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PIFSC Sea Turtle Longline Research EA June 1, 2009

with both National Standard 9 of the MSA regarding bycatch and the ESA. Because the proposed program does not represent an increase to fishing activity and as such the impacts associated with these activities are negligible, the cumulative effect of this research and other reasonably foreseeable actions is insignificant.

Ocean climate fluctuations that change the habitat quality or the prey availability of ocean resources have the potential to affect their short- or long-term distribution and abundance. Changes in oceanographic conditions may alter rates of direct and incidental takes of ocean resources in commercial fisheries as well as research. The magnitude of potential effects is uncertain, but as applied to the smaller scale nature of the research considered here, is not likely to affect the analysis presented.

Potential cumulative contribution of climate change to humpback whale populations in the Pacific Ocean is evaluated in Section 3.2. Climate change would most likely affect sea turtles due to rising sea levels adversely impacting nesting beaches, as well as potentially on foraging habitats and prey availability, but no analyses of these impacts are available.

As indicated in Section 1.6, any changed circumstances that would have environmental relevance would require additional analysis and appropriate management changes that might be integrated into the FSBAD research program as appropriate. NMFS (2008a) has determined that cumulative effects on humpback whale and the five species of sea turtles are likely to occur as a result of worsening climate change, and any increase in fishing, ship traffic, and other actions. However, since the extent of climate change and the extent of increases in other contributory actions are unquantifiable, the corresponding effects are also unquantifiable.

Overall, the research and technology transfer programs conducted by PIFSC and in cooperation with other countries and entities as currently conducted or as expanded as proposed are not likely to have a cumulative adverse effect on populations of sea turtles, nor on sharks and marine mammals as evaluated in Chapter 3.

4 List of Preparers

Dr. Christofer Boggs, Ph.D. Research Fisheries Biologist Fish Biology and Stock Assessment Division Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center National Marine Fisheries Service 2570 Dole Street Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 808-983-5370

Christofer Boggs, Division Chief, FSBAD and International Science Coordinator. Chris has worked for NOAA Fisheries in Honolulu for nearly 20 years, conducting investigations on fish capture time on longlines using hook timers and time-depth recorders, pelagic longline gear selectivity, interactions between longline fishing and other pelagic fisheries, the ecology of pelagic fish, tropho-dynamic models of the Pacific pelagic ecosystem, and interactions of longline fiseries with protected fauna such as seabirds and sea turtles. Chris graduated from the


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