Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; North and South Atlantic Swordfish Quotas and Management Measures
This final rule implements the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (Commission) Recommendation 11-02, which maintains the U.S. North Atlantic swordfish base quota allocation, reduces the annual underharvest carryover from 50 to 25 percent of the base quota, establishes an quota transfer to Morocco for 2012 and 2013, and includes an alternative swordfish minimum size of 25-inches cleithrum to caudal keel (CK). This final rule also implements Recommendation 09-03 for South Atlantic swordfish. It also allows fishermen to remove the bill of the swordfish while still meeting the ``head-naturally-attached'' requirement for measuring swordfish using the lower jaw fork length minimum size, modifies and clarifies regulations regarding swordfish fishery season closures and the North Atlantic swordfish quota reserve category, and adjusts the North and South Atlantic swordfish quotas for the 2012 fishing year to account for 2011 underharvests and landings. This final rule could affect commercial and recreational fishermen who are fishing for swordfish in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
Incidental Taking of Marine Mammals; Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to the Explosive Removal of Offshore Structures in the Gulf of Mexico
In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued a one-year LOA to take marine mammals incidental to the explosive removal of offshore oil and gas structures (EROS) in the Gulf of Mexico.
Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issues this final rule amending the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan (BDTRP) and its implementing regulations by permanently continuing nighttime fishing restrictions of medium mesh gillnets operating in North Carolina coastal state waters from November 1 through April 30. Members of the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Team (Team) recommended these regulations be continued permanently, without modification, to ensure that BDTRP goals are met through continued conservation of strategic bottlenose dolphin stocks in North Carolina, which have historically high serious injury and mortality rates associated with medium mesh gillnets. NMFS also amends the BDTRP with updates, including updates recommended by the Team for non-regulatory conservation measures.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 32 Supplement
NMFS issues this supplement to the regulations that implemented management measures described in Amendment 32 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Amendment 32) prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). After the February 10, 2012, publication of the final rule for Amendment 32, NMFS identified inconsistencies in the regulatory text regarding the quotas and annual catch limits (ACLs) for ``other shallow-water grouper'' (Other SWG) that needed correction. This final rule revises the regulatory text regarding the quotas and ACLs for Other SWG. In addition, this final rule implements some minor revisions to the regulatory text to improve the clarity of the regulations.