New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Joint Habitat Advisory Panel and Plan Development Team 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.
Schedules for Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops and Protected Species Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops
Free Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops and Protected Species Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops will be held in January, February, and March of 2018. Certain fishermen and shark dealers are required to attend a workshop to meet regulatory requirements and to maintain valid permits. Specifically, 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 who have also been issued shark or swordfish limited access permits. Additional free workshops will be conducted during 2018 and will be announced in a future notice.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To Identify the Northwest Atlantic Leatherback Turtle as a Distinct Population Segment and List It as Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act
We, NMFS, announce a 90-day finding on a petition to identify the Northwest Atlantic subpopulation of the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) as a Distinct Population Segment (DPS) and list it as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We find that the petition and information readily available in our files present substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. We are hereby initiating a status review of the leatherback turtle to determine whether the petitioned action is warranted and to examine the species globally with regard to application of the DPS Policy in light of significant new information since the original listing. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial information pertaining to the leatherback turtle from any interested party.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Charter/Headboat Permit Commercial Sale Provision
This final rule creates a separate permit endorsement provision for the commercial sale of Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) by HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders. Prior to implementation of this final rule, all vessels issued an HMS Charter/Headboat permit could be categorized as commercial fishing vessels and could be subject to United States Coast Guard (USCG) commercial fishing vessel safety requirements regardless of whether the permit holder engages or intends to engage in commercial fishing. Under this final rule, HMS Charter/ Headboat permit holders will be prohibited from selling Atlantic tunas, swordfish, or sharks unless they obtain a commercial sale endorsement for their permit. This final rule will clarify which HMS Charter/ Headboat permitted vessels are properly categorized as commercial fishing vessels for purposes of USCG safety requirements. This action is administrative in nature and will not affect fishing practices or result in any significant environmental effects or economic impacts.
Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; 2017 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits for the Territory of American Samoa
NMFS announces a valid specified fishing agreement that allocates up to 1,000 metric tons (t) of the 2017 bigeye tuna limit for the Territory of American Samoa to identified U.S. longline fishing vessels. The agreement supports the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands, and fisheries development in the CNMI.