Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Giant Devil Ray as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act

 
CONTENT
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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration
[Docket No. 201105–0292; RTID 0648–
XR114]
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife;
90-Day Finding on a Petition To List
the Giant Devil Ray as Threatened or
Endangered Under the Endangered
Species Act
AGENCY
: National Marine Fisheries
Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
Commerce.
ACTION
: Notification of 90-Day petition
finding.
SUMMARY
: We, NMFS, announce a 90-
day finding on a petition to list the giant
devil ray (Mobula mobular) as an
endangered or threatened species under
the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The
petition requests that we list the giant
devil ray (M. mobular) as a distinct
species with a limited range throughout
the Mediterranean Sea. Information in
our files indicates a recent taxonomic
revision that found M. mobular and M.
japanica (spinetail devilray) to be
synonymous species (i.e., same taxon
described and named more than once
independently) with circumglobal
distribution in tropical and warm
temperate seas. The petition relies on
obsolete information to identify the
species, and therefore we find that the
petition does not present substantial
scientific or commercial information
indicating that the petitioned action
may be warranted.
ADDRESSES
: Interested persons may
obtain a copy of the petition online at
the NMFS website: https://
www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/
endangered-species-conservation/
negative-90-day-findings.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
:
Stephania Bolden (727 551–5768) or
Lisa Manning (301 427–8466), NMFS
Office of Protected Resources,
Stephania.Bolden@noaa.gov.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
:
Background
On February 10, 2020, we received a
petition from Friends of Animals to list
the giant devil ray (M. mobular) as a
threatened or endangered species
throughout its entire range under the
ESA. The petition describes the range of
the giant devil ray as being limited to
the Mediterranean Sea. The petition also
requests that critical habitat be
designated for the species in
Mediterranean waters. The petition is
available online (see
ADDRESSES
).
ESA Statutory, Regulatory, and Policy
Provisions and Evaluation Framework
Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the ESA of 1973,
as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.),
requires, to the maximum extent
practicable, that within 90 days of
receipt of a petition to list a species as
threatened or endangered, the Secretary
of Commerce make a finding on whether
that petition presents substantial
scientific or commercial information
indicating that the petitioned action
may be warranted, and to promptly
publish such finding in the Federal
Register (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(A)). When
we find that substantial scientific or
commercial information in a petition
indicates that the petitioned action may
be warranted (a ‘‘positive 90-day
finding’’), we are required to promptly
commence a review of the status of the
species concerned, which includes
conducting a comprehensive review of
the best available scientific and
commercial information. In such cases,
we conclude the review with a finding
as to whether, in fact, the petitioned
action is warranted within 12 months of
receipt of the petition. Because the
finding at the 12-month stage is based
on a more thorough review of the
available information, as compared to
the narrow scope of review at the 90-day
stage, a ‘‘may be warranted’’ finding
does not prejudge the outcome of the
status review and 12-month finding.
Under the ESA, a listing
determination may address a ‘‘species,’’
which is defined to also include
subspecies and, for any vertebrate
species, any distinct population
segment (DPS) that interbreeds when
mature (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). A joint
NMFS–U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS) policy clarifies the agencies’
interpretation of the phrase ‘‘distinct
population segment’’ for the purposes of
listing, delisting, and reclassifying a
species under the ESA (61 FR 4722;
February 7, 1996). A species,
subspecies, or DPS is ‘‘endangered’’ if it
is in danger of extinction throughout all
or a significant portion of its range, and
‘‘threatened’’ if it is likely to become
endangered within the foreseeable
future throughout all or a significant
portion of its range (ESA sections 3(6)
and 3(20), respectively, 16 U.S.C.
1532(6) and (20)). Pursuant to the ESA
and our implementing regulations, we
determine whether species are
threatened or endangered based on any
one or a combination of the following
five section 4(a)(1) factors: The present
or threatened destruction, modification,
or curtailment of habitat or range;
overutilization for commercial,
recreational, scientific, or educational
purposes; disease or predation;
inadequacy of existing regulatory
mechanisms; and any other natural or
manmade factors affecting the species’
existence (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(1), 50 CFR
424.11(c)).
ESA-implementing regulations issued
jointly by NMFS and USFWS (50 CFR
424.14(h)(1)(i) define ‘‘substantial
scientific or commercial information’’ in
the context of reviewing a petition to
list, delist, or reclassify a species as
credible scientific or commercial
information in support of the petition’s
claims such that a reasonable person
conducting an impartial scientific
review would conclude that the action
proposed in the petition may be
warranted. Conclusions drawn in the
petition without the support of credible
scientific or commercial information
will not be considered ‘‘substantial
information.’’ In reaching the initial (90-
day) finding on the petition, we will
consider the information described in
sections 50 CFR 424.14(c), (d), and (g)
(if applicable). Our determination as to
whether the petition provides
substantial scientific or commercial
information indicating that the
petitioned action may be warranted
depends in part on the degree to which
the petition includes the following types
of information: (1) Information on
current population status and trends
and estimates of current population
sizes and distributions, both in captivity
and the wild, if available; (2)
identification of the factors under
section 4(a)(1) of the ESA that may
affect the species and where these
factors are acting upon the species; (3)
whether and to what extent any or all
of the factors alone or in combination
identified in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA
may cause the species to be an
endangered species or threatened
species (i.e., the species is currently in
danger of extinction or is likely to
become so within the foreseeable
future), and, if so, how high in
magnitude and how imminent the
threats to the species and its habitat are;
(4) information on adequacy of
regulatory protections and effectiveness
of conservation activities by States as
well as other parties, that have been
initiated or that are ongoing, that may
protect the species or its habitat; and (5)
a complete, balanced representation of
the relevant facts, including information
that may contradict claims in the
petition. See 50 CFR 424.14(d).
We may also consider information
readily available at the time the
determination is made. We are not
required to consider any supporting
materials cited by the petitioner if the
petitioner does not provide electronic or
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hard copies, to the extent permitted by
U.S. copyright law, or appropriate
excerpts or quotations from those
materials (e.g., publications, maps,
reports, letters from authorities). See 50
CFR 424.14(c)(6).
At the 90-day finding stage, we
evaluate the petitioners’ request based
upon the information in the petition
including its references and the
information readily available in our
files. We do not conduct additional
research, and we do not solicit
information from parties outside the
agency to help us in evaluating the
petition. We will accept the petitioners’
sources and characterizations of the
information presented if they appear to
be based on accepted scientific
principles, unless we have specific
information in our files that indicates
the petition’s information is incorrect,
unreliable, obsolete, or otherwise
irrelevant to the requested action.
Information that is susceptible to more
than one interpretation or that is
contradicted by other available
information will not be dismissed at the
90-day finding stage, so long as it is
reliable and a reasonable person would
conclude it supports the petitioners’
assertions. Conclusive information
indicating that the species may meet the
ESA’s requirements for listing is not
required to make a positive 90-day
finding. We will not conclude that a
lack of specific information alone
negates a positive 90-day finding if a
reasonable person would conclude that
the unknown information itself suggests
an extinction risk of concern for the
species at issue.
To make a 90-day finding on a
petition to list a species, we evaluate
whether the petition presents
substantial scientific or commercial
information indicating that the subject
species may be either threatened or
endangered, as defined by the ESA.
First, we evaluate whether the
information presented in the petition,
along with the information readily
available in our files, indicates that the
petitioned entity constitutes a ‘‘species’’
eligible for listing under the ESA. Next,
we evaluate whether the information
indicates that the species faces an
extinction risk that is cause for concern;
this may be indicated in information
expressly discussing the species’ status
and trends, or in information describing
impacts and threats to the species. We
evaluate any information on specific
demographic factors pertinent to
evaluating extinction risk for the species
(e.g., population abundance and trends,
productivity, spatial structure, age
structure, sex ratio, diversity, current
and historical range, habitat integrity or
fragmentation), and the potential
contribution of identified demographic
risks to extinction risk for the species.
We then evaluate the potential links
between these demographic risks and
the causative impacts and threats
identified in section 4(a)(1).
Information presented on impacts or
threats should be specific to the species
and should reasonably suggest that one
or more of these factors may be
operative threats that act or have acted
on the species to the point that it may
warrant protection under the ESA.
Broad statements about generalized
threats to the species, or identification
of factors that could negatively impact
a species, do not constitute substantial
information indicating that listing may
be warranted. We look for information
indicating that not only is the particular
species exposed to a factor, but that the
species may be responding in a negative
fashion; then we assess the potential
significance of that negative response.
Many petitions identify risk
classifications made by non-
governmental organizations, such as the
International Union for the
Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the
American Fisheries Society, or
NatureServe, as evidence of extinction
risk for a species. Risk classifications by
other organizations or made under other
Federal or state statutes may be
informative, but such classification
alone may not provide the rationale for
a positive 90-day finding under the
ESA. For example, as explained by
NatureServe, their assessments of a
species’ conservation status do ‘‘not
constitute a recommendation by
NatureServe for listing under the U.S.
Endangered Species Act’’ because
NatureServe assessments ‘‘have
different criteria, evidence
requirements, purposes and taxonomic
coverage than government lists of
endangered and threatened species, and
therefore these two types of lists should
not be expected to coincide’’ (https://
explorer.natureserve.org/
AboutTheData/DataTypes/Conservation
StatusCategories). Additionally, species
classifications under IUCN and the ESA
are not equivalent; data standards,
criteria used to evaluate species, and
treatment of uncertainty are also not
necessarily the same. Thus, when a
petition cites such classifications, we
will evaluate the source of information
that the classification is based upon in
light of the standards on extinction risk
and impacts or threats discussed above.
Analysis of the Petition and
Information Readily Available in
NMFS Files
As mentioned above, in analyzing the
request of the petitioner, we first
evaluate whether the information
presented in the petition, along with
information readily available in our
files, indicates that the petitioned entity
constitutes a ‘‘species’’ eligible for
listing under the ESA.
To evaluate the petition, we first
looked at the taxonomic description in
the petition that referred to the M.
mobular by one of its common names,
‘‘giant devil ray.’’ The petition includes
a ‘‘full taxonomic classification’’ of the
giant devil ray, and identifies M.
mobular (Raia mobular Bonnaterre
1778) within the genus Mobula. The
petition then asserts there are nine
different species of the devil ray and
lists them as: Giant devil ray (M.
mobular), lesser Guinean devil ray (M.
rochebrunei), Chilean devil ray (M.
tarapacana), pygmy devil ray (M.
eregoodootenkee), smoothtail Mobula
(M. munkiana), bentfin devil ray (M.
thurstoni), spinetail devil ray (M.
japanica), Atlantic devil ray (M.
hypostoma), and the shortfin devil ray
(M. kuhlii). The petition cites the M.
mobular 2015 IUCN Red List Report
(Notarbartolo di Sciara et al. 2015) as
reference for the taxonomy of the giant
devil ray and includes as the source a
12-page document downloaded from the
IUCN website (Notarbartolo di Sciara et
al. 2015; that appears to be downloaded
on January 24, 2020). However, this
source citation for the taxonomic
description provided by the petitioner
includes on the first page next to the
scientific name of the species the
statement: ‘‘This concept is no longer
recognized.’’
The 2019 IUCN Red List Report for M.
mobular (Marshall et al. 2019), which
was readily available in our files,
describes a 2017 taxonomic revision
that combines the individuals
previously identified as M. japanica
with those classified as M. mobular.
Citing both morphological examination
and an increased understanding of
molecular genetics, the 2017 taxonomic
revision found M. japanica to be a
junior synonym to the senior M.
mobular (White et al. 2017 with
agreement by Hosegood et al. 2018).
This taxonomic revision is reflected in
the 2019 IUCN Red List Report
(Marshall et al. 2019), which no longer
recognizes M. japanica and identifies
the range of M. mobular as
‘‘circumglobal in temperate and tropical
waters throughout all oceans.’’
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Thus, while the petition identifies M.
mobular as a species separate from M.
japanica, recent improved knowledge of
phylogenetic relationships, available
when the petition was submitted to
NMFS in 2020, indicates the species is
no longer a valid concept. Information
in our files, as well as the source
citation submitted with the petition
(IUCN Red List 2015), clearly indicate
the species identified in the petition is
based on an obsolete taxonomic
classification.
Because we concluded that the
petition does not identify a valid species
for listing, we do not need to evaluate
whether the information in the petition
indicates the species may be an
endangered or threatened species based
on ESA section 4(a)(1) factors.
Furthermore, our regulations specify
that critical habitat will not be
designated within foreign countries or
in areas outside the jurisdiction of the
United States (50 CFR 424.12(g)). Thus,
we conclude that the petition does not
meet the requirements outlined in our
regulations indicating that the
petitioned action may be warranted.
Petition Finding
After reviewing the information
contained in the petition, as well as
information readily available in our
files, we conclude that because of a
recent taxonomic revision the species
identified in the petition is no longer a
valid concept. Therefore, the petition
does not present substantial scientific or
commercial information indicating the
requested actions may be warranted. We
note our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(g))
specify that critical habitat will not be
designated within foreign countries or
in areas outside the jurisdiction of the
United States.
References Cited
A complete list of references is
available upon request to the NMFS
Office of Protected Resources (see
FOR
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
).
Authority
The authority for this action is the
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as
amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).
Dated: November 10, 2020.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for
Regulatory Programs, National Marine
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2020–25625 Filed 11–19–20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510–22–P
COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM
PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR
SEVERELY DISABLED
Procurement List; Proposed Additions
and Deletions
AGENCY
: Committee for Purchase From
People Who Are Blind or Severely
Disabled.
ACTION
: Proposed additions to and
deletions from the Procurement List.
SUMMARY
: The Committee is proposing
to add service(s) to the Procurement List
that will be furnished by nonprofit
agencies employing persons who are
blind or have other severe disabilities,
and deletes service(s) previously
furnished by such agencies.
DATES
: Comments must be received on
or before: December 20, 2020.
ADDRESSES
: Committee for Purchase
From People Who Are Blind or Severely
Disabled, 1401 S Clark Street, Suite 715,
Arlington, Virginia 22202–4149.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
: For
further information or to submit
comments contact: Michael R.
Jurkowski, Telephone: (703) 603–2117,
Fax: (703) 603–0655, or email
CMTEFedReg@AbilityOne.gov.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
: This
notice is published pursuant to 41
U.S.C. 8503(a)(2) and 41 CFR 51–2.3. Its
purpose is to provide interested persons
an opportunity to submit comments on
the proposed actions.
Additions
If the Committee approves the
proposed additions, the entities of the
Federal Government identified in this
notice will be required to procure the
service(s) listed below from nonprofit
agencies employing persons who are
blind or have other severe disabilities.
The following service(s) are proposed
for addition to the Procurement List for
production by the nonprofit agencies
listed:
Service(s)
Service Type: Grounds Maintenance Service
Mandatory for: US Army, US Army
Communications-Electronics Command
Headquarters, Aberdeen Proving Ground,
MD
Designated Source of Supply: Chimes District
of Columbia, Baltimore, MD
Contracting Activity: DEPT OF THE ARMY,
W6QK ACC–APG DIR
Deletions
The following service(s) are proposed
for deletion from the Procurement List:
Service(s)
Service Type: Document Destruction
Mandatory for: Internal Revenue Service:
40 West Baseline, Suite 211, Tempe, AZ
Mandatory for: Internal Revenue Service:
1244 Speer Blvd., Denver, CO
Mandatory for: Internal Revenue Service:
56 and 58 Inverness Drive E, Englewood,
CO
Mandatory for: Internal Revenue Service:
4750 West Oak Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV
Mandatory for: Internal Revenue Service:
210 E Earl Drive, Phoenix, AZ
Mandatory for: Internal Revenue Service:
50 South 200 East, Salt Lake City, UT
Mandatory for: Internal Revenue Service:
8671 Wolff Ct, Westminster, CO
Designated Source of Supply: Northwest
Center, Seattle, WA
Contracting Activity: INTERNAL REVENUE
SERVICE, DEPT OF TREAS/INTERNAL
REVENUE SERVICE
Michael R. Jurkowski,
Deputy Director, Business & PL Operations.
[FR Doc. 2020–25636 Filed 11–19–20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6353–01–P
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Defense Acquisition Regulations
System
[Docket Number DARS–2020–0020; OMB
Control Number 0704–0252]
Submission for OMB Review;
Comment Request
AGENCY
: Defense Acquisition
Regulations System, Department of
Defense (DoD).
ACTION
: Notice.
SUMMARY
: The Defense Acquisition
Regulations System has submitted to
OMB for clearance, the following
proposed revision and extension of a
collection of information under the
provisions of the Paperwork Reduction
Act.
DATES
: Consideration will be given to all
comments received by December 21,
2020.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
:
Title and OMB Number: Defense
Federal Acquisition Regulation
Supplement (DFARS) Part 251, Use of
Government Sources by Contractors,
and a related clause at DFARS 252.251;
OMB Control Number 0704–0252.
Type of Request: Revision of a
currently approved collection.
Affected Public: Businesses or other
for-profit and not-for profit institutions.
Respondent’s Obligation: Required to
obtain or retain benefits.
Number of Respondents: 1,414.
Responses per Respondent: 7.8,
approximately.
Annual Responses: 11,058.
Average Burden per Response: .5
hour.
Annual Burden Hours: 5,529.
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