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

ACTION: Temporary rule; area closure; request for comments.

SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the Southern Exclusion Zone (SEZ) to deep-set longline fishing through December 31, 2018, for all vessels registered under the Hawaii longline limited access program, as a result of the fishery reaching the established annual trigger of two observed false killer whale mortalities or serious injuries (M&SI) in the fishery within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around Hawaii. This action is necessary to comply with False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan (Plan) regulations that establish the SEZ closure trigger and procedures to limit M&SI of false killer whales in the Hawaii deep-set longline fishery.

DATES: Effective July 24, 2018, through December 31, 2018.
NMFS must receive comments by August 17, 2018.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2018–0085, by either of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0085. Click the ‘‘Comment Now’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
  • Mail: Submit written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), attention Kevin Brindock, Protected Resources, 1845 Wasp Blvd.,
    Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.

Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Brindock, Protected Resources, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office, 808–725–5146,; or Kristy Long, NMFS Office of Protected Resources, 301–526–4792,

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