[Federal Register: February 7, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 25)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 5848-5849]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AF56

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 
Withdrawal of Released Study, Submission of New Report, and Opening of 
Comment Period on the New Report as it Relates to the Proposed Rule to 
List the Alabama Sturgeon as Endangered

AGENCY:  Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:  Proposed rule; opening of comment period.


SUMMARY:  We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, give notice that we are 
withdrawing consideration of Dr. Steven Fain's 1999 study, ``The 
Development of a DNA Procedure for the Forensic Identification of 
Caviar,'' from the decision-making process associated with the proposal 
to list the Alabama sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus suttkusi) as endangered. 
We are replacing it with a report relevant to the Alabama sturgeon 
listing process. The report, ``Genetic Variation in the River Sturgeon 
Scaphirhynchus (Acipenseridae) as Inferred from Partial mtDNA Sequences 
of Cytochrome b,'' summarizes information from the retracted study 
which is specific only to the Alabama sturgeon and its relevancy to the 
proposed listing. We are accepting comments related specifically to the 
relationship of this report, as it pertains to the proposed listing of 
the Alabama sturgeon as endangered. You may also provide comments 
concerning our decision to withdraw Dr. Steven Fain's 1999 study, ``The 
Development of a DNA Procedure for the Forensic Identification of 
Caviar'' from the decision-making process for listing the Alabama 
sturgeon as endangered.

DATES:  We will accept comments until March 8, 2000.

ADDRESSES:  If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments by any 
one of several methods. You may mail or hand-deliver comments to the 
Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mississippi Field 
Office, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Jackson, Mississippi 39213. You may 
also comment via the Internet to paul--hartfield@fws.gov. See the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for comment procedures.

section), telephone 601/321-1125; facsimile 601/965-4340.



    On March 26, 1999, we published a rule proposing endangered status 
for the Alabama sturgeon in the Federal Register (64 FR 14676). On 
January 11, 2000, we published a notice in the Federal Register (65 FR 
1583), to reopen the comment period through February 10, 2000, to make 
available for comment Dr. Steven Fain's 1999 study, ``The Development 
of a DNA Procedure for the Forensic Identification of Caviar.'' With 
this notice, we are withdrawing from consideration Dr. Steven Fain's 
1999 study, ``The Development of a DNA Procedure for the Forensic 
Identification of Caviar.'' This study describes a method for 
identifying the species source of sturgeon/paddlefish caviar in 
international trade and includes information that is not relevant to 
the decision to list the Alabama sturgeon as endangered. Nonetheless, 
The information contained in that study that is relevant to the 
decision to list the Alabama sturgeon is summarized in this new report, 
``Genetic Variation in the River Sturgeon Scaphirhynchus 
(Acipenseridae) as Inferred from Partial mtDNA Sequences of Cytochrome 
b.'' For clarity and ease of understanding, we have added this new 
report, which describes the amount of genetic variation observed within 
and between species of the genus Scaphirhynchus, for consideration in 
the decision-making process, and retracted the more general report that 
covers identification of the species source of sturgeon/paddlefish 
caviar in international trade.

Public Comments Solicited

    We request comments or suggestions from the public, other concerned 
governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other 
interested party concerning this report and its relation to the 
proposed rule. You may also provide comments concerning our decision to 
withdraw Dr. Steven Fain's 1999 study, ``The Development of a DNA 
Procedure for the Forensic Identification of Caviar'' from 
consideration in the decision-making process for the listing of the 
Alabama sturgeon as endangered.

Comment Procedures

    Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII file, avoiding the use 
of special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include 
``Attention: [Alabama sturgeon]'' and your name and return address in 
your Internet message. If you do not receive a confirmation from the 
system that we have received your Internet message, contact us directly 
at the address given in the ADDRESSES section or by telephone at 601/
965-4900. Finally, you may also hand-deliver comments to the address 
given in the ADDRESSES Section. Our practice is to make comments, 
including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public 
review during regular business hours. Individual respondents may 
request that we withhold their home address from the rulemaking record, 
which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also may be 
circumstances in which we would withhold from the rulemaking record a 
respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold 
your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at the 
beginning of your comment. However, we will not consider anonymous 
comments. We will make all submissions from organizations or 
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives or officials or organizations or businesses, available 
for public inspection in their entirety. Comments and materials 
received will be available for public inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours at the above address. To obtain copies of 
either of the aforementioned reports, you can download or print one 
from http://endangered.fws.gov/listing/index.html (under Announcements) 
or contact Kelly Bibb at 404/679-7132 (phone) or 404/679-7081 
(facsimile) to receive a faxed or mailed copy. All questions related to 
this notice should be directed to Paul Hartfield at the address or 
phone number listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.

References Cited

Fain, S.R., J.P. Lemay, J. Shafer, R.M. Hoesch, and B.H. Hamlin. 1999. 
Unpublished study. National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, 
Ashland, OR. 23 pp. with figures.
Fain, S.R., B. Hamlin, and D. Straughan. 1999. Unpublished report. 
Genetic Variation in the River Sturgeon Scaphirhynchus (Acipenseridae) 
as Inferred from Partial mtDNA Sequences of Cytochrome b. National Fish 
and Wildlife Forensics

[[Page 5849]]

Laboratory, Ashland, OR. 14 pp. with figures.


    The primary author of this notice is Paul Hartfield (see ADDRESSES 


    The authority for this notice is the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: February 1, 2000.
Sam D. Hamilton,
Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-2638 Filed 2-4-00; 8:45 am]