Sustainable Fisheries Division

Proposed Rules for Public Comment

  • January 8, 2014. Proposed rule; proposed specifications; request for comments. NMFS proposes a framework for specifying catch and fishing effort limits and accountability measures for pelagic fisheries in the U.S. Pacific territories (American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands). A territory would be allowed to allocate a portion of its catch or fishing effort limit to U.S. fishing vessels. NMFS proposes an annual limit of 2,000 mt  of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each territory, and would allow a territory to allocate up to 1,000 mt to U.S. longline fishing vessels. The proposed rule and specifications implement Section 113 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriation Act of 2012, consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. NMFS must receive comments by February 24, 2014. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here.
  • December 30, 2013. Notice of availability of proposed fishery ecosystem plan amendment. NMFS announces that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council proposes to amend the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region. If approved, Amendment 7 would establish a management framework and process for specifying fishing catch and effort limits and accountability measures for pelagic fisheries in the U.S. Pacific territories (American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). The framework would authorize the government of each territory to allocate a portion of its specified catch or effort limit to a U.S. fishing vessel or vessels through a specified fishing agreement, and establish criteria, which a specified fishing agreement must satisfy. The framework also includes measures to ensure accountability for adhering to fishing catch and effort limits. NMFS must receive comments by February 28, 2014. View the Federal Register notice and Amendment 7 here.

To find, view, and comment on
rulemaking and supporting documents,
visit: Regulations.gov.

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Recent Final Rules and Notices

  • January 7, 2014. Final Specifications. NMFS specifies the final 2014 annual catch limits for Pacific Island bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem fisheries, and accountability measures to correct or mitigate any overages of catch limits. The catch limits and accountability measures support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands. The final specifications are effective February 26, 2014, through December 31, 2014. Read the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here.
  • January 14, 2014. Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Lobster Harvest Guideline. NMFS establishes the annual harvest guideline for the commercial lobster fishery in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands for calendar year 2014 at zero lobsters. View the Federal Register notice here.
  • November 6, 2013. Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit. NMFS issued a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit that authorizes Kampachi Farms, LLC, to culture and harvest a coral reef ecosystem management unit fish species in a floating pen in Federal waters west of the Island of Hawaii. This notice informs the public that NMFS prepared an environmental assessment of the potential impacts of the proposed activity, and finds that there will be no significant impact to the environment from the activity. The special coral reef ecosystem fishing permit is effective from October 25, 2013, through October 24, 2014. View the Federal Register notice, final environmental assessment, and finding of no significant impact here.
  • September 27, 2013. Final specifications; Main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 Bottomfish Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures for 2013–14. NMFS specifies an annual catch limit of 346,000 lb of Deep 7 bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands for the 2013–14 fishing year. The action supports the long-term sustainability of Hawaii bottomfish. The final specifications are effective October 28, 2013, through August 31, 2014, unless NMFS publishes a document in the Federal Register superseding these specifications. View the Federal Register notice here.
  • September 23, 2013. Final rule; Bigeye tuna catch limit in longline fisheries for 2013 and 2014. NMFS establishes a catch limit of 3,763 mt of bigeye tuna for vessels in the U.S. pelagic longline fisheries operating in the western and central Pacific Ocean for each of the calendar years 2013 and 2014. The limit does not apply to vessels in the longline fisheries of American Samoa, Guam, or the Northern Mariana Islands. This rule is effective October 23, 2013. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here.
    • See the compliance guide here.
  • August 12, 2013. Notice of agency decision; Approval of a marine conservation plan for the Pacific remote island areas. NMFS announces approval of a marine conservation plan for Pacific Insular Areas other than American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, effective from August 1, 2013, through July 31, 2016. View the Federal Register notice and marine conservation plan here.
  • Fishing in the Monuments. June 3, 2013. Final rule. NMFS establishes requirements for fishing in the Marianas Trench, Pacific Remote Islands, and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments. View the rule and supporting documentation here.
    • July 2, 2013. Final rule; NMFS announces approval by the Office of Management and Budget of collection-of-information requirements for fishing in three marine national monuments. This rule is effective.  View the rule and supporting documentation here.
    • See the Monuments compliance guide here.
  • May 29, 2013. Final rule. This final rule extends the region-wide moratorium on the harvest of gold corals in the U.S. Pacific Islands through June 30, 2018. NMFS intends this final rule to prevent overfishing and to stimulate research on gold corals. This rule is effective June 28, 2013, through June 30, 2018. View the notice here.
  • October 2012. Final Rule. Revised leatherback and North Pacific loggerhead sea turtle interaction limits in the Hawaii shallow-set (swordfish) longline fishery. The new limits are effective November 5, 2012. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documentation here.
  • September 2012. Notice of agency decision. Approval of a marine conservation plan for American Samoa. View the Federal Register notice and plan here.
  • July 2012. Final Rule. Revised swordfish trip limits in the Hawaii deep-set longline fishery. The new limits are effective August 27, 2012. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documentation here.
  • June 2012. Final rule. American Samoa large vessel prohibited area. Modified boundaries effective July 11, 2012. View the Federal Register notice, including the new boundaries, and supporting documents here.
  • November 2011. Fisheries in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; Pelagic Fisheries; Vessel identification requirements. View the Federal Register notice here.
  • November 2011. Final rule; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing Restrictions in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here.
        * See the compliance guide here.
  • August 2011. Final Rule; American Samoa longline gear modifications to reduce turtle interactions. View the Federal Register notice and Amendment 5 here.
  • August 2011. Approval of a marine conservation plan for the Northern Mariana Islands. View the Federal Register Notice and Marine Conservation Plan here.
  • July 2011. Approval of a marine conservation plan for Guam. View the Federal Register notice and conservation plan here.
  • June 2011. Final rule; Mechanism for specifying annual catch limits and accountability measures. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here.
  • June 2011. Final rule; Prohibiting pelagic longline fishing within 30 nm of the Northern Mariana Islands. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here.
  • May 2011. Notice; Overfishing of Pacific bluefin tuna. View the Federal Register notice here.
  • January 2010. Final rule; Implementation of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here.