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NOAA Fisheries Announces a Final Rule to Adjust the 2016 North and South Atlantic Swordfish Quotas

July 25, 2016

This final rule adjusts the 2016 annual North and South Atlantic swordfish quotas based on 2015 underharvests and international quota transfers, and modifies the annual quota adjustment public notice in certain circumstances. 

The final adjusted quota for North Atlantic swordfish is 3,359.4 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw).  This quota is allocated as follows: the directed category quota = 3,009.4 mt dw; the incidental category = 300 mt dw; and the reserve category = 50 mt dw. 

The final adjusted quota for South Atlantic swordfish is 75.1 mt dw.

This final rule also modifies the process through which NMFS annually adjusts the North and South Atlantic swordfish quotas when simply applying a previously-adopted formula to more appropriately reflect the administrative nature of these adjustments.  In the past, NMFS has published proposed quota specifications annually, allowed for a public comment period, and then issued a final rule.  NMFS has done this when adopting new quotas, altering conservation and management measures pursuant to an ICCAT recommendation, or when simply adjusting the swordfish quotas based on already-established and codified formulas or measures.  In this action, NMFS modified the regulations to specify that NMFS would not undertake notice and comment rulemaking when annual quota specifications simply follow a formula previously adopted through notice and comment rulemaking, as described in existing regulatory text.  NMFS would continue to undertake notice and comment rulemaking when adopting new quotas or otherwise altering conservation and management measures.

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 final rule, contact Steve Durkee at 202-670-6637.  Copies of the final 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 at:


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