SUMMARY: NMFS proposes and seeks comments on a proposed rule and proposed specifications to be issued under authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFC Implementation Act). The proposed rule would establish a framework under which NMFS would specify limits on fishing effort and catches, as well as spatial and temporal restrictions on particular fishing activities and other requirements, in U.S. fisheries for highly migratory fish species in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). NMFS would issue the specifications as needed to implement conservation and management measures adopted by the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Commission or WCPFC). The proposed rule also would require that certain U.S. fishing vessels operating in the WCPO obtain ‘‘IMO numbers.’’ The proposed rule also includes changes to regulations regarding tuna catch retention requirements for purse seine vessels, requirements to install and carry vessel monitoring system (VMS) units, daily reporting requirements, and other changes that are administrative in nature. Using the proposed regulatory framework described above, NMFS proposes restrictions on the use of fish aggregating devices by purse seine vessels in 2015. These actions are necessary to satisfy the obligations of the United States under the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, to which it is a Contracting Party.
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