Atlantic Trawl Gear Take Reduction Team Meeting
NMFS is establishing a Take Reduction Team (TRT) to address incidental mortality and serious injury of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas), short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus acutus), and common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) in several trawl gear fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean. The TRT will develop a Take Reduction Plan (TRP) as required by section 118 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). NMFS will seek input from the Atlantic Trawl Gear TRT on all scientific data related to stock structure, abundance, and human-caused mortality and serious injury of pilot whales, white-sided dolphins, and common dolphins. The TRT will focus on developing a plan to reduce incidental catch of these species in Atlantic trawl gear fisheries to a level less than the Potential Biological Removal (PBR) level within 6 months of implementation of the plan and to a level approaching a zero mortality and serious injury rate within 5 years of implementation of the plan.
Advisory Committee and Species Working Group Technical Advisor Appointments
NMFS is soliciting nominations to the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Section to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) as established by the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA). NMFS is also soliciting nominations for technical advisors to the Advisory Committee's species working groups.
Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act; Atlantic Striped Bass Fishery
On October 20, 2003, NMFS announced its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and hold scoping meetings in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). On September 7, 2006, the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries decided to withdraw NMFS' intent to prepare an EIS due the increase in the fishing mortality rate since the time of the original notice. The overwhelming public response to the rulemaking - the great majority of whom were in support of maintaining the closure - together with the clear public perception that large trophy sized fish congregate in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), suggests that fishing effort in an opened EEZ might markedly increase striped bass mortality above the already elevated current rates. Therefore, further processing of an EIS is no longer warranted. The notice of intent to prepare an EIS is withdrawn and the NEPA process is hereby terminated.
Marine Mammals; File No. 763-1845
Notice is hereby given that the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (SNZP), 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 (John Berry, Responsible Party) has been issued a permit to conduct research on Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddelliis) and import marine mammal specimens for scientific research.