[Federal Register: March 28, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 60)]
[Page 14959-14963]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Marine Mammal Protection Act; Stock Assessment Reports

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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


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

DATES: Comments must be received by June 26, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft revised stock assessment reports are 
available from the Marine Mammals Management Office, 1011 East Tudor 
Road, Anchorage, AK 99503, (800) 362-5148. They can also be viewed in 
Adobe Acrobat format at http://www.r7.fws.gov/mmm/SAR.
    Comments on the draft revised stock assessment reports should be 
sent to: Supervisor, Marine Mammals Management Office, 1011 East Tudor 
Road, Anchorage, AK 99503 by conventional mail, or mmm.sar@fws.gov by 
electronic mail.

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. Section 
117 of the MMPA also requires the FWS and the NMFS to review and revise 
the stock assessment reports (a) at least annually for stocks which are 
specified as strategic stocks; (b) at least annually for stocks for 
which significant new information is available; and (c) at least once 
every three years for all other stocks. Stock assessment reports for 
Pacific walrus, polar bar, and sea otters in Alaska were last published 
in 1998.
    Previous stock assessments covered a single stock of Pacific 
walrus, two stocks of polar bears (Bering/Chukchi seas and southern 
Beaufort sea), and a single stock of sea otters in Alaska. There are no 
changes in stock identification for Pacific walrus and polar bear, 
however three stocks of sea otters (southwest Alaska, southcentral 
Alaska, and southeast Alaska) have been identified.
    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 
potential biological removal 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 
within the foreseeable future; or (C) which is listed as a threatened 
or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, or is 
designated as depleted under the MMPA.
    With the exception of the southwest Alaska stock of sea otters, all 
stocks remain classified as non-strategic in these draft reports. Based 
on the best available scientific information, sea otter numbers across 
southwest Alaska are declining. In April 2000, an aerial survey of sea 
otters in the Aleutian Islands indicated the population had declined by 
70% during the period from 19922000. In August 2000 FWS designated the 
northern sea otter in the Aleutian Islands as a candidate species under 
the Endangered Species Act. Additional surveys in 2000 and 2001 along 
the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak archipelago also showed population 
declines in these areas. As a result, the southwest Alaska stock is 
classified as strategic in the draft report and is under review for 
possible listing under the Endangered Species Act.
    A summary of the draft revised stock assessment reports is 
presented in Table 1. The table lists each marine mammal stock, 
estimated abundance (NEST), minimum abundance estimate 
(NMIN), maximum theoretical growth rate (RMAX), 
recovery factor (FR), Potential Biological Removal (PBR), 

[[Page 14960]]

estimated average human-caused mortality, and the status of each stock. 
In accordance with the MMPA, a list of the sources of information or 
public reports upon which the assessment is based is included in this 

                                            Table 1.--Summary of Draft Stock Assessment Report for Pacific Walrus Polar Bear, and Sea Otter in Alaska
                                                                                                                          Mortality causes (5 yr. average)
              Species                         Stock            NEST      NMIN      RMAX       FR        PBR   -------------------------------------------------------        Stock/Status
                                                                                                                     Subsistence        Fishery         Other
Pacific Walrus.....................  Alaska................  ........  ........      0.08  ........  ........  5,789                          2  4                    Non-strategic.
Polar Bear.........................  Alaska................  ........  ........      0.06       0.5  ........  45 (Alaska)                    0  0 (Alaska)           Non-strategic.
                                     Chukchi/Bering Seas...                                                    - (Russia)                        - (Russia)
Polar Bear.........................  Alaska Southern.......     2,272     1,971      0.06       1.0        88  34 (Alaska)                    0  1 (Alaska)           Non-strategic.
                                     Beaufort Sea..........                                                    20 (Canada)                       0 (Canada)
Sea Otter..........................  Southeast Alaska......     8,807     8,709      0.20       1.0       871  301                            0  0                    Non-strategic.
Sea Otter..........................  Southcentral Alaska...    21,749    19,508      0.20       1.0     1,951  297                            0  0                    Non-strategic.
Sea Otter..........................  Southwest Alaska......    23,967    21,518      0.20       0.5     1,076  97                             1  0                    Strategic.
 Dash (-) indicates unknown value.

List of References

Pacific Walrus

Chapskii, K.K. 1936. The walrus of the Kara Sea. Results of an 
investigation of the life history, geographical distribution, and 
stock of walruses in the Kara Sea. Transactions of the Arctic 
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Chivers, S.J. 1999. Biological indices for monitoring population 
status of walrus evaluated with an individual-based model. Pp. 239-
247 In: Garner, G.W., S.C. Amstrup, J.L. Laake, B.F.J. Manly, L.L. 
McDonald, and D.G. Robertson (eds.), Marine Mammal Survey and 
Assessment Methods. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, 287 pp.
DeMaster, D.P. 1984. An analysis of a hypothetical population of 
walruses. Pp. 77-80 In: F.H. Fay and G.A. Fedoseev (eds.), Soviet-
American Cooperative Research on Marine Mammals, vol. 1, Pinnipeds. 
NOAA Technical Report, NMFS 12, 104 pp.
Estes, J.A. and J.R. Gilbert. 1978. Evaluation of an aerial survey 
of Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens). Journal of the 
Fisheries Research Board of Canada 35:1130-1140.
Estes, J.A. and V.N. Gol'tsev. 1984. Abundance and distribution of 
the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens): results of the 
first Soviet-American joint aerial survey, autumn 1975. Pp. 67-76 
In: F.H. Fay and G.A. Fedoseev (eds.), Soviet-American Cooperative 
Research on Marine Mammals, vol. 1, Pinnipeds. NOAA Technical 
Report, NMFS 12, 104 pp.
Fay, F.H. 1982. Ecology and Biology of the Pacific Walrus (Odobenus 
rosmarus divergens). North American Fauna 74. U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Washington, DC, 279 pp.
Fay, F.H., B.P. Kelly, P.H. Gehnrich, J.L. Sease, and A.A. Hoover. 
1984. Modern populations, migrations, demography, trophics, and 
historical status of the Pacific walrus. Final Report R.U. #611. 
NOAA Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment Program, 
Anchorage, AK, 142 pp.
Fay, F.H., B.P. Kelly, and J.L. Sease. 1989. Managing the 
exploitation of Pacific walruses: a tragedy of delayed response and 
poor communication. Marine Mammal Science 5:1-16.
Fay, F.H., J.J. Burns, S.W. Stoker, and J.S. Grundy. 1994. The 
struck-and-lost factor in Alaskan walrus harvests. Arctic 47(4):368-
Fay, F.H., L.L. Eberhardt, B.P. Kelly, J.J. Burns, and L.T. 
Quakenbush. 1997. Status of the Pacific walrus Population, 1950-
1989. Marine Mammal Science 13(4):537-565.
Fedoseev, G.A. 1984. Present status of the population of walruses 
(Odobenus rosmarus) in the eastern Arctic and Bering Sea. Pp. 73-85 
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Shevchenko, N.S. Fadeev, and E.B. Kucheriavenko (eds.), Marine 
Mammals of the Far East. TINRO, Vladivostok.
Fedoseev, G.A. and V.N. Gol'tsev. 1969. Age-sex structure and 
reproductive capacity of the Pacific walrus population. Zoological 
Journal 48:407-413.
Fedoseev, G.A. and E.V. Razlivalov. 1986. The distribution and 
abundance of walruses in the eastern Arctic and Bering Sea in autumn 
1985. VNIRO, Magadan Branch. Mimeo report, 7 pp.
Garlich-Miller, J.G. and D.M. Burn. 1997. Estimating the harvest of 
Pacific walrus, Odobenus rosmarus divergens, in Alaska. Fish. Bull. 
97 (4):1043-1046.
Garlich-Miller, J. and C.V. Jay. 2000. Proceedings of a workshop 
concerning walrus survey methods. USFWS R7/MMM Technical Report 00-
2, 92 pp.
Gilbert, J.R. 1986. Aerial survey of Pacific walrus in the Chukchi 
Sea, 1985. Mimeo report, 43 pp.
Gilbert, J.R. 1989a. Aerial census of Pacific walruses in the 
Chukchi Sea, 1985. Marine Mammal Science 5(1):17-28.
Gilbert, J.R. 1989b. Errata: Correction to the variance of products, 
estimates of Pacific walrus populations. Marine Mammal Science 
Gilbert, J.R. 1999. Review of previous Pacific walrus surveys to 
develop improved survey designs. In: Garner, G.W., S.C. Amstrup, 
J.L. Laake, B.F.J. Manly, L.L. McDonald, and D.G. Robertson (eds.), 
Marine Mammal Survey and Assessment Methods. A.A. Balkema, 
Rotterdam, 287 pp.
Gilbert, J.R., G.A. Fedoseev, D. Seagars, E. Razlivalov, and A. 
LaChugin. 1992. Aerial census of Pacific walrus, 1990. USFWS R7/MMM 
Technical Report 92-1, 33 pp.
Hills, S. and J.R. Gilbert. 1994. Detecting Pacific walrus 
population trends with aerial survey--a review. Transactions North 
American Wildlife and Natural Resource Conference.
Johnson, A., J. Burns, W. Dusenberry, and R. Jones. 1982. Aerial 
survey of Pacific walrus, 1980. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Anchorage, AK. Mimeo report, 32 pp.
Kelly, B.P., B. Taras, and L. Quakenbush. 2000. Monitoring age and 
sex composition of Pacific walruses: 12-30 July 1999 cruise report. 
Unpublished report to North Pacific Marine Research Program and 
Eskimo Walrus Commission. School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, 
University of Alaska Fairbanks, 16 pp.
Krylov, V.I. 1965. Determination of age, rate of growth, and 
analysis of the age structure of the catch of the Pacific walrus. 
Pp. 210-211 In: E.N. Pavlovski, B.A. Zenkovich, S.E. Kleinenber, and 
K.K. Chapskii (eds.), Morskie Mlekopitaiushchie. Nauka, Moscow.
Krylov, V.I. 1968. On the present status of stocks of the Pacific 
walrus and prospects of their rational exploitation. Pp. 189-204 In: 
V.A. Arsen'ev and K.I. Panin (eds.), Lastonogie Severnoi Chasti 
Tikhogo Okeana. Pischevaya Promyshlennost', Moscow.

[[Page 14961]]

Mansfield, A.W. 1959. The walrus in the Canadian Arctic. Fisheries 
Research Board Canada, Circular 2, 13 pp.
Scribner, K.T., S. Hills, S.R. Fain, and M.A. Cronin. 1997. 
Population genetics studies of the walrus (Odobenus rosmarus): a 
summary and interpretation of results and research needs. In: A.E. 
Dizon, S.J. Chivers and W.F. Perrin (eds.), Molecular Genetics of 
Marine Mammals. Marine Mammal Science 3:173-184.
Sease, J.L. 1986. Historical status and population dynamics of the 
Pacific walrus. Univ. Alaska, Fairbanks. Thesis, 213 pp.
Sease, J.L. and D.G. Chapman. 1988. Pacific walrus (Odobenus 
rosmarus divergens). Pgs. 17-38. In: J.W. Lentfer (eds.), Selected 
Marine Mammals of Alaska: species accounts with research and 
management recommendations. Marine Mammal Commission, Washington, 
D.C. NTIS PB88-178462.
Wade, P.R., and R. Angliss. 1997. Guidelines for assessing marine 
mammal stocks: report of the GAMMS workshop April 3-5, 1996, 
Seattle, Washington. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-OPR-
12, 93 pp.

Polar Bear

Administrative Law Judge. 1977. Environmental Impact Statement: 
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Amstrup, S.C., and D.P. DeMaster. 1998. Polar bear, Ursus maritimus. 
Pages 39-45 In: J.W. Lentfer, ed. Selected Marine Mammals of Alaska: 
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Amstrup, S.C., I. Stirling, and J.W. Lentfer. 1986. Past and present 
status of polar bears in Alaska. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 14:241-
Amstrup, S.C. 1995. Movements, distribution, and population dynamics 
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Alaska-Fairbanks. Fairbanks, Alaska, 299 pp.
Amstrup, S.C., T.L. McDonald, and I. Stirling. 2001. Polar bears in 
the Beaufort Sea: A 30-year mark-recapture case history. Journal of 
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Belikov, S.E. 1993. Status of polar bear populations in the Russian 
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Belikov. 1997. Draft of Russian-American agreement on protection and 
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Cronin, M.A., S.C. Amstrup, G.W. Garner, and E.R. Vyse. 1991. 
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DeMaster, D.P., and I. Stirling. 1981. Ursus maritimus. Mammalian 
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Dizon, A.E., C. Lockyer, W.F. Perrin, D.P. DeMaster, and J. Sisson. 
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Conser. Biol. 6:24-36.
Evans, T.F., A.S. Fischbach, S. Schliebe, S. Kalxdorff, G. York, B. 
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Paetkau, D., S.C. Amstrup, E.W. Born, W. Calvert, A.E. Derocher, 
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Nature and Nat. Resour., Nuuk, Greenland.
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Molecular genetics of marine mammals, incorporating the proceedings 
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[[Page 14962]]

Report in the GAMMS Workshop, April 3-5, 1996, Seattle, WA. 93pp.
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Sea Otter

Agler, B.A., S.J. Kendall, P.E. Seiser, and J.R. Lindell. 1995. 
Estimates of marine bird and sea otter abundance in Southeast Alaska 
during summer 1994. Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and 
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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. Environmental 
Toxicology and Chemistry 18(3):452-458.
Bodkin, J.L., B.E. Ballachey, and M.A. Cronin. 1992. Mitochondrial 
DNA analysis in the conservation and management of sea otters. 
Research Information Bulletin, U.S. Department of the Interior 37:1-
Bodkin, J.L., R.J. Jameson, and J.A. Estes. 1995. Sea otters in the 
North Pacific Ocean. Pages 353-356 In: LaRoe III, E.T., G.S. Farris, 
C.E. Pucket, and P.D. Doran, eds. Our Living Resources 1994: a 
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U.S. plants, animals and ecosystems. U.S. Department of the 
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Bodkin, J.L., B.E. Ballachey, M.A. Cronin, and K.T. Scribner. 1999. 
Population demographics and genetic diversity in remnant and 
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Bodkin, J.L., and M.S. Udevitz. 1999. An aerial survey method to 
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Rotterdam, Netherlands.
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Brueggeman, J.J., G.A. Green, R.A. Grotefendt, and D.G. Chapman. 
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Alaska and the southeastern Bering Sea. Minerals Management Service 
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Calkins D.G., and K.B. Schneider. 1985. The sea otter (Enhydra 
lutris). Pages 37-45. In: Marine Mammals Species Accounts. J.J. 
Burns, K.J. Frost, and L.F. Lowry (eds). Alaska Department of Fish 
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Comerci, L.R., C.S. Gorbis, A. Matz, and K.A. Trust (in prep.). 
Tissue concentrations of elemental and organochlorine compounds in 
sea otters in Alaska. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Technical 
Report, Anchorage, Alaska.
Costa, D.P., and G.L. Kooyman. 1981. Effects of oil contamination in 
the sea otter Enhydra lutris. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental 
Assessment Program. NOAA Final Report. La Jolla, California.,
Credle, V.A.D.P. DeMaster, M.M. Merlein, M.B. Hanson, W.A. Karp, and 
S.M. Fitzgerald (eds.) 1994. NMFS observer programs: minutes and 
recommendations from a workshop held in Galveston, Texas, November 
10-11, 1993. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Tech. Memo. NFMS-OPR-
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Cronin, M.A., J.L. Bodkin, B.E. Ballachey, J.A. Estes, and J.C. 
Patton. 1996. Mitochondrial-DNA variation among subspecies and 
populations of sea otters. Journal of Mammology 77(2):546-557.
Cronin, M.A., W.J. Spearman, W. Buchholz, S. Miller, L. Jack and L. 
Commerci. (in prep.). Microsatellite DNA and mitochondrial DNA 
variation in Alaskan sea otters.
DeGrange, A.R., D.C. Douglas, D.H. Monson and C.M. Robbins. 1994a. 
Surveys of sea otters in the Gulf of Alaska in response to the Exxon 
Valdez oil spill. Final report to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee 
Council, Marine Mammal Study 6-7. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Anchorage, Alaska.
DeGange, A.R., A.M. Doroff, and D.H. Monson. 1994b. Experimental 
recovery of sea otter carcasses at Kodiak Island, Alaska, following 
the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Marine Mammal Science 10:429-496.
DeMaster, D.P. 1995. Minutes from the 4-5 and 11 January 1995 
meeting of the Alaska Scientific Review Group, Anchorage, Alaska. 27 
pp. + appendices (available upon request-D.P. DeMaster, National 
Marine Mammals Laboratory, 7600 Sand point Way, NE, Seattle, WA 
Dizon, A.E., C. Lockyer, W.F. Perrin, D.P. DeMaster, and J. Sisson. 
1992. Rethinking the stock concept: a phylogeographic approach. 
Conservation Biology 6(1):24-36.
Doroff, A.M., and C.S. Gorbics. 1998. Sea Otter Surveys of Yakutat 
Bay and Adjacent Gulf of Alaska Coastal Areas--Cape Hinchinbrook to 
Cape Spencer 1995-1996. Minerals Management Service, OCS Study MMS 
97-0026. 31 pp.
Doroff, A.M., J.A. Estes, M.T. Tinker, D.M. Burn, and T.J. Evans (in 
prep.) Sea otter population declines in the Aleutian Archipelago.
Estes, J.A. 1990., Growth and equilibrium in sea otter populations. 
Journal of Animal Ecology 59:385-401.
Estes, J.A., C.E. Bacon, W.M. Jarman, R.J. Norstrom, R.G. Anthony, 
and A.K. Miles, 1997. Organochlorines in sea otters and bald eagles 
from the Aleutian Archipelgo. Marine Pollution Bulletin 34(6):486-
Estes, J.A., M.T. Tinker, T.M. Williams and D.F. Doak. 1998. Killer 
whale predation on sea otters linking ocean and nearshore systems. 
Science 282-473-476.
Evans, T.J., D.M. Burn and A.R. DeGange. 1997. Distribution and 
Relative Abundance of Sea Otters in the Aleutian Archipelago. USFWS 
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    Dated: January 29, 2002.
David B. Allen,
Regional Director.
[Marine Mammal Protection Act; Stock Assessment Reports]
[FR Doc. 02-7436 Filed 3-27-02; 8:45 am]