Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic; 2015-2016 Accountability Measure and Closure for King Mackerel in Western Zone of the Gulf of Mexico
NMFS implements an accountability measure (AM) for commercial king mackerel in the western zone of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone (EEZ) through this temporary final rule. NMFS has determined that the commercial quota for king mackerel in the western zone of the Gulf EEZ will be reached by November 17, 2015. Therefore, NMFS closes the western zone of the Gulf EEZ to commercial king mackerel fishing on November 17, 2015. This closure is necessary to protect the Gulf king mackerel resource.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Application for an Exempted Fishing Permit
This notice announces receipt of an exempted fishing permit (EFP) application from the Alaska Seafood Cooperative (AKSC). If granted, this permit would allow up to five AKSC-member Amendment 80 vessels to conduct experimental fishing in two subareas of the Bering Sea that are closed to fishing with trawl gear. Under the permit, experimental fishing with non-pelagic trawl gear would be authorized in Reporting Area 516 of Zone 1 that is otherwise closed to all trawl gear and the Red King Crab Savings Area (RKCSA) that is otherwise closed to non-pelagic trawl gear. The AKSC would collect data on crab prohibited species catch (PSC) rates during commercial groundfish fishing operations inside the Area 516 seasonal closure, the RKCSA, and adjacent areas that are currently open to non-pelagic trawling. The objective of the EFP is to evaluate PSC rates and overall catch of target species in the above-mentioned closed areas compared with the areas currently open to fishing with trawl gear. This experiment has the potential to promote the objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan for Western Butte County, California: Environmental Impact Statement
This notice advises the public that we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), have prepared a draft environmental impact statement and environmental impact report (DEIS/R) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1967, as amended (NEPA), and its implementing regulations. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are cooperating agencies on the DEIS/R. This notice also announces the receipt of applications for 50-year incidental take permits under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The applicants prepared the Draft Butte Regional Conservation Plan (Draft Plan, or BRCP) pursuant to the Act and the California Natural Community Conservation Planning Act of 2002 (NCCPA). The permits are needed to authorize the incidental take of 39 covered species that could result from activities covered under the proposed Draft Plan. We also announce meetings and invite comments.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish
Notice is hereby given that NMFS has received an application for a new enhancement of survival permit and a request for entry into an associated proposed Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement (Agreement) between the applicant and NMFS. The proposed Enhancement of Survival Permit and Agreement are intended to promote the survival and recovery of species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Information NMFS received as a part of the application is available to the public as a matter of public record and is available upon request by contacting the NMFS California Coastal Office in Santa Rosa, California.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Application for Appointment in the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps
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.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries
NMFS announces that the 25-mt quota available for Atlantic bluefin tuna bycatch (including landings and dead discards) by the Longline category in the Northeast Distant gear restricted area (NED) was filled on November 12, 2015. NMFS reminds vessels fishing in the NED that they now must account for any bluefin bycatch retained or discarded dead using IBQ allocation available to the vessel and that any quota debt remaining at the end of 2015 will carry over to 2016.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Seabird Avoidance Measures
This final rule implements a Seabird Avoidance Program in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery. The rule was recommended by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) in November 2013 to minimize the take of ESA-listed short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus). A 2012 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Biological Opinion (Opinion) required NMFS to initiate implementation of regulations within 2 years that mandate the use of seabird avoidance measures by vessels greater than or equal to 55 feet length overall (LOA) using bottom longline gear to harvest groundfish. The seabird avoidance measures, including streamer lines that deter birds from ingesting baited hooks, are modeled after a similar regulatory program in effect for the Alaskan groundfish fishery.