Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the U.S. Air Force 86 Fighter Weapons Squadron Conducting Long Range Strike Weapon Systems Evaluation Program at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii
NMFS (hereinafter, ``we'' or ``our'') received an application from the U.S. Department of the Air Force, 86 Fighter Weapons Squadron (86 FWS), requesting an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to a Long Range Strike Weapon Systems Evaluation Program (LRS WSEP) in the Barking Sands Underwater Range Extension (BSURE) area of the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at Kauai, Hawaii. 86 FWS's activities are military readiness activities per the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2004. Pursuant to the MMPA, NMFS requests comments on its proposal to issue an IHA to 86 FWS to incidentally take, by Level A and Level B harassment, two species of marine mammals, the dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) and pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) during the specified activity.
Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; 2016 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits
NMFS proposes a 2016 limit of 2,000 metric tons (mt) of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. Pacific territory (American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands). NMFS would allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 mt each year to U.S. longline fishing vessels in a specified fishing agreement that meets established criteria. As an accountability measure, NMFS would monitor, attribute, and restrict (if necessary) catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna, including catches made under a specified fishing agreement. The proposed catch limits and accountability measures would support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands.
Marine Mammals; Pinniped Removal Authority; Approval of Application
NMFS announces approval of an application for a Letter of Authorization (LOA) from the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho for lethal removal of individually identifiable predatory California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) in the vicinity of Bonneville Dam to minimize pinniped predation on Pacific salmon and steelhead (Oncorhynchus spp.) listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon. This authorization is pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). NMFS also announces availability of decision documents and other information relied upon in making this determination.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Observer Coverage Requirements for Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area Trawl Catcher Vessels
NMFS is proposing regulations to modify observer coverage requirements for catcher vessels participating in the trawl limited access fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). If approved, this proposed rule would allow the owner of a trawl catcher vessel to request, on an annual basis, that NMFS place the vessel in the full observer coverage category for all directed fishing for groundfish using trawl gear in the BSAI in the following calendar year. This action is necessary to relieve vessel owners who request full observer coverage of the reporting requirements and observer fee liability associated with the partial observer coverage category. In addition, this proposed rule makes minor technical corrections to observer program regulations. This proposed rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP), and other applicable laws.