[Federal Register: October 27, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 207)]
[Page 61988-61989]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Recovery Plan for the Short-Tailed Albatross (Phoebastria

AGENCY: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the
availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for the Short-tailed Albatross
(Phoebastria albatrus) for public review and comment.

DATES: Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or
before December 27, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft recovery plan are available for
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the
following location: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage Fish and
Wildlife Field Office, 605 W. 4th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501
(telephone: 907-271-2888). Requests for copies of the draft recovery
plan should be addressed to the Field Supervisor, at the above Service
address. An electronic copy of the draft recovery plan is also
available at http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans.

    If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and materials
by any one of the following methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and information by mail to:
Short-tailed Albatross Draft Recovery Plan Comments, U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, 605 W. 4th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501.

[[Page 61989]]

    2. You may hand-deliver written comments and information to our
Anchorage Fish and Wildlife Field Office, 605 W. 4th Avenue, Room G-62.
    3. You may fax your comments to 907-271-2786.
    4. You may send your comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to 
STARP_Comments@fws.gov. Please include ``Attn: Short-tailed

Albatross'' in the beginning of your message, and do not use special
characters or any form of encryption. Electronic attachments in
standard formats (such as .pdf or .doc) are acceptable, but please name
the software necessary to open any attachments in formats other than
those given above. Also, please include your name and return address in
your e-mail message (anonymous comments will not be considered). If you
do not receive a confirmation from the system that we have received
your e-mail message, please submit your comments in writing using one
of the alternate methods described above. In the event that our
internet connection is not functional, please submit your comments by
the alternate methods mentioned above.
    All comments and materials received will be available for public
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at our
Anchorage Fish and Wildlife Field Office at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Judy Jacobs, U. S. Fish and Wildlife
Biologist, at the above Service address.



    Restoring endangered or threatened animals and plants to the point
where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their
ecosystems is a primary goal of our endangered species program.
Recovery planning is an integral component of endangered species
conservation. Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for
the conservation and recovery of the species, establish criteria for
downlisting or delisting them, and estimate time and costs for
implementing the recovery measures needed.
    Section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act, (16 U.S.C. 1531 et
seq.) requires that public notice, and an opportunity for public review
and comment, be provided during recovery plan development. We will
consider all information received during the public comment period on
each new or revised recovery plan. Substantive technical comments may
result in changes to a recovery plan. Substantive comments regarding
recovery plan implementation may not necessarily result in changes to
the recovery plans, but will be forwarded to the appropriate Federal
agency or other entities so that they can take these comments into
account during the course of implementing recovery actions. Individual
responses to comments will not be provided.
    The short-tailed albatross, the largest of the three North Pacific
albatross species, is federally listed as endangered. Prior to its
exploitation, the short-tailed albatross was likely the most abundant
of the three albatross species in the North Pacific. Millions of these
birds were harvested by feather hunters prior to and following the turn
of the 20th century, resulting in the near-extirpation of the species
by the mid-20th century. Presently, fewer than 2000 short-tailed
albatrosses are known to exist.
    The short-tailed albatross is known to breed on two remote islands
in the western Pacific. Torishima, Japan, where the majority of short-
tailed albatrosses breed, is an active volcano. The natural colony site
on this island is also susceptible to mud slides and erosion. A smaller
colony exists in the Senkaku Islands, southwest of Torishima, where
volcanic eruption is not a threat; however, political uncertainty and
the potential for habitat alteration exist. Short-tailed albatrosses
apparently require remote islands for breeding habitat. They nest in
open, treeless areas with low, or no, vegetation. The species also
requires nutrient-rich areas of ocean upwelling for their foraging
    The major threat of over-exploitation that led to the species'
original endangered status no longer occurs. The Short-tailed Albatross
Recovery Team considers small population size, limited number of
breeding sites, and potential volcanic eruptions to be the current
major threats to the species. Other threats include incidental catch in
commercial fisheries, ingestion of plastics, contamination by oil and
other pollutants, the potential for competition, predation, or habitat
alteration associated with non-native species, and adverse effects
related to global climate change.
    The international group of experts comprising the Short-tailed
Albatross Recovery Team has unanimously agreed that establishment of
additional colonies on safe (i.e. not subject to volcanic activity and
protected) sites will be a recovery prerequisite. Downlisting to
threatened may be considered when: (1) The total breeding population of
short-tailed albatrosses reaches a minimum of 750 pairs; and (2) the 3-
year running average growth rate of the population as a whole is >=6
percent for >=7 years; and (3) at least three successful breeding
colonies (>5 breeding pairs each) exist, at least two of which occupy
non-volcanic (or extinct volcanic) islands.
    Delisting of the short-tailed albatross may be considered when: (1)
The total breeding population reaches a minimum of 1000 pairs; and (2)
the 3-year running average growth rate of the population as a whole is
>=6 percent for >=7 years; and (3) a total of at least 250 breeding
pairs exist on at least 2 non-volcanic islands; and (4) a minimum of 10
percent of these (i.e. >=25 pairs) occur on a site or sites other than
the Senkaku Islands. In addition, a post-delisting monitoring plan and
agreement to continue post-delisting monitoring must be in place and
ready for implementation at the time of delisting. Monitoring
populations following delisting will verify the ongoing recovery and
conservation of the species and provide a means of assessing the
continuing effectiveness of management actions.

Public Comments Solicited

    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, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law.
If you wish us to withhold your name or address, you must state this
request prominently at the beginning of your comments. However, we will
not consider anonymous comments. To the extent consistent with
applicable law, we will make all submissions from organizations or
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as
representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available
for public inspection in their entirety.


    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

    Dated: October 19, 2005.
Rowan Gould,
Regional Director, Region 7, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 05-21430 Filed 10-26-05; 8:45 am]