NMFS issues final specifications for the 2012 Atlantic bluefish fishery, including an annual catch limit, total allowable landings, a commercial quota and recreational harvest limit, and a recreational possession limit. This action establishes the allowable 2012 harvest levels and other management measures to achieve the target fishing mortality rate, consistent with the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan.
DATES: The final specifications for the 2012 Atlantic bluefish fishery areeffective May 29, 2012, through December 31, 2012.
MRIP is conducting a Road Show this spring and summer to meet with constituents along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The meetings provide anglers and other stakeholders the opportunity to pose questions, share their ideas and concerns, and learn the latest MRIP news.
The Communications and Education Team began its Road Show with a series of listening sessions, both formal and informal, with recreational fishermen in New Jersey at the beginning of April. We traveled up and down the state's coastline to meet with tackle shop owners, fishing groups, recreational fishing advocates, members of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Marine Fisheries Division, and everyday anglers from all walks of life.
At its 2011 meeting, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) actively considered country-specific yellowfin tuna allocations as well as the potential landings histories that could be the basis for those allocations. While the final recommendation did not establish any country-specific allocations, some members of the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel and the public have expressed an interest in discussing historical and future data collection in the U.S. recreational yellowfin tuna fishery, in case this issue comes up at the 2012 ICCAT meeting.
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ACTION: Notice of intent (NOI) to hold public scoping meetings and to prepare a draft environmental impact statement (EIS); request for comments.
SUMMARY: NMFS announces its intent to hold public scoping meetings to determine the scope and significance of issues to be analyzed in a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on management measures for Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) and a potential proposed amendment to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP based on that process. The public process will help NMFS determine if existing measures are the best means of achieving certain management objectives for Atlantic BFT and providing flexibility for future management, consistent with the Consolidated HMS FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), and other relevant Federal laws. NMFS is also announcing the availability of a scoping document describing measures for potential inclusion in a proposed Amendment. Table 1, below, provides details for seven scoping meetings to discuss and collect comments on the scoping document and certain management objectives for BFT. NMFS is requesting comments on this NOI, and the management of BFT, including, but not limited to, those described in the scoping document.
NMFS is implementing final specifications, which consist of catch levels and management measures, for the 2012 summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries. The specifications are necessary to ensure the three species are not overfished or subject to overfishing in 2012. This final rule makes no changes to the interim specifications implemented on January 1, 2012, which were established using the best available scientific information.
NOAA is soliciting public comment on the draft management plan and draft environmental assessment for Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.
DATES: Comments: Comments on the draft management plan and draft environmental assessment will be considered if received on or before June 22, 2012.
Public meetings: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION under read more for the dates and locations for the public meetings.
NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily retention limit that applies to vessels permitted in the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally for BFT) should be adjusted for the remainder of 2012, based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments and based on preliminary 2012 landings data. NMFS also closes the southern area Angling category fishery for large medium and giant (``trophy'') BFT. These actions are being taken consistent with the BFT fishery management objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan (Consolidated HMS FMP) and to prevent overharvest of the 2012 Angling category quota.
DATES: Effective April 7, 2012, through December 31, 2012.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces two public hearings for the proposed 2012 BFT quota specifications. The dates and locations of the public hearings are as follows:
April 4, 2012, 2 to 4 p.m.
NMFS, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930
April 10, 2012,2:30 to 4 p.m.
NMFS Science Center, 1301 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910
A disappointing pace of the rebuilding of inshore cod stocks, which hit the fishing industry with a shock in a new assessment late last year, has now been extended to the offshore cod stock in Georges Bank, according to a new assessment of 13 stocks by the NOAA Science Center at Woods Hole.
The new bad news about Georges Bank cod is that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now believes the biomass in the offshore waters is 46 percent smaller than the previous assessment estimated in 2008.
That assessment estimated the offshore cod biomass at 17,672 metric tons. The new assessment estimates the stock at 9,494 metric tons.
Based on the new estimates and modeling, NOAA dropped the hypothetical size of the rebuild stock from 148,084 metric tons to 140,424 metric tons.
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and its Executive Committee, its Ecosystem and Ocean Planning Committee, and its Research Set-Aside (RSA) Committee will hold public meetings.
The meetings will be held Tuesday, April 10, 2012 through Thursday, April 12, 2012..
The Sanderling, 1461 Duck Road, Duck, NC 27949; telephone:(252) 261-4111.
Council address: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State St., Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901; telephone: (302) 674-2331.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christopher M. Moore, Ph.D. Executive
Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council; telephone: (302) 526-5255.