Endangered and Threatened Species; Designation of Critical Habitat for Yelloweye Rockfish, Canary Rockfish and Bocaccio of the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin
We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), propose to designate critical habitat for three species of rockfish listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including the threatened Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus), the threatened DPS of canary rockfish (S. pinniger), and the endangered DPS of bocaccio (S. paucispinus) (listed rockfish). The specific areas proposed for designation for canary rockfish and bocaccio include approximately 1,184.75 sq mi (3,068.5 sq km) of marine habitat in Puget Sound, Washington. The specific areas proposed for designation for yelloweye rockfish include approximately 574.75 sq mi (1,488.6 sq km) of marine habitat in Puget Sound, Washington. We propose to exclude some particular areas from designation because the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion and exclusion of those areas will not result in the extinction of the species. We are soliciting comments from the public on all aspects of the proposal, including information on the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of the proposed designations, as well as the benefits to the species from designations. We will consider additional information received prior to making final designations.
Listing Endangered or Threatened Species: 12-Month Finding on a Petition To Delist the Southern Resident Killer Whale
We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), are issuing a 12-month finding on a petition to delist the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca) Distinct Population Segment (DPS) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We listed the Southern Resident killer whale DPS as endangered under the ESA in 2005. We accepted the petition to delist the Southern Resident killer whale DPS on November 27, 2012, initiating a public comment period and a status review. Based on our review of the petition, public comments, and the best available scientific information, we find that delisting the Southern Resident killer whale DPS is not warranted.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Marine Seismic Survey in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska
In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. (Shell) to take, by harassment, small numbers of 13 species of marine mammals incidental to a marine survey program in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska, during the 2013 Arctic open-water season. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an IHA to Shell to take, by Level B harassment, 13 species of marine mammals during the specified activity.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 2013 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for South Atlantic Snowy Grouper
NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for commercial snowy grouper in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic. Commercial landings for snowy grouper, as estimated by the Science and Research Director (SRD), are projected to reach the commercial annual catch limit (ACL) (commercial quota) on August 10, 2013. Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial sector for snowy grouper in the South Atlantic EEZ on August 10, 2013, and it will remain closed until the start of the next fishing season, January 1, 2014. This closure is necessary to protect the snowy grouper resource.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Navy Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Activities at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division
In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to the U.S. Navy (Navy) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) activities at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD).
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery off the South Atlantic States; Amendment 22
NMFS, Southeast Region, in collaboration with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council), is publishing this supplemental NOI to provide notice to the public of the broadened scope of Amendment 22 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery in the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 22) and to solicit public comments on the scope of issues to be addressed in the DEIS. The Council modified Amendment 22 to include all snapper-grouper species with low annual catch limits (ACLs), not just red snapper, in a harvest tag program. The intent of Amendment 22 is to closely control recreational harvest of snapper-grouper species with low ACLs.
Control Date for Qualifying Landings History and to Limit Speculative Entry into the Illex Squid Fishery; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan
At the request of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, this notice announces a control date that may be applicable, but not limited to, qualifying landings history for continued access to the Illex squid moratorium limited access permit program. NMFS intends this notice to promote awareness of possible rulemaking, alert interested parties of potential eligibility criteria for future access, and discourage speculative entry into and/or investment in the Illex squid fishery while the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council considers if and how access to the Illex squid fishery should be controlled.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Reef Fish Management Measures
NMFS issues this final rule to implement management measures described in a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). This final rule revises the vermilion snapper recreational bag limit, revises the yellowtail snapper stock annual catch limit (ACL), and removes the requirement for reef fish vessels to have onboard and use a venting tool when releasing reef fish. The purpose of this rule is to help achieve optimum yield (OY) and prevent overfishing of vermilion and yellowtail snapper, reduce the unnecessary burden to fishers associated with venting reef fish, and minimize bycatch and bycatch mortality.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery off the South Atlantic States; Regulatory Amendment 14
NMFS, in cooperation with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council), is preparing an EA in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for Regulatory Amendment 14 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Regulatory Amendment 14). This notice is intended to inform the public of the change from the preparation of a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) to an EA for Regulatory Amendment 14.
Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits
The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Northeast Region, NMFS (Assistant Administrator), has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit Application contains all the required information and warrants further consideration. This Exempted Fishing Permit would exempt participating commercial fishing vessels from the escape vent, trap limits, and trap tag requirements of the Federal lobster regulations in order to help determine the abundance and distribution of juvenile American lobsters at the Massachusetts and Rhode Island offshore wind farm area. The research is being conducted by the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation. Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for proposed Exempted Fishing Permits.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; Framework Adjustment 2 and Specifications
NMFS proposes regulations to implement Framework Adjustment 2 to the Atlantic herring Fishery Management Plan and the 2013-2015 fishery specifications for the Atlantic herring fishery. Framework 2 would allow the New England Fishery Management Council to split annual catch limits seasonally for the four Atlantic herring management areas, and the carryover of unharvested catch, up to 10 percent for each area's annual catch limit. The specifications would set catch specifications for the herring fishery for the 2013-2015 fishing years and would establish seasonal splits for management areas 1A and 1B as recommended to NMFS by the New England Fishery Management Council.
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
This notice advises the public that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene meetings of the Northern Mariana Islands Regional Ecosystem Advisory Committee (REAC) in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee
The Department of Commerce's Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration has renewed the charter for the NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB) for a period of two years from the date of the filing of the charter with the appropriate U.S. Senate and House of Representatives oversight committees. The NOAA SAB is a federal advisory committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463).
National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee
The Department of Commerce's Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration has renewed the charter for the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) for a period of time that is either 90 days after the government's Third National Climate Assessment is released to the public or two years from the date of the filing of the charter with the appropriate U.S. Senate and House of Representatives oversight committees, which ever date is earlier. The NCADAC is a federal advisory committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463).
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Cost Recovery Program
NMFS publishes a notification of a 0.69-percent fee for cost recovery under the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program. This action is intended to provide holders of crab allocations with the fee percentage for the 2013/2014 crab fishing year so they can calculate the required payment for cost recovery fees that must be submitted by July 31, 2014.
Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Scoping Meetings Correction
The Caribbean Fishery Management Council will hold scoping meetings to obtain input from fishers, the general public, and the local agencies representatives on the development of island-specific fishery management plans for Puerto Rico, St. Thomas/St. John, USVI and St. Croix, USVI.
Endangered and Threatened Species: Proposed Rule To Designate Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Loggerhead Sea Turtle Distinct Population Segment (DPS) and Proposed Determination Regarding Critical Habitat for the North Pacific Ocean Loggerhead DPS; Correction
In the proposed rule that we, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), published on July 18, 2013, to designate critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment (DPS) and make a determination regarding critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle in the North Pacific Ocean DPS, a map was omitted. This document corrects that oversight and adds the map LOGG-N-17. All other information in the July 18, 2013 document remains unchanged.