FR Notice – Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits in Longline Fisheries for 2017 (Aug. 4, 2017)

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

ACTION: Interim rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY: NMFS issues regulations under authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFC Implementation Act) to modify a limit on the amount of bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) that may be captured by U.S. longline vessels in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), to 3,138 metric tons (mt) for calendar year 2017. The limit does not apply to vessels in the longline fisheries of American Samoa, Guam, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Once the limit of 3,138 mt is reached in 2017, retaining, transshipping, or landing bigeye tuna caught in the area of application of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention), which comprises the majority of the WCPO, will be prohibited for the remainder of the calendar year, with certain exceptions. This action is necessary for the United States to satisfy its obligations under the Convention, to which it is a Contracting Party.

DATES: Effective on August 4, 2017. Comments must be submitted in writing by September 5, 2017.

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