Small Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Open-water Marine Survey Program in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska, During 2009-2010
NMFS has received an application from Shell Offshore Inc. and Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc., collectively known as Shell, for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take marine mammals incidental to an open-water marine survey program, which includes shallow hazards and site clearance work and strudel scour surveys, in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an IHA to Shell to incidentally take, by harassment, small numbers of several species of marine mammals during the Arctic open-water seasons between August 2009, and July, 2010, during the aforementioned activity.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Bottom Longline Petition
NMFS announces its decision to deny a petition for emergency or interim rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson- Stevens Act). Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce to immediately promulgate an emergency
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; 2009 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Quota Specifications and Effort Controls
NMFS announces the final rule to establish 2009 fishing year specifications for the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) fishery, including quotas for each of the established domestic fishing categories and 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).
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna and Swordfish Management Measures and HMS Permit Requirements
NMFS issues this advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) to request public comment on potential adjustments to the regulations governing the U.S. Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT), north Atlantic swordfish (SWO), and shark fisheries to enable more thorough utilization of the available U.S. quotas for BFT and SWO and to improve highly migratory species (HMS) permit structure. Potential action(s) taken may to increase opportunities for U.S. fisheries to fully harvest the U.S. quotas recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) while balancing continuing efforts to end BFT overfishing by 2010 and rebuild the stock by 2019; to continue efforts to revitalize the SWO fishery while minimizing bycatch to the extent practicable; and to clarify and simplify the current HMS permit structure. NMFS is also requesting public comment regarding the potential implementation of catch shares, limited access privilege programs (LAPPs), and individual bycatch caps (IBCs) in highly migratory species fisheries. This ANPR provides background information to inform the public on several actions that NMFS is considering to accomplish these objectives.
International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Fishing Restrictions and Observer Requirements in Purse Seine Fisheries for 2009-2011 and Turtle Mitigation Requirements in Purse Seine Fisheries
NMFS proposes regulations under authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (Act) to implement certain decisions of the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC). Those decisions require that the members of the WCPFC, including the United States, take certain measures with respect to their purse seine fisheries in the area of competence of the WCPFC, which includes most of the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). This action is necessary for the United States to satisfy its international obligations under the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention), to which it is a Contracting Party.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Loan Program for Crab Quota Share; Amendment 33
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 33 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (FMP). If approved, Amendment 33 would allow NMFS to reduce the amount of fees collected under the Crab Rationalization Program to the amount needed to finance the Federal loan program for quota share purchase. The amendment would allow NMFS to reserve only the amount of fees necessary to support the loan program, including no fees if none are needed. This action is necessary to ensure that fishery participants do not pay fees for loan program financing in excess of the fees needed to support the loan program. This FMP amendment would not result in modifications to Federal regulations.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; National Estuaries Restoration Inventory
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.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Shrimp Fishery off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 7
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 7 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 7 proposes actions to rename the commercial vessel permit and the limited access endorsement; remove the requirement for a minimum level of landings for the renewal of a limited access endorsement; allow the reissue of a limited access endorsement that had been terminated because of failure to meet that minimum level; allow the reissue of an endorsement that had been terminated because of failure to renew it in a timely manner; and require the submission of economic data by participants in the fishery. The measures contained in the subject amendment are intended to maintain a viable rock shrimp fishery in the South Atlantic region.