National Marine Fisheries Service Announces Approval of a Marine Conservation Plan (MCP) for Northern Marianas

On July 25, 2014, NMFS published a Federal Register notice announcing that NMFS has determined that the CNMI MCP satisfies the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and approves the MCP for the 3-year period from August 4, 2014, through August 3, 2017. This MCP supersedes the one approved for the period August 4, 2011 through August 3, 2014 (76 FR 50183, August 12, 2011).

At its 160th meeting held June 24-27, 2014, in Honolulu, the Council reviewed and approved the MCP for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and recommended its submission to the Secretary for approval. On July 11, 2014, the Governor of the CNMI submitted the MCP to NMFS, the designee of the Secretary, for review and approval.

An MCP must be consistent with the Council’s fishery ecosystem plans, must identify conservation and management objectives (including criteria for determining when such objectives have been met), and must prioritize planned marine conservation projects.

The CNMI MCP contains seven conservation and management objectives, listed below. Please refer to the MCP for planned projects and activities designed to meet each objective, the evaluative criteria, and priority rankings.

MCP Objectives:

1. Improve fisheries data collection and reporting.

2. Conduct resource assessment, monitoring, and research to gain a better understanding of marine resources and fisheries.

3. Conduct enforcement training and monitoring activities to promote compliance with federal and local mandates.

4. Promote responsible domestic fisheries development to provide long-term economic growth, stability, and local food production.

5. Conduct education and outreach, enhance public participation, and build local capacity.

6. Promote an ecosystem approach to fisheries management, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and regional cooperation.

7. Recognize the importance of island cultures and traditional fishing practices in managing fishery resources, and foster opportunities for participation.

To view the Federal Register notice, click here.