Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Northern Rockfish, Pacific Ocean Perch, and Pelagic Shelf Rockfish for Catcher Vessels Participating in the Limited Access Rockfish Fishery in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for northern rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and pelagic shelf rockfish for catcher vessels participating in the limited access rockfish fishery in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2008 total allowable catch (TAC) of northern rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and pelagic shelf rockfish allocated to catcher vessels participating in the limited access rockfish fishery in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA.
Availability of Seats for the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
The Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS or Sanctuary) is seeking applicants for the following vacant seats on its Sanctuary Advisory Council (Council): Education Primary. Applicants are chosen based upon their particular expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying; community and professional affiliations; philosophy regarding the protection and management of marine resources; and possibly the length of residence in the area affected by the Sanctuary. Applicants who are chosen as members should expect to serve 2-3 year terms, pursuant to the Council's Charter.
Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee; Public Meetings
Notice is hereby given of a meeting of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC). This will be the first meeting to be held in calendar year 2008 to review and advise NOAA on management policies for living marine resources. Agenda topics are provided under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice. All full Committee sessions will be open to the public.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Proposed Rule to Remove the Caribbean Monk Seal from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), have reviewed the status of the Caribbean monk seal (Monachus tropicalis) and conclude that the species is extinct. As a result, based on the best available information, we propose to delist the Caribbean monk seal under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Annual Catch Limits; National Standard Guidelines
NMFS proposes revisions to the guidelines for National Standard 1 (NS1) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). This action is necessary to provide guidance on how to comply with new annual catch limit (ACL) and accountability measure (AM) requirements for ending overfishing of fisheries managed by federal fishery management plans (FMPs). It also clarifies the relationship between ACLs, maximum sustainable yield (MSY), optimum yield (OY), and other applicable reference points. The intent of this action is to facilitate compliance with requirements of the Magnuson- Stevens Act to end and prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks and achieve OY.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 14
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 14 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper- Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. The amendment would establish eight Type 2 marine protected areas (MPAs) in which fishing for or possession of snapper-grouper species would be prohibited, but other types of legal fishing would be allowed. The MPAs would be located in the following areas: one off southern North Carolina, three off South Carolina, one off Georgia, and three off Florida, and range from 5 by 10 nautical miles to 22 by 23 nautical miles in area. Amendment 14 also proposes to prohibit the use of shark bottom longlines within the MPAs, however, NMFS is proposing to implement the prohibition of shark bottom longlines through separate rulemaking. If implemented, these measures are expected to enhance the optimum size, age and genetic structure of slow growing long-lived deepwater grouper species.
Permits; Foreign Fishing
NMFS reopens the public review and comment period that closed May 30, 2008, for information regarding a foreign fishing application submitted under provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
Marine Mammals; File Nos. 715-1706 and 545-1761
Notice is hereby given that Fred Sharpe, Ph.D., Alaska Whale Foundation, 4739 University Way NE, 1239, Seattle, Washington 98105 has requested an amendment to scientific research Permit No. 751- 1706-00; and North Gulf Oceanic Society (Craig O. Matkin, Principal Investigator), 2030 Mary Allen Avenue, Homer, AK 99603 has requested an amendment to Permit No. 545-1761-00.
Schedules for Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops and Protected Species Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops
NMFS announces free Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops and Protected Species Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops to be held in July, August, and September 2008. Certain fishermen and shark dealers are required to attend a workshop to meet new regulatory requirements and maintain valid permits. The Atlantic Shark Identification Workshop is mandatory for all federally permitted Atlantic shark dealers. The Protected Species Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshop is mandatory for vessel owners and operators who use bottom longline, pelagic longline, or gillnet gear, and have also been issued shark or swordfish limited access permits. Additional free workshops will be held in 2008 and announced in the Federal Register.
Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Regulations
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposes to amend the regulations implementing the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP), to delay the effective date of one of the broad-based gear modifications and remove one of the gear-related definitions required in the recent amendment to the ALWTRP. Specifically, NMFS is proposing to delay the broad-based sinking groundline requirement for trap/pot fishermen in the Atlantic for an additional six months, from October 5, 2008 to April 5, 2009. Additionally, the proposed rule would delete the ``neutrally buoyant line'' term from the regulations to avoid any potential confusion with the requirements and assist enforcement efforts.
Nominations to the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee
Nominations are being sought for appointment by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to serve on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC or Committee) beginning in October 2008. MAFAC is the only Federal advisory committee with the responsibility to advise the Secretary on all matters concerning living marine resources that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce. The Committee makes recommendations to the Secretary to assist in the development and implementation of Departmental regulations, policies and programs critical to the mission and goals of the NMFS. Nominations are encouraged from all interested parties involved with or representing interests affected by NMFS actions in managing living marine resources. Nominees should possess demonstrable expertise in a field related to the management of living marine resources and be able to fulfill the time commitments required for two annual meetings. Individuals serve for a term of three years for no more than two consecutive terms if re- appointed. NMFS is seeking qualified nominees to fill upcoming vacancies being created by the expiration of existing appointments this October, thereby bringing the Committee to its full complement of 21 members.
Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council) Groundfish Management Team (GMT) will hold a working meeting, which is open to the public.
Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Caribbean Fishery Management Council will hold a meeting of its Annual Catch Limit Plan Development Group (ACLG)
North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council) Crab Socioeconomic Data Collection Committee will meet in Anchorage, AK.
National Estuarine Research Reserve System
Notice is hereby given that the Estuarine Reserves Division, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce is announcing a thirty-day public comment period on the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Plan Revision. The Sapelo Island Reserve (Georgia) was designated in 1976 pursuant to Section 315 of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, 16 U.S.C. 1461. The Reserve has been operating under a management plan approved in 1999. Pursuant to 15 CFR 921.33(c), a state must revise their management plan every five years. The submission of this plan fulfills this requirement and sets a course for successful implementation of the goals and objectives of the Reserve. New facilities and updated programmatic objectives are notable revisions to the 1999 approved management plan. The mission of the Sapelo Island Reserve is to perpetuate the protection of the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve and to provide a platform for conservation-based research, education and stewardship through the Reserve. The revised management plan identifies priority resource issues that are addressed through active management. These priority issues include addressing public access and visitor impact on Reserve uplands and marsh areas, addressing impacts related to activities on the Reserve by the island's population and addressing the projected increase in development and population growth on the Georgia coast. By addressing these priority resource issues, the Sapelo Island Reserve aims to fulfill its mission. The revised plan establishes goals and objectives for the Reserve's various programmatic activities, including scientific biological research; water quality monitoring; education, training, and outreach programs; and stewardship programs. It also outlines the plans for future facility development to support reserve operations. Since 1999, the reserve has realized some aspects of the 1999 plan, including the contributions toward the completion of the Barrier Island Research and Learning Center, a joint research dormitory and lab shared with the University of Georgia.
Availability of Seats for the Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
The Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary (GRNMS or sanctuary) is seeking applicants for the following vacant seats on its Sanctuary Advisory Council (council) Charter/Commercial Fishing and University Education. Applicants are chosen based upon their particular expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying; community and professional affiliations; philosophy regarding the protection and management of marine resources; and possibly the length of residence in the area affected by the sanctuary. Applicants who are chosen as members should expect to serve three-year terms, pursuant to the council's Charter.
Endangered Species and Marine Mammals; File No. 10014-01
Notice is hereby given that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), Division of Science, Research and Technology, P.O. Box 409, Trenton, NJ 08625-0409 has been issued a permit amendment to take marine mammals for purposes of scientific research.
Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Offshore Exploratory Drilling in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska
NMFS has received an application from Shell Offshore, Inc. (SOI) for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take small numbers of marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting open-water offshore exploratory drilling on Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil lease blocks in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an IHA to SOI to incidentally take, by Level B harassment, small numbers of several species of marine mammals during the open water drilling program in 2008 and 2009.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Proposed Environmental Review Process for Fishery Management Actions; Meeting Announcements
NMFS announces three public meetings to solicit comments on the proposed rule that would revise and update the NMFS procedures for complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in the context of fishery management actions developed pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson- Stevens Act).
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Recreational Management Measures for the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea bass Fisheries; Fishing Year 2008
On May 23, 2008, NMFS published a final rule implementing the recreational management measures for the 2008 summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries. The final rule contains several errors throughout the preamble. This document corrects those errors.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Allocation of Trips to Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder Special Access Program
NMFS announces that the Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has allocated zero trips to the Closed Area (CA) II Yellowtail Flounder Special Access Program (SAP) during the 2008 fishing year (FY) (i.e., May 1, 2008, through April 30, 2009). The Regional Administrator has determined that the available catch of Georges Bank (GB) yellowtail flounder is insufficient to support a minimum level of fishing activity within the CA II Yellowtail Flounder SAP for FY 2008. The intent of this action is to help achieve optimum yield (OY) in the fishery by maximizing the utility of available GB yellowtail flounder TAC throughout FY 2008.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Individual Fishing Quota Program; Alaska Individual Fishing Quota On-line Services; Recordkeeping and Reporting
NMFS issues a final rule to modify the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program for the fixed-gear commercial Pacific halibut fishery and sablefish fishery by revising regulations describing on- line access to IFQ account information specific to those fisheries. The action would improve the efficiency of the Pacific Halibut and Sablefish IFQ Program and is intended to promote the goals and objectives of Northern Pacific Halibut Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Revisions to Allowable Bycatch Reduction Devices
In accordance with the framework procedures for adjusting management measures of the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), NMFS proposes to decertify the expanded mesh bycatch reduction device (BRD), the ``Gulf fisheye'' BRD, and the ``fisheye'' BRD, as currently specified, for use in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) shrimp fishery. NMFS would also certify a new specification for the fisheye device to be used in the Gulf. The intended effect of this proposed rule is to improve bycatch reduction in the shrimp fishery and better meet the requirements of national standard 9.
Marine Mammals; Subsistence Taking of Northern Fur Seals; Harvest Estimates
Pursuant to regulations governing the subsistence taking of northern fur seals, this document summarizes the annual fur seal subsistence harvests on St. George and St. Paul Islands (the Pribilof Islands) for 2005 to 2007 and proposes annual estimates of fur seal subsistence needs for 2008 through 2010 on the Pribilof Islands, AK. NMFS solicits public comments on the proposed estimates.
Notice of Public Meeting for the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture
This notice announces the schedule and proposed agenda for a meeting of the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture (JSA) of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council. The JSA serves as the Federal interagency coordinating body to increase the overall effectiveness and productivity of Federal research, technology transfer, and assistance programs in support of a globally competitive, technologically advanced, and environmentally sound aquaculture industry in the United States. The meeting provides an opportunity for the subcommittee to discuss ongoing and planned activities in support of aquaculture development in the United States. The meeting will also provide an opportunity for the public to ask questions and comment on JSA activities. The meeting is open to the public and participants are encouraged to register in advance. Participants must present valid photo identification to enter the building. More information is available at http://aquaculture.noaa.gov.
Notice of Indirect Cost Rates for the Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program for Fiscal Year 2006
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program (DARRP) is announcing new indirect cost rates on the recovery of indirect costs for its component organizations involved in natural resource damage assessment and restoration activities for fiscal year (FY) 2006. The indirect cost rates for this fiscal year and dates of implementation are provided in this notice. More information on these rates and the DARRP policy can be found at the DARRP Web site at http:// www.darrp.noaa.gov.
Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; Application for Exempted Fishing Permit; Horseshoe Crabs
NMFS announces that the Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries (Director), has made a preliminary determination that the subject exempted fishing permit (EFP) application submitted by Limuli Laboratories of Cape May Court House, New Jersey, contains all the required information and warrants further consideration. The proposed EFP would allow the harvest of up to 10,000 horseshoe crabs from the Carl N. Shuster Jr. Horseshoe Crab Reserve for biomedical purposes and require, as a condition of the EFP, the collection of data related to the status of horseshoe crabs within the reserve. The Director has also made a preliminary determination that the activities authorized under the EFP would be consistent with the goals and objectives of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (Commission) Horseshoe Crab Interstate Fisheries Management Plan (FMP). However, further review and consultation may be necessary before a final determination is made to issue the EFP. Therefore, NMFS announces that the Director proposes to recommend that an EFP be issued that would allow up to 3 commercial fishing vessels to conduct fishing operations that are otherwise restricted by the regulations promulgated under the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (Atlantic Coastal Act). The EFP would allow for an exemption from the Carl N. Shuster Jr. Horseshoe Crab Reserve (Reserve). Regulations under the Atlantic Coastal Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for proposed EFPs.
International Fisheries; Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; International Trade Permit Program; Bluefin Tuna Catch Documentation Program
NMFS is modifying permitting and reporting requirements for the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) International Trade Permit (ITP) program to improve program efficacy and enforceability, and implement the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) bluefin tuna catch documentation (BCD) program. The modified regulations also implement the new definition of ``import'' contained in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), and require that shark fin importers, exporters, and re-exporters obtain the HMS ITP to assist NMFS in monitoring trade of shark fins. This action is necessary to implement recommendations of ICCAT, as required by the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), and to achieve domestic management objectives under the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
Marine Mammals; File No. 774-1847-03
Notice is hereby given that NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program (Rennie Holt, Ph.D., Principal Investigator), 8604 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037, has requested an amendment to scientific research Permit No. 774-147-02.