Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries
NMFS is adjusting the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) General category daily retention limit from the default limit of one large medium or giant BFT to four large medium or giant BFT for the September, October through November, and December subquota time periods of the 2015 fishing year. This action is based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments, and applies to Atlantic tunas General category (commercial) permitted vessels and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels when fishing commercially for BFT.
Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; American Eel Fishery
NMFS announces that on August 6, 2015, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) found the State of Delaware out of compliance with the Commission's Interstate Fishery Management Plan (ISFMP) for American Eel. Subsequently, on August 19, 2015, the Commission referred the matter to NMFS, under delegation of authority from the Secretary of Commerce, for federal non-compliance review under the provisions of the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (Atlantic Coastal Act). The Atlantic Coastal Act mandates that NMFS must review the Commission's non-compliance referral and make specific findings by September 18, 2015, 30 days after receiving the referral. If NMFS determines that Delaware failed to carry out its responsibilities under the Coastal American Eel ISFMP, and if the measures it failed to implement are necessary for conservation, then, according to the Atlantic Coastal Act, NMFS must declare a moratorium on fishing for American eel in Delaware waters.
Marine Mammals; File No. 18636
Notice is hereby given that Iain Kerr, D.H.L., Ocean Alliance, 32 Horton Street, Gloucester, MA 01930, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on multiple cetacean species.
Marine Mammals; File No. 16239
Notice is hereby given that Dan Engelhaupt, Ph.D., HDR EOC, 5700 Lake Wright Drive, Norfolk, VA 23502-1859, has applied for an amendment to Scientific Research Permit No. 16239.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; Framework Adjustment 4
NMFS proposes management measures recommended by the New England Fishery Management Council in Framework Adjustment 4 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan to further enhance catch monitoring and address discarding in the herring fishery. NMFS proposes measures that would clarify the slippage definition (i.e., discarding catch before it has been sampled by an observer), require limited access herring vessels to report slippage via the daily vessel monitoring system catch report, and require slippage consequence measures. NMFS also proposes management measures recommended by the Council in Framework 4 that would require volumetric estimates of total catch and fish holds to be empty of fish before vessels depart on a herring trip and seeks public comment on specific issues with these measures identified by NMFS. Lastly, NMFS proposes minor corrections to existing regulations.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of the Aleut Corporation's pollock directed fishing allowance from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the Bering Sea subarea directed fisheries. This action is necessary to provide opportunity for harvest of the 2015 total allowable catch of pollock, consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area.
Initiation of Review of Management Plan and Regulations of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; Intent To Conduct Scoping and Prepare Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Management Plan
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or sanctuary) was designated in September 1992. It spans 4,601 square nautical miles (6.094 square miles) of marine waters off the central California coast, encompassing several large, nearshore submarine canyons, an offshore seamount and numerous marine habitats representative of the central California coastal and marine ecosystem. The present management plan was written and published in 2008 along with a final environmental impact statement in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In accordance with Section 304(e) of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, as amended, (NMSA), the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is initiating a review of the MBNMS management plan, to evaluate substantive progress toward implementing the goals for the sanctuary, and to make revisions to the plan and regulations as necessary to fulfill the purposes and policies of the NMSA. NOAA anticipates regulatory and management plan changes will require preparation of an environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NOAA will conduct public scoping meetings to gather information and other comments from individuals, organizations, tribes, and government agencies on the scope, types and significance of issues related to the MBNMS management plan and regulations and the proper scope of environmental review for the project. The scoping meetings are scheduled as detailed below.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan; Trawl Rationalization Program; Midwater Trawl Requirements
This proposed rule, if adopted, would clarify the regulatory requirements for vessels using midwater trawl gear in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota Program. This action is needed to eliminate inconsistencies and confusion in the current regulations. For vessels targeting Pacific whiting, the action would clarify that the retention of prohibited and protected species is allowed until landing. The disposition of prohibited and protected species would be specified consistent with the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan, and other applicable law.