Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the U.S. Air Force 86 Fighter Weapons Squadron Conducting Long Range Strike Weapons System Evaluation Program at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii
Upon application from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) 86 Fighter Weapons Squadron (hereinafter referred to as 86 FWS), NMFS is issuing regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) for the taking of marine mammals incidental to Long Range Strike (LRS) Weapons System Evaluation Program (WSEP) exercises on the Barking Sands Underwater Range Expansion (BSURE) of the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) off Kauai, Hawaii. These regulations allow NMFS to issue a Letter of Authorization (LOA) for the incidental take of marine mammals during the USAF 86 FWS's specified activities carried out during the rule's period of effectiveness, set forth the permissible methods of taking, set forth other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, and set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of the incidental take. The specific activities are classified as military readiness activities.
Notification of Receipt of a Petition To Ban Imports of All Fish and Fish Products From Mexico That Do Not Satisfy the Marine Mammal Protection Act Provisions
NMFS announces receipt of a petition for emergency rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act. Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Animal Welfare Institute petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce and other relevant Departments to initiate emergency rulemaking under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (``MMPA''), to ban importation of commercial fish or products from fish that have been caught with commercial fishing technology that results in incidental mortality or serious injury of vaquita in excess of United States standards.
Marine Mammals and Endangered Species
Notice is hereby given that permits or permit amendments have been issued to the following entities under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as applicable.
Fish and Fish Product Import Provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act List of Foreign Fisheries
NMFS is publishing its draft List of Foreign Fisheries (LOFF) for 2017, as required by the regulations implementing the Fish and Fish Product Import Provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The draft LOFF reflects available information on marine mammal interactions in commercial fisheries exporting fish and fish products to the United States. NMFS has classified each commercial fishery included in the draft LOFF into one of two categories based upon frequency and likelihood of incidental mortality and serious injury of marine mammals that is likely to occur incidental to each fishery. Fisheries are classified as either exempt or export. The classification of a fishery on the draft and final LOFF will determine which regulatory requirements will be applicable to that fishery to enable the nation to receive a comparability finding necessary to export fish and fish products to the United States from that particular fishery. The draft LOFF can be found at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ia/species/ marine_mammals/mmpaloff.html.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 17B
The Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 17B to the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico U.S. Waters (FMP), for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 17B includes actions to define the aggregate maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and aggregate optimum yield (OY) for the Gulf shrimp fishery, determine a minimum number of Federal commercial vessel moratorium permits in the fishery, would allow for the creation of a Federal Gulf shrimp reserve pool permit when certain conditions are met, and would allow for non- federally permitted shrimping vessels to transit through the Gulf exclusive economic zone (EEZ) with shrimp on board the vessel. The purpose of Amendment 17B is to protect federally managed Gulf shrimp stocks while maintaining catch efficiency, economic efficiency, and stability in the fishery.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; American Fisheries Act; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program
NMFS issues a proposed rule to implement Amendment 48 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP) and a regulatory amendment to revise regulations implementing the American Fisheries Act (AFA) Program and the Crab Rationalization (CR) Program. This proposed rule would revise how NMFS determines the amount of limited access privileges held and used by groups in the Western Alaska Community Development Quota Program (CDQ Program) for the purposes of managing the excessive share limits under the AFA Program and the CR Program. This proposed rule is necessary to align regulations and the Crab FMP to be consistent with an amendment to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) and NMFS' current method of managing excessive share limits for CDQ groups in the AFA Program and the CR Program. This proposed rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Crab FMP, and other applicable law.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; 2018 Atlantic Shark Commercial Fishing Season
This proposed rule would establish quotas, opening dates, and retention limits for the 2018 fishing season for the Atlantic commercial shark fisheries. Quotas would be adjusted as required or allowable based on any over- and/or underharvests experienced during 2017 and previous fishing seasons. In addition, NMFS proposes season opening dates and commercial retention limits based on adaptive management measures to provide, to the extent practicable, fishing opportunities for commercial shark fishermen in all regions and areas. The proposed measures could affect fishing opportunities for commercial shark fishermen in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.