Determination of Observer Programs as Qualified and Authorized by the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries
The NMFS Assistant Administrator (AA) has determined that observers participating in observer programs, in the seven domestic fisheries in which tuna is regularly harvested, are qualified to issue observer statements for purposes of the dolphin-safe labeling program under the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act (DPCIA). These seven domestic fisheries are: The American Samoa Pelagic Longline Fishery, the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Purse Seine Fishery, the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Pelagic Longline Fishery, the California Deep- set Pelagic Longline Fishery, the California Large-mesh Drift Gillnet Fishery, the Hawaii Deep-set Longline Fishery, and the Hawaii Shallow- set Longline Fishery. Observer statements will certify that no dolphins were killed or seriously injured in the sets or other gear deployments in which the tuna were caught and, in purse seine fisheries, that the net was not intentionally deployed on or used to encircle dolphins during the fishing trip in which the tuna were caught. The AA makes the determinations pursuant to new observer criteria, which are published in this notice, and were developed after consideration of public comment. This notice announces that these NMFS observer programs are authorized by the AA to issue observer statements for dolphin-safe labeling purposes for fishing trips that begin on or after the effective date of this notice.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Environmental Review Process for Fishery Management Actions
NMFS withdraws a proposed rule that would have established new regulations pertaining to compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in the context of fishery management actions developed pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). Instead of going forward with a final rule directly resulting from the 2008 proposed rule, NMFS issued an internal policy on February 19, 2013. This policy, entitled ``National Environmental Policy Act Compliance for Council-Initiated Fishery Management Actions under the Magnuson-Stevens Act'' clarifies roles and responsibilities of NMFS and the Regional Fishery Management Councils (Councils), explains timing and procedural linkages, provides guidance on documentation needs, and fosters partnerships and cooperation between NMFS and Councils on NEPA compliance. NMFS consulted with the Councils and with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) on proposed revisions to the 2013 NMFS NEPA policy directive, and based on those consultations NMFS now proposes to use this policy as a basis for issuing revised and updated NEPA procedures for MSA actions in the form of a line-office supplement to NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6. On June 30, 2014, NMFS published a Federal Register notice of availability of the draft revised and updated NEPA procedures for MSA actions and requested public comments, with a 90-day public comment period.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Ecosystem Based Fishery Management (EBFM) Committee 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.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting of the Red Snapper Advisory Panel.
Fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic; Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR); Public Meeting
The SEDAR assessment of the HMS Smoothhound Sharks will consist of several workshops and a series of webinars. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.