Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; Atlantic Menhaden Fishery
NMFS announces that on November 15, 2019, the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) received a letter from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission finding the Commonwealth of Virginia out of compliance with Amendment 3 to the Atlantic Menhaden Interstate Fishery Management Plan and requesting Federal non-compliance review under the provisions of the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act. This notice is necessary to alert the public that the Secretary has received and is reviewing the referral of non-compliance from the Commission. The intended effect of this notice is to inform the public of the Commission's recommendation to the Secretary and to outline both the decision-making process that will be used and potential outcomes of the non-compliance review. If the Secretary determines that Virginia failed to carry out its responsibilities under the Coastal Atlantic Menhaden Interstate Fishery Management Plan, and if the measures it failed to implement are necessary for conservation of the fishery, then, according to the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act, the Secretary must declare a moratorium on fishing for Atlantic menhaden in Virginia waters.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; 2019 Management Area 1A Sub-Annual Catch Limit Harvested
Effective on November 27, 2019, NMFS is closing the directed fishery for Herring Management Area 1A, based on a projection that a threshold catch amount for that management area has been reached. Beginning November 27, 2019, through December 31, 2019, no person may, or attempt to fish for, possess, transfer, receive, land, or sell more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of Atlantic herring per trip or calendar day in or from Management Area 1A from a vessel issued and holding a valid Federal herring permit. For the duration of this action, federally permitted dealers may not possess or receive, or attempt to possess or receive, more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of herring from Management Area 1A per trip or calendar day from vessels issued and holding a valid Federal herring permit. This action is necessary to comply with the regulations implementing the Atlantic herring Fishery Management Plan and is intended to prevent overharvest of herring in Management Area 1A.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; 2020 Atlantic Shark Commercial Fishing Year
This final rule establishes the 2020 opening date for all Atlantic shark fisheries, including the fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. This final rule also establishes the quotas for the 2020 fishing year based on harvest levels during 2019 and the large coastal shark (LCS) retention limits for directed shark limited access permit holders. NMFS may increase or decrease these retention limits for directed shark limited access permit holders during the year, in accordance with existing regulations, to provide, to the extent practicable, equitable fishing opportunities for commercial shark fishermen in all regions and areas. These actions could affect fishing opportunities for commercial shark fishermen in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
Determination of Overfishing or an Overfished Condition
This action serves as a notice that NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), has found that Oregon cabezon is now subject to overfishing and Atlantic bluefish is now overfished. NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary, notifies the appropriate regional fishery management council (Council) whenever it determines that overfishing is occurring, a stock is in an overfished condition, or a stock is approaching an overfished condition.
International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Reopening and Closing of the Purse Seine Fishery in the ELAPS in 2019
NMFS is temporarily reopening the U.S. purse seine fishery in the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine, or ELAPS, for ten calendar days because part of the fishing effort limit remains after NMFS closed the fishery effective October 9, 2019 (see 84 FR 52035; October 1, 2019). This action will allow U.S. purse seine vessels to access the remainder of the fishing effort limit specified by the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC or Commission) in Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) 2018-01, ``Conservation and Management Measure for Bigeye, Yellowfin, and Skipjack Tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.''
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; Framework Adjustment 14
NMFS is implementing changes to aspects of the commercial and recreational summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass management program, as recommended by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. This action incorporates new management measures for the commercial and recreational fisheries for these species. The intent of this action is to allow for more management flexibility.