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Proposed Rule for establishing requirements for fishing in the Marianas Trench Pacific Remote Islands, and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments.  Comments due April 8, 2013.
Federal Register Notice (FR Notice).
Submit Electronic Comments (use this link: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0070)

Status Review Reports of 82 Species of Coral under the ESA Now Available for Public Comment
On April 13, 2012, NMFS published two reports prepared as part of the Status Review for 82 species of corals. The Biological Review Team Status Review Report and Management Report will form the basis for the proposed determination of the 82 species of coral under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that is due on December 1, 2012 (see more on the deadline extension below). Public comments will be accepted on these two reports until July 31, 2012. The full notice is available here. For more information about the reports, public comment period, and listening session schedules, visit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/4_13_12corals_petition.html

New Deadline for Proposed Determination of 82 Species of Coral under the ESA
On March 13, 2012, an agreement was made to postpone the deadline for a proposed determination for 82 species of coral under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The new deadline is December 1, 2012. A petition to list 83 species of coral under the ESA was submitted to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in October 2009. NMFS published the 90-day finding on February 10, 2010, announcing that the petitioned action may be warranted for 82 of the 83 petitioned species. NMFS subsequently initiated the status review, but the original deadline of October 2010 to publish the 12-month finding was not met. NMFS later reached a settlement with the petitioner to publish the 12-month finding by April 15, 2012. At the 153rd Council Meeting held March 5-9, 2012, Council members expressed concerns over the lack of transparency throughout the coral status review process, and made a recommendation requesting the deadline extension to allow for further consultations with state and territorial governments, the Council and potentially affected communities. For photographs and distributions of the candidate coral species, download this document. Documents are also available at: http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/PRD/prd_coral.html

Hawaii Shallow-set Longline Fishery Closure due to Reaching Turtle Interaction Limit
NMFS closed the shallow-set pelagic longline fishery north of the equator for a vessels in the Hawaii longline limited access program. The fishery has reached the 2011 limit for sea turtle interactions, so the fishery will be closed the remainder of the year. The closure is from November 18 - December 31, 2011. The Federal Register Notice was published November 25, 2011.

Loggerhead Turtle ESA Listing
National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a final rule on September 22, 2011, revising the listing of the loggerhead sea turtle under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Services published a proposed rule in March 2010 to change the listing from a single, globally threatened listing for all loggerheads to nine Distinct Population Segments (DPS) of loggerhead sea turtles listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA. In the final rule, the Services determined five of the DPS to be Endangered and four of the DPS to be Threatened. The North Pacific Ocean DPS, the population interacting with the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery, is now listed as Endangered. The publication of the final rule also initiates the ESA Section 7 reconsultation of the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery, and NMFS is required to issue a new biological opinion and incidental take statement for the fishery within 135 days of the loggerhead listing final determination.

Fish Is Brain Food!
A new documentary on mercury in fish made for Prairie Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) has just been made public.  You can watch it here. The website also  includes short video clips, brochures and fact sheets that showcase the health benefits of seafood consumption for pregnant women, babies, your heart and your brain. The University of North Dakota produced the video, with footage from Hawaii fishery and Honolulu Fish Auction.  The documentary has aired in North Dakota and will be made available to PBS stations across the country.

False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team - proposed rule
On July 18, 2011, one year after a consensus draft plan was submitted by the False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published the proposed False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan. During 2010, NMFS convened four meetings of the TRT to develop a draft plan to reduce false killer whale bycatch in the Hawaii-based longline fleet and to meet the requirements under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The proposed plan includes both regulatory and non-regulatory measures that aim to reduce the number of false killer whale mortalities and serious injuries (M&SI) to less than 2.5 whales, which is the “potential biological removal (PBR)” level that triggers the TRT process. Public comments can be submitted until October 17, 2011. To download the proposed rule and supporting documents, visit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/interactions/trt/falsekillerwhale.htm

American Samoa Longline Gear Modifications to Reduce Sea Turtle Interactions
A final rule for Amendment 5 to the Pelagics Fishery Ecosystem Plan was published August 24, 2011, that establishes gear configuration requirements for the U.S. pelagic longline fishery based in American Samoa. The action is intended to reduce interactions between the fishery and Pacific green sea turtles..

Marianas Trench Marine National Monument Knowledge and Attitudes Survey
The Human Dimensions Research Program at NMFS PIFSC initiated a survey to support the development of the Monument's management plan. The survey will contain questions about awareness, knowledge, and attitudes regarding the Monument, preferences for management and scientific research, and level of interest in becoming involved in Monument management and outreach activities. The survey seeks to define CNMI and Guam residents' management preferences and perceptions of effects such as impact to fishermen and fishing communities, and increased Federal management in the archipelago. For more information, see the Federal Register Notice.

The Impact of Marine Preserve Areas on the Safety of Fishermen on Guam
For fishermen on Guam who have traditionally fished inshore, a major concern is the loss of accessible fishing grounds caused in part by the establishment of five marine preserve areas (MPAs) in 1997. Now a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), provides concrete evidence on how dangerous fishing has become for the indigenous Chamorro fishermen since fishing restrictions in the MPAs have been enforced. Report


Responses to Comment Requests

  • 90-Day Finding on a Petition to Delist the Green Turtle in Hawaii-September 10, 2012-Council Comments
  • 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark under the ESA - council Comments

  • Proposed Expansion of Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Regulatory Changes, and Sanctuary Name Change - Council Comments 12-30-11

  • Proposed False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan - Supplemental Comments 11-1-11

  • Proposed False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan - Council Comments 10-14-11

  • Hawaiian Monk Seal PEIS - Council Comments 10-14-11

  • Proposed revision of the Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat - Council Comments 08-30-2011

  • Proposed 2012 List of Fisheries - Council Comments 07-25-2011

  • Proposed listing of Hawaiian insular false killer whale distinct population segment as endangered - Council Comments 02-11-2011

  • 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List 83 Species of Corals under the ESA - Council Comments 4-12-10


Press Releases

  • 2008 Winter



Last updated: April 2011