NMFS proposes regulatory changes to the adjusted quotas and minimum sizes that would affect commercial and recreational vessels that catch Atlantic swordfish.
North and South Atlantic swordfish are managed under the dual authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and ATCA, which authorizes the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to promulgate regulations as may be necessary and appropriate to implement ICCAT recommendations. The authority to issue regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and ATCA has been delegated from the Secretary to the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA). On October 2, 2006, NMFS published in the Federal Register final regulations, effective November 1, 2006, implementing the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP), which details management measures for Atlantic HMS fisheries.
ICCAT is responsible for the conservation of tuna and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. ICCAT recommendations are binding on Contracting Parties, non-Contracting Cooperating Parties, Entities and Fishing Entities (CPCs), unless Parties object pursuant to the treaty. All ICCAT recommendations are available on the ICCAT Web site at http://www.iccat.int/en/. In November 2011, ICCAT adopted Recommendation 11-02 for North Atlantic swordfish. This recommendation maintains the U.S. baseline quota of 2,937.6 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) for 2012 and 2013. Previous North Atlantic swordfish recommendations included a quota transfer of 18.8 mt dw from the United States to Canada; however, Recommendation 11-02 eliminates this quota transfer and includes a transfer of 112.8 mt dw from the United States to Morocco to support joint scientific research and Morocco's efforts to eliminate the use of driftnets. Recommendation 11-02 also includes a provision for the submission of annual swordfish management plans and a change to the underharvest carryover provisions. The recommendation limits the amount of underharvested quota that can be carried over by a CPC allocated a baseline quota greater than 500 mt to 25 percent of the baseline quota.