| Amendment 4 fishery ecosystem plan for the Mariana Archipelago remove the prohibited areas for medium and large bottomfish vessels in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands : including environmental assessment and regulatory impact review - :15397 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
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Amendment 4 fishery ecosystem plan for the Mariana Archipelago remove the prohibited areas for medium and large bottomfish vessels in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands : including environmental assessment and regulatory impact review
  • Published Date:
    2016
Filetype[PDF-1.49 MB]


Details:
  • Corporate Authors:
    United States, National Marine Fisheries Service., Pacific Islands Region, ; United States, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration., Office of General Counsel, ; Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (U.S.)
  • Description:
    The Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Marianas Archipelago (FEP) and implementing federal regulations currently prohibit medium and large vessels (vessels 40 ft and greater) from commercial fishing for bottomfish management unit species (BMUS) in certain federal waters around the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The prohibited areas include waters within approximately 50 nm of the Southern Islands (i.e., Rota, Aguigan (also Aguijan), Tinian, Saipan and Farallon de Medinilla) and within 10 nm of Alamagan Island. The Council established the prohibited areas in 2008 in response to concerns expressed by CNMI fishermen that Guam bottomfish fishermen would travel to fish in CNMI waters after establishment of the large vessel prohibited fishing area in Guam. CNMI fishermen were concerned that such additional fishing by the vessels from Guam would create localized depletion of bottomfish, gear conflicts, and catch competition. Current information indicates that prohibited area may not be needed to ensure the sustainability of the CNMI bottomfish fishery and, in fact, may be constraining it. The Council believes that the prohibited areas may be contributing to the potential underutilization of the bottomfish resource in CNMI, and that removing them may promote optimum yield. Accordingly, the Council has recommended removing the prohibited areas in this Amendment 4 to the FEP. Other requirements in that fishery, including requirements for the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, would remain unchanged. The requirements include federal permits, annual catch limits and accountability measures, vessel marking, catch and sales reporting, and the vessel monitoring system. The Council intends Amendment 4 to improve the efficiency and economic viability of the CNMI bottomfish fleet, while ensuring that fishing remains sustainable on an ongoing basis.

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