NOAA announces listing of three distinct population segments of Puget Sound rockfish
74 Fed. Reg. 18516 / Vol. 74, No. 77 / Thursday, April 23, 2009
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / 50 CFR Parts 223 and 224 / Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Proposed Endangered, Threatened, and Not Warranted Status for Distinct Population Segments of Rockfish in Puget Sound / ACTION: Proposed rule; 12–month petition finding; request for comments.
SUMMARY: We, the NMFS, have completed Endangered Species Act (ESA) status reviews for five species of rockfish (Sebastes spp.) occurring in Puget Sound, Washington, in response to a petition submitted by Mr. Sam Wright of Olympia, Washington, to list these species in Puget Sound as threatened or endangered species. (See prior ESA blawg posting.) We reviewed best available scientific and commercial information on the status of these five stocks and considered whether they are in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their ranges, or are likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of their ranges. For bocaccio (S. paucispinis), we have determined that the members of this species in the Georgia Basin are a distinct population segment (DPS) and are endangered throughout all of their range. We propose to list this bocaccio DPS as endangered. We have determined that yelloweye rockfish (S. ruberrimus) and canary rockfish (S. pinniger) in the Georgia Basin are DPSs and are likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all of their range. We propose to list the Georgia Basin DPSs of yelloweye and canary rockfish as threatened. We determined that populations of greenstriped rockfish (S. elongatus) and redstripe rockfish (S. proriger) occurring in Puget Sound Proper are DPSs but are not in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their ranges or likely to become so in the foreseeable future. We find that listing the greenstriped rockfish Puget Sound Proper DPS and the redstripe rockfish Puget Sound Proper DPS is not warranted at this time. Any protective regulations determined to be necessary and advisable for the conservation of threatened yelloweye and canary rockfish under ESA section 4(d) would be proposed in a subsequent Federal Register notice. We solicit information to inform these listing determinations and the development of proposed protective regulations and designation of critical habitat in the event these species are listed.
DATES: Comments on this proposal must be received by June 22, 2009. A public hearing will be held promptly if any person so requests by June 8, 2009. Notice of the location and time of any such hearing will be published in the Federal Register not less than 15 days before the hearing is held.
Photo of the three life history stages of the yelloweye rockfish, from Rockfishproject.us. Unlike most fishes, rockfishes have internal fertilization. They are viviparous (energy stored in the yolk, and give birth to live young). As rockfish mature, they move from their shallower sites of recruitment to deeper portions of the reef.
SEE ALSO, NOAA press release,