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Pelagics Fishery Management Plan

The Pelagic FMP was approved in 1987. The Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region became effective on March 23, 1987 (52 FR 5987). The Pelagic Management Unit Species (PMUS) at that time were billfish, wahoo, mahimahi, and oceanic sharks. The FMP’s first measures prohibited drift gillnet fishing within the region’s waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and prohibited foreign longline fishing within certain areas of the EEZ.Pelagics FMP Final Rule and additional Final Rule.The following tables contain management measures, including amendments, regulatory amendments, framework actions, and NMFS-initiated regulations.  Annual Reports can be found at the very bottom.
AMENDMENTS

Amendment Federal Register Notice / Effective date Description of Action
19 in progress Implement American Samoa purse seine restrictions
18 12/10/09
74 FR 65460
Removed 2,120 set limit for Hawaii-based shallow-set longline fishery. Implemented a new loggerhead sea turtle hard cap of 46 annual interactions.
17 in progress Implement Mariana longline and purse seine restrictions (no LL w/in 30 miles, no PS in EEZ)
16 suspended Amend Pelagic Framework process
15 11/21/08
73 FR 70600
Added the following pelagic squid species to the FMP: Ommastrephes bartramii, Thysanoteuthis rhombus, and Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis.  Also, required owners of U.S. vessels greater than 50 ft in length overall that fish for pelagic squid in U.S. EEZ of the western Pacific to obtain Federal permits under the Pelagics Fishery Management Plan, to carry Federal observers if requested by NMFS, and to report any Pacific pelagic squid catch and effort either in Federal logbooks or via existing local reporting systems.
14 6/18/07
72 FR 33442
Partially approved by NMFS. This amendment contained recommendations regarding international and domestic management, including a mechanism by which the Council could participate in international negotiations regarding these stocks. Amendment 14 contained measures to implement control dates for Hawaii’s non-longline commercial pelagic vessels (70 FR 47781) and purse seine and longline vessels (70 FR 47782), as well as requirements for federal permits and reporting for Hawaii-based non-longline commercial pelagic vessels. NMFS disapproved the Amendment’s international measures as premature. NMFS disapproved the domestic permit and reporting requirements as duplicative of existing State requirements. NMFS noted that Amendment 14 met the requirements of the Magnuson-Act regarding overfishing.
13 Was intended to address issues which have now become moot due to changing circumstances.
12 Was intended to address issues which have now become moot due to changing circumstances.
11 5/24/05
70 FR 29646
Effective August 1, 2005, Amendment 11 established a limited access system for pelagic longlining in EEZ waters around American Samoa. Longline vessel operators were required to obtain federal permits, to complete federal logbooks, to carry and use vessel monitoring systems installed, owned and operated by NFMS on vessels greater than 40 ft in length, to carry federal observers if requested by NMFS, and to follow sea turtle handling and resuscitation requirements.
10 2/24/04
69 FR 8336
Amendment 10 prohibits the harvest of Pelagic Management Unit Species in the no-take marine protected areas established under the Coral Reef Ecosystems FMP. The Coral Reef FMP establishes such areas around Rose Atoll in American Samoa, Kingman Reef, Jarvis Island, Howland Island, and Baker Island. The final rule implementing the Coral Reef Ecosystem FMP includes Amendment 10 to the Pelagics FMP.
9 Was intended to address issues which have now become moot due to changing circumstances.
8 4/19/99
64 FR 190678/5/03
68 FR 46112
Addressed new requirements under the 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act. Portions of the amendment that were immediately approved (4/19/99) included designations of essential fish habitat and descriptions of some fishing communities. Remaining portions were provisions regarding Hawaii fishing communities, overfishing definitions, and bycatch (approved 8/5/03).
7 5/24/94
59 FR 26979
Replaced Amendment 4 moratorium with a limited entry program for Hawaii-based domestic longline fishery with transferable permits, a limit of 164 vessels, and a maximum vessel size of 101′ in length overall. It also established a framework procedure for use with implementation of certain new regulations.
6 11/2/92
57 FR 36637
Specified that all tuna species are designated as fish under U.S. management authority and included tunas and related species as Pelagic Management Unit Species under the FMP. It also applied the longline exclusion zones of 50 nm around the island of Guam and the 25-75 nm zone around the MHI to foreign vessels.
5 3/2/92
57 FR 7661
Created a domestic longline vessel exclusion zone around the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) ranging from 50 to 75 nm, and a similar 50 nm exclusion zone around Guam and its offshore banks. A seasonal reduction in the size of the closure was implemented in October 1992; between October and January longline fishing is prohibited within 25 nm of the windward shores of all Main Hawaiian Islands except Oahu, where it is prohibited within 50 nm from the shore.
4 10/10/91
56 FR 14866
Established a three-year moratorium on new entry into the Hawaii-based domestic longline fishery. It also included provisions for establishing a mandatory vessel monitoring system for domestic longline vessels fishing in the Western Pacific Region. A final rule effective December 15, 1994 (59 FR 58789) under Amendment 4 required Hawaii-based longline vessels to carry and use a NMFS-owned vessel monitoring system (VMS) transmitter to ensure that they do not fish within prohibited areas
3 10/14/91
56 FR 52214
Created a 50 nm longline exclusion zone around the NWHI to protect endangered Hawaiian monk seals. It also implemented framework provisions for establishing a mandatory observer program to collect information on interactions between longline fishing and sea turtles.
2 5/26/91
56 FR 24731
Implemented requirements for domestic pelagic longline fishing and transhipment vessel operators to have Federal permits, maintain Federal fishing logbooks, and, if fishing within 50 nm of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, to have observers on board if directed by NMFS. It required longline gear to be marked with the official number of the permitted vessel, and incorporated waters of the EEZ around CNMI into the area managed under the FMP.
1 3/1/91
56 FR 9686
Defined recruitment overfishing for each PMUS. Defined the optimum yield for PMUS.

 

 

REGULATORY AMENDMENTS

 

Regulatory
Amendment
Federal Register Notice / Effective date Description of Action
7 5/17/07
72 FR 19123
Provided pelagic fishery participants the option of using NMFS approved electronic logbooks in lieu of paper logbooks effective May 17, 2007.
6 3/28/07
72 FR 8289
Made temporary rule (72 FR 26771) permanent.
5 1/18/06
70 FR 75075
Allowed operators of Hawaii-based longline vessels fishing north of 23 degrees north latitude, as well as those targeting swordfish south of 23 degrees north, to utilize side-setting to reduce seabird interactions in lieu of the seabird mitigation measures required by Framework Measure 1.
4
Appendix
12/15/05
70 FR 69282
Included measures to minimize turtle interactions by non-Hawaii based domestic longline vessels operating in the Western Pacific under general longline permits. Vessels with longline general permits making shallow sets north of the equator were required to use 18/0 circle hooks with mackerel-type bait and dehookers to release any accidentally caught turtles. The amendment required vessel operators and owners with general longline permits to annually attend protected species training workshops. Operators of vessels with general longline permits were required to carry and use specific mitigation gear to aid release of sea turtles accidentally hooked or entangled by longlines. This amendment required operators of non-longline pelagic vessels (e.g. trollers and handliners) to follow handling guidelines and remove trailing gear wherever they fish.
3
Appendices
4/2/04
69  FR 17329
Implemented measures for the longline fisheries to achieve optimum yield while not jeopardizing the long term existence of sea turtles and other listed species. The amendment established a limited Hawaii-based shallow-set swordfish fishery using circle hooks with mackerel bait. Fishing effort in the shallow-set swordfish fishery was limited to 50% of the 1994-1999 annual average number of sets (just over 2,100 sets) allocated between fishermen applying to participate in the fishery. A ‘hard’ limit on the number of leatherback (16) and loggerhead (17) turtle interactions that could occur in the swordfish fishery was implemented; the fishery closed for the remainder of the calendar year if either limit was reached. The amendment re-implemented earlier sea turtle handling and resuscitation requirements and included conservation projects to protect sea turtles in their nesting and coastal habitats. This rule implemented the requirement for night setting imposed by the USFWS Biological Opinion on Hawaii-based longline vessels targeting swordfish north of 23 degrees north latitude.
2 10/4/02
67 FR 59813
Established Federal permit and reporting requirements for any vessel using troll or handline gear to catch PMUS in EEZ waters around the Pacific Remote Island Areas of Kingman Reef, Howland, Baker, Jarvis, Johnston and Wake Islands, and Palmyra and Midway Atolls.
1 6/9/02
67 FR 40232
Incorporated reasonable and prudent alternative of the March 2001 Biological Opinion issued by NMFS.  This amendment prohibited shallow set pelagic longlining north of the equator and closed waters between 0° and 15° N from April-May annually to longline fishing. It instituted sea turtle handling requirements for all vessels using hooks to target pelagic species in the region’s EEZ waters and extended the protected species workshop requirement to include the operators of vessels registered to longline general permits.

 

 

FRAMEWORK ACTIONS

 

Framework Federal Register Notice / Effective date Description of Action
3 NMFS published a temporary rule effective March 20, 2006 through December 31, 2006 closing the Hawaii-based longline swordfish fishery for the remainder of the calendar year due to its having reached its annual limit of 17 interactions with loggerhead turtles (71 FR 14824).
2 6/13/02
67 FR 34408
Incorporated terms and conditions developed by the Council and contained in the November 28, 2000 USFWS seabird Biological Opinion requiring Hawaii-based pelagic longline vessel operators to use blue-dyed bait, strategic offal discards, and line shooters with weighted branch lines when fishing north of 23° N. Also included requirement that all Hawaii-based longline vessel owners and operators annually attend a protected species workshop conducted by NMFS.
1
Appendices
3/1/02
67 FR 4369
Prohibited fishing for pelagic species by vessels greater than 50 ft in length overall within EEZ waters 0-50 nm around the islands of American Samoa. Exception: vessels that landed PMUS in American Samoa under a Federal longline general permit prior to November 13, 1997.

 

 

NMFS-INITIATED REGULATIONS

 

Action Federal Register Notice / Publication date Description of Action
Control Date 6/19/08
73 FR 42769
Control date issued to notify persons who entered the CNMI longline fishery that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented for their fishery.
Control Date 6/19/08
73 FR 42540
Control date issued to notify persons who entered the Hawaii-based pelagic charter fishery that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented for their fishery. This control date superseded the March 16, 2007 control date.
Control Date 3/16/07
72 FR 26771
Control date issued to notify persons who entered the Hawaii-based pelagic charter fishery after that date that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented for their fishery.
Temporary
Rule
3/20/06
71 FR 14416
Temporary rule removing the delay in effectiveness for closing the Hawaii-based longline shallow-set swordfish fishery as a result of reaching one of its turtle interaction limits. This rule was effective through Sept. 18, 2006.
Control Date 6/2/05
72 FR 33442
At the request of the Council NMFS issued a control date of June 2, 2005 (72 FR 33442) to notify persons who entered the pelagic and purse seine fisheries in U.S. EEZ waters of the Western Pacific region after that date that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented for their fishery. The control date was issued in response to NMFS’ notification that overfishing of Pacific-wide bigeye tuna was occurring.
Control Date 6/2/05
70 FR 47781
Control date issued to notify persons who entered any non-longline commercial pelagic fishery in EEZ waters around the Hawaii archipelago after that date that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented for their fishery.
Executive Order 12/7/00
65 FR 769031/23/01
66 FR 7395
Of relevance to the NWHI pelagic troll and handline fishery: the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, established December 4, 2000 through Executive Order (EO) 13178 (65 FR 76903), modified by EO 13196 on January 18, 2001 (66 FR 7395). The EO includes prohibitions on commercial and recreational fishing, including the taking of living coral and dead coral, in certain “Reserve Preservation Areas” within the Reserve. It also includes provisions that cap the number of permits and the “annual aggregate take” for particular types of fishing based on historical levels of permit issuance and “take.”
MSA Amendment 3/13/02
67 FR 6194
In August 2000, the State of Hawaii enacted a law prohibiting the retention or landing of shark fins (“finning”) without their associated carcasses. The Magnuson-Stevens Act was amended with a similar prohibition.
Emergency
Interim
Rule
4/5/02
66 FR 16323
Prohibited longline fishing north of 26 degrees North and prohibited retention or landing of more than 10 swordfish by longline vessels fishing for tuna north of the equator in response to turtle interaction levels anticipated in NMFS’ March 29, 2001 Biological Opinion and led to a new Biological Opinion on November 15, 2002.
Control Date 2/15/01
97 FR 27623
A control date was issued to notify persons who entered the Hawaii handline fishery that occurs around Cross Seamount and around four NOAA weather buoys and one University of Hawaii research buoy off Hawaii that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented for the fishery.
Final Rule 12/31/01
66 FR 67495
Slightly revised the national sea turtle handling and resuscitation requirements.
Emergency
Interim
Rule
66 FR 63630 Extended the existing emergency rule (66 FR 31561) through June 8, 2002. This rule allowed the use of basket-style longline gear as an alternative to a line setting machine with weighted branch lines.
Emergency
Interim
Rule
6/12/01
66 FR 31561
Implemented measures contained in a March 30, 2001 Court order, as well as the terms and conditions in the November 28, 2000 USFWS Biological Opinion regarding potential interactions between the Hawaii-based longline fleet and short-tailed albatrosses. To reduce potential sea turtle interactions, this rule prohibited longline fishing targeting swordfish north of the equator by HI-based longline vessels as well as in an area south of the Hawaiian Islands during the months of April and May; required longlines targeting tuna to be set so that the deepest point between any two float lines was at least 100 m with a minimum of 15 branch lines deployed between any two floats and required all float lines to be at least 20 m long; prohibited the use or possession of light sticks while longline fishing for tuna; limited the re-registration of vessels to Hawaii longline permits the month of October; imposed additional sea turtle handling and resuscitation measures; and required all Hawaii-based longline vessel operators to attend an annual protected species workshop conducted by NMFS. To reduce the potential short-tailed albatross interactions, this rule required HI-based longline vessel operators fishing for tuna north of 23 degrees north latitude use thawed blue-dyed bait; use strategic offal discards to distract seabird during the setting and hauling of gear; employ a line-setting machine with 45 g or heavier weights attached within one meter of each hook; and follow specified seabird handling and resuscitation techniques.
Notice 3/30/01
66 FR 20134
NMFS issued a notice of requirements to inform the public of the requirements in a Court order.
Emergency
Interim
Rule
3/14/01
66 FR 15358
All Hawaii-based longline fishing was prohibited between March 15, 2001 and May 15, 2001.
Emergency
Interim
Rule
11/3/00
65 FR 66186
Effective through February 21, 2001, it defined deep-set tuna longline fishing as fishing in which the deepest point between any two floats was at least 100 m. In addition tuna vessels were prohibited from carrying or using lightsticks and vessel operators were required to donate at least 30 percent of any swordfish gross revenues from Area C to charity. NMFS subsequently extended this rule through August 20, 2001 (66 FR 11120).
Control
Date
7/15/00
65 FR 62692
Control date issued to notify persons who entered the American Samoa-based longline fishery that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented.
Emergency
Interim
Rule
8/25/00
65 FR 51992
Emergency interim rule issued in response to Court order, effective through February 21, 2001, that implemented a modified area closure for three areas north of the Hawaiian Islands (Areas A, B and C). All Hawaii-based longline fishing was prohibited in Area A; 154 longline sets were allowed in Area B between August 10 and December 31, 2000 with another 77 sets allowed between January 1 and March 14, 2001; and longline fishing for swordfish was prohibited in Area C. Increasing levels of observer coverage were required in Area C and the profits from any swordfish landed from Area C by vessels targeting tuna were required to be donated to charity. In addition, all longline fishing was prohibited in Areas B and C between March 15 and May 31, 2001.
Final Rule 4/27/00
65 FR 16346
In response to a November 26, 1999 Court order, NMFS issued a final rule requiring Hawaii-based longline vessels to carry and use line clippers and dip nets to free any hooked or entangled sea turtles .
Emergency
Rule
12/23/99
64 FR 72290
In response to a November 23, 1999 Court order NMFS issued an emergency rule effective through June 26, 2000 that prohibited longline fishing by Hawaii-based vessels in an area north of the Hawaiian Islands. This rule was subsequently extended through December 23, 2000 (65 FR 37917).
Final Rule 12/15/94
59 FR 58789
Final rule implementing an experimental vessel monitoring system (VMS) program in the Hawaii-based longline fishery, which required vessel operators to carry VMS for a maximum of three years.
Final Rule 4/23/94
59 FR 18499
Final rule that made 1992 interim rule, requiring observers on longline vessels, permanent.
Final Rule 4/15/93
58 FR 14170
Revised gear marking requirements for longline vessels fishing in EEZ waters. Required that all floats and buoys be marked with the vessel’s official number whether deployed or possessed on board the vessel. Unmarked gear could be seized and destroyed by enforcement officers.
Interim Final Rule 1/6/94
58 FR 67699
In response to a Biological Opinion regarding protected species interactions, NMFS issued an interim final rule that required operators of Hawaii-based longline fleet vessels to carry a federal observer if requested by NMFS.
Control Date 7/2/92
57 FR 36637
At the request of the Council NMFS issued a control date to notify persons who entered the Hawaii handline fishery that occurs around Cross Seamount and around four NOAA weather buoys off Hawaii that after that date that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented for the fishery. The control date was issued in response to rapid growth in this fishery.