Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 35
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 35 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper- Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 35 would remove black snapper, mahogany snapper, dog snapper, and schoolmaster from the FMP; and clarify the Council's intent regarding the golden tilefish longline endorsement program.
Council Coordination Committee Meeting
NMFS will host a meeting of the Council Coordination Committee (CCC), consisting of the Regional Fishery Management Council chairs, vice chairs, and executive directors on February 24-25, 2016. The intent of this meeting is to discuss issues of relevance to the Councils, including budget allocations for FY2016 and budget planning for FY2017 and beyond; an overview of the Saltonstall-Kennedy FY15-16 grants process; the FY2016 legislative outlook; updates on electronic monitoring, NMFS bycatch strategy and catch share program review guidance, the NMFS climate science strategy, ecosystem based fisheries management, stock assessment prioritization; and Council workgroup updates, including Citizen Science Workshop and other topics related to implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; Seafood Import Monitoring Program
Pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), this proposed rule would establish filing and recordkeeping procedures relating to the importation of certain fish and fish products, in order to implement the MSA's prohibition on the import and trade, in interstate or foreign commerce, of fish taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of any foreign law or regulation. The information to be filed is proposed to be collected at the time of entry, and makes use of an electronic single window consistent with the Safety and Accountability for Every (SAFE) Port Act of 2006 and other applicable statutes. Specifically, NMFS proposes to integrate collection of catch and landing documentation for certain fish and fish products within the government-wide International Trade Data System (ITDS) and require electronic information collection through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Under these procedures, NMFS would require an annually renewable International Fisheries Trade Permit (IFTP) and specific data for certain fish and fish products to be filed and retained as a condition of import to enable the United States to exclude the entry into commerce of products of illegal fishing activities. The information to be collected and retained will help authorities verify that the fish or fish products were lawfully acquired by providing information that traces each import shipment from point of harvest to entry-into commerce. The rule will also decrease the incidence of seafood fraud by collecting information at import and requiring retention of documentation so that the information reported (e.g., regarding species and harvest location) can be verified. This proposed rule stipulates the catch and landing data for imports of certain fish and fish products which would be required to be submitted electronically to NMFS through ACE and the requirements for recordkeeping concerning such imports.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical and Geotechnical Survey in Cook Inlet, Alaska
NMFS has received an application from ExxonMobil Alaska LNG LLC (EMALL) for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to a geophysical and geotechnical survey in Cook Inlet, Alaska. This action is proposed to occur for 16 weeks. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an IHA to EMALL to incidentally take, by Level B Harassment only, marine mammals during the specified activity.