Protective Regulations for the Gulf of Maine DPS
We, NMFS, are issuing an interim final regulation to conserve the Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus). On February 6, 2012, we listed the Gulf of Maine DPS of Atlantic sturgeon as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). When a species is listed as threatened under the ESA, we are required to issue protective regulations under section 4(d) of the ESA. Such protective regulations are ones deemed “necessary and advisable for the conservation of the species” and may include any act prohibited for endangered species under section 9(a)(1) of the ESA. This regulation extends the prohibitions listed in section 9 of the ESA to Gulf of Maine DPS Atlantic sturgeon. The prohibitions set forth in this rule are considered necessary and advisable for the conservation of this species. Given that the changes made to this rule are based on the new information that was not submitted as public comment on the proposed rule, we are publishing this rule as an interim final rule and are soliciting additional public comment. This document also announces the availability of a final Environmental Assessment that analyzes the environmental impacts of promulgating this interim final regulation.