[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 149 (Monday, August 3, 2020)]
[Pages 46694-46696]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-16842]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-FAC-2020-N088; FF05F24400-201-FXFR13350500000; OMB Control 
Number 1018-0127]

Agency Information Collection Activities; Horseshoe Crab and 
Cooperative Fish Tagging Programs

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of information collection; request for comment.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are proposing to renew an 
information collection.

DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before 
October 2, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments on this information collection request 
(ICR) by mail to the Service Information Collection Clearance Officer, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: PRB (JAO/3W), 5275 Leesburg Pike, 
Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; or by email to Info_Coll@fws.gov. Please 
reference OMB Control Number 1018-0127 in the subject line of your 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Madonna L. Baucum, Service Information 
Collection Clearance Officer, by email at Info_Coll@fws.gov, or by 
telephone at (703) 358-2503. Individuals who are hearing or speech 
impaired may call the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and its implementing 
regulations at 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1), all information collections require 
approval under the PRA. We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not 
required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a 
currently valid OMB control number.
    As part of our continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent 
burdens, we invite the public and other Federal agencies to comment on 
new, proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This 
helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements 
and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public 
understand our information collection requirements and provide the 
requested data in the desired format.
    We are especially interested in public comment addressing the 
    (1) Whether or not the collection of information is necessary for 
the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including 
whether or not the information will have practical utility;
    (2) The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection 
of information, including the validity of the methodology and 
assumptions used;
    (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
    (4) How might the agency minimize the burden of the collection of 
information on those who are to respond, including through the use of 
appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological 
collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., 
permitting electronic submission of response.
    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of 
public record. We will include or summarize each comment in our request 
to OMB to approve this ICR. 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.
    Abstract: The Maryland Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office (MDFWCO) 
will collect information on crabs and fishes captured by the public. 
Tag information provided by the public will be used to estimate 
recreational and commercial harvest rates, estimate natural mortality 
rates, and evaluate migratory patterns, length and age frequencies, and 
effectiveness of current regulations.
    Horseshoe crabs play a vital role commercially, biomedically, and 
ecologically along the Atlantic coast. Horseshoe crabs are commercially 
harvested and used as bait in eel and conch fisheries. Biomedical 
companies along the coast also collect and bleed horseshoe crabs at 
their facilities. Limulus amebocyte lysate, derived from

[[Page 46695]]

horseshoe crab blood, is used by pharmaceutical companies to test 
sterility of products. Finally, migratory shorebirds also depend on the 
eggs of horseshoe crabs to refuel on their migrations from South 
America to the Arctic. One bird in particular, the rufa red knot 
(Calidris canutus rufa), feeds primarily on horseshoe crab eggs during 
its stopover. Effective January 12, 2015, the rufa red knot was listed 
as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (79 FR 73706; December 
11, 2014).
    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 Delaware Bay.
    Restrictive measures have been taken in recent years, but 
populations are increasing slowly. Because horseshoe crabs do not breed 
until they are 9 years or older, it may take some time before the 
population measurably increases. Federal and State agencies, 
universities, and biomedical companies participate in a Horseshoe Crab 
Cooperative Tagging Program. The Service's MDFWCO maintains the 
information collected under this program and uses it to evaluate 
migratory patterns, survival, and abundance of horseshoe crabs.
    Agencies that tag and release the crabs complete FWS Form 3-2311 
(Horseshoe Crab Tagging) and provide the Service with:
     Organization name;
     Contact person name;
     Tag number;
     Sex of crab;
     Prosomal width; and
     Capture site, latitude, longitude, waterbody, State, and 
    Members of the public who recover tagged crabs provide the 
following information using FWS Form 3-2310 (Horseshoe Crab Recapture 
     Tag number;
     Whether or not tag was removed;
     Condition of crab;
     Date captured/found;
     Crab fate;
     Finder type;
     Capture method;
     Capture location;
     Reporter information; and
    At the request of the public participant reporting the tagged crab, 
we send data pertaining to the tagging program and tag and release 
information on the horseshoe crab tag that was found.
    Fish will be tagged with an external tag containing a toll-free 
number for MDFWCO. Tagged species of fish include striped bass (Morone 
saxatilis), Atlantic (Acipenser oxyrinchus) and shortnose sturgeon 
(Acipenser brevirostrum), northern snakehead (Channa argus), and 
American shad (Alosa sapidissima). Members of the public reporting a 
tag will be asked a series of questions pertaining to the fish that 
they are referencing. The Service uses the following four forms to 
collect information used by fisheries managers throughout the Atlantic 
Coast (DOI regions 1 and 2), depending on species:
     Form 3-2493, ``American Shad Recapture Report'';
     Form 3-2494, ``Snakehead Recapture Report'';
     Form 3-2495, ``Striped Bass Recapture Report''; and
     Form 3-2496, ``Sturgeon Recapture Report.''
    American shad are tagged by the New York Department of 
Environmental Conservation (NYDEC), which retains all fish tagging 
information. The public reports tags to MDFWCO, who provides 
information on tag returns to NYDEC. Tag return data are used to 
monitor migration and abundance of shad along the Atlantic coast.
    Northern snakehead is an invasive species found in many watersheds 
throughout the mid-Atlantic region. It has been firmly established in 
the Potomac River since at least 2004. Federal and State biologists 
within the Potomac River watershed have been tasked with managing the 
impacts of northern snakehead. Tagging of northern snakehead is used to 
learn more about the species so that control efforts can be better 
informed. Tagging is also used to estimate population sizes to monitor 
trends in abundance. Recreational and commercial fishers reporting tags 
provide information on catch rates and migration patterns as well.
    Striped bass are cooperatively managed by Federal and State 
agencies through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission 
(ASMFC). The ASMFC uses fish tag return data to conduct stock 
assessments for striped bass. The database and collection are housed 
within MDFWCO, while the tagging is conducted by State agencies 
participating in striped bass management. Without this data collection, 
striped bass management would likely suffer from a lack of quality 
    Sturgeon are tagged by Federal, State, and university biologists 
and nongovernmental organizations along the U.S. east coast and into 
Canada, and throughout the United States and Canada. Local populations 
of Atlantic sturgeon have been listed as either threatened or 
endangered since 2012, and shortnose populations have been listed since 
1973. The information collected provides data on tag retention and 
sturgeon movement along the east coast. The data are also used to 
address some of the management and research needs identified by 
amendment 1 to the ASMFC's Atlantic Sturgeon Fishery Management Plan.
    Data collected across these tagging programs are similar in nature, 
     Tag number;
     Date of capture;
     Waterbody of capture;
     Capture method;
     Fish length, weight, and fate (whether released or 
killed); and
     Fisher type (i.e., commercial, recreational, etc.).
    In addition, if the tag reporter desires more information on their 
tagged fish or wants the modest reward that comes with reporting a tag, 
we ask their address so that we can mail them the information.
    Title of Collection: Horseshoe Crab and Cooperative Fish Tagging 
    OMB Control Number: 1018-0127.
    Form Number: FWS Forms 3-2310, 3-2311, and 3-2493 through 3-2496.
    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.
    Respondents/Affected Public: Respondents include Federal and State 
agencies, universities, and biomedical companies who conduct tagging, 
and members of the general public who provide recapture information.
    Total Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: 2,026.
    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 3,648.
    Estimated Completion Time per Response: Varies from 5 minutes to 95 
hours, depending on activity.
    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 2,241.
    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.
    Frequency of Collection: Respondents will provide information on 
occasion, upon tagging or upon encounter with a tagged crab or fish.
    Total Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: None.
    An agency 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.
    The authority for this action is the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

[[Page 46696]]

    Dated: July 29, 2020.
Madonna Baucum,
Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
[FR Doc. 2020-16842 Filed 7-31-20; 8:45 am]