Availability of the Draft Report to Congress: Section 404 Fisheries Research
NMFS is releasing the draft Report to Congress on Fisheries Research in accordance with section 404 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) for public review and comment. Additional information, including the draft Report for download, may be found at: http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/strategic-plan/MSA-Section-404- Report-2016/msa-section-404-report-to-congress-2016.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Exchange of Flatfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is exchanging unused flathead sole and yellowfin sole Community Development Quota (CDQ) for rock sole CDQ acceptable biological catch (ABC) reserves in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is necessary to allow the 2016 total allowable catch of rock sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area to be harvested.
Endangered Species; File No. 20197
Notice is hereby given that NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 166 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA 025433-3149 [Responsible Party: Dr. William Karp] has applied in due form for a permit to take loggerhead (Caretta caretta), green (Chelonia mydas), Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and unidentified hardshell sea turtles for purposes of scientific research.
International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Purse Seine Observer Requirements, and Fishing Restrictions and Limits in Purse Seine and Longline Fisheries for 2016-2017
Under authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFC Implementation Act), NMFS issues this final rule that, first, requires that U.S. purse seine vessels carry observers on fishing trips in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO); second, establishes restrictions in 2016 and 2017 on the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) by U.S. purse seine vessels in the WCPO; and third, establishes limits in 2016 and 2017 on the amount of bigeye tuna that may be captured by U.S. longline vessels in the WCPO. This action implementing specific provisions of Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) 2015-01 is necessary to satisfy the obligations of the United States as a Contracting Party to the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention), pursuant to the authority of the WCPFC Implementation Act.
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 the northern subpopulation of Pacific sardine (hereafter, simply Pacific sardine), in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the Pacific coast for the fishing season of July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017. These specifications were determined according to the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). This action includes a prohibition on directed non-tribal Pacific sardine commercial fishing for Pacific sardine off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California, which is required because the estimated 2016 biomass of Pacific sardine is below the biomass threshold specified in the HG control rule. Under this action, Pacific sardine may still be harvested as part of either the live bait or tribal fishery or as incidental catch in other fisheries; the incidental harvest of Pacific sardine would initially be limited to 40-percent by weight of all fish per trip when caught with other CPS or up to 2 metric tons (mt) when caught with non-CPS. The annual catch limit (ACL) for the 2016-2017 Pacific sardine fishing year is 8,000 mt. This rule is intended to conserve and manage the Pacific sardine stock off the U.S. West Coast.