Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries
NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily retention limit that applies to Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling category permitted vessels and HMS Charter/Headboat vessels (when fishing recreationally for BFT) should be adjusted for the remainder of 2021, based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. NMFS is adjusting the Angling category BFT daily retention limit from the default of one school, large school, or small medium BFT to: Two school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for private vessels with HMS Angling category permits; three school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for charter boat vessels with HMS Charter/ Headboat permits when fishing recreationally; and six school BFT and two large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for headboat vessels with HMS Charter/Headboat permits when fishing recreationally. These retention limits are effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where targeted fishing for BFT is prohibited.
National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Executive Council Meeting
The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Program Office will hold a virtual, organizational meeting of the NIDIS Executive Council on May 4, 2021.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Approval of 2021 and 2022 Sector Operations Plans and Allocation of 2021 Northeast Multispecies Annual Catch Entitlements
This final rule approves sector operations plans and contracts, grants 19 regulatory exemptions for fishing years 2021 and 2022, allocates Northeast multispecies annual catch entitlements to approved sectors for fishing year 2021 including default specifications for seven stocks, and makes regulatory amendments necessary to administer electronic monitoring. This action is intended to allow limited access permit holders to continue to operate or form sectors and to exempt sectors from certain effort control regulations to improve the efficiency and economics of sector vessels. Approval of sector operations plans and contracts is necessary to allocate annual catch entitlements to the sectors in order for sectors to operate.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Modification to the North Atlantic Swordfish and Shark Retention Limits for Certain Permit Holders and Add Inseason Adjustment Authorization Criteria
NMFS is adjusting the current regulations for North Atlantic swordfish and shark retention limits for certain permit holders in U.S. Atlantic and Caribbean waters. Specifically, this action will modify swordfish retention limits for highly migratory species (HMS) Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit holders, Swordfish General Commercial permit holders, and HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders with a commercial endorsement on a non-for hire (i.e., commercial) trip. This action will also modify the shark retention limits for HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit holders. Additionally, this action will add regulatory criteria for inseason adjustment of swordfish and shark retention limits for the HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit. The changes are expected to provide fishermen with greater flexibility, establish greater consistency across regions, and improve the efficiency of swordfish and shark management.