Archives for February 2016

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Council Coordination Committee Meeting

Date: February 24 – 25, 2016
Location, Holiday Inn Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
FR Notice

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FR Notice – Annual Catch Limit and Accountability Measures: Main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 Bottomfish

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to specify an annual catch limit (ACL) of 326,000 lb for Deep 7 bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) for the 2015–16 fishing year, which began on September 1, 2015, and ends on August 31, 2016. If the ACL is projected to be reached, as an accountability measure (AM), NMFS would close the commercial and noncommercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish for the remainder of the fishing year. The proposed ACL and AM support the long-term sustainability of Hawaii bottomfish.

DATES: NMFS must receive comments by March 9, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2015–0090, by either of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015- 0090, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
  • Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp Blvd. Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.

Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matt Dunlap, NMFS PIR Sustainable Fisheries, 808–725–5177.

To see complete FR Notice, click here.

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Our Ocean Conference

Date: Sept. 15-16, 2016
Location: Washington, DC

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US Coral Reef Task Meeting

Date: February 16 – 18, 2016
Location: Silver Spring, MD

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FR Notice – Hawaii Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish; Revised Essential Fish Habitat and Habitat Areas of Particular Concern

ACTION: Notice of availability of fishery ecosystem plan amendment; request for comments.

SUMMARY: NMFS announces that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) proposes to amend the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Fisheries of the Hawaiian Archipelago. If approved, Amendment 4 would revise the descriptions of essential fish habitat (EFH) and habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC) for 14 species of bottomfish and three species of seamount groundfish in the Hawaiian Archipelago. The proposed action considers the best available scientific, commercial, and other information about the fisheries, and supports the long-term sustainability of fishery resources.

DATES: NMFS must receive comments on the proposed amendment by April 12, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2015–0056, by either of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0056, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
  • Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp Blvd. Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.

Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. All comments received are a part of the public record, and NMFS will generally post them for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

The Council prepared Amendment 4 that provides background information on the proposed action. The amendment is available from www.regulations.gov or the Council, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel 808–522– 8220, fax 808–522–8226, www.wpcouncil.org.

For complete FR Notice, click here.

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Press Release – Distinguished Fisheries Professor Ray Hilborn Discusses Sustainability of World Fisheries with Hawaii Fishing Community

HONOLULU (11 February 2016) Professor Ray Hilborn of the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, and author of Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press), yesterday in Honolulu addressed the topic of “Sustainability of World Fisheries: Getting good science understood.” His presentation resonated with the audience of fishery scientists, managers and fishermen gathered in the conference room of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.

Hilborn reviewed the litany of gloom and doom articles in the scientific Picture1literature and media that have led the public to believe that most fisheries are unsustainably managed, stocks worldwide are declining and fishing destroys the environment. Frustration over these often cited erroneous articles led him to organize a network of scientists who have evaluated trends in global fish stocks under the CFOOD project (http://cfooduw.org/). Much of the negative reporting, e.g., all fish stocks will collapse by 2048, has already been extensively refuted, Hilborn said, yet it still lingers in the press. CFOOD identifies these reports and provides a forum for rapid-response by renowned fishery scientists, marine biologists, ecologists and natural resource managers. CFOOD also provides analysis and commentary on the latest emerging fisheries science and sets the record straight through a science-based approach to communicating the real story on fisheries sustainability.
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FR Notice – Exemption for Large U.S. Longline Vessels To Fish in Portions of the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area

SUMMARY: In this final rule, NMFS allows large federally permitted U.S. longline vessels to fish in certain areas of the Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA). NMFS will continue to prohibit fishing in the LVPA by large purse seine vessels. The fishing requirements for the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument remain unchanged. The intent of the 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.

DATES: Effective January 29, 2016.

For the complete FR Notice, click here.

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Press Release – Feds Approve Exemption of US Longline Vessels in American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area as Recommended by the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council

HONOLULU (29 January 2016) Effective today, US federally permitted longline vessels in American Samoa that are over 50 feet in length can fish for pelagic species in certain areas of the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA). The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced the final rule, which will publish in the Federal Register on February 3, 2016.

Local US longline vessels at Pago Pago harbor.

Local US longline vessels at Pago Pago harbor.

The LVPA, which extends out to 30 to 50 nautical miles from shore around the islands of American Samoa, prohibits vessels greater than 50 feet from fishing within the area. In 2015, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (Council) undertook decision-making to amend the applicable federal LVPA regulations to provide an exemption to large vessels in the American Samoa longline fishery to allow them to fish seaward of 12 nautical miles from shore around the islands of Tutuila, Swains Island and the Manu’a Islands. Fishing around Rose Atoll Marine National Monument remains unchanged.

The LVPA was developed by the Council and approved by NMFS in 2002 to prevent potential gear conflicts between large and small fishing vessels. At that time, approximately 40 alia longline vessels were operating in offshore waters around American Samoa. Originally used to target bottomfish, the alia vessels range from 25 to 40 feet in length and have a catamaran hull.
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