PIFSC Sea Turtle Longline Research EA June 1, 2009
1.4.2 Permit Requirements
As no directed take of sea turtles protected under the Endangered Species Act is included in the proposed action, no permit will be required per ESA Section 10. Also, incidental take of sea turtles are counted against the hard cap on turtle takes authorized in the Incidental Take Statement of the Biological Opinion on the effects of the Hawaii-based commercial shallow-set longline fishery (NMFS 2008a) and will be in compliance with the Biological Opinion for the Hawaii-based deep-set longline fishery (NMFS 2005) (Section 1.3). There would be no net increase in potential turtle captures due to the proposed research. No work would be conducted within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (formerly Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument, hereafter referred to as the Monument), as longline fishing is prohibited there. No permits are required for the ongoing and proposed expansion of the research on and transfer of technology to foreign longline fishing fleets, which will continue to maintain or reduce sea turtle bycatch, depending on the activity (research or technology transfer). All FSBAD research will be conducted in compliance with all applicable Federal and state laws, as well as international agreements.
1.4.3 Spatial Scope of this PEA
Pelagic longline fisheries conducted in any ocean: All domestic or foreign fleets/vessels or domestic or foreign governments and entities located anywhere in which longline pelagic fishing is lawful (unless an Exempted Fishing Permit is issued) that choose to cooperate with NMFS PIFSC in conducting sea turtle bycatch studies related to pelagic longline fishing in the field and/or be involved in technology transfer are included within the scope of this PEA.
1.4.4 Scope of Decisions to be Made
The Responsible Program Manager (RPM; the Director of the PIFSC) will use this PEA to make the following decisions:
Might the current and proposed domestic and foreign research and technology transfer activities as described have significant impacts requiring analysis in an Environmental Impact Statement?
Should the PIFSC FSBAD continue to conduct existing research in domestic and foreign pelagic longline fleets and conduct technology transfer of sea turtle bycatch technology to foreign fleets on a programmed and consistent basis, focused on continuing to improve gear and operations to reduce bycatch of sea turtles in domestic and foreign longline fisheries?
Should the PIFSC expand the existing research programs and technology transfer for reducing sea turtle bycatch in domestic and foreign longline fisheries?
The analysis associated with issuing an Exempted Fishing Permit (EPF) for testing longline modified gear off the coast of California and Oregon is not included within the scope of decisions to be made. This proposed action is evaluated in the 2007 Final Environmental Assessment (SWFSC 2007) and the associated Biological Opinion (NMFS 2007). Therefore, this research is not included within the scope of this PEA.