Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Maximum Retainable Amounts for Non-American Fisheries Act Trawl Catcher/Processors
NMFS proposes to amend regulations to change the time at which the amount of retained groundfish must be calculated to comply with the maximum retainable amounts (MRAs) of selected groundfish species caught by trawl catcher/processors (C/Ps) that are not eligible under the American Fisheries Act (AFA) to participate in directed fishing for pollock. This proposed action would apply to MRAs for yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, ``other flatfish,'' arrowtooth flounder, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI) and for Pacific ocean perch in the Aleutian Islands (AI). The proposed action is necessary to provide the non-AFA trawl C/Ps the opportunity to reduce discards and increase retention of these groundfish species. The proposed rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP).
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, in March, 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.
Bay Delta Conservation Plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, CA
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will serve as co-lead agencies in the preparation of a joint EIS/EIR for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) will serve as the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which requires the preparation of the EIR component of the EIS/EIR. FWS will serve as the administrative lead for all actions related to this Federal Register Notice (Notice). The Federal co-lead agencies have requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) participate in the EIS/EIR as cooperating agencies for the purposes of their regulatory programs. The Corps and EPA have indicated that they will participate in such a role. This Notice revises and updates the Notices of April 15, 2008 and January 24, 2008. In these previous Notices the description of the proposed action and possible alternatives were preliminary in nature and relied upon initial BDCP planning documents which describe the overall intent and direction of potential actions. Following publication of these previous Notices, preliminary scoping comments were submitted in writing and provided at preliminary scoping meetings. Some of the scoping comments indicated that more detailed descriptions of the proposed actions and alternatives are needed to allow specific comments on the range of alternatives and issues and levels of detail to be considered in the analyses of environmental consequences. Public comments received during this scoping period plus the previous two preliminary scoping periods will be considered during the preparation of the EIS/EIR. Comments submitted in response to the previous notices will be considered and do not need to be resubmitted. The BDCP is a conservation plan being prepared to meet the requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), and the State of California's Natural Communities Conservation Planning Act (NCCPA). DWR (and potentially State and Federal water contractors) intends to apply for ESA and CESA incidental take permits (ITP) for water operations and management activities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. These incidental take authorizations would allow the incidental take of threatened and endangered species resulting from covered activities and conservation measures that will be identified through the planning process, including those associated with water operations of the Federal Central Valley Project (CVP), as operated by Reclamation, the California State Water Project (SWP), as operated by DWR, as well as operations of certain Mirant Delta LLC (Mirant Delta) power plants. Additionally, if feasible, the BDCP will be used as the basis for ESA compliance by Reclamation, including compliance with Section 7 of ESA in coordination with FWS and NMFS. Ultimately, the BDCP is intended to secure authorizations that would allow projects that restore and protect water supplies, water quality, and ecosystem health to proceed within a stable regulatory framework.
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold meetings of its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Standard Operating, Policy and Procedure (SOPPs) Committee, a joint meeting of its Executive and Finance Committees, Limited Access Privilege Program (LAPP) Committee, Golden Crab Committee, Mackerel Committee, Dolphin/ Wahoo Committee, Shrimp Committee, SSC Selection Committee (Closed Session), joint Ecosystem-Based Management and Habitat Committees, Spiny Lobster Committee, Snapper Grouper Committee, and a meeting of the full Council. The Council will also hold a an informal public question and answer session, a public comment period on the Fishery Ecosystem Plan, and may hold a public comment session regarding Interim Rule measures to address overfishing of red snapper if the Council considers an Interim Rule request. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for additional details.