grounds that 
both Scientific Authority and Management Authority criteria have been 
satisfied. In case a decision is made to approve exports, the Service 
may issue its Scientific Authority and Management Authority findings 
for 1 or more years in an administrative decision document, or publish 
such findings in a Federal Register notice.

Comments Solicited

    The Service again requests comments on these proposed findings for 
Missouri and the proposed rulemaking adding Missouri to the list of 
States approved for export of river otters (61 FR 14543). The final 
decision on the proposed rule will take into account comments received 
and any additional information received. Such consideration may lead to 
findings different from those presented in the proposal.
    The reopened comment period on the proposed rule is issued under 
authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.). The author of this notification is Dr. Charles W. Dane, 
Office of Scientific Authority.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 23

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Treaties.

    Dated: October 2, 1996.
John G. Rogers,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 96-25664 Filed 10-2-96; 3:48 pm]