[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 91 (Thursday, May 10, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 27411-27415]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-11201]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 223

[Docket No. 120328230-1019-01]
RIN 0648-BC10


Sea Turtle Conservation; Shrimp Trawling Requirements

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments; notice of public hearings.

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SUMMARY: We are proposing to withdraw the alternative tow time 
restriction and require all skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and 
wing nets (butterfly trawls) rigged for fishing to use turtle excluder 
devices (TEDs) in their nets. The intent of this proposed rule is to 
reduce incidental bycatch and mortality of sea turtles in the 
southeastern U.S. shrimp fisheries, and to aid in the protection and 
recovery of listed sea turtle populations.

DATES: Written comments (see ADDRESSES) will be accepted through July 
9, 2012. Public hearings on the proposed rule will be held in May and 
June 2012. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for meeting dates, times, and 
locations.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this proposed rule, identified by 
0648-BC10, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Mail: Michael Barnette, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 
263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
     Fax: 727-824-5309; Attention: Michael Barnette.
    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record 
and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without 
change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, 
address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly 
accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information. We will accept anonymous 
comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain 
anonymous). You may submit attachments to electronic comments in 
Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Barnette, 727-551-5794.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    All sea turtles in U.S. waters are listed as either endangered or 
threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). The Kemp's 
ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and 
hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtles are listed as endangered. 
The loggerhead (Caretta caretta; Northwest Atlantic distinct population 
segment) and green (Chelonia mydas) turtles are listed as threatened, 
except for breeding populations of green turtles in Florida and on the 
Pacific coast of Mexico, which are listed as endangered.
    Sea turtles are incidentally taken, and some are killed, as a 
result of numerous activities, including fishery-related trawling 
activities in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic seaboard. Under 
the ESA and its implementing regulations, taking (harassing, injuring 
or killing) sea turtles is prohibited, except as identified in 50 CFR 
223.206, according to the terms and conditions of a biological opinion 
issued under section 7 of the ESA, or according to an incidental take 
permit issued under section 10 of the ESA. Incidentally taking 
threatened sea turtles during shrimp trawling is exempted from the 
taking prohibition of section 9 of the ESA if the conservation measures 
specified in the sea turtle conservation regulations (50 CFR 223.206) 
are followed. The same conservation measures also apply to endangered 
sea turtles (50 CFR 224.104).
    The regulations require most shrimp trawlers operating in the 
southeastern United States to have a NMFS-approved TED installed in 
each net that is rigged for fishing, to allow sea turtles to escape. 
TEDs currently approved by NMFS include single-grid hard TEDs and 
hooped hard TEDs conforming to a generic description and one type of 
soft TED--the Parker soft TED (see 50 CFR 223.207). However, skimmer 
trawls, pusher-head trawls, and vessels using wing nets currently may 
employ alternative tow time restrictions in lieu of TEDs, under 50 CFR 
223.206(d)(2)(ii)(A). The alternative tow

[[Page 27412]]

time restrictions currently limit tow times to 55 minutes from April 1 
through October 31, and 75 minutes from November 1 through March 31.
    TEDs incorporate an escape opening, usually covered by a webbing 
flap, which allows sea turtles to escape from trawl nets. To be 
approved by NMFS, a TED design must be shown to be 97 percent effective 
in excluding sea turtles during testing based upon specific testing 
protocols (50 CFR 223.207(e)(1)). Most approved hard TEDs are described 
in the regulations (50 CFR 223.207(a)) according to generic criteria 
based upon certain parameters of TED design, configuration, and 
installation, including height and width dimensions of the TED opening 
through which the turtles escape.
    Over the past two years we have documented elevated sea turtle 
strandings in the northern Gulf of Mexico, particularly throughout the 
Mississippi Sound area. In the first three weeks of June 2010, over 120 
sea turtle strandings were reported from Mississippi and Alabama 
waters, none of which exhibited any signs of external oiling to 
indicate effects associated with the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill 
event. A total of 644 sea turtle strandings were reported in 2010 from 
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama waters, 561 (87 percent) of which 
were Kemp's ridley sea turtles. During March through May of 2011, 267 
sea turtle strandings were reported from Mississippi and Alabama waters 
alone. A total of 525 sea turtle strandings were reported in 2011 from 
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama waters, with the majority (455) 
occurring from March through July, 390 (86 percent) of which were 
Kemp's ridley sea turtles. These stranding numbers are significantly 
greater than reported in past years; Louisiana, Mississippi, and 
Alabama reported 42 and 73 total sea turtle strandings for 2008 and 
2009, respectively. Strandings typically represent only a small 
fraction of actual mortality; therefore, these stranding events 
represent significant amounts of sea turtle mortality. However, it 
should be noted that stranding coverage has increased considerably due 
to the DWH oil spill event, which has increased the likelihood of 
observing stranded animals.
    Necropsy results indicate a significant number of stranded turtles 
from both the 2010 and 2011 events likely perished due to forced 
submergence (drowning), which is commonly associated with fishery 
interactions. Additionally, information from NMFS and Mississippi 
Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) enforcement, stemming from the 
monitoring of Mississippi Sound skimmer trawl vessels in 2010, indicate 
the vessels in the skimmer trawl fleet exceed alternative tow time 
requirements.
    Because of the elevated strandings in 2010 and 2011, as well as 
issues identified within the shrimp fisheries that indicated an 
evaluation of alternative tow time restrictions within the skimmer 
trawl sector was warranted, NMFS began developing a draft environmental 
impact statement (DEIS); a notice of availability is expected to 
publish in the Federal Register on May 18, 2012. The analysis included 
in the DEIS demonstrates that withdrawing the alternative tow time 
restriction and requiring all skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and 
wing nets rigged for fishing to use TEDs in their nets would reduce 
incidental bycatch and mortality of sea turtles in the southeastern 
U.S. shrimp fisheries and, therefore, may be a necessary and advisable 
action to conserve threatened sea turtle species.
    While the recent stranding events acted as a catalyst for examining 
sea turtle bycatch issues within the shrimp fisheries and, ultimately, 
this proposed rule, NMFS has previously considered a TED requirement 
for skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing nets (butterfly 
trawls). For example, on May 8, 2009, NMFS published a notice of intent 
(NOI) to prepare an environmental impact statement and conduct public 
scoping meetings, and made available a scoping document presenting 
various approaches to regulating trawl fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean 
(74 FR 21627). The scoping document suggested using a phased approach 
to implement regulations to reduce sea turtle captures by requiring 
capture mitigation strategies (i.e., TEDs) as technology becomes 
available. ``Phase I'' would have further regulated the summer flounder 
and Atlantic sea scallop fisheries, as well as introduce regulations 
for the whelk, croaker/weakfish, and calico scallop trawl fisheries. 
Regulation of fisheries in ``Phase II,'' which included sheepshead, 
black drum, king whiting, porgy, southeastern U.S. shrimp (skimmer 
trawl and trynets), Spanish sardine, scad, ladyfish, squid, mackerel, 
butterfish, and Northeast multispecies (large- and small-mesh) trawl 
fisheries, would be evaluated for subsequent rulemaking. Finally, 
``Phase III'' regulations would have been developed for the skate, 
horseshoe crab, monkfish, bluefish, spiny dogfish, and herring trawl 
fisheries, and any other trawl fisheries not previously identified or 
considered. The NOI and scoping document acknowledged, however, that 
the implementation sequence could shift we obtain testing results and 
new information about additional trawl fisheries.
    Additionally, in June 2010, NMFS prepared but never published an 
emergency rule in accordance with Section 4(b)(7) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 
1533(b)(7)) to require TEDs for all skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, 
and wing nets (butterfly trawls) rigged for fishing in Mississippi and 
Alabama state waters. Before the emergency rule could be implemented, 
however, oil from the DWH oil spill event reached nearshore areas of 
the Northern Gulf of Mexico, and the states closed their waters to all 
fishing.

Skimmer Trawls, Pusher-Head Trawls, and Wing Nets

    Developed in the early 1980s, the skimmer trawl was intended for 
use in some areas primarily to catch white shrimp, which have the 
ability to jump over the headrope of standard trawls while being towed 
in shallow water. The skimmer net frame allows the net to be elevated 
above the water while the net is fishing, thus preventing shrimp from 
escaping over the top. Owing to increased shrimp catch rates, less 
debris and/or fish and other bycatch, and lower fuel consumption than 
otter trawlers, the use of skimmer nets quickly spread throughout 
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The basic components of a skimmer 
trawl include a frame, the net, heavy weights, skids or ``shoes,'' and 
tickler chains. The net frame is usually constructed of steel or 
aluminum pipe or tubing and is either L-shaped (with an additional 
stiff leg) or a trapezoid design. When net frames are deployed, they 
are aligned perpendicularly to the vessel and cocked or tilted forward 
and slightly upward. This position allows the net to fish better and 
reduces the chance of the leading edge of the skid digging into the 
bottom and subsequently damaging the gear. The frames are maintained in 
this position by two or more stays or cables to the bow. The outer leg 
of the frame is held in position with a ``stiff leg'' to the horizontal 
pipe and determines the maximum depth at which each net is capable of 
working. The skid, or ``shoe,'' is attached to the bottom of the outer 
leg, which allows the frame to ride along the bottom, rising and 
falling with the bottom contour. The bottom of the gear includes 
tickler chains and lead lines. The skimmer trawl is the most popular 
trawl type after the otter trawl, and is widely utilized in Louisiana 
waters.
    Vietnamese fishermen who moved into Louisiana in the early 1980s

[[Page 27413]]

introduced the pusher-head trawl, also known as the ``xipe'' or 
chopstick net. The pusher-head trawl net is attached to a rigid or 
flexible frame similar to the wing net; however, the frame mounted on 
the bow of the boat is attached to a pair of skids and fished by 
pushing the net along the bottom.
    Wing nets (butterfly trawls or ``paupiers'') were introduced in the 
1950s and used on stationary platforms and on shrimp boats either under 
power or while anchored. A wing net consists of square metal frame 
which forms the mouth of the net. Webbing is attached to the frame and 
tapers back to a cod end. The net can be fished from a stationary 
platform or a pair of nets can be attached to either side of a vessel. 
The vessel is then anchored in tidal current or the nets are ``pushed'' 
through the water by the vessel. The contents of the wing net, as well 
as the contents of skimmer and pusher-head trawls, can be picked up and 
dumped without raising the entire net out of the water, which is 
necessary with an otter trawl. While wing nets, as well as pusher-head 
trawls, are allowable gear types in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, they 
are not as common as skimmer trawls. For example, while the MDMR does 
not differentiate gear type within their shrimp fishery, a 2008 survey 
of trip tickets indicated there were approximately 247 otter trawl, 56 
skimmer trawl, 4 butterfly net, and 2 pusher-head trawls active in 
Mississippi.

Sea Turtle Bycatch in Skimmer Trawls, Pusher-Head Trawls, and Wing Nets

    While there is available information documenting sea turtle 
captures in the skimmer trawl fisheries (e.g., Price and Gearheart 
2011), skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing nets were initially 
allowed to use alternative tow time restrictions in lieu of TEDs under 
the assumption that the trawl bags were typically retrieved at 
intervals that would not be fatal to most sea turtles that were 
captured in the net. The December 2, 2002 biological opinion (NMFS 
2002) noted that the tow-time authorization instead of TEDs was for 
fisheries that, ``out of physical, practical, or economic necessity, 
require fishermen to limit their tow times naturally.'' But information 
from MDMR indicates that some participants in their skimmer trawl 
fishery are not aware of the tow time restrictions, and violations of 
the tow time restrictions have occurred and still occur within the 
fishery.
    Moreover, tow times restrictions are difficult to enforce. 
Documenting a tow time violation requires enforcement personnel to be 
in close proximity of a skimmer trawl to monitor gear deployment and 
recovery, and to record the time when the codend enters the water until 
it is removed. Also, enforcement personnel need to remain undetected 
for at least 55 minutes--practically impossible at sea--or else their 
presence may bias a vessel captain's operational procedure. There are 
also concerns repeated captures may result in turtle mortality in times 
and areas where sea turtle abundance and skimmer trawl fishing effort 
is high (Sasso and Epperly 2006).
    In the DEIS, we calculated sea turtle catch per unit effort rates 
based on observed effort in the skimmer trawl fisheries and relative 
abundances of sea turtle species. These rates were multiplied by 
overall effort (i.e., 585,576 effort hours in the Northern Gulf of 
Mexico skimmer trawl fisheries and 6,576 effort hours in the North 
Carolina skimmer trawl fishery) to determine total sea turtle take in 
the skimmer trawl fisheries. The analysis resulted in a total 
anticipated take of 28,127 captured sea turtles in the combined skimmer 
trawl, pusher-head trawl, and wing net fisheries.
    If skimmer trawl vessels regularly exceed the tow time restrictions 
and kill incidentally captured sea turtles, requiring TEDs instead of 
tow times may significantly reduce sea turtle mortality by allowing 
them to escape the net and avoid drowning. In order to extrapolate the 
sea turtle capture estimates to obtain an associated mortality estimate 
for the skimmer trawl fisheries operating with installed TEDs, the DEIS 
analysis considered both the benefits of exclusion through properly 
installed TEDs and the effect of TED violations on sea turtle capture 
rates and total mortalities. This analysis was accomplished by 
calculating overall compliance and non-compliance rates in the Gulf of 
Mexico and the Atlantic otter trawl shrimp fisheries (to serve as a 
proxy for the skimmer trawl fisheries, assuming TED compliance would be 
similar between the two gear types) based on vessel boarding data from 
TED inspections. Using this data, we estimate that withdrawing the 
alternative tow time restriction in the preferred alternative would 
prevent 5,515 sea turtle mortalities in the combined skimmer trawl 
fisheries. Therefore, we preliminarily determined that the measures 
proposed here are a necessary and advisable to conserve threatened sea 
turtle species. We have further preliminarily determined that the 
measures proposed here are necessary and appropriate to enforce the 
requirements of the ESA.
    We anticipate to make this proposed TED requirement effective by 
the start of the 2013 shrimping season, not later than March 15, 2013.

Classification

    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), as 
required by Section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, for this 
proposed rule. The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed 
rule, if implemented, would have on small entities. A description of 
the proposed rule, why it is being considered, the objectives of, and 
legal basis for this proposed rule are contained at the beginning of 
this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the 
preamble. A copy of the full analysis is available from NMFS (see 
ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows.
    No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been 
identified.
    We expect this proposed rule will directly affect fishermen who use 
skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing nets (butterfly trawls). 
This gear is only used in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and 
North Carolina. Florida already requires vessels employing this gear to 
use TEDs. Among the remaining states, approximately 2,435 active 
vessels have been identified that use this gear (2,248 in Louisiana, 62 
in Mississippi, 60 in Alabama, and 65 in North Carolina). We expect 
this rule, if implemented, will affect all of these vessels.
    The Small Business Administration has established size criteria for 
all major industry sectors in the U.S. including fish harvesters. A 
business involved in fish harvesting is classified as a small business 
if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field 
of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual 
receipts not in excess of $4 million (North American Industry 
Classification System code 114112, shellfish fishing) for all its 
affiliated operations worldwide.
    We estimate the average annual revenue (2008 dollars) for vessels 
harvesting shrimp using skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, or wing 
nets (butterfly trawls) as approximately $22,500 for Louisiana vessels, 
$21,400 for Alabama vessels, and $2,700 for North Carolina vessels. 
However, fishermen, including shrimpers, commonly participate in 
multiple fisheries, and these results may not

[[Page 27414]]

include revenue from non-shrimp species. Comparable information for 
Mississippi vessels is not available because no shrimp landings from 
Mississippi vessels using this gear were recorded in the comparable 
time period (2006-2010). Although some Mississippi vessels are expected 
to be actively using this gear, we do not know whether these vessels 
are landing their shrimp harvests in other states, selling directly to 
the public and not through dealers, or engaging in some other practice 
that has resulted in the absence of recorded landings. Based on the 
average revenue estimates, all commercial fishing vessels expected to 
be directly affected by this proposed rule, if implemented, are for the 
purpose of this analysis considered to be small entities.
    If the affected entities are required to pay for their TEDs, we 
expect this proposed rule will result in an estimated average first-
year cost of $2,120 for fishermen in Louisiana, $1,000 for fishermen in 
Mississippi, $2,061 for fishermen in Alabama, and $1,133 for fishermen 
in North Carolina. These results are based on an estimated cost of $350 
per TED, the use of two TEDs per vessel, an annual maintenance cost of 
$300 per vessel, and an estimated 4.97 percent reduction in shrimp 
harvest. Based on the average annual revenue estimates provided above, 
these first-year costs equal approximately 9.4 percent of average 
annual shrimp revenue for affected entities in Louisiana, 9.6 percent 
in Alabama, and 42.4 percent in North Carolina. The total average 
effect per entity would be reduced if these fishermen also operate in 
other fisheries, which we expect is the case for most entities. Total 
revenues from all species for the affected fishermen are not known. 
However, the estimated average annual net revenue across all Gulf 
states, including revenue from all species, for operations in the 
inshore shrimp sector, which includes the entities described here, is 
negative, indicating the average vessel is operating at a loss. As a 
result, any increased costs or reduced revenues are expected to 
compound these losses. Similar information is not available for North 
Carolina fishermen, but this analysis assumes the average net revenue 
for North Carolina fishermen is comparable to that of inshore shrimp 
fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico.
    As previously discussed, a comparable analysis for entities in 
Mississippi cannot be completed because we lack appropriate revenue 
information. As a result, the estimated effect for entities in 
Mississippi simply reflects the cost of the TEDs. The cost associated 
with TED purchase, however, may be overstated, particularly for 
Mississippi vessels. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) 
allocated funds received from oil recovery income as a result of the 
DWH oil spill event for Gulf of Mexico restoration efforts. In 2010, 
funding was made available to purchase and distribute TEDs for skimmer 
trawl vessels and, to date, an estimated 360 TEDs have been distributed 
to 180 Mississippi shrimp vessels. Therefore, we believe the majority 
of skimmer trawl vessels operating in Mississippi already possess TEDs.
    Because a TED is a durable device, the cost of a new TED is not an 
annual expense. The estimated replacement cycle for a TED is at least 
three years, barring net damage and TED loss. In a year in which a new 
TED is not purchased, the effect of this rule would be limited to TED 
maintenance costs and reduced shrimp harvest associated with TED use. 
These costs then would be approximately $1,420 for Louisiana vessels, 
$1,361 for Alabama vessels, and $433 for North Carolina vessels. It may 
also be possible to reduce shrimp losses over time through changes in 
fishing practices or increased experience with TED use.
    The cost of initial TED purchases would be reduced if special 
funding is available, similar to the NFWF funding in 2010 or a 
comparable project. This analysis does not assume that TEDs will be 
provided. If TEDs are provided, the initial and recurring expected 
effects of this proposed rule would be reduced to the costs of TED 
maintenance, replacement TEDs, and shrimp loss.
    This proposed rule would not establish any new reporting, record-
keeping, or other compliance requirements beyond the requirement to use 
a TED when using skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing nets 
(butterfly trawls). TEDs are installed by the net dealer, so no special 
skills would be expected to be required of fishermen for TED 
installation. Some learning may be required for the maintenance and 
routine use of the TED. Use of TEDs, however, is common in the general 
shrimp fisheries and the skills required in their use are consistent 
with the skill set and capabilities of commercial shrimp fishermen in 
general. As a result, special professional skills would not be expected 
to be necessary.
    We considered eight alternatives, including the proposed rule and 
the no-action alternative, to reduce incidental bycatch and mortality 
of sea turtles in the southeastern U.S. shrimp fisheries. The no-action 
alternative would not have changed any current management measures and 
was not selected because it would not to result in any reduction in the 
incidental bycatch and mortality of sea turtles.
    Two other management alternatives also considered TED use instead 
of the current tow time authorization for varying portions of the 
skimmer trawl fleets. The remaining four alternatives considered 
different time/area closures for the shrimp fisheries.
    The two alternatives that considered alternative tow time 
restrictions would have, alternatively, required TED use in lieu of tow 
time restrictions based on vessel length, or limited TED use either to 
vessels 30 feet and longer, or to those 20 feet and longer. Both 
alternatives would have affected fewer vessels (1,471 and 2,211 
vessels, respectively) and resulted in lower adverse economic effects 
(by 40 percent and 9 percent, respectively) than the proposed rule. 
However, we did not select these alternatives because they would not 
sufficiently reduce the incidental bycatch and mortality of sea turtles 
in general, and would also incentivize an effort shift to smaller 
vessels, thereby reducing the net benefits of TED use by larger 
vessels.
    The four alternatives that considered closures varied by geographic 
coverage, either the Texas-Louisiana or Louisiana-Mississippi state 
borders through the Alabama-Florida state border; or by duration, 
either March 1 through May 31 or April 1 through May 15. The expected 
economic effects of these alternatives would result from reduced shrimp 
harvests, and range from aggregates losses of approximately $50,000 to 
approximately $14 million. While three of these alternatives would 
likely result in lower adverse economic effects for affected entities 
than the proposed action, none of these alternatives was selected 
because the low fishing effort during the time periods considered means 
that the total reduction in the incidental bycatch and mortality of sea 
turtles would be insufficient to afford these species the necessary 
protection.
    The Endangered Species Act provides the statutory basis for the 
rule.

Locations and Times of Public Hearings

    Public hearings will be held at the following locations:
    1. Morehead City--Crystal Coast Civic Center, 3505 Arendell Street, 
Morehead City, NC 28557.
    2. Larose--Larose Regional Park and Civic Center, 307 East 5th 
Street, Larose, LA 70373.

[[Page 27415]]

    3. Belle Chasse--Belle Chasse Community Center, 8398 Highway 23, 
Belle Chasse, LA 70037.
    4. D'Iberville--L.H. ``Red'' Barnett Senior Center, 10450 Lamey 
Bridge Road, D'Iberville, MS 39540.
    5. Bayou La Batre--Bayou La Batre Community Center, 12745 Padgett 
Switch Road, Bayou La Batre, AL 36509.
    The public hearing dates are:
    1. May 30, 2012, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Morehead City, NC.
    2. June 4, 2012, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Larose, LA.
    3. June 5, 2012, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Belle Chasse, LA.
    4. June 6, 2012, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Biloxi, MS.
    5. June 13, 2012, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Bayou La Batre, AL.

References

NMFS. 2002. Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation on Shrimp 
Trawling in the Southeastern United States, under the Sea Turtle 
Conservation Regulations and as Managed by the Fishery Management 
Plans for Shrimp in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. December 
2, 2002.
Price, A.B. and J.L. Gearhart. 2011. Evaluations of turtle excluder 
device (TED) performance in the U.S. southeast Atlantic and Gulf of 
Mexico skimmer trawl fisheries. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-
SEFSC-615, 15 pp.
Sasso, C.R. and S.P. Epperly. 2006. Seasonal sea turtle mortality 
risk from forced submergence in bottom trawls. Fisheries Research 
81:86-88.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 223

    Endangered and threatened species; Exports; Imports; 
Transportation.

    Dated: May 3, 2012.
Paul N. Doremus,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 223 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 223--THREATENED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES

    1. The authority citation for part 223 continues to read as 
follows:


    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531-1543; subpart B, Sec.  223.201-202 
also issued under 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 5503(d) for 
Sec.  223.206(d)(9).


Sec.  223.206  [Amended]

    2. In Sec.  223.206, paragraph (d)(2)(ii)(A)(3) is removed and 
reserved.

[FR Doc. 2012-11201 Filed 5-8-12; 11:15 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P