North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council) Steller Sea Lion Mitigation Committee (SSLMC) will meet in Seattle, WA.
Illegal, Unreported, or Unregulated Fishing
NMFS publishes this final rule to satisfy the requirement in section 403 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 (MSRA) to publish a definition of the term ``illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU)'' fishing for purposes of the MSRA.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; Amendment 14 to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan
NMFS announces that the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 14 to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP) (Amendment 14), incorporating the draft Environmental Assessment (EA), preliminary Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), for review by the Secretary of Commerce and is requesting comments from the public. The proposed measures include a plan to rebuild the scup stock from an overfished condition to the level associated with maximum sustainable yield, as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). The proposed action also includes an administrative change that would allow changes to the scup Gear Restricted Areas (GRAs) through a framework adjustment to the FMP. The intended effect of this change is to improve the timing of developing and implementing modifications to the GRAs.
Endangered Species; Permit No. 1589
Notice is hereby given that The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, 500 Wildlife Parkway, P.O. Box 1060, Columbia, SC 29202-1060 [Charles Scott Pfaff, Responsible Party] has been issued a permit to take shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) for purposes of enhancement.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Exempted Fishing Permits; Extension of Time for Comments
This notice extends the comment period for 14 days on an March 13, 2007, Federal Register notice regarding a request for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) to collect fisheries data in the East Florida Coast and Charleston Bump closed areas. Due to extensive comments received from the public, the Agency is extending the comment period to allow for additional comments to be received prior to making a determination on the application.
Marine Mammals; File No. 877-1903
Notice is hereby given that a request for a scientific research permit submitted by Daniela Maldini, Okeanis, PO Box 818, Pacific Grove, CA 93950 has been denied.
Fish and Seafood Promotion Act Provisions; Seafood Marketing Councils
In response to renewed fishing industry support for marketing and promotion-related activities, NMFS enacts regulations to implement the Fish and Seafood Promotion Act (FSPA) of 1986 for the establishment, organization, and operation of Seafood Marketing Councils (Councils). Council marketing and promotion plans will be designed to increase the general demand for fish and fish products by encouraging, expanding, and improving the marketing and utilization of fish and fish products both in domestic or foreign markets, through consumer education, research, and other marketing and promotion activities. The intent of this rule is to increase benefits from domestic fisheries while maintaining consistency with NMFS' stewardship goals and mission statement.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2007 second seasonal allowance of the Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) specified for catcher vessels using trawl gear in the BSAI.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic; Closure
NMFS closes the commercial hook-and-line fishery for king mackerel in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the southern Florida west coast subzone. This closure is necessary to protect the Gulf king mackerel resource.
Marine Mammals; File No. 373-1868
Notice is hereby given that the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO) Conservation Science (Dr. William J. Sydeman, Responsible Party), 3820 Cypress Drive, 11 Petaluma, CA 94954 has been issued a permit to conduct scientific research on pinnipeds in California.
Small Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Seismic Surveys in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off Alaska
NMFS has received an application from Shell Offshore, Inc. (SOI) for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take small numbers of marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting open-water offshore exploratory drilling on Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil lease blocks in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an IHA to SOI to incidentally take, by Level B harassment, small numbers of several species of marine mammals between mid-July and November, 2007, incidental to conducting this drilling program.
Marine Mammals; File No. 984-1814-01
Notice is hereby given that Dr. Terrie Williams, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Center for Ocean Health - Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060 has been issued an amendment to scientific research Permit No. 984-1814.
Small Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Low-Energy Marine Seismic Survey in the Northeastern Indian Ocean, May-August 2007
NMFS has received an application from Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO) for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take marine mammals incidental to conducting a low-energy marine seismic survey in the northeastern Indian Ocean during May-August 2007. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an IHA to SIO to incidentally take, by Level B harassment only, several species of marine mammals during the aforementioned activity.
Fisheries of the South Atlantic; South Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold a meeting of its Rock Shrimp Advisory Panel and Golden Crab Advisory Panel, in Charleston, SC.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Ad Hoc Sector Omnibus Committee (Committee) in April, 2007, to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Salmon Bycatch Workgroup will meet in Anchorage, AK.
Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; An On-ice Marine Geophysical Research and Development Program in the Beaufort Sea
In accordance with provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting an on-ice marine geophysical research and development (R&D) program in the U.S. Beaufort Sea, has been issued to Shell Offshore, Inc. (SOI) for a period between March and May 2007.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; 2007-2009 Specifications
NMFS announces final specifications for the 2007-2009 fishing years for the Atlantic herring (herring) fishery. The intent of this final rule is to conserve and manage the herring resource and provide for a sustainable fishery.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast (NE) Multispecies Fishery; Modification of the Yellowtail Flounder Landing Limit for the U.S./Canada Management Area
NMFS announces that the Administrator, Northeast (NE) Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), is increasing the Georges Bank (GB) yellowtail flounder trip limit to 25,000 lb (11,340 kg) for NE multispecies days-at-sea (DAS) vessels fishing in the U.S./Canada Management Area. This action is authorized by the regulations implementing Amendment 13 to the NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan and is intended to prevent under-harvesting of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for GB yellowtail flounder while ensuring that the TAC will not be exceeded during the 2006 fishing year. This action is being taken to provide additional opportunities for vessels to fully harvest the GB yellowtail flounder TAC under the authority of the Magnuson- Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery
NMFS issues a proposed rule to establish catch accounting requirements for persons who receive, buy, or accept Pacific whiting (whiting) deliveries of 4,000 pounds (lb) (1.18 mt) or more from vessels using mid-water trawl gear during the primary whiting season. This action would improve NMFS's ability to effectively monitor the whiting fishery such that catch of whiting and incidentally caught species, including overfished groundfish species, do not result in a species' optimum yield (OY), harvest guideline, allocations, or bycatch limits being exceeded. This action would also provide for timely reporting of Chinook salmon take as specified in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 Biological Opinion for Chinook salmon catch in the Pacific groundfish fishery. This action is consistent with the conservation goals and objectives of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP).
Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Open Water Seismic Operations in Cook Inlet, Alaska
In accordance with provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that Incidental Harassment Authorizations (IHAs) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting seismic operations in the northwest portion of Cook Inlet, Alaska, have been issued to ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. (CPAI) and Union Oil Company of California (UOCC) for a period between mid-March and mid-June, 2007.
Endangered Species; File No. 1580
Notice is hereby given that Dynegy Northeast Generations, Inc. (Dynegy), 992-994 River Road, Newburgh, New York 12550, has been issued a permit to take shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) for purposes of scientific research.
Endangered Species; File No. 1547-01
Notice is hereby given that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Kathryn Hattala, Principal Investigator), 21 South Putt Corners Road; New Paltz, New York 12561, has been issued a modification to scientific research Permit Number 1547.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Surfclam/Ocean Quahog and Tilefish Committee and Tilefish Advisory Panel will hold a public meeting.
Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement; Seismic Surveys in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Alaska
NMFS and the Minerals Management Service (MMS) announce the availability of a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Draft PEIS) for Seismic Surveys in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Alaska and the times, dates, and locations for public hearings in order to receive comments from the public on the Draft PEIS.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish
Limit 10(i) of the June 28, 2005, Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides that road maintenance programs that comply with a program substantially similar to that contained in the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Guide that is determined to meet or exceed the protections provided by the ODOT Guide can be excepted from the prohibitions provided in earlier sections of that rule. The Five Counties Salmon Conservation Program's (5 C) ``A Water Quality and Stream Habitat Protection Manual for County Road Maintenance in Northwestern California Watersheds'' (Manual), is a comprehensive road maintenance program for Humboldt, Del Norte, Siskiyou, Trinity, and Mendocino Counties (5 C area). If the Manual is qualified under Limit 10(i), each of the five counties would adopt the Manual as its road maintenance program. To facilitate NMFS review of the Manual under Limit 10(i), 5 C prepared a submittal package that addresses each of the approval criterion in the 4(d) rule. The Manual would affect two Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs) of threatened salmon and two Distinct Population Segments (DPSs) of threatened steelhead identified in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION below. The Manual specifies the future management practices for routine road maintenance activities within the 5 C area. This notice serves to inform the public of the availability of the Manual and submittal package for review and comment.
Endangered Species; File No. 1607
Notice is hereby given that Grants Pass Irrigation District (GPID), 200 Fruitvale Drive, Grants Pass, Oregon, has applied in due form for an incidental take permit for Southern Oregon/Northern California coho salmon for purposes of the continued operation and maintenance of Savage Rapids Dam. Unlisted covered species include Klamath Mountains Province (KMP) steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Southern Oregon/Northern California Coastal (SONCC) Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha).
Annual National Marine Fisheries Service/State Marine Fisheries Directors Meeting
Notice is hereby given of an annual meeting of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the State Marine Fisheries Directors. This annual meeting provides the opportunity for State and Federal fishery managers to discuss fishery management areas ofconcern. The meeting will be hosted by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission(PSMFC). All sessions will be open to the public.
Fisheries of the South Atlantic; South Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting of its Limited Access Privilege (LAP) Program Exploratory Workgroup, in Charleston, SC.
Evaluation of State Coastal Management Programs and National Estuarine Research Reserves
The NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) announces the postponement of the previously scheduled Coastal Zone Management Act program evaluation of the U.S. Virgin Islands Coastal Management Program.
Availability of Seats for the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS or sanctuary) is seeking applicants for the following vacant seat on its Sanctuary Advisory Council (council): Citizen-at-large alternate. 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. The applicant who is chosen should expect to serve out the remainder of the term, pursuant to the council's Charter.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Quota Specifications and Effort Controls
NMFS proposes initial 2007 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 effort controls for the General category and Angling category. 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). A minor administrative change to the permit regulations is also proposed. NMFS solicits written comments and will hold public hearings in April 2007 to receive oral comments on these proposed actions.
Pre-assessment Workshop and Public Meeting for West Coast Canary Rockfish, Darkblotched Rockfish and Arrowtooth Flounder
NOAA Fisheries will hold a workshop to discuss the data and models that will be used in the upcoming stock assessments for canary rockfish, darkblotched rockfish and arrowtooth flounder.
National Estuarine Research Reserve System
Notice is hereby given that the Estuarine Reserves Division, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce is announcing a thirty day public comment period on the revised Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Plan which will begin on the day this announcement is published. Comments should be sent within the comment period in hard copy or e- mail to Matthew Chasse at Matt.Chasse@noaa.gov or NOAA's Estuarine Reserves Division, 1305 East-West Highway, N/ORM5, 10th floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve was designated in February 1986 pursuant to Section 315 of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, 16 U.S.C. 1461. The reserve has been operating under a management plan approved in 1998. Pursuant to 15 CFR 921.33(c), a state must revise its management plan every five years. The submission of this plan fulfills this requirement and sets a course for successful implementation of the goals and objectives of the reserve. A boundary expansion, new facility and land acquisition plans, and updated programmatic objectives are notable revisions to the 1998 approved management plan. Since the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve was designated, it has been managed by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Since that time, state responsibility for the management of the reserve has been transferred to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), State Lands Division. A revised MOU between NOAA and the State of Alabama was approved to reflect these changes. Under ADCNR, the revised management plan outlines the administrative structure; the education, stewardship, and research goals of the reserve; and the plans for future land acquisition and facility development to support reserve operations. Three hundred and thirty three (333) acres of state-owned coastal and submerged lands adjacent to the reserve are incorporated through the boundary amendment in the management plan revision. The expansion provides a broader and more representative diversity of wetland and water habitats into the reserve boundary. The new boundary and will provide areas for reserve related research and education programs. The tidal freshwater riverine, emergent and forested wetland communities protected through this expansion further enhance the Weeks Bay reserve as an appropriate and ecologically representative site for long-term research and education.
This notice advises the public that NOAA, FWS, and the Department of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawai[revaps]i (DLNR) intend to prepare a Monument Management Plan (Monument Plan) and associated environmental assessment for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and surrounding marine areas. The Monument Plan will modify NOAA's existing Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Proposed National Marine Sanctuary Draft Management Plan, and incorporate FWS refuge comprehensive conservation planning (CCP) requirements, DLNR planning needs, and other elements to reflect the area's new status as a national monument.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of Availability of the Status Review Report for Atlantic Sturgeon in the United States
We, NMFS, convened a Status Review Team (SRT) consisting of Federal biologists from NMFS, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The SRT has completed a Status Review Report of Atlantic sturgeon in the United States. This notice makes this report available to the public in the Federal Register.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Less Than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA Using Pot or Hook-and-Line Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) using pot or hook-and-line gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2007 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using pot or hook-and-line gear in the BSAI.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Gulf Red Snapper Management Measures
This final rule implements interim measures to reduce overfishing of Gulf red snapper. This final rule reduces the commercial and recreational quotas for red snapper, reduces the commercial minimum size limit for red snapper, reduces the recreational bag limit for Gulf red snapper, prohibits the retention of red snapper under the bag limit for captain and crew of a vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat, and establishes a target level of reduction of shrimp trawl bycatch mortality of red snapper. The intended effect is to reduce overfishing of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.
Notice of Public Hearings for the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program
NMFS will hold five public hearings in April 2007 to receive public comments on the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) for the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (MMHSRP).
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold meetings of its Pelagics Plan Team (PPT), in Honolulu, HI, to discuss fishery issues and develop recommendations for future management.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meetings
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council), its Research Set Aside (RSA) Committee, its Ecosystem Committee, its Protected Resources Committee, its Squid, Mackerel, and Butterfish Committee, its Executive Committee, and its Surfclam/Ocean Quahog Committee will hold public meetings.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The New England Fishery Management Council's (Council) Multispecies (Groundfish) Advisory Panel and Committee will hold meetings to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the B season allowance of the 2007 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock for Statistical Area 620 of the GOA.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish Observer Program
NMFS issues a proposed rule to amend regulations supporting the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program (Observer Program). This action is necessary to revise requirements for the facilitation of observer data transmission and improve inseason support for observers. The proposed rule would promote the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area and the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMPs).
Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Western Pacific Pelagic Fisheries; Management Measures for Bigeye Tuna Pacific-wide and Yellowfin Tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean
This proposed rule would implement Amendment 14 to the Fishery Management Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region (Pelagics FMP). The amendment responds to the Secretary of Commerce's determination that overfishing is occurring on bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) Pacific-wide, and on yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). The measures in the amendment are designed to end overfishing of bigeye tuna Pacific-wide and yellowfin tuna in the WCPO, as required under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Amendment 14 would establish Federal permitting and reporting requirements for all U.S. Hawaii-based small boat commercial pelagic fishermen. Internationally, Amendment 14 would establish for the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) an internal protocol related to its role in making recommendations to the Secretary on the management of pelagic fish stocks that are managed internationally, including its participation in U.S. delegations to meetings of regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs). This amendment also recommends that NMFS and the Department of State work through the RFMOs to immediately end overfishing of bigeye tuna Pacific-wide and WCPO yellowfin tuna, focusing on fisheries with the greatest impact on Pacific bigeye tuna and WCPO yellowfin tuna, i.e., longline and purse seine fisheries.
National Artificial Reef Plan (as Amended): Guidelines for Siting, Construction, Development, and Assessment of Artificial Reefs
The National Artificial Reef Plan (NOAA Technical Memorandum, NMFS OF-6) was originally published in November 1985, in fulfillment of a requirement under the National Fishing Enhancement Act of 1984. NMFS worked in partnership with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission to update and revise this plan. A revised version has been completed, entitled the ``National Artificial Reef Plan (as Amended): Guidelines for siting, construction, development, and assessment of artificial reefs.'' This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives outlined in the National Fishing Enhancement Act.
List of Fisheries for 2007
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is publishing its final List of Fisheries (LOF) for 2007, as required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The final LOF for 2007 reflects new information on interactions between commercial fisheries and marine mammals. NMFS must categorize each commercial fishery on the LOF into one of three categories under the MMPA based upon the level of serious injury and mortality of marine mammals that occurs incidental to each fishery. The categorization of a fishery in the LOF determines whether participants in that fishery are subject to certain provisions of the MMPA, such as registration, observer coverage, and take reduction plan requirements.