Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS is opening directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) for 48 hours. This action is necessary to fully use the C season allowance of the 2005 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock specified for Statistical Area 630.
Advisory Committee to the U.S. Section to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT); Fall Meetings
In preparation for the 2005 ICCAT meeting, the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Section to International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) will hold two fall meetings. A summary of the meeting topics is provided in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Comprehensive Amendment to the Fishery Management Plans of the U.S. Caribbean
NMFS issues this proposed rule to implement a comprehensive amendment prepared by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council (Council) to amend its Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch, and Coral Fishery Management Plans (FMPs). The comprehensive amendment is designed to ensure the FMPs are fully compliant with the provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson- Stevens Act). This proposed rule would redefine the fishery management units for the FMPs; establish seasonal closures; impose gear restrictions and requirements; revise requirements for marking pots and traps; and prohibit the filleting of fish at sea. In addition, the comprehensive amendment would establish biological reference points and stock status criteria; establish rebuilding schedules and strategies to end overfishing and rebuild overfished stocks; provide for standardized collection of bycatch data; minimize bycatch and bycatch mortality to the extent practicable; designate essential fish habitat (EFH) and EFH habitat areas of particular concern (HAPCs); and minimize adverse impacts on such habitat to the extent practicable. The intended effect of this proposed rule is to achieve optimum yield in the fisheries and provide social and economic benefits associated with maintaining healthy stocks.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Hearings
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council was tasked by Congress, together with the New England Fishery Management Council, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, to incorporate ecosystem considerations into their fisheries management processes. The purpose of this ecosystem initiative mandated by Congress is to engage the four Councils and their constituencies in public debate on the establishment of ecosystem goals, the inclusion of the types of considerations to be addressed in ecosystem management, and the identification of issues not covered under existing authorities.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council) Non- Target Species Committee will meet.
Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings/Workshop
The Groundfish Stock Assessment Review (STAR) Panel for lingcod, the northern portion of the West Coast petrale sole stock, and rebuilding analyses for seven overfished West Coast rockfish stocks will hold a work session which is open to the public.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Meeting of Atlantic Highly Migratory Species and Billfish Advisory Panels; Nominations for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species and Billfish Advisory Panels
NMFS will hold a joint three day Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel (HMS AP) and Billfish Advisory Panel (Billfish AP) meeting in October 2005. Additionally, NMFS solicits nominations for the HMS AP and the Billfish AP. The intent of these joint Advisory Panels meetings is to consider alternatives for the conservation and management of HMS as presented in the Draft Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan, Draft Environmental Impact Statement, and proposed rule.
External Advisory Panel for NOAA's Oceans and Human Health Initiative
The Oceans and Human Health Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-447) created a national, interagency research program to improve understanding of the role of the oceans in human health. Section 903(a) of this Act authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to establish an Oceans and Human Health Initiative (OHHI) to coordinate and implement research and activities of NOAA related to the role of the oceans, the coasts, and the Great Lakes in human health. The OHHI is further authorized to provide support for (1) Centralized program and research coordination, (2) an advisory panel, (3) one or more NOAA national centers of excellence, (4) research grants, and (5) distinguished scholars and traineeships. Section 903(b) of the OHH Act further authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to establish an oceans and human health advisory panel to assist in the development and implementation of the NOAA OHHI. This advisory panel is to provide for balanced representation of individuals with multi-disciplinary expertise in the marine and biomedical sciences and is not subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.). Nominations to the OHHI advisory panel are being solicited herein. The intent is to select from the nominees. However, NOAA retains the prerogative to name people to the advisory panel who were not nominated if it deems it necessary to achieve the desired balance. Once selected, NOAA will post the review panel, with abridged resumes, at https:// oceanservice.noaa.gov/aaoffice/OHHI/.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings; Correction
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) has cancelled the public meetings that were scheduled for September 12-16, 2005, in New Orleans, LA.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Modification of Emergency Fishery Closure Due to the Presence of the Toxin That Causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning
At the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), NMFS closed portions of Federal waters of the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and southern New England from June 14, 2005, through September 30, 2005, to the harvest for human consumption of certain bivalve molluscan shellfish due to the presence in those waters of the toxin that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). The FDA has determined that harvesting for human consumption of bivalve molluscan shellfish other than whole and roe-on scallops from a portion of the closed area is now safe and may be resumed. As a result, NMFS is modifying its previous closure to allow such fishing.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Essential Fish Habitat Components of Certain Fishery Management Plans 5-year Review; Supplemental Scoping Process
On February 24, 2004, the New England Fishery Management Council (Council) in cooperation with NMFS announced its intent to prepare a programmatic EIS and Omnibus Amendment 2 to the Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) for Northeast Multispecies, Atlantic Sea Scallop, Monkfish, Atlantic Herring, Skates, Atlantic Salmon, and Red Crab. The purpose of this notification is to alert the interested public of the Council's intent to complete Omnibus Amendment 2 in a two-phased approach. Phase 1 (Volume 1 of the EIS) would include a review and update of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) designations and consideration of Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPCs) (not including consideration of management measures or restrictions), an update of the prey species list, an update of non-fishing impacts, and an update of research and information needs. Phase 2 (Volume 2 of the EIS) would include reviewing and updating a gear effects evaluation and optimizing management measures for minimizing the adverse effects of fishing on EFH across all FMPs, including the potential consideration of management measures for HAPCs designated in Phase 1. During this scoping period, the Council and NMFS are seeking comments on the phased approach only.
Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Product Development Committee (CPDC) for Synthesis and Assessment Product 1.1
Establishment of the CPDC-S&A 1.1 will result in advice to the Secretary, through the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, on CCSP Topic 1.1: ``Temperature trends in the lower atmospheresteps for understanding and reconciling differences.'' This information will be used by NOAA to develop a final product in accordance with the Guidelines for Producing the CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Products.
Hydrographic Services Review Panel Meeting
The Hydrographic Services Review Panel (HSRP) was established by the Secretary of Commerce to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere on matters related to the responsibilities and authorities set forth in section 303 of the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act of 1998, its amendments, and such other appropriate matters that the Under Secretary refers to the Panel for review and advice. The purpose of the conference call is to allow Panel members to vote on final recommendations initiated during a public meeting in Durham, New Hampshire, on August 18-19, 2005. Written public comments should be submitted to the DFO by September 26, 2005. Date and Time: The conference call will convene at 2 p.m. eastern time, September 28, 2005, and end at about 3:30 p.m.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Trawl Survey Advisory Panel, composed of representatives from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC), the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), and several independent scientific researchers, will hold a public meeting.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting
The Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils' Spiny Dogfish Monitoring Committee will hold a public meeting.
Federal Consistency Appeal by Irizarry Garcia From an Objection by the Puerto Rico Planning Board
This announcement provides notice that Irizarry Garcia has filed an administrative appeal with the Department of Commerce asking that the Secretary override the Puerto Rico Planning Board's objection to a consistency certification prepared in conjunction with the proposed reconstruction of a private pier.
Availability of Seats for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) is seeking applicants for the following vacant seats on its Sanctuary Advisory Council (Council): Education and Chumash Community. Applicants are chosen based upon their particular expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying; community and professional affiliations; philosophy regarding the protection and management of marine resources; and possibly the length of residence in the area affected by the Sanctuary. Applicants who are chosen as members should expect to serve 2-year terms, pursuant to the Council's Charter.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery; Closure of the Closed Area I Scallop Access Area to General Category Scallop Vessels
NMFS announces the closure of the Closed Area I (CAI) Scallop Access Area for general category scallop vessels for the remainder of the 2005 fishing year (through February 28, 2006). This closure is based on a determination by the Northeast Regional Administrator (RA) that general category scallop vessels will have made all of the 162 allowed trips by 0001 hr local time September 8, 2005. This action is being taken to prevent the allocation of general category trips in CAI Scallop Access Area from being exceeded during the 2005 fishing year in accordance with the regulations implemented under Framework 16 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and Framework 39 to the Northeast Multispecies FMP (Joint Frameworks) and the Magnuson- Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the C season allowance of the 2005 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock for Statistical Area 610 of the GOA.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Amendments to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish, and Sharks and the FMP for Atlantic Billfish
Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, NMFS is cancelling two public hearings on the draft consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and proposed rule that were scheduled for September 6 and September 8, 2005, in Orange Beach, AL, and New Orleans, LA, respectively. NMFS intends to reschedule the September 6 Orange Beach and September 8 New Orleans public hearings at a later date. In addition, NMFS has changed the location and time of the public hearing that was scheduled to be held in Fort Lauderdale, FL, on October 3, 2005, at the African American Arts and Cultural Center Research Library. The draft consolidated HMS FMP and the proposed rule describe a range of management measures that could impact fishermen and dealers for all HMS fisheries.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Petition for Emergency Rulemaking for Red Snapper
NMFS announces its decision to deny a petition for emergency or interim rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson- Stevens Act). The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), a marine conservation group composed of approximately 90,000 members, petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce to immediately promulgate an emergency or interim rule under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to prevent overfishing of red snapper resulting from bycatch in the shrimp trawl fishery of the Gulf of Mexico. NMFS finds the emergency or interim rulemaking is not warranted, and additional management measures to end overfishing of red snapper would better be addressed through a Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) regulatory amendment and development of a fishery management plan (FMP) amendment.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Atka Mackerel in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Atka mackerel with gears other than jig in the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2005 total allowable catch (TAC) of Atka mackerel in these areas. NMFS is also announcing the opening and closure dates of the first and second directed fisheries within the harvest limit area (HLA) in Statistical Areas 542 and 543. These actions are necessary to prevent exceeding the HLA limits established for the Central (area 542) and Western (area 543) Aleutian Districts pursuant to the 2005 Atka mackerel TAC.
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) Assistant Administrator; Evaluation of NOAA's Response to the August 6, 2004 Research Review Report
The Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research publishes this notice to announce the availability for public comment of the Science Advisory Board's (SAB) draft report on the evaluation of NOAA's response to the Research Review Report. ``The Evaluation of NOAA's Response to the Research Review Report'' can be found at: https:// www.sab.NOAA.gov/reports/reports.html.
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting of its Snapper Grouper Committee, Controlled Access Committee, Joint Executive and Finance Committees, Advisory Panel Selection Committee, Scientific and Statistical Selection Committee, and a meeting of the full Council.
Small Take of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Maintenance Dredging Around Pier 39, San Francisco, California
NMFS has received an application from Bay Marina Management Incorporated (BMMI) to take small numbers of marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to dredging on the west side of the Pier 39 Marina on the San Francisco waterfront, CA. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to BMMI for 1 year.
Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit (1528)
Notice is hereby given that NMFS issued on August 26, 2005, an incidental take permit (Permit 1528) to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended. As required by the ESA, NCDMF's Permit 1528 includes a conservation plan designed to minimize and mitigate any such take of endangered or threatened species. Permit 1528 is for the incidental take of ESA-listed adult and juvenile sea turtles associated with otherwise lawful commercial fall gill net fisheries for flounder operating in Pamlico Sound, NC. The duration of Permit 1528 is for 6 years.
Certification Requirements for Distributors of NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts/NOAA Hydrographic Products
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is promulgating certification requirements with standards for applicants who want to redistribute NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts (NOAA ENCs[supreg]) as official data. Two types of certification are offered. The first type, ``Certified NOAA ENC Distributor'' (CED), covers NOAA ENC downloading, exact copying, and redistribution of those copies. The second type, ``Certified NOAA ENC Value Added Distributor'' (CEVAD), permits reformatting official NOAA ENCs into a System Electronic Navigational Chart (SENC) using type-approved software, and distribution of that SENC. NOAA intends by this action to assure that, though redistributed, quality official NOAA ENC data is offered to the public in support of safe navigation on U.S. waters.
Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; American Lobster Fishery
NMFS proposes new and revised Federal American lobster (Homarus americanus) regulations in response to recommendations by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) in Addenda II and III to Amendment 3 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster (ISFMP). The proposed lobster management measures are intended to increase protection to American lobster broodstock throughout the stock's range, and would apply to lobsters harvested in one or more of seven Lobster Conservation Management Areas (LCMA). In addition, NMFS proposes measures that would clarify existing Federal lobster regulations.
Fisheries of the Economic Exclusive Zone Off Alaska; Deep-water Species Fishery by Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for species that comprise the deep-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary because the fourth seasonal apportionment of the 2005 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the deep-water species fishery in the GOA has been reached.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Northern Rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for northern rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2005 total allowable catch (TAC) of northern rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA.
International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Restrictions for 2005 Longline Fisheries in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean
This emergency action, implemented under the regulations for the Pacific Tuna Fisheries, will prevent overfishing of bigeye tuna in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP), consistent with recommendations by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) that have been approved by the Department of State (DOS) under the Tuna Conventions Act. NMFS hereby closes the U.S. longline fishery directed at bigeye tuna in the Convention Area for the remainder of 2005 because the bigeye tuna catch in the Convention Area has reached the reported level of catch made in 2001. This action is intended to limit fishing mortality on bigeye tuna stock caused by longline fishing in the Convention Area and contribute to the long-term conservation of bigeye tuna stock at levels that support healthy fisheries.
Fisheries of the Economic Exclusive Zone Off Alaska; Shallow-Water Species Fishery by Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for species that comprise the shallow-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary because the fourth seasonal apportionment of the 2005 Pacific halibut bycatch allowance specified for the shallow-water species fishery in the GOA has been reached.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Designation of Critical Habitat for 12 Evolutionarily Significant Units of West Coast Salmon and Steelhead in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho
We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), are issuing a final rule designating critical habitat for 12 Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs) of West Coast salmon (chum, Oncorhynchus keta; sockeye, O. nerka; chinook, O. tshawytscha) and steelhead (O. mykiss) listed as of the date of this designation under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The specific areas designated in the rule text set out below include approximately 20,630 mi (33,201 km) of lake, riverine, and estuarine habitat in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, as well as approximately 2,312 mi (3,721 km) of marine nearshore habitat in Puget Sound, Washington. Some of the areas designated are occupied by two or more ESUs. The annual net economic impacts of changes to Federal activities as a result of critical habitat designation (regardless of whether those activities would also change as a result of the ESA's jeopardy requirement) are estimated to be approximately $201.2 million. Fish and wildlife conservation actions for the Federal Columbia River Power System and other major hydropower projects in the Pacific Northwest are expected to generate another $500-700 million in annual costs, including forgone power revenues. While these hydropower projects are covered by ESA section 7, the conservation actions that generate these costs are imposed by a wide variety of laws. We solicited information and comments from the public in an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) and on all aspects of the proposed rule. This rule is being issued to meet the timeline established in litigation between NMFS and Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA et. al v. NMFS (Civ. No. 03-1883)). In the proposed rule, we identified a number of potential exclusions we were considering including exclusions for federal lands subject to the Pacific Northwest Forest Plan, PACFISH and INFISH. We are continuing to analyze whether exclusion of those federal lands is appropriate.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Designation of Critical Habitat for Seven Evolutionarily Significant Units of Pacific Salmon and Steelhead in California
We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), are issuing a final rule designating critical habitat for two Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs) of chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and five ESUs of steelhead (O. mykiss) listed as of the date of this designation under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The specific areas designated in the rule text set out below include approximately 8,935 net mi (14,269 km) of riverine habitat and 470 mi2 (1,212 km2) of estuarine habitat (primarily in San Francisco-San Pablo-Suisun Bays) in California. Some of the areas designated are occupied by two or more ESUs. The annual net economic impacts of changes to Federal activities as a result of the critical habitat designations (regardless of whether those activities would also change as a result of the ESA's jeopardy requirement) are estimated to be approximately $81,647,439. We solicited information and comments from the public in an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and on all aspects of the proposed rule. This rule is being issued to meet the timeline established in litigation between NMFS and Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA et. al v. NMFS (Civ.No. 03-1883)). In the proposed rule, we identified a number of potential exclusions we were considering including exclusions for federal lands subject to the Pacific Northwest Forest Plan, PACFISH and INFISH. We are continuing to analyze whether exclusion of those federal lands is appropriate.
Groundfish Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off the Coast of Alaska; Recordkeeping and Reporting
NMFS proposes to revise Table 2 (species codes) to 50 CFR part 679 that is used in data collection, analysis, and monitoring of the Federal groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coast of Alaska. Within a database, species codes identify fish species that are landed, discarded, made into product, and transferred. This proposed action is necessary to standardize collection of species information with the State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game, increase effectiveness of rockfish management, reflect current fisheries management interest in skates, and promote better enforcement of rockfish regulations. This action is intended to meet the conservation and management requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) with respect to groundfish and to further the goals and objectives of the Alaska groundfish fishery management plans.
Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; West Coast Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Action #6 - Adjustment of the Recreational Fishery from the U.S.-Canada Border to Cape Alava, Washington
NMFS announces a regulatory modification in the recreational fishery from the U.S.-Canada Border to Cape Alava, WA (Neah Bay Subarea). Effective Tuesday, August 16, 2005, the Neah Bay Subarea was modified to a have a daily bag limit as follows: ``All salmon, two fish per day, and all retained coho must have a healed adipose fin clip.'' All other restrictions remain in effect as announced for 2005 Ocean Salmon Fisheries. This action was necessary to conform to the 2005 management goals, and the intended effect is to allow the fishery to operate within the seasons and quotas specified in the 2005 annual management measures.
Science Advisory Board
The Department of Commerce's Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration has renewed the charter for the Science Advisory Board (SAB) for a 2- year period, through August 9, 2007. The SAB is a federal advisory committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463).