Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Notice of 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the Ribbon Seal as a Threatened or Endangered Species
We, NMFS, announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the ribbon seal (Histriophoca fasciata) as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 as amended (ESA). After a formal review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing of the ribbon seal is not warranted at this time. Although the ribbon seal population abundance is likely to decline gradually for the foreseeable future, primarily from slight but chronic impacts on reproduction and survival caused by reduced frequency of years with sea ice of suitable extent, quality, and duration of persistence, it is not in danger of extinction or likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
Marine Recreational Fisheries of the United States; National Saltwater Angler Registry Program
NMFS issues this final rule to adopt regulations to implement the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).The regulations establish a national registry of recreational anglers fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), for anadromous species in tidal waters or for Continental Shelf fishery resources beyond the EEZ. Persons will not be required to register with NMFS if they are licensed by a state that provides data determined to be sufficient for the agency's needs. The requirement is intended to improve existing angling effort surveys in order to improve their efficiency, to reduce possible sources of bias and to improve confidence in survey results by anglers and fishery managers.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska License Limitation Program
NMFS proposes regulations to implement Amendment 92 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area and Amendment 82 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. This proposed action would remove trawl gear endorsements on licenses issued under the license limitation program in specific management areas if those licenses have not been used on vessels that met minimum recent landing requirements using trawl gear. This proposed action would provide exemptions to this requirement for licenses that are used in trawl fisheries subject to certain limited access privilege programs. This proposed action would issue new area endorsements for trawl catcher vessel licenses in the Aleutian Islands if minimum recent landing requirements in the Aleutian Islands were met. This proposed action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Fishery Management Plans, and other applicable law.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council) Crab Committee will meet January 14, 2009.
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Teleconference Meeting
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a teleconference call meeting of the Council's archipelagic Plan Teams (PTs).
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Habitat/MPA/Ecosystem Committee, on January 15, 2009, 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.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Extension of Emergency Fishery Closure Due to the Presence of the Toxin that Causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning
This action extends a temporary final rule initially published on October 18, 2005. The regulations contained in the temporary rule, emergency action, published on October 18, 2005, and subsequently extended several times at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will expire on December 31, 2008. This temporary rule extends a closure of Federal waters through December 31, 2009. The FDA has determined that current oceanographic conditions and alga sampling data suggest that the northern section of the Temporary Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) Closure Area remain closed to the harvest of bivalve molluscan shellfish, with the exception of sea scallop adductor muscles harvested and shucked at sea, and that the southern area remain closed to the harvest of whole or roe-on scallops. NMFS is publishing the regulatory text associated with this closure in this temporary emergency rule in order to ensure that current regulations accurately reflect the codified text that has been modified and extended numerous times, so that the public is aware of the regulations being extended through December 31, 2009.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; Total Allowable Catch Harvested for Management Area 1B
NMFS announces that, effective 0001 hours, December 24, 2008, federally permitted vessels may not fish for, catch, possess, transfer, or land more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of Atlantic herring in or from Management Area 1B (Area 1B) per trip or calendar day until January 1, 2009, when the 2009 TAC becomes available, except for transiting purposes as described in this notice. This action is based on the determination that 95 percent of the Atlantic herring total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to Area 1B for 2008 is projected to be harvested. Regulations governing the Atlantic herring fishery require publication of this notification to advise vessel and dealer permit holders that no TAC is available for the directed fishery for Atlantic herring harvested from Area 1B.