Federal Register Notices

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FR Notice – 2017 Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Bigeye Tuna Fishery; Closure (Nov. 30, 2017)

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the U.S. pelagic longline fishery for bigeye tuna in the western and central Pacific Ocean because the fishery will reach the 2017 allocation limit for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This action is necessary to comply with regulations managing this fish stock.

DATES: Effective 12:01 a.m. local time December 6, 2017, through December 31, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jarad Makaiau, NMFS PIRO Sustainable Fisheries, 808–725–5176.

Click here for complete FR Notice

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FR Notice – Fishing Restrictions for Tropical Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean for 2018 to 2020 (Nov. 14, 2017)

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations under the Tuna Conventions Act to implement provisions included in Resolution C–17–02 (Conservation Measures for Tropical Tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean During 2018–2020), which was adopted at the 92nd Meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC or Commission) in July 2017. This proposed rule would implement the C–17–02 management measures for tropical tuna (i.e., bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis)) for 2018 to 2020 in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). The proposed rule would impose on purse seine vessels of class sizes 4–6 (carrying capacity greater than 182 metric tons (mt)) fishing for tropical tuna in the EPO: A 72-day closure, a 31-day area closure, and a requirement that—with some exceptions—all tropical tuna be retained and landed. In addition, this proposed rule would revise the restrictions for force majeure, establish a bigeye tuna catch limit of 750 mt for U.S. longline vessels greater than 24 meters (m) in overall length, and regulate the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs). This proposed rule is necessary for the conservation of tropical tuna stocks in the EPO and for the United States to satisfy its obligations as a member of the IATTC.
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FR Notice – Proposed Rulemaking To Designate Critical Habitat for the Main Hawaiian Islands Insular False Killer Whale Distinct Population Segment (Nov. 3, 2017)

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY: We, NMFS, propose to designate critical habitat for the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) distinct population segment by designating waters from the 45-meter (m) depth contour to the 3200-m depth contour around the main Hawaiian Islands from Niihau east to Hawaii, pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Based on considerations of economic and national security impacts, we propose to exclude the following areas from designation because the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion and exclusion will not result in extinction of the species: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Call Area offshore of the Island of Oahu, the Pacific Missile Range Facilities Offshore ranges (including the Shallow Water Training Range, the Barking Sands Tactical Underwater Range, and the Barking Sands Underwater Range Extension), the Kingfisher Range, Warning Area 188, Kaula and Warning Area 187, Fleet Operational Readiness Accuracy Check Site Range, the Shipboard Electronic Systems Evaluation Facility, Warning Areas 196 and 191, and Warning Areas 193 and 194. In addition, the Ewa Training Minefield and the Naval Defensive Sea Area are precluded from designation under section 4(a)(3) of the ESA because they are managed under the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan that we find provides a benefit to the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale. We are soliciting comments on all aspects of the proposal, including information on the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts. We will consider
additional information received prior to making a final designation.
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FR Notice – 2017 Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures (Oct. 30, 2017)

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

ACTION: Proposed specifications; request for comments.

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes annual catch limits (ACLs) for Pacific Island crustacean, precious coral, and territorial bottomfish fisheries, and accountability measures (AMs) to correct or mitigate any overages of catch limits. The proposed ACLs and AMs would be effective for fishing year 2017. The proposed ACLs and AMs support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands.
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FR Notice – 2017 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Oct. 24, 2017)

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Announcement of a valid specified fishing agreement.

SUMMARY: NMFS announces a valid specified fishing agreement that allocates up to 1,000 metric tons (t) of the 2017 bigeye tuna limit for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to identified U.S. longline fishing vessels.
The agreement supports the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands, and fisheries development in the CNMI.
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FR Notice – 12-Month Finding and Proposed Rule To List the Chambered Nautilus as Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act (Oct. 23, 2017)

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; 12-month petition finding; request for comments.

SUMMARY: We, NMFS, announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the chambered nautilus (Nautilus pompilius) as a threatened species or an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We have completed a comprehensive status review of the species in response to this petition. Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, including the status review report (Miller 2017), and after taking into account efforts being made to protect the species, we have determined that the chambered nautilus is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout its range. Therefore, we propose to list the chambered nautilus as a threatened species under the ESA. Any
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FR Notice – 2017 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits (Oct. 13, 2017)

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

ACTION: Final specifications.

SUMMARY: In this final rule, NMFS specifies a 2017 limit of 2,000 mt of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. participating territory (American Samoa, Guam, and the NorthernMariana Islands). NMFS will allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 mt each year to U.S. longline fishing vessels in a valid specified fishing agreement. As an accountability measure, NMFS will monitor, attribute, and restrict (if necessary), catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna, including catches made under a specified fishing agreement. These catch limits and accountability measures support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands and fisheries development in the U.S. territories.
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FR notice – List of Fisheries for 2018 (Oct. 12, 2017)

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

ACTION: Proposed rule.

SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) publishes its proposed List of Fisheries (LOF) for 2018, as required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The LOF for 2018 reflects new information on interactions between commercial fisheries and marine mammals. NMFS must classify each commercial fishery on the LOF into one of three categories under the MMPA based upon the level of mortality and serious injury of marine mammals that occurs incidental to each fishery. The classification of a fishery on the LOF determines whether participants in that fishery are subject to certain provisions of the MMPA, such as registration, observer coverage, and take reduction plan (TRP) requirements.
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FR Notice – Revised 2017 Fishing Restrictions for Tropical Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (Sept. 29, 2017)

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

ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: NMFS is issuing regulations under the Tuna Conventions Act to implement amendments to Resolution C–17–01 (Conservation of Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean During 2017) per Resolution C–17–02 (Conservation Measures for Tropical Tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean During 2018–2020 and Amendment to Resolution C–17–01) which was adopted by the Inter- American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC or Commission) in July 2017. Applicable to the purse seine fleet fishing for tropical tunas (bigeye, yellowfin, and skipjack tuna) in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) and only for the remainder of the 2017 calendar year, the amendments to Resolution C–17–01 remove the total allowable catches (TACs) for bigeye tuna (BET) and yellowfin tuna (YFT), and replace them with an extension in the purse seine closure period from 62 days to 72 days. Additionally, to ensure that the time/ area closure, known as the corralito, does not overlap with the extended closure periods, the amendments also shift the dates for the corralito closure. This rule is necessary for the conservation of tropical tuna stocks in the EPO and for the United States to satisfy its obligations as a member of the IATTC.
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FR Notice – Permanent Advisory Committee To Advise the U.S. Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (Sept. 12, 2017)

SUMMARY: NMFS announces a meeting of the Permanent Advisory Committee (PAC) to advise the U.S. Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) on October 24–October 25, 2017. Meeting topics are provided under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.
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