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Environmental Assessment for a Rule for Area of Overlap Between the Convention Areas of the InterAmerican Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission: RIN 0648-BH59
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Filetype[PDF-2.16 MB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Pacific Islands Regional Office | Environmental Assessment – IATTC/ WCPFC Overlap Area Rule
  • Description:
    The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has prepared this Environmental Assessment (EA) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. § 4321, et seq.) and related authorities, such as the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of NEPA (40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 1500-1508) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Policy and Procedures for Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and Related Authorities (Companion Manual for NOAA Administrative Order 216-6A). The United States is a member of both the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Commission on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC). The convention areas for the IATTC and WCPFC overlap in the Pacific Ocean waters within a rectangular area bounded by 50° S. latitude, 4° S. latitude, 150° W. longitude, and 130° W. longitude (“overlap area”). See Figure 1 below. Historically, regulations implementing the conservation measures adopted by the IATTC (50 CFR part 300, subpart C) and the WCPFC (50 CFR part 300, subpart O) both applied to U.S. vessels fishing for highly migratory species (HMS) in the overlap area. In 2012, the IATTC and the WCPFC adopted recommendations/decisions that provide that each member belonging to both commissions is to decide, for vessels of that member listed in both WCPFC Record of Fishing Vessels (Record) and IATTC Regional Vessel Register List (Register), under which of the two commissions those vessels shall operate when fishing in the overlap area, as regards the application, for a period of not less than three years, of the conservation and management measures of that commission.1 The WCPFC-IATTC joint decision on the overlap area broadly indicates that a member of both commissions, such as the United States, may decide and notify both commissions which commission’s conservation and management measures it intends to apply.
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