Gulf of the Farallones and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries Regulations on Introduced Species
On March 18, 2013, NOAA proposed to prohibit the introduction of introduced species into the state waters of Gulf of the Farallones and Monterey Bay national marine sanctuaries (GFNMS and MBNMS, respectively). The proposed prohibition included exceptions for the catch and release of striped bass and for introduced species of shellfish as part of commercial aquaculture activities in the Tomales Bay region of GFNMS (the only geographic area within sanctuaries offshore of California where aquaculture occurs). On March 27, 2014, NOAA amended the proposal to allow GFNMS and MBNMS to consider authorizing the introduction of certain introduced species of shellfish, those considered to be non-invasive, from commercial aquaculture culture projects in all state waters of the sanctuaries. NOAA's final action allows MBNMS to authorize state of California permits or leases for commercial aquaculture projects in state waters involving introduced species of shellfish that a) the state management agencies and NOAA have determined to be non-invasive, and b) will not have significant adverse impacts to sanctuary resources or qualities. For GFNMS, NOAA will not adopt authorization authority for similar projects in state waters at this time and will revert to the proposal from March 2013, which prohibits introduction of introduced species, exempts state permitted commercial shellfish aquaculture activities within Tomales Bay only, and provides an exception for the catch and release of striped bass.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Vessels Using Pot Gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2015 Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; North and South Atlantic 2015 Commercial Swordfish Quotas
This proposed rule would adjust the 2015 fishing season quotas for North and South Atlantic swordfish based upon 2014 commercial quota underharvests and international quota transfers consistent with International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Recommendations 13-02 and 13-03. This proposed rule would apply to commercial and recreational fishing for swordfish in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. This action would implement ICCAT recommendations, consistent with the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), and would further domestic management objectives under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Fishing Restrictions Regarding the Oceanic Whitetip Shark, the Whale Shark, and the Silky Shark
NMFS issues regulations under authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFC Implementation Act) to implement decisions of the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Commission or WCPFC) on fishing restrictions related to the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus), the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), and the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis). The regulations apply to owners and operators of U.S. fishing vessels used for commercial fishing for highly migratory species (HMS) 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 regulations for oceanic whitetip sharks and silky sharks prohibit the retention, transshipment, storage, or landing of oceanic whitetip sharks or silky sharks, and require the release of any oceanic whitetip shark or silky shark as soon as possible after it is caught, with as little harm to the shark as possible. The regulations for whale sharks prohibit setting a purse seine on a whale shark and specify certain measures to be taken and reporting requirements in the event a whale shark is encircled in a purse seine net. This action is necessary for the United States to satisfy its obligations under the Convention, to which it is a Contracting Party.