Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

January 13, 2010

Contacts:  George Jordan 406-247-7365

                 Diane Katzenberger 303-236-4578

                 Georgia Parham 812-334-4261 ext 203

 

Fish and Wildlife Service Reopens Public Comment Period for the Proposed Rule

To Provide Endangered Species Act Protections for the Shovelnose Sturgeon

 

Comment Period Extended Until February 4, 2010

 

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will reopen on January 14, 2010, the public comment period for the proposal to treat the shovelnose sturgeon as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (Act) due to its similarity of appearance to the endangered pallid sturgeon.  The Service is also reopening the comment period regarding the proposed special rule that will prohibit the harvest of any shovelnose sturgeon or shovelnose–pallid sturgeon hybrids, and their roe associated with or related to a commercial fishing activity.  A public hearing will be held in Cape Girardeau, Missouri to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the proposals.

 

The public hearing will take place at 6:30 p.m. on January 28, 2010 at Southeast Missouri State University (3rd floor of the University Center).  The public hearing will be preceded by an informational meeting from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  The University is located at One University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  Formal public testimonies will be taken at the hearing as well as written comments.

 

Public comments will be accepted until February 4, 2010 and can be submitted electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at: http://www.regulations.gov, or can be mailed or hand delivered to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2009-0027; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.

 

The Service is proposing to treat the shovelnose sturgeon as a threatened species under the “Similarity of Appearances” (SOA) provisions of the Endangered Species Act.  The shovelnose sturgeon and the endangered pallid sturgeon are difficult to differentiate and inhabit overlapping portions of the Missouri and Mississippi River basins.  Protection of the shovelnose sturgeon will help conserve and protect the endangered pallid sturgeon.

 

The proposed special rule would apply only to activities that relate to the harvest of shovelnose sturgeon and shovelnose-pallid sturgeon hybrids for commercial fishing purposes and is not expected to impact commercial fishing targeting non-sturgeon species, recreational or other non-commercial fishing activities.  The special rule would not prohibit the legal commercial harvest of shovelnose sturgeon outside the range where the shovelnose and pallid sturgeons commonly overlap.

 

For more information about the proposal and proposed rule, please visit the Service’s web site at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/fishes/shovelnose.html and

http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/missouririver/moriver_pallidsturgeon.htm

 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

 

-FWS-