News and Updates

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Press Release – Federal Fishery Managers to Ask American Samoa Government, Cannery to Act on Fishery Matters (Oct. 19, 2017)

UTULEI, AMERICAN SAMOA (19 October 2017) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council yesterday at the Rex Lee Auditorium in Utulei, American Samoa, voted to undertake the following actions regarding American Samoa fisheries operating in federal waters (3 to 200 nautical miles offshore).
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Press Release – American Samoa Governor, NOAA Fisheries Deputy Assistant Administrator Recognize Importance of Fisheries to the Territory and Nation (Oct. 18, 2017)

Council family following awa ceremony presented by the American Samoa government to traditionally welcome the Council family to American Samoa prior to the opening of the 171st Council meeting.

UTULEI, AMERICAN SAMOA (18 October 2017) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council opened its 171st meeting yesterday at the Rex Lee Auditorium in Utulei, American Samoa, with remarks from Gov. Lolo Moliga about the Territory’s fisheries followed by remarks about the nation’s fisheries by Samuel Rauch III, NOAA Fisheries Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs.

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Summer 2017 Pacific Island Fishery News

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Press Release – Scientists Weigh-In on Management of US Pacific Island Fisheries

HONOLULU (16 October 2017) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) concluded its three-day meeting Thursday in Lihue, Kauai, with a suite of recommendations on managing fisheries in Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the US Pacific Remote Islands Areas. The Council will consider the recommendations from the SSC and its other advisory bodies at its 171st meeting to be held Oct. 17-19 in Utulei, American Samoa. The SSC recommendations on the major agenda items are as follows:
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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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Press Release – Scientists to Advise on Management of US Pacific Island Fisheries

HONOLULU (6 October 2017) Renowned scientists from throughout the Pacific will convene in Lihue, Kauai, from Oct. 10 to 12 to provide recommendations on managing fisheries in Hawai’i, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the US Pacific Remote Islands Areas. The meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) is open to the public and runs 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Aqua Beach Hotel, 4331 Kauai Beach Dr.
The American Samoa longline fleet, which supplies the local tuna cannery, has confronted years of economic hardship. Consideration will be given to alleviate the problem by opening up portions of the Large Vessel Prohibited Area. Photo by Sylvia Spalding

The Council will consider the recommendations from the SSC and its other advisory bodies at its 171st meeting to be held Oct. 17-19in Utulei, American Samoa. The major agenda items include the following:

American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA) options: Consideration will be given to an exemption that would allow US-flag longline vessels over 50 feet in length to fish within portions of the LVPA and that takes into account the needs of cultural fishing practices.

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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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FR Notice – 2017 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits (Aug. 31, 2017)

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes a 2017 limit of 2,000 metric tons (mt) of longline- caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. Pacific territory (American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands). NMFS would allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 mt 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.
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