Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings, 29924-29926 [E6-7877]

Download as PDF 29924 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 100 / Wednesday, May 24, 2006 / Notices agenda, and approve the February/ March 2006 meeting minutes. From 4:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., the Council will receive a report on the SSC meetings. From 4:30 p.m. - 5 p.m., the Council will receive a joint Habitat and Ecosystem-based Management Committees report and take action as appropriate. From 5 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., the Council will hear a report from the Snapper Grouper Committee and take action as appropriate. From 5:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m., the Council will take final action on the Georgia Aquarium’s Experimental Fishing Permit. From 5:45 p.m. - 6 p.m., the Council will hear a report from the SSC Selection Committee and take action as appropriate. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Council Session: June 16, 2006, 8:30 a.m. - 12 noon. From 8:30 a.m. - 9 a.m., the Council will receive a report from the Mackerel Committee and take action as appropriate. From 9 a.m. - 9:15 a.m., the Council will receive a report from the Joint Executive/Finance Committees and take action as appropriate. From 9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., the Council will receive a report from the SEDAR Committee and take action as appropriate. From 9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m., the Council will receive an update on spiny lobster management. From 9:45 a.m. - 12 noon, the Council will receive a report on the Council Chairmen’s/NMFS meetings and receive status reports from NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Regional Office, NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center, agency and liaison reports, and discuss other business including upcoming meetings. Documents regarding these issues are available from the Council office (see ADDRESSES). Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this Council for discussion, those issues may not be the subjects of formal Council action during this meeting. Council action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305 (c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council’s intent to take final action to address the emergency. Except for advertised (scheduled) public hearings and public comment, VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:08 May 23, 2006 Jkt 208001 the times and sequence specified on this agenda are subject to change. Schedule and Agenda for Council Standing Committee Meetings Special Accommodations Monday, June 12, 2006 These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council office (see ADDRESSES) by June 8, 2006. Standing Committee 1. 8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.–Enforcement/ Vessel Monitoring System Standing Committee 2. 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.–Pelagics &International Standing Commmittee 3. 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.–Bottomfish Standing Committee 4. 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.–Ecosystems & Habitat Standing Committee 5. 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.–Program Planning, Executive, and Budget Standing Committee The agenda during the full Council meeting will include the items listed here. Dated: May 18, 2006. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E6–7876 Filed 5–23–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [I.D. 051706E] Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: Notice of public meetings and hearings. ACTION: SUMMARY: The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold its 133rd meeting to consider and take actions on fishery management issues in the Western Pacific Region. The 133rd Council meeting and public hearings will be held on June 12 - 15, 2006. For specific times and the agenda, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. DATES: The 133rd Council meeting and public hearings will be held at the Utulei Convention Center, Utulei, American Samoa; telephone: (684) 633– 5155. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kitty M. Simonds, Executive Director; telephone: (808) 522–8220. In addition to the agenda items listed here, the Council will hear recommendations from other Council advisory groups. Public comment periods will be provided throughout the agenda. The order in which agenda items are addressed may change. The Council will meet as late as necessary to complete scheduled business. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Schedule and Agenda for Council Meeting 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 13, 2006 1. Samoan Opening 2. Greetings from the Governor 3. Presentation to American Samoa Poster Winners 4. Introductions 5. Approval of Agenda 6. Approval of 131st and 132nd Meeting Minutes 7. Island Agency Administration, Program and Enforcement Reports A. American Samoa B. Guam C. Hawaii D. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands 8. Agency Reports A. National Marine Fisheries Service 1. Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center 2. Pacific Islands Regional Office B. United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) C. NOAA General Counsel Report D. Department of State E. NOAA Sanctuary Program Update 1. Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary 2. Proposed American Samoa Marine Laboratory 9. American Samoa Advisory Panel Report 10. Enforcement/vessel monitoring systems A. United States Coast Guard Report B. National Marine Fisheries Service Office for Law Enforcement Report C. Status of Violations D. Standing Committee Recommendations Guest Speaker 11. Fishery Rights of Indigenous People A. American Samoa Village-based Marine Protected Areas Program E:\FR\FM\24MYN1.SGM 24MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 100 / Wednesday, May 24, 2006 / Notices B. Ahupuaa Conference Planning C. Update on Marine Conservation Plans D. Status of Community Demonstration Project Program and Community Development Program 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesday, June 14, 2006 12. Pelagic and International Fishery Issues A. Local Small-Boat Fisheries 1. Commercial Fisheries 2. Recreational Fisheries B. Small Boat Longline Area Closure C. Bigeye and Yellowfin Overfishing Measures (ACTION ITEM) D. Options for Swordfish Seasonal Closure (ACTION ITEM) E. American Samoa Tuna Cannery Issues F. American Samoa Longline Limited Entry Update G. American Samoa & Hawaii Longline Reports H. Bycatch 1. Shark Bycatch in Longline Fisheries 2. Side-setting to Avoid Seabirds I. International Fisheries 1. International Scientific Committee 2. Secretariat of the Pacific Community Heads of Fisheries Meeting 3. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission Annual Meeting 4. Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission Scientific Committee Meeting 5. Council South Pacific Albacore Workshop J. Recreational Fisheries Data Task Force Report K. Plan Team Recommendations L. Scientific and Statistical Committee Recommendations M. Standing Committee Recommendations N. Public Hearing 13. Protected Species Issues A. Local Protected Species Programs B. Native Observer Program Report C. Scientific and Statistical Committee Recommendations jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Thursday, June 15, 2006 14. Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish Issues A. American Samoa Bottomfish Fishery Review B. Report on Hawaii Monitoring and Research Plan C. Update on Bottomfish Stock Assessment D. Plan Team Recommendations E. Scientific and Statistical Committee Recommendations F. Standing Committee Recommendations VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:08 May 23, 2006 Jkt 208001 15. Ecosystems and Habitat Issues A. American Samoa Coral Reef Fisheries Report B. American Samoa Coral Reef Conservation Grants C. American Samoa Rapid Assessment Monitoring Program D. Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Fishery Regulations (ACTION ITEM) E. Update on Fishery Ecosystem Plans and Projects F. Plan Team Recommendations G. Scientific and Statistical Committee Recommendations H. Standing Committee Recommendations I. Public Hearing 16. Program Planning A. Update on Legislation and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Reauthorization B. Update on Fishery Management Actions C. Education and Outreach Report D. Update on Disaster Relief 1. 2003 Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands Disaster Relief Requests 2. Update on Hawaii Disaster Relief Program E. Standing Committee Recommendations 17. Administrative Matters and Budget A. Financial Reports B. Administrative Reports C. Meetings and Workshops D. Council Family Changes E. Standing Committee Recommendations 18. Other Business A. Next Meeting BACKGROUND INFORMATION: 1. Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna Overfishing Measures(ACTION ITEM) In response to the identification of overfishing by the Secretary of Commerce, at its 126th meeting held March 14–17, 2005 in Honolulu the Council reviewed a background document on Pacific bigeye fisheries, listened to public comments and took initial action to direct its staff to continue its development of Amendment 14 to the Pelagics Fishery Management Plan (FMP). This amendment contains comprehensive background information and analyses as well as recommendations for international management and a range of alternatives for the management of domestic fisheries. Following extensive review by the Council’s Pelagics Plan Team, Science and Statistical Committee and Advisory Panels, as well as public comment solicited at meetings PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 29925 through out Hawaii, the Council took final action in June 2005 to recommend a suite of non-regulatory measures for the international management of fisheries which harvest bigeye tuna. The Council also reviewed and recommended a range of regulatory and non-regulatory measures for fisheries managed under the Pelagics FMP. Subsequently, in August 2005, the Scientific Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission reviewed stock assessments for tuna species and found that yellowfin was likely being subjected to overfishing. Consequently, at its 129th Council meeting, the Council recommended applying to fishing for yellowfin tuna the same management measures recommended by the Council for bigeye tuna. Reviews received from NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office and the NOAA Office of General Counsel on these actions have now indicated that the Council must address the following three outstanding issues: 1. The amendment objectives need to be quantified where possible. 2. The recommendations need to be grouped as alternatives. 3. A recommendation regarding the management of purse seine vessel targeting of bigeye tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean needs to be included. The Council will consider and take action on these issues at its 133rd meeting. 2. Options for Swordfish Seasonal Closure (ACTION ITEM) Management of the swordfish segment of the Hawaii-based longline fishery is based on limiting interactions with loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles, and on limits to the number of sets that the fishery may make in a given year. The fishery operates under ’hard’ limits on the number of loggerhead (17) and leatherback (16) interactions. In 2006, the Hawaii-based swordfish fishery reached its ’hard’ limit of 17 loggerhead turtle interactions compared to 12 interactions in 2005. There were only 2 leatherback interactions in 2006 compared to 8 interactions in 2005. Oceanographic data suggests that in 2006 the ocean habitat used by loggerheads was reduced, increasing loggerhead densities and the likelihood of interactions with the fishery. Current regulations provide for a seven day period to shut down the swordfish fishery following reaching of a turtle limit. However, there is a danger that continued fishing might catch additional turtles in this seven day closure period. The swordfish fishery was closed by emergency rule in 2006. Because this E:\FR\FM\24MYN1.SGM 24MYN1 29926 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 100 / Wednesday, May 24, 2006 / Notices jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES emergency rule is effective for 180 days (and may be extended for another 180 days), it is unlikely to be in effect for the 2007 fishing season. The Council will therefore consider changes to the Pelagics FMP that would allow immediate closure of the fishery when either of the turtle limits are reached. Subsequently, the Pelagics Plan Team recommended in its May 2006 meeting that the Council also consider methods to smooth the adverse markets effect of these closures. These include consideration of an interim trigger level of turtle takes by the Hawaii swordfish longline fishery that might be used to establish a short term (1–4 week) temporary closures, to prevent the fishery reaching its limits prematurely. The Council may, therefore, take action at this meeting to amend the Pelagics Fishery Management Plan to modify the current swordfish longline fishery closure mechanism. The Council will also consider these measures at its 133rd meeting. 3. NWHI Fishing Regulations (ACTION ITEM) On January 18, 2006, the Council was informed by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, that NOAA is developing alternatives in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) National Marine Sanctuary that would enable the Council to continue to recommend management measures to limit bottomfish and pelagic fisheries through regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), consistent with the goals and objectives of the proposed sanctuary. In response to this notice, the Council, relying on guidance provided by NOAA, took initial action at its 131st meeting held March 13–16, 2006 and recommended that limited commercial bottomfish and non-longline pelagic fishing be allowed to continue in Federal waters of the proposed NWHI National Marine under the following permit and catch limits: 1. Limited-entry NWHI bottomfish permits be capped at 14, with 7 permits for the Ho’omalu Zone and 7 permits for the Mau Zone (the two Community Development Program permits for indigenous use to be included in the latter and issued as previously recommended by the Council); 2. The annual bottomfish catch be limited to 381,500 lbs (85% of MSY); 3. Non-longline commercial pelagic fishing permits be capped at three (3); and VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:08 May 23, 2006 Jkt 208001 4. The annual commercial pelagic catch by the non-longline pelagic fishery and the limited-entry bottomfish fishery be limited to 180,000 lbs. Subsequently, seven outstanding issues related to these action were identified which require further Council consideration. These issues are: (1) The design of a limited entry program for non-longline pelagic fishing; (2) the designation of a fishing year(s) to be used for the monitoring of the fishing catch limits (3) appropriate compensation for displaced or negatively impacted individuals; (4) the importance and role of the NOAA weather buoy ι1 to sanctuary resources as well as to pelagic fishing; (5) the accuracy of the data used by NOAA to calculate the annual pelagic catch limit of 180,000 pounds;(6) whether all fishing for a given species group should be prohibited following closure of a commercial fishery; and (7) the role of the Council in the formulation of NOAA’s future NWHI ecosystem management plans. The Council may therefore, consider actions to address these outstanding issues at its 133rd meeting. Special Accommodations These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Kitty M. Simonds, (808) 522–8220 (voice) or (808)522– 8226 (fax), at least 5 days prior to the meeting date. Authority: 16 U.S.C.1801 et seq. Dated: May 18, 2006. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E6–7877 Filed 5–23–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Docket No. 060516133–6133–01] The Preliminary Report of the NOAA Science Advisory Board, Hurricane Intensity Research Working Group, External Review of NOAA’s Hurricane Intensity Research and Development Enterprise Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC). AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Notice of availability and request for public comment. ACTION: SUMMARY: NOAA Research (OAR) publishes this notice on behalf of the NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB) to announce the availability of the preliminary report of the SAB Hurricane Intensity Research Working Group (here called the HIRWG) external review of NOAA’s Hurricane Intensity Research and Development Enterprise for public comment. The preliminary report of the HIRWG has been prepared pursuant to the request from the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to the SAB to conduct an external review of NOAA’s Hurricane Intensity research and development enterprise. DATES: Comments on this preliminary report must be submitted by 5 p.m. EDT on June 23, 2006. ADDRESSES: The Preliminary Report of the HIRWG will be available on the NOAA Science Advisory Board Web site at http://www.sab.noaa.gov/reports/ SAB_HIRWG_0506.pdf. The public is encouraged to submit comments electronically to noaa.sab.comments2@noaa.gov. For individuals who do not have access to a computer, comments may be submitted in writing to: NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB) c/o Dr. Cynthia Decker, Silver Spring Metro Center Bldg 3 Room 11117, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Cynthia Decker, Executive Director, Science Advisory Board, NOAA, Rm. 11117, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. (Phone: 301– 713–9121, Fax: 301–713–3515, E-mail: Cynthia.Decker@noaa.gov) during normal business hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, or visit the NOAA SAB Web site at http://www.sab.noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The preliminary report of the HIRWG has been drafted pursuant to the request from the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to the SAB to conduct an external review of NOAA’s hurricane intensity research and development enterprise. This review addresses questions and draft recommendations regarding the appropriateness of the mix of scientific activities conducted and/or sponsored by NOAA to its mission and on the organization of NOAA hurricane intensity research and development enterprise. The report recommends that NOAA strengthen its efforts to develop numerical models which incorporate essential physics and have sufficient E:\FR\FM\24MYN1.SGM 24MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 100 (Wednesday, May 24, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 29924-29926]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-7877]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[I.D. 051706E]


Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of public meetings and hearings.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will 
hold its 133rd meeting to consider and take actions on fishery 
management issues in the Western Pacific Region.

DATES: The 133rd Council meeting and public hearings will be held on 
June 12 - 15, 2006. For specific times and the agenda, see 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

ADDRESSES: The 133rd Council meeting and public hearings will be held 
at the Utulei Convention Center, Utulei, American Samoa; telephone: 
(684) 633-5155.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kitty M. Simonds, Executive Director; 
telephone: (808) 522-8220.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In addition to the agenda items listed here, 
the Council will hear recommendations from other Council advisory 
groups. Public comment periods will be provided throughout the agenda. 
The order in which agenda items are addressed may change. The Council 
will meet as late as necessary to complete scheduled business.

Schedule and Agenda for Council Standing Committee Meetings

Monday, June 12, 2006

Standing Committee

    1. 8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.-Enforcement/Vessel Monitoring System Standing 
Committee
    2. 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.-Pelagics &International Standing 
Commmittee
    3. 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.-Bottomfish Standing Committee
    4. 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.-Ecosystems & Habitat Standing Committee
    5. 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.-Program Planning, Executive, and Budget Standing 
Committee
    The agenda during the full Council meeting will include the items 
listed here.

Schedule and Agenda for Council Meeting

8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    1. Samoan Opening
    2. Greetings from the Governor
    3. Presentation to American Samoa Poster Winners
    4. Introductions
    5. Approval of Agenda
    6. Approval of 131st and 132nd Meeting Minutes
    7. Island Agency Administration, Program and Enforcement Reports
    A. American Samoa
    B. Guam
    C. Hawaii
    D. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands
    8. Agency Reports
    A. National Marine Fisheries Service
    1. Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
    2. Pacific Islands Regional Office
    B. United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
    C. NOAA General Counsel Report
    D. Department of State
    E. NOAA Sanctuary Program Update
    1. Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary
    2. Proposed American Samoa Marine Laboratory
    9. American Samoa Advisory Panel Report
    10. Enforcement/vessel monitoring systems
    A. United States Coast Guard Report
    B. National Marine Fisheries Service Office for Law Enforcement 
Report
    C. Status of Violations
    D. Standing Committee Recommendations
    Guest Speaker
    11. Fishery Rights of Indigenous People
    A. American Samoa Village-based Marine Protected Areas Program

[[Page 29925]]

    B. Ahupuaa Conference Planning
    C. Update on Marine Conservation Plans
    D. Status of Community Demonstration Project Program and Community 
Development Program

8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    12. Pelagic and International Fishery Issues
    A. Local Small-Boat Fisheries
    1. Commercial Fisheries
    2. Recreational Fisheries
    B. Small Boat Longline Area Closure
    C. Bigeye and Yellowfin Overfishing Measures (ACTION ITEM)
    D. Options for Swordfish Seasonal Closure (ACTION ITEM)
    E. American Samoa Tuna Cannery Issues
    F. American Samoa Longline Limited Entry Update
    G. American Samoa & Hawaii Longline Reports
    H. Bycatch
    1. Shark Bycatch in Longline Fisheries
    2. Side-setting to Avoid Seabirds
    I. International Fisheries
    1. International Scientific Committee
    2. Secretariat of the Pacific Community Heads of Fisheries Meeting
    3. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission Annual Meeting
    4. Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission Scientific 
Committee Meeting
    5. Council South Pacific Albacore Workshop
    J. Recreational Fisheries Data Task Force Report
    K. Plan Team Recommendations
    L. Scientific and Statistical Committee Recommendations
    M. Standing Committee Recommendations
    N. Public Hearing
    13. Protected Species Issues
    A. Local Protected Species Programs
    B. Native Observer Program Report
    C. Scientific and Statistical Committee Recommendations

8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Thursday, June 15, 2006

    14. Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish Issues
    A. American Samoa Bottomfish Fishery Review
    B. Report on Hawaii Monitoring and Research Plan
    C. Update on Bottomfish Stock Assessment
    D. Plan Team Recommendations
    E. Scientific and Statistical Committee Recommendations
    F. Standing Committee Recommendations
    15. Ecosystems and Habitat Issues
    A. American Samoa Coral Reef Fisheries Report
    B. American Samoa Coral Reef Conservation Grants
    C. American Samoa Rapid Assessment Monitoring Program
    D. Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Fishery Regulations (ACTION ITEM)
    E. Update on Fishery Ecosystem Plans and Projects
    F. Plan Team Recommendations
    G. Scientific and Statistical Committee Recommendations
    H. Standing Committee Recommendations
    I. Public Hearing
    16. Program Planning
    A. Update on Legislation and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act Reauthorization
    B. Update on Fishery Management Actions
    C. Education and Outreach Report
    D. Update on Disaster Relief
    1. 2003 Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands 
Disaster Relief Requests
    2. Update on Hawaii Disaster Relief Program
    E. Standing Committee Recommendations
    17. Administrative Matters and Budget
    A. Financial Reports
    B. Administrative Reports
    C. Meetings and Workshops
    D. Council Family Changes
    E. Standing Committee Recommendations
    18. Other Business
    A. Next Meeting

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

1. Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna Overfishing Measures(ACTION ITEM)
    In response to the identification of overfishing by the Secretary 
of Commerce, at its 126th meeting held March 14-17, 2005 in Honolulu 
the Council reviewed a background document on Pacific bigeye fisheries, 
listened to public comments and took initial action to direct its staff 
to continue its development of Amendment 14 to the Pelagics Fishery 
Management Plan (FMP). This amendment contains comprehensive background 
information and analyses as well as recommendations for international 
management and a range of alternatives for the management of domestic 
fisheries. Following extensive review by the Council's Pelagics Plan 
Team, Science and Statistical Committee and Advisory Panels, as well as 
public comment solicited at meetings through out Hawaii, the Council 
took final action in June 2005 to recommend a suite of non-regulatory 
measures for the international management of fisheries which harvest 
bigeye tuna. The Council also reviewed and recommended a range of 
regulatory and non-regulatory measures for fisheries managed under the 
Pelagics FMP.
    Subsequently, in August 2005, the Scientific Committee of the 
Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission reviewed stock 
assessments for tuna species and found that yellowfin was likely being 
subjected to overfishing. Consequently, at its 129th Council meeting, 
the Council recommended applying to fishing for yellowfin tuna the same 
management measures recommended by the Council for bigeye tuna. Reviews 
received from NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office and the NOAA Office 
of General Counsel on these actions have now indicated that the Council 
must address the following three outstanding issues:
    1. The amendment objectives need to be quantified where possible.
    2. The recommendations need to be grouped as alternatives.
    3. A recommendation regarding the management of purse seine vessel 
targeting of bigeye tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean needs to be 
included.
    The Council will consider and take action on these issues at its 
133rd meeting.
2. Options for Swordfish Seasonal Closure (ACTION ITEM)
    Management of the swordfish segment of the Hawaii-based longline 
fishery is based on limiting interactions with loggerhead and 
leatherback sea turtles, and on limits to the number of sets that the 
fishery may make in a given year. The fishery operates under 'hard' 
limits on the number of loggerhead (17) and leatherback (16) 
interactions.
    In 2006, the Hawaii-based swordfish fishery reached its 'hard' 
limit of 17 loggerhead turtle interactions compared to 12 interactions 
in 2005. There were only 2 leatherback interactions in 2006 compared to 
8 interactions in 2005. Oceanographic data suggests that in 2006 the 
ocean habitat used by loggerheads was reduced, increasing loggerhead 
densities and the likelihood of interactions with the fishery.
    Current regulations provide for a seven day period to shut down the 
swordfish fishery following reaching of a turtle limit. However, there 
is a danger that continued fishing might catch additional turtles in 
this seven day closure period.
    The swordfish fishery was closed by emergency rule in 2006. Because 
this

[[Page 29926]]

emergency rule is effective for 180 days (and may be extended for 
another 180 days), it is unlikely to be in effect for the 2007 fishing 
season. The Council will therefore consider changes to the Pelagics FMP 
that would allow immediate closure of the fishery when either of the 
turtle limits are reached.
    Subsequently, the Pelagics Plan Team recommended in its May 2006 
meeting that the Council also consider methods to smooth the adverse 
markets effect of these closures. These include consideration of an 
interim trigger level of turtle takes by the Hawaii swordfish longline 
fishery that might be used to establish a short term (1-4 week) 
temporary closures, to prevent the fishery reaching its limits 
prematurely. The Council may, therefore, take action at this meeting to 
amend the Pelagics Fishery Management Plan to modify the current 
swordfish longline fishery closure mechanism. The Council will also 
consider these measures at its 133rd meeting.
3. NWHI Fishing Regulations (ACTION ITEM)
    On January 18, 2006, the Council was informed by the Under 
Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, that NOAA is 
developing alternatives in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for 
the proposed Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) National Marine 
Sanctuary that would enable the Council to continue to recommend 
management measures to limit bottomfish and pelagic fisheries through 
regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), consistent with the goals and 
objectives of the proposed sanctuary.
    In response to this notice, the Council, relying on guidance 
provided by NOAA, took initial action at its 131st meeting held March 
13-16, 2006 and recommended that limited commercial bottomfish and non-
longline pelagic fishing be allowed to continue in Federal waters of 
the proposed NWHI National Marine under the following permit and catch 
limits:
    1. Limited-entry NWHI bottomfish permits be capped at 14, with 7 
permits for the Ho'omalu Zone and 7 permits for the Mau Zone (the two 
Community Development Program permits for indigenous use to be included 
in the latter and issued as previously recommended by the Council);
    2. The annual bottomfish catch be limited to 381,500 lbs (85% of 
MSY);
    3. Non-longline commercial pelagic fishing permits be capped at 
three (3); and
    4. The annual commercial pelagic catch by the non-longline pelagic 
fishery and the limited-entry bottomfish fishery be limited to 180,000 
lbs.
    Subsequently, seven outstanding issues related to these action were 
identified which require further Council consideration. These issues 
are: (1) The design of a limited entry program for non-longline pelagic 
fishing; (2) the designation of a fishing year(s) to be used for the 
monitoring of the fishing catch limits (3) appropriate compensation for 
displaced or negatively impacted individuals; (4) the importance and 
role of the NOAA weather buoy 1 to sanctuary resources as well 
as to pelagic fishing; (5) the accuracy of the data used by NOAA to 
calculate the annual pelagic catch limit of 180,000 pounds;(6) whether 
all fishing for a given species group should be prohibited following 
closure of a commercial fishery; and (7) the role of the Council in the 
formulation of NOAA's future NWHI ecosystem management plans. The 
Council may therefore, consider actions to address these outstanding 
issues at its 133rd meeting.

Special Accommodations

    These meetings are physically accessible to people with 
disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other 
auxiliary aids should be directed to Kitty M. Simonds, (808) 522-8220 
(voice) or (808)522-8226 (fax), at least 5 days prior to the meeting 
date.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C.1801 et seq.

    Dated: May 18, 2006.
Tracey L. Thompson,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E6-7877 Filed 5-23-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S