Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; Adjustments to 2015 Annual Catch Limits
This action adjusts 2015 annual catch limits for the Atlantic herring fishery to account for the underharvest of herring catch in 2013. The herring fishery caught less than its allocated catch in all herring management areas in 2013. As a result, this action adds unharvested 2013 catch to the 2015 herring catch limits, equal to ten percent of the allocated 2013 annual catch limit for each area. While the annual catch limit for each area increases, the total annual catch limit for the herring fishery will not increase under this action. This will ensure that the carryover pounds do not cause overfishing of the herring resource in 2015. This action is necessary to ensure that NMFS accounts for herring catch consistent with the requirements of the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program; Amendment 45; Pacific Cod Sideboard Allocations in the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS issues a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 45 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP). If approved, Amendment 45 would establish, for a limited period of time, a process for NMFS to permanently remove Pacific cod catch limits, known as sideboard limits, which are applicable to certain hook-and-line catcher/processors in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Regulatory Areas. This action would authorize NMFS to remove these Pacific cod sideboard limits in the Central and/or Western GOA if all eligible participants in the hook- and-line catcher/processor sector in a regulatory area sign and submit a request that NMFS remove the sideboard limit. Each eligible participant would be required to submit the request to NMFS within 1 year of the date of publication of a final rule implementing Amendment 45, if it is approved by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). This action is necessary to provide participants in the Central and Western GOA hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors with an opportunity to cooperatively coordinate harvests of Pacific cod through private arrangement to the participants' mutual benefit, which would remove the need for sideboard limits in these regulatory areas. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Crab FMP, and other applicable laws.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Small Vessel Exemptions; License Limitation Program
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted to the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) Amendment 108 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP), Amendment 100 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP), and Amendment 46 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP). If approved, these amendments would correct text omissions in the BSAI FMP, the GOA FMP, and the Crab FMP. These amendments would make the fishery management plan (FMP) texts that establish vessel length limits for small vessels exempted from the license limitation program (LLP) in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) groundfish and king and Tanner crab fisheries, and the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) groundfish fisheries, consistent with the original intent of the LLP, current operations in the fisheries, and Federal regulations. This action would promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMPs, and other applicable laws.