Fishery Conservation and Management Act Reauthorized
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 calls for renewed efforts to end overfishing, increase use of market-based management tools, and apply ecosystem approaches to management.
- establishes a firm deadline to end overfishing;
- authorizes the use of market-based limited access privilege programs;
- requires establishment of a regionally based registry for recreational fishermen;
- strengthens fisheries enforcement;
- authorize the Secretary to provide assistance to the Regional Fishery Management Councils for development of regional ecosystem pilot programs; and
- establishes Community Based Restoration Programs that utilize public-private partnerships to restore fishery and coastal habitat, in line with the President's Cooperative Conservation Agenda.
This legislation is an important step for the United States to continue our rebuilding efforts of the nation's fisheries. This act will allow our fishers to utilize all of the tools that are available, so their fishing businesses can operate safely and economically.
- NMFS issued a final rule for the 2012 Pacific whiting fishery under the authority of the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006, the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The final rule established: The tribal allocation of 48,556 metric tons of Pacific whiting for 2012; provisions associated with the reapportionment of unused tribal whiting to the non-tribal fishery in 2012; and final allocations of Pacific whiting to the non-tribal sector for 2012. This rule, which was effective May 11, 2012, incorporates the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) recommendation from the Joint Management Committee for the Treaty with Canada. Click here to read this rule
Confidentiality of Information
- The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposes revisions to existing regulations governing the confidentiality of information submitted in compliance with any requirement or regulation under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The purposes of these revisions are to make both substantive and non-substantive changes necessary to comply with the MSA as amended by the 2006 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act and the 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act. In addition, revisions are necessary to address some significant issues that concern NMFS’ application of the MSA confidentiality provision to requests for information. Written comments on the MSA Confidentiality of Information proposed rule must be received on or before August 21, 2012. Click here to read the extension of the comment period. The comment period has been extended to October 21, 2012. Click here to read this extension.
Salmon Plan and Study (Klamath River Basin)
Fishery Finance Program
- On December 16, 2010 (75 FR 78619), NMFS issued final regulations pursuant to its authority under Chapter 537 of the Shipping Act, (formerly known as Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as amended and codified), as well as the Magnuson-Stevens Act. These regulations revise the operating rules of the Fisheries Finance Program (FFP or Program) and set forth procedures, eligibility criteria, loan terms, and other requirements related to FFP lending to the commercial fishing and aquaculture industries. FFP assistance includes loans for fishing vessels, fish processing facilities, aquaculture facilities, individual fishing quota (IFQ) permits, and participants in community development quota (CDQ) programs. This final rule is effective January 18, 2011.
Click here to read this final rule.
- On May 5, 2010 (75 FR 24549), NMFS published a proposed rule to amend regulations to reflect the statutory changes to the Fishery Finance Program (FFP or Program), and to provide regulations for two additional lending products. The FFP provides long-term financing to the commercial fishing and aquaculture industries for fishing vessels, fisheries facilities, aquaculture facilities, and individual fishing quotas (IFQs). The Program became a direct loan program, as a result of legislation in 1996, replacing a guaranteed loan program. The FFP collects loan principal and interest from loan recipients and fees from applicants in order to repay monies borrowed from the U.S. Treasury. It maintains fixed interest rates that are comparable to those of private sector lenders, however the FFP allows borrowers to prepay without penalty, and may carry longer repayment periods that are more advantageous to borrowers. The FFP does not make loans for new vessel construction or for vessel refurbishments that would increase harvesting capacity. Since the publication of its current regulations on May 1, 1996, the Program's authorizing statutes have been amended several times. However, the current regulations implementing the FFP have not been amended since 1996. Prior to the 2006 amendments to the FFP's statutory authorization, the 1996 rules for the Program were sufficient to implement the statute. The 2006 statutory changes have necessitated the current rules. Public comments were accepted through June 4, 2010.
Click here to read the proposed rule.
Fishing Capacity Reduction
- On October 8, 2010 (75 FR 62326), NMFS issued final amendments to the framework regulations specifying procedures for implementing fishing capacity reduction programs (reduction programs) in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management (Magnuson-Stevens) Reauthorization Act of 2007. A reduction program pays harvesters in a fishery that has more vessels than capacity either to surrender their fishing permits including relevant fishing histories for that fishery, or surrender all their fishing permits and cancel their fishing vesselsí fishing endorsements by permanently withdrawing the vessel from all fisheries. The cost of the program can be paid by post-reduction harvesters, taxpayers, or others. The intent of a program is to decrease the number of harvesters in the fishery, increase the economic efficiency of harvesting, and facilitate the conservation and management of fishery resources in each fishery in which NMFS conducts a reduction program. This final rule was effective November 8, 2010. Click here to read this rule.
- On June 14, 2010 (75 FR 33570), NMFS proposed amendments to the
framework regulations specifying procedures for implementing fishing
capacity reduction programs (reduction programs). Comments were accepted
through July 29, 2010. Click here to read this rule.
Tsunami Warning and Education
- The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 (MSRA) included in Title VIII the Tsunami Warning and Education Act. The purposes of this title are-
These provisions do not fall under the authority of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and are not directly related to rebuilding or sustainably managing fish stocks. Because statutory deadlines were provided for several reports under this title, however, NMFS has tracked the implementation of these reports as part of the full and complete implementation of the MSRA. Reports issued under this title were completed by the National Weather Service (NWS). Details on this program, and reports issued under it, can be obtained from the NWS. For more information, see www.tsunami.noaa.gov.
(1) to improve tsunami detection, forecasting, warnings, notification, outreach, and mitigation to protect life and property in the United States;
(2) to enhance and modernize the existing Pacific Tsunami Warning System to increase coverage, reduce false alarms, and increase the accuracy of forecasts and warnings, and to expand detection and warning systems to include other vulnerable States and United States territories, including the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico areas;
(3) to improve mapping, modeling, research, and assessment efforts to improve tsunami detection, forecasting, warnings, notification, outreach, mitigation, response, and recovery;
(4) to improve and increase education and outreach activities and ensure that those receiving tsunami warnings and the at-risk public know what to do when a tsunami is approaching;
(5) to provide technical and other assistance to speed international efforts to establish regional tsunami warning systems in vulnerable areas worldwide, including the Indian Ocean; and
(6) to improve Federal, State, and international coordination for detection, warnings, and outreach for tsunami and other coastal impacts.
- NMFS proposes changes to the regulations that address the operations and administration of regional fishery management councils (Councils). The regulatory changes are needed to clarify which Council documents should be available to the public, clarify Council member nomination procedures, clarify financial disclosure requirements for Council members, and revise the security assurance procedures for nominees to and members of the Councils. Written comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. e.d.t. on January 6, 2010. Click here to read the supplemental proposed rule.
- NMFS proposed changes to the regulations that address the operations and administration of regional fishery management councils (Councils). The regulatory changes are needed to implement amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act that, among other things, govern the Council Coordination Committee, expand the role of the Councils' Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), require that SSC members disclose their financial interests, and provide for training of Council members and staff. Additionally, the proposed rule would make changes to the regulations requiring Councils to provide procedures for proposed regulations, clarifying restrictions on lobbying, and clarifying timing in the Council member nomination process. The proposed rule would also make technical and minor corrections to the regulations unrelated to the most recent Magnuson-Stevens Act amendments. Click here to read the proposed rule. Written comments were accepted through 5 p.m. e.d.t. on November 2, 2009. Click here to read the extension of the comment period.
- On September 27, 2010 (75 FR 59143), NMFS issued final changes to the regulations that address the operations and administration of the Regional Fishery Management Councils (Councils). The regulatory changes implement the 2006 amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) that, among other things, establish the Council Coordinating Committee, require that the Councils' science and statistical committee members disclose their financial interests, and provide for training of Council members and staff. Additionally, this final rule clarifies the Council documents that should be available to the public; the restrictions on lobbying; the procedures for Council member nomination, including timing for submission of nominations; and also requires Councils to provide procedures for deeming regulations necessary and or appropriate for implementing fishery management plans and plan amendments. These regulations also set forth additional financial disclosure requirements for Council members, and revise the security assurance procedures for nominees to and members of the Councils. Finally, this rule makes technical and minor corrections to the regulations unrelated to the most recent Magnuson-Stevens Act amendments. This rule is effective October 27, 2010. Click here to read this final rule.
Study on the Acidification of Oceans
- The MSRA requires the Secretary of Commerce to request the National Research Council (NRC) conduct a study on the acidification of the oceans and how this process affects U.S. fisheries. The NRC has completed this study and it is available here.
Click on the links to view a 2-page summary of the key findings of the report, and a summary of the full report.
Investment in Seafood Processing
- The National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S Small Business Administration have released a study on the extent of investment in U.S. Seafood Processing Capacity. This report discusses the state of U.S. Seafood process capacity, the current condition of lobster processing in the state of Maine, and provides information on Federal programs that are available to U.S. Seafood Processors. Click here to read this report.
Peer Review/National Standard 2
- On December 11, 2009, NMFS proposed revisions to the guidelines for National Standard 2 (NS2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) regarding scientific information. This action is necessary to provide guidance on the use of best scientific information available (BSIA) for the effective conservation and management of the nation's marine living resources. Click here to read this proposed rule in its entirety. Written comments will be accepted through March 11, 2010.
- Click here to read the Regulatory Impact Review/Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis for this proposed rule.
- On September 18, 2008, NMFS sought public comment on proposed rulemaking to revise National Standard 2 guidelines regarding use of best scientific information available. Written comments on that advanced notice of proposed rulemaking were accepted through December 17, 2008. Click here to read that notice.
Exempted Fishing Activities
Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention
- On January 21, 2010 (75 FR 3335), NMFS issued regulations under authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act, which authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to promulgate regulations needed to carry out the obligations of the United States under the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention), including implementing the decisions of the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The regulations include requirements related to permitting, vessel monitoring systems, vessel observers, vessel markings, reporting and recordkeeping, at-sea transshipment, and boarding and inspection on the high seas, among others. NMFS has determined that this action is necessary for the United States to satisfy its international obligations under the Convention, to which it is a Contracting Party. It will have the effect of requiring that all relevant U.S. fishing vessels are operated in conformance with the provisions of the Convention. This rule is effective April 21, 2010. The final rule is available here. A notice correcting the effective date of the final rule is available here.
- For more information on the implementation of this Convention, visit the Pacific Island Regional Office website here.
- On May 22, 2009 (74 FR 23965), NMFS proposed regulations to implement, in part, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act, which authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to promulgate regulations needed to carry out the obligations of the United States under the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, including implementing the decisions of the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Comments were accepted through June 22, 2009. The proposed rule is available here.
- Section 406 of the MSRA charged NMFS, in consultation with the Fishery Management Councils, to undertake a study on the "state of the science for advancing the concepts and integration of ecosystem considerations in regional fishery management." On March 25, 2009, NMFS released this "Report to Congress: The State of Science to Support an Ecosystem Approach to Regional Fishery Management." Click here to read this report.
Council Multi-Year Research Plans
The Councils have developed, in conjunction with the SSCs, multi-year research priorities for fisheries, fisheries interactions, habitats, and other areas of research that are necessary for management purposes, for 5-year periods. These research priorities are to be updated as necessary and submitted to the Secretary and NMFS regional science centers for consideration in developing research priorities and budgets for the region of the Council.
Below are the research plans for each Council. Click on the Council name to visit their website.
- NMFS proposed regulations to govern the requests for determinations of fishery resource disasters as a basis for acquiring potential disaster assistance. The regulations would establish definitions, and characteristics of commercial fishery failures, fishery resource disasters, serious disruptions affecting future production, and harm incurred by fishermen, as well as requirements for initiating a review by NMFS, and the administrative process it will follow in processing such applications. Comments must be submitted in writing on or before April 20, 2009. Click here for the proposed rule. Click here to see the extension of the comment period.
- In January, 2008, NMFS requested comments on fisheries disaster assistance.
- On June 16, 2011, the Department of Commerce released a policy to provide guidance on how NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will evaluate requests for fishery disaster declarations. Click here to see this policy.
IFQ Referenda Guidelines
- On November 17, 2008 (73 FR 67809), NMFS issued minor changes to update regulations amended by the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2006. These changes resolve inconsistencies in language between the Act and codified text. These changes are effective November 17, 2008, and can be viewed here.
Fishery Science Degrees
- The National Marine Fisheries Service has presented a Report to Congress on the results of a study whether there is a shortage in the number of people pursuing and obtaining higher education in fishery science who have the ability to conduct high quality research in fishery population dynamics, stock assessments and related fields. This study includes important conclusions for the future of higher education and fisheries management. For this study and related information, click here
Community-Based Habitat Restoration Program
Disclosure of Financal Interest and Recusal
Bycatch Reduction and Engineering Program
Excess Harvesting Capacity
Actions by the Councils and Regions