Meeting of the Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee
This notice sets forth the proposed schedule and agenda of a forthcoming meeting of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee's (MAFAC's) Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force (CBP Task Force). The CBP Task Force will discuss the issues outlined in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION below.
Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee Meeting
This notice sets forth the proposed schedule and agenda of a forthcoming meeting of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC). The members will discuss and provide advice on issues outlined under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION below.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Application for an Exempted Fishing Permit
NMFS announces the receipt of two exempted fishing permit (EFP) applications. The first application was received from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for an EFP to test commercial pot fishing gear for selective harvest of lingcod. The lingcod pot gear EFP is intended to provide for the selective harvest of lingcod with fixed gear inside the non-trawl rockfish conservation area (RCA), allowing harvest of lingcod within existing annual catch limits (ACLs) while keeping catch of co- occurring overfished species (e.g. yelloweye rockfish) within rebuilding ACLs. The second application was received from the West Coast Seafood Processors Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Oregon Trawl Commission, and Midwater Trawlers Cooperative for an EFP to test if and how the removal of certain trawl gear, time, and area restrictions for the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program may impact the nature and extent of bycatch of prohibited species. This EFP is intended to allow participating limited entry groundfish bottom trawl and midwater trawl vessels more flexibility in 2018 to target pelagic rockfish species, such as widow, chilipepper, and yellowtail rockfish. The NMFS West Coast Region's Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries has made a preliminary determination that the subject EFP applications contain all the required information and warrant further consideration. Therefore, NMFS announces that the Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries proposes to recommend that EFPs be issued.
Fraser River Sockeye and Pink 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 2017 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.
Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; American Lobster Fishery; Control Date for Lobster Conservation Management Areas
This document announces that NMFS is considering changes to the lobster management program and may select a control date to restrict the number of permits or traps an individual or business entity may own, with specific emphasis on Lobster Conservation Management Areas (LCMAs) 2 and 3. NMFS may use the existing control date of January 27, 2014, which was published in the Federal Register, the publication date of this present ANPR, or another date for this purpose, pending public comment and further input by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission). This action may be necessary to control effort in the American lobster fishery and mitigate impacts on the depleted Southern New England (SNE) lobster stock. NMFS intends for this document to promote awareness of possible rulemaking and notify the public that actions taken to acquire lobster trap allocation and permits after the control date may not be recognized in the future.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Amendment 6 to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan
This final rule implements management measures previously approved for Amendment 6 to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan and publicizes status quo management measures for 2018. Amendment 6 was developed by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to establish management measures and 2017 harvest limits for the blueline tilefish fishery north of the Virginia/North Carolina border. The intended effect of this action is to establish permanent management measures for this fishery, consistent with requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish
Notice is hereby given that NMFS has received 14 scientific research permit application requests relating to Pacific salmon, steelhead, eulachon, and green sturgeon. 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. The applications may be viewed online at https:// apps.nmfs.noaa.gov/preview/preview_open_for_comment.cfm.
Determination of Overfishing or an Overfished Condition
This action serves as a notice that NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), has found that the following stocks are subject to overfishing or approaching an overfished condition. The Stillaguamish coho salmon stock in Puget Sound is now subject to overfishing. The Klamath River fall Chinook salmon stock on the Northern California coast, the Queets coho salmon stock on the Washington coast, and the Skagit coho salmon stock in Puget Sound are all approaching an overfished condition. The Puerto Rico spiny lobster stock and the Puerto Rico Triggerfishes and Filefishes Complex are both still subject to overfishing. NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary, notifies the appropriate fishery management council (Council) whenever it determines that overfishing is occurring, a stock is in an overfished condition or a stock is approaching an overfished condition.
Draft National Procedure for Permit Applications To Retain Releasable Rehabilitated Marine Mammals for Public Display
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has developed a draft national Procedural Directive clarifying the process for eligible permit applicants to obtain releasable marine mammals for public display purposes under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Releasable marine mammals are those that were successfully rehabilitated by the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program's network of stranding centers and have been determined by the rehabilitation facility's attending veterinarian to be candidates for return to the wild. NMFS will no longer grant permits for the specific purpose of retaining releasable marine mammals for public display. Instead, applicants will now need to apply for a permit to take (collect) animals from the wild pursuant to the MMPA. Non-releasable animals, on the other hand, may still be obtained through NMFS' administrative procedures.