Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Prohibited Species Donation Program
NMFS announces the renewal of permits to SeaShare (formerly Northwest Food Strategies) authorizing this organization to distribute Pacific salmon and Pacific halibut to economically disadvantaged individuals under the prohibited species donation (PSD) program. Salmon and halibut are caught incidentally during directed fishing for groundfish with trawl gear off Alaska. This action is necessary to comply with provisions of the PSD program and is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; Atlantic Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Plan
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces the initial determination that the pelagic longline fishery has a high level of mortality and serious injury across a number of marine mammal stocks, and proposes regulations to implement the Atlantic Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Plan (PLTRP) to reduce serious injuries and mortalities of pilot whales and Risso's dolphins in the Atlantic pelagic longline fishery. The PLTRP is based on consensus recommendations submitted by the Atlantic Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Team (PLTRT). This action is necessary because current serious injury and mortality rates of pilot whales and Risso's dolphins incidental to the Atlantic pelagic longline component of a Category I fishery are above insignificant levels approaching a zero mortality and serious injury rate (zero mortality rate goal, or ZMRG), and therefore, inconsistent with the long-term goal of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The PLTRP is intended to meet the statutory mandates and requirements of the MMPA through both regulatory and non-regulatory measures, including a special research area, gear modifications, outreach material, observer coverage, and captains' communications.
Marine Mammals and Endangered Species; National Marine Fisheries Service File No. 10074; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service File No. PRT-165304
Notice is hereby given that Michael Etnier, Ph.D., Box 353100, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98227 has been issued a permit to import marine mammal specimens for purposes of scientific research.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish
Notice is hereby given that NMFS has received two scientific research permit application requests relating to Pacific salmon. The proposed research is intended to increase knowledge of species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and to help guide management and conservation efforts.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS); Atlantic Shark Management Measures
This final rule implements the management measures described in Final Amendment 2 to the Atlantic HMS Fishery Management Plan (FMP). These management measures are designed to rebuild overfished species and prevent overfishing of Atlantic sharks. These measures include, but are not limited to, reductions in the commercial quotas, adjustments to commercial retention limits, establishment of a shark research fishery, a requirement for commercial vessels to maintain all fins on the shark carcasses through offloading, the establishment of two regional quotas for non-sandbar large coastal sharks (LCS), the establishment of one annual season for commercial shark fishing instead of trimesters, changes in reporting requirements for dealers (including swordfish and tuna dealers), the establishment of additional time/area closures for bottom longline (BLL) fisheries, and changes to the authorized species for recreational fisheries. This rule also establishes the 2008 commercial quota for all Atlantic shark species groups. These changes affect all commercial and recreational shark fishermen and shark dealers on the Atlantic Coast.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS); Atlantic Shark Management Measures; Research Fishery
NMFS announces its request for applications for the 2008 shark research fishery from commercial shark fishermen. The shark research fishery will allow for the collection of fishery-dependent data for future stock assessments while also allowing NMFS and commercial fishermen to conduct cooperative research to meet the shark research objectives for the Agency. Only commercial vessels participating in the shark research fishery would be able to land sandbar sharks. These vessels would also land non-sandbar large coastal sharks (LCS), small coastal sharks (SCS), and pelagic sharks. Commercial vessels not participating in the shark research fishery may only land non-sandbar LCS, SCS, and pelagic sharks. Commercial shark fishermen who are interested in participating in the shark research fishery need to submit a completed Shark Research Fishery Permit Application in order to be considered. Generally, these permits will be valid through December 31, 2008, unless otherwise specified, subject to the terms and conditions of individual permits.