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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BM43 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: ●Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Plan Rulemaking to Allow Exceptions for Research 

NMFS is proposing a revision to the regulations implementing the Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Plan (Plan) to allow a research exception to the provisions of the Plan for the purposes of conducting scientific research on reducing bycatch of harbor porpoises or other protected species under the Plan. This revision would create a standardized, efficient, and transparent certification process within the Plan that would recognize research activities that are conducted during commercial fishing operations and that meet specified standards as falling within an exception to the Plan regulations. Creating the research exception, explaining how to apply for certification, and identifying the standards research proposals must meet in order to obtain the benefit of the exception are necessary to facilitate innovative cooperative research on the bycatch of harbor porpoise and other protected species to benefit both fishermen and protected species. A permitting process for research was originally intended by the Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Team when the existing provision was implemented in 2010. That provision states: A scientific research permit must be acquired through NMFS' existing permit application process, administered by NMFS. However, there is no existing permit application process administered by NMFS that would allow testing of bycatch reduction gear other than what is specified in the Plan from commercial fishing vessels. The Team unanimously recommended this revision to NMFS in February 2023.

Agency: Department of Commerce(DOC)  Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 50 CFR 229   
Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1387   
Legal Deadline:  None
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  11/00/2023 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Kim Damon-Randall
Director, Office of Protected Resources
Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1315 East-West Highway,
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone:301 427-8400