Availability of Final Evaluation Findings of State Coastal Programs and National Estuarine Research Reserves
Notice is hereby given of the availability of final evaluation findings of state coastal programs and national estuarine research reserves. The NOAA Office for Coastal Management has completed review of the Coastal Zone Management Program evaluations for the states of New York, New Hampshire, Washington, and Maine. The states were found to be implementing and enforcing their federally approved Coastal Zone Management Programs, addressing the national coastal management objectives identified in CZMA Section 303(2)(A)-(K), and adhering to the programmatic terms of their financial assistance awards. The NOAA Office for Coastal Management has completed review of the National Estuarine Research Reserve evaluations for South Slough, Jacques Cousteau, Wells, and Narragansett Bay. The reserves were found to be adhering to programmatic requirements of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Copies of these final evaluation findings may be downloaded at http://coast.noaa.gov/czm/evaluations/ evaluation_findings/index.html or by submitting a written request to the person identified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
Evaluation of National Estuarine Research Reserve
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office for Coastal Management will hold a public meeting to solicit comments for the performance evaluation of the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 44
NMFS announces the approval of Amendment 44 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP) as submitted by the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Fishery Management Council (Council). Amendment 44 revises minimum stock size thresholds (MSST) for seven stocks in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish fishery management unit. The MSST is revised for the gag, red grouper, red snapper, vermilion snapper, gray triggerfish, greater amberjack, and hogfish stocks. The need for Amendment 44 is to provide a sufficient buffer between spawning stock biomass at maximum sustainable yield (BMSY) and MSST to reduce the likelihood that stock status changes frequently between overfished and not overfished as a result of scientific uncertainty or natural fluctuations in biomass levels.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Modifications to Greater Amberjack Allowable Harvest and Rebuilding Plan
NMFS issues regulations to implement management measures described in a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). This final rule revises the commercial and recreational annual catch limits (ACLs) and annual catch targets (ACTs), and modifies the recreational fixed closed season for greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The purpose of this final rule and the framework action is to adjust the rebuilding time period and to revise the sector ACLs and ACTs consistent with updated stock status information to end overfishing and rebuild the greater amberjack stock in the Gulf.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Individual Bluefin Quota Program; Accountability for Bluefin Tuna Catch
NMFS modifies the Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) regulations to require vessels in the pelagic longline fishery to account for bycatch of bluefin tuna (bluefin) using Individual Bluefin Quota (IBQ) on a quarterly basis instead of on a trip-level basis. Previously, vessel owners had to account for quota debt or IBQ balances less than the minimum required before commencing any fishing trip with pelagic longline gear. With this rulemaking, vessels may fish during a given calendar quarter if they have an IBQ balance below the minimum amount required to depart on a fishing trip or with quota debt incurred by exceeding their IBQ balance; however, vessels are required to reconcile quota debt and satisfy the minimum IBQ requirement prior to departing on their first pelagic longline fishing trip in each calendar quarter. The action optimizes fishing opportunity in the directed pelagic longline fishery for target species such as tuna and swordfish and improves the functionality of the IBQ Program and its accounting provisions, consistent with the objectives of Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan (FMP).
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to a Pile Driving Activities for Waterfront Repairs at the U.S. Coast Guard Station Monterey, Monterey, California
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. Coast Guard (USCG) to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment only, marine mammals during pile driving activities associated with waterfront repairs at the USCG Monterey Station in Monterey, California.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting
The Northeast Trawl Advisory Panel (NTAP) of the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils (Councils) will hold a meeting.