Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Application for an Exempted Fishing Permit
This notice announces receipt of an application from the Alaska Seafood Cooperative and co-applicants to renew exempted fishing permit (EFP) 2016-01 as modified on January 10, 2017. NMFS announced receipt of the application for EFP 2016-01 on January 25, 2016. NMFS issued EFP 2016-01 on May 6, 2016, and modified the EFP on January 10, 2017. If granted, this renewal would extend the expiration date of modified EFP 2016-01 from April 30, 2017, to December 31, 2017. The objective of EFP 2016-01 is to allow the applicants to remove halibut from a trawl codend on the deck, and release those halibut back to the water in a timely manner to increase survivability. Under the EFP, halibut are sampled by NMFS-trained observers for length and physical condition using standard International Pacific Halibut Commission halibut mortality assessment methods. The objectives of EFP 2016-01 are to (1) test methods for sorting halibut on deck for suitability as an allowable fish handling mode for the non-pollock catcher/processor trawl fisheries (Amendment 80, community development quota, and trawl limited access) in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands under an eventual regulated program; and (2) simplify and improve on elements that worked under a 2015 deck sorting EFP project. This experiment has the potential to promote the objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982.
Fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic; Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR); Pre-Workshop Webinar for Southeastern U.S. Black Grouper; Public Meeting
The SEDAR 48 assessment process of Southeastern U.S. black grouper will consist of a Data Workshop, an Assessment Workshop and a series of assessment webinars, and a Review Workshop. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
Endangered Species; File Nos. 19641, 17861, 20314, 20340, 20347, 20351, 20528, 20548, and 20651
Notice is hereby given that nine applicants have applied in due form for permits to take Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus) and shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) for purposes of scientific research.
Marine Mammals; File No. 20294
Notice is hereby given that Robert DiGiovanni, Jr., 6 Wakefield Rd. Hampton Bays, New York 11946, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) and 44 other protected marine mammal and sea turtle species.
Pacific Island Fisheries; 2016 Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures
NMFS proposes annual catch limits (ACLs) for Pacific Island bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem fisheries, and accountability measures (AMs) to correct or mitigate any overages of catch limits. The proposed ACLs and AMs would be effective for fishing year 2016. The fishing year for each fishery begins on January 1 and ends on December 31, except for precious coral fisheries, which begin July 1 and end on June 30 the following year. Although the 2016 fishing year has ended for most stocks, we will evaluate 2016 catches against these proposed ACLs when data become available in mid- 2017. The proposed ACLs and AMs support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region; Amendment 36
NMFS proposes regulations to implement Amendment 36 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). If implemented, this proposed rule would modify the FMP framework procedures to allow spawning special management zones (SMZs) to be established or modified through the framework process; establish spawning SMZs off North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida; establish transit and anchoring provisions in the spawning SMZs; and establish a sunset provision for most of the spawning SMZs. This proposed rule would also move the boundary of the existing Charleston Deep Artificial Reef Marine Protected Area (MPA). The purpose of this proposed rule is to protect spawning snapper- grouper species and their spawning habitat, and to reduce bycatch and bycatch mortality for snapper-grouper species, including speckled hind and warsaw grouper.
Coral Reef Conservation Program
Notice is hereby given of a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF). The meeting will be held Thursday, February 23, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Washington, DC, at the U.S. Department of Interior, 1925 Constitution Avenue NW., 20006. The meeting provides a forum for coordinated planning and action among federal agencies, state and territorial governments, and nongovernmental partners. Registration is requested for all events associated with the meeting. This meeting has time allotted for public comment. All public comments must be submitted in written format. A written summary of the meeting will be posted on the USCRTF Web site within two months of occurrence. For information about the meeting, registering and submitting public comments, go to http://www.coralreef.gov. Commenters may address the meeting, the role of the USCRTF, or general coral reef conservation issues. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment, including personal identifying information may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Established by Presidential Executive Order 13089 in 1998, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force mission is to lead, coordinate and strengthen U.S. government actions to better preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. Co-chaired by the Departments of Commerce and Interior, Task Force members include leaders of 12 federal agencies, seven U.S. states and territories and three freely associated states.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska; Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program
NMFS publishes the standard ex-vessel prices and fee percentage for cost recovery under the Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program. This action is intended to provide participants in a rockfish cooperative with the standard prices and fee percentage for the 2016 fishing year, which was authorized from May 1 through November 15. The fee percentage is 2.54 percent. The fee payments are due from each rockfish cooperative on or before February 15, 2017.
International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; 2017 and 2018 Commercial Fishing Restrictions for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is proposing regulations under the Tuna Conventions Act to implement Resolution C- 16-08 (Measures for the Conservation and Management of Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean). This Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) Resolution establishes annual and trip catch limits on commercial catch of Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) in waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) for 2017 and 2018. This action is necessary for the United States to satisfy its obligations as a member of the IATTC.
Pacific Island Fisheries; 2016-17 Annual Catch Limit and Accountability Measures; Main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 Bottomfish
In this final rule, NMFS specifies an annual catch limit (ACL) of 318,000 lb of Deep 7 bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) for the 2016-17 fishing year. As an accountability measure (AM), if the ACL is projected to be reached, NMFS would close the commercial and non-commercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish for the remainder of the fishing year. The ACL and AM support the long-term sustainability of Hawaii bottomfish.