[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 76 (Thursday, April 21, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 20734-20736]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-8032]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[I.D. 020705D]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Initiation of a 5-
Year Review of Listed Sea Turtles

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

ACTION: Notice of 5-year status review of sea turtles.

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SUMMARY: We, the FWS and NMFS (collectively the Services), announce a 
5-year review of the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtle 
(Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp's ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), 
leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead turtle (Caretta 
caretta), and olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). A 5-year review is a 
periodic process conducted to ensure that the listing classification of 
a species is accurate. It is based on the best scientific and 
commercial data available at the time of the review. New data are 
available since the last reviews were completed in 1985 for the green 
turtle and in 1995 for the hawksbill, Kemp's

[[Page 20735]]

ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and olive ridley turtles. Therefore, 
the Services are initiating a 5-year status review and soliciting 
information and comments pertaining to these species from any 
interested party. Based on the results of this 5-year review, we will 
make the requisite findings under the ESA.

DATES: Written comments and information related to this 5-year review 
must be received by July 20, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Written comments and information should be addressed to 
Barbara Schroeder, National Sea Turtle Coordinator, Marine Mammal and 
Marine Turtle Conservation Division, NMFS Office of Protected 
Resources, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD, 20910; or by fax 
(301) 427-2522, or by e-mail at: Seaturtle.Statusreview@noaa.gov. 
Information received in response to this notice will be available for 
public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours, at the 
above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: At NMFS, Barbara Schroeder (ph. 301-
713-1401, fax 301-713-0376, e-mail barbara.schroeder@noaa.gov) or at 
FWS, Sandy MacPherson (ph. 904-232-2580, fax 904-232-2404, e-mail 
Sandy--MacPherson@fws.gov).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Six species of sea turtles are listed under the ESA. In 1970, the 
hawksbill was listed as endangered (35 FR 8495); the Kemp's ridley as 
endangered (35 FR 18320); and the leatherback as endangered (35 FR 
8495). In 1978 (43 FR 32808), the green turtle was listed as endangered 
for breeding colonies in Florida and on the Pacific coast of Mexico and 
threatened elsewhere; the loggerhead as threatened; and the olive 
ridley as endangered for the breeding colony population on the Pacific 
coast of Mexico and threatened elsewhere.
    Under the ESA, section 4(c)(2)(A) requires that we conduct a review 
of listed species at least once every 5 years. Then, on the basis of 
such reviews, we determine under section 4(c)(2)(B) whether or not any 
species should be removed from the threatened or endangered species 
list (List), or reclassified from endangered to threatened or from 
threatened to endangered. Removing a species from the List must be 
supported by the best scientific and commercial data available and 
under 50 CFR 424.11(d), only considered if data substantiate that the 
species is neither endangered nor threatened for one or more of the 
following reasons: (1) The species is considered extinct; (2) the 
species is considered to be recovered; and/or (3) the original data 
available when the species was listed, or the interpretation of such 
data, were in error. Any change in Federal classification would require 
a separate rulemaking process. The regulations in 50 CFR 424.21 require 
that we publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing species 
currently under active review.
    The 5-year review provides an opportunity to review whether the 
listed entity is appropriately identified and delineated, determine 
appropriate classification, and recommend changes, as appropriate. In 
accordance with the February 7, 1996, Policy Regarding the Recognition 
of Distinct Vertebrate Population Segments (DPS) (61 FR 4722), the DPS 
policy will be considered and applied as appropriate during the 5-year 
review. The DPS policy states that ``Any Distinct Population Segment of 
a vertebrate taxon that was listed prior to implementation of the DPS 
policy will be reevaluated on a case-by-case basis as recommendations 
are made to change the listing status for that distinct population 
segment.'' For a population to be listed under the ESA as a DPS, three 
elements are considered: (1) The discreteness of the population segment 
in relation to the remainder of the species to which it belongs; (2) 
the significance of the population segment to the species to which it 
belongs; and (3) the population segment's conservation status in 
relation to the ESA's standards for listing (i.e., is the population 
segment endangered or threatened?). Distinct population segments of 
vertebrate species, as well as subspecies of all listed species, may be 
proposed for separate reclassification or for removal from the List. 
The DPS policy will be applied during the 5-year review.
    Previous 5-year reviews were conducted in 1985 and in 1995. 
However, in the 1995 review, the green turtle review was not completed. 
This notice announces our active review of the green, hawksbill, Kemp's 
ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and olive ridley turtles.

Public Solicitation of New Information

    To ensure that the 5-year review is complete and based on the best 
available scientific and commercial information, we are soliciting new 
information from the public, concerned governmental agencies, Tribes, 
the scientific community, industry, environmental entities, and any 
other interested parties concerning the status of green turtles, 
hawksbill turtles, Kemp's ridley turtles, leatherback turtles, 
loggerhead turtles, and olive ridley turtles.
    The 5-year review considers the best scientific and commercial data 
and all new information that has become available since the listing 
determination or most recent status review. 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 suitability; (3) conservation measures that have been 
implemented that benefit the species; (4) threat status and trends; and 
(5) other new information, data, or corrections, including but not 
limited to, taxonomic or nomenclatural changes, identification of 
erroneous information contained in the List, and improved analytical 
methods.
    See ADDRESSES for where to submit comments and materials for this 
5-year review. Our practice is to make comments, including names and 
home addresses of respondents, available for public review during 
regular business hours. Individual respondents may request that we 
withhold a respondent's identity. If you wish us to withhold your name 
or address, you must write this request prominently at the beginning of 
your comment. We will withhold this information to the extent 
consistent with applicable law. We will make all submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety. Comments 
and materials received will be available for public inspection, by 
appointment, during normal business hours (see ADDRESSES section). The 
Services will continue to accept new information on listed sea turtles 
outside of the comment period for this 5-year review.

Authority

    This document is published under the authority of the ESA of 1973, 
as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).


[[Page 20736]]


    March 25, 2005.
Sam D. Hamilton,
Regional Director, Southeast Region, Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Dated: March 3, 2005.
P. Michael Payne,
Chief, Marine Mammal and Marine Turtle Conservation Division, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.

    March 9, 2005.
Ren Lohoefener,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 05-8032 Filed 4-20-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S