Petition for Emergency Rulemaking to Protect Deep-Sea Coral and Sponge Habitat from Mobile Bottom-Tending Fishing Gear Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Essential Fish Habitat Provisions
NMFS announces its decision on a petition for rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Oceana, a non-governmental organization (NGO), petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce to promulgate immediately a rule to protect deep-sea coral and sponge (DSCS) habitat from the impacts of mobile bottom-tending fishing gear. NMFS finds that the petitioned emergency rulemaking is not warranted. NMFS will work actively with each Regional Fishery Management Council (Council) to evaluate, and take action where appropriate to protect DSCS and may pursue future rulemakings to protect DSCS in specific locations based on analyses for specific fisheries. Additionally, NMFS plans to develop a strategy to address research, conservation, and management issues regarding DSCS habitat, which eventually may result in rulemaking for some fisheries.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; License Limitation Program for the Scallop Fishery
NMFS issues a final rule to implement Amendment 10 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Scallop Fishery off Alaska (FMP), which modifies the gear endorsements under the License Limitation Program (LLP) for the scallop fishery. This action is necessary to allow increased participation by LLP license holders in the scallop fisheries off Alaska. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the FMP, and other applicable laws.