National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration November 2016 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents
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Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Several Groundfish Species in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS apportions amounts of the non-specified reserve to the total allowable catch (TAC) of Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Alaska plaice, Kamchatka flounder, northern rockfish, skates, sculpins, sharks, and octopus in the BSAI management area. This action is necessary to allow the fisheries to continue operating. It is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan for the BSAI management area.
Taking and Importing of Marine Mammals
The NMFS Assistant Administrator (Assistant Administrator) has issued affirmative finding annual renewals for the Governments of Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Spain (Hereafter known as ``The Nations'') under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). These affirmative finding annual renewals will allow yellowfin tuna and yellowfin tuna products harvested in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP) in compliance with the Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program (AIDCP) by The Nations' flagged purse seine vessels or purse seine vessels operating under The Nations' jurisdiction to be imported into the United States. The affirmative finding annual renewals were based on reviews of documentary evidence submitted by the Governments of The Nations and by information obtained from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish Fishery; Quota Transfers
NMFS announces its approval of two transfers of 2016 commercial bluefish quota from the Commonwealth of Virginia to the State of New York. The approval of these transfers complies with the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan quota transfer provision. This announcement also informs the public of the revised commercial quotas for Virginia and New York.
Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Assessment for the Bluefield Holdings, Inc. Site 2 Shoreline Restoration Project Credit Purchase
Notice is hereby given that a document entitled, ``Draft Environmental Assessment for the Bluefield Holdings, Inc. Site 2 Shoreline Restoration Project Credits Purchase'' (Draft EA) is available for public review and comment. This document has been prepared by the state, tribal, and Federal natural resource trustee agencies (the ``Trustees'')NOAA, United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) acting on behalf of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), Washington Department of Ecology (as lead State trustee), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, and the Suquamish Tribeto evaluate potential impacts to the environment from purchasing 30 credits in the Bluefield Holdings, Inc. Site 2 Shoreline Restoration Project (Site 2). The proposed credits purchase in the Site 2 project is a component of the overall effort to restore natural resources and resource services that have been injured and lost resulting from releases of hazardous substances into the Lower Duwamish River (LDR). This draft EA is tiered from the June 2013 Final LDR NRDA Restoration Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (RP/EIS). The EA describes the Trustees' proposed plan to purchase 30 credits in the Site 2 project. The purchase would utilize a portion of the funds provided to the Trustees from the Pacific Sound Resources settlement (United States et al. v. Pacific Sound Resources et al., Civ. No. C94-687 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 29, 1994)). The Trustees may only use these funds for restoration purposes. The Trustees will consider comments received during the public comment period before finalizing this EA.
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting; Correction
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) announces a change in location for its Hilo, HI public meetings and scoping sessions to discuss fishery management regulations for the Monument Expanded Area in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Ocean Exploration Advisory Board (OEAB)
OAR publishes this notice to solicit applications to fill a single membership vacancy on the Ocean Exploration Advisory Board (OEAB) with an individual demonstrating expertise in data science and management and one other area of expertise relevant to ocean exploration, such as seafloor mapping. The new OEAB member will serve an initial three-year term, renewable once. The purpose of the OEAB is to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere on matters pertaining to ocean exploration including: The identification of priority areas that warrant exploration; the development and enhancement of technologies for exploring the oceans; managing the data and information; and disseminating the results. The OEAB also provides advice on the relevance of the program with regard to the NOAA Strategic Plan, the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan, and other appropriate guidance documents.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; Cost Recovery Programs
NMFS publishes standard prices and fee percentages for cost recovery for the Amendment 80 Program, the American Fisheries Act (AFA) Program, the Aleutian Islands Pollock (AIP) Program, and the Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) groundfish and halibut Programs. The fee percentage for 2016 is 0.37 percent for the Amendment 80 Program, 0.10 percent for the AFA inshore cooperatives, 0.10 percent for the AFA catcher/processor sector, 0.17 percent for the AFA mothership cooperative, 0 percent for the AIP program, and 0.29 percent for the CDQ groundfish and halibut Programs. This action is intended to provide the 2016 standard prices and fee percentages to calculate the required payment for cost recovery fees due by December 31, 2016.
Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; 2016 Recreational Accountability Measure and Closure for South Atlantic Greater Amberjack
NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for the recreational sector of greater amberjack in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic for the current fishing year through this temporary rule. NMFS estimates that recreational landings have reached the recreational annual catch limit (ACL) for greater amberjack in the South Atlantic. Therefore, NMFS closes the recreational sector for greater amberjack in the South Atlantic exclusive economic zone (EEZ) through the remainder of the current fishing year (see DATES). This closure is necessary to protect the greater amberjack resource in the South Atlantic.
Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; 2016 Recreational Closure for Hogfish in the South Atlantic
NMFS implements an accountability measure (AM) for the hogfish recreational sector in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic for the 2016 fishing year through this temporary rule. NMFS estimates recreational landings from the 2016 fishing year have reached the recreational annual catch limit (ACL) for hogfish. Therefore, NMFS closes the recreational sector for hogfish in the South Atlantic EEZ on November 30, 2016, through the remainder of the 2016 fishing year. This closure is necessary to protect the hogfish resource in the South Atlantic.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold public meetings of the Council and its Committees.
Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Caribbean Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold its 158th meeting.
Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Puerto Rico Fishers Spiny Lobster Data Collection Initiative will meet in December in St. Thomas, USVI.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Waterfront Improvement Projects
In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to the U.S. Department of the Navy (Navy) to incidentally harass, by Level A and Level B harassment, marine mammals during construction activities associated with a waterfront improvement project at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (Shipyard) in Kittery, Maine.
Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee
This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of a forthcoming meeting of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC). The members will discuss and provide advice on the NOAA Fisheries Draft National Bycatch Reduction Strategy.
Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; 2016 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits for the Territory of Guam
NMFS announces a valid specified fishing agreement that allocates 1,000 mt of the 2016 bigeye tuna limit for the Territory of Guam to U.S. longline fishing vessels. The agreement supports the long- term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands, and fisheries development in Guam.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Application for an Exempted Fishing Permit
This notice announces receipt of an exempted fishing permit (EFP) application from the Alaska Seafood Cooperative (AKSC). If granted, this permit would allow up to ten vessels to participate in the EFPup to five AKSC-member Amendment 80 vessels would be allowed to conduct experimental fishing in two subareas of the Bering Sea that are closed to fishing with trawl gear, and five additional AKSC-member Amendment 80 vessels would conduct experimental fishing adjacent to the closed areas. Under the permit, experimental fishing with non-pelagic trawl gear would be authorized in Reporting Area 516 of Zone 1 that is otherwise closed to all trawl gear and the Red King Crab Savings Area (RKCSA) that is otherwise closed to non-pelagic trawl gear. The AKSC would collect data on crab prohibited species catch (PSC) rates during commercial groundfish fishing operations inside the Area 516 seasonal closure, the RKCSA, and adjacent areas that are currently open to non- pelagic trawling. The objective of the EFP is to evaluate PSC rates and overall catch of target species in the above-mentioned closed areas compared with the areas currently open to fishing with trawl gear. This experiment has the potential to promote the objectives of the Magnuson- Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request
Fisheries off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Fisheries; California Drift Gillnet Fishery; Protected Species Hard Caps for the California/Oregon Large-Mesh Drift Gillnet Fishery; Extension of Public Comment Period
On October 13, 2016, NMFS published a proposed rule to establish protected species hard caps for the California/Oregon large- mesh drift gillnet fishery, with comments due by November 28, 2016. However, in response to a request to extend the public comment period, NMFS has decided to extend the public comment period by an additional 30 calendar days.
Revisions to Framework Adjustment 55 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan
We are reducing the 2016 fishing year Georges Bank haddock catch cap for the herring midwater trawl fishery. The reduction in the 2016 midwater trawl catch cap is necessary to account for an overage that occurred in fishing year 2015. This reduction is formulaic and is required as an accountability measure to help mitigate the 2015 overage.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery; Proposed 2017-2018 Fishing Quotas
NMFS proposes status quo commercial quotas for the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries for 2017 and projected status quo quotas for 2018. This action is necessary to establish allowable harvest levels of Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs that will prevent overfishing and allow harvesting of optimum yield. This action would also continue to suspend the minimum shell size for Atlantic surfclams for the 2017 fishing year. It is expected that the industry and dealers will benefit from the proposed status quo quotas, as they will be able to maintain a consistent market.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Hogfish Management Measures
NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in Amendment 43 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf)(FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council)(Amendment 43). This proposed rule would revise the geographic range of the fishery management unit (FMU) for Gulf hogfish (the West Florida stock) consistent with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (South Atlantic Council) proposed boundary between the Florida Keys/East Florida and West Florida stocks, set the annual catch limit (ACL) for the West Florida stock, increase the minimum size limit for the proposed West Florida stock, and remove the powerhead exception for harvest of hogfish in the Gulf reef fish stressed area. This proposed rule would also correct a reference in the regulatory definition for charter vessel. The purpose of this proposed rule is to manage hogfish using the best scientific information available.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Removal of Vessel Upgrade Restrictions for Swordfish Directed Limited Access and Atlantic Tunas Longline Category Permits
This final rule removes 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 a Highly Migratory Species (HMS) LAP). This final rule eliminates these restrictions on upgrades and permit transfers. This action affects 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.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; 2017 Atlantic Shark Commercial Fishing Season
This final rule establishes the opening date for all Atlantic shark fisheries, including the fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. This final rule also establishes the quotas for the 2017 fishing season based on over- and/or underharvests experienced during 2016 and previous fishing seasons. The large coastal shark (LCS) retention limit for directed shark limited access permit holders will start at 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per trip in the Gulf of Mexico region and at 25 LCS other than sandbar sharks per trip in the Atlantic region. These retention limits for directed shark limited access permit holders may decrease or increase during the year after considering the specified inseason action regulatory criteria to provide, to the extent practicable, equitable fishing opportunities for commercial shark fishermen in all regions and areas. These actions could affect fishing opportunities for commercial shark fishermen in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan; Commercial Sablefish Fishing Regulations and Electronic Fish Tickets
This final rule revises fishery monitoring and equipment requirements for all commercial groundfish fisheries. In particular, it establishes a requirement for submitting electronic fish tickets (EFT) in the limited entry fixed gear fisheries and open access fisheries. This final rule also: revises administrative procedures for limited entry permits, providing greater flexibility and efficiencies for limited entry groundfish fishery participants; requires vessels registered to Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) to make an initial declaration report; and makes administrative changes and clarifying edits to improve consistency of the regulations with past Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) actions and with the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). This action improves monitoring and administration of the limited entry sablefish primary fishery, and addresses unforeseen issues arising out of the evolution of commercial sablefish fisheries and subsequent regulations.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; American Fisheries Act; Amendment 113
NMFS issues this final rule to implement Amendment 113 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). This final rule modifies the management of Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Pacific cod fishery to set aside a portion of the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod total allowable catch for harvest by vessels directed fishing for Aleutian Islands Pacific cod and delivering their catch for processing to a shoreside processor located on land west of 170[deg] W. longitude in the Aleutian Islands (``Aleutian Islands shoreplant''). The harvest set-aside applies only if specific notification and performance requirements are met, and only during the first few months of the fishing year. This harvest set-aside provides the opportunity for vessels, Aleutian Islands shoreplants, and the communities where Aleutian Islands shoreplants are located to receive benefits from a portion of the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod fishery. The notification and performance requirements preserve an opportunity for the complete harvest of the BSAI Pacific cod resource if the set-aside is not fully harvested. This final rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of Amendment 113, the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and other applicable laws.
Resource Agency Hearings and Alternatives Development Procedures in Hydropower Licenses
The Departments of Agriculture, the Interior, and Commerce are jointly issuing final rules for procedures for expedited trial-type hearings and the consideration of alternative conditions and fishway prescriptions required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The hearings are conducted to expeditiously resolve disputed issues of material fact with respect to conditions or prescriptions developed for inclusion in a hydropower license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the Federal Power Act. The final rules make no changes to existing regulations that have been in place since the revised interim rules were published on March 31, 2015, and took effect on April 30, 2015. At the time of publication of the revised interim rules, the Departments also requested public comments on additional ways the rules could be improved. The Departments now respond to the public comments received on the revised interim rules by providing analysis and clarifications in the preamble. The Departments have determined that no revisions to existing regulations are warranted at this time.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish Fishery; Quota Transfer
NMFS announces its approval of a transfer of 2016 commercial bluefish quota from the State of Maine to the State of Rhode Island. The approval of the transfer complies with the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan quota transfer provision. This announcement also informs the public of the revised commercial quotas for Maine and Rhode Island.
Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; 2016 Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Bigeye Tuna Fishery; Closure
NMFS is closing the U.S. pelagic longline fishery for bigeye tuna in the western and central Pacific Ocean because the fishery will reach the 2016 allocation limit for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This action is necessary to comply with regulations managing this fish stock.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2016 Gulf of Alaska Pollock Seasonal Apportionments
NMFS is adjusting the 2016 D seasonal apportionments of the total allowable catch (TAC) for pollock in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) by re-apportioning unharvested pollock TAC in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630 of the GOA. This action is necessary to provide opportunity for harvest of the 2016 pollock TAC, consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.
Marine Mammals; File No. 18016
Notice is hereby given that Tamara McGuire, LGL Alaska Research Associates, Inc., 2000 W International Airport Rd, Suite C1, Anchorage, AK 99502, has applied for an amendment to Scientific Research Permit No. 18016.
Endangered Species; File No. 19621
Notice is hereby given that Michael Arendt, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division, 217 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, SC 29412, has requested a modification to scientific research Permit No. 19621.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council), Atlantic Herring Committee, Atlantic Herring Advisory Panel and Atlantic Herring Plan Development Team is scheduling a public workshop on the Atlantic Herring Acceptable Biological Catch Control Rule Management Strategy Evaluation to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate.
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold public meetings and scoping sessions to discuss fishery management regulations for the Monument Expanded Area in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic; Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR); Stock Identification (ID) Webinar for Gray Snapper
The SEDAR 51 assessment of the Gray Snapper will consist of a data workshop, a review workshop, and a series of assessment Webinars,
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Shark Management Measures; 2017 Research Fishery
NMFS announces its request for applications for the 2017 shark research fishery from commercial shark fishermen with directed or incidental shark limited access permits. The shark research fishery allows for the collection of fishery-dependent and biological data for future stock assessments and to meet the research objectives of the Agency. The only commercial vessels authorized to land sandbar sharks are those participating in the shark research fishery. Shark research fishery permittees may also land other large coastal sharks (LCS), small coastal sharks (SCS), smoothhound sharks, and pelagic sharks. Commercial shark fishermen who are interested in participating in the shark research fishery need to submit a completed Shark Research Fishery Permit Application in order to be considered.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the U.S. Air Force Conducting Maritime Weapon Systems Evaluation Program Operational Testing Within the Eglin Gulf Test and Training Range
NMFS (hereinafter, ``we'') received an application from the U.S. Department of the Air Force, Headquarters 96th Air Base Wing (Air Force), Eglin Air Force Base (Eglin AFB), requesting an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA or Authorization) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to a Maritime Weapon Systems Evaluation Program (Maritime WSEP) within a section of the Eglin Gulf Test and Training Range in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Eglin AFB's Maritime WSEP activities are military readiness activities per the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004 (NDAA). Per the MMPA, NMFS requests comments on its proposal to issue an Authorization to Eglin AFB to incidentally take, by Level B and Level A harassment, two species of marine mammals, the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis), during the specified activity.
Marine Mammals; File No. 20443
Notice is hereby given that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, PO Box 115526, Juneau, AK 99811-5526 [Responsible Party: Robert Small, Ph.D.], has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on marine mammals.
Marine Mammals and Endangered Species; File Nos. 13927, 16553, and 20532
Notice is hereby given that permits or permit amendments have been issued to the following entities:
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; 2016 Management Area 1B Directed Fishery Closure
NMFS is closing the directed herring fishery in management Area 1B, limiting catch from that area to 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) per trip and prohibiting landing more than once per calendar day, because it projects that 92 percent of the 2016 annual seasonal catch limit for that area will have been caught by the effective date. This action is necessary to comply with the regulations implementing the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan and is intended to prevent over harvest of herring in Area 1B.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Georges Bank Cod Trimester Total Allowable Catch Area Closure and Possession and Trip Limit Reductions for the Common Pool Fishery
This action closes the Georges Bank Cod Trimester Total Allowable Catch Area to Northeast multispecies common pool vessels and adjusts the Georges Bank cod possession and trip limit for common pool vessels for the remainder of Trimester 2, through December 31, 2016. The common pool fishery is projected to catch 90 percent of its Trimester 2 quota for Georges Bank cod. The closure and possession and trip limit reductions are intended to prevent an overage of the common pool's quota for this stock.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Determination on Whether To List the Harbor Seals in Iliamna Lake, Alaska as a Threatened or Endangered Species
We, NMFS, have completed our review of the status of eastern North Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) in Iliamna Lake, Alaska. Our review was in response to a petition to list these seals as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, we conclude that the seals in Iliamna Lake do not constitute a species, subspecies, or distinct population segment (DPS) under the ESA. As a result, we conclude that listing the harbor seals in Iliamna Lake, Alaska is not warranted.
Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request
Revised National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) publishes this notice to request comments on its draft Companion Manual to NOAA Administrative Order NAO 216-6A (``Companion Manual'') containing policy and procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related authorities. Included in the Companion Manual are NOAA's proposed revised categorical exclusions (CE) and related extraordinary circumstances. Pursuant to Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, NOAA is soliciting comments on its proposed procedures from members of the interested public. Additionally, in this notice, NOAA is providing a synopsis of the proposed changes to NOAA's CEs to assist the public in reviewing those changes.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is opening directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher/ processors using pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI). This action is necessary to fully use the 2016 total allowable catch of Pacific cod allocated to catcher/processors using pot gear in the BSAI.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and its advisory committees will meet December 6 through December 14, 2016 in Anchorage, AK.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Meeting of the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel
NMFS will hold a 2-day Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Advisory Panel (AP) meeting in December 2016. The intent of the meeting is to consider options for the conservation and management of Atlantic HMS, specifically Amendment 5b to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic HMS Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The meeting is open to the public.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Exempted Fishing, Scientific Research, Display, Shark Research Fishery, and Chartering Permits; Letters of Acknowledgment
NMFS announces its intent to issue exempted fishing permits (EFPs), scientific research permits (SRPs), display permits, letters of acknowledgment (LOAs), shark research fishery permits, and chartering permits for Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) in 2017. EFPs and related permits would authorize collection of a limited number of tunas, swordfish, billfishes, and sharks (collectively known as HMS) from Federal waters in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico for the purposes of scientific data collection, bycatch research, public display, and to evaluate the efficacy of environmental clean-up efforts, among other things. LOAs acknowledge that scientific research activity aboard a scientific research vessel is being conducted. Chartering permits allow the owner of a U.S. fishing vessel to fish under a chartering arrangement, which is a contract or agreement between a U.S. vessel owner and a foreign entity by which the control, use, or services of a vessel are secured for a period of time for fishing for Atlantic HMS on the high seas or in the Exclusive Economic Zone of other nations. Generally, EFPs and related permits would be valid from the date of issuance through December 31, 2017, unless otherwise specified, subject to the terms and conditions of individual permits.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Large Pelagic Fishing Survey
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.
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Elliot Bay Seawall Project in Seattle, Washington
In accordance with regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, notification is hereby given that a Letter of Authorization (LOA) has been issued to the City of Seattle's Department of Transportation (SDOT) for the take of eight species of marine mammals incidental to pile driving activities associated with the Elliot Bay Seawall Project (EBSP).
Protective Regulations for Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act; Reopening of Public Comment Period
We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), are reopening the public comment period on the proposed rule under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to prohibit swimming with and approaching a Hawaiian spinner dolphin within 50 yards (45.7 m) (for persons, vessels, and objects), including approach by interception. The comment period for the proposed rule that published on August 24, 2016 (81 FR 57854) closed on October 23, 2016. NMFS is reopening the public comment period for an additional 15 days to provide the public with additional time to submit information and to comment on this proposed rule.