Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; 2012 Sector Operations Plans and Contracts, and Allocation of Northeast Multispecies Annual Catch Entitlements
This rule proposes 19 Northeast (NE) multispecies (groundfish) sector operations plans and contracts for fishing year (FY) 2012, and would allocate quotas of NE multispecies to the sectors. The NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) requires sectors to submit their operations plans and contracts to NMFS for approval or disapproval. Approval of a sector operations plan and contract is necessary for that sector to be allocated fish, and allows the sector members to be exempted from certain effort control regulations. If a sector operations plan and contract is not approved, the members of that sector must fish in the common pool and comply with all existing regulations. This rule also notifies the public that NMFS is extending the deadline to join a sector for FY 2012 through April 30, 2012. NMFS is soliciting comment on the proposed operations plans and contracts, and our proposal to grant 25 of the 49 exemptions requested, and deny the rest.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish Fishery; 2012 Atlantic Bluefish Specifications
NMFS proposes specifications for the 2012 Atlantic bluefish fishery, including an annual catch limit, total allowable landings, a commercial quota and recreational harvest limit, and a recreational possession limit. The intent of this action is to establish the allowable 2012 harvest levels and other management measures to achieve the target fishing mortality rate, consistent with the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene its Law Enforcement Advisory Panel (LEAP) in conjunction with the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission's Law Enforcement Committee (LEC).
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Hearings
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold eight public hearings to solicit comment on Draft Amendment 5 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan (FMP).
International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Transshipping, Bunkering, Reporting, and Purse Seine Discard Requirements
NMFS proposes regulations under the authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFC Implementation Act) to implement requirements for U.S. fishing vessels used for commercial fishing that offload or receive transshipments of highly migratory species (HMS), U.S. fishing vessels used for commercial fishing that provide bunkering or other support services to fishing vessels, and U.S. fishing vessels used for commercial fishing that receive bunkering or engage in other support services, in the area of application of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention). Some of the requirements would also apply to transshipments of fish caught in the area of application of the Convention (Convention Area) and transshipped elsewhere. NMFS also proposes requirements regarding notification of entry into and exit from the ``Eastern High Seas Special Management Area'' (Eastern SMA) and requirements relating to discards from purse seine fishing vessels. This action is necessary for the United States to implement decisions of the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Commission or WCPFC) and to satisfy its obligations under the Convention, to which it is a Contracting Party.
International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; High Seas Transshipment Prohibitions
NMFS is considering promulgating regulations under the authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFC Implementation Act) to prohibit the transshipment of highly migratory species (HMS) on the high seas to or from certain types of U.S. vessels that operate in the area of application of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention). These regulations would implement certain decisions of the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Commission or WCPFC) in order to meet the obligations of the United States under the Convention. NMFS issues this advance notice of proposed rulemaking to solicit information and comments about HMS transshipment activities by U.S. vessels, and the potential effects of a prohibition on high seas transshipments in the Convention Area.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; Closure
NMFS closes the commercial sector for golden tilefish in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic. This closure is necessary to protect the golden tilefish resource.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; St. George Reef Light Station Restoration and Maintenance at Northwest Seal Rock, Del Norte County, CA
In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society (SGRLPS) to take marine mammals, by Level B harassment only, incidental to conducting aircraft operations, and lighthouse renovation and light maintenance activities on the St. George Reef Light Station on Northwest Seal Rock (NWSR) in the northeast Pacific Ocean, from the period of February 10, 2012, through April 30, 2012, or during the period of November 1, 2012, through December 31, 2012.
Availability of Seats for the Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
The ONMS is seeking applications for the following vacant seats on the Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council: Sport diving and charter/commercial fishing. Applicants are chosen based upon their particular expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying; community and professional affiliations; philosophy regarding the protection and management of marine resources; and possibly the length of residence in the area affected by the sanctuary. Applicants who are chosen as members should expect to serve 3-year terms, pursuant to the council's Charter.