Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 15B; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico
NMFS issues this proposed rule to implement Amendment 15B to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP), as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). This proposed rule would, for South Atlantic snapper-grouper, require a private recreational vessel that fishes in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), if selected by NMFS, to maintain and submit fishing records; require a vessel that fishes in the EEZ, if selected by NMFS, to carry an observer and install an electronic logbook (ELB) and/or video monitor provided by NMFS; prohibit the sale of snapper-grouper harvested or possessed in the EEZ under the bag limits and prohibit the sale of snapper-grouper harvested or possessed under the bag limits by vessels with a Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper regardless of where the snapper-grouper were harvested; require an owner and operator of a vessel for which a commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit has been issued and that has on board any hook-and-line gear to comply with sea turtle and smalltooth sawfish release protocols, possess on board specific gear to ensure proper release of such species, and comply with guidelines for proper care and release of such species that are incidentally caught; and expand the allowable transfer of a commercial vessel permit under the limited access program and extend the allowable period for renewal of such a permit. Amendment 15B also proposes to revise the stock status determination criteria for golden tilefish and specify commercial/ recreational allocations for snowy grouper and red porgy. In addition, NMFS proposes to remove language specifying commercial quotas for snowy grouper that are no longer in effect and proposes to revise sea turtle bycatch mitigation requirements applicable to the Gulf reef fish fishery to add two devices that were inadvertently omitted from a prior rule. The intended effects of this rule are to provide additional information for, and otherwise improve the effective management of, the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery; minimize the impacts on incidentally caught threatened and endangered sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish; and remove outdated language.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications Modification
NMFS issues this final rule to adjust the harvest specifications for Pacific sardine in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Pacific coast for the fishing season of January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2009. This final rule increases the tonnage of Pacific sardine allocated for industry conducted research from 1200 metric tons (mt) to 2400 mt and decreases the second and third period directed harvest allocations by 750 mt and 450 mt, respectively.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery; Closure of the Closed Area II Scallop Access Area to Scallop Vessels
NMFS announces the closure of Closed Area II Scallop Access Area (CA II) to scallop vessels until June 15, 2010. This closure is based on a determination by the Northeast Regional Administrator (RA) that scallop vessels will have caught the yellowtail flounder (yellowtail) total allowable catch (TAC) for the CA II by June 29, 2009. Effective 0001 hours, June 29, 2009, vessels may not fish for scallops in the CA II. Vessels on a CA II scallop trip at the time of this announcement must leave the CA II prior to 0001 hour, June 29, 2009. This action is being taken to prevent the scallop fleet from exceeding the yellowtail TAC allocated to the CA II for the 2009 scallop fishing year in accordance with the regulations implementing the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan (FMP), Northeast (NE) Multispecies FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.