Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery and Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 26; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Sea Turtle Conservation
NMFS approves and implements through regulations the measures included in Framework Adjustment 26 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan, which the New England Fishery Management Council adopted and submitted to NMFS for approval. The purpose of Framework 26 is to prevent overfishing, improve yield-per-recruit, and improve the overall management of the Atlantic sea scallop fishery. Framework 26 sets fishing specifications for 2015, including catch limits, days-at- sea allocations, individual fishing quotas, and sea scallop access area trip allocations. In addition, Framework 26 closes a portion of the Elephant Trunk Access Area and extends the boundaries of the Nantucket Lightship Access Area to protect small scallops, adjusts the State Waters Exemption Program, allows for Vessel Monitoring System declaration changes for vessels to steam home with product on board, implements a proactive accountability measure to protect windowpane flounder and yellowtail flounder, aligns two gear measures designed to protect sea turtles, and implements other measures to improve the management of the scallop fishery. Aligning the gear measures designed to protect sea turtles involves modifying existing regulations implemented under the Endangered Species Act; therefore, this action is implemented under joint authority of the Endangered Species Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene a meeting of the Risk of Overfishing (denoted by P*) Working Group (P* WG) for the Main Hawaiian Island Deep 7 Bottomfish Fishery. The P* WG will review the P* dimensions and criteria, provide new scores (as appropriate), and recommend an appropriate risk of overfishing levels. This will be the basis for the specification of Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) levels for the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) to consider.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; NOAA Satellite Ground Station Customer Questionnaire
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.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Species Fisheries
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is proposing to modify the existing Pacific bluefin tuna (PBF) Thunnus orientalis recreational daily bag limit in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off California, and to establish filleting-at-sea requirements for any tuna species in the U.S. EEZ south of Point Conception, Santa Barbara County, under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). This action is intended to conserve PBF, and is based on a recommendation of the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council).
Pacific Island Fisheries; 2014-15 Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures; Main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 Bottomfish
NMFS proposes to specify an annual catch limit (ACL) of 346,000 lb for Deep 7 bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) for the 2014-15 fishing year. If the ACL is projected to be reached, NMFS would close the commercial and non-commercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish for the remainder of the fishing year. The proposed specifications and fishery closure support the long-term sustainability of Hawaii bottomfish.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Identification of 14 Distinct Population Segments of the Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae
We, NMFS, have completed a comprehensive status review of the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and announce a proposal to revise the listing status of the species. We propose to divide the globally listed endangered species into 14 distinct population segments (DPSs), remove the current species-level listing, and in its place list 2 DPSs as endangered and 2 DPSs as threatened. The remaining 10 DPSs are not proposed for listing based on their current statuses. This proposal also constitutes a negative 12-month finding on a petition to delineate and ``delist'' a DPS of humpback whales spanning the entire North Pacific and a positive 12-month finding on a petition to delineate and ``delist'' a DPS in the Central North Pacific (Hawaii breeding population). At this time, we do not propose to designate critical habitat for the two listed DPSs that occur in U.S. waters (Western North Pacific, Central America) because it is not currently determinable. In order to complete the critical habitat designation process, we also solicit information on essential physical and biological features of the habitat of these two DPSs.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan; Trawl Rationalization Program; Catch Monitor Program; Observer Program
This action revises the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery regulations pertaining to certified catch monitors and observers required in the Shorebased Individual Fishery Quota Program, the Mothership Coop Program, the Catcher/Processor Coop Program, and for processing vessels in the fixed gear or open access fisheries. This action establishes permitting requirements for persons interested in providing certified catch monitors and observers; updates observer provider and vessels responsibilities relative to observer safety; and makes administrative changes to the observer and catch monitor programs. This action is needed to allow for the entry of new providers, to ensure observer safety provisions are clearly stated and consistent with national observer regulations, and to improve program administration.