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NOAA Fisheries Announces a Proposed Rule to Adjust the 2015 North and South Atlantic Swordfish Quotas

Posted February 18, 2015

This proposed rule would adjust the 2015 annual North and South Atlantic swordfish quotas based on 2014 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 15 percent of the baseline quota.  Additionally, the recommendation established an annual 18.8 mt dw quota transfer to Mauritania.  In 2014, U.S. fishermen landed 1,183.9 mt dw of North Atlantic swordfish as of December 31, 2014, leaving 2,469.3 mt dw of quota underharvest.  This underharvest exceeds the underharvest carryover limit, therefore, NMFS is proposing to carry forward 440.6 mt dw.  Thus, the proposed 2015 adjusted quota for North Atlantic swordfish is 3,359.4 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 2014, U.S. fishermen landed 0.0 mt dw of South Atlantic swordfish as of December 31, 2014.  The adjusted 2014 South Atlantic swordfish quota was 75.1 mt dw due to landings in the previous year.  Therefore, 75.1 mt dw of underharvest is available to carry over to 2015.  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 2015 adjusted quota for South Atlantic swordfish is 75.1 mt dw.

North Atlantic Swordfish Quota (mt dw)

2014

2015

Baseline Quota

2,937.6

2,937.6

International Quota Transfer

(-)18.8 (to Mauritania)

(-)18.8 (to Mauritania)

Total Underharvest from Previous Year+

1,337.4

2,469.3

Underharvest Carryover from Previous Year+

(+)734.4

(+)440.6

Adjusted Quota

3,653.2

3,359.4

Quota Allocation Directed Category

3,303.2

3,009.4

Incidental Category

300

300

Reserve Category

50

50

South Atlantic Swordfish Quota (mt dw)

2014

2015

Baseline Quota

75.2

75.2

International Quota Transfers*

(-)75.2

(-)75.2

Total Underharvest from Previous Year+

75.1

75.1

Underharvest Carryover from Previous Year+

75.1

75.1

Adjusted quota

75.1

75.1

+ Allowable underharvest carryover is now capped at 15 percent of the baseline quota allocation for the North Atlantic (carryover was previously capped at 25 percent) and 75.2 dw (100 mt ww) for the South Atlantic.  The available 2014 underharvest is based on data current as of December 31, 2014; it does not include dead discards, late reports, or changes to the data as a result of quality control adjustments.
* Under Recommendation 13-03, the U.S. transfers 75.2 mt dw (100 mt ww) annually 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 March 3, 2015 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.  To participate, dial 888-972-6893 and enter participant passcode 2759824.  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://noaaevents2.webex.com/noaaevents2/onstage/g.php?d=995250567&t=a,
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 Steve Durkee (202-670-6637) by phone. The public hearing presentation can be found here.

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 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).  

 

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