[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 20 (Wednesday, January 30, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6299-6303]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02008]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[Docket No. 120418011-2011-01]
RIN 0648-XB141


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on Two 
Petitions To List White Marlin as Threatened or Endangered Under the 
Endangered Species Act

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

ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding.

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SUMMARY: We (NMFS) announce a 90-day finding on two petitions to list 
white marlin (Kajikia albidus) as threatened or endangered under the 
Endangered Species Act (ESA). We find that the petitions do not present 
substantial scientific information indicating that the petitioned 
action may be warranted.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the petitions and related materials are available 
upon request from the Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected 
Resources Division, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue 
South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, or online at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/ListingPetitions.htm

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Stephania Bolden, NMFS Southeast 
Region, 727-824-5312, or Margaret Miller, NMFS Office of Protected 
Resources, 301-427-8403.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On February 9, 2012, we received a petition from Mr. James Chambers 
to list white marlin (Kajikia albidus) as threatened or endangered 
under the ESA. We received a separate petition to list white marlin 
from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on April 3, 2012. Copies 
of these petitions are available from us (see ADDRESSES, above). The 
joint USFWS/NMFS petition management handbook states that if we receive 
two petitions for the same species and a 90-day finding has not yet 
been made on the earlier petition, then the later petition will be 
combined with the earlier petition and a combined 90-day finding will 
be prepared. Given that, this 90-day finding addresses petitions from 
both Mr. Chambers and CBD requesting us to list white marlin under the 
ESA.
    We have previously reviewed the status of the white marlin for ESA 
listing as a result of a petition and legal action from these 
petitioners. In 2001, we received our first petition from Mr. Chambers, 
and the Biodiversity Legal Foundation, requesting us to list the white 
marlin as a threatened or endangered species. We convened a status 
review team to assess the species status and the degree of threat and 
prepared a status review report (Atlantic White Marlin Status Review 
Document, WMSRT, 2002). We published our determination on September 9, 
2002, that white marlin did not warrant ESA listing (67 FR 57204). In 
2006, per a settlement agreement between NMFS, CBD, and the Turtle 
Island Restoration Network, we revisited the status of the white marlin 
following the 2006 stock assessment by the International Commission for 
the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). On December 21, 2006, we 
announced the initiation of a white marlin status review and solicited 
information regarding the status of and threats to the species (71 FR 
76639) and convened a new biological review team (BRT) to commence a 
status review. The report (Atlantic White Marlin Status Review, AWMSR, 
2007) prepared by the BRT was peer reviewed and the final document 
incorporated peer review comments. After considering the AWMSR, we 
determined the white marlin was neither threatened or endangered (73 FR 
843; January 4, 2008).

ESA Statutory and Regulatory Provisions and Evaluation Framework

    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the ESA of 1973, as amended (U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), requires, to the maximum extent practicable, that within 90 days 
of receipt of a petition to list a species as threatened or endangered, 
the Secretary of Commerce make a finding on whether that petition 
presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating 
that the petitioned action may be warranted, and to promptly publish 
such finding in the Federal Register (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(A)). When we 
find that substantial scientific or commercial information in a 
petition indicates the petitioned action may be warranted (a ``positive 
90-day finding''), we are required to promptly commence a review of the 
status of the species concerned during which we will conduct a 
comprehensive review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information. In such cases, we are to conclude the review with a 
finding as to whether, in fact, the petitioned action is warranted 
within 12 months of receipt

[[Page 6300]]

of the petition. Because the finding at the 12-month stage is based on 
a more thorough review of the available information, as compared to the 
narrow scope of review at the 90-day stage, a ``may be warranted'' 
finding does not prejudge the outcome of the status review.
    Under the ESA, a listing determination may address a ``species,'' 
which is defined to also include subspecies and, for any vertebrate 
species, any distinct population segment (DPS) that interbreeds when 
mature (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). A joint NOAA-U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (USFWS) policy clarifies the agencies' interpretation of the 
phrase ``distinct population segment'' for the purposes of listing, 
delisting, and reclassifying a species under the ESA (``DPS Policy''; 
61 FR 4722; February 7, 1996). A species, subspecies, or DPS is 
``endangered'' if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range, and ``threatened'' if it is likely to 
become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range (ESA sections 3(6) and 3(20), 
respectively; 16 U.S.C. 1532(6) and (20)). Pursuant to the ESA and our 
implementing regulations, we determine whether species are threatened 
or endangered because of any one or a combination of the following five 
section 4(a)(1) factors: The present or threatened destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of habitat or range; overutilization for 
commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; disease 
or predation; inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and any 
other natural or manmade factors affecting the species' existence (16 
U.S.C. 1533(a)(1), 50 CFR 424.11(c)).
    ESA-implementing regulations issued jointly by NMFS and USFWS (50 
CFR 424.14(b)) define ``substantial information'' in the context of 
reviewing a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species as the 
amount of information that would lead a reasonable person to believe 
that the measure proposed in the petition may be warranted. In 
evaluating whether substantial information is contained in a petition, 
the Secretary must consider whether the petition: (1) Clearly indicates 
the administrative measure recommended and gives the scientific and any 
common name of the species involved; (2) contains detailed narrative 
justification for the recommended measure, describing, based on 
available information, past and present numbers and distribution of the 
species involved and any threats faced by the species; (3) provides 
information regarding the status of the species over all or a 
significant portion of its range; and (4) is accompanied by the 
appropriate supporting documentation in the form of bibliographic 
references, reprints of pertinent publications, copies of reports or 
letters from authorities, and maps (50 CFR 424.14(b)(2)).
    Court decisions clarify the appropriate scope and limitations of 
the Services' review of petitions at the 90-day finding stage, in 
making a determination whether a petitioned action ``may be'' 
warranted. As a general matter, these decisions hold that a petition 
need not establish a ``strong likelihood'' or a ``high probability'' 
that a species is either threatened or endangered to support a positive 
90-day finding.
    We evaluate the petitioner's request based upon the information in 
the petition including its references, and the information readily 
available in our files. We do not conduct additional research, and we 
do not solicit information from parties outside the agency to help us 
in evaluating the petition. We will accept the petitioner's sources and 
characterizations of the information presented, if they appear to be 
based on accepted scientific principles, unless we have specific 
information in our files that indicates the petition's information is 
incorrect, unreliable, obsolete, or otherwise irrelevant to the 
requested action. Information that is susceptible to more than one 
interpretation or that is contradicted by other available information 
will not be dismissed at the 90-day finding stage, so long as it is 
reliable and a reasonable person would conclude it supports the 
petitioner's assertions. In other words, conclusive information 
indicating the species may meet the ESA's requirements for listing is 
not required to make a positive 90-day finding. We will not conclude 
that a lack of specific information alone negates a positive 90-day 
finding, if a reasonable person would conclude that the unknown 
information itself suggests an extinction risk of concern for the 
species at issue.
    To make a 90-day finding on a petition to list a species, we 
evaluate whether the petition presents substantial scientific or 
commercial information indicating the subject species may be either 
threatened or endangered, as defined by the ESA. First, we evaluate 
whether the information presented in the petition, along with the 
information readily available in our files, indicates that the 
petitioned entity constitutes a ``species'' eligible for listing under 
the ESA. Next, we evaluate whether the information indicates that the 
species at issue faces extinction risk that is cause for concern; this 
may be indicated in information expressly discussing the species' 
status and trends, or in information describing impacts and threats to 
the species. We evaluate any information on specific demographic 
factors pertinent to evaluating extinction risk for the species at 
issue (e.g., population abundance and trends, productivity, spatial 
structure, age structure, sex ratio, diversity, current and historical 
range, habitat integrity or fragmentation), and the potential 
contribution of identified demographic risks to extinction risk for the 
species. We then evaluate the potential links between these demographic 
risks and the causative impacts and threats identified in section 
4(a)(1).
    Information presented on impacts or threats should be specific to 
the species and should reasonably suggest that one or more of these 
factors may be operative threats that act or have acted on the species 
to the point that it may warrant protection under the ESA. Broad 
statements about generalized threats to the species, or identification 
of factors that could negatively impact a species, do not constitute 
substantial information that listing may be warranted. We look for 
information indicating that not only is the particular species exposed 
to a factor, but that the species may be responding in a negative 
fashion; then we assess the potential significance of that negative 
response.
    Many petitions identify risk classifications made by other 
organizations or agencies, such as the International Union on the 
Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the American Fisheries Society (AFS), or 
NatureServe, as evidence of extinction risk for a species. Risk 
classifications by other organizations or made under other Federal or 
state statutes may be informative, but the classification alone may not 
provide the rationale for a positive 90-day finding under the ESA. For 
example, as explained by NatureServe, their assessments of a species' 
conservation status do ``not constitute a recommendation by NatureServe 
for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act'' because NatureServe 
assessments ``have different criteria, evidence requirements, purposes 
and taxonomic coverage than government lists of endangered and 
threatened species, and therefore these two types of lists should not 
be expected to coincide'' (http://www.natureserve.org/prodServices/statusAssessment.jsp). Thus, when a petition cites such 
classifications, we will evaluate the source information

[[Page 6301]]

that the classification is based upon, in light of the standards on 
extinction risk and impacts or threats discussed above.

Species Description

    The white marlin is a billfish (Family Istiophoridae) that inhabits 
the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent 
seas. White marlin is considered to be a panmictic species: individuals 
move about freely within the Atlantic Ocean, over thousands of miles, 
and breed freely with other members of the population. Molecular 
markers have demonstrated that white marlin move significantly among 
regions (Graves and McDowell, 2003; Wells et al., 2010). White marlin 
exhibit sexually dimorphic growth patterns with females growing faster 
and achieving larger sizes than males. There is little information 
regarding the age and growth of white marlin as billfish are extremely 
difficult to age. Data limited to a single location found that the sex 
ratio (proportion of females to males) increased steadily with size and 
nearly all fish larger than 2,000 cm were female (Arocha and Barrios, 
2009).
    White marlin are primarily general piscivores, but also feed on 
squid and other prey items (Nakamura, 1985). Spawning activity occurs 
during the spring (March through June) in northwestern Atlantic 
tropical and sub-tropical waters marked by relatively high surface 
temperatures (20[deg]-29[deg]C) and salinities (>35 ppt). The presence 
of white marlin larvae suggests there are at least five spawning areas 
in the western north Atlantic Ocean: Northeast of Little Bahama Bank 
off the Abaco Islands; northwest of Grand Bahama Island; southwest of 
Bermuda; the Mona Passage, east of the Dominican Republic; and the Gulf 
of Mexico (AWMSR, 2007).
    White marlin, along with other billfish and tunas, are managed 
internationally by the member nations of the ICCAT. ICCAT, through the 
Standing Committee for Research and Statistics (SCRS), conducts regular 
stock assessments for species under its purview: white marlin stock 
assessments were conducted in 2002, 2006, and 2012. Both white marlin 
and roundscale spearfish (Tetrapturus georgii) are taken as bycatch on 
longline fishing gear targeting tuna and swordfish (AWMSR, 2007). White 
marlin are also targeted in recreational fishing tournaments along the 
U.S. east coast, which also often land roundscale spearfish (AWMSR, 
2007).
    White marlin and the roundscale spearfish are sympatric and 
morphologically very similar. Roundscale spearfish were validated as a 
genetically distinct species in 2006 (Shivji et al., 2006). Species 
misidentification of the roundscale spearfish and the white marlin has 
likely occurred given the complexity of accurate identification (AWMSR, 
2007). Little is known about the life history of roundscale spearfish. 
Beerkricher et al. (2009) examined the proportion of spearfish in the 
total catch identified as white marlin and found it ranged between 0 
and 100 percent (n=1443, mean = 27 percent) per set observed in the 
western north Atlantic, with high variability across geographic areas. 
Roundscale spearfish were found more frequently offshore compared to 
nearshore. Given the misidentification problems between white marlin 
and roundscale spearfish, the SCRS working group decided prior to the 
2012 stock assessment that white marlin and roundscale spearfish would 
be combined as a mixed stock until more accurate species identification 
and differentiation of species catches are available (SCRS, 2011).
    Total catch of white marlin peaked in the mid 1960's (AWMSR, 2007). 
Total catch of white marlin remained relatively stable through the 
1980s and into the early 1990s. In the mid 1990s there was a marked 
decline in white marlin catch. ICCAT responded by adopting numerous 
resolutions protective of white marlin, including a reduction in 
landings and a rebuilding program (AWMSR, 2002; WMSRT, 2007). Both the 
2002 and the 2007 white marlin status reviews discussed this marked 
decline in total catch and described protective measures adopted by 
ICCAT (WMSRT, 2002; AWMSR, 2007). White marlin catch has remained 
relatively stable in recent years (SCRS, 2011; 2012). Relative fishing 
mortality has been declining over the past ten years, it is now most 
likely to be below the fishing mortality rate expected to yield maximum 
sustainable yield (Fmsy), and it is highly likely to remain below Fmsy 
(SCRS, 2012). The BRT concluded that the current regulatory mechanisms 
are sufficient to prevent continued stock decline (AWMSR, 2007).

Analysis of the Petition

    We evaluated whether the petitions presented the information 
indicated in 50 CFR 424.14(b)(2). Both petitions stated the 
administrative measures recommended for the white marlin. Neither 
petition included the scientific name of the species. Both petitions 
included a narrative justification for the recommended measure, 
including some information on numbers of the species, historical 
geographic occurrences of the species, and threats faced by the 
species. Both petitions utilize information from the 2011 ICCAT Blue 
Marlin Stock Assessment and While Marlin Data Preparatory Meeting 
(SCRS, 2011). Only the CBD petition included supporting references.
    White marlin is recognized as a taxonomically-distinct species and 
is therefore an eligible entity for listing under the ESA. We 
previously determined the Atlantic white marlin constitutes a single 
species throughout the Atlantic Ocean and there are no populations that 
warrant consideration of ESA listing (73 FR 843; January 4, 2008). The 
Chambers petition, seeking protection of the ``North Atlantic sub-
population of the white marlin,'' included information summarizing 
spatial and temporal difference in spawning north and south of the 
equator that in turn indicates ``two entirely distinct sub-populations 
which do not interbreed'' and a graph showing total catch of white 
marlin north of the equator by gear with live and dead discards from 
1956-2010 (SCRS, 2011). The Chambers petition did not include any 
information supporting white marlin population structure that was not 
previously considered by us. Therefore the best available information 
indicates white marlin are a single species throughout its range 
without separation into populations.

Information on Impacts and Threats to the Species

    We evaluated whether the information in the petitions and 
information in our files concerning the extent and severity of one or 
more of the ESA section 4(a)(1) factors suggest these impacts and 
threats may be posing a risk of extinction for white marlin that is 
cause for concern. Collectively, the petitions state that three of the 
five causal factors in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA are adversely 
affecting the continued existence of white marlin: (A) Present or 
threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or 
range; (B) overutilization for commercial and recreational purposes; 
and (D) inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. In the following 
sections, we use the information presented in the petition and in our 
files to determine whether the petitioned action may be warranted.

Present and Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of 
Habitat or Range

    The CBD petition stated the range of the white marlin has been 
reduced between the 1960s and the 1990s per Worm and Tittensor (2011). 
Other

[[Page 6302]]

information provided by CBD contradicts this range reduction and shows 
Worm and Tittensor's (2011) finding to be obsolete: Lynch et al. (2011) 
includes a figure summarizing distribution of white marlin in the 
Atlantic Ocean from 2000 to 2006 that indicates white marlin occur in 
all the areas identified as absent by Worm and Tittensor (2011). 
Information in our files (SCRS, 2011; 2012) also indicates the range 
has not contracted. Therefore we conclude the petition does not provide 
substantial information indicating the range of the white marlin has 
been constricted and further note that a slight variation in range of a 
species that occurs across the Atlantic Ocean and 70 degrees latitude 
would not alone constitute an extinction risk.
    The CBD petition states ``studies have found that billfish, such as 
white marlin, are sensitive to water quality conditions, which are 
rapidly changing as a result of climate change and ocean 
acidification'' and refers to Lynch et al. (2011). We reviewed Lynch et 
al. (2011) and did not find statements supporting CBDs' assertions. 
Further, neither CBD nor Lynch et al. (2011) provide any explanation or 
connection of how water quality condition, climate change, or ocean 
acidification are operative threats to the continued existence of the 
white marlin. We did not find information in our files indicating how 
presumed changes in water quality from climate change and ocean 
acidification would be an extinction risk of concern to white marlin.
    In summary, information presented in the two petitions and in our 
files does not constitute substantial information indicating that the 
present and threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of 
habitat or range may be causing extinction risk of concern for white 
marlin.

Overutilization for Commercial and Recreational Purposes

    The CBD petition quotes from Beerkircher et al. (2009) that white 
marlin are among ``the most overexploited pelagic fishes.'' The CBD 
petition also attributes other statements to ICCAT (SCRS, 2011) 
including ``white marlin populations have failed to rebuild, and they 
have also continued to decline and landings indicate this continued 
decline and the catch-per-unit-effort shows instability in the 
population.'' We reviewed SCRS (2011) and could not substantiate or 
find support for the statements. In addition, the CBD petition did not 
provide any explanation on how these statements correspond to 
extinction risk.
    The Chambers petition says the status of the white marlin 
population ``is well below the level at which there is a danger of 
recruitment failure which is considered to begin at 50 percent of 
MSY,'' and, ``Passing such a threshold means there are becoming too few 
breeders to replace the population which can then spiral ever faster 
towards extinction.'' The Chambers petition did not provide any 
supporting information for these claims. It included no information or 
explanation on how this threshold corresponds to extinction risk. The 
petition did not provide information on recruitment failure or the 
number of current breeders. We are unaware of data, and did not find 
information in our files, to support this claim.
    The CBD petition did provide some information on white marlin 
population size, somewhat relevant to Mr. Chambers' claims. It cites 
the decline in B/Bmsy from 1.02 in 1970 to 0.44 in 2010 (Collette et 
al., 2011) as evidence of overutilization of white marlin. B/Bmsy is a 
relative abundance metric in fishery management that expresses a 
stock's biomass as a proportion of the biomass that would support the 
continuous, maximum harvest of that stock. Although it provides B/Bmsy 
figures for white marlin, the CBD does not provide any rationale why a 
B/Bmsy of 0.44 causes an extinction risk of concern. We do not believe 
0.44 B/Bmsy alone is a cause for concern, as it represents fishing 
potential rather than absolute abundance, and does not necessarily have 
any relationship to a species' extinction risk. In addition, we 
interpret the B/Bmsy trend presented in Collette et al. (2011) as 
declining between 1970 and 1990, followed by a stable or increasing, 
but not decreasing, stock size from 1990 through 2010.
    The Chambers petition states white marlin abundance has ``fallen to 
about 2 percent of an unfished level of abundance by the end of 2007.'' 
While population decline can result in extinction risk that is cause 
for concern in certain circumstances, the decline described in the 
Chambers petition appears to have been derived from reported landings. 
Although a decline in reported landings can oftentimes indicate a 
decrease in total abundance, in this case it is likely this decline in 
landings is a result of the regulations ICCAT has instituted since 1995 
to reduce white marlin landings. Therefore, we conclude landings data 
do not indicate a decline in white marlin abundance and do not indicate 
that white marlin is being negatively impacted by overutilization. We 
are unaware of any data suggesting that white marlin have declined to 
the level Mr. Chambers claims, which would correspond to a B/Bmsy value 
of 0.04 or one eleventh the value presented in the CBD petition.
    The CBD petition cites the ``vulnerable'' status classification 
made by IUCN to support listing white marlin as threatened or 
endangered under the ESA, and includes Collette et al. (2011) as a 
reference. As discussed above, risk classifications by other 
organizations or agencies (e.g., IUCN) do not alone provide rationale 
for a positive 90-day finding under the ESA. However we have evaluated 
the IUCN source information for white marlin relative to the ESA 
standards of extinction risk and we find the IUCN classification does 
not present information that was not already considered in the 2007 
status review (e.g., the 2006 ICCAT stock assessment) or that was not 
included by CBD in their petition and discussed herein (e.g., range 
constriction as described by Worm and Tittensor, 2011 and catch 
composition per Beerkircher et al., 2009).
    The CBD petition discusses how roundscale spearfish reported in the 
white marlin catch can affect ICCAT stock assessments and requests a 
new assessment. Citing Beerkircher et al. (2009), the CBD petition 
suggests we adopt a proportion of roundscale spearfish to white marlin 
in the total catch between 21 and 42 percent and re-evaluate our prior 
finding. As previously discussed, the proportion of spearfish in the 
total catch identified as white marlin was highly variable and 
spatially limited (Beerkircher et al., 2009). In evaluating the 
findings from Beerkircher et al. (2009), ICCAT subsequently concluded 
reliable estimates on the proportion of roundscale spearfish reported 
as white marlin in the catch rates were not available, and elected to 
perform a mixed stock assessment until more accurate species 
identification and differentiation of species catch were available 
(SCRS, 2011). Specifically, ICCAT determined a comprehensive Atlantic-
wide sampling program, as well as a large-scale retrospective analysis, 
would be required for a reliable population-level estimate of 
roundscale spearfish reported as white marlin (SCRS, 2011). All white 
marlin biological material sampled prior to 2006 is currently presumed 
to contain unknown proportions of roundscale spearfish (SCRS, 2012). We 
acknowledge it is important to consider the ratio of roundscale 
spearfish reported in the white marlin catch, however we concur with 
ICCAT that it is not possible at this time.

[[Page 6303]]

    The CBD petition referenced the simulations performed by 
Beerkircher et al. (2009) and stated they were an indication of 
population decline. The CBD petition does not include any additional 
information indicating how these simulations indicate extinction risk. 
We carefully reviewed the simulations; we noted they include the period 
1955 through 1999 when the marked decline in white marlin catch 
occurred, and do not project through subsequent years when bycatch was 
stabilized and reduced. Therefore we do not find this simulated decline 
in roundscale spearfish concurrent with white marlin surprising, as the 
simulations are partitioning the noted decline in one species' (white 
marlin) catch rates that occurred through the 1990s across two species 
(white marlin and roundscale spearfish). We conclude the simulations do 
not provide relevant information regarding the extinction risk of white 
marlin or information on the current status of the white marlin.
    In summary, the petitions do not present information regarding the 
decline of white marlin catches in the 1990s that we have not already 
considered in prior determinations as discussed (see ``Species 
Description''). There is no information in our files to suggest our 
prior conclusions regarding the 1990s decline in white marlin catch 
were incorrect or insufficient. We conclude the characterization of 
continuing population decline in the petitions is unsubstantiated. The 
petitions did not provide substantial information that white marlin 
populations are unstable or that species misclassification poses an 
extinction risk. Therefore we conclude the petitions do not present 
substantial scientific information indicating that listing may be 
warranted due to overutilization for commercial and recreational 
purposes.

Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The CBD petition states Lynch et al. (2011) ``demonstrates that 
existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to prevent the decline of 
white marlin.'' We carefully reviewed Lynch et al. (2011) and could not 
find statements supporting CBDs' assertions. In fact, Lynch et al. 
(2011) states measures already implemented are likely beneficial to 
some degree; in combination, reductions in landing and live release 
``should slow and possibly reverse downward population trends * * * 
some evidence of population response to these management strategies may 
already be observable.'' The Chambers petition states that ICCAT is not 
managing the white marlin to produce the maximum sustainable yield, but 
does not explain how this leads to extinction risk of concern. Fishery 
management targets, such as maximum sustainable yield, and statuses, 
are based on different criteria than that required by the ESA and, 
thus, do not necessarily have any relationship to a species' extinction 
risk. There is no information in our files that indicates the current 
regulatory mechanisms are insufficient to prevent endangerment of the 
white marlin. The petitions did not present other information to 
indicate how the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms is an 
extinction risk to the white marlin.
    While the petitions state additional regulations are required to 
ensure rebuilding of the marlin populations, they do not provide any 
explanation on how the existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to 
prevent endangerment of the white marlin. In summary we find the 
petitions, and information readily available in our files, do not 
present substantial information to suggest the existing regulatory 
mechanisms are inadequate and may be causing an extinction risk for 
white marlin.
    After reviewing the information contained in the petitions, as well 
as information readily available in our files, we conclude these 
petitions do not present substantial scientific or commercial 
information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references is available upon request from 
the Protected Resources Division of the NMFS Southeast Regional Office 
(see ADDRESSES).

    Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: January 25, 2013.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and 
duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-02008 Filed 1-29-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P