DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Parts 223 and 224
[Docket No. 010522134-1134-01; I.D. 050201D]
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding for
a Petition to list Bocaccio (Sebastes paucispinis) as Threatened
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National
Atmospheric Administration, Commerce.
ACTION: Notification of 90-day petition finding and request for
SUMMARY: NMFS has received a petition to list the southern
(Sebastes paucispinis) as a threatened species and to designate
critical habitat concurrent with the listing. NMFS finds that the
petition presents substantial scientific and commercial
indicating that the request for listing may be warranted.
NMFS is conducting a status review to determine whether the
action is warranted. To assure that the review is comprehensive,
is soliciting information and data regarding this species and its
habitat from any interested party. NMFS will use information
during the comment period and other information in its review of
status of the southern bocaccio.
DATES: Comments and information must be received by August 13,
ADDRESSES: Requests for copies of the petition and comments
the listing of bocaccio should be submitted to Jim Lecky,
Regional Administrator for Protected Resources, 501 W. Ocean
Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA, 90802-4213. The petition and
data are available for public inspection by appointment, Monday
Friday, at the same address.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Lecky, NMFS Southwest
980-4000; or Marta Nammack, NMFS Office of Protected Resources,
713-1401, ext. 116.
Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) contains
allowing interested persons to petition the Secretary of the
or the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to add a species to or
a species from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and
designate critical habitat. On January 30, 2001, NMFS received a
petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for
Biological Diversity, and Center for Marine Conservation
to list the central/southern distinct population segment of
or, in the alternative, bocaccio throughout its entire range as
threatened under the ESA and to designate critical habitat.
Petitioners contend that bocaccio have suffered precipitous
population declines over the last several decades and that these
population declines threaten bocaccio with extinction and
its ability to recover. The primary factor identified by
overutilization, specifically overfishing by fisheries targeting
bocaccio and as bycatch in other fisheries. Other factors
Petitioners as contributing to the status of bocaccio include
inadequate regulatory mechanisms, habitat modification due to
trawl fishing gear, pollution of nearshore habitat used by
bocaccio, and shifts in oceanographic conditions.
NMFS has recognized two separate West Coast bocaccio
divided at approximately 36 deg. N. latitude. The southern
(south of 36 deg. N. latitude), which ranges from Cape Mendocino
Baja California, Mexico, is the stock for which NMFS has received
petition and is synonymous with what Petitioners have called the
central/southern population of bocaccio. In the 1999 stock
report for southern bocaccio, the spawning output of the southern
bocaccio stock was estimated to be 2.1 percent of the estimated
spawning output at its unfished level. This stock was designated
overfished under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and
Management Act on March 3, 1999.
Initial stock rebuilding measures were implemented through
annual specifications and management measures for Pacific coast
groundfish. These measures included the setting of a conservative
allowable biological catch level and optimum yield level. These
conservative levels precluded any directed targeting of bocaccio
reserved allowable catch to incidental catch in other fisheries.
September 5, 2000, NMFS announced formal approval of the
plan for southern bocaccio (65 FR 53646).
On December 29, 2000, NMFS published a final rule (65 FR
approving Amendment 12 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery
Management Plan and disapproving three overfished stock
plans, including the plan previously approved for bocaccio.
12 provides framework procedures for developing overfished
rebuilding plans, for setting guidelines for rebuilding plan
and procedures for submitting rebuilding plans to NMFS for review
approval/disapproval. The three rebuilding plans that were
in that action were disapproved because of inconsistencies with
procedure and guidelines established by Amendment 12, not because
harvest limits were inadequate to provide for rebuilding of the
The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) will resubmit
rebuilding plans for review by NMFS, consistent with the
of Amendment 12, for the 2002 fishing year cycle.
In the presentation of their petition, Petitioners rely on
information produced by NMFS and the PFMC in their evaluation of
southern bocaccio relative to overfishing criteria and a review
published literature on the status, distribution, and ecology of
NMFS finds that Petitioners present substantial scientific
commercial information indicating that a listing may be
based on the criteria specified in 50 CFR 424.14(b)(2). Although
positive 90-day finding under section 4(b)(3)(A) of the ESA is
decision to list a species, this finding requires that a review
status of southern bocaccio be completed within 12 months of
the petition (by January 30, 2002) to determine whether the
action is warranted.
Listing Factors and Basis For Determinations
Under section 4 (a) (1) of the ESA, a species can be
be endangered or threatened for any of the following reasons: (1)
present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment
habitat or range; (2) overutilization for commercial,
scientific, or educational purposes; (3) disease or predation;
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (5) other
manmade factors affecting its continued
existence. Listing determinations are based solely on the best
scientific and commercial data available, after conducting a
the status of the species and taking into account efforts made by
states or foreign nations to protect such species.
To ensure that the southern population of bocaccio (Sebastes
paucispinis) status review is complete and based on the best
scientific and commercial data, NMFS is soliciting information
comments on whether the southern population of bocaccio is
by any of the listing criteria described above. Specifically,
soliciting information in the following areas: Historical
current abundance, factors contributing to population declines,
of mortality other than commercial and recreational fishing,
use, habitat condition, factors affecting habitat condition, and
distinctness of the southern population. NMFS is also soliciting
information on efforts to conserve bocaccio and the adequacy of
efforts in achieving their intended purpose.
NMFS is also requesting information on areas that may qualify
critical habitat for the southern population of bocaccio. Areas
include the physical and biological features essential to the
conservation of the species and which may require special
considerations of protection should be identified. Areas outside
current range of the species may be included if they are
the conservation of the species. Essential features should
are not limited to: (1) space for individual growth and for
behavior; (2) food, water, air, light, minerals, or other
or physiological requirements; (3) cover or shelter; (4) sites
reproduction and development of offspring; and (5) habitats that
protected from disturbance or are representative of the
geographical, and ecological distribution of the species.
For areas potentially qualifying as critical habitat, NMFS is
requesting information describing: (1) the activities that affect
areas or could be affected by the designation; and (2) the
costs and benefits of additional requirements of management
likely to result from the designation.
Comments should include: (1) supporting documentation, such
maps, bibliographic references, or reprints of pertinent
if applicable, and (2) the commenting party's name, address, and
association, institution, or business.
Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 742a et seq.;
U.S.C. 9701; and 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.
Dated: June 7, 2001.
William T. Hogarth,
Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine
[FR Doc. 01-15058 Filed 6-13-01; 8:45 am]
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