Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will hold a two- day meeting of its Reef Fish Advisory Panel.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold eight scoping hearings in September and October 2015 to solicit public input on a management action to prohibit the development of new, or expansion of existing directed fisheries on unmanaged forage species until adequate scientific information is available to promote ecosystem sustainability. The Council is also soliciting written comments through 11:59 p.m. on Friday October 2, 2015. The Council has not yet determined which type of action it will develop. The action could take the form of a new fishery management plan, an amendment to an existing fishery management plan, or another action.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Scallop Advisory Panel 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.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (MAFMC) Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) will hold a public meeting.
Pacific Island Fisheries; 2015 Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures
In this final rule, NMFS specifies the 2015 annual catch limits (ACLs) for Pacific Island bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem fisheries, and accountability measures (AMs) to correct or mitigate any overages of catch limits. The ACLs and AMs support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands.
Marine Mammals; File No. 18902
Notice is hereby given that Colleen Reichmuth, Ph.D., Long Marine Laboratory, University of California at Santa Cruz, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on pinnipeds in captivity.
Marine Mammals; File Nos. 14122, 14585
Notice is hereby given that Janice Straley, University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, 1332 Seward Ave., Sitka, Alaska 99835, and Adam A. Pack, Ph.D., Departments of Psychology and Biology, University of Hawaii at Hilo, 200 West Kawili Street, Hilo, Hawaii 96720, have been issued minor amendments to Scientific Research Permit Nos. 14122 and 14585, respectively.
Marine Mammals; File Nos. 18722, 18897, 19425, and 19497
Notice is hereby given that permits have been issued to the following entities to receive, import, and export specimens of marine mammals for scientific research: Permit No. 18722: Cornell University, 157 Biotechnology Building, Ithaca, NY 14850 [Responsible Party: Sharron Mitchell, Ph.D.]; Permit No. 18897: Kathleen Colegrove, Ph.D., University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine, Zoological Pathology Program, LUMC Room 0745, Building 101, 2160 South First Street, Maywood, IL 60153; Permit No. 19425: Melissa McKinney, Ph.D., University of Connecticut, Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering, 3107 Horsebarn Hill Road, U-4210, Storrs, CT 06269; and Permit No. 19497: University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology V3-100, VAB, PO BOX 110880, Gainesville, FL, 32611-0880 [Responsible Party: Thomas B. Waltzek, D.V.M., Ph.D.].
Marine Mammals; File No. 19439
Notice is hereby given that Daniel P. Costa, Ph.D., University of California at Santa Cruz, Long Marine Laboratory, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on pinnipeds in Antarctica.
Notice of Availability of a Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment for Fisheries Research Conducted and Funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center
NMFS announces the availability of the ``Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (DPEA) for Fisheries Research Conducted and Funded by the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC).'' Publication of this notice begins the official public comment period for this DPEA. The purpose of the DPEA is to evaluate, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of conducting and funding fisheries and ecosystem research along the U.S. West Coast, including the Northern California Large Marine Ecosystem (NCLME), Puget Sound, and the Lower Columbia River Research Area (LCRRA).
North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Crab Plan Team (CPT) will meet September 14 through September 17, 2015.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Herring Committee 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.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Herring Advisory Panel 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.
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC); Public Meetings
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold meetings of the Habitat Protection and Ecosystem-Based Management Committee; Protected Resources Committee; Dolphin Wahoo Committee; Personnel Committee (Closed Session); Advisory Panel Selection Committee (Closed Session); Southeast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR) Committee (partially Closed Session); King and Spanish Mackerel Committee; Snapper Grouper Committee; Data Collection Committee; Law Enforcement Committee; Executive Finance Committee; and a meeting of the Full Council. The Council will also hold a Council Member Visioning Workshop for the Snapper Grouper Fishery. The Council will take action as necessary. The Council will also hold a formal public comment session.
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Fisheries Research
NMFS' Office of Protected Resources has received a request from the NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) for authorization to take small numbers of marine mammals incidental to conducting fisheries research, over the course of five years from the date of issuance. Pursuant to regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing receipt of the NWFSC's request for the development and implementation of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals. NMFS invites the public to provide information, suggestions, and comments on the NWFSC's application and request.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Several Groundfish Species in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS apportions amounts of the non-specified reserve to the initial total allowable catch (ITAC) of Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) northern rockfish, BSAI squids, Bering Sea (BS) Greenland turbot, and BS Pacific ocean perch in the BSAI management area. This action is necessary to allow the fisheries to continue operating. It is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan for the BSAI management area.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Quotas
NMFS hereby modifies the baseline annual U.S. quota and subquotas for Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT). Specifically for 2015, NMFS augments the Reserve category quota with available underharvest of the 2014 adjusted U.S. BFT quota and also recalculates the Purse Seine and Reserve category quotas that were announced earlier this year (consistent with the Amendment 7 annual reallocation process) to reflect the increased U.S. quota. Furthermore, NMFS makes minor modifications to the regulations regarding Atlantic tunas purse seine auxiliary vessel activity under the ``transfer at sea'' provisions. This action is necessary to implement binding recommendations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), as required by the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), and to achieve domestic management objectives under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
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.
NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy
NMFS is releasing the final NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy (Strategy). The full Strategy, a Strategy Highlights document and additional information may be found at: https:// www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/ecosystems/climate/.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Identification and Proposed Listing of Eleven Distinct Population Segments of Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas
On March 23, 2015, NMFS and USFWS (or the Services) published a proposed rule to revise the listings of the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas; hereafter referred to as the green turtle) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We opened a public comment period that lasted through June 22, 2015. On June 17, 2015, we published a document extending the public comment period through July 27, 2015. On July 27, 2015, we published a document again extending the public comment period to August 26, 2015. Having received a request to further extend the comment period, with this document we further extend the comment period to September 25, 2015.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is opening directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters) length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line or pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI). This action is necessary to fully use the 2015 total allowable catch of Pacific cod allocated to catcher vessels less than 60 feet LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear in the BSAI.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Omnibus Amendment To Simplify Vessel Baselines
This final rule announces the approval of the Omnibus Amendment to the Fishery Management Plans of the Northeastern United States and implements the amendment's approved management measures to simplify vessel baselines. The Baseline Amendment eliminates the one- time limit on vessel upgrades and removes gross and net tonnages from the vessel baseline specifications that NMFS considers when determining a vessel's baseline for replacement purposes. Implementing these measures reduces the administrative burden to permit holders and NMFS and has little effect on fleet capacity. This rule also removes the requirement for vessels to send in negative fishing reports (i.e., ``did not fish'' reports) during months or weeks when vessels were inactive. NMFS no longer needs these reports due to improved trip-level matching. Therefore, NMFS removes this requirement to simplify the regulations and reduce reporting burdens for the industry.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific cod from vessels using jig gear and catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 feet (18.3 meters) length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line gear to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters) LOA using hook- and-line or pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is necessary to allow the 2015 total allowable catch of Pacific cod to be harvested.
Proposed Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project; Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement; Scoping Meeting
A permit application has been submitted by California American Water Company (CalAm) to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) to construct and operate a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination facility project (Project) in Monterey County, California. The permit review process will be conducted concurrently with a public process conducted pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). NOAA is soliciting information and comments on the range of issues and the significant issues to be analyzed in depth related to the Project proposed within MBNMS boundaries.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits
The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS has made a preliminary determination that an exempted fishing permit application contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. This exempted fishing permit would allow two commercial fishing vessels to test the functional performance of a large-mesh belly panel to reduce windowpane flounder bycatch while fishing for scup within the Southern New England and Mid-Atlantic windowpane flounder stock area. The research would be conducted by the Cornell University Cooperative Extension of the Suffolk County Marine Program. Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for a proposed exempted fishing permit.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Modifications of the West Coast Commercial, Recreational, and Treaty Indian Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Actions #16 Through #21
NMFS announces six inseason actions in the ocean salmon fisheries. These inseason actions modified the commercial, recreational, and treaty Indian salmon fisheries in the area from the U.S./Canada border to the U.S./Mexico border.
Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; Exemption for Large U.S. Longline Vessels To Fish in Portions of the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area
NMFS proposes to allow large federally permitted U.S. longline vessels to fish in certain areas of the Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA) around Swains Island, Tutuila, and the Manua Islands. NMFS would continue to prohibit fishing in the LVPA by large purse seine vessels. The fishing requirements for the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument would remain unchanged. The intent of the proposed rule is to improve the viability of the American Samoa longline fishery and achieve optimum yield from the fishery while preventing overfishing, in accordance with National Standard 1.
International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Fishing Effort Limits in Purse Seine Fisheries for 2015
This rule makes final an interim rule that established a fishing effort limit for calendar year 2015 for U.S. purse seine vessels in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and on the high seas between the latitudes of 20[deg] N. and 20[deg] S. in the area of application of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention Area). The limit is 1,828 fishing days. This action is necessary for the United States to implement provisions of a conservation and management measure (CMM) adopted by the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC or Commission) and to satisfy the obligations of the United States under the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention), to which it is a Contracting Party.
International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Purse Seine Fishing Restrictions During Closure Periods
This interim rule amends the regulations to remove the restriction that prohibits U.S. purse seine vessels from conducting bunkering (refueling) activities in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and on the high seas between the latitudes of 20[deg] N. and 20[deg] S. in the area of application of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention), also known as the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine or ELAPS, when this area is closed to U.S. purse seine fishing. This action would relieve U.S. purse seine vessels from the burden of the prohibition while continuing to satisfy U.S. obligations pursuant to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 15
NMFS proposes regulations to implement Amendment 15 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared and submitted by the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Fishery Management Council (Council). This rule would revise the FMP framework procedures to streamline the process for changing certain regulations affecting the shrimp fishery. Additionally, this rule proposes changes to the FMP that would revise the maximum sustainable yield (MSY), overfishing threshold, and overfished threshold definitions and values for three species of penaeid shrimp. The intent of this proposed rule and Amendment 15 are to streamline the management process for Gulf shrimp stocks and to revise criteria for determining the overfished and overfishing status of each penaeid shrimp stock using the best available science.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Expenditure Survey of Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Tournaments and Participants
The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.
Availability of Seats for National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Councils, Correction
ONMS published a request for applications for vacant seats on seven of its 13 national marine sanctuary advisory councils on August 14, 2015 (80 FR 48828). This notice is a correction to the number of vacant seats available for the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. Previously, ONMS requested applications for the following six seats on this council: Business/Industry (primary member); Mobile Gear Commercial Fishing (alternate); Recreational Fishing (alternate); Research (alternate); Whale Watch (alternate); and Youth (alternate). ONMS is requesting applications for all of the following seats: At-Large (primary member); Business/Industry (primary member); Diving (primary member); Diving (alternate); Education (two primary members); Fixed Gear Commercial Fishing (primary member); Fixed Gear Commercial Fishing (alternate); Mobile Gear Commercial Fishing (alternate); Recreational Fishing (alternate); Research (two alternates); Whale Watch (primary member); and Youth (alternate). No other advisory councils are affected by this notice.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Small-Mesh Multispecies Fishery; Adjustment to the Northern Red Hake Inseason Possession Limit
We announce the reduction of the commercial possession limit for northern red hake for the remainder of the 2015 fishing year. This action is required to prevent the northern red hake total allowable landing limit from being exceeded. This announcement informs the public that the northern red hake possession limit is reduced.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (Council) Ecosystem and Ocean Planning Advisory Panel (AP) will hold a public meeting.
Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) and its advisory entities will hold an 8-day public meeting to consider actions affecting West Coast fisheries in the exclusive economic zone.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Kodiak Ferry Terminal and Dock Improvements Project
NMFS has received a request from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to reconstructing the existing ferry terminal at Pier 1 in Kodiak, Alaska, referred to as the Kodiak Ferry Terminal and Dock Improvements project (State Project Number 68938). The DOT&PF requests that the incidental harassment authorization (IHA) be valid for 1 year, from September 30, 2015 through September 29, 2016. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an authorization to the DOT&PF incidentally take, by harassment, small numbers of marine mammals for its reconstruction of the ferry terminal at Pier 1 in Kodiak, AK.
Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; 2015 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits
NMFS proposes a 2015 limit of 2,000 metric tons (mt) of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. Pacific territory (American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands). NMFS would allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 mt each year to U.S. longline fishing vessels in a specified fishing agreement that meets established criteria. As an accountability measure, NMFS would monitor, attribute, and restrict (if necessary) catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna, including catches made under a specified fishing agreement. The proposed catch limits and accountability measures support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Orange Clownfish as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act
We, NMFS, announce a 12-month finding and listing determination on a petition to list the orange clownfish (Amphiprion percula) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We have completed a comprehensive status review under the ESA for the orange clownfish and we determined that, based on the best scientific and commercial data available, the orange clownfish does not warrant listing under the ESA. We conclude that the orange clownfish is not currently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range and is not likely to become so within the foreseeable future.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; Supplemental Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; Scoping Process; Request for Comments
The New England Fishery Management Council is in the process of preparing an environmental impact statement for Amendment 8 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan. Amendment 8 would specify a long-term acceptable biological catch control rule for the herring fishery and consider alternatives for this control rule that explicitly account for herring's role in the ecosystem. The Council recently decided to expand the scope of Amendment 8 to include consideration of localized depletion in inshore waters. During this comment period, the Council is only seeking comments on the expanded scope of Amendment 8.
Endangered and Threatened Species: Final Rulemaking To Revise Critical Habitat for Hawaiian Monk Seals
We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), issue a final rule to revise the critical habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi) pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. Specific areas for designation include sixteen occupied areas within the range of the species: ten areas in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) and six in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). These areas contain one or a combination of habitat types: Preferred pupping and nursing areas, significant haul-out areas, and/or marine foraging areas, that will support conservation for the species. Specific areas in the NWHI include all beach areas, sand spits and islets, including all beach crest vegetation to its deepest extent inland, lagoon waters, inner reef waters, and including marine habitat through the water's edge, including the seafloor and all subsurface waters and marine habitat within 10 meters (m) of the seafloor, out to the 200-m depth contour line around the following 10 areas: Kure Atoll, Midway Islands, Pearl and Hermes Reef, Lisianski Island, Laysan Island, Maro Reef, Gardner Pinnacles, French Frigate Shoals, Necker Island, and Nihoa Island. Specific areas in the MHI include marine habitat from the 200-m depth contour line, including the seafloor and all subsurface waters and marine habitat within 10 m of the seafloor, through the water's edge 5 m into the terrestrial environment from the shoreline between identified boundary points on the islands of: Kaula, Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Maui Nui (including Kahoolawe, Lanai, Maui, and Molokai), and Hawaii. In areas where critical habitat does not extend inland, the designation ends at a line that marks mean lower low water. Some terrestrial areas in existence prior to the effective date of the rule within the specific areas lack the essential features of Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat because these areas are inaccessible to seals for hauling out (such as cliffs) or lack the natural areas necessary to support monk seal conservation (such as hardened harbors, shorelines or buildings) and therefore do not meet the definition of critical habitat and are not included in the designation. In developing this final rule we considered public and peer review comments, as well as economic impacts and impacts to national security. We have excluded four areas because the national security benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion, and exclusion will not result in extinction of the species. Additionally several areas are precluded from designation under section 4(a)(3) of the ESA because they are managed under Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans that we have found provide a benefit to Hawaiian monk seals.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical and Geotechnical Survey in Cook Inlet, Alaska
NMFS is issuing an Authorization in response to a request from ExxonMobil Alaska LNG LLC (EMALL) for an authorization to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to a geophysical and geotechnical survey in Cook Inlet, AK, for 84 days between August 14, 2015 and August 13, 2016.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish
Notice is hereby given that NMFS has issued Endangered Species Act (ESA) scientific research Permit 18251 to the Marine Science Institute. Additionally, NMFS has received four scientific research and enhancement permit modification requests relating to anadromous species listed under the ESA. The proposed research activities are intended to increase knowledge of the species and to help guide management and conservation efforts. The application for each permit is available on the Applications and Permits for Protected Species (APPS), https:// apps.nmfs.noaa.gov Web site by searching the permit number within the Search Database page. The applications for each permit modification request may be viewed online at: https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov/preview/ preview_open_for_comment.cfm.
Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; 2015 Recreational Accountability Measure and Closure for South Atlantic Hogfish
NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for the hogfish recreational sector in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic for the 2015 fishing year through this temporary rule. NMFS estimates recreational landings from the 2014 and 2015 fishing years have exceeded the recreational annual catch limit (ACL) for hogfish. Therefore, NMFS reduces the length of the 2015 recreational fishing season, i.e., closes the recreational sector, for hogfish in the South Atlantic EEZ on August 24, 2015. This closure is necessary to protect the hogfish resource.