Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Scoping Process
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council announces its intent to prepare, in cooperation with NMFS, an amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish, and to potentially prepare an EIS in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act to analyze the impacts of any proposed management measures. The current focus of the amendment is to consider alternatives to reduce the capacities of the longfin squid and Illex squid fleets as defined by vessels with limited access permits. This notice announces a public process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed, for identifying concerns and potential alternatives related to capacity in the squid fisheries, and for determining the appropriate level of environmental analysis. This notice alerts the interested public of the scoping process, the potential development of a Draft EIS, and provides for public participation in that process. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold six scoping hearings in April 2015 for this amendment. At the scoping hearings the Council will also take any general comments on mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries management, which could inform future Council actions not including this amendment.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program
NMFS issues regulations to implement Amendment 31 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (FMP). These regulations revise the rules governing the acquisition, use, and retention of quota share established for captains and crew, known as crew quota share or C shares, under the Crab Rationalization Program (CR Program). Regulations implementing Amendment 31 temporarily expand the eligibility requirements for individuals wishing to acquire C share Quota Share (QS) by transfer; establish minimum participation requirements for C share QS holders to be eligible to receive an annual allocation of Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ); establish minimum participation requirements for C share QS holders to be eligible to retain their C share QS and an administrative process for revocation of an individual's C share QS if he or she fails to satisfy the minimum participation requirements; establish a regulatory mechanism to ensure that three percent of the total allowable catch (TAC) for each CR Program crab fishery is allocated as IFQ to holders of C share QS; and remove the prohibition on leasing C share IFQ. In addition, this final rule implements a regulatory amendment to the CR Program that: Establishes an earlier deadline for filing annual IFQ, individual processing quota (IPQ), and crab harvesting cooperative IFQ applications, which increases the amount of time during which NMFS will suspend the processing of IFQ and IPQ transfer applications; shortens the amount of time in which to appeal an initial administrative determination to withhold issuance of IFQ or IPQ; and provides that an applicant's proof of timely filing for IFQ, IPQ, or cooperative IFQ creates a presumption of timely filing. Finally, this final rule revises the reporting period and due date for CR Program registered crab receiver (RCR) Ex-vessel Volume and Value Reports. This final rule is necessary to ensure that individuals who hold C shares are active in the CR Program fisheries and to ensure that application deadlines provide adequate time to resolve disputes. This final rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the FMP, and other applicable laws.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish
Notice is hereby given that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), with the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, the Lummi Nation, the Nooksack Tribe, the Stillaguamish Tribes, and the Tulalip Tribes as the U.S. v. Washington salmon resource co-managers, has submitted three Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans, to be considered jointly, to NMFS pursuant to the limitation on take prohibitions for actions conducted under Limit 6 of the 4(d) Rule for salmon and steelhead promulgated under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The plans specify the propagation of early-returning (``early'') winter steelhead in the Dungeness, Nooksack, and Stillaguamish River watersheds of Washington State. This document serves to notify the public of the availability for comment of the proposed evaluation of the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) as to whether implementation of the joint plans will appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of ESA- listed Puget Sound steelhead, Puget Sound Chinook salmon, and Hood Canal summer chum salmon. This notice further advises the public of the availability for review of a draft Environmental Assessment of the effects of the NMFS determination on the subject joint plans.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Notice of Intent To Withdraw Existing Draft Environmental Impact Statement
NMFS is announcing the withdrawal of a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that was being prepared on two resource management plans (RMPs) and 114 supporting hatchery and genetic management plans (HGMPs) for Puget Sound hatchery programs. The plans were submitted to NMFS by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Puget Sound treaty tribes (referred to as the co- managers) for evaluation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for threatened Puget Sound Chinook salmon and Puget Sound steelhead. Subsequent to the notice of intent to prepare an EIS in 2004, the co- managers have made important changes in hatchery programs for salmon and steelhead. Changes in the programs and updated information important for analysis are being reflected in revised joint RMPs that are generally organized on a watershed-specific basis. In light of this and the ongoing submissions of revised watershed-specific joint hatchery RMPs and considering public comments received on the draft EIS, NMFS has determined that it is appropriate to withdraw the draft EIS. NMFS will conduct NEPA reviews for the revised RMPs that are jointly submitted to NMFS by the co-managers.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, Level A Stranding and Rehabilitation Disposition Data Sheet
The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.
Marine Mammals; File No. 18890
Notice is hereby given that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) [Responsible Party: Robert Small, Ph.D., 1255 West 8th Street, Juneau, Alaska 99811-5526] has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on bowhead (Balaena mysticetus), gray (Eschrichtius robustus), humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) whales.
Proposed Expansion, Regulatory Revision and New Management Plan for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is proposing to expand the boundaries and scope of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS or sanctuary), amend the regulations for HIHWNMS, change the name of the sanctuary, and revise the sanctuary's terms of designation and management plan. The purpose of this action is to transition the sanctuary from a single- species management approach to an ecosystem-based management approach. A draft environmental impact statement and draft revised management plan have been prepared for this proposed action. NOAA is soliciting public comment on the proposed rule, draft environmental impact statement, and draft revised management plan.