Science Advisory Board
This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of two meetings of the Science Advisory Board (SAB). The members will discuss issues outlined in the section on Matters to be considered.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Transit Protection Program Pier and Support Facilities Project at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, Washington
NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to the Transit Protection Program Pier and Support Facilities Project at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor in Silverdale, Washington over two years. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue two incidental harassment authorizations (IHAs) to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS is also requesting comments on possible one-time, one-year renewals that could be issued under certain circumstances and if all requirements are met, as described in Request for Public Comments at the end of this notice. 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.
New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Herring Advisory Panel via webinar to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate.
Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
The Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Pacific Council) Groundfish Management Team (GMT) will hold an online meeting to discuss items on the Pacific Council's September 2020 meeting agenda. The meeting is open to the public.
Fisheries of the South Atlantic; South Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene a meeting of the South Atlantic Selectivity Workgroup via webinar to address gear selectivity for fishery stock assessments for species managed by the Council.
Fisheries of the South Atlantic; South Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will host a presentation on dolphinfish tagging research via webinar on August 26, 2020.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review Workshops Advisory Panel
NMFS solicits nominations for the ``SEDAR Pool,'' also known as the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) Workshops Advisory Panel. The SEDAR Pool is comprised of a group of individuals who may be selected to consider data and advise NMFS regarding the scientific information, including but not limited to data and models, used in stock assessments for oceanic sharks in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea. Nominations are being sought for a 5-year appointment (2021-2026). Individuals with definable interests in the recreational and commercial fishing and related industries, environmental community, academia, and non-governmental organizations will be considered for membership on the SEDAR Pool.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries
NMFS closes the Harpoon category fishery for large medium and giant (i.e., measuring 73 inches (185 cm) curved fork length or greater) Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) through the end of the 2020 Harpoon category fishing season. Current regulations provide that the 2021 Harpoon category season begins June 1, 2021. The intent of this closure is to prevent further overharvest of the available Harpoon category BFT quota of 76 metric tons (mt).
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Marine Site Characterization Surveys
NMFS has received a request from [Oslash]rsted Wind Power North America, LLC, ([Oslash]rsted) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to high-resolution geophysical (HRG) survey activities in coastal waters from New York to Massachusetts in certain areas of the Commercial Lease of Submerged Lands for Renewable Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). These areas are currently being leased by the Applicant's affiliates, Deepwater Wind New England, LLC, and Bay State Wind, LLC, respectively, and are identified as OCS-A 0486/0517, OCS-A 0487, and OCS-A 0500 (collectively referred to herein as the Lease Area). [Oslash]rsted is also planning to conduct marine site characterization surveys along one or more potential submarine export cable routes (ECRs) originating from the Lease Area and landing along the shore at locations from New York to Massachusetts, between Raritan Bay (part of the New York Bight) to Falmouth, Massachusetts. 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, by Level B harassment only, small numbers of marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS is also requesting comments on a possible one-time one-year renewal that could be issued under certain circumstances and, if all requirements are met, as described in Request for Public Comments at the end of this notice. 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.
Take of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project, Hampton-Norfolk, Virginia
In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to the Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) to incidentally harass, by Level A and Level B harassment, marine mammals during pile driving and removal activities associated with the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project, Hampton-Norfolk, Virginia.
Fisheries Off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Fisheries; Exempted Fishing Permit To Fish With Longline Gear in the West Coast Exclusive Economic Zone
NMFS announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, to analyze the potential short- and long-term impacts of the proposed action to issue an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP), on the human (biological, physical, social, and economic) environment. This notice of intent to prepare an EIS invites interested parties to provide comments on alternatives to be considered in an EIS, potential terms and conditions to minimize adverse effects to the environment, and to identify potential issues, concerns, and any reasonable additional alternatives that should be considered.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To Identify the Northwest Atlantic Leatherback Turtle as a Distinct Population Segment and List It as Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act
We, NMFS and USFWS, announce a 12-month finding on a petition to identify the Northwest Atlantic population of the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) as a distinct population segment (DPS) and list it as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In response to the petition, we completed a comprehensive status review of the species, which also constitutes the 5-year review of the species, to determine potential DPSs following the Policy Regarding the Recognition of Distinct Vertebrate Population Segments Under the ESA and to perform extinction risk analyses. Based on the best scientific and commercial data available, including the Status Review Report, and after taking into account efforts made to protect the species, we conclude that seven populations would meet the discreteness and significance criteria for recognition as DPSs, including the Northwest Atlantic population. However, even if we were to list them separately, all seven DPSs would meet the definition for endangered species (i.e., they are in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range). The species is already listed as endangered throughout its range. We have determined that the listing of DPSs is not warranted, and therefore we do not propose any changes to the existing global listing.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Black Teatfish as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act
We, NMFS, announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list the black teatfish (Holothuria nobilis) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. Therefore, we are initiating a status review of the species to determine whether listing under the ESA is warranted. To ensure this status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial information regarding this species.