FR Notice – Proposed Rule Implementing Pelagic FEP Amendment 10 (Sea Turtle Limits in the Hawaii Shallow-set Pelagic Longline Fishery) and Request for Comments (20 March 2020)

Federal Register Notices, News and Updates

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

ACTION
Proposed rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY
NMFS proposes to revise measures that govern interactions between the Hawaii shallow-set pelagic longline fishery and sea turtles. Based on recommendations from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), we would lower the annual fleet interaction limit (“hard cap”) for leatherback sea turtles from 26 to 16, and remove the annual fleet hard cap for North Pacific loggerhead turtles (currently 17). NMFS would also create individual trip interaction limits of two leatherback and five North Pacific loggerhead turtle interactions, with accountability measures for reaching a limit. The proposed rule would provide managers and fishermen with the necessary tools to respond to and mitigate changes in North Pacific loggerhead and leatherback turtle interactions, to ensure a continued supply of fresh domestic swordfish to U.S. markets, consistent with the conservation needs of these sea turtles. The action also ensures that the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery operates in compliance with the Reasonable and Prudent Measures (RPMs) and associated Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) of a biological opinion (BiOp) issued by NMFS on June 26, 2019.

DATES
NMFS must receive comments by March 20, 2020.

ADDRESSES
You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2019-0098, by either of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​NOAA-NMFS-2019-0098, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
  • Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 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 www.regulations.gov 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).

The Council prepared Amendment 10 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific (FEP), including an environmental assessment (EA) and Regulatory Impact Review, which describes the potential impacts on the human environment that would result from the proposed rule. Copies of Amendment 10 and supporting documents are available at www.regulations.gov, or from the Council, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel 808-522-8220, fax 808-522-8226, www.​wpcouncil.org.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Joshua Lee, NMFS PIR Sustainable Fisheries, 808-725-5177.

To read the complete FR notice, visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/02/04/2020-02095/pacific-island-fisheries-sea-turtle-limits-in-the-hawaii-shallow-set-longline-fishery

To download the full Amendment 10 document, visit: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2019-0098

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