post

FR Notice – Request for Comments on Ecosystem Component Species (Aug. 8, 2018)

Action

Notice of availability of fishery ecosystem plan amendments; request for comments.

Summary

NMFS announces that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) proposes to amend the Fishery Ecosystem Plans (FEP) for American Samoa, the Mariana Archipelago, and Hawaii. Amendment 4 to the American Samoa FEP, Amendment 5 to the Marianas FEP, and Amendment 5 to the Hawaii FEP would reclassify certain management unit species as ecosystem component species. The intent of these amendments is to focus management efforts on species that are in need of conservation and management, and improve efficiency of fishery management in the region.

Read More ª

post

FR Notice – Request for Comments on Proposed Specifications for 2018 US Territory Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits (Aug. 8, 2018)

Action

Proposed specifications; request for comments.

Summary

NMFS proposes a 2018 limit of 2,000 metric tons (t) of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. Pacific territory (American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)). NMFS would allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 t 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 would support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands.

Read More ª

post

Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament

Date: August 3-11, 2018
Location: Kona, Hawaii

post

Press Release – US Billfish is Sustainable, Provides Fresh Seafood and Local Revenue (2 August 2018)

US Pacific Billfish Fishery Is Sustainable, Provides Fresh Seafood and Local Revenue

Pacific blue marlin (Makaira mazaran) is commonly known in Hawaii as kajiki or a‘u (the Hawaiian word applied to all marlin species). Photo credit: John Kaneko.

HONOLULU (2 August 2018) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is disappointed that America’s seafood consumers may soon be deprived of sustainably harvested domestic marlin products should President Trump sign legislation to prohibit interstate commerce of billfish (not including swordfish) landed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Darren Soto’s (D-Fla.), passed the House on June 26 and the Senate on July 30 and is now headed to the president.

Read More ª

post

Western Pacific Region Status of the Fisheries 2017

     The 2017 annual reports on fisheries in Hawaii and the U.S. Pacific Islands provide data and trends about last year’s fishery participation, catch rates, landings and other fishery performance factors. Each report also covers ecological components that may impact fishery outcomes, such as protected species interactions, climate and oceanographic conditions and socioeconomic factors.
     The Western Pacific Region Status of the Fisheries 2017 summarizes highlights from the reports and is available by clicking here. The complete annual reports are available at www.wpcouncil.org/fishery-plans-policies-reports/fishery-reports-2/.
     Annual reports are produced for each of five fishery ecosystem plans (FEPs) that have been developed, monitored and amended by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. They include the Pelagic FEP, the Pacific Remote Island Areas FEP and FEPs for the Hawai’i Archipelago, American Samoa Archipelago and Mariana (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) Archipelago.
post

NMFS Announces Final Rule Designating ESA Critical Habitat for the Main Hawaiian Islands Insular False Killer Whales

On July 24, 2018, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published a final rule to designate critical habitat for the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) insular false killer whale distinct population segment (DPS). The critical habitat encompasses waters from 45-meter depth contour to the 3,200-meter depth contour around the main Hawaiian Islands, with 14 areas excluded from designation based on economic or national security impacts.
Read More ª

post

FR Notice – Closure of Southern Exclusion Zone to Hawaii Longline Vessels (July 18, 2018)

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Temporary rule; area closure; request for comments.

SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the Southern Exclusion Zone (SEZ) to deep-set longline fishing through December 31, 2018, for all vessels registered under the Hawaii longline limited access program, as a result of the fishery reaching the established annual trigger of two observed false killer whale mortalities or serious injuries (M&SI) in the fishery within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around Hawaii. This action is necessary to comply with False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan (Plan) regulations that establish the SEZ closure trigger and procedures to limit M&SI of false killer whales in the Hawaii deep-set longline fishery.
Read More ª

post

FR Notice – WCPFC CMM 2017-01 WCPO restrictions for US Purse Seine and US Longline Vessels (July 18, 2018)

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: Under authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFC Implementation Act), NMFS issues this final rule that establishes limits on fishing effort by U.S. purse seine vessels in the U.S. exclusive economic zone and on the high seas between the latitudes of 20° N and 20° S in the area of application of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention); restrictions regarding the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) for U.S. purse seine fishing vessels; limits on the catches of bigeye tuna by U.S. longline vessels in the Convention area; prohibitions on U.S. vessels used to fish for highly migratory species from engaging in transshipment in a particular area of the high seas (the Eastern High Seas Special Management Area or EHSSMA); and removal of existing reporting requirements for vessels transiting the EHSSMA. The rule also makes corrections to outdated cross references in existing regulatory text. This action is necessary to satisfy the obligations of the United States under the Convention, to which it is a Contracting Party.
Read More ª

post

FR Notice – Request for Nominations to the Marine Mammal Scientific Review Groups (July 16, 2018)

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice; request for nominations.

SUMMARY: As required by of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Secretary of Commerce established three independent regional scientific review groups (SRGs) to provide advice on a range of marine mammal science and management issues. NMFS conducted a membership review of the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific SRGs, and is soliciting nominations for new members to fill vacancies and gaps in expertise.
Read More ª

post

National Marine Educators Association Conference

Date: July 15-20, 2018
Location: Long Beach, CA