Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Omnibus Amendment for the Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish Fisheries, Crustacean Fisheries, and Precious Coral Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region
This proposed rule would amend three fishery management plans to include fisheries and waters around the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Pacific Remote Island Areas (PRIA). These amendments affect United States domestic fisheries that offload or operate in Federal waters around the CNMI and the PRIA. These amendments would establish new permitting and reporting requirements for vessel operators targeting bottomfish species around the PRIA to improve understanding of the ecology of these species and the activities and harvests of the vessel operators that target them. They would also establish new permitting and reporting requirements for vessel operators targeting crustacean species and precious corals around the CNMI and PRIA.
Hydrographic Services Review Panel membership Solicitation
This notice is to solicit candidates needed to replace voting members of the HSRP for the remainder of calendar year 2006, and supplements a notice published on January 12, 2006, to obtain candidates to replace five of the voting members of the HSRP whose appointments expire in 2006. Individuals who have submitted resumes in response to the January 12, 2006, notice do not need to submit resumes again. Individuals who have not submitted resumes in response to the January 12, 2006, notice may submit resumes at any time during the calendar year. Decisions on HSRP membership can be made at any time during the calendar year, and resumes will not be considered unless they are received ten days before each decision date. The Hydrographic Services Improvement Act Amendments of 2002, Public Law 107-372, requires the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to solicit nominations for membership on the HSRP. The HSRP advises the Under Secretary on matters related to section 303 of the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act of 1998, (the Act) and other appropriate matters the Under Secretary refers to the HSRP for review and advice.
Sea Turtle Conservation; Modification to Fishing Activities
NMFS is requiring that any offshore pound net leader in the Virginia waters of the mainstem Chesapeake Bay, south of 37[deg]19.0' N. lat. and west of 76[deg]13.0' W. long., and all waters south of 37[deg]13.0' N. lat. to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and the James and York Rivers downstream of the first bridge in each tributary, during the period of May 6 through July 15, meet the definition of a modified pound net leader. Without this final rule, existing regulations would continue to prohibit all offshore pound net leaders in that area during that time frame. An offshore pound net leader refers to a leader with the inland end set greater than 10 horizontal feet (3 m) from the mean low water line. While restrictions promulgated in 2004 on pound net leaders in the Virginia waters of the Chesapeake Bay outside the aforementioned area remain in effect, this final rule creates an exception to those restrictions by allowing the use of modified pound net leaders in this area. This action, taken under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), responds to new information generated by gear research. It is intended to conserve sea turtles listed as threatened under the ESA and to help enforce the provisions of the ESA, including the provisions against takes of endangered species, while enabling fishermen to use leaders, an important component of pound net gear, during the regulated period.