[Federal Register: November 3, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 212)]
[Page 66841-66842]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Information Collection Sent to the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) for Approval Under the Paperwork Reduction Act; 1018-0127; 
Horseshoe Crab Tagging Program

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We (Fish and Wildlife Service) have sent a request to OMB for 
approval of our information collection associated with the horseshoe 
crab tagging program. The OMB control number for this collection is 
1018-0127, which expires on November 30, 2005. We have requested that 
OMB approve this information collection for a 3-year term.

DATES: You must submit comments on or before December 5, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments and suggestions on this information 
collection to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at 
OMB-OIRA at (202) 395-6566 (fax) or OIRA_DOCKET@OMB.eop.gov (e-mail). 
Please provide a copy of your comments to Hope Grey, Information 
Collection Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service, MS 222-ARLSQ, 
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203 (mail); Hope_Grey@fws.gov 
(e-mail); or (703) 358-2269 (fax).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request a copy of the information 
collection, related forms, or explanatory material, contact Hope Grey, 
Information Collection Clearance Officer, at the addresses above or by 
telephone at (703) 358-2482.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 10, 2005, OMB approved our emergency 
request for information collection associated with the horseshoe crab 
tagging program. The supporting statement for our emergency request is 
available online at http://www.fws.gov/pdm/0127SupCurrent.pdf. OMB 

regulations at 5 CFR 1320, which implement provisions of the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), require that interested 
members of the public and affected agencies have the opportunity to 
comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities (see 5 
CFR 1320.8(d)). Federal agencies may not conduct or sponsor and a 
person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless 
it displays a currently valid OMB control number.
    On August 3, 2005, we published in the Federal Register (70 FR 
44677) a notice of our intent to request information collection 
authority from OMB. In that notice, we solicited comments for 60 days, 
ending on October 3, 2005. We received comments from one individual. 
The commenter did not address the necessity, clarity, or accuracy of 
the information collection, but did oppose the use of horseshoe crabs 
by biomedical companies and proposed a ban on the use of horseshoe 
crabs for any purpose. We have not made any changes to our information 
collection as a result of the comment.
    Horseshoe crabs are among the world's oldest creatures. People have 
used this evolutionary survivor for centuries. It plays an important 
role in the ecology of the coastal ecosystem, while over time also 
providing the opportunity for commercial, recreational, medical, 
scientific, and educational uses.
    In 1998, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), a 
management organization with representatives from each State on the 
Atlantic Coast, developed a horseshoe crab management plan. The ASMFC 
plan and its subsequent addenda established mandatory State-by-State 
harvest quotas, and created the 1,500 square mile Carl N. Shuster, Jr. 
Horseshoe Crab Sanctuary off the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Active 
management and innovative techniques used by fishermen to conserve bait 
have successfully reduced commercial horseshoe crab landings in recent 
years. Conch and eel fishermen have been using bait bags in their 
traps, so they can only use a portion of one crab per trap, compared to 
using a whole crab in each trap. The bait bags have reduced the demand 
for bait by 50 to 75 percent in recent years.
    Although restrictive measures have been taken in recent years, 
populations are not showing immediate increases. Because horseshoe 
crabs do not breed until they reach 9 or more years of age, it may take 
some time before the population measurably increases. Recently a 
Horseshoe Crab Cooperative Tagging Program was established to monitor 
this species. Horseshoe crabs are tagged and released by cooperating 
Federal and State agencies, universities, and biomedical companies. 
Agencies that tag and release horseshoe crabs complete the Horseshoe 
Crab Tagging Release Form (FWS Form 3-2311) and provide the following 
data to the Service: organization name, contact person name, tag 
number, sex of crab, prosomal width, capture site, latitude, longitude, 
waterbody, State, and date.
    Through public participants who recover tagged crabs, we collect 
the following information using FWS Form 3-2310 (Horseshoe Crab 
Recapture Report): tag number, whether or not tag was removed, whether 
or not the tag was circular or square, condition of crab, date 
captured/found, crab fate, finder type, capture method, capture 
location, reporter information, and comments. If the public participant 
who reports the tagged crab requests information, we send data 
pertaining to the tagging program, and tag and release information on 
the horseshoe crab he/she found or captured. The information collected 
is stored at the Maryland Fishery Resources Office, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, and used to evaluate migratory patterns, survival, and 
abundance of horseshoe crabs.
    Title: Horseshoe Crab Tag Tagging Program.
    OMB Control Number: 1018-0127.
    Form Number: FWS Forms 3-2310 and 3-2311.
    Frequency: When horseshoe crabs are tagged and when horseshoe crabs 
are found or captured.
    Description of Respondents: Tagging agencies include Federal and 
State agencies, universities, and biomedical companies. Members of the 
general public provide recapture information.
    Total Annual Responses: Approximately 1,510.
    Total Annual Burden Hours: 980 hours.
    We again invite comments concerning this submission on: (1) Whether 
or not the collection of information is necessary for the proper 
performance of the functions of the agency, including

[[Page 66842]]

whether or not the information will have practical utility; (2) the 
accuracy of our estimate of the burden of collection of information; 
(3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the 
collection of information on respondents.

    Dated: October 18, 2005.
Hope G. Grey,
Information Collection Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 05-21945 Filed 11-2-05; 8:45 am]