| Environmental assessment to revise the United States commercial fishery regulations in accordance with Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission resolution for the conservation and management of Pacific bluefin tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (C-13-02) - :4903 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
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Environmental assessment to revise the United States commercial fishery regulations in accordance with Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission resolution for the conservation and management of Pacific bluefin tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (C-13-02)
  • Published Date:
    2014
Filetype[PDF-3.04 MB]


Details:
  • Corporate Authors:
    United States, National Marine Fisheries Service., Southwest Region. ; United States, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration., Office of Program Planning and Integration, ;
  • Description:
    The National Marine Fisheries Service is proposing regulations under authority of the Tuna Conventions Act of 1950, as amended, to implement commercial catch limits for Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) that are consistent with a resolution adopted by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, specifically Resolution C-13-02, Measures for the Conservation and Management of Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission Convention Area includes the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean bounded by the coast of the Americas, the 50° N. and 50° S. parallels, and the 150° W. meridian. Resolution C-13-02 includes two catch limits for 2014: (1) a Commission-wide limit for all commercial fishing vessels of all IATTC Members and Cooperating Non-Members (CPCs) fishing in the IATTC Convention Area of the eastern Pacific Ocean and (2) notwithstanding the Commission-wide limit, a catch limit of 500 metric tons for each CPC with a historical record of eastern Pacific bluefin catch--such as the United States--to allow these nations to catch a small share of Pacific bluefin tuna even if the Commission-wide limit is reached. Currently, U.S. fishing vessels that commercially catch Pacific bluefin tuna are constrained by a 500 metric ton catch limit if and when the Commission-wide catch limit for all CPCs is met; however, these measures expired December 31, 2013. The proposed regulations would extend these catch limits beyond 2013, apply only to U.S. vessels that commercially catch Pacific bluefin tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and ensure that the United States is satisfying its obligations as a member of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. The National Marine Fisheries Service is obligated to implement and enforce regulations consistent with Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission resolutions and does not make substantive decisions in promulgating such actions. Given that the recent results of the draft 2014 updated Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) (PBF) assessment by the International Scientific Committee (ISC) for Tuna and Tuna-Like Species in the North Pacific Ocean reports that overfishing is occurring and the population is overfished, the same results as the 2012 assessment, the National Marine Fisheries Service anticipates that the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission with input from the U.S. Department of State and National Marine Fisheries Service will resolve into the foreseeable future, as in 2011 and 2013, to impose catch limits for Pacific bluefin tuna. Therefore, this Environmental Assessment includes essential components of environmental impact analyses in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act to consider a range of Pacific bluefin tuna catch limits for U.S. commercial vessels fishing in the Convention Area and to assess the potential environmental impacts on the human environment that could result from the proposed action as well as similar actions in future years. The impacts to the human environment (e.g., effects of the proposed action on the natural environment and the socioeconomic environment) were found to be insignificant.

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