[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 168 (Tuesday, August 31, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 53273-53274]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-21712]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XY53


Federal Aquatic Nuisance Species Research Risk Analysis Protocol

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

ACTION: Notice of availability of draft revised research protocol; 
request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 
announces the availability of the draft revised Federal Aquatic 
Nuisance Species Research Risk Analysis Protocol (Protocol), developed 
by the Research Protocol Committee, a committee of the Aquatic Nuisance 
Species Task Force (ANSTF). The Protocol is available for public review 
and comment.

DATES: Comments must be received within 45 days after August 31, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the draft revised Protocol are 
available on the ANSTF website, http://anstaskforce.gov/documents.php. 
To obtain a hard copy of the draft revised Protocol or to submit 
comments, see Document Availability and Public Comment, respectively, 
under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Margaret M. (Peg) Brady, NOAA Policy 
Liaison to the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. 1315 East West 
Highway, SSMC 3, Rm. 15531 Silver Spring, MD 20910 Phone: 301-713-0174; 
Email: Peg.Brady@noaa.gov

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    The Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF) is an 
intergovernmental organization dedicated to preventing and controlling 
aquatic nuisance species, and implementing the Nonindigenous Aquatic 
Nuisance Prevention and Control Act. The National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service serve as 
co-chairs of the ANSTF. The ANSTF developed a research protocol as is 
required by the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control 
Act of 1990 (NANPCA, Public Law 101-646, 104 STAT. 4671, 16 U.S.C. 
4701-4741), as amended by the National Invasive Species Act, 1996. 
Section 1202(f)(2) of NANPCA directs the ANSTF to establish a protocol 
``to ensure that research activities carried out under [NANPCA] do not 
result in the introduction of aquatic nuisance species to waters of the 
United States.''
    Responsibility for actual use of this Protocol is specified in 
section (f)(3) of the NANPCA: ``The Task Force shall allocate funds 
authorized under this Act for competitive research grants to study all 
aspects of aquatic nuisance species, which shall be administered 
through the National Sea Grant College Program and the Cooperative 
Fishery and Wildlife Research Units. Grants shall be conditioned to 
ensure that any recipient of funds follows the protocol established 
under paragraph (2) of this subsection.''
    Throughout this document both the descriptors ``nonindigenous'' 
and/or ``nuisance'' are used when referring to aquatic species that are 
the target of this risk analysis. Language used in the NANPCA 
differentiates between a nonindigenous species and a nuisance species, 
with a ``nonindigenous'' label being solely based on the historic range 
of the species, while a ``nuisance'' designation is based on a species 
being both nonindigenous and potentially harmful (``threatens the 
diversity or abundance of native species or the ecological stability of 
infested waters, or commercial, agricultural, aquacultural or 
recreational activities dependent on such waters''). The ANSTF Research 
Committee adopted a precautionary approach by targeting this risk 
analysis to all aquatic nonindigenous species research, regardless of 
the ``nuisance'' designation. The intent of the procedures outlined 
herein is to minimize to the extent practicable the risk of release and 
spread of aquatic nonindigenous species into areas they do not yet 
inhabit, since any nonindigenous species may become a nuisance species. 
Not only is it often not possible to be sure that a species won't 
become a nuisance (as defined) in the future, the possession and/or 
release of nonindigenous species may be illegal under various Federal, 
State, or local laws, which may or may not differentiate between 
nonindigenous and nuisance species.

Background

    When finalized, this document (``the Protocol'') would replace the 
previously established ``Protocol for Evaluating Research Proposals 
Concerning Aquatic Nonindigenous Species,'' adopted in draft form in 
1992 and finalized and published by the ANSTF in July 1994. The 1994 
protocol applies only to research involving aquatic nonindigenous 
species (ANS) and is designed to reduce the risk that research 
activities may cause introduction or spread of such aquatic species. 
Other potential means of introduction, such as bait movement, aquaria 
disposal, ballast water discharge, movement of recreational boats, 
movement of fishing gear, and horticultural sales, are not addressed in 
the 1994 protocol.
    In 2008 the ANSTF requested the Research Committee (a Committee of 
the ANSTF) to evaluate and recommend revisions to the 1994 protocol, as 
needed. According to the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA, http://www.sra.org), the elements or components of a risk analysis include 
risk assessment, risk characterization, risk communication, risk 
management, and policy relating to risk. This revised Protocol 
incorporates three of those elements it requires a risk assessment 
(Part I) and then, if needed, establishment and implementation of a 
risk management plan (Part II), with the combined results communicated 
to the funding agency as part of the proposal and funding process. 
Therefore, this revised Protocol is renamed ``Federal Aquatic Nuisance 
Species Research Risk Analysis Protocol.'' The draft was approved by 
the ANSTF on November

[[Page 53274]]

5, 2009; distribution of the document for public comment is the final 
step for the ANSTF to adopt the Protocol.
    This Protocol supplements, but does not replace, other existing 
Federal guidelines established to control activities with specific 
major classes of organisms. This document does not eliminate or in any 
way affect other applicable legal requirements, including the National 
Environmental Policy Act [NEPA, 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)].
    The Protocol encourages the incorporation of a Hazard Analysis and 
Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach for prevention planning within 
research activities. Information about the use of HACCP is available at 
http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/ais/haccp. A web site detailing the 
application of HACCP to natural resource pathways, plus a link to 
download a HACCP wizard that helps create HACCP plans, can be found at 
http://www.haccp-nrm.org.

Document Availability

    You may obtain copies of the Protocol by any one of the following 
methods:
     Internet: http://anstaskforce.gov/documents.php
     Write: Susan Pasko, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration. 1315 East West Highway, SSMC 3, Rm. 15531 Silver 
Spring, MD 20910; Telephone: (301) 713-0174 x 165; Email: 
Susan.Pasko@noaa.gov

Request for Comments

    Comments on the draft Protocol are invited. The ANSTF will review 
all submitted comments and make revisions, as appropriate, to the 
Protocol before going final. You may submit a written comment by any 
one of the following methods:
     Email: Susan.Pasko@noaa.gov
     Mail or hand-delivery: Susan Pasko, National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration. 1315 East West Highway, SSMC 3, Rm. 15531 
Silver Spring, MD 20910
     Fax: (301) 713-1594
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment including your personal identifying 
information may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Dated: August 24, 2010.
Patricia A. Montanio,
Director, Office of Habitat Conservation, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-21712 Filed 8-30-10; 8:45 am]
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