Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs
NMFS announces the approval of Amendment 24 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (FMP). Amendment 24 specifies a five-tier system for determining the status of the crab stocks managed under the FMP, establishes a process for annually assigning each crab stock to a tier and for setting the overfishing and overfished levels, and reduces the number of crab stocks managed under the FMP. Amendment 24 is necessary to establish new overfishing definitions that contain objective and measurable criteria for determining whether each managed stock is overfished or whether overfishing is occurring and to remove from the FMP several crab stocks managed by the State of Alaska. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Scallop Dredge Exemption Areas; Addition of Monkfish Incidental Catch Trip Limits
This action modifies the regulations implementing the Northeast (NE) Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to create three NE Multispecies Scallop Exemptions that are identical to the current scallop exemptions, except for the addition of an incidental monkfish catch limit. These new scallop exemptions are restricted to vessels issued either a General Category Atlantic sea scallop permit or a limited access Atlantic sea scallop permit (when not fishing under a scallop days-at-sea (DAS) limitation), when fishing for scallops with small dredge gear (combined width not to exceed 10.5 ft (3.2 m)). Vessels that land an incidental catch of monkfish within these new scallop exemptions are required to possess, and have onboard, a valid limited access monkfish permit, or an open access monkfish Incidental Catch permit. The intent of this action is to allow small scallop dredge vessels to land monkfish that are currently being discarded, consistent with the bycatch reduction objectives of the FMP and National Standard 9 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Scup Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for 2008 Summer Period
NMFS announces the closure of the scup commercial coastwide fishery from Maine through North Carolina for the Summer Period. Regulations governing the scup fishery require publication of this notification to advise the coastal states from Maine through North Carolina that this quota has been harvested and to advise Federal vessel permit holders and Federal dealer permit holders that no commercial quota is available for landing scup in these states. Federally permitted commercial vessels may not land scup in these states for the remainder of the 2008 Summer quota period (through October 31, 2008).