[Federal Register: October 19, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 201)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 56297-56298]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 227


Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

Availability of a Status Review of the Atlantic Salmon in the 
Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment

AGENCIES: National Marine Fisheries Services, National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, Commerce; Fish and Wildlife Service, 

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: A Biological Review Team (Team), consisting of National Marine 
Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) 
(Services) biologists, has completed a review of the status of Atlantic 
salmon in the Gulf of Maine distinct population segment (DPS) (Review 
of the Status of Anadromous Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) under the 
U.S. Endangered Species Act, July, 1999).

DATES: You should request copies of the July, 1999, status review by 
November 18, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Requests should be addressed to Mary Colligan, NMFS, 
Protected Resources Division, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, 
Massachusetts, 01930, or Paul Nickerson, FWS, 300 Westgate Center 
Drive, Hadley, MA, 01035.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Colligan, NMFS (978-281-9116) or 
Paul Nickerson, FWS (413-253-8615) at the above addresses.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Team has completed a review of the 
biological status of Atlantic salmon in the Gulf of Maine DPS, 
including an assessment of the adequacy of protective measures, the 
extent of implementation of these measures, and the effect of these 
measures on Atlantic salmon and their habitat. This status review is an 
update to the 1995 Atlantic salmon status review and indicates that, 
under current circumstances, it is the opinion of the Biological Review 
Team that the Gulf of Maine DPS is in danger of extinction.

Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of the July, 1999, status review from Mary 
Colligan or Paul Nickerson (see ADDRESSES section).

Background Information

    On December 18, 1997, the Services withdrew a proposed rule to list 
a distinct population segment of Atlantic salmon in seven Maine rivers 
as ``threatened'' under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act) (62 FR 66325). In reaching this determination, the Services 
considered the status of the Atlantic salmon in the seven Maine rivers. 
This evaluation took into account the efforts made to protect the 
species including the State of Maine Atlantic Salmon Conservation Plan 
(Conservation Plan) for the Seven Rivers, private and Federal efforts 
to restore the species, and international efforts to control ocean 
harvest through the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization. 
The Services determined that these efforts substantially reduced 
threats to the species; that the seven rivers DPS of Atlantic salmon 
was not likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future; and 
that, therefore, listing under the Act was not warranted. The 
populations that constituted the seven rivers DPS were those in the 
Dennys, East Machias, Machias, Pleasant, Narraguagus, Ducktrap, and 
Sheepscot Rivers. However, the Services renamed the seven rivers DPS 
the ``Gulf of Maine DPS'' in recognition of the possibility that 
Atlantic salmon in other Maine rivers could be added to the DPS in the 
future. The Services stated that Atlantic salmon populations in other 
rivers would be added to the DPS if they were found to be naturally 
reproducing and have historical river-specific characteristics. The 
geographic area within which populations of Atlantic salmon would be 
likely to meet the criteria for inclusion in the DPS was identified as 
ranging from the lower tributaries of the Kennebec River north to, but 
not including, the St. Croix River.
    With the withdrawal of the proposed listing rule, the NMFS retained 
the Gulf of Maine DPS of Atlantic salmon on its list of candidate 
species, and the Services committed to maintaining oversight of the 
species. Specifically, the Services stated in the withdrawal notice 
that the process for listing the Gulf of Maine DPS would be reinitiated 
if: (1) An emergency which poses a significant risk to the well-being 
of the Gulf of Maine DPS is identified and not immediately and 
adequately addressed; (2) the biological status of the Gulf of Maine 
DPS is such that the DPS is in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range; or (3) the biological status of the 
Gulf of Maine DPS is such that the DPS is likely to become endangered 
in the foreseeable

[[Page 56298]]

future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Further, 
the withdrawal notice stated that the circumstances described under 
(1), (2), and (3) could result from: insufficient progress in 
implementation of the Conservation Plan; a failure to modify the 
Conservation Plan to address new threat(s) or an increase in the 
severity of threat(s); a failure to modify the Conservation Plan, if 
necessary, to address threat(s) facing any other populations added to 
the Gulf of Maine DPS in the future; or the inability of the State of 
Maine to address threat(s). The notice stated that a decision to 
reinitiate the listing process generally would be made shortly after 
the end of an annual reporting period.
    In the withdrawal notice, the Services committed to making the 
State of Maine's annual report on the implementation of their 
Conservation Plan available for review to the public in order to keep 
interested parties informed and to provide an opportunity for comment. 
The annual review of the Conservation Plan was part of the Services' 
broader comprehensive review of the species' status relative to the 
Act. On January 20, 1999, the first State of Maine annual report on 
implementation of the Conservation Plan was made available for public 
review and comment. The Services published a Federal Register notice on 
that day, opening a comment period until March 8, 1999. The Services 
reviewed all public comments received on the draft annual report and 
provided a summary of those, along with their own comments, to the 
State of Maine in March 1999. The Services received a final revised 
annual report from the State of Maine on April 13, 1999.
    The July, 1999, Atlantic salmon status review identifies changes in 
species status, threats, and protection since the withdrawal notice. 
The updated status review states that, under current circumstances, it 
is the opinion of the Biological Review Team that the Gulf of Maine DPS 
is in danger of extinction. The status review also states that there 
are now at least eight rivers in the DPS range that still contain 
functioning populations, but at substantially reduced abundance levels. 
Recent survey work indicates that a naturally reproducing population 
that contains historic-river-specific characteristics also remains in 
Cove Brook and therefore warrants inclusion in the Gulf of Maine DPS. 
The FWS has designated the Atlantic salmon Gulf of Maine DPS as a 
candidate for listing. The FWS and NMFS will promptly begin preparation 
of a proposed rule to list this DPS of Atlantic salmon under the 
Endangered Species Act.

    Dated: September 30, 1999.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    Dated: October 6, 1999.
Penelope D. Dalton,
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
[FR Doc. 99-27377 Filed 10-15-99; 4:24 pm]