Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits
The Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has made a preliminary determination that the subject Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application contains all the required information and warrants further consideration. The Regional Administrator has also made a preliminary determination that the activities authorized under the EFP would be consistent with the goals and objectives of the Atlantic Herring and Northeast (NE) Multispecies Fishery Management Plans (FMPs). However, further review and consultation may be necessary before a final determination is made to issue the EFP. Therefore, NMFS announces that the Regional Administrator proposes to issue an EFP that would allow up to four vessels at any given time to conduct fishing operations that are otherwise restricted by the regulations governing the fisheries of the Northeastern United States. The EFP would allow for exemptions from certain regulations that implement the emergency action to address haddock bycatch in the 2005 herring fishery for the period August 1 - October 30, 2005. The EFP would exempt vessels from requirements specified at 50 CFR 648.86(a)(3) that restrict Category 1 herring vessels from possessing more than 1,000 lb (0.45 mt) of haddock per trip. The vessels would be part of a study entitled, ``Modifications to Herring Midwater Trawls to Increase Escapement of Non-Target Species (Haddock),'' which is being coordinated by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute on behalf of several research partners. The EFP application is being requested by one of the project partners, East Coast Pelagic Association (ECPA), and would allow trips to compare a standard Atlantic herring midwater trawl with a modified Atlantic herring midwater trawl intended to allow escapement of haddock. Nets would be towed by either two single vessels, or by two sets of midwater pair trawlers, resulting in a maximum of four vessels at any given time. The vessels will test gear modifications and use underwater video gear to research the vertical distribution and reaction behavior of herring and haddock during the seasonal and spatial overlap that occurs between these species on Georges Bank. Research is proposed for the period August 1 - October 30, and participating vessels would deploy a modified net and a standard net at intervals that provide standardized statistical results. The fishing activity would consist of 15-20 trips of 2.5 days each, with approximately 3-5 tows per day, of 3-4 hours each. 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 proposed EFPs.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene a joint meeting of its Standing and Special Reef Fish Scientific and Statistical Committees (SSCs) in New Orleans, LA.