Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Trip Limit Reduction for Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
NMFS reduces the combined trip limit for the commercial shallow-water and deep-water grouper fisheries in the exclusive economic zone of the Gulf of Mexico to 7,500 lb (3,402 kg) per trip. The intended effect of trip limit reduction is to moderate the rate of harvest of the available quotas and, thereby, reduce the adverse social and economic effects of derby fishing, enable more effective quota monitoring, and reduce the probability of overfishing.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder Fishery; Quota Transfer
NMFS announces that it has approved the request of the State of North Carolina to transfer 82,774 lb (37,546 kg) of commercial summer flounder quota to the States of Maine, Connecticut, New York, and Maryland, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in accordance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Addendum XV to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP). By this action, NMFS adjusts the quotas and announces the revised commercial quota for each state involved.
Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitat: 12-Month Finding on Petition to List the Cherry Point Stock of Pacific Herring as an Endangered or Threatened Species
We (NMFS) have completed an updated Endangered Species Act (ESA) status review of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi), inclusive of the Cherry Point herring stock (Strait of Georgia, Washington). We initiated this status review update in response to a petition received on May 14, 2004, to list the Cherry Point stock of Pacific herring as a threatened or endangered species. We have determined that the Cherry Point herring stock does not qualify as a ``species'' for consideration under the ESA. Based upon the best available scientific and commercial information, we conclude that the petitioned action to list the Cherry Point Pacific herring stock as a threatened or endangered species is not warranted. We find that the Cherry Point stock is part of the previously defined Georgia Basin distinct population segment (DPS) composed of inshore Pacific herring stocks from Puget Sound (Washington) and the Strait of Georgia (Washington and British Columbia). We have determined that the Georgia Basin DPS of Pacific herring is not in danger of extinction or likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and therefore does not warrant ESA listing at this time.
Small Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal School Training Operations at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
NMFS has received a request from Eglin Air Force Base (EAFB) for the take of small numbers of marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal School (NEODS) Training Operations at EAFB, Florida. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to authorize the Air Force to take, by harassment, small numbers of two species of cetaceans at EAFB beginning in July 7, 2005.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Quota Specifications and General Category Effort Controls
NMFS announces the final initial 2005 fishing year specifications for the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) fishery to set BFT quotas for each of the established domestic fishing categories and to set General category effort controls. This action is necessary to implement 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 has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) General and Charter/Headboat Permit category daily retention limits should be adjusted for the 2005 fishing year, which begins on June 1, 2005 and ends May 31, 2006. The adjustment will allow maximum utilization of the General category June through August time-period subquota, and will enhance recreational BFT fishing opportunities aboard Charter/Headboat vessels in the early portion of the season. Therefore, NMFS increases the daily BFT retention limits to provide enhanced commercial General category and recreational Charter/Headboat fishing opportunities in all areas without risking overharvest of the General and Angling category quotas. The final initial 2005 BFT Specifications and General category effort controls are provided in a separate Federal Register document.