AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; fishery closure. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- SUMMARY: This final rule closes the Hawaii shallow-set pelagic longline fishery in compliance with an order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. DATES: Effective May 8, 2018, through December 31, 2018. Compliance date: May 4, 2018, through December 31, 2018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Harman, NMFS PIR, 808-725-5170. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a January 30, 2012, NMFS completed a biological opinion (BiOp) on the effects of the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery, pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In the BiOp, NMFS concluded that the continued operation of the Hawaii shallow-set fishery, as managed under the regulatory framework of the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific (FEP), was not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any ESA- listed species, or result in destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. The BiOp established an annual incidental take statement authorizing the fishery to interact with up to 26 leatherback and 34 loggerhead sea turtles. Consistent with the BiOp, NMFS revised its regulations establishing annual limits on allowable incidental interactions between the fishery and leatherback and North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles (77 FR 60638, October 4, 2012, codified at 50 CFR 665.813). If the fishery reaches either of the interaction limits in a given year, the regulations require NMFS to close the fishery for the remainder of the calendar year. In the U.S. District Court of Hawaii, several plaintiffs challenged, among other things, the NMFS final rule that revised the annual sea turtle interaction limits, and the Court ruled in favor of NMFS on all claims (see Turtle Island Restoration Network, et al. v. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, et al., (U.S.D.C. 2013), Civil No. 12-00594). Plaintiffs appealed the Court's decision and, on December 27, 2017, a U.S Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel issued a split decision affirming the NMFS BiOp regarding leatherback sea turtles, but holding that NMFS was arbitrary and capricious in its no-jeopardy determination for North Pacific loggerhead turtles (see Turtle Island Restoration Network, et al. v. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, et al., 878 F.3d 725 (9th Cir. 2017)). All parties agreed to settle the case pursuant to the terms outlined in a May 4, 2018, Stipulated Settlement Agreement and Court Order. As part of the agreement, the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii ordered NMFS to take several actions, including closing the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery through December 31, 2018. This rule implements the Court order to close the Hawaii shallow- set longline fishery through December 31, 2018. For complete FR notice, click here.