[Federal Register: March 5, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 43)]
[Page 10936-10937]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Marine Mammals; Stock Assessment Reports

AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of draft revised marine mammal stock 
assessment reports for Alaska sea otter, walrus and polar bear; request 
for comments.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), 
the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has developed draft revised marine 
mammals stock assessment reports for sea otter, polar bear and walrus 
in Alaska which are available for public review and comment.

DATES: Comments must be received by June 3, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft revised stock assessment reports are 
available from the (1) Office of Marine Mammals Management, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 1011 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99503; or (2) 
Division of Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Room 840-ARLSQ, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 
22203. Copies of FWS's final stock assessment reports for the southern 
sea otter in California, the northern sea otter in

[[Page 10937]]

Washington State, and the Florida and Antillean stocks of West Indian 
manatees from the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico, 
respectively, are available from address (2) above.
    Comments on the draft revised stock assessment reports for Alaska 
species should be sent to Supervisor, Office of Marine Mammals 
Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1011 East Tudor Road, 
Anchorage, AK 99503.

Jeff Horwath in the FWS's Division of Fish and Wildlife Management 
Assistance, Arlington, Virginia at (703) 358-1718. For information 
specifically about sea otter, polar bears, and Pacific walrus in 
Alaska, contact David McGillivary at (907) 786-3800 or FAX: (907) 786-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 117 of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361-
1407) requires the FWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) 
to prepare stock assessment reports for each marine mammal stock that 
occurs in waters under the jurisdiction of the United States. In late 
1995, the FWS issued final stock assessment reports for marine mammals 
in Alaska as required, and announced their completion and public 
availability in a Federal Register notice on October 4, 1995 (60 FR 
52008). These reports contained information regarding the distribution 
and abundance of the stocks, population growth rates and trends, 
estimates of human-caused mortality from all sources, descriptions of 
the fisheries with which the stocks interact, and the status of each 
    Section 117 of the MMPA also requires the FWS and the NMFS, 
consistent with any new information that indicates that the status of a 
stock has changed or can be more accurately determined, to revise these 
reports annually for strategic stocks of marine mammals and every three 
years for stocks determined to be none-strategic. In accordance with 
these statutory provisions, the FWS has reviewed all of the final stock 
assessment reports and determined that it would be appropriate at this 
time to revise the reports for the Alaska species in order to 
incorporate new information that was not available in 1995. Although 
the FWS has decided to revise these reports based on additional 
information, the status of the stocks has not changed.
    Table 1 in this notice summarizes the draft revised stock 
assessment reports. The table lists the stocks, their geographic range, 
regional designation, estimated abundance (N<INF>EST</INF>), minimum 
abundance estimate (N<INF>MIN</INF>), Potential Biological Removal 
level (PBR), maximum theoretical growth rate (R<INF>MAX</INF>), 
recovery factor (F<INF>R</INF>), annual estimated average human-caused 
mortality, and the status of the stock.

                                           Table 1.--Summary of Draft Stock Assessment Reports for Sea Otter, Polar Bear, and Pacific Walrus in Alaska                                          
                                                                                                                             Mortality causes (5 yr average)                                    
               Species                         Stock              N<INF>EST       N<INF>MIN       R<INF>MAX        F<INF>R        PBR    ----------------------------------------------         Stock status        
                                                                                                                      Subsistence   Fishery           Other                                     
Sea otter...........................  Southeast Alaska.......      8,807      8,709       0.20       1.00        871         376           0  Unk                   Non-strategic.              
Sea otter...........................  Southcentral Alaska....     22,867     20,948       0.20       1.00      2,095         312          <1  Unk                   Non-strategic.              
Sea otter...........................  Southwest Alaska.......     68,212     65,761       0.20       0.86      5,659          99          <2  Unk                   Non-strategic.              
Polar bear..........................  Alaska Chukchi/Bering        (\2\)      (\2\)      (\1\)       0.50        Unk          45           0  <10                   Non-strategic.              
Polar bear..........................  Alaska Southern              1,801      1,599       0.06       1.00         72          55           0  <1                    Non-strategic.              
                                       Beaufort Sea.                                                                                                                                            
Pacific Walrus......................  Alaska.................    201,039    188,316       0.08       1.00      7,533       4,869          17  4                     Non-strategic.              
\1\ Probably similar to Alaska Southern Beaufort Sea Stock.                                                                                                                                     
\2\ Not available.                                                                                                                                                                              

    Dated: February 24, 1998.
Robyn Thorson,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 98-5701 Filed 3-4-98; 8:45 am]