Exempted States Registration Requirements

NMFS issues this final rule to amend the regulations that implement section 401(g) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The amendments eliminate duplicative permitting and registration requirements for holders of Main Hawaiian Islands Non-commercial Bottomfish Permits; allow states that exempt minors under the age of 17 from the state license or registration requirements to be eligible for Exempted State designation; allow the U.S. Virgin Islands to be designated as an Exempted State under the qualifying regional survey option of the rule; and clarify and update various provisions of the rule.

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Rulemaking To Revise Critical Habitat for Hawaiian Monk Seals

Proposed rule; notice of 6-month extension of the deadline for a final critical habitat determination.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on June 2, 2011, proposing to revise critical habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and requesting information related to the proposed action. This document announces a 6-month extension of the deadline for a final determination on the proposed rule. Based on comments received during the public comment period, we find that substantial disagreement exists regarding the sufficiency and accuracy of the data and analyses used to support the scope of the proposed critical habitat designation in the Main Hawaiian Islands. Accordingly, we are extending the deadline for the final revision to critical habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal an additional 6 months to further analyze data and consider concerns raised by State, Federal, and other entities, and better inform our determinations for the final revision of Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat under the ESA.

Council Approves 15% Cut in Halibut Bycatch

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to reduce the allowable halibut bycatch by trawlers and longliners by 15 percent, to be phased in over three years with a targeted implementation in 2014.

After nearly two days of public comment from about 100 stakeholders at the Harbor Convention Center, the council passed the measure introduced by Dan Hull of Anchorage by a 10-1 vote. Outgoing member Dave Benson of Washington was the lone dissent.

Western Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting & Agenda

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold meetings of its 110th Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Joint Advisory Panel, Pelagic and International Standing Committee, Executive and Budget Standing Committee, and 154th Council to take actions on fishery management issues in the Western Pacific Region. 

DATES: The meetings will be held June 19 through June 28, 2012. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for specific dates, times and agendas of the meetings. All meetings will be held in Honolulu.

Availability of Seats for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Department of Commerce (DOC) have sent a notice requesting applications for available seats. 

The following vacant seats on the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council (council): Native Hawaiian, Fishing, Education, Research (primary only), Hawai'i County, Kaua'i County, Maui County, Honolulu County (alternate only), Commercial Shipping (alternate only) and Youth/Student Seat (ages 14-17).

Western Pacific Council to Convene Hawaii Regional Ecosystem Advisory Committee

This notice advises the public that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene a meeting of the Hawaii Regional Ecosystem Advisory Committee (REAC) in Honolulu, HI.

DATES: The Hawaii REAC meeting will be held Friday, May 11, 2012. For the specific date, times, and agenda for the meeting click below

Fishery Data Coordinating Committee to Meet

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold the 48th meeting of its Fishery Data Coordinating Committee (FDCC) to review the progress of data collection improvements, identifying the next steps in data improvements, changes in the FDCC structure, operation, and membership.

DATES: The 48th FDCC meeting will be held on May 9, 2012

For Agenda and more information

Pelagics Plan Team Meeting

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting of its Pelagics Plan Team (PPT) in Honolulu, HI to discuss fishery issues and develop recommendations for future management.

DATES: The meeting of the PPT will be held between May 15, 2012 and May 17 2012, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for specific dates and times.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Council Office Conference Room, Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813; telephone: (808) 522-8220.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kitty M. Simonds, Executive Director; telephone: (808) 522-8220.

For the Agenda and more details;

Western Pacific Council Meetings

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will 
hold meetings of its Joint Marianas and American Samoa Archipelago Plan 
Team (Joint PT) and Hawaii and Pacific Remote Island Area Archipelago 
Plan Team (HI-PRIA PT) to review the status of the nearshore fisheries, 
data collection issues and improvements, improvements in the Annual 
Catch Limit specifications, and developing Cooperative Research 

DATES: The Joint PT meeting will be held on April 16-18, 2012 and the 
HI-PRIA PT on April 19-20, 2012. For specific times and agendas click below 

Regional Fishery Management Chairs Meeting

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council is
hosting the Council Coordination Committee (CCC) meeting on Tuesday May
1, 2012 through Thursday May 3, 2012, in Hawaii. The purpose of the
meeting is to enable NMFS and NOAA officials and others to exchange
information with the Regional Fishery Council Chairs and Executive

DATES: The CCC general meeting session will be held on May 1, 2012,
from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., May 2, 2012 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on
May 3, 2012 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For specific times and agendas, see