Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Removal of Vessel Upgrade Restrictions for Swordfish Directed Limited Access and Atlantic Tunas Longline Category Permits
This proposed rule would remove vessel upgrading restrictions for vessels issued swordfish directed and Atlantic tunas Longline category limited access permits (LAPs). Currently, regulations allow for upgrading vessels or transferring permits to another vessel only if the vessel upgrade or permit transfer results in an increase of no more than 35 percent in length overall, gross registered tonnage, and net tonnage, as measured relative to the baseline vessel specifications (i.e., the specifications of the vessel first issued an HMS LAP). The proposed rule eliminates these restrictions on upgrades and permit transfers. This action could affect vessel owners issued swordfish directed and Atlantic tunas Longline category LAPs and fishing in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Swordfish handgear LAP upgrade restrictions are not being addressed in this proposed rule.
Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; 2016 Recreational Accountability Measures and Closure for Gulf of Mexico Greater Amberjack
NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for the greater amberjack recreational sector in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) for the 2016 fishing year through this temporary rule. NMFS has determined that the 2015 recreational annual catch limit (ACL) for Gulf greater amberjack was exceeded; therefore, NMFS reduces the greater amberjack recreational ACL and annual catch target (ACT) in 2016. NMFS has also determined that the recreational ACT for Gulf greater amberjack was reached prior to the June 1 annual season closure. Therefore, the greater amberjack recreational season in the Gulf EEZ will remain closed and will not be re-opening on August 1, 2016. This closure is necessary to protect the Gulf greater amberjack resource.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; North and South Atlantic 2016 Commercial Swordfish Quotas
This final rule adjusts the 2016 fishing season quotas for North and South Atlantic swordfish based upon 2015 commercial quota underharvests and international quota transfers consistent with the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Recommendations 13-02 and 13-03. This final rule also simplifies the annual North and South Atlantic quota adjustment process when the adjustment simply applies a previously-adopted formula or measure. Finally, this final rule removes extraneous regulatory text about the percentage of the annual baseline quota allocation that may be carried over in a given year. This final rule could affect commercial and recreational fishing for swordfish in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. This action implements ICCAT recommendations, consistent with the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), and furthers domestic management objectives under the Magnuson- Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Construction of the East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
NMFS has received a request from the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) for an incidental take authorization to take small numbers of seven species of marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to construction activities associated with the East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB) in the San Francisco Bay (SFB), California. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an authorization to CALTRANS to incidentally take, by harassment, small numbers of marine mammals for a period of 1 year.
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 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 flathead sole and rock sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area to be harvested.
Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Pacific Council) Ad hoc Sacramento River Winter Chinook Workgroup (SRWCW) will hold a meeting, which is open to the public, to discuss progress on development of potential harvest control rule options.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Red Grouper Management Measures
NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). If implemented, this action would revise the commercial quota and annual catch limit (ACL) and the recreational annual catch target (ACT) and ACL for red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone. The purpose of this proposed rule is to adjust the allowable red grouper harvest to achieve optimum yield based upon an updated Gulf red grouper stock assessment.