[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 205 (Tuesday, October 24, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 62241-62242]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-17777]



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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2006-0007]


Exotic Fruit Fly Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2006-2010

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service has prepared a final Exotic Fruit Fly Strategic Plan 
for fiscal years 2006 through 2010 and is making it available for 
review. The final strategic plan has been updated in response to the 
comments we received on the draft strategic plan.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Michael B. Stefan, Director, Fruit 
Fly Exclusion and Detection Programs, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 
137, Riverdale, MD 20737-1229; (301) 734-4387.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) responds to 
exotic fruit fly risks with an integrated system that incorporates 
surveillance activities, fruit fly control programs, and regulatory 
actions. To outline how APHIS, along with its domestic and global 
partners, will harmonize these exotic fruit fly safeguarding programs 
and activities over the next 5 years, we prepared a draft document 
entitled ``Exotic Fruit Fly Strategic Plan FY 2006-2010.'' This draft 
strategic plan focused on the activities funded through APHISs' Fruit 
Fly Exclusion and Detection programs, whose primary mission is to 
protect the health and value of American agriculture resources 
threatened by the establishment of exotic fruit fly pests.
    On February 17, 2006, we published in the Federal Register (71 FR 
8563, Docket No. APHIS-2006-0007) a notice \1\ advising the public we 
had prepared the draft strategic plan and made it available to the 
public for review and comment.
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    \1\ To view the draft strategic plan and the comments we 
received, go to http://www.regulations.gov, click on the ``Advanced 
Search'' tab, and select ``Docket Search.'' In the Docket ID field, 
enter APHIS-2006-0007, then click on ``Submit.'' Clicking on the 
Docket ID link in the search results page will produce a list of all 
documents in the docket.
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    We solicited comments concerning the draft strategic plan for 30 
days ending March 20, 2006. We received eight comments by that date, 
from producers, private citizens, a not-for-profit organization, and 
representatives of State governments. All of the commenters supported 
the implementation of the 5-year exotic fruit fly strategic plan; 
however, some of the commenters also expressed concerns regarding the 
information provided, and the questions posed, in the appendices to the 
draft plan. The issues raised by the commenters are discussed below.
    In Appendix A we offered up for discussion the potential actions we 
could take in response to the closing of the sterile Mediterranean 
fruit fly (Medfly) production facility in Waimanalo, HI. The following 
options were presented: (1) Do not replace the facility; (2) build a 
new production facility in Hawaii; (3) partner with California 
Department of Food and Agriculture to expand their sterile fruit fly 
production facility in Hawaii; or (4) build a multispecies facility in 
the continental United States or on foreign soil. The commenters all 
agreed on the need for a multispecies exotic fruit fly facility to 
provide backup capacity for our sterile fruit fly programs and 
emergency needs. Additionally, several commenters suggested potential 
sites for the new facility.
    APHIS is in agreement with these commenters regarding the need for 
a backup multispecies sterile fruit fly production facility. We have 
begun to explore the available options, including the construction of a 
multispecies exotic fruit fly facility, either within or outside the 
continental United States, and the privatization of sterile fly 
production. We will be seeking additional information and suggestions 
from the public on this subject and expect to publish a request for 
information in a future issue of the Federal Register.
    In Appendix B, we offered up for discussion a question as to 
whether or not we should continue to support the current Moscamed 
Program, a cooperative program of the Guatemalan, Mexican, and U.S. 
Governments to eradicate Medfly in Mexico and suppress Medfly 
populations in Guatemala. In the past, reliance on uncertain emergency 
funds has severely impacted the ability of Moscamed managers to plan 
and implement an effective program. In order to successfully maintain a 
Medfly barrier in southern Mexico, and, ultimately eradicate the pest 
from Central America, funding and management issues must be stabilized. 
Due to a potential loss of emergency funding ($10 million of Commodity 
Credit Corporation funds per year), the draft strategic plan suggested 
four options for altering the current program: (1) Eradicate Medfly 
from Guatemala and create a new barrier zone to maintain; (2) shift the 
barrier zone to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; (3) pull out of the 
cooperative agreement with Mexico and use all $19 million to fight 
Medfly in Guatemala; or (4) pull out of the cooperative Moscamed 
Program in Mexico and Guatemala, and establish an emergency fund for 
preventative measures along the U.S.-Mexico border and for emergency 
outbreaks in the United States. As a result of these suggestions, a 
majority of the commenters expressed concern that altering the current 
Moscamed Program would diminish its effectiveness. Though it was not 
offered as an option, several commenters requested that we continue 
with the currently implemented Moscamed Program, unchanged.
    APHIS is in agreement with these commenters with regard to 
continuing the currently implemented Moscamed Program. Because of the 
potential loss of emergency funding for the program, we have requested 
an additional $14 million in appropriated funds for the Moscamed 
Program in our 2007 Presidential Budget Proposal.
    A few commenters requested we clarify the strategic plan by 
including additional specific information in the scientific support 
section before the draft's finalization.
    In response to these comments, we have updated the scientific 
support section of the strategic plan by identifying specific detection 
and population suppression technologies through which APHIS will seek 
to reduce the number and severity of exotic fruit fly outbreaks within 
the United States. We have also included additional risk mitigation 
information regarding the use of molecular diagnostic techniques and 
tools that identify foreign sources of fruit fly pest introductions, as 
well as assurance that risk assessment will be a high priority in 
quality assurance of the fruit fly program.
    We are making the final document available to the public for 
review. You may view the document on the Regulations.gov Web site (see 
footnote 1 in this notice for instructions for accessing 
Regulations.gov), or you may request copies from the person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please refer to the title of the 
document when requesting copies. Finally, the document is available for 
review in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of 
the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., 
Washington, DC. Normal reading room

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hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. 
To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 690-2817 
before coming.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 18th day of October 2006.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E6-17777 Filed 10-23-06; 8:45 am]
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