[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 67 (Friday, April 6, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 20773-20774]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-8371]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 223

RIN 0648-XZ59


Endangered and Threatened Species; Proposed Threatened Status for 
Subspecies of the Ringed Seal

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of availability and opening of comment 
period.

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SUMMARY: NMFS has conducted special independent peer review of the 
December 2010 status review report of the ringed seal (Phoca hispida) 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). This notice 
announces availability of a peer review report that consolidates the 
comments received from the reviewers and the opening of a 30-day public 
comment period on that report. Please note that comments previously 
submitted need not be resubmitted since they are already part of the 
record and will be considered when NMFS makes its final determination.

DATES: Comments and information must be received by May 7, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Jon Kurland, Assistant Regional 
Administrator, Protected Resources Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: 
Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments, identified by FDMS Docket 
Number NOAA-NMFS-2010-0258, by any one of the following methods:
    Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov. To submit 
comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the ``submit a 
comment'' icon, then enter NOAA-NMFS-2010-0258 in the keyword search. 
Locate the document you wish to comment on from the resulting list and 
click on the ``Submit a Comment'' icon on the right of that line.
    Mail: Submit written comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802.
    Fax: (907) 586-7557.
    Hand delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th Street, Room 
420A, Juneau, AK.
    Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure 
that the comments are received, documented, and considered by NMFS. 
Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, 
or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered.
    All comments received are a part of the public record and will 
generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without 
change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, 
etc.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. 
Do not submit confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive 
or protected information.
    NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required 
fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic 
comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or 
Adobe PDF file formats only.
    For information on obtaining a copy of the peer review report, see 
the ``Obtaining a Copy of the Peer Review Report'' section below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tamara Olson, NMFS Alaska Region, 
(907) 271-5006; Jon Kurland, NMFS Alaska Region, (907) 586-7638; or 
Marta Nammack, Office of Protected Resources, Silver Spring, MD (301) 
713-1401.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On December 10, 2010, NMFS made a 12-month petition finding and 
proposed to list the Arctic (Phoca hispida hispida), Baltic (Phoca 
hispida botnica), Okhotsk (Phoca hispida ochotensis), and Ladoga (Phoca 
hispida ladogensis) subspecies of ringed seals as threatened (75 FR 
77476). On December 13, 2011, in consideration of substantial 
disagreement regarding the sufficiency or accuracy of the model 
projections and analysis of future sea ice habitat, in particular snow 
cover, for Arctic ringed seals, NMFS announced a 6-month extension of 
the deadline for the final listing determination to June 10, 2012 (FR 
77466). At that time, we also announced that we were conducting special 
independent peer review of the sections of the status review report of 
the ringed seal (Kelly et al., 2010) related to the disagreement, and 
that the resulting peer review report would be made available for 
public comment.
    We have conducted this special peer review, and are notifying the 
public of

[[Page 20774]]

the availability of a peer review report that consolidates the comments 
received. We are also providing the public an opportunity to submit 
comments or information on the peer review report for 30 days. The 
comment period shall be limited to 30 days because the statutory 
deadline requires a final listing determination by June 10, 2012.

Obtaining a Copy of the Peer Review Report

    You may obtain a copy of the peer review report for review:
    Via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov at 
Docket No. NOAA-NMFS-2010-0258.
    By visiting the Internet at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seals/ice.htm.
    Documents cited in this notice, including the peer review report, 
may also be viewed, by appointment, during regular business hours, at 
the aforementioned address in Juneau, AK (see ADDRESSES).

Public Comments Solicited

    Comments and information submitted during the initial comment 
period on the December 10, 2011 (75 FR 77476), proposed rule should not 
be resubmitted since they are already part of the record. Comments and 
information submitted should focus on the information contained in the 
peer review report listed above. Our final determination of whether 
Arctic, Okhotsk, Baltic, and Ladoga ringed seals qualify as threatened 
or endangered under the ESA will take into consideration all comments 
and information we receive and have previously received during both 
comment periods. We request that all comments and information be 
accompanied by supporting documentation such as maps, bibliographic 
references, or reprints of pertinent publications. Please submit any 
comments to the ADDRESSES listed above.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

    Dated: April 2, 2012.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-8371 Filed 4-5-12; 8:45 am]
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