Archives for August 2015

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11th Regular Session of the Northern Committee (WCPFC)

Date: 31 Aug 2015 to 3 Sep 2015

Location: Sapporo, Japan
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Final Rule Published for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Critical Habitat

On August 21, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced the final rule to revise critical habitat for Hawaiian monk seals. Critical habitat triggers consultation requirements under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for actions that are authorized, funded or carried out by Federal agencies. The revised critical habitat goes into effect September 21, 2015.

In the main Hawaiian Islands, the monk seal critical habitat includes the seafloor and marine habitat to 10 meters or approximately 33 feet above the seafloor from the 200-meter depth contour through the shoreline and extending into terrestrial habitat 5 meters or approximately 16.5 feet inland from the shoreline between identified boundary points around Kaula Island, Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Maui Nui (including Kahoolawe, Lanai, Maui, and Molokai), and Hawaii. The marine portion of the critical habitat only includes the area 10 meters from the seafloor and does not include the remainder of the water column.

In the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the critical habitat includes all beach areas, sand spits and islets, including all beach crest vegetation to its deepest extent inland as well as the seafloor and marine habitat 10 m in height above the seafloor from the shoreline out to the 200-m depth contour around 10 atolls, islands and reefs.
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Comment Period on the Green Turtle ESA-Listing Proposed Rule Extended to September 25, 2015

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a third extension on the public comment period on the proposed rule to revise the green turtle listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The extension is due to a recent typhoon in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Public comments will be due on September 25, 2015.

To read the full notice on the comment period extension, go to: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/08/26/2015-21150/endangered-and-threatened-species-identification-and-proposed-listing-of-eleven-distinct-population

For more information about the proposed rule, read the original post: http://www.wpcouncil.org/2015/03/20/nmfs-and-fws-announces-response-to-green-turtle-delisting-petition/

To submit public comment on this proposed rule, go to this website and click on the “Comment Now!” icon: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0154

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FR Notice – Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; Exemption for Large U.S. Longline Vessels To Fish in Portions of the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to allow large federally permitted U.S. longline vessels to fish in certain areas of the Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA) around Swains Island, Tutuila, and the Manua Islands. NMFS would continue to prohibit fishing in the LVPA by large purse seine vessels. The fishing requirements for the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument would remain unchanged. The intent of the proposed rule is to improve the viability of the American Samoa longline fishery and achieve optimum yield from the fishery while preventing overfishing, in accordance with National Standard 1.

To view complete FR notice, click here.

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Press Release – Majuro Workshop Explores Management Options for Pacific Bigeye Tuna Overfishing

MAJURO, REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS (21 August 2015) A workshop to discuss bigeye tuna management in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) was convened by the Marshall Islands Marine Resource Authority (MIMRA) and the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (WPFMC) on Aug. 19-21, 2015, in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands. The workshop brought together representatives from Asian, U.S. and Pacific Island purse-seine and longline fishing industries, government officials of Pacific Island countries, and representatives from the Forum Fisheries Agency, Parties to the Nauru Agreement, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and non-governmental organizations. The workshop was chaired by Andrew Wright, former executive director of the WCPFC.
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FR Notice – Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; 2015 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes a 2015 limit of 2,000 metric tons (mt) of longlinecaught bigeye tuna for each U.S. Pacific territory (American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands). NMFS would allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 mt each year to U.S. longline fishing vessels in a specified fishing agreement that meets established criteria. As an accountability measure, NMFS would monitor, attribute, and restrict (if necessary) catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna, including catches made under a specified fishing agreement. The proposed catch limits and accountability measures support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands.

To view the complete FR Notice, click here.

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FR Notice – 2015 Bigeye Tuna Longline Fishery Closure in the Eastern Pacific Ocean

SUMMARY: NMFS is temporarily closing the U.S. pelagice longline fishery for bigeye tuna for vessels over 24 meters in overall length in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) through December 31, 2015 because the 2015 catch limit of 500 metic tons is expected to be reached. This action is necessary to prevent the fishery from exceeding the applicable catch limit established by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in Resolution C-13-01, which governs tuna conservation in the EPO from 2014-2016.

DATES: The rule is effective 12 a.m. local time August 12, 2015, through 11:59 p.m. local time December 31, 2015.

To view the complete FR Notice, click here.

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FR Notice – American Samoa Longline Limited Entry Program

SUMMARY: NMFS announces that 12 American Samoa pelagic longline limited entry permits in three vessel size classes are available for 2015. NMFS is accepting applications for these available permits.

DATES: NMFS must receive completed permit applications and payment by December 3, 2015.

To view compete FR Notice, click here.

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Western Pacific Stock Assessment Review – Tier 3 Territorial Bottomfish Stock Assessment Updates

Date: August 11 – 12, 2015

Location: Council Office, Honolulu, HI

FR Notice

Tier 3 WPSAR Terms of Reference

Meeting Papers
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11th Regular Session of the Scientific Committee

Date: 5 Aug 2015 to 13 Aug 2015

Location: Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia