Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Sea Turtle Conservation
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) currently requires the use of chain-mat modified dredge gear in the Atlantic sea scallop fishery south of 41[deg] 9.0' North latitude from May 1 through November 30 each year. This gear is necessary to help reduce mortality and injury to endangered and threatened sea turtles captured in this fishery and to conserve sea turtles listed under the Endangered Species Act. NMFS issues this final rule to make minor modifications to these chain-mat requirements. This final rule clarifies where on the dredge the chain mat must be hung, excludes the sweep from the requirement that the side of each opening in the chain mat be less than or equal to 14 inches (35.5 cm); and adds definitions of the sweep and the diamonds, which are terms used to describe parts of the scallop dredge gear. Any incidental take of threatened sea turtles in Atlantic sea scallop dredge gear in compliance with the gear modification requirements and all other applicable requirements will be exempted from the ESA prohibition against takes.
Marine Mammals; File Nos. 774-1847 and 1032-1917
Notice is hereby given that NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program (Michael Goebel, PhD, Principal Investigator), 3333 N Torrey Pines Ct, La Jolla CA, 92037 and Robert A. Garrott, Ph.D, Ecology Department, Montana State University, 310 Lewis Hall, Bozeman, MT, 59717 have been issued amendments to scientific research permits 774-1847-03 and 1032-1917, respectively.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permit
The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Northeast Region, NMFS (Assistant Regional Administrator) has made a preliminary determination that the subject programmatic Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application for the Study Fleet Program contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. Study Fleet projects are managed by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Marine Science and Technology (SMAST). The programmatic EFP would grant exemptions from minimum fish sizes, and possession and landing limits. However, further review and consultation may be necessary before a final determination is made to issue the EFP. Therefore, NMFS announces that the Assistant Regional Administrator proposes to issue a programmatic EFP that would allow seven vessels to conduct fishing operations that are otherwise restricted by the regulations governing the fisheries of the Northeastern United States.