Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); request for comments
On October 7, 2011, we published an NOI to prepare an EIS for Amendment 5 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to address the results of recent shark stock assessments for several shark species, including dusky sharks. In that notice, based on the 2010/2011 Southeast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR) assessments for sandbar, dusky, and blacknose sharks, we declared that the status of the dusky shark stock is still overfished and still experiencing overfishing (i.e., their stock status has not changed). On November 26, 2012, we published a proposed rule for draft Amendment 5 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP. After fully considering the public comments received on draft Amendment 5 and its proposed rule, we decided that further analysis and consideration of management approaches, data sources, and available information are needed for dusky sharks beyond those considered in the proposed rule. Thus, we announce our intent to prepare a separate EIS under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to conduct further analyses and explore management options specific to rebuilding and ending overfishing of dusky sharks. This EIS would assess the potential effects on the human environment of action to rebuild and end overfishing of the dusky shark stock, consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Through the rulemaking process, we would amend the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and examine management alternatives available to rebuild dusky sharks and end overfishing, as necessary.
Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., local time, on May 24, 2013.