Fisheries Off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Fisheries; Amendment 4 to Fishery Management Plan for West Coast Highly Migratory Species Fisheries; Revisions to the Biennial Management Cycle
Based on a recommendation from the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) NMFS is proposing to revise regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) to implement Amendment 4 to the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory Species (HMS FMP). The intent of Amendment 4 is to bring descriptions of the management context for HMS fisheries up to date, to better describe the Council's role in the process of making stock status determinations for highly migratory species (HMS), including the Council's evaluations of the best scientific information available (BSIA), and to change the schedule of the Council's three- meeting biennial management cycle for HMS stocks. Consistent with Amendment 4, this proposed rule would update and amend the descriptions of biennial management cycle activities in the regulations for the HMS FMP to allow the Council to shift the schedule of Council meetings for the consideration of HMS management actions from June, September, and November to September, November, and March. The changes proposed to biennial management cycle activities and the schedule are intended to better streamline international and domestic management processes for HMS. Amendment 4 and this proposed rule are administrative in nature and are not expected to affect activities authorized under the FMP or harvest levels of HMS.
Requirements of the Vessel Monitoring System Type-Approval; Reopening of Public Comment Period
The National Marine Fisheries Service is reopening the public comment period on the proposed rule on requirements of the Vessel Monitoring System Type-Approval that published on December 5, 2017. The comment period ended on January 4, 2018. NMFS did not receive any comments on the original proposed rule and has decided to re-open the comment period for 30 days to provide additional opportunity for informed public comment.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2018 and 2019 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish
NMFS announces final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications, apportionments, and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2018 and 2019 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List Chinook Salmon in the Upper Klamath-Trinity Rivers Basin as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act
We, NMFS, announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list as threatened or endangered the Upper Klamath-Trinity Rivers (UKTR) Chinook salmon Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU) (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) or, alternatively, create a new ESU to describe Klamath Spring Chinook salmon and list the new ESU as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The petition also requests that we designate critical habitat concurrently with the listing. We find that the petition presents substantial scientific information indicating the petitioned actions may be warranted. We will conduct a status review of the Chinook salmon in the UKTR Basin to determine if the petitioned actions are warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial information pertaining to this species from any interested party.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Groundfish Fishery; Fishing Year 2017; Extension of Emergency Removal of Southern Windowpane Accountability Measures
This rule extends the emergency action to remove the 2017 southern windowpane flounder accountability measures (AM) for non- groundfish trawl vessels. The rule is necessary because the emergency measures would otherwise expire before the end of the 2017 fishing year. This rule is intended to mitigate negative economic impacts to non-groundfish vessels, while maintaining conservation benefits for the southern windowpane flounder stock.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Cook Inlet Pipeline Cross Inlet Extension Project
NMFS has received a request from Harvest Alaska, LLC (Harvest), a subsidiary of Hilcorp, for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to installing two pipelines in Cook Inlet. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS will consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the issuance of the requested MMPA authorizations and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of our decision.
Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Permits for Incidental Taking of Endangered or Threatened Species
The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.
Marine Mammals; File No. 21966
Notice is hereby given that Mystic Aquarium, 55 Coogan Boulevard, Mystic, CT 06355 (Responsible Party: Katie Cubina), has applied in due form for a permit to collect, receive, import, and export marine mammal parts for scientific research.
Marine Mammals; File No. 21238
Notice is hereby given that the Center for Whale Research (Responsible Party: Kenneth Balcomb III), 355 Smuggler's Cove Road, Friday Harbor, WA, 98250, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on marine mammals.