NMFS proposes to establish requirements for fishing in the Marianas Trench, Pacific Remote Islands, and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments. The proposed rule is intended to implement fishery management measures consistent with Presidential Proclamations 8335, 8336, and 8337 that established the Monuments.
NMFS must receive comments on the proposed rule by April 8, 2013.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this proposed rule, identified by
NOAA-NMFS-2012-0070, by either of the following methods:
Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0070, click the
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or
attach your comments.
Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto,
Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1601
Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1110, Honolulu, HI 96814-4700.
Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period,
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain
anonymous), and will accept attachments to electronic comments in
Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared
Amendment 3 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Mariana Archipelago,
Amendment 2 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Pacific Remote Island
Areas, Amendment 3 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for American Samoa,
and Amendment 6 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of
the Western Pacific. The amendments are presented as a single document,
which includes background information on this proposed rule, an
environmental assessment, and a regulatory impact review. You may
obtain the draft amendment document from www.regulations.gov or from
the Council, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel 808-
522-8220, fax 808-522-8226, or from www.wpcouncil.org.
You may submit written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates
or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements
contained in this proposed rule to Michael D. Tosatto (see ADDRESSES)
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jarad Makaiau, NMFS PIR Sustainable
Fisheries, tel 808-944-2108.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Council and NMFS manage fisheries
through fishery ecosystem plans for American Samoa, the Mariana
Archipelago (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
(CNMI)), the Pacific Remote Islands (PRI), Hawaii, and western Pacific
pelagic fisheries. Fishing regulations for the western Pacific are
found mostly in Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 665
(50 CFR 665).
In 2009, President Bush issued Presidential Proclamations that
established three marine national monuments in the central and western
Pacific under the authority of the Antiquities Act, as follows:
Proclamation 8335 of January 6, 2009, ``Establishment of
the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument'' (74 FR 1557, January 12,
Proclamation 8336 of January 6, 2009, ``Establishment of
the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument'' (74 FR 1565,
January 12, 2009).
Proclamation 8337 of January 6, 2009, ``Establishment of
the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument'' (74 FR 1577, January 12,
The proclamations recognize that it is in the public interest to
preserve these submerged lands, waters, and marine resources, which are
biologically diverse, contain sites of historical and scientific
interest, and are essential to the long-term study of tropical marine
ecosystems. For more detailed information regarding the marine
resources and background for the management of the Monuments, please
refer to the Proclamations, available at www.regulations.gov.
Among other things, the Proclamations define the Monuments'
boundaries, prohibit commercial fishing, and describe the management of
Monument resources. The Proclamations direct the Secretary of Commerce
to take action under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) to regulate fisheries and ensure
proper care and management of the monument, including allowing for
traditional indigenous fishing practices. The Council recommended
incorporating the Proclamations' fishery management provisions into its
fishery ecosystem plans, and recommended that NMFS establish certain
provisions relating to traditional indigenous fishing practices. This
proposed rule would implement the Council's recommendations.
The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (Fig. 1) includes the
waters and submerged lands of the three northernmost islands of the
CNMI (Farallon de Pajaros (Uracas), Maug, and Asuncion, collectively
the ``Islands Unit''), the submerged lands of designated volcanic sites
(``Volcanic Unit''), and the Marianas Trench (``Trench Unit''). The
Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (Figs. 2 through 6)
includes the waters and submerged and emergent lands of Wake Island,
Baker Island, Howland Island, and Jarvis Islands, Johnston Atoll,
Kingman Reef, and Palmyra Atoll (``Pacific Remote Islands''), seaward
to a distance approximately 50 nautical miles (nm). The Rose Atoll
Marine National Monument in American Samoa (Fig. 7) includes the
emergent and submerged lands and waters of Rose Atoll, seaward to a
distance approximately 50 nm.
Consistent with the Proclamations, and based on recommendation from
the Council, this proposed rule would create new subparts in 50 CFR
Part 665, one for each of the three Monuments. Briefly, the proposed
rule would implement new requirements as follows:
Codify the boundaries of the Monuments and their various
Prohibit commercial fishing in the Pacific Remote Islands and
Rose Atoll Monuments, and in the Islands Unit of the Marianas Trench
Establish management measures for non-commercial and
recreational fishing in the Monuments, including but not limited to the
[cir] Require Federal permits and reporting for non-commercial and
recreational charter fishing to aid in the monitoring of fishing
[cir] Allow customary exchange in non-commercial fisheries in the
Marianas Trench and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments to help
preserve traditional, indigenous, and cultural fishing practices.
[cir] Define customary exchange as the non-market exchange of
marine resources between fishermen and community residents for goods,
and/or services for cultural, social, or religious reasons, and which
may include cost recovery through monetary reimbursements and other
means for actual trip expenses (ice, bait, food, or fuel) that may be
necessary to participate in fisheries in the western Pacific.
[cir] Limit permit eligibility for non-commercial fishing to
community residents, as identified in the fishery ecosystem plans--
specifically, American Samoa, Guam and the CNMI are fishing
communities--and limit permit eligibility for recreational charters to
businesses of local fishing communities for the Rose Atoll Monument and
Marianas Monument Islands Unit.
[cir] Prohibit all fishing within 12 nm of the Pacific Remote
Islands, subject to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service authority to allow
non-commercial fishing in consultation with NMFS and the Council.
[cir] Prohibit all fishing within 12 nm around Rose Atoll. The
Council and NMFS would review this regulation after three years.
Prohibit the conduct of commercial fishing outside the
Monument and non-commercial fishing within the Monument during the same
NMFS would make administrative housekeeping changes to the Federal
permit and reporting requirements at 50 CFR 665.13 and 665.14, and the
vessel identification requirements at 50 CFR 665.16 to incorporate the
new permits that this proposed rule would establish.
NMFS would also make administrative housekeeping changes to the
requirements for low-use marine protected areas in the Pacific Remote
Islands. NMFS currently allows limited fishing within certain areas of
the Pacific Remote Islands (at Johnston Atoll, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake
Island). Because this proposed rule would prohibit fishing within 12 nm
of the islands, it supersedes the provisions allowing fishing in the
low-use marine protected areas. To eliminate the potential conflicting
requirements, NMFS would remove the provisions allowing limited take in
the monument areas; specifically, the definition of the low-use area at
50 CFR 665.599, applicable permit provisions at 50 CFR 665.624, and the
related prohibition at 50 CFR 665.625.
NMFS must receive any public comments on this proposed rule by the
close of business on April 8, 2013, and will not consider late
comments. In addition to soliciting public comments on this proposed
rule, NMFS is soliciting comments through April 2, 2013, on proposed
amendments to the Fishery Ecosystem Plans for the Marianas Archipelago,
the Pacific Remote Island Areas, American Samoa, and Western Pacific
Pelagics Fisheries, as stated in the Notice of Availability published
on February 2, 2013 (78 FR 7385). The Secretary of Commerce will
consider public comments on this proposed rule in the decision to
approve, disapprove, or partially approve the FEP amendments, if NMFS
receives such comments by April 2, 2013.