Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Vessels Using Pot Gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2016 Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting of its Hawaii Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) Advisory Panel (AP) and American Samoa Archipelago FEP AP Advisory Panel to discuss and make recommendations on fishery management issues in the Western Pacific Region.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish
Notice is hereby given that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Tulalip Tribes have submitted two Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans to NMFS, to be considered jointly 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 Skykomish and Snoqualmie River watersheds of Washington State. This document serves to notify the public of the availability for comment of the Proposed Evaluation and Pending Determination 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 and Puget Sound Chinook salmon. The Proposed Evaluation and Pending Determination may be accessed through the following web address: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov.
National Environmental Policy Act Compliance for Council-Initiated Fishery Management Actions Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act
The purpose of this notice is to notify the public that NOAA/ NMFS has finalized revisions to the NOAA policy and procedures for complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in the context of Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) fishery management actions. This notice provides a summary of the public comments received and the agency's responses. The final revised and updated NEPA procedures for MSA actions are available online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/msa2007/ nepa.htm.
Marine Mammals; File No. 19309
Notice is hereby given that the NMFS National Marine Mammal Laboratory, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-6349 (Responsible Party: John Bengtson, Ph.D.), has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on pinnipeds in Alaska.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Russian River Estuary Management Activities
NMFS has received a request from the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to Russian River estuary management activities. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to SCWA to incidentally take marine mammals, by Level B harassment only, during the specified activity.
Pacific Island Fisheries; 2015-16 Annual Catch Limit and Accountability Measures; Main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 Bottomfish
NMFS proposes to specify an annual catch limit (ACL) of 326,000 lb for Deep 7 bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) for the 2015-16 fishing year, which began on September 1, 2015, and ends on August 31, 2016. If the ACL is projected to be reached, as an accountability measure (AM), NMFS would close the commercial and non- commercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish for the remainder of the fishing year. The proposed ACL and AM support the long-term sustainability of Hawaii bottomfish.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program
NMFS issues a proposed rule that would modify regulations governing the Crab Rationalization (CR) Program. This proposed rule is comprised of three actions. Under the first action, this proposed rule would modify regulations to create an exemption for participants in the Western Aleutian Islands golden king crab (WAG) fishery from the prohibition against resuming fishing before all CR Program crab have been fully offloaded from a vessel. This action is intended to allow participants in the WAG fishery to offload live crab to remote ports near the fishing grounds to supply live crab markets. Under the second action, this proposed rule would amend CR Program regulations to clarify current document submission requirements for persons applying to receive captain and crew crab quota share, called C shares, by transfer. Under the third action, this proposed rule would amend License Limitation Program (LLP) regulations to remove the requirement for endorsements on crab LLP licenses for specific crab fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands that are no longer managed under the LLP. This proposed rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs, and other applicable laws.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List Three Manta Rays as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act
We, NMFS, announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list three manta rays, identified as the giant manta ray (Manta birostris), reef manta ray (M. alfredi), and Caribbean manta ray (M. c.f. birostris), range-wide or, in the alternative, any identified distinct population segments (DPSs), as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and to designate critical habitat concurrently with the listing. We find that the petition and information in our files present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted for the giant manta ray and the reef manta ray. We will conduct a status review of these species to determine if the petitioned action is warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial information pertaining to these two species from any interested party. We also find that the petition and information in our files does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the Caribbean manta ray is a taxonomically valid species or subspecies for listing, and, therefore, it does not warrant listing at this time.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Initiation of 5-Year Review for Indus River Dolphin
We, NMFS, announce a 5-year review of the Indus River dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The purpose of these reviews is to ensure that the listing classification of a species is accurate. The 5-year review will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review; therefore, we request submission of any such information on Indus River dolphins that has become available since their original listing as endangered in January 1991. Based on the results of this 5-year review, we will make the requisite determination under the ESA.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications
NMFS issues this final rule to implement annual management measures and harvest specifications to establish the allowable catch levels (i.e. annual catch limit (ACL)/harvest guideline (HG)) for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Pacific Coast for the fishing season of July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. This rule is implemented pursuant to the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The 2015-2016 HG for Pacific mackerel is 21,469 metric tons (mt). This is the total commercial fishing target level. This action also implements an annual catch target (ACT), of 20,469 mt. If the fishery attains the ACT, the directed fishery will close, reserving the difference between the HG (21,469 mt) and ACT as a 1,000 mt set-aside for incidental landings in other CPS fisheries and other sources of mortality. This final rule is intended to conserve and manage the Pacific mackerel stock off the U.S. West Coast.