Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits
The NMFS Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, has made a preliminary determination that an exempted fishing permit application contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. This exempted fishing permit would allow commercial fishing vessels in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to research the use of raised-footrope trawl gear to target whiting (Northern silver hake) within two existing areas of the Gulf of Maine whiting exempted fishery before the start of these areas current open seasons. Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for a proposed exempted fishing permit.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Amendment 17 to the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery Management Plan
This final rule approves and implements management measures contained in Amendment 17 to the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery Management Plan. Amendment 17 management measures were developed by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to: Add cost recovery provisions for the Individual Transferable Quota component of the fishery; modify how biological reference points are incorporated into the fishery management plan; and remove the plan's optimum yield range. These changes are intended to make the management plan consistent with requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and to improve the management of these fisheries.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico; Recreational Management Measures; Control Date
This notice announces the establishment of a control date of December 31, 2015, that the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) may use if it decides to create an allocation-based program for Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish headboats that participate in the Southeast Region Headboat Survey (SRHS). Vessels that begin participating in the SRHS after the control date may not be able to participate in the proposed program, and landings after the control date may not be used in determining allocations. NMFS invites comments on the establishment of this control date.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS); Porbeagle Shark Management Measures
NMFS is proposing to implement the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Recommendation 15-06 regarding porbeagle sharks (Lamna nasus) caught in association with ICCAT fisheries. Recommendation 15-06 requires, among other things, fishing vessels to promptly release unharmed, to the extent practicable, porbeagle sharks caught in association with ICCAT fisheries when brought alive alongside for taking on board the vessel. This action would affect fishermen fishing in the commercial HMS pelagic longline fishery and the HMS recreational fisheries for tunas, swordfish, and billfish in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. This action would implement an ICCAT recommendation, consistent with the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), and would further domestic management objectives under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson- Stevens Act).
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; North Atlantic Swordfish Fishery
NMFS is adjusting the Swordfish (SWO) General Commercial permit retention limits for the Northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. Caribbean regions for July through December of the 2016 fishing year, unless otherwise later noticed. The SWO General Commercial permit retention limit in each of these regions is increased from the regulatory default limits to six swordfish per vessel per trip. The SWO General Commercial permit retention limit in the Florida SWO Management Area will remain unchanged at the default limit of zero swordfish per vessel per trip. This adjustment applies to SWO General Commercial permitted vessels and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat permitted vessels when on a non-for-hire trip. This action is based upon consideration of the applicable inseason regional retention limit adjustment criteria.