Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Meeting
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a public webinar meeting.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Groundfish Plan Team will meet November 13 through November 17, 2017.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Boost-Back and Landing of Falcon 9 Rockets
NMFS has received a request from Space Exploration Technology Corporation (SpaceX) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to boost-back and landing of Falcon 9 rockets at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and at contingency landing locations in the Pacific Ocean. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to SpaceX to incidentally take marine mammals, by Level B harassment only, during the specified activity. NMFS will consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the issuance of the requested MMPA authorizations and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of our decision.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery; State Waters Exemption
NMFS approves and implements an exemption for vessels with Federal Limited Access General Category Individual Fishing Quota permits from the State of Maine and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This exemption enables the vessels to continue fishing in their respective state waters once NMFS has announced that the Federal Northern Gulf of Maine total allowable catch has been fully harvested in a given year. Additionally, Massachusetts has requested that Federal Limited Access General Category Northern Gulf of Maine permits also be included in its exemption. Both states have requested this exemption as part of the Scallop State Water Exemption Program. This program specifies that a state may be eligible for a state waters exemption to specific Federal regulations if it has a scallop fishery and a scallop conservation program that does not jeopardize the biomass and fishing mortality/effort limit objectives of the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan. Based on the information that Maine and Massachusetts have submitted, NMFS has determined that both states qualify for this exemption and that this exemption will not have an impact on the effectiveness of Federal management measures for the scallop fishery overall or within the Northern Gulf of Maine management area.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to a Low-Energy Geophysical Survey in the Northeastern Pacific Ocean
In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) to incidentally harass, by Level A and Level B harassment, marine mammals during a low-energy marine geophysical survey in the northeastern Pacific Ocean.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Individual Bluefin Quota Program; Accountability for Bluefin Tuna Catch
NMFS proposes to modify the Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) regulations to require vessels in the pelagic longline fishery to account for bycatch of bluefin tuna (bluefin) using Individual Bluefin Quota (IBQ) on a quarterly basis instead of before commencing any fishing trip with less than the minimum required IBQ balance or with quota debt. Specifically, vessels would be allowed to fish with an IBQ balance below the minimum amount currently required to depart on a fishing trip with pelagic longline gear, or with quota debt incurred by exceeding their IBQ balance, during a given calendar quarter; however, vessels would be required to reconcile quota debt and satisfy the minimum IBQ requirement prior to departing on a pelagic longline fishing trip in the subsequent calendar quarter. The action will further optimize fishing opportunity in the directed pelagic longline fishery for target species such as tuna and swordfish and improve the functionality of the IBQ Program and its accounting provisions, consistent with the objectives of Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan (FMP).
National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), NIDIS Executive Council Meeting
The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Program Office will hold an organizational meeting of the NIDIS Executive Council on October 24, 2017.