Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan
NMFS is implementing this interim final rule to establish regulations for 2018 Pacific halibut catch limits in the following International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Regulatory Areas: Area 2C (Southeast Alaska), Area 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska), Area 3B (Western Gulf of Alaska), and Area 4 (subdivided into five areas, 4A through 4E, in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands of Western Alaska). This interim final rule revises a catch sharing plan (CSP) for guided sport (charter) and commercial individual fishing quota (IFQ) halibut fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A, revises regulations applicable to the charter halibut fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A, and revises a CSP for the commercial IFQ and Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) halibut fisheries in Areas 4C, 4D, and 4E. This action is necessary because the IPHC, at its annual meeting, did not recommend new catch limits or specific CSP allocations and charter management measures for Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E for 2018, and the 2017 IPHC regulations are in effect until superseded. This interim final rule is necessary because immediate action is needed to ensure that halibut catch limits, charter halibut fishery management measures, and CSP allocations are in place at the start of the commercial IFQ and CDQ halibut fishery on March 24, 2018, that better protect the declining Pacific halibut resource. This action is intended to enhance the conservation of Pacific halibut and is within the authority of the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to establish additional regulations governing the taking of halibut which are more restrictive than those adopted by the IPHC.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries
NMFS closes the southern area Angling category fishery for large medium and giant (``trophy'' (i.e., measuring 73 inches curved fork length or greater)) Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT). This action is being taken to prevent overharvest of the Angling category southern area trophy BFT subquota.
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Exempted Fishing Permit; Correction
NMFS announces the receipt of five applications for exempted fishing permits (EFPs) from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR), Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD). If granted, the EFPs would authorize the applicants, with certain conditions, to set the season(s) for red snapper caught by the private angling component, the Federal charter vessel/headboat (for-hire) component, or both, as applicable, and landed in each respective state. The EFPs would do so by exempting persons from the annual closed Federal fishing seasons if they are landing red snapper in the participating states during the states' open seasons as set by those states, and described in more detail below. These annual closed Federal fishing seasons are the seasonal closure for red snapper which is January 1 through May 31 each year, and the closures that occur based on when NMFS projects that the red snapper annual catch targets will be reached. The private angling component includes state-permitted for-hire vessels and any red snapper landings by these for-hire vessels would be counted against the private angling component quota. However, these state-permitted for-hire vessels would not be able to fish in Federal waters. NMFS would set separate Federal seasons for Federally permitted for-hire vessels and private-anglers not covered by any EFP. Red snapper landings would be monitored by the respective states and the state seasons set under the EFPs would close when a state's assigned quota is reached, or projected to be reached. These studies, to be conducted in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf), are intended to test the effectiveness of Gulf state management of recreationally caught red snapper. This notice is republished in its entirety and serves to correct information previously published in the Federal Register on March 12, 2018, concerning FWC, ADCNR, and TPWD application details.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Construction at the City Dock and Ferry Terminal, in Tenakee Springs, Alaska
NMFS has received a request from the Alaska Department of Transportations and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to conducting improvements at the Tenakee Springs city dock and ferry terminal, in Tenakee Springs, Alaska. 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 authorization, and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of our decision