NOAA FISHERIES SERVICE: FishNews

 

FishNews May 12, 2009

WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

National

Salazar and Locke Restore Scientific Consultations to Protect Endangered Species and their Habitats

National

System for Marine Protected Areas Launched by U.S. Departments of Commerce and Interior

Pacific Coast

Inseason Adjustments for Groundfish Fisheries

Northwest

NOAA to Review Status of Oregon Coast Coho; Public Invited to Submit Supporting Information

Northwest

Commerce Secretary Extends 2008 Disaster Declaration Due to Poor Salmon Returns

Gulf of Mexico

IFQs Proposed for Commercial Grouper and Tilefish Fisheries; Public Invited to Comment

Gulf of Mexico

NOAA Announces Emergency Rule to Protect 'Threatened' Sea Turtles

Northeast

Public Invited to Comment on Tilefish Amendment

Northeast

Measures Set for 2009 Bluefish Fisheries

Northeast

Measures Set for 2009 Spiny Dogfish Fisheries


EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports Available

World Cetacea Database Now Online

North Pacific Council's Crab Team to Meet; May 11-15 in Seattle, WA

South Atlantic Council Seeks Scientific Advisors; Deadline is May 12

New England Council's Herring Advisory Committee to Meet; May 14 in Portmouth, NH

Public Meeting on New Sea Turtle Regulations for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Trawl Fisheries; May 15 in Silver Spring, MD

Pacific Islands Student Intern Program Deadline is May 15

U.S Advisory Committee for the IATTC to Meet; May 18 in LaJolla, CA

Mid-Atlantic Council's SSC to Meet; May 19 in Baltimore, MD

Council Coordination Committee to Meet; May 19-22 in Boston, MA

Mid-Atlantic Council Extends Comment Period on Annual Catch Limits; New Deadline is May 31

NOAA Offers Ocean Education Grants to Accredited Aquariums; Deadline June 9

NOAA Fisheries Actions

Calendar


Today's Issues

WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

National - Salazar and Locke Restore Scientific Consultations to Protect Endangered Species and their Habitats

Federal agencies are once again required to consult with federal wildlife experts at NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - the two agencies that administer the Endangered Species Act (ESA) - before taking any action that may affect threatened or endangered species.  In March, President Obama directed the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior to review the previous Administration's Section 7 regulation of the ESA; Congress, in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, specifically authorized the Secretaries to revoke the regulation.  Locke and Salazar have also said that the two departments will conduct a joint review of the 1986 consultation regulations to determine if any improvements should be proposed.

For more information, read the NOAA news release.
 

National - System for Marine Protected Areas Launched by U.S. Departments of Commerce and Interior

The U.S. Departments of Interior and Commerce are partnering with federal, state and territorial agencies to form a National System of Marine Protected Areas (MPA). MPAs are areas where natural or cultural resources are given greater protection than in the surrounding waters. The majority are 'multiple-use' areas, which allow fishing, diving, boating, swimming and other uses. 'No-take' MPAs allow human access but prohibit extraction or significant destruction of natural or cultural resources. They are sometimes used as research and monitoring zones, to protect spawning or nursery grounds, or to protect ecologically important deep-water habitats.

While MPAs have been established throughout the U.S. for decades, there has not been an overarching mechanism to coordinate effective ecosystem management. Two hundred and twenty-five (225) existing MPAs managed by various agencies will initially enter the system, which aims to enhance protection of marine resources, build partnerships to address issues affecting MPAs, and improve public access to scientific information and decision-making about marine resources.

For more information, read the NOAA news release.
 

Pacific Coast - Inseason Adjustments for Groundfish Fisheries

A new final rule establishes inseason changes to management measures in the commercial Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. These actions, which are authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), are intended to allow fisheries to access more abundant groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted stocks. The rule also implements changes to the incidental retention allowance for halibut in the primary sablefish fishery under the authority of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act.  

Comments on this rule may be submitted at www.regulations.gov until 5pm, local time on May 27, 2009. For more information, contact Gretchen.Arentzen@noaa.gov.

 

Northwest - NOAA to Review Status of Oregon Coast Coho; Public Invited to Submit Supporting Information

NOAA Fisheries Service has initiated a status review under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the Oregon Coast coho salmon. To ensure that the review is based on the best available scientific and commercial information, NOAA is soliciting information regarding the population structure, status and trends, and limiting factors and threats to this population. On February 11, 2008, NOAA issued a final determination to list the Oregon Coast coho salmon ESU as a threatened species under the ESA, and also issued final protective regulations and designated critical habitat. The current listing of Oregon Coast coho salmon and associated protections will remain in place while the agency conducts this new review. If a change in listing status is warranted, there will be an opportunity for public comment.  

Information and comments on the subject action must be received by July 28, 2009. For instructions on how to submit comments, please read the Federal Register notice. Additional background information is available online.

 

Northwest - Commerce Secretary Extends 2008 Disaster Declaration Due to Poor Salmon Returns

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is extending the 2008 West Coast salmon disaster declaration for California and Oregon in response to expected poor salmon returns to the Sacramento River, which have led to management reducing commercial salmon fishing off southern Oregon and California to near zero. Locke also announced that he would release $53.1 million in disaster funds to aid fishing communities.

Sacramento River Fall-run Chinook are the foundation of the West Coast's commercial salmon harvest and in typical years 400,000 to 600,000 of them return to spawn. A minimum of 122,000 Sacramento River Fall Chinook must be predicted to return to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River system before any harvest can take place. Last year, barely 66,000 Fall Chinook returned to their spawning grounds in the system. This year, a greater number of Chinook are expected, but only marginally more than the 122,000 needed to maintain the health of the fishery. Agency biologists said the 2008 collapse was triggered primarily by climatic conditions that produced little food in the ocean, compounded by too much reliance on fish produced in hatcheries instead of the wild.  

For more information, read the NOAA news release.

 

Gulf of Mexico - IFQs Proposed for Commercial Grouper and Tilefish Fisheries; Public Invited to Comment

NOAA Fisheries Service has published a proposed rule to implement Amendment 29 to the Fishery Management Plan for Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico, as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. This proposed rule would implement a multi-species individual fishing quota (IFQ) program to reduce effort in the grouper and tilefish commercial sector of the reef fish fishery in the Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone. In addition, the proposed rule would allow permit consolidation and dual classifications to the shallow water and deepwater management units for speckled hind and warsaw grouper, and would modify some provisions of the Gulf red snapper IFQ program for consistency with this program.  

Comments may be submitted at www.regulations.gov until 5pm, eastern time, on June 15, 2009. For more information, contact Susan Gerhart at 727-824-5305.

 

Gulf of Mexico - NOAA Announces Emergency Rule to Protect ‘Threatened’ Sea Turtles

NOAA Fisheries Service has implemented an emergency rule to protect threatened sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. The temporary rule, which takes effect May 18, 2009, will require the commercial reef fish longline fleet to fish seaward of a line approximating the 50-fathom contour in the Gulf of Mexico. Current regulations require this fleet to fish seaward of 20-fathoms. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council requested this emergency rule after a NOAA observer study documented the reef fish longline fleet was incidentally catching and killing too many loggerhead sea turtles.

The new regulations will primarily affect longline fishermen who target shallow-water grouper species, such as red grouper. Most shallow-water grouper fishing occurs within the 50-fathom contour off the west Florida shelf - an important sea turtle feeding area - where most of the incidental sea turtle bycatches occur. The emergency rule also prohibits all reef fish longline fishing east of 85 degrees 30 minutes west longitude in the Gulf of Mexico after the quotas for deep water grouper and tilefish are reached.

For more information, read the NOAA news release.
 

Northeast - Public Invited to Comment on Tilefish Amendment

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 1 to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan for review by the Secretary of Commerce. This amendment includes measures that would implement an Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program, establish new monitoring and reporting requirements, modify designations of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) and habitat areas of particular concern, and implement measures to reduce gear impacts on EFH within the Exclusive Economic Zone. The proposed IFQ program is intended to reduce overcapacity in the commercial fishery, and to address problems associated with a derby-style fishery. Amendment 1 also would create a tilefish open access Charter/Party permit, which would require reporting by the recreational component of the fishery.  

Comments may be submitted at www.regulations.gov until July 6, 2009. For more information, read the Federal Register notice or contact Timothy Cardiasmenos at 978-281-9204.

 

Northeast - Measures Set for 2009 Bluefish Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries Service has published a final rule with specifications for the 2009 Atlantic bluefish fishery, including state-by-state commercial quotas, a recreational harvest limit, and recreational possession limits for bluefish. The intent of these specifications is to establish the allowable 2009 harvest levels and possession limits to attain the target fishing mortality rate, consistent with the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan. NOAA declared the Atlantic bluefish stock fully rebuilt in 2008.  

For more information, contact Tobey Curtis at 978-281-9273.

 

Northeast - Measures Set for 2009 Spiny Dogfish Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries Service has announced specifications for the spiny dogfish fishery for the 2009 fishing year (May 1, 2009, through April 30, 2010). The 2009 fishing year quota for spiny dogfish is 12 million lb, and the possession limit of 3,000 lb. This rule also modifies existing management measures.  

For more information, contact Jamie Goen at 978-281-9220.

 

EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports Available

Updated marine mammal stock assessment reports are now available online. For more information, please contact Tom.Eagle@noaa.gov.

World Cetacea Database Now Online

The World Cetacea Database is now online at www.marinespecies.org/cetacea. The previous link  is an external site. It is primarily a taxonomic facility, but some information on biology and distribution is included. The editor would welcome any contribution of high-resolution photographic images of these species. For more information, contact William.Perrin@noaa.gov.

North Pacific Council's Crab Team to Meet; May 11-15 in Seattle, WA

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council's Crab Plan Team will meet May 11, 12, and 15, 2009. A public workshop on Alaska Crab Stock Assessments will be held May 13-14. The meetings will take place in Seattle, WA. A detailed agenda is provided in the meeting notice.

South Atlantic Council Seeks Scientific Advisors; Deadline is May 12

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is seeking scientists who are interested in serving on its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and on a newly created Social and Economics Technical Advisory Panel. Membership on both is open to any qualified scientist, regardless of affiliation or geographic location. The deadline for submitting applications is May 12, 2009. More information is available online. The previous link  is an external site.

New England Council's Herring Advisory Committee to Meet; May 14 in Portmouth, NH

The New England Fishery Management Council's Herring Advisory Panel will meet on May 14, 2009, in Portsmouth, NH. A detailed agenda is provided in the meeting notice.

Public Meeting on New Sea Turtle Regulations for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Trawl Fisheries; May 15 in Silver Spring, MD

NOAA Fisheries Service will hold a public scoping meeting on the proposed implementation of new sea turtle regulations in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico trawl fisheries. This meeting will take place at 1301 East West Highway, in Silver Spring, MD, on May 15, 2009, from 10am to 12pm. Written comments will also be accepted until July 10, 2009. For more information, read the Federal Register notice or contact Alexis.Gutierrez@noaa.gov.

Pacific Islands Student Intern Program Deadline is May 15

NOAA's Pacific Islands Fishery Science Center has a Student Intern Program that offers qualified college students professional work experience and formal training opportunities. The application deadline for the Summer 2009 program is May 15. More information is available online.

U.S Advisory Committee for the IATTC to Meet; May 18 in LaJolla, CA

NOAA Fisheries Service has announced that a meeting of the General Advisory Committee to the U.S. Section to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) will take place in LaJolla, CA, on May 18, 2009. A detailed agenda is provided in the meeting notice.

Mid-Atlantic Council's SSC to Meet; May 19 in Baltimore, MD

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) will meet on May 19, 2009, in Baltimore, MD. A detailed agenda is provided in the meeting notice.

Council Coordination Committee to Meet; May 19-22 in Boston, MA

The Council Coordination Committee (CCC), consisting of the eight Regional Fishery Management Council chairs, vice chairs and executive directors will meet in Boston, MA on May 19-22, 2009. For more information, read the Federal Register notice.

Mid-Atlantic Council Extends Comment Period on Annual Catch Limits; New Deadline is May 31

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council has extended the comment period for scoping on an Omnibus Amendment to establish annual catch limits and accountability measures in mid-Atlantic fisheries. The amendment is expected to address fishery management plans for Atlantic mackerel, butterfish, Atlantic bluefish, spiny dogfish, summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, tilefish, surfclams, and ocean quahogs. More information is available online. The previous link  is an external site.

NOAA Offers Ocean Education Grants to Accredited Aquariums; Deadline June 9

The NOAA Office of Education is inviting applications for funding to support education projects designed to engage the public in activities that increase ocean and/or climate literacy and the adoption of a stewardship ethic. The only eligible applicants are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that are either aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) or have a legally sanctioned affiliation with an AZA-accredited aquarium. The deadline for applications is 5pm EDT on June 9, 2009. For more information, read the Federal Register notice.

FEDERAL REGISTER ACTIONS


For a list of only those actions open for public comment, try going to http://www.regulations.gov and scroll search for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For a list of all daily actions, check the Federal register online at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html.


NOAA FISHERIES ACTIONS


 

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