Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act; Disaster Assistance Programs; Fisheries Assistance Programs
NMFS extends the public comment period on the proposed rule to govern the requests for determinations of fishery resource disasters as a basis for acquiring potential disaster assistance. NMFS has received requests to extend the comment period for the proposed rule beyond its current 30-day comment period. The extension of the comment period for another 2 months is intended to ensure that NMFS provides adequate time for various stakeholders and other members of the public to comment on the proposed regulations to govern initiating and responding to requests for fisheries disaster assistance. The comment period of the January 15, 2009 (74 FR 2467) rule is extended from February 17, 2009, to April 20, 2009.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 16
NMFS issues this proposed rule to implement Amendment 16 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP)(Amendment 16), as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). This proposed rule would establish a seasonal closure of the recreational and commercial fisheries for gag and associated grouper species; establish a seasonal closure of the recreational fishery for vermilion snapper; reduce the aggregate bag limit for grouper and tilefish; reduce the bag limit for gag or black grouper combined; reduce the bag limit for vermilion snapper; prohibit captain and crew of a vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat from retaining any fish under the aggregate bag limit for grouper and tilefish or the vermilion snapper bag limit; establish semiannual quotas for the commercial vermilion snapper fishery; establish a quota for the commercial gag fishery; establish restrictions on the possession, sale, and purchase of gag and associated grouper species after the gag commercial quota is reached; and require possession of a venting tool and dehooking device on board a vessel when fishing for South Atlantic snapper-grouper and use of such tools as needed to accomplish release of fish with minimum injury. In addition, Amendment 16 proposes, for both gag and vermilion snapper, to revise the definitions of maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and optimum yield (OY), specify total allowable catch (TAC), and establish interim allocations of TACs for the recreational and commercial sectors. Amendment 16 also proposes to specify a minimum stock size threshold (MSST) for gag and, for the new assessment, for vermilion snapper. The intended effects of this proposed rule are to end overfishing of gag and vermilion snapper, protect shallow-water grouper during their spawning season, and reduce bycatch of snapper-grouper species in the South Atlantic.
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Space Vehicle and Test Flight Activities from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California
NMFS, upon application from the U.S. Air Force (USAF), is issuing regulations to govern the unintentional taking of marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to launching space launch vehicles, intercontinental ballistic and small missiles, and aircraft and helicopter operations at VAFB for the period February 2009 through February 2014. The USAF's activities are considered military readiness activities pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004 (NDAA). These regulations, which allow for the issuance of ``Letters of Authorization'' (LOAs) for the incidental take of marine mammals during the described activities and specified time frames, prescribe the permissible methods of taking and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species and their habitat, as well as requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Specifications and Management Measures
This action implements 2009 specifications and management measures for Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish (MSB), and modifies existing management measures. Specifically, this action maintains quotas for Atlantic mackerel (mackerel), Illex squid (Illex), and butterfish at the same levels as 2008, while increasing the quota for Loligo squid (Loligo). Additionally, this action increases the incidental possession limit for mackerel and allows for the possibility of an inseason adjustment to increase the mackerel quota, if landings approach harvest limits. These specifications and management measures promote the utilization and conservation of the MSB resource.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Alaska Rockfish Pilot Program
The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.