Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; 2014 Commercial Summer Flounder Quota Adjustments
NMFS is announcing the commercial summer flounder state quotas for fishing year 2014. The 2014 summer flounder specifications were established in December 2012. This notice incorporates any previously unaccounted for overages from fishing year 2012 and any known overages to date from fishing year 2013. These commercial state quotas may change as a result of a recent stock assessment and a recommendation by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Revisions to Headboat Reporting Requirements for Species Managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council
NMFS issues this final rule to implement the Joint South Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico Generic Charter Vessel/Headboat Reporting in the South Atlantic Amendment (For-Hire Reporting Amendment). The For- Hire Reporting Amendment amends the following Fishery Management Plans (FMPs): the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region and the Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery of the Atlantic, as prepared by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic Council); and the Coastal Migratory Pelagic (CMP) Resources of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico (Gulf), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) and the South Atlantic Council. This final rule modifies the recordkeeping and reporting requirements for headboat owners and operators who fish for species managed by the South Atlantic Council through the previously mentioned FMPs. These revisions require fishing records to be submitted electronically (via computer or internet) on a weekly basis or at intervals shorter than a week if notified by the NMFS' Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) Science and Research Director (SRD), and prohibits headboats from continuing to fish if they are delinquent in submitting reports. The purpose of this final rule is to obtain timelier fishing information from headboats to better monitor recreational annual catch limits (ACLs), improve stock assessments, and to help obtain 100 percent compliance with reporting in South Atlantic fisheries.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project off New York, January 2013 through January 2014
We have received an application from Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco) for an Incidental Harassment Authorization to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to expanding a natural gas pipeline system off the coast of New York from April 2014 through August 2014. Per the Marine Mammal Protection Act, we are requesting comments on our proposal to issue an Incidental Harassment Authorization to Transco to incidentally harass by Level B harassment only, seven species of marine mammals during pile driving and removal operations.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a joint public meeting of its Skate Oversight Committee and Skate Advisory Panel on January 15, 2014 to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The workshop will be held January 14-17 at the Hilton Hotel, 500 West Third Avenue, Katmai/King Salmon, Anchorage, AK.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a webinar of the Socioeconomic Scientific and Statistical Committee (SESSC).
Draft Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammals-Acoustic Threshold Levels for Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on behalf of NMFS and the National Ocean Service (referred collectively here as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)), announces the availability of draft guidance for assessing the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammal species under NOAA's jurisdiction. The guidance provides updated received levels, or thresholds, above which individual marine mammals are predicted to experience changes in their hearing sensitivity (either temporary or permanent) for all underwater anthropogenic sound sources. NOAA solicits public comment on the draft guidance.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Establish Funding Responsibilities for the Electronic Logbook Program
NMFS establishes funding responsibilities for an upgrade to the shrimp electronic logbook (ELB) program as described in a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Fishery Management Council (Council). Newer and more efficient ELB units have been purchased by NMFS for the Gulf shrimp fleet and are available for installation on Gulf shrimp vessels. Therefore, NMFS establishes a cost-sharing program to fund the ELB program. NMFS will pay for the software development, data storage, effort estimation analysis, and archival activities for the new ELB units, and selected vessel permit holders in the Gulf shrimp fishery will pay for installation and maintenance of the new ELB units and for the data transmission from the ELB units to a NOAA server. The purpose of these changes is to ensure that management of the shrimp fishery is based upon the best scientific information available and that bycatch is minimized to the extent practicable.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Extension of Emergency Fishery Closure Due to the Presence of the Toxin That Causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning
This temporary rule extends a closure of Federal waters for one year, through December 31, 2014. It also expands the list of species prohibited for harvest under this closure to include gastropods, commonly referred to as whelks, conchs, and snails. This temporary rule, first published in 2005, has been subsequently extended several times at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This action also includes a correction to exclude the Federal waters west of 70 degrees West longitude.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 27
NMFS issues this final rule to implement Amendment 27 (Amendment 27) to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP), as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic Council). Amendment 27 and this final rule extend the South Atlantic Council's management responsibility for Nassau grouper into the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone (EEZ); increase the number of allowable crew members to four on dual-permitted snapper-grouper vessels (i.e., vessels holding a South Atlantic Charter Vessel/Headboat Permit for Snapper-Grouper and a commercial South Atlantic Unlimited or a 225-Pound Trip Limit Snapper-Grouper Permit) that are fishing commercially; remove the prohibition on retaining any fish under the aggregate bag limit for grouper and tilefish or the vermilion snapper bag limit by captains and crew of federally permitted for-hire vessels; modify the snapper-grouper framework procedures to allow acceptable biological catch levels (ABCs), annual catch limits (ACLs), and annual catch targets (ACTs) to be adjusted via an abbreviated framework process; and remove blue runner from the FMP. The purposes of this final rule are to streamline management of Nassau grouper, improve vessel safety for dual-permitted vessels, implement consistent regulations regarding captains and crew retention limits for snapper- grouper species, expedite adjustments to snapper-grouper catch limits when new scientific information becomes available, and minimize socio- economic impacts to fishermen who harvest and sell blue runner.