[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 90 (Wednesday, May 9, 2012)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-11164]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Fish and Wildlife Service
Marine Mammal Protection Act; Stock Assessment Report
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of availability of draft revised stock assessment report
for the southern sea otter in California; request for comments.
SUMMARY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972,
as amended (MMPA), and its implementing regulations, we, the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service (Service), have developed a draft revised marine
mammal stock assessment report (SAR) for the southern sea otter
(Enhydra lutris nereis) stock in the State of California. We now make
the SAR available for public review and comment.
DATES: We will consider comments that are received or postmarked on or
before August 7, 2012.
ADDRESSES: If you wish to review the draft revised SAR for southern sea
otter, you may obtain a copy from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/ventura. Alternatively, you may contact the Ventura Fish and Wildlife
Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003 (telephone: 805-
644-1766). If you wish to comment on the SAR, you may submit your
comments in writing by any one of the following methods:
U.S. mail: Field Supervisor, at the above address;
Hand delivery: Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office at the
Fax: (805) 644-3958; or
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lilian Carswell, at the above street
address, by telephone (805-612-2793), or by email (Lilian_Carswell@fws.gov).
Under the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) and its implementing
regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR part 18,
we regulate the taking, possession, transportation,
purchasing, selling, offering for sale, exporting, and importing of
marine mammals. One of the MMPA's goals is to ensure that stocks of
marine mammals occurring in waters under U.S. jurisdiction do not
experience a level of human-caused mortality and serious injury that is
likely to cause the stock to be reduced below its optimum sustainable
population level (OSP). OSP is defined under the MMPA as ``* * * the
number of animals which will result in the maximum productivity of the
population or the species, keeping in mind the carrying capacity of the
habitat and the health of the ecosystem of which they form a
constituent element'' (16 U.S.C. 1362(3)(9)).
To help accomplish the goal of maintaining marine mammal stocks at
their OSPs, section 117 of the MMPA requires the Service and the
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to prepare a SAR for each
marine mammal stock that occurs in waters under U.S. jurisdiction. A
SAR must be based on the best scientific information available;
therefore, we prepare it in consultation with established regional
scientific review groups. Each SAR must include:
1. A description of the stock and its geographic range;
2. A minimum population estimate, maximum net productivity rate,
and current population trend;
3. An estimate of human-caused mortality and serious injury;
4. A description of commercial fishery interactions;
5. A categorization of the status of the stock; and
6. An estimate of the potential biological removal (PBR) level.
The MMPA defines the PBR as ``the maximum number of animals, not
including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal
stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its OSP'' (16
U.S.C. 1362(3)(20)). The PBR is the product of the minimum population
estimate of the stock (Nmin); one-half the maximum
theoretical or estimated net productivity rate of the stock at a small
population size (Rmax); and a recovery factor
(Fr) of between 0.1 and 1.0, which is intended to compensate
for uncertainty and unknown estimation errors. This can be written as:
PBR = (Nmin)(\1/2\ of the Rmax)(Fr)
Section 117 of the MMPA also requires the Service and NMFS to
review the SARs (a) at least annually for stocks that are specified as
strategic stocks, (b) at least annually for stocks for which
significant new information is available, and (c) at least once every 3
years for all other stocks.
A strategic stock is defined in the MMPA as a marine mammal stock
``(a) for which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds the
PBR level; (b) which, based on the best available scientific
information, is declining and is likely to be listed as a threatened
species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C.
1531 et seq.) [the ``ESA''], within the foreseeable future; or (c)
which is listed as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA, or
is designated as depleted under [the MMPA].'' 16 U.S.C. 1362(3)(19).
The southern sea otter SAR was last revised in December 2008.
Because the southern sea otter qualifies as a strategic stock due to
its listing as a threatened species under the ESA, the Service had
reviewed the stock assessment annually since then. In December of 2009
and again in December of 2010, Service reviews concluded that revision
was not warranted because the stock had not changed significantly, nor
could it be more accurately determined. However, upon review in 2011,
the Service determined that revision was warranted due to an increase
in the relative number of strandings.
The following table summarizes the information we are now making
available in the draft revised southern sea otter SAR, which lists the
stock's Nmin, Rmax, Fr, PBR, annual
estimated human-caused mortality and serious injury, and status. After
consideration of any public comments we receive, the Service will
revise and finalize the SAR, as appropriate. We will publish a notice
of availability and summary of the final SAR, including responses to
Summary: Draft Revised Stock Assessment Report, Southern Sea Otter in California
Stock Nmin Rmax Fr PBR mortality and Stock status
serious injury (5-
Southern sea otters.............. 2,762 0.06 0.1 8 Due to lack of Strategic.
estimate cannot be
Public Availability of Comments
Before including your address, phone number, email address, or
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be
able to do so.
In accordance with the MMPA, we include in this notice a list of
the information sources and public reports upon which we based the SAR.
Bacon, C.E. 1994. An ecotoxicological comparison of organic
contaminants in sea otters among populations in California and
Alaska. M.S. thesis, University of California, Santa Cruz.
Bacon, C.E., W.M. Jarman, J.A. Estes, M. Simon, and R.J. Norstrom.
1999. Comparison of organochlorine contaminants among sea otter
(Enhydra lutris) populations in California and Alaska. Environ.
Toxicology and Chemistry 18(3):452-458.
Bentall, G.B. 2005. Morphological and behavioral correlates of
population status in the southern sea otter: a comparative study
between central California and San Nicolas Island. Master's Thesis,
University of California, Santa Cruz, unpublished.
Bryant, H.C. 1915. Sea otters near Point Sur. California Department
of Fish and Game Bull. 1:134-135.
Cameron, G.A., and K.A. Forney. 2000. Preliminary estimates of
cetacean mortality in California/Oregon gillnet fisheries for 1999.
Paper SC/S2/O24 presented to the International Whaling Commission,
2000 (unpublished). 12 pp. Available from NMFS, Southwest Fisheries
Science Center, P.O. Box 271, La Jolla, California.
Carretta, J.V. 2001. Preliminary estimates of cetacean mortality in
California gillnet fisheries for 2000. Paper SC/53/SM9 presented to
the International Whaling Commission, 2001 (unpublished). 21 pp.
Available from NMFS, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, P.O. Box
271, La Jolla, California.
Cronin, M.A., J. Bodkin, B. Bellachey, J.A. Estes, and J.C. Patton.
1996. Mitochondrial-DNA variation among subspecies and populations
of sea otters (Enhydra lutris). J. Mammal. 77:546-557.
Estes, J.A. 1990. Growth and equilibrium in sea otter populations.
J. Anim. Ecol. 59:385-401.
Estes, J.A., and R.J. Jameson. 1988. A double-survey estimate for
sighting probability of sea otters in California. J. Wildl. Manage.
Estes, J.A., B.B. Hatfield, K. Ralls, and J. Ames. 2003. Causes of
mortality in California sea otters during periods of population
growth and decline. Marine Mammal Science 19(1):198-216.
Forney, K.A., S.R. Benson, and G.A. Cameron. 2001. Central
California gill net effort and bycatch of sensitive species, 1990-
1998. Pages 141-160 in Seabird Bycatch: Trends, Roadblocks, and
Solutions, E.F. Melvin and J.K. Parrish, eds. Proceedings of an
International Symposium of the Pacific Seabird Group, University of
Alaska Sea Grant, Fairbanks, Alaska, 212 pp.
Hatfield, B.B., and J.A. Estes. 2000. Preliminary results of an
evaluation of the potential threat to sea otters posed by the
nearshore finfish trap fishery. Unpublished. 6 pp. plus appendices.
Hatfield, B.B., J.A. Ames, J.A. Estes, M.T. Tinker, A.B. Johnson,
M.M. Staedler, and M.D. Harris. 2011. Sea otter morality in fish and
shellfish traps: estimating potential impacts and exploring possible
solutions. Endangered Species Research 13:219-229.
Herrick, S.F., Jr., and D. Hanan. 1988. A review of California
entangling net fisheries, 1981-1986. National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration Technical Memorandum. National Marine
Fisheries Service. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFC-108. 39 pp.
Jameson, R.J. 1989. Movements, home range, and territories of male
sea otters off central California. Marine Mammal Science 5:159-172.
Jameson, R.J., and S. Jeffries. 1999. Results of the 1999 survey of
the Washington sea otter population. Unpublished report. 5 pp.
Jameson, R.J., and S. Jeffries. 2005. Results of the 2005 survey of
the reintroduced Washington sea otter population. Unpublished
report. 6 pp.
Jessup, D.A., M.A. Miller, M. Harris, B.B. Hatfield, and J.A. Estes.
2004. The 2003 southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) unusual
mortality event: A preliminary report to NOAA and USFWS. Unpublished
Johnson, C.K., M.T. Tinker, J.A. Estes, P.A. Conrad, M. Staedler,
M.A. Miller, D.A. Jessup, and J. A.K. Mazet. 2009. Prey choice and
habitat use drive sea otter pathogen exposure in a resource-limited
coastal system. PNAS 106:2242-2247.
Kannan, K., E. Perrotta, and N.J. Thomas. 2006. Association between
perfluorinated compounds and pathological conditions in southern sea
otters. Environmental Science & Technology 40:4943-4948.
Kannan, K., E. Perrotta, N.J. Thomas, and K.M. Aldous. 2007. A
comparative analysis of polybrominated diphenyl ethers and
polychlorinated biphenyls in southern sea otters that died of
infectious diseases and noninfectious causes. Archives of
Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 53:293-302.
Kannan K., K.S. Guruge, N.J. Thomas, S. Tanabe, J.P. Giesy. 1998.
Butyltin residues in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis)
found dead along California coastal waters. Environmental Science
and Technology 32:1169-1175.
Kooyman, G.L., and D.P. Costa. 1979. Effects of oiling on
temperature regulation in sea otters. Yearly progress report, Outer
Continental Shelf Energy Assessment Program.
Kreuder, C., M.A. Miller, D.A. Jessup, L.J. Lowenstein, M.D. Harris,
J.A. Ames, T.E. Carpenter, P.A. Conrad, and J.A.K. Mazet. 2003.
Patterns of mortality in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis)
from 1998-2001. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 39(3):495-509.
Kreuder, C., M.A. Miller, L.J. Lowenstine, P.A. Conrad, T.E.
Carpenter, D.A. Jessup, and J.A.K. Mazet. 2005. Evaluation of
cardiac lesions and risk factors associated with myocarditis and
dilated cardiomyopathy in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris
nereis). American Journal of Veterinary Research 66:289-299.
Laidre, K.L., R.J. Jameson, and D.P. DeMaster. 2001. An estimation
of carrying capacity for sea otters along the California coast.
Marine Mammal Science 17(2):294-309.
Larson, S., R. Jameson, J. Bodkin, M. Staedler, and P. Bentzen.
2002. Microsatellite DNA and mitochondrial DNA variation in remnant
and translocated sea otter (Enhydra lutris) populations. J. Mammal.
Mayer, K.A., M.D. Dailey, and M.A. Miller. 2003. Helminth parasites
of the southern sea otter Enhydra lutris nereis in central
California: abundance, distribution, and pathology. Diseases of
Aquatic Organisms 53:77-88.
Miller, M.A., R.M. Kudela, A. Mekebri, D. Crane, S.C. Oates, M.T.
Tinker, M. Staedler, W.A. Miller, S. Toy-Choutka, C. Domink, D.
Hardin, G. Langlois, M. Murray, K. Ward and D.A. Jessup. 2010.
Evidence for a novel marine harmful algal bloom: cyanotoxin
(Microcystin) transfer from land to sea otters. PLoS ONE 5(9):
Nakata, H., K. Kannan, L. Jing, N. Thomas, S. Tanabe, and J.P.
Giesy. 1998. Accumulation pattern of organochlorine pesticides and
polychlorinated biphenyls in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris
nereis) found stranded along coastal California, USA. Environ. Poll.
Ralls, K., T.C. Eagle, and D.B. Siniff. 1996. Movement and spatial
use patterns of California sea otters. Canadian Journal of Zoology
Riedman, M.L., and J.A. Estes. 1990. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris):
behavior, ecology, and natural history. U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, Biol. Rep. 90(14). 126 pp.
Riedman, M.L., J.A. Estes, M.M. Staedler, A.A. Giles, and D.R.
Carlson. 1994. Breeding patterns and reproductive success of
California sea otters. J. Wildl. Manage. 58:391-399.
Sanchez, M.S. 1992. Differentiation and variability of mitochondrial
DNA in three sea otter, Enhydra lutris, populations. M.S. Thesis,
University of California, Santa Cruz.
Siniff, D.B., and K. Ralls. 1991. Reproduction, survival, and tag
loss in California sea otters. Marine Mammal Science 7(3):211-229.
Siniff, D.B., T.D. Williams, A.M. Johnson, and D.L. Garshelis. 1982.
Experiments on the response of sea otters, Enhydra lutris, to oil
contamination. Biol. Conserv. 2:261-272.
Taylor, B.L., M. Scott, J. Heyning, and J. Barlow. 2002. Suggested
guidelines for recovery factors for endangered marine mammals.
Unpublished report submitted to the Pacific Scientific Review Group.
Tinker, M.T., G. Bentall, and J.A. Estes. 2008. Food limitation
leads to behavioral diversification and dietary specialization in
sea otters. PNAS 105:560-565.
Tinker, M.T., J.A. Estes, K. Ralls, T.M. Williams, D. Jessup, and
D.P. Costa. 2006. Population Dynamics and Biology of the California
Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) at the Southern End of its Range.
MMS OCS Study 2006-007. Coastal Research Center, Marine Science
Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, California. MMS
Cooperative Agreement Number 14-35-0001-31063.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2003. Final Revised Recovery Plan
for the Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis). Portland,
Oregon. 177 pp.
Valentine, K., D.A. Duffield, L.E. Patrick, D.R. Hatch, V.L. Butler,
R.L. Hall, and N. Lehman. 2008. Ancient DNA reveals genotypic
relationships among Oregon populations of the sea otter (Enhydra
lutris). Conservation Genetics 9(4):933-938.
Wendell, F.E., R.A. Hardy, and J.A. Ames. 1986. An assessment of the
accidental take of sea otters, Enhydra lutris, in gill and trammel
nets. California Department of Fish and Game, Mar. Res. Tech. Rep.
1991. Geographic variation in sea otters, Enhydra lutris. J. Mammal.
Wilson, D.E., M.A. Bogan, R.L. Brownell, Jr., A.M. Burdin, and M.K.
Maminov. 1991. Geographic variation in sea otters, Enhydra lutris.
J. Mammal. 72(1):22-36.
The authority for this action is the Marine Mammal Protection Act
of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et al.).
Dated: April 29, 2012.
Gregory E. Siekaniec,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-11164 Filed 5-8-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P