Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries
NMFS is adjusting the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) Purse Seine and Reserve category quotas for 2017, as it does annually. NMFS is also transferring inseason 45 metric tons (mt) of BFT quota from the Reserve category to the Longline category. This action is based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. NMFS has decided that the transfer to the Longline category will be distributed to permitted Atlantic Tunas Longline vessels with recent fishing activity, rather than to all qualified Individual Bluefin Quota (IBQ) shares recipients. As a result of this transfer, the associated IBQ accounts will each receive 1,102 lb (0.5 mt) of IBQ.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Exempted Fishing Permits
On November 16, 2016, NMFS published a Notice of Intent (NOI) announcing our intent to issue exempted fishing permits (EFPs), scientific research permits (SRPs), letters of acknowledgement (LOAs), and display permits for research regarding highly migratory species (HMS) in 2017. In the NOI, NMFS requested comments regarding the issuance of EFPs and LOAs for HMS research. In general, EFPs and related permits would authorize collection of a limited number of tunas, swordfish, billfishes, and sharks from Federal waters in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico for the purposes of scientific data collection and public display. Comments were accepted on the NOI until December 16, 2016, and many of the comments received were related to white shark research and the need to provide additional opportunity for public review of such research before permits are issued. In this notice, NMFS summarizes public comments received on the initial NOI, and announces the receipt of applications for permits under the EFP program to conduct research on white sharks during 2017. NMFS invites additional public comment on these requests.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Seabird and Shorebird Monitoring and Research at the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Massachusetts
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 Eastern Massachusetts (MA) National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment only, marine mammals during seabird and shorebird monitoring and other research activities in the Eastern MA NWR Complex (Complex).