Updates to List of National System of Marine Protected Areas

The National System of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) provides a mechanism for MPAs managed by diverse government agencies to work together on common conservation priorities. In July 2011, NOAA and the Department of the Interior (DOI) invited federal, state, commonwealth, territorial and tribal MPA programs with potentially eligible existing MPAs to nominate their sites to the National System of MPAs (national system). A total of 58 nominations were received, including three from the American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, 40 from the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources, three from the National Park Service, one from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, five from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, two from the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, one from the Virgin Islands Department Of Planning and Natural Resources and three from the Washington Department of Natural Resources. For a list of nominated sites, background and national process

NACO Joins in Effort to Pause National Ocean Policy Implementation

Some members have asked, “How does the National Ocean Policy Affect me?”.

• Potential restrictions on access to boating and fishing areas through marine spatial planning
•  No representation on regional planning bodies or other panels created by the National Ocean Policy, which results in no voice in formulating  proposal and planning
• Further restrictions on possible environmental impacts from bottom paints, cleaners, etc.
• potential expansion of current MPAs (no fishing zones) and creation of many more, this affects all rivers, lakes (Great Lakes), streams, coastal areas, and oceans, and there is much more.
• States have been told they can object to any federal proposal but the federal proposal will happen regardless.

USCG May Have to Cut Back on Enforcement of Fishery Laws

The Coast Guard is shrinking and may have to cut back on traditional missions like fish protection and drug interdiction to free up resources for new issues like cybersecurity and thawing of the arctic warned the service’s commandant, Admiral Robert J. Papp at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space convention.

"I'm really grateful to the Administration and the Congress that at least we are moving along," Adm. Papp said, "but the 42 major cutters that we have today are scheduled to be replaced by 33 major cutters in the future." The Coast Guard's most visible missions close to shore have been relatively well funded, with investments in shore stations, small patrol craft, and the new Sentinel-class light cutter, but "that's playing defense" in our own coastal waters, warned Papp, when what national security most requires is "a sovereign presence on the high seas." The new deep-sea National Security Cutters, three of which are now in service after much delay, are more advanced, more capable, and simply less run-down than the Coast Guard's current fleet of 40-year-old vessels, which lose much of their mission time to maintenance. But nevertheless fewer ships means the service can be in fewer places -- even as demands increase.

Center for Biological Diversity Petitions to List 83 Coral Species as Threatened or Endangered

The NMFS, issued this document to request information from the public on a Status Review Report and a draft Management Report we prepared in response to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to list 83 coral species as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and to notify the public about future public listening sessions and scientific workshops on this topic. The Status Review Report examines the biology of, threats to, and extinction risk of 82 coral species, while the draft Management Report describes existing regulatory mechanisms and ongoing conservation efforts to manage and conserve these species throughout the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific. Collectively, these two reports constitute the best available scientific and commercial information that we have compiled to date on the 82 species of coral under review.

MRIP: The Science Behind Making Anglers' Catch Count

MRIP: The Science Behind Making Anglers’ Catch Count
By NOAA Fisheries
We may never know exactly just how many fish anglers catch in a given year, but we can get a pretty good estimate. By gathering data such as how often anglers catch fish, what species and size of fish, and what happens to each fish after it is caught, we can provide the most accurate, up-to-date information to fishery managers and decision makers. They use this catch data to make determinations about fishing regulations and the health of the fish populations.

In 2006, NOAA Fisheries began a major overhaul of the way we make these estimates. The result is the Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP, which is helping us do a better job of counting anglers’ catch and providing new ways to ensure that their catch counts.

FishSmart Program

FishSmart Workshops Help Solve Fishing Challenges

Providing Recreational Fishermen with the Opportunity to Improve their Catch through Collaboration
Approximately 324 million saltwater fish were caught by anglers in 2011 with 62% of those being returned to the water. This means that anglers are catching lots of fish but they’re also throwing many of them back. Through a program called FishSmart, anglers and NOAA are looking for ways to make sure more of those released fish survive. More fish means healthier fisheries and more fishing opportunities for anglers.

What is FishSmart?
FishSmart is the next step in the evolution of growing the sport of fishing. It brings together anglers, scientists, and managers through a series of workshops to find ways to fish smarter and promote conservation. Supported by NOAA during the past two years, FishSmart uses a collaborative, proactive approach to address fishing mortality while enhancing the fishing experience.

Why is this important?

Update Recovery Plan for Blue Whale & Prepare a Recovery Plan for the North Pacific Right Whale

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is announcing its
intent to update a recovery plan for the blue whale (Balaenoptera
musculus) and prepare a recovery plan for the North Pacific right whale
(Eubalaena japonica) and requests information from the public. NMFS is
required by the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended to
develop plans for the conservation and survival of federally listed species, i.e., recovery

DATES: To allow NMFS adequate time to conduct the reviews, all
information must be received no later than May 17, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on these documents, identified by
NOAA-NMFS-2012-0091, by any of the following methods:


Passenger and Crew List Required by U.S. Customs & Border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the Department of
Homeland Security will be submitting the following information
collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for
review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act:
Passenger List/Crew List (CBP Form I-418). This is a proposed extension
of an information collection that was previously approved. CBP is
proposing that this information collection be extended with no change
to the burden hours. This document is published to obtain comments from
the public and affected agencies. This information collection was
previously published in the Federal Register (77 FR 2561) on January
18, 2012, allowing for a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for
an additional 30 days for public comments. This process is conducted in
accordance with 5 CFR 1320.10.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before May 17, 2012.

National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee

Oceans and Marine Resources are included in this committee thus it may be of interest to you.

This notice announces the selection of the authors for the
report of the next National Climate Assessment by the National Climate
Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC). The next
National Climate Assessment will consist of 28 chapters, each drafted
by a set of Convening Lead Authors and Lead Authors. The list of these
by chapter can be found on the Web page


Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee Meeting

The Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee (MMMAC) will meet on May 8-9, 2012 to discuss matters relating to medical certification determinations for issuance of merchant mariner credentials, medical standards and guidelines for physical qualifications of operators of commercial vessels, medical examiner education, and medical research. The meeting will be open to the public.

DATES: MMMAC will meet on Tuesday, May 8, and Wednesday, May 9, 2012 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Please note that the meeting may close early if the committee has completed its business.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the National Maritime Center (NMC), 3rd floor conference room, 100 Forbes Drive, Martinsburg, West Virginia 25404.

For agenda and information you need to attend: