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 Resolution C–17–01 (Conservation of Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean During 2017), which was adopted by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC or Commission) in February 2017. Applicable to 2017 only, most provisions of Resolution C–17–01 are identical in content to the previous resolution on tropical tuna management that expired at the end of 2016. The provisions that are maintained in Resolution C–17–01 from the previous resolution include a 500 metric ton (mt) bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) calendar year catch limit applicable to longline vessels greater than 24 meters (m) in overall length and a 62-day closure period applicable each year to purse seine vessels of class size 4 to 6 (greater than 182 mt carrying capacity). In addition, the resolution includes a new requirement for total allowable catch limits (TACs) for yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and bigeye tuna harvested in purse seine sets on floating objects (97,711 mt) and in sets involving chase and encirclement of dolphins (162,182 mt). This rule implements all of those requirements and revises related regulations for clarification purposes. This rule is necessary for the conservation of tropical tuna stocks in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) and for the United States to satisfy its obligations as a member of the IATTC.
DATES: This final rule is effective May 11, 2017.
ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents that were prepared for this final rule, including the regulatory impact review (RIR) are available via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA– NMFS–2017–0024 or contact with the Regional Administrator, Barry A. Thom, NMFS West Coast Region, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232–1274, or RegionalAdministrator.WCRHMS@ noaa.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS at 562–980–4036.
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