Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Hearings
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) announces its intent to prepare an amendment (Amendment 15) to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish (MSB) and to prepare an EIS to analyze the impacts of any proposed management measures. The Council is initiating a public process to determine the scope of alternatives to be addressed in the amendment and EIS. This amendment currently will address the following issue: Whether the Council should begin direct federal management of river herrings (alewife and/or blueback herring) and/or shads (American and/or hickory). Additional issues may be added depending on the outcome of the scoping process. NMFS and the Council are alerting the interested public of the commencement of the scoping process and providing for public participation in compliance with environmental documentation requirements.
Receipt of an Application for Incidental Take Permit (16230)
NMFS has received an amended application for an incidental take permit (Permit) from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). As required by the ESA, NCDMF's application includes a proposed conservation plan designed to minimize and mitigate take of endangered or threatened species. The permit application is for the incidental take of ESA-listed adult and juvenile sea turtles associated with otherwise lawful commercial gillnet fisheries operating in inshore waters of North Carolina. The duration of the proposed permit is for 10 years. NMFS is providing this notice to allow other agencies and the public an opportunity to review and comment on the revised application and associated proposed conservation plan. All comments received will become part of the public record and will be available for review. An electronic copy of the revised application and proposed conservation plan may be obtained by contacting NMFS Office of Protected Resources (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) or visiting the internet at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/ permits/esa_review.htm. Public comments received in response to the original Notice of Receipt (76 FR 61670, October 5, 2011) are available on www.regulations.gov (see ADDRESSES).
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Revisions to IFQ Program Regulations
NMFS proposes a regulatory amendment to the vessel ownership requirement of the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program for fixed- gear Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries in and off of Alaska. The IFQ Program requires that initial recipients of certain classes of quota shares own a minimum of 20-percent interest in any vessel on which they hire a master to fish their IFQ permits. This action proposes to require such quota share holders to have held a minimum of 20-percent ownership interest in the vessel for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the submission of any application to hire a master. This proposed action also would temporarily exempt from the 12-month ownership requirement an initial recipient whose vessel has been totally lost, as by sinking or fire, or so damaged that the vessel would require at least 60 days to be repaired. This action is necessary to maintain a predominantly owner-operated fishery. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, and other applicable laws.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Ocean Perch in the Bering Sea Subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is opening directed fishing for Pacific ocean perch in the Bering Sea subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is necessary to fully use the 2012 total allowable catch of Pacific ocean perch specified for the Bering Sea subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of Pacific cod from catcher vessels using trawl gear to American Fisheries Act trawl catcher/processors and Amendment 80 catcher/processors in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is necessary to allow the 2012 total allowable catch of Pacific cod to be harvested.
Expansion of Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Regulatory Changes, and Sanctuary Name Change; Notice of Effective Date
NOAA published a final rule to add five additional discrete geographical areas to the sanctuary and change the name of the Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary (FBNMS or sanctuary) to the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS) on July 26, 2012 (77 FR 43942). NOAA also amended existing sanctuary regulations and applied these regulations to activities in the sanctuary. Pursuant to Section 304(b) of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (16 U.S.C. 1434(b)) the final regulations take effect after 45 days of continuous session of Congress beginning on July 26, 2012. Through this notice, NOAA is announcing the regulations became effective on October 15, 2012.