Request for Nominations for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Advisory Committee

NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce, is seeking nominations for the advisory committee established under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (Act). The advisory committee, to be composed of individuals from groups concerned with the fisheries covered by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention (Convention), will be given the opportunity to provide input to the United States Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (Commission) regarding the deliberations and decisions of the Commission.

Nominations must be received no later than February 25, 2013.


MAFAC Nominations Sought

Nominations to the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee Nominations are being sought for an appointment by the Secretary of Commerce to fill one vacancy on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC or Committee) beginning in the spring of 2013.

MAFAC is the only Federal advisory committee with the responsibility to advise the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) on all matters concerning living marine resources that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce. The Committee makes recommendations to the Secretary to assist in the development and implementation of Departmental regulations, policies and programs critical to the mission and goals of the NMFS. NMFS seeks to restore the geographic balance of the Committee created by recent vacancies and encourages candidates from the Hawaii region to apply, although nominations from all interested and qualified parties will be accepted. Nominees should possess demonstrable expertise in a field related to the management of living marine resources and be able to fulfill the time commitments required for two annual meetings. Individuals serve for a term of three years for no more than two consecutive terms if re-appointed.

Nominations must be postmarked or have an email date stamp on or before February 11, 2013.


Insular False Killer Whale Listed as Endangered

In response to a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council, we, the NMFS, issue a final determination to list the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) distinct population segment (DPS) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We intend to consider critical habitat for this DPS in a separate rulemaking. The effect of this action will be to implement the protective features of the ESA to conserve and recover this species.

This final rule is effective on December 28, 2012.

WPFMC Meetings

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold meetings of its 111th Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Executive and Budget Standing Committee, and 155th Council to take actions on fishery management issues in the Western Pacific Region.

The meetings will be held from Wednesday, October 24th through Thursday, November 1, 2012. For specific dates, times and agendas, see below.

Main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 Bottomfish Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures for 2012-13

In this rule, NMFS specifies a quota of 325,000 lb of Deep 7 bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands for the 2012-13 fishing year, based on an annual catch limit of 346,000 lb. The action supports the long-term sustainability of Hawaii bottomfish.

The final specifications are effective October 15, 2012 through August 31, 2013, unless NMFS publishes a document in the Federal Register superseding these specifications.

New Data Collection Will Exempt State's Anglers from National Registry Requirement

The Department of Commerce invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on a new information collection proposed information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

The State of Hawaii is developing a comprehensive data collection program that will meet the requirements set forth at 600CFR 1417 and exempt the State's anglers from the national registry requirement. The information gathered from the proposed voluntary survey of a sample of the State's registered boaters will be used to develop an ongoing (monitoring) survey of fishing catch and effort derived from Hawaii's private boaters--a required component of any qualifying regional survey. The survey instrument will also collect information to inform engagement of and projects aimed at local boat-based anglers under NOAA's National Recreational Saltwater Fishing Initiative.

Pacific Islands Region Hosts Summit for Recreational Fishermen

On August 21-23, NOAA Fisheries met with Pacific Islands fishermen to identify projects for possible implementation in 2013. Sharing regional and island specific issues, the fishermen generated 21 project ideas which will be integrated into a blueprint of actions to be implemented in 2013 or sooner. Contact Alvin Katekaru<>; for more information.

Hawaiian Islands – Global Positioning System (GPS) Testing

A series of GPS tests will be conducted in the vicinity of Kaua'i at various times from 19 Aug 2012 through 09 Sep 2012. 

Mariner’s are advised that, during testing, GPS WILL BE UNRELIABLE AND MAY BE UNAVAILABLE to shipboard and handheld navigation systems, e-911, AIS, DSC, and other position, navigation, and timing systems which rely on GPS signals. 

Testing is scheduled as follows:

Deep 7 Bottomfish Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures for 2012-13

NMFS proposes to specify a quota (annual catch target) of 325,000 lb of Deep 7 bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands for the 2012-13 fishing year, based on a proposed annual catch limit of 346,000 lb. When the quota is projected to be reached, NMFS would close the commercial and non-commercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish for the remainder of the fishing year. The proposed specifications and fishery closure support the long-term sustainability of Hawaii bottomfish.

Comments must be received by August 17, 2012.

NOAA Collects 50 Metric Tons of Marine Debris from Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette arrived back in its homeport of Honolulu after a month in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The team of 17 scientists collected nearly 50 metric tons of marine debris, which threatens monk seals, sea turtles and other marine life in the coral reef ecosystem, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI). NOAA has conducted annual removal missions of marine debris in the NWHI since 1996 as part of a coral restoration effort.