Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries
NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily retention limit that applies to vessels permitted in the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally for BFT) should be adjusted for the remainder of 2017, based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. NMFS is adjusting the Angling category BFT daily retention limit to two school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for private vessels (i.e., those with HMS Angling category permits); and three school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for charter vessels (i.e., those with HMS Charter/Headboat permits when fishing recreationally). These retention limits are effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS prohibits targeted fishing for BFT.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; West Coast Salmon Fisheries; 2017 Management Measures and a Temporary Rule
Through this final rule, NMFS establishes fishery management measures for the 2017 ocean salmon fisheries off Washington, Oregon, and California and the 2018 salmon seasons opening earlier than May 1, 2018. The temporary rule for emergency action (emergency rule), under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), implements the 2017 annual management measures for the West Coast ocean salmon fisheries for the area from the U.S./Canada border to Cape Falcon, OR, from May 1, 2017, through October 28, 2018. The emergency rule is required because allocation of coho harvest between recreational and commercial fisheries will not be consistent with the allocation schedule specified in the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan (FMP) in order to limit fishery impacts on Queets coho and meet conservation and management objectives. The fishery management measures for the area from Cape Falcon, OR, to the U.S./Mexico border are consistent with the FMP and are implemented through a final rule. Specific fishery management measures vary by fishery and by area. The measures establish fishing areas, seasons, quotas, legal gear, recreational fishing days and catch limits, possession and landing restrictions, and minimum lengths for salmon taken in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) (3-200 NM) off Washington, Oregon, and California. The management measures are intended to prevent overfishing and to apportion the ocean harvest equitably among treaty Indian, non- treaty commercial, and recreational fisheries. The measures are also intended to allow a portion of the salmon runs to escape the ocean fisheries in order to provide for spawning escapement and inside fisheries (fisheries occurring in state internal waters).
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; 2017 and 2018 Sector Operations Plans and 2017 Allocation of Northeast Multispecies Annual Catch Entitlements
We have approved sector operations plans for fishing years 2017 and 2018, granting regulatory exemptions for fishing years 2017 and 2018, and providing Northeast multispecies annual catch entitlements to approved sectors for fishing year 2017. Approval of sector operations plans is necessary to allocate annual catch entitlements to the sectors and for the sectors to operate. The Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan allows limited access permit holders to form sectors, and requires sectors to submit their operations plans and contracts to us, NMFS, for approval or disapproval. This interim final rule approves sector operations plans, grants regulatory exemptions for sectors, and provides preliminary allocations of annual catch entitlements to sectors for the start of the 2017 fishing year. Changes to exemptions and updates to sector annual catch entitlements may be considered in subsequent rulemakings.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill; Notice of Intent To Conduct Strategic Restoration Planning That Considers Existing Projects for Barataria Bay, Louisiana and To Initiate Restoration Planning With Regard to the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion
NOAA, on behalf of the Federal and state natural resource trustees for the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (Louisiana TIG Trustees) for the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill, is initiating two actions with this notice. First, the Louisiana TIG Trustees are announcing their intent to prepare a Strategic Restoration Plan for Barataria Basin, Louisiana, pursuant to the Deepwater Horizon Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PDARP/PEIS) (Feb 2016). This Barataria Basin Strategic Restoration Plan, referred to herein as the Phase I Plan, will consider identifying habitat restoration components of the Louisiana Draft 2017 Coastal Master Plan (draft 2017 CMP) to serve as an Oil Pollution Act (OPA) Strategic Restoration Plan for restoring wetland, coastal, and nearshore habitat in Barataria Basin, Louisiana, consistent with OPA and with the Trustees' PDARP/PEIS. The Louisiana TIG Trustees will consider whether a combination of Barataria Basin habitat restoration projects in the draft 2017 CMP constitutes a preferred alternative, among other feasible alternatives, for fulfilling OPA's and the PDARP/ PEIS's intent for the trustees to address ecosystem-level injuries and to restore, rehabilitate, replace, or acquire the equivalent of the injured wetland, coastal and nearshore habitat resources and services and compensate for interim losses of those resources from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Any projects or suites of projects that are ultimately included in the resulting Strategic Restoration Plan will be further analyzed in subsequent phased restoration plans and their accompanying environmental impact analyses as required by OPA, NEPA, and the Trustees' PDARP/PEIS. Second, the Louisiana TIG Trustees are providing notice of the initiation of restoration planning, including analysis of the Mid- Barataria Sediment Diversion and appropriate alternatives to partially restore ecosystem and wetland, coastal and nearshore habitat resources and services in Barataria Basin, and compensate for interim losses of those resources and services, injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This potential Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Restoration Plan is referred to herein as the Phase 2 Plan. The Louisiana TIG Trustees are evaluating whether the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is an appropriate project for restoring injuries from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and the Louisiana TIG Trustees anticipate that their decision in that regard will be informed by the results of the Phase 1 Plan. Further, by separate Supplemental Notice of Intent, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is announcing its intent, as part of its review under section 404 of the Clean Water Act, section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (``Section 10/404''), and section 408 of the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899, as amended (``Section 408''), to prepare a draft Environmental Impact Statement (``EIS'') pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). USACE will use the EIS, in conjunction with other relevant materials, to inform decision-making on the Department of the Army, section 10/404 and section 408 requests for permits and permissions for the Mid- Barataria Sediment Diversion. In order to capitalize on that ongoing environmental review, the Louisiana TIG Trustees are, at this time, requesting input on the scope of the USACE EIS via the process outlined in the coordinated USACE NOI. The LA TIG is supporting the development of the USACE EIS with the potential for the EIS to serve as the EIS for the Phase 2 Restoration Plan. The Louisiana TIG Trustees will additionally seek formal public involvement in the Phase 2 Draft Restoration Plan process in accordance with applicable Federal regulations and consistent with the PDARP/PEIS.