News and Updates

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Fall 2018 Pacific Islands Fishery Newsletter

Click here for printable PDF.

Click here for interactive ePub.

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FR Notice – False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team; Meeting Announcement (Nov. 27, 2018)

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

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.

SUMMARY: NMFS announces a public meeting of the False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team (FKWTRT) on November 29, 2018 in order to provide recommendations on amendments to the False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan (FKWTRP). The meeting will be held via conference call. Members of the public may submit written comments; the comments must be received within 14 days of the completion of the meeting.

DATES: The meeting of the FKWTRT will be held via conference call on November 29, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (or until business is concluded).

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be conducted via conference call. For details on how to call in to the conference line, please contact Kevin Brindock, Comments may be submitted to the address provided in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Brindock, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office; 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818; telephone: 808–725–5146; facsimile: 808–725–5146; email: kevin.brindock@noaa.gov.

Click here for complete FR Notice.

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FR Notice – Nominations to the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (Nov. 23, 2018)

ACTION: Notice; request for nominations.

SUMMARY: Nominations are being sought for appointment by the Secretary of Commerce to fill vacancies on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC or Committee). MAFAC is the only  Federal advisory committee with the responsibility to advise the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) on all matters concerning living marine resources that are the  responsibility of the Department of Commerce. The Committee makes recommendations to the Secretary to assist in the development and implementation of Departmental regulations, policies, and programs critical to the mission and goals of NMFS. Nominations are encouraged from all interested parties involved with or representing interests affected by NMFS actions in managing living marine resources. Nominees should possess demonstrable expertise in a field related to the management of living marine resources and be able to fulfill the time commitments required for two annual meetings and year round subcommittee work. Individuals serve for a term of three years for no more than two consecutive terms if re- appointed. NMFS is seeking qualified nominees to fill current vacancies.

DATES: Nominations must be postmarked or have an email date stamp on or before December 24, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Nominations should be sent to Heidi Lovett, MAFAC Assistant Director, NMFS Office of Policy, 14th Floor, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 or email: heidi.lovett@noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heidi Lovett, MAFAC Assistant Director; (301) 427–8034; email: heidi.lovett@noaa.gov.

Click here for complete FR Notice.

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FR Notice – Regional Fishery Management Council Membership; Financial Disclosure and Recusal (Nov. 16, 2018)

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes changes to the regulations that address disclosure of financial interests by, and voting recusal of, council members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to the regional fishery management councils established under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The regulatory changes are needed to provide guidance to ensure consistency and transparency in the calculation of a Council member’s financial interests; determine whether a close causal link exists between a Council decision and a benefit to a Council member’s financial interest; and establish regional procedures for preparing and issuing recusal determinations. This proposed rule is intended to improve regulations implementing the statutory requirements governing disclosure of financial interests and voting recusal at section 302(j) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
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FR Notice – 2018 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Nov. 7, 2018)

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 2018 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 – 2018 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits (Oct. 23, 2018)

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

SUMMARY: In this final rule, NMFS specifies 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 will allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 t 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.

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FR Notice – List of Fisheries for 2019 (Oct. 23, 2018)

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

ACTION: Proposed rule, request for comment.

SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) publishes its proposed List of Fisheries (LOF) for 2019, as required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The LOF for 2019 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 – Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee: Call for Nominations and Public Meeting (Oct. 24, 2018)

AGENCY: National Marine Protected Areas Center (MPAC), Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC).

ACTION: Notice and call for nominations of new Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee (MPA FAC) members, and notice of public meeting via teleconference.

SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce (Department) is seeking nominations for membership on the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee (Committee). The Committee advises the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior on implementing Section 4 of Executive Order 13158, focusing mainly on strategies and priorities for the design, monitoring and adaptive management of effective MPAs in U.S. waters. Nominations are sought for 11 highly qualified non-Federal scientists (natural and social), resource managers, and people representing other interests or organizations involved with, or affected by, marine protected areas, including in the Great Lakes. Additionally, notice is hereby given of a Committee meeting to be held via teleconference on Thursday, November 8, 2018, from 3:00–4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (12:00–1:00 p.m. Pacific Time). The teleconference is open to members of the public.
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Press Release: Federal Managers Make Recommendations for Guam, Hawaii Fisheries (Oct. 28, 2018)

Guam Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio opened the Council meeting yesterday on Guam, stating it is up to our leaders to “ensure that your children and grandchildren will continue to enjoy the harvest of the seas and make sure our people enjoy the relative cleanliness that we expect of our waters.” Pictured with Tenorio is Council Executive Director Kitty M. Simonds

TUMON, GUAM (28 October 2018) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council yesterday in Guam concluded its four-day meeting in the Mariana Archipelago with the following recommendations, among others, regarding Guam and Hawaii nearshore fisheries and other matters. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, the Council has authority over fisheries seaward of state waters of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the US Pacific Remote Islands.
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Media Advisory – Opening of Fishery Management Council Meeting on Guam Today Delayed to 4 p.m., Lt. Gov. to Address Council on Saturday (Oct. 25, 2018)

TUMON, GUAM (26 October 2018) the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council will begin the second half of its 174th meeting from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. today, Friday, Oct. 26, at the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa. The Council meeting on Guam was originally scheduled to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

The Fishers Forum on Guam’s Spearfish Fishery that was scheduled to be held today from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa has been cancelled.

The meeting will continue tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. as originally scheduled. Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio is scheduled to provide welcoming remarks to the Council on Saturday.

These changes are due to typhoon Yutu and resultant canceled commercial flights to Guam from Saipan, where the Council met on Oct. 23 and 24.

For the agenda and other information on the Council meeting, go to www.wpcouncil.org/category/upcoming-council-and-advisory-body-meetings/ or email info.wpcouncil@noaa.gov.

What:        174th meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council

When:       Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where:     Hilton Guam Resort and Spa, Tumon, Guam

If you have any questions, please contact Sylvia Spalding at (808) 383-1069 or sylvia.spalding@noaa.gov or Felix Reyes at (671) 483-1904 or efesar05@yahoo.com.