Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 32
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 32 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 32 proposes to implement a 10-year rebuilding plan for gag; revise the annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for gag, red grouper, and shallow-water grouper (SWG); revise recreational annual catch targets (ACTs) for gag and red grouper; implement a 4-month gag recreational season; adjust the commercial quota for gag and SWG for 2012 through 2015 and subsequent fishing years; adjust multi-use individual fishing quota (IFQ) shares for gag and red grouper; and implement a 22-inch (56-cm) commercial minimum size limit for gag. The intent of Amendment 32 is to end overfishing of gag, allow the gag stock to rebuild, and constrain the harvest of red grouper consistent with the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson- Stevens Act).
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod and Octopus in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to limit incidental catch of octopus by vessels using pot gear to fish for Pacific cod the BSAI.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; Sub-ACL (Annual Catch Limit) Harvested for Management Area 1A
NMFS is closing the directed herring fishery in management area 1A, because 95 percent of the catch limit for that area has been caught. Effective 0001 hr, October 27, 2011, federally permitted vessels may not fish for, catch, possess, transfer, or land more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of Atlantic herring (herring) in or from Management Area 1A (Area 1A) per calendar day until January 1, 2012, when the 2012 allocation for Area 1A becomes available.
New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC); Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a three-day meeting on November 15-17, 2011 to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Amendments to the Queen Conch and Reef Fish Fishery Management Plans of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
NMFS proposes to implement Amendment 2 to the Fishery Management Plan for Queen Conch Resources of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and Amendment 5 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (Amendments 2 and 5), prepared by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council (Council). This proposed rule would: establish annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for queen conch and for all reef fish units or complexes that are classified as undergoing overfishing or that contain sub-units which are classified as undergoing overfishing (i.e., snapper, grouper and parrotfish); allocate ACLs among island management areas and, in Puerto Rico only, among commercial and recreational sectors; revise the composition of the snapper and grouper complexes; prohibit fishing for and possession of three parrotfish species; establish recreational bag limits for snappers, groupers, and parrotfishes; and establish framework procedures for queen conch and reef fish species. Amendments 2 and 5 would also revise management reference points and status determination criteria for queen conch, snappers, groupers, and parrotfishes. The intended effect of the rule is to prevent overfishing of queen conch and reef fish species while maintaining catch levels consistent with achieving optimum yield (OY).
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Final Rulemaking To Designate Critical Habitat for Black Abalone
We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), hereby designate critical habitat for the endangered black abalone under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This designation includes approximately 360 square kilometers of rocky intertidal and subtidal habitat within five segments of the California coast between the Del Mar Landing Ecological Reserve to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, as well as on the Farallon Islands, A[ntilde]o Nuevo Island, San Miguel Island, Santa Rosa Island, Santa Cruz Island, Anacapa Island, Santa Barbara Island, and Santa Catalina Island. This designation includes rocky intertidal and subtidal habitats from the mean higher high water (MHHW) line to a depth of -6 meters (m) (relative to the mean lower low water (MLLW) line), as well as the coastal marine waters encompassed by these areas. We are not designating the specific area from Corona Del Mar State Beach to Dana Point, California, because we conclude that the economic benefits of exclusion from the critical habitat designation outweigh the benefits of inclusion and that exclusion of this specific area will not result in the extinction of the species. We also conclude that two of the specific areas proposed for designation (San Nicolas Island and San Clemente Island) are no longer eligible for designation, based on determinations that the U.S. Navy's revised integrated natural resource management plans (INRMPs) for these areas provide benefits to black abalone.