| Final environmental assessment specification of bigeye tuna catch and allocation limits for pelagic longline fisheries in U.S. Pacific Island territories in 2015 and 2016, including a regulatory impact review - :12095 | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
Stacks Logo
Advanced Search
Select up to three search categories and corresponding keywords using the fields to the right. Refer to the Help section for more detailed instructions.
 
 
Help
Clear All Simple Search
Advanced Search
Final environmental assessment specification of bigeye tuna catch and allocation limits for pelagic longline fisheries in U.S. Pacific Island territories in 2015 and 2016, including a regulatory impact review
  • Published Date:
    2015
Filetype[PDF - 3.56 MB]


Details:
  • Corporate Authors:
    American Samoa, Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, ; American Samoa Coastal Management Program ; Guam, Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources, ; ... More ▼
  • Description:
    The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposes to specify a catch limit of 2,000 metric tons (mt) of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each of the pelagic longline fisheries of American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in 2015. Without this catch limit, the U.S. territories would not be subject to a limit because international measures adopted by the Western and Central Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) for bigeye tuna do not apply to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) or to Participating Territories (PT) to the WCPFC. The WCPFC treats each U.S. territory as a PT. NMFS also proposes to authorize each U.S. territory to allocate up to 1,000 mt of its 2,000-mt bigeye tuna limit to a U.S. longline fishing vessel or vessels (holding a valid permit issued under Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 665.801 (50 CFR 665.801)) identified in a valid specified fishing agreement with a U.S. territory. NMFS would attribute the catches of bigeye tuna made by vessels identified in a valid specified fishing agreement to the U.S. territory to which the agreement applies in accordance with the procedures set forth in 50 CFR 665.819. Funds received under a specified fishing agreement are applied toward fisheries development projects identified in a territorial marine conservation plan (MCP). NMFS would monitor catches of bigeye tuna caught by the longline fisheries of each U.S. territory, including catches made by U.S. longline vessels operating under specified fishing agreements. When NMFS projects a territorial catch or allocation limit would be reached, NMFS would, as an accountability measure (AM), prohibit the retention of longline-caught bigeye tuna by vessels in the applicable U.S. territory (if the territorial catch limit is projected to be reached), and/or by vessels operating under the applicable specified fishing agreement (if the allocation limit is projected to be reached). Recognizing that the WCPFC did not adopt big eye tuna limits for PTs or SIDS, the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended the proposed catch and allocation limits and AM in accordance with the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific (Pelagic FEP) and implementing federal regulations at 50 CFR 665.819. The proposed 2015 catch and allocation limits and AM are identical to those NMFS specified in 2014 (79 FR 64097, October 28, 2014). NMFS prepared this environmental assessment (EA) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the proposed catch and allocation limit specifications in fishing years 2015, and potentially again in 2016. The draft EA analyzes the following two alternatives for catch and allocation limit specifications in detail: 1. Alternative 1: No specification of catch or allocation limits (No Management Action); and 2. Alternative 2: Specify for each U.S. participating territory, a 2,000-mt catch limit and 1,000-mt allocation limit in 2015 and 2016 (Status Quo/Council and NMFS preferred). Based on the status determination criteria set forth in the Pelagic FEP, bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) is currently subject to overfishing due to international overfishing, but is not overfished. To address the overfishing status of this stock, the WCPFC has adopted several conservation and management measures (CMM) to reduce fishing mortality of bigeye tuna in longline and purse seine fisheries by certain WCPFC member countries. A recent evaluation of the current bigeye tuna measure, CMM 2013-01, conducted by the science provider to the WCPFC indicates that the full implementation of this measure is expected to end overfishing of WCPO bigeye tuna by 2032. The analysis in the EA indicates that the level of catch allocated under the proposed action (Alternative 2) would be consistent with the objective of CMM 2013-01 in ending overfishing by 2032, which continues in CMM 2014-01. Therefore, the proposed catch and allocation limits and AM are not expected to result in adverse effects on the long-term sustainability of bigeye tuna. The analysis in this EA also indicates that the proposed action is not expected to result in adverse effects on the sustainability of other non-target species, bycatch species, protected species, or adversely affect marine habitats.

  • Document Type:
No Related Documents.
You May Also Like: