NACO

National Association of Charterboat Operators

Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan; Amendment 5

On November 26, 2012, NMFS published a proposed rule for Amendment 5 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) in response to several shark stock assessments that were completed from 2009 to 2012. As described in the proposed rule, NMFS is proposing measures that would reduce fishing mortality and effort in order to rebuild overfished Atlantic shark species while ensuring that a limited sustainable shark fishery can be maintained consistent with our legal obligations and the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP as amended. The proposed measures include changes to commercial quotas and species groups, the creation of several time/area closures, a change to an existing time/area closure, an increase in the recreational minimum size restrictions, and the establishment of recreational reporting for certain species of sharks. Comments received by NMFS will be considered in the development and finalization of Amendment 5 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP. This notice announces the rescheduling of the Louisiana public hearing and the addition of two public hearings in Maryland and Texas.

Written comments will be accepted until February 12, 2013. Public hearings, conference calls, and an HMS Advisory Panel meeting for the Amendment 5 proposed rule will be held from December 2012 to February 2013. See below for meeting dates, times, and locations.

 

ADDRESSES: Additional and rescheduled public hearings will be held in Maryland, Texas, and Louisiana. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for dates, times, and locations.

 

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2012-0161, by any of the following methods:

     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0161, click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

     Mail: Submit written comments to Peter Cooper, SF1/NMFS/NOAA, Highly Migratory Species Management Division, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Please mark the outside of the envelope ``Comments on the Draft Amendment 5 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP.''

     Fax: 301-713-1917; Attn: Peter Cooper.

    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 

methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and 

considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other 

address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 

may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public 

record and generally will be posted for public viewing on 

www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 

information (e.g., name, address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the 

sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information, 

or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept 

anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to 

remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted 

in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats 

only.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Cooper, Gu[yacute] DuBeck, 

Jennifer Cudney or Karyl Brewster-Geisz at  301-427-8503.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic shark fisheries are managed 

under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Management of these species is 

described in the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments, which 

are implemented by regulations at 50 CFR part 635. Copies of the 2006 

Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments are available from NMFS on request 

(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    On November 26, 2012, NMFS published a proposed rule (77 FR 70552) 

for draft Amendment 5 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP based on several 

shark stock assessments that were completed from 2009 to 2012. The 

assessments for Atlantic blacknose, dusky, and scalloped hammerhead 

sharks indicated that these species are overfished and experiencing 

overfishing. As described in the proposed rule, NMFS is proposing 

measures that would reduce fishing mortality and effort in order to 

rebuild overfished Atlantic shark species while ensuring that a limited 

sustainable shark fishery can be maintained consistent with our legal 

obligations and the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP. The proposed measures 

include changes to commercial quotas and species groups, the creation 

of several time/area closures, a change to an existing time/area 

closure, an increase in the recreational minimum size restrictions, and 

the establishment of recreational reporting for certain species of 

sharks. Any comments received during the comment period will be 

considered in the development and finalization of Amendment 5 to the 

2006 Consolidated HMS FMP.

 

Request for Comments

 

    Public hearings in Florida (2), Louisiana, Massachusetts, New 

Jersey, and North Carolina were recently announced in the Federal 

Register to provide the opportunity for public comment on the measures 

described in the proposed rule and draft Amendment 5 (77 FR 73608; 

December 11, 2012). NMFS will also hold two public conference calls/

webinars to provide individuals opportunities to submit public comment 

if they are unable to attend a public hearing. NMFS has rescheduled the 

public hearing in Louisiana due to a previously scheduled event in the 

New Orleans area, which may affect constituent traveling to the public 

hearing location. Also, NMFS announces two additional public hearings 

that will be held in Maryland and Texas. The Maryland public hearing 

will be held in conjunction with a state stakeholder meeting being held 

by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on Draft Amendment 5.

 

           Table 1--Dates, Times and Locations of Upcoming Additional and Rescheduled Public Hearings.

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                                                                                           Location contact

               Venue                        Date/time           Meeting locations            information

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Public Hearing.....................  January 15, 2013......  Belle Chasse, LA......  Belle Chasse Auditorium,

                                     5 p.m.-8 p.m..........                           8398 Hwy 23, Belle Chasse,

                                                                                      LA 70037.

Public Hearing.....................  January 30, 2013......  Ocean Pines, MD.......  Ocean Pines Branch,

                                     5 p.m.-8 p.m..........                           Worcester County Library,

                                                                                      11107 Cathell Road, Ocean

                                                                                      Pines, MD 21811, (410) 208-

                                                                                      4014.

Public Hearing.....................  February 7, 2013......  Houston, TX...........  Clear Lake City-County

                                     5 p.m.-8 p.m..........                           Freeman Branch Library,

                                                                                      16616 Diana Lane, Houston,

                                                                                      Texas 77062,  281-488-1906

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    NMFS welcomes comments on any aspect of, or alternative considered, 

in the proposed rule. NMFS is specifically seeking comments on the 

administration of dusky shark bycatch caps program in select areas 

given limited additional observer program resources; the name of 

reconfigured groupings of sharks that would continue to be managed 

collectively in the reminder of what is currently the large coastal 

shark complex for quota monitoring purposes; suggestions for improving 

angler identification of shark species and reducing dusky shark 

mortality in the recreational fishery; and whether NMFS should permit 

the transit of closed areas if certain otherwise prohibited gear is 

properly stowed and inoperable.

 

Public Hearing Code of Conduct

 

    The public is reminded that NMFS expects participants at public 

hearings and on phone conferences to conduct themselves appropriately. 

At the beginning of each meeting, a representative of NMFS will explain 

the ground rules (e.g., alcohol is prohibited from the meeting room; 

attendees will be called to give their comments in the order in which 

they registered to speak; each attendee will have an equal amount of 

time to speak; attendees may not interrupt one another; etc.). The NMFS 

representative will structure the meeting so that all attending members 

of the public will be able to comment, if they choose, regardless of 

the controversial nature of the subject(s). Attendees are expected to 

respect the ground rules, and those that do not will be asked to leave 

the meeting.

 

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