Notice of Intent to Prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on Implementing Recovery Actions for Hawaiian Monk Seals
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces its intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to analyze the environmental impacts of implementing specific management actions and administering the associated research and enhancement program for Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi) in the Northwestern and Main Hawaiian Islands. Publication of this notice begins the official public scoping process that will help identify alternatives and determine the scope of environmental issues to be considered in the PEIS.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Notice of Availability for Amendments 16-5 and 23 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan
NMFS announces that the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendments 16-5 and 23 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Secretarial review. Amendment 16-5 would modify the FMP to implement an overfished species rebuilding plan for petrale sole and revise existing overfished species rebuilding plans. In addition, Amendment 16-5 would modify the default proxy values for FMSY and BMSY as they apply to the flatfish species, including petrale sole; and the harvest control rule policies. Amendment 23 introduces a new framework for fishery specifications and other measures for establishing Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) as required by the recent amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
Endangered Species; File No. 13599-01
Notice is hereby given that National Ocean Service Marine Forensic Lab (NOS Lab, Julie Carter, Principal Investigator), 219 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, SC 29412, has been issued a modification to scientific research Permit No. 13599.
Proposed Issuance of Incidental Take Permits to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for State of Washington Wildlife Areas
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), collectively the Services, advise interested parties of our intent to conduct public scoping under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to gather information to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) related to incidental take permit (ITP) applications from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for incidental take of species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as unlisted species should they become listed during the term of the proposed permit. The WDFW has identified specific land management and recreation activities that currently occur on state Wildlife Areas that may cause incidental take. In support of the ITP applications, the WDFW is proposing to implement a habitat conservation plan (HCP) on approximately 900,000 acres of their state Wildlife Areas. The term of the proposed HCP and ITP's will occur after the public scoping process.
Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee; Public Meetings
Notice is hereby given of a meeting of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC). This will be the second meeting to be held in the calendar year 2010. Agenda topics are provided under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice. All full Committee sessions will be open to the public.
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal School Training Operations at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
NMFS has received an application from the U.S. Department of the Air Force, Headquarters 96th Air Base Wing (U.S. Air Force), Eglin Air Force Base (Eglin AFB) for authorization to take marine mammals, by Level B harassment, incidental to Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal School (NEODS) training operations, military readiness activities, at Eglin AFB, FL from approximately December, 2010, to November, 2015. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is proposing regulations to govern the requested take and requesting information, suggestions, and comments on its proposed regulations. NMFS issued annual Incidental Harassment Authorizations pursuant to the MMPA for similar specified activities in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. No activities have occurred to date.
Fisheries off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan; Amendments 20 and 21; Trawl Rationalization Program
NMFS is implementing Amendments 20 and 21 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), which were partially approved by the Secretary on August 9, 2010. Amendment 20 establishes a trawl rationalization program for the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery. Amendment 20's trawl rationalization program consists of: an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for the shorebased trawl fleet (including whiting and non-whiting sectors); and cooperative (coop) programs for the at-sea (whiting only) mothership and catcher/processor trawl fleets. The trawl rationalization program is intended to increase net economic benefits, create individual economic stability, provide full utilization of the trawl sector allocation, consider environmental impacts, and achieve individual accountability of catch and bycatch. Amendment 21 establishes fixed allocations for limited entry trawl participants. These allocations are intended to improve management under the rationalization program by streamlining its administration, providing stability to the fishery, and addressing halibut bycatch. This rule finalizes only certain key components necessary for issuance of permits and endorsements in time for use in the 2011 fishery and in order to have the 2011 specifications reflect the new allocation scheme. Specifically, this rule establishes the allocations set forth under Amendment 21 and establishes procedures for initial issuance of permits, endorsements, quota shares (QS), and catch history assignments under the IFQ and coop programs. In addition, this rule restructures the entire Pacific Coast groundfish regulations to more closely track the organization of the proposed management measures and to make the total groundfish regulations more clear.