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FR Notice – 2019 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Aug. 1, 2019)

ACTION: Announcement of a valid specified fishing agreement.

SUMMARY: NMFS announces a valid specified fishing agreement that allocates up to 1,000 metric tons (t) of the 2019 bigeye tuna limit for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to U.S. longline fishing vessels. The agreement supports the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands, and fisheries development in the CNMI.

DATES: The specified fishing agreement is valid on July 19, 2019.

ADDRESSES: The Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific (Pelagic FEP) describes specified fishing agreements and is available from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel 808–522–8220, fax 808–522–8226, or http://www.wpcouncil.org.

NMFS prepared environmental analyses that describe the potential impacts on the human environment that would result from the action. The analyses, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2019–0028, are available from https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAANMFS-2019-0028, or from Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rebecca Walker, NMFS PIRO Sustainable Fisheries, 808–725–5184.

Click here for complete FR Notice.

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FR Notice – 2019 Bigeye Tuna Longline Fishery Closure (July 24, 2019)

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; fishery closure.

SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the U.S. pelagic longline fishery for bigeye tuna in the western and central Pacific Ocean because the fishery has reached the 2019 catch limit. This action is necessary to ensure compliance with NMFS regulations that implement decisions of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

DATES: Effective 12:01 a.m. local time July 27, 2019, through December 31, 2019.

ADDRESSES: NMFS prepared a plain language guide and frequently asked questions that explain how to comply with this rule; both are available at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2019-0085.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rebecca Walker, NMFS Pacific Islands Region, 808–725–5184.

Click here for complete FR Notice.

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Press Release – Fishery Managers Recommend Removing Bigeye Tuna Quota Limit for US Pacific Territories Consistent with International Provisions (27 June 2019)

HONOLULU (27 June 2019) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, yesterday in Honolulu, recommended removing the 2,000 metric (mt) annual catch limit for bigeye tuna caught by longline in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) for the US Pacific Territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Removal of the catch limit would bring parity between the US Territories and other Territories and Small Island Developing States (SIDs) in the region. The recommendation will go the US Secretary of Commerce for approval as part of Amendment 9 to the Pacific Pelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) for the Western Pacific Region.


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Press Release – Scientists Recommend Removing Catch Limits, Increasing Allocation Limits for US Pacific Territory Longline-Caught Bigeye Tuna (20 June 2019)

Bigeye tuna drawing. Courtesy Les Hata, Secretariat of the Pacific Community

HONOLULU (20 June 2019) The Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council concluded a three-day meeting today in Honolulu recommending bigeye tuna catch limits and allocation amounts for the US Participating Territories for the fishing years 2020 to 2023. This and other recommendations by the Council’s SSC will be considered by the Council at its 178th meeting in Honolulu on June 25-27. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, the Council has authority over fisheries seaward of state waters in Hawaiʻi and other US Pacific Islands.
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FR Notice – 2018 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Nov. 7, 2018)

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Announcement of a valid specified fishing agreement.

SUMMARY: NMFS announces a valid specified fishing agreement that allocates up to 1,000 metric tons (t) of the 2018 bigeye tuna limit for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to identified U.S. longline fishing vessels. The agreement supports the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands, and fisheries development in the CNMI.
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FR Notice – 2018 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits (Oct. 23, 2018)

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

SUMMARY: In this final rule, NMFS specifies a 2018 limit of 2,000 metric tons (t) of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. Pacific territory (American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)). NMFS will allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 t each year to U.S. longline fishing vessels in a valid specified fishing agreement. As an accountability measure, NMFS will monitor, attribute, and restrict (if necessary), catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna, including catches made under a specified fishing agreement. These catch limits and accountability measures support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands.

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