Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Sablefish Managed Under the Individual Fishing Quota Program
NMFS is opening directed fishing for sablefish with fixed gear managed under the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program and the Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program. The season will open 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 24, 2018, and will close 1200 hours, A.l.t., November 7, 2018. This period is the same as the 2018 commercial halibut fishery opening dates adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission. The IFQ and CDQ halibut season is specified by a separate publication in the Federal Register of annual management measures.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Blacktip Sharks, Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks, and Hammerhead Sharks in the Western Gulf of Mexico Sub-Region; Closure
NMFS is closing the commercial fishery for blacktip sharks, aggregated large coastal sharks (LCS), and hammerhead shark management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region. This action is necessary because the commercial landings of sharks in the aggregated LCS management group in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region for the 2018 fishing season has reached 80 percent of the available commercial quota as of March 8, 2018, and the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups are quota-linked under the regulations. The blacktip shark fishery in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region will be closed to help minimize regulatory discards of sharks in the aggregated LCS management group in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, since LCS are often caught in conjunction with blacktip sharks in the commercial shark fisheries. This closure will affect anyone commercially fishing for sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish
This notice advises the public that a direct take permit has been issued pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) for a program rearing and releasing summer steelhead in the Wenatchee River basin of Washington state (Columbia River basin). The permit is issued to the Public Utility District of Chelan County and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Framework 2 to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan
This final rule implements the management measures contained in Framework Adjustment 2 to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan and adjusts the 2018 specifications for this fishery. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council developed Framework Adjustment 2 to improve and simplify the administration of the golden tilefish fishery. These changes include removing an outdated reporting requirement, proscribing allowed gear for the recreational fishery, modifying the commercial incidental possession limit, requiring commercial golden tilefish be landed with the head and fins attached, and revising how assumed discards are accounted for when setting harvest limits. Based on new regulations implemented by this rule, this action updates previously published specifications for the commercial golden tilefish fishery for 2018 and projected specifications for 2019 and 2020.
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Study Area
NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to the training and testing activities conducted in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue regulations and subsequent Letters of Authorization (LOAs) to the Navy to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS will consider public comments prior to issuing any final rule and making final decisions on the issuance of the requested MMPA authorizations. Agency responses to public comments will be summarized in the final notice of our decision. The Navy's activities qualify as military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (2004 NDAA).