Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; Framework Adjustment 4
NMFS implements approved measures in Framework 4 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan. The New England Fishery Management Council developed Framework 4 to further enhance catch monitoring and address discarding in the herring fishery. The approved measures include: A requirement that vessels report slippage (i.e., catch discarded prior to sampling by an observer) via the vessel monitoring system; slippage consequences measures (i.e., requirement to move 15 nautical miles (27.78 km) or return to port following a slippage event); and clarifications to existing slippage measures and definitions. NMFS disapproved two measures in Framework 4. These measures would have required: Fish holds to be certified and observers to collect volumetric catch estimates of total catch; and fish holds to be empty of fish before leaving port, unless a waiver is issued by an authorized law enforcement officer. NMFS disapproved these measures because it determined that they are inconsistent with the Magnuson- Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Paperwork Reduction Act. Therefore, those two measures are not implemented in this action. Lastly, NMFS implements minor corrections to regulations to clarify their intent and ensure they are consistent with the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council, NEFMC) will hold a three-day meeting to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1; Amendments to the Fishery Management Plans for Coastal Pelagic Species, Pacific Coast Groundfish, U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory Species, and Pacific Coast Salmon
NMFS issues regulations to implement Comprehensive Ecosystem- Based Amendment 1 (CEBA 1), which includes amendments to the Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council's) four fishery management plans (FMPs): the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) FMP, the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP, the FMP for U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory Species (HMS), and the Pacific Coast Salmon FMP. CEBA 1 amended the Council's FMPs to bring new ecosystem component species (collectively, ``Shared EC Species'') into each of those FMPs, and prohibits directed commercial fisheries for Shared EC Species within the U.S. West Coast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This final rule defines and prohibits directed commercial fishing for Shared EC Species, and prohibits, with limited exceptions, at-sea processing of Shared EC Species.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to a Pier Construction and Support Facilities Project, Port Angeles, WA
NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to construction activities as part of a pier construction and support facilities project. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to the Navy to incidentally take marine mammals, by Level B Harassment only, during the specified activity.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 12-Month Finding on Petitions to List the Common Thresher Shark and Bigeye Thresher Shark as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
NMFS has completed comprehensive status reviews under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for two species of thresher shark in response to petitions to list those species. These species are the common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) and the bigeye thresher shark (Alopias superciliosus). Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, including the status review report (Young et al., 2015), and after taking into account efforts being made to protect these species, we have determined that the common thresher (A. vulpinus) and bigeye thresher (A. superciliosus) do not warrant listing at this time. We conclude that neither species is currently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range nor likely to become so within the foreseeable future.
Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan
This final rule announces the approval of the Catch Sharing Plan (Plan) for halibut fishing in Area 2A (waters off the U.S. West Coast) with modifications recommended by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), and establishes implementing regulations for 2016. These actions are intended to conserve Pacific halibut, provide angler opportunity where available, and minimize bycatch of overfished groundfish species. The sport fishing management measures in this rule are an additional subsection of the regulations for the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) published on March 16, 2016.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Implementation of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas Electronic Bluefin Tuna Catch Documentation System
This final rule adopts regulations governing international trade documentation and tracking programs for Atlantic bluefin tuna to fulfill recommendations from recent meetings of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The final rule transitions from the current ICCAT paper-based bluefin tuna catch documentation program (BCD program), used in the United States by highly migratory species (HMS) international trade permit (ITP) holders, to use of the ICCAT electronic bluefin tuna catch documentation system (eBCD system). The final rule also contains two unrelated regulatory text corrections related to bluefin tuna landings reports and cross-references related to prohibitions for fishing Atlantic tunas with speargun gear. Additionally, NMFS will hold three public conference call and webinars on April 21, April 22, and May 3, 2016, to provide further information on requirements of the final rule and use of the eBCD system (see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils will hold a Joint Spiny Lobster Advisory Panel (AP) meeting.
Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The Caribbean Fishery Management Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) will hold a three-day meeting to discuss the items contained in the following agenda:
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permit
The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit application submitted by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on Exempted Fishing Permit applications.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Greater Atlantic Region Permit Family of Forms
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.
Notice of Renewal of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing
In accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App 2, and the General Services Administration (GSA) rule on Federal Advisory Committee Management, 41 CFR part 101-6, and after consultation with GSA, the Secretary of Commerce has determined that the renewal of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES) is in the public interest in connection with the performance of duties imposed on the Department by law. ACCRES was renewed on March 9, 2016.