FishNews March 28, 2011

WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

National NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, Eric Schwaab, Addresses Boston Seafood Show
National NOAA, FDA Continue to Re-test Gulf Seafood and Post Results Online
National Commerce Secretary Announces Additional Reforms to Overhaul NOAA's Law Enforcement System
National NOAA Fisheries and US Fish and Wildlife Service Extend Date for Determining Endangered Species Act Status for Loggerhead Sea Turtles; Comments Now Due April 11
National Savannah Ocean Exchange Gulf Stream Award; Prescreening Applications Due April 15
Northeast NOAA Requests Comments on Proposed Amendment 15 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan; Comments due May 23
Northeast NOAA Proposes 33 Percent Increase for 2011 Spiny Dogfish Quota; Comments due April 18
Northeast NOAA Raises Butterfish Catch to Help Prevent Premature Closure of Squid Fishery
Northeast NOAA Proposes to Allow Limited Retention of Atlantic Highly Migratory Species in Trawl Fisheries to Reduce Dead Discards; Comments due April 17
Northeast/Southeast NOAA Proposes 2011 Atlantic Bluefln Tuna Quotas and Atlantic Tuna Fisheries Management Measures; Comments due April 28
Alaska Halibut Stock Decline Forces Increased Management Measures for Southeast Alaska Charter Fleet
Northwest/Southwest NOAA Requests Public Comment on West Coast Highly Migratory Species Amendment 2; Comments Due May 13
Southwest Tagged Sablefish Recovered Decades Later
Pacific Islands Western Pacific Fishery Management Council Proposes Area Closures around Guam and Northern Mariana Islands; Comments due May 10
Pacific Islands Western Pacific Fishery Management Council Proposes to Amend Fishery Ecosystem Plans to Include Mechanism for Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures; Comments due May 16

EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Join Us for Public Meetings and Give Us Your Ideas for Restoration Planning

 

NOAA Fisheries Seeks Director, Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor, Applications due April 5

 

Save the Date: Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel Meeting, April 5-7, 2011

 

Request for Nominations: Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Advisory Committee; Due April 11

 

NOAA Fisheries Announces Workshops on Protected Species Release, Disentanglement, and Identification and Atlantic Shark Identification in April, May, and June 2011

 

WWF Announces 2011 International Smart Gear Design Competition to Reduce Fisheries Bycatch

 

MPA Center Launches Hawaii Coastal Use Mapping Project Web Page

NOAA Fisheries Actions

Calendar


In Today's Issue

WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

National – NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, Eric Schwaab, Addresses Boston Seafood Show

On March 21 at the International Boston Seafood Show, Eric Schwaab delivered an address on key messages and themes telling the story of the progress being made in sustainable seafood in the U.S. and our journey toward ending overfishing and rebuilding stocks -- the U.S. fisheries management process is working. Read his remarks.

 

National - NOAA, FDA Continue to Re-test Gulf Seafood and Post Results Online

NOAA continues to re-test seafood from the Gulf of Mexico to demonstrate to American and worldwide consumers that it is safe to eat. NOAA recently announced that it will continue this retesting into the summer and that sampling and testing to reopen the last closed area is underway. The specific locations, dates of sampling, species type, and test results are available publicly for each of the samples. Read more.

 

National - Commerce Secretary Announces Additional Reforms to Overhaul NOAA's Law Enforcement System

On March 16, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that he would allow fishermen and businesses until May 6, 2011 to submit complaints about potentially excessive enforcement penalties to the Special Master for review, as well as request stays of their penalties as part of the complaint process. This is part of a series of ongoing improvements to NOAA's Law Enforcement System. The Secretary and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco also announced policy changes aimed at strengthening, simplifying and improving both the enforcement and regulatory process for fishermen and businesses. Read more.

 

National - NOAA Fisheries and US Fish and Wildlife Service Extend Date for Determining Endangered Species Act Status for Loggerhead Sea Turtles; Comments Now Due April 11

On March 17, NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced they will extend by six months the date for the final rule to list nine distinct population segments (DPSs) of loggerhead sea turtles as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The final determination will be made no later than September 16, 2011. Since 1978, the loggerhead has been listed as threatened throughout its range. On March 16, 2010, NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to designate seven loggerhead DPSs as endangered and two as threatened. The Endangered Species Act requires that within a year of a proposed listing, we do one of the following: (1) finalize the proposed listing; (2) withdraw the proposed listing; or (3) extend the final determination by not more than 6 months, if there is substantial disagreement regarding the sufficiency or accuracy of the available data relevant to the determination, for the purposes of soliciting additional data.

The extension is necessary because of disagreement related to the status of one of the nine loggerhead DPSs: the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS. The debate is about how to interpret existing data about the DPS's status and trends, and how these data relate to the assessment of extinction risk to the DPS. There is also debate about the magnitude and immediacy of both the threat of bycatch in fisheries to this DPS and measures to reduce this threat. The additional six months will help ensure the best scientific and commercial data available is fully assessed and analyzed, and that data are interpreted and applied consistently for all nine proposed DPSs.

The public is invited to comment on the issues related to the appropriate status for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS. Comments will be accepted through April 11 and can be submitted here.

The proposed rule and other materials relating to this proposal can be found on the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources website.

 

National - Savannah Ocean Exchange Gulf Stream Award; Prescreening Applications Due April 15

Savannah Ocean Exchange, founded in 2010, unites international organizations across multiple disciplines and boundaries to distribute and adopt solutions that positively impact oceans and ocean life. The Board of Governors includes 27 leaders from around the world, who represent diverse backgrounds and expertise and share a commitment to innovation and to the protection of our ocean. The theme for the 2011 Savannah Ocean Exchange is "Shaping the Future of Our Coasts" and looks to share the best worldwide solutions that will drive sustainable change; improve ecological, economic, and worldwide connectivity; while respecting the unique cultures and sense of place of our coastal communities.

To celebrate "Creators of Solutions Inspiring Action", a $100,000 Gulfstream Navigator Award will be given to the Solution Creator whose work demonstrates the greatest potential for "Shaping the Future of Our Coasts", and represents excellence and fulfills the purpose through the solution's feasibility and ease of implementation. Prescreening applications are due April 15, 2011. The award will be given at a Solutions Exchange event, September 7-8, in Savannah, GA. For more information about the Exchange, the award and other details, please visit www.savannahoceanexchange.org.

 

Northeast – NOAA Requests Comments on Proposed Amendment 15 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan; Comments due May 23

The New England Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 15 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan for review by the Secretary of Commerce. NOAA Fisheries is requesting comments from the public on Amendment 15, which was developed primarily to implement annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) to bring the Scallop management plan into compliance with new requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Comments must be received by May 23. Read more or submit a comment.

 

Northeast - NOAA Proposes 33 Percent Increase for 2011 Spiny Dogfish Quota; Comments due April 18

On March 17, NOAA Fisheries announced that it will propose increasing the spiny dogfish quota to 20 million pounds for 2011. This new quota would be a 33 percent increase over the 2010 catch limit of 15 million pounds. The proposed catch level for 2011 is consistent with the level set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for state waters. Higher catch limits will provide further opportunity to fishermen in the dogfish fishery, and to others who supplement their groundfish income by catching dogfish. The public is invited to comment by 5 pm EDT, April 18. Read more or submit a comment.

 

Northeast – NOAA Raises Butterfish Catch to Help Prevent Premature Closure of Squid Fishery

A new emergency increase to the butterfish fishing limit will enable squid fishermen off the northeast, who often catch butterfish unintentionally while fishing for squid, to continue working, while still protecting the butterfish stock. Implemented on March 14, the emergency measures increase the butterfish catch by 17 percent to almost four million pounds for the 2011 fishing year, an increase of about 686,000 pounds. The increase is effective immediately. The fishery is based off New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The butterfish increase was recommended to NOAA by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee based on scientific surveys and catch information. NOAA used its emergency rule authority to take this action. Read more.

 

Northeast – NOAA Proposes to Allow Limited Retention of Atlantic Highly Migratory Species in Trawl Fisheries to Reduce Dead Discards; Comments due April 17

NOAA Fisheries is proposing to modify the regulations governing the retention of incidentally-caught highly migratory species in Atlantic trawl fisheries. Specifically, this action would address permitting requirements for retention of incidentally-caught North Atlantic swordfish (Xiphias gladius) in Atlantic squid trawl fisheries and improve reporting and compliance with highly migratory species regulations in these fisheries. The proposal also considers a retention limit for smoothhound sharks in all Atlantic trawl fisheries. The proposed actions would reduce regulatory dead discards of highly migratory species that are incidentally captured in trawl gears, improve fishery data collection, provide additional opportunities for the U.S. swordfish quota to be attained, and accommodate traditional gears that occasionally capture North Atlantic swordfish and smoothhound sharks (i.e., trawls), while maintaining landings at incidental levels . NOAA Fisheries is accepting public comments on the proposal until April 17. Public hearings will be held at the following times, dates, and locations:
     • March 21,2011, 1 -3 p.m., NMFS Northeast Regional Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA, 01930
     • March 22,2011,4:30 -6:30 p.m., Ocean County Library, Barnegat Branch, 112 Burr Street, Barnegat, NJ, 08005
     • March 28, 2011, 5 -7 p.m., Manteo Town Hall, 407 Budleigh Street, Manteo, NC, 27954
     • April 6, 2011,8:30 -10 a.m., HMS Advisory Panel Meeting, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 8777 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD, 20910
     • April 13, 2011, 11 :00 a.m. -12:00 p.m., Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting, Historic Inn of Annapolis, 58 State Circle, Annapolis, MD, 21401.

Read more or submit a comment.

 

Northeast/Southeast - NOAA Proposes 2011 Atlantic Bluefln Tuna Quotas and Atlantic Tuna Fisheries Management Measures; Comments due April 28

NOAA Fisheries proposes to:
     • modify Atlantic bluefin tuna base quotas for all domestic fishing categories;
     • establish bluefin tuna quota specifications for the 2011 fishing year;
     • reinstate pelagic longline target catch requirements for retaining bluefin tuna in the Northeast Distant Gear Restricted Area;
     • amend the Atlantic tunas possession at sea and landing regulations to allow removal of Atlantic tunas tail lobes; and
     • clarify the transfer at sea regulations for Atlantic tunas.

You may submit comments on the proposed actions through April 28 via the Federal eRulemaking Portal; fax: 978-281-9340, Attn: Sarah McLaughlin; and mail: Sarah McLaughlin, Highly Migratory Species Management Division, NMFS, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930.

NOAA Fisheries will also hold four public hearings to receive comments from fishery participants and other members of the public regarding the proposed rule, as follows:
     • March 22, 2011, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Ocean County Library, 112 Burr Street, Barnegat, NJ
     • March 28, 2011, 7-9 p.m., Manteo TownHall, 407 Budleigh Street, Manteo, NC
     • April 1, 2011, 3-5 p.m., NMFS, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA
     • April 5, 2011, 5:15-7:15 p.m., Crowne Plaza Hotel, 8777 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD

Read more.

 

Alaska - Halibut Stock Decline Forces Increased Management Measures for Southeast Alaska Charter Fleet

NOAA Fisheries recently announced it is implementing the regulatory recommendations of the International Pacific Halibut Commission due to concerns over declining halibut stocks. These regulations include limiting the maximum size of a halibut caught by charter anglers in southeastern Alaska to 37 inches, and retaining the one-fish-per-person-per-day rule that began in 2009. The halibut stock is declining due to reduced numbers of fish reaching a catchable size range, lower growth rates, and higher than target harvest rates. The stock remains at risk of further declines. Conservation of the halibut resource is the primary concern and management objective of the measures. Read more.

 

Northwest/Southwest – NOAA Requests Public Comment on West Coast Highly Migratory Species Amendment 2; Comments Due May 13

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 2 to the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species for Secretarial review. Amendment 2 would modify the current suite of management unit species, establish a new category of ecosystem component species, modify the process for revising numerical estimates of maximum sustainable yield and optimal yield, and specify status determination criteria so that overfishing and overfished determinations can be made for all management unit species. Comments are due May 13. Read more or submit a comment.

 

Southwest - Tagged Sablefish Recovered Decades Later

Between 1981 and 1995, Southwest Fisheries Science Center staff conducted a study to track movement and growth of sablefish, an important commercial species. Over the last six months, commercial fishermen have recovered three of the tagged fish. These recaptured fish were relatively small when initially captured and averaged less than one quarter of an inch in growth each year. The information will help scientists understand more about the life history and migratory characteristics of this extremely valuable species. Read more.

 

Pacific Islands - Western Pacific Fishery Management Council Proposes Area Closures around Guam and Northern Mariana Islands; Comments due May 10

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council has proposed Amendment 2 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, this amendment would create a 30-nautical mile longline prohibited area around the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and prohibit purse seine fishing within the entire U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone around the Mariana Archipelago, including Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The area closures are intended to prevent and minimize gear conflicts and resource competition among the various fishery sectors (troll, longline and purse seine) in the Mariana Archipelago. In addition, this action is intended to facilitate the conservation of important stocks such as bigeye, yellowfin, and skipjack tuna throughout their range in the Pacific Ocean. Comments on this proposed regulation are due May 10. Read more or submit a comment.

 

Pacific Islands - Western Pacific Fishery Management Council Proposes to Amend Fishery Ecosystem Plans to Include Mechanism for Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures; Comments due May 16

NOAA Fisheries recently announced that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council is proposing to amend its five fishery ecosystem plans to establish a mechanism for specifying annual catch limits and accountability measures, adopt the ecosystem component species classification described in the NOAA Fisheries advisory guidelines for National Standard 1, and identify management unit species that have statutory exceptions to the annual catch limit and accountability measure requirements. The intent of the amendment is end and prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, and achieve optimum yield. Public comments on the proposed regulation are due May 16. Read more or submit a comment.

 

 


EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Join Us for Public Meetings and Give Us Your Ideas for Restoration Planning

NOAA and other federal and state agencies announced that they are initiating a restoration scoping process for the Deepwater BP oil spill. This is a key step in the ongoing Natural Resource Damage Assessment for the spill. The restoration scoping process will allow NOAA and other federal and state agencies to take a comprehensive look at the types of restoration that may be required to offset potential impacts from the spill on habitat, fish, wildlife, and human use of those resources. Through the process, you will have the chance to give us your ideas on what types of projects are important to restore the affected resources after the spill. You can make your voice heard by attending public meetings, or by submitting a comment or project idea. Comments can be submitted in person at a meeting, online, or by mail. All of your comments will be reviewed by NOAA and the other agencies as we develop a restoration plan for the Gulf.

 

NOAA Fisheries Seeks Director, Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor, Applications due April 5

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce seeks a dynamic, innovative leader for the Director, Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor for the National Marine Fisheries Service. This is a Senior Executive Service position located in Silver Spring, Maryland, with a salary range of $119,554 to $179,700, and is limited to U.S. citizens. The incumbent serves as the principal spokesperson on scientific and technology issues and guides and directs the work of the agency’s six regional science centers, the Headquarters Office of Science and Technology and coordinates the ecosystem science, research and technology programs throughout the organization to ensure the compatibility and effectiveness of all NOAA’s marine ecosystem activities. The research conducted is used to support fisheries management; recovery of protected resources; conservation and enhancement of habitat; international fisheries affairs; fishery development, trade and industry assistance activities; and the scientific and technical aspects of NOAA’s marine fisheries resources programs. The vacancy is now open through April 5, 2011, and can be accessed via http://www.usajobs.gov/, Announcement NOAA#11-05/NJH. Please contact Rhea Donfour at 301-713-6306 if you have any questions. The U.S. Department of Commerce is an equal-opportunity employer.

 

Save the Date: Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel Meeting, April 5-7, 2011

NOAA Fisheries will hold a meeting of the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel on April 5-7, 2011, in Silver Spring, Maryland. Information on the venue and agenda will be provided at a later date. The intent of this meeting is to consider alternatives for the conservation and management of Atlantic tunas, swordfish, billfish, and sharks. Click here for more information.

 

Request for Nominations: Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Advisory Committee; Due April 11

On behalf of the Secretary of Commerce, NOAA Fisheries is seeking nominations for the advisory committee established under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act. The advisory committee is composed of individuals from groups concerned with the fisheries covered by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention. The committee provides input to the United States Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission regarding the deliberations and decisions of the Commission. Nominations must be received no later than April 11, 2011. Click here for more information or to submit a nomination.

 

NOAA Fisheries Announces Workshops on Protected Species Release, Disentanglement, and Identification and Atlantic Shark Identification in April, May, and June 2011

NOAA Fisheries announces Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops and Protected Species Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops to be held in April, May, and June of 2011. Click here for further information regarding workshop requirements or contact Rick Pearson, Highly Migratory Species Management Division, (727) 824-5399.

 

WWF Announces 2011 International Smart Gear Design Competition to Reduce Fisheries Bycatch; Open March 1 – August 31

The World Wildlife Fund recently launched the 2011 International Smart Gear Competition, to find innovative ways to reduce the amount of fisheries bycatch. NOAA, Fondation Segrι, ISSF, and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans are supporting the 2011 competition. Open to anyone from fisherman, backyard inventors and students, the competition will be open from March 1 to August 31, 2011. The 2011 International Smart Gear Competition is offering a grand prize of $30,000 and two $10,000 runner-up prizes. Additionally, in partnership with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, the competition is offering a $7,500 special tuna prize that will be awarded to the idea that will reduce the amount of bycatch found in tuna fisheries. Tuna sustainability is the top WWF global fisheries conservation priority.

 

MPA Center Launches Hawaii Coastal Use Mapping Project Web Page

NOAA's National Marine Protected Areas Center has released the results of the Hawaii Coastal Use Mapping Project. A collaboration between the Marine Protected Areas Center, NOAA's Pacific Island Regional Office, the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, and NOAA's Special Projects Office, the project mapped 16 different uses representing the majority of human ocean activities off the Northwestern Coast of Hawaii Island. Use data were collected during a three-day participatory mapping workshop with local experts held in September 2010. Click here to learn more detailed project information, see use patterns in a map booklet, access spatial data viewable with GIS software and in Google Earth, and to launch an interactive data viewer. The data viewer, built by NOAA's Special Projects Office, allows interaction with project data and simple analysis of use patterns without the need for specialized software. If you have questions on the Hawaii Coastal Use Mapping Project, please contact Mimi.Diorio@noaa.gov.

 

 


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