Recommendations for a Comprehensive Interagency Seafood Trade Strategy
On May 7, 2020, the White House issued an Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth. As part of this effort, the Department of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) are co-chairing the Interagency Seafood Trade Task Force (Seafood Trade Task Force), which will develop recommendations to provide to USTR for the development of a comprehensive interagency seafood trade strategy. On behalf of the Seafood Trade Task Force co-chairs, NOAA requests written input from interested parties on how best to achieve the objectives of the Seafood Trade Task Force as described in the Executive Order, including improving access to foreign markets for U.S. seafood exports through trade policy and negotiations; resolving technical barriers to U.S. seafood exports; and otherwise supporting fair market access for U.S. seafood products. In addition, interested parties are requested to respond to the questions listed below in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section as appropriate. The public input provided in response to this request for information (RFI) will inform the Seafood Trade Task Force as it works with Federal agencies and other stakeholders to develop recommendations to USTR in the preparation of a comprehensive interagency seafood trade strategy.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Cost Recovery Program
NMFS publishes notification of a 1.31 percent fee for cost recovery under the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program. This action is intended to provide holders of crab allocations with the 2020/2021 crab fishing year fee percentage so they can calculate the required cost recovery fee payment that must be submitted by July 31, 2021.
Request for Comment on the Draft Prospectus of the Fifth National Climate Assessment
With this notice, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) seeks public comment on the proposed themes and framework of the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) as indicated by the draft prospectus presented here. Based on input received from this notice, USGCRP will develop an annotated outline, which will be released for public comment at a later date. A call for author nominations and technical inputs will also be posted in one or more subsequent Federal Register Notices. In addition to the proposed themes and framework, this Federal Register Notice requests public comment on ways to make the assessment information accessible and useful to multiple audiences; specific types of detailed information on regional scales that would be most useful to stakeholders; how to best describe risks and impacts, as well as potential opportunities to reduce those risks and impacts on sectors of the economy and natural and social systems; new approaches to topics addressed in previous assessments; overarching themes that NCA5 should consider addressing; and other relevant topics.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (Council) Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish (MSB) Monitoring Committee will meet via webinar to develop recommendations for future MSB specifications.
Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Pacific Council) Highly Migratory Species Management Team (HMSMT) will hold an online meeting, which is open to the public.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reclassifying Sculpin Species in the Groundfish Fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS issues regulations to implement Amendment 121 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Management Area (BSAI FMP) and Amendment 110 to the FMP for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) (GOA FMP), collectively referred to as Amendments 121/110. This final rule prohibits directed fishing for sculpins by federally permitted groundfish fishermen and specifies a sculpin retention limit in the GOA and BSAI groundfish fisheries. This action is necessary to properly classify sculpins in the BSAI and GOA FMPs. This final rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), Amendments 121/ 110, the BSAI and GOA FMPs, and other applicable laws.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Shrimp Fishery Off the South Atlantic States; Amendment 11
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 11 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Shrimp Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Shrimp FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, Amendment 11 to the Shrimp FMP (Amendment 11) would modify the transit provisions for shrimp trawl vessels with brown, pink, and white shrimp on board in Federal waters of the South Atlantic that have been closed to shrimp trawling to protect white shrimp as a result of cold weather events. The purpose of Amendment 11 is to update the regulations to more closely align with current fishing practices, reduce the socio-economic impacts for fishermen who transit these closed areas, and improve safety at sea while maintaining protection for overwintering white shrimp.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Office of Naval Research Arctic Research Activities
NMFS received a request from the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) for the Renewal of their currently active incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to take marine mammals incidental to Arctic Research Activities in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. These activities are identical to those covered in the current authorization. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), prior to issuing the currently active IHA, NMFS requested comments on both the proposed IHA and the potential for renewing the initial authorization if certain requirements were satisfied. The Renewal requirements have been satisfied, and NMFS is now providing an additional 15-day comment period to allow for any additional comments on the proposed Renewal not previously provided during the initial 30-day comment period. ONR's activities are considered military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (NDAA).
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area
NMFS, upon request from the U.S. Navy (Navy), issues these regulations pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to govern the taking of marine mammals incidental to the training and testing activities conducted in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Study Area over the course of seven years, effectively extending the time period from December 20, 2023, to December 20, 2025. In August 2018, the MMPA was amended by the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 to allow for seven-year authorizations for military readiness activities, as compared to the previously allowed five years. The Navy's activities qualify as military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA as amended by the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004. These regulations, which allow for the issuance of Letters of Authorization (LOAs) for the incidental take of marine mammals during the described activities and timeframes, prescribe the permissible methods of taking and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, and establish requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Adjust the North Pacific Observer Program Fee
NMFS issues regulations to adjust the North Pacific Observer Program (Observer Program) fee. This action is intended to increase funds available to support observer and electronic monitoring systems deployment in the partial coverage category of the Observer Program and increase the likelihood of meeting desired monitoring objectives. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, and other applicable law.