Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Issuance of Exempted Fishing Permits
NMFS West Coast Region is announcing exempted fishing permits (EFP) issued to target highly migratory species (HMS) in Federal waters off the U.S. West Coast for 2019. NMFS renewed 21 standard deep-set buoy gear (standard DSBG) EFPs for 2019 and issued a new pelagic longline EFP valid for 24 months from the effective date. Ten linked deep-set buoy gear (linked DSBG) EFPs issued in 2018 remain valid for the 2019 calendar year. The permits are issued as exemptions from specific prohibitions under the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS FMP). The general purpose of the EFPs is to allow novel fishing practices and gear types that are not otherwise authorized under a fishery management plan. Specifically, NMFS will collect data on the effects and efficacy of using these gears to fish for swordfish and other HMS off the West Coast.
Evaluation of State Coastal Management Programs
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office for Coastal Management will hold a public meeting to solicit comments on the performance evaluation of the Rhode Island Coastal Management Program.
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area
NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) to extend the expiration date from December 2023 to December 2025 for Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations authorizing the take of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Study Area. In August 2018, the MMPA was amended by the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 to allow for seven-year authorizations for military readiness activities, as compared to the previously allowed five years. The Navy's activities qualify as military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA as amended by the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004. In making the request to extend the time period covered by the MMPA 2018 HSTT regulations from five to seven years, the Navy proposes no changes to their specified activities, the geographical region in which those activities would be conducted, mitigation measures, monitoring, or reporting over the longer seven- year period. NMFS invites the public to provide information, suggestions, and comments on the Navy's application.