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Bigeye Tuna Catch and Allocation Limits for Pelagic Longline Fisheries in U.S. Pacific Island Territories: Supplemental Environmental Assessment, including a Regulatory Impact Review (RTID 0648-XP010)
  • Published Date:
    2020
Filetype[PDF-2.49 MB]


Details:
  • Alternative Title:
    Supplemental Envrionmental Assessment for Bigeye Tuna Catch and Allocation Limits for Pelagic Longline Fisheries in U.S. Pacific Island Territories (RIN 0648-XP010)
  • Description:
    NMFS proposes to implement the Council-recommended U.S. participating territory longline bigeye tuna catch and allocation limits for 2020, and, depending on future recommendations, again each year through 2023. Specifically, NMFS will specify a 2,000 metric ton (t) annual longline bigeye tuna catch limit for each U.S. participating territory (American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Guam) and allow each territory to allocate up to 1,500 t of its annual bigeye tuna catch limit to a U.S. longline vessel(s) permitted under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific (FEP) and identified in a specified fishing agreement. The total allocations, however, would not exceed 3,000 t of bigeye tuna in a given year. As an accountability measure, NMFS would monitor, attribute, and restrict (if necessary) catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna, including catches made under a specified fishing agreement. The recommended catch limits and the total allocation limits are identical to those that NMFS specified for each of 2014 through 2019, and would continue to support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands. This Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) supplements the analysis in the June 27, 2019, environmental assessment entitled, “Bigeye Tuna Catch and Allocation Limits for Pelagic Longline Fisheries in U.S. Pacific Island Territories,” prepared by NMFS and the Council, which resulted in a finding of no significant impact. This SEA contains an updated analysis of potential effects of the Hawaii longline fisheries on sea turtles and other resources, in light of new information with bearing on the environmental effects analysis of the 2019 EA. NMFS provided the public with an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed rule for the 2020 bigeye tuna catch and allocation limits and on the environmental effects analysis in the 2019 EA as supplemented by this draft SEA, dated June 16, 2020. NMFS received comments from the public and the fishing industry on the proposed specifications and one comment on the draft SEA. NMFS considered public comments in finalizing the SEA and in making its decision on the proposed action. NMFS responds to comments in the final specification. Copies of this SEA and final rule are found under RIN 0648-XP010 at www.regulations.gov, or by contacting the responsible official or Council at the above addresses.
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