Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Trawl Rationalization Program; 2017 Cost Recovery
This action provides participants in the Pacific coast groundfish trawl rationalization program with the 2017 fee percentages and ``MS pricing'' needed to calculate the required payments for trawl rationalization program cost recovery fees due in 2017. It also provides a redetermination of previous years' fees. For calendar year 2017, NMFS announces the following fee percentages by sector: 3.0 percent for the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program, 0 percent for the MS Coop Program, 0 percent for the Catcher/Processer (C/P) Coop Program. For 2017, the MS pricing to be used as a proxy by the C/P Coop Program is: $0.08/lb for Pacific whiting.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Nautical Discrepancy Reporting System
The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; Adjustment to the Atlantic Herring Management Area 1A Annual Catch Limit
NMFS adjusts the 2016 fishing year annual catch limit for Atlantic Herring Management Area 1A due to an underharvest in the New Brunswick weir fishery. This action is necessary to comply with the 2016-2018 specifications and management measures for the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan and to ensure that accounting of the annual catch limit is accurate for fishing year 2016.
National Estuarine Research Reserve System
Notice is hereby given that the Stewardship Division, Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce is announcing a thirty-day public comment period for the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Plan revision. Pursuant to 15 CFR Section 921.33(c), the revised plan will bring the reserve into compliance. The Weeks Bay Reserve revised plan will replace the plan approved in 2007. The revised management plan outlines the administrative structure; the research/monitoring, stewardship, education, and training programs of the reserve; and the plans for future land acquisition and facility development to support reserve operations. The Weeks Bay Reserve takes an integrated approach to management, linking research, education, coastal training, and stewardship functions. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has outlined how it will administer the Reserve and its core programs by providing detailed actions that will enable it to accomplish specific goals and objectives. Since the last management plan, the Reserve has built out its core programs and monitoring infrastructure; constructed several facilities including a Resource Center that supports education, training, and outreach events; participated in more than 35 research projects and conducted over 100 coastal training program events; convened a permanent Restoration Advisory Board; and built new partnerships with organizations within the Mobile Bay of Alabama. With the approval of this management plan, the Weeks Bay Reserve will increase their total acreage from, 6,594 acres to 9,317. The change is attributable to the recent acquisitions of several parcels by the Reserve, totaling 933 acres, as well as the incorporation of 1,790 acres of water bottoms adjacent to the newly acquired land. These parcels have high ecological value and will enhance the Reserve's ability to provide increased opportunities for research, education, and stewardship. The revised management plan will serve as the guiding document for the expanded 9,317 acre Weeks Bay Reserve for the next five years. View the Weeks Bay Reserve Management Plan revision at (http:// www.weeksbayreserve.com) and provide comments to the Reserve's Manager, LG Adams (LG.Adams@dcnr.alabama.gov).
Fraser River Sockeye Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Orders
NMFS publishes Fraser River salmon inseason orders to regulate treaty and non-treaty (all citizen) commercial salmon fisheries in U.S. waters. The orders were issued by the Fraser River Panel (Panel) of the Pacific Salmon Commission (Commission) and subsequently approved and issued by NMFS during the 2016 salmon fisheries within the U.S. Fraser River Panel Area. These orders established fishing dates, times, and areas for the gear types of U.S. treaty Indian and all citizen commercial fisheries during the period the Panel exercised jurisdiction over these fisheries. In 2016, only treaty Indian fisheries were affected by these orders.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Threatened Listing Determination for the Oceanic Whitetip Shark Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
NMFS has completed a comprehensive status review under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) in response to a petition from Defenders of Wildlife to list the species. Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, including the status review report (Young et al., 2016), and after taking into account efforts being made to protect the species, we have determined that the oceanic whitetip shark warrants listing as a threatened species. We conclude that the oceanic whitetip shark is likely to become endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range within the foreseeable future. Any protective regulations determined to be necessary and advisable for the conservation of the species under ESA section 4(d) would be proposed in a subsequent Federal Register announcement. Should the proposed listing be finalized, we would also designate critical habitat for the species, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable. We solicit information to assist in this listing determination, the development of proposed protective regulations, and the designation of critical habitat in the event this proposed listing determination is finalized.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Regulatory Amendment 16
NMFS issues regulations to implement Regulatory Amendment 16 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP), as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). This final rule revises the current seasonal prohibition on the use of black sea bass pot gear in the South Atlantic and adds an additional gear marking requirement for black sea bass pot gear. The purpose of this final rule is to reduce the adverse socioeconomic impacts from the current seasonal black sea bass pot gear prohibition while continuing to protect Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed North Atlantic right whales (NARW)in the South Atlantic. This final rule also helps to better identify black sea bass pot gear in the South Atlantic.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Individual Bluefin Quota Program; Inseason Transfers
NMFS modifies the Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) regulations regarding the distribution of inseason Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) quota transfers to the Longline category. This final rule provides NMFS the ability to distribute quota inseason either to all qualified Individual Bluefin Quota (IBQ) share recipients (i.e., share recipients who have associated their permit with a vessel) or only to permitted Atlantic Tunas Longline vessels with recent fishing activity, whether or not they are associated with IBQ shares. This action is necessary to optimize fishing opportunity in the directed pelagic longline fishery for target species such as tuna and swordfish and to improve the functioning of the IBQ Program and its leasing provisions consistent with the objectives of Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan (FMP).
SAW-SARC 63 Public Meeting
NMFS and the Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Workshop (SAW) will convene the 63rd SAW Stock Assessment Review Committee for the purpose of reviewing the stock assessment of Ocean Quahog. The Northeast Regional SAW is a formal scientific peer-review process for evaluating and presenting stock assessment results to managers for fish stocks in the offshore U.S. waters of the northwest Atlantic. Assessments are prepared by SAW working groups and reviewed by an independent panel of stock assessment experts called the Stock Assessment Review Committee, or SARC. The public is invited to attend the presentations and discussions between the review panel and the scientists who have participated in the stock assessment process.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Amendment 26
NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in Amendment 26 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagics Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region (FMP) as prepared and submitted jointly by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) and South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic Council). Amendment 26 and this proposed rule would adjust the management boundary for the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) and Atlantic migratory groups of king mackerel; revise acceptable biological catch (ABC), commercial and recreational annual catch limits (ACLs), commercial quotas and recreational annual catch targets (ACTs) for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel; allow limited retention and sale of Atlantic migratory group king mackerel incidentally caught in the shark gillnet fishery; establish a commercial split season for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic southern zone; establish a commercial trip limit system for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic southern zone; revise the commercial and recreational ACLs for Gulf migratory group king mackerel; revise commercial zone quotas for Gulf migratory group king mackerel; and modify the recreational bag limit for Gulf migratory group king mackerel. The purpose of Amendment 26 and this proposed rule is to ensure that king mackerel management is based on the best scientific information available, while increasing the social and economic benefits of the fishery.