Sustainable Fisheries Division

Proposed Rules for Public Comment

  • August 25, 2015. Interim Final Rule. Purse Seine Fishing Restrictions during Closure Periods. NOAA Fisheries has published an interim final rule to amend regulations to remove a restriction that prohibits U.S. purse seine vessels from conducting otherwise lawful bunkering during an ELAPS closure. View the interim final rule and supporting documentation here. The interim final rule is effective August 25, 2015. Comments on this interim final rule must be submitted in writing by September 24, 2015.

  • August 25, 2015. Proposed rule. Exemption for Large U.S. Longline Vessels To Fish in Portions of the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area. NMFS proposes to allow large federally permitted U.S. longline vessels to fish in certain areas of the Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA) around Swains Island, Tutuila, and the Manua Islands. NMFS would continue to prohibit fishing in the LVPA by large purse seine vessels. The fishing requirements for the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument would remain unchanged. The intent of the proposed rule is to improve the viability of the American Samoa longline fishery and achieve optimum yield from the fishery while preventing overfishing, in accordance with National Standard 1. NMFS must receive comments by September 24, 2015. Read the Federal Register notice, draft environmental assessment, and other supporting documentation here.

  • August 24, 2015. ​Proposed specifications. NMFS proposes to specify a catch limit of 2,000 metric tons (mt) of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each of the pelagic longline fisheries of American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in 2015. NMFS also proposes to authorize each U.S. territory to allocate and transfer up to 1,000 mt of its 2,000 mt bigeye tuna limit to a U.S. longline fishing vessel or vessels based in another U.S. territory or Hawaii, and identified in a specified fishing agreement applicable to the territory. NMFS will monitor catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna by the longline fisheries of each U.S territory, including catches made U.S. longline vessels operating under specified fishing agreements. When NMFS projects a territorial catch or allocation limit would be reached, NMFS would as an accountability measure prohibit the catch and retention of longline-caught bigeye tuna by vessels in the applicable U.S. territory (if the territorial catch limit is projected to be reached), or by vessels operating under specified fishing agreements (if the allocation limit is projected to be reached). NMFS must receive comments by September 8, 2015. You may read the Federal Register notice, draft Environmental Assessment, and supporting documents​ here.
  • July 23, 2015. Proposed rule; proposed specifications. Proposed rule to establish a framework to specify limits on fishing effort and catches, other fisheries restrictions and requirements, and to require, among other things, that certain U.S. fishing vessels obtain “IMO numbers”; and proposed specific limits for 2015, including restrictions on the use of fish aggregating devices by purse seine vessels in the western and central Pacific Ocean. View the proposed rule and proposed specifications and supporting documentation here. Comments on the proposed rule or proposed specifications must be submitted by August 7, 2015.

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

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Federal Regulations
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Recent Final Rules and Notices

For a complete set of regulations go to the CFR.

  • August 31, 2015. Final 2015 Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures. In this final rule, NMFS specifies the 2015 annual catch limits (ACLs) for Pacific Island bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem fisheries, and accountability measures (AMs) to correct or mitigate any overages of catch limits. The ACLs and AMs support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands. The final specifications are effective September 30, 2015, through December 31, 2015. Read the rule and supporting documents here.

  • August 25, 2015. Final Rule. Effort limits in purse seine fisheries in the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine (ELAPS) for 2015. View the final rule and supporting documentation here. A copy of the compliance guide for this rule is available here.

  • August 5, 2015. Temporary rule; closure. NMFS is temporarily closing the U.S. pelagic longline fishery for bigeye tuna for vessels over 24 meters in overall length in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) through December 31, 2015 because the 2015 catch limit of 500 metric tons is expected to be reached. This action is necessary to prevent the fishery from exceeding the applicable catch limit established by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in Resolution C-13-01, which governs tuna conservation in the EPO from 2014-2016. The rule is effective 12 a.m. local time August 12, 2015, through 11:59 p.m. local time December 31, 2015. Read the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here. View the compliance guide here.

  • August 5, 2015. Notice; American Samoa Longline Limited Entry Program. NMFS announces that 12 American Samoa pelagic longline limited entry permits in three vessel size classes are available for 2015. NMFS is accepting applications for these available permits. NMFS must receive completed permit applications and payment by December 3, 2015. Read the Federal Register notice here.

  • July 28, 2015. 2015 Bigeye Tuna Longline Fishery Closure. NMFS is closing the U.S. pelagic longline fishery for bigeye tuna in the western and central Pacific Ocean as a result of the fishery reaching the 2015 catch limit. This action is necessary to prevent additional fishing pressure on this fish stock. The closure is effective August 5, 2015, through December 31, 2015. View the Federal Register notice here. View the compliance guide here.

  • July 23, 2015. Final rule. Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits in Longline Fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean for 2015. View the final rule and supporting documents here. This final rule is effective July 23, 2015. A copy of the compliance guide for this final rule is available here.

  • July 17, 2015. Notice of receipt of petition for rulemaking; request for comments. NOAA Fisheries announces the receipt of, and requests public comment on, a petition for rulemaking from Tri Marine Company, LLC regarding the 2015 fishing effort limit and closure of the purse seine fishery in the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine (ELAPS). View the notice of receipt and the supporting documentation here. Comments on this notice should be submitted by August 17, 2015.

  • June 8, 2015. Temporary Rule; Fishery Closure. Closure of Purse Seine Fishery in the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine (ELAPS) for 2015. The closure will be effective at 00:00 on June 15, 2015 UTC, until 24:00 on December 31, 2015 UTC. View the announcement, the underlying rule, and supporting documentation here. A copy of the compliance guide is available here.

  • June 4, 2015.​ Final​ specifications. NMFS specifies an annual catch limit (ACL) of 346,000 lb for Deep 7 bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) for the 2014-15 fishing year. As an accountability measure​ (AM)​ , if the ACL is projected to be reached, NMFS would close the commercial and non-commercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish for the remainder of the fishing year. The ACL and AM specifications support the long-term sustainability of Hawaii bottomfish.​ The final specifications are effective from July 6, 2015, through August 31, 2015. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here.

  • April 8, 2015. Notice of agency decision. NMFS announces approval of a Marine Conservation Plan for American Samoa, effective from April 1, 2015, through March 31, 2018. View the Federal Register notice View the Federal Register notice, Marine Conservation Plan, and supporting documents here.

  • March 25, 2015. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Expansion; final rule. In this final rule, NMFS establishes requirements for fishing in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Expansion. This final rule implements fishery management measures required by Presidential Proclamation 9173. This final rule is effective on April 24, 2015. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here.
    • See the Monuments compliance guide here.

  • February 19, 2015. Final Rule. Fishing restrictions regarding the oceanic whitetip shark, the whale shark, and the silky shark in the western and central Pacific Ocean. View the final rule in the Federal Register and supporting documentation here. A copy of the compliance guide for this final rule is available here.

  • February 6, 2015. Notification of lobster harvest guideline. NMFS establishes the annual harvest guideline for the commercial lobster fishery in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands for calendar year 2015 at zero lobsters. View the Federal Register notice here.
  • December 2, 2014. Final Rule. Restrictions on the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) in purse seine fisheries for 2015 in the western and central Pacific Ocean. View the final rule in the Federal Register and supporting documentation here. A copy of the compliance guide for this final rule is available here.

  • August 12, 2014. Notice of agency decision. NMFS announces approval of a Marine Conservation Plan for Guam, effective from August 4, 2014, through August 3, 2017. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here.

  • August 1, 2014. Notice of agency decision. 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 4, 2014, through August 3, 2017. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here.

  • July 25, 2014. Notice of agency decision. NMFS announces approval of a marine conservation plan for the Northern Mariana Islands, effective from August 4, 2014, through August 3, 2017. View the Federal Register notice and supporting documents here.

  • April 10, 2014. Notice. NMFS is requesting information about any individual's or company's plan or intent to seek authorization for a U.S. purse seine vessel to participate in the western and central Pacific Ocean purse seine fishery. Instructions on how to respond to the request for information can be found in the information request in the Federal Register. View the information request in the Federal Register 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.