Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries
NMFS is transferring 18 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) quota from the Harpoon category and 67 mt from the Reserve category to the General category for the remainder of the 2016 fishing year. These transfers result in adjusted 2016 quotas of 676.7 mt, 20.6 mt, and 8.6 mt for the General, Harpoon, and Reserve category quotas, respectively. NMFS also is adjusting the Atlantic tunas General category BFT daily retention limit from four large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day/trip to two large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day/trip for the remainder of the 2016 fishing year. This action is based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments and applies to Atlantic tunas General category (commercial) permitted vessels and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels when fishing commercially for BFT.
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Fisheries Research
NMFS' Office of Protected Resources has received a request from the NMFS Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) for authorization to take small numbers of marine mammals incidental to conducting fisheries research, over the course of five years from the date of issuance. Pursuant to regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing receipt of the AFSC's request for the development and implementation of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals. NMFS invites the public to provide information, suggestions, and comments on the AFSC's application and request.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Ocean Perch in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS is prohibiting retention of the incidental catch allowance for Pacific Ocean perch in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary because the 2016 total allowable catch of Pacific Ocean perch apportioned to the incidental catch allowance in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA has been reached.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Skate Complex; Adjustment to the Skate Bait Inseason Possession Limit
We announce the reduction of the commercial per-trip skate bait possession limit from 25,000 lb (11,340 kg) to 9,307 lb (4,222 kg) whole weight through October 31, 2016. This action is required to prevent the skate bait Season 2 quota from being exceeded. This announcement informs the public that the skate bait possession limit is reduced.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Sablefish in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska
NMFS is prohibiting retention of sablefish by vessels using trawl gear and not participating in the cooperative fishery of the Rockfish Program in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary because the 2016 total allowable catch of sablefish allocated to vessels using trawl gear and not participating in the cooperative fishery of the Rockfish Program in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA has been reached.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits
The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit application from the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. This Exempted Fishing Permit would allow seven commercial fishing vessels and one party/charter vessel to collect black sea bass catch data while on routine fishing trips and retain a limited amount of black sea bass for laboratory analysis. Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notice to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for proposed Exempted Fishing Permits.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Meeting
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (MAFMC's) Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Monitoring Committee will hold a public meeting.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Shark Management Measures; Proposed Amendment 5b
NMFS is amending the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) based on the results of the 2016 stock assessment update for Atlantic dusky sharks. Based on this assessment, NMFS determined that the dusky shark stock remains overfished and is experiencing overfishing. Consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson- Stevens Act), NMFS is proposing management measures that would reduce fishing mortality on dusky sharks and rebuild the dusky shark population consistent with legal requirements. The proposed measures could affect U.S. commercial and recreational fishermen who harvest sharks in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; National Standard Guidelines
This final action revises the guidelines for National Standards (NS) 1, 3, and 7 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA or The Act) and to the General section of the NS guidelines. This action is necessary to improve and clarify the guidance within the NS guidelines. The purpose of this action is to facilitate compliance with requirements of the MSA to end and prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, and achieve optimum yield (OY).