Fisheries Off West Coast States; the Highly Migratory Species Fishery; Closure
We, NMFS, are immediately closing the Pacific loggerhead conservation area, prohibiting fishing with large mesh drift gillnet (DGN) gear (>14 in mesh) off the coast of southern California east of 120[deg] West meridian through August 31, 2014. This prohibition is based on the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries' (AA) determination that El Ni[ntilde]o conditions are occurring off the coast of southern California. This action protects Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), specifically the endangered North Pacific Ocean Distinct Population Segment. Large mesh DGN fishing vessels must cease fishing east of 120[deg] west on publication of this document.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications
NMFS issues this final rule to implement the annual catch limit (ACL), and associated annual reference points for Pacific sardine in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Pacific coast for the fishing season of July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015. The 2014-2015 ACL for Pacific sardine is 23,293 metric tons (mt). The initial overall commercial fishing target that is to be allocated across the three allocation periods for sardine management is 19,293 mt. This amount will be divided across the three seasonal allocation periods for the directed fishery the following way: July 1-September 147,718 mt; September 15-December 314,823 mt; and January 1-June 306,752 mt, with an incidental set-aside of 500 mt for each of the three periods. These specifications were determined according to the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). This rule is intended to conserve and manage the Pacific sardine stock off the U.S. West Coast. This rule also announces that the directed fishing harvest total for the first allocation period (July 1-September 14) has been reached and therefore directed fishing for Pacific sardine is now closed until September 15, 2014.
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Space Vehicle and Missile Launch Operations at Kodiak Launch Complex, Alaska
In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given that a Letter of Authorization (LOA) has been issued to the Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC) to take two species of pinnipeds incidental to space vehicle and missile launch operations at the Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) in Kodiak, Alaska.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS); Commercial Blacknose Sharks and Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks (SCS) in the Atlantic Region
NMFS is closing the fisheries for commercial blacknose sharks and non-blacknose SCS in the Atlantic region. This action is necessary because the commercial landings of Atlantic blacknose sharks for the 2014 fishing season has exceeded 80 percent of the available commercial quota as of July 22, 2014.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast States; Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments
This final rule announces inseason changes to management measures in the Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. This action, which is authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (PCGFMP), is intended to allow fisheries to access more abundant groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted stocks.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council); Public Meeting
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting of its Penaeid Shrimp Workshop Group via conference call.
Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Pacific Council) ad hoc Lower Columbia River Natural Coho Workgroup (LRC Workgroup) will hold a public work session August 14, 2014 at the Pacific Council office in Portland, OR. The meeting is open to the public, but is not intended as a public hearing. Public comments will be taken at the discretion of the LRC Workgroup chair as time allows.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS announces that the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 96 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) for review by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). Amendment 96 would revise the sablefish individual fishing quota program (IFQ Program) to allow Gulf of Alaska Community Quota Entities (CQEs) to transfer and hold small blocks of sablefish quota share (QS). Amendment 96 would allow CQEs to acquire additional QS and facilitate sustained participation by CQE community residents in the IFQ Program. This action is necessary to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the GOA FMP, and other applicable laws.
Evaluation of State Coastal Management Program and National Estuarine Research Reserves
The NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) announces its intent to evaluate the performance of the Indiana Coastal Management Program, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Virginia. The Coastal Zone Management Program evaluations will be conducted pursuant to section 312 of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended (CZMA) and regulations at 15 CFR part 923, Subpart L. The CZMA requires continuing review of the performance of states with respect to coastal management program implementation. Evaluation of a Coastal Management Program requires findings concerning the extent to which a state has met the national objectives, adhered to its Coastal Management Program document approved by the Secretary of Commerce, and adhered to the terms of financial assistance awards funded under the CZMA. The National Estuarine Research Reserve evaluation will be conducted pursuant to sections 312 and 315 of the CZMA and regulations at 15 CFR part 921, subpart E and part 923, subpart L. Evaluation of a National Estuarine Research Reserve requires findings concerning the extent to which a state has met the national objectives, adhered to its Reserve final management plan approved by the Secretary of Commerce, and adhered to the terms of financial assistance awards funded under the CZMA. The evaluations will include a public meeting, consideration of written public comments and consultations with interested Federal, state, and local agencies and members of the public. When the evaluation is completed, OCRM will place a notice in the Federal Register announcing the availability of the Final Evaluation Findings. Notice is hereby given of the date, local time, and location of the public meeting.
International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Fishing Effort Limits in Purse Seine Fisheries for 2014
NMFS proposes regulations under authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFC Implementation Act) to revise the 2014 limit on fishing effort by U.S. purse seine vessels in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (U.S. EEZ) and on the high seas between the latitudes of 20[deg] N. and 20[deg] S. in the area of application of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention). The total limit for 2014 would be revised from 2,588 fishing days to 1,828 fishing days. This action is necessary for the United States to implement provisions of a conservation and management measure (CMM) adopted by the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC) and to satisfy the obligations of the United States under the Convention, to which it is a Contracting Party.
Pacific Island Fisheries; Marine Conservation Plan for the Northern Mariana Islands
NMFS announces approval of a marine conservation plan (MCP) for the Northern Mariana Islands.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; American Lobster Fishery
Based on Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission recommendations, we publish this proposed rule to request public comment on potential changes to Federal American lobster regulations for Lobster Conservation Management Areas 2, 3, 4, and 5, including trap reductions in Areas 2 and 3, and broodstock measures is Areas 2, 3, 4, and 5. The proposed measures aim to reduce fishing exploitation and reduce latent effort in the trap fishery to scale the fishery to the size of the Southern New England lobster stock. This action is necessary to ensure fishery regulations for the lobster fishery in Federal waters remain consistent with the intent of the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act.
Marine Mammals; File No. 17344
Notice is hereby given that a permit has been issued to Samuel Wasser, Ph.D., University of Washington, Department of Biology, P.O. Box 351800, Seattle, WA 98195 to conduct research on killer whales (Orcinus orca).
Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Mukilteo Ferry Terminal Construction Work
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 Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to take, by harassment, small numbers of eight species of marine mammals incidental to construction activities at the Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal in Mukilteo, Snohomish County, Washington, between September 2014 and August 2015.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to a Wharf Construction Project
In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that we have issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to the U.S. Navy (Navy) to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment only, five species of marine mammals during construction activities associated with a wharf construction project in Hood Canal, Washington.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to a Marine Reconstruction Project
NMFS has received a request from the Port of Friday Harbor, WA (Port) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to construction activities as part of a marina reconstruction project. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to the Port to incidentally take marine mammals, by Level B Harassment only, during the specified activity.