[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 67 (Friday, April 6, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 20774-20775]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-8373]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 223

RIN 0648-XZ58


Endangered and Threatened Species; Proposed Threatened Status for 
Distinct Population Segments of the Bearded 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 bearded seal (Erignathus 
barbatus) under the Endangered Species Act, 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-2010-0259, 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-2010-0259 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 Beringia DPS and the Okhotsk DPS of the Erignathus 
barbatus nauticus subspecies of bearded seals as threatened (75 FR 
77496). 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 the range of the 
Beringia DPS of bearded seals, NMFS announced a 6-month extension of 
the deadline for the final listing determination to June 10, 2012 (76 
FR 77465). At that time, we also announced that we were conducting 
special independent peer review of the sections of the status review 
report of the bearded seal (Cameron 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 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

[[Page 20775]]

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-2010-0259.
    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 77496), 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 the 
Beringia and Okhotsk DPSs of bearded 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. 2012-8373 Filed 4-5-12; 8:45 am]
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