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Proposed Rule to Adjust the 2014 North and South Atlantic Swordfish Quotas

Posted May 14, 2014

This proposed rule would adjust the 2014 annual North and South Atlantic swordfish quotas based on 2013 underharvests and international quota transfers.  International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Recommendation 13-02 established a United States North Atlantic swordfish baseline quota of 2,937.6 mt dw and allows for quota underharvest from the previous year to be carried over in an amount not to exceed 25 percent of the baseline quota.  Underharvest accrued in 2014 and beyond is limited to 15 percent of a country’s baseline quota.  Additionally, the recommendation established an annual 18.8 mt dw quota transfer to Mauritania. Therefore, the proposed 2014 adjusted quota for North Atlantic swordfish is 3,653.2 mt dw. 

ICCAT Recommendation 13-03 established the United States South Atlantic swordfish baseline quota of 75.2 mt dw and allows for quota underharvest from the previous year to be carried over in an amount not to exceed 100 percent of the baseline quota.  In 2013, U.S. fishermen landed 0.1 mt dw of South Atlantic swordfish as of December 31, 2013.  Therefore, 75.1 mt dw of underharvest is available to carry over to 2014.  Additionally, the recommendation established the following annual quota transfers: 37.6 mt dw to Namibia, 18.8 mt dw to Côte d’Ivoire, and 18.8 mt dw to Belize.  Therefore, the proposed 2014 adjusted quota for South Atlantic swordfish is 75.1 mt dw.

North Atlantic Swordfish Quota (mt dw)

2013

2014

Baseline Quota

2,937.6

2,937.6

International Quota Transfer

(-)112.8 (to Morocco)

(-)18.8 (to (Mauritania)

Total Underharvest from Previous Year+

814.1

1,480.4

Underharvest Carryover from Previous Year+

(+)734.4

(+)734.4

Adjusted Quota

3,559.2

3,653.2

Quota Allocation Directed Category

3,209.2

3,303.2

Incidental Category

300

300

Reserve Category

50

50

South Atlantic Swordfish Quota (mt dw)

2013

2014

Baseline Quota

75.2

75.2

International Quota Transfers*

(-)75.2

(-)75.2

Total Underharvest from Previous Year+

75.2

75.1

Underharvest Carryover from Previous Year+

75.2

75.1

Adjusted quota

75.2

75.1

+ 2013 underharvest carryover is capped at 25 percent of the baseline quota allocation for the North Atlantic and 75.2 dw (100 mt ww) for the South Atlantic.  2013 underharvest current as of December 31, 2013; does not include dead discards, late reports, or changes to the data as a result of quality control adjustments.

* Under Recommendation 13-03, 100 mt ww of the U.S. underharvest and baseline quota, as necessary, was transferred to Namibia (37.6 mt dw, 50 mt ww), Côte d’Ivoire (18.8 mt dw, 25 mt ww), and Belize (18.8 mt dw, 25 mt ww).

One conference call and webinar is currently scheduled to be held on June 5, 2014 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.  To participate, dial 650-479-3207 and enter participant passcode 995 328 809.  You are strongly encouraged to log/dial in fifteen minutes prior to the meeting.  NMFS will show a brief presentation via webinar followed by public comment.  To join the webinar, go to: https://noaa-meets.webex.com/noaa-meets/j.php?MTID=mbec5ad6bcd832af41ef2ad34b64b498d enter your name and email address, and click the JOIN button.  If you have not used WebEx before, you will be prompted to download and run a plug-in program that will enable you to view the webinar.  If you are interested in having NMFS hold additional public hearings or an additional call, please contact Alexis Jackson (301-427-8503) or Steve Durkee (202-670-6637) by phone.

The comment period closes on June 13, 2014.  Written public comments can be submitted electronically, by mail, or by fax.  Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0054 click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.  Submit written comments to Alexis Jackson, NMFS/SF1, Room 13505, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, please mark the outside of the envelope “Comments on the 2014 Atlantic Swordfish Specifications.” 

This notice is a courtesy to the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) fishery participants to help keep you informed about the fishery. Official notice of Federal actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of Federal Register. For further information on this proposed rule, contact Alexis Jackson at 301-427-8503 or Steve Durkee at 202-670-6637.  Copies of the proposed rule are available upon request from the Highly Migratory Species Management Division, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (phone: 301-427-8503, fax: 301-713-1917). The information will also be posted on the HMS website.

 

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