Sustainable Fisheries Division

Seeking Public Comment

  • October 3, 2018. Notice; intent to prepare an environmental impact statement; announcement of public scoping period; request for comments. NOAA Fisheries announces intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for future management actions for the U.S. purse seine fishery in the western and central Pacific Ocean. This notice of intent to prepare an EIS represents the beginning of the public scoping process and invites interested parties to provide comments on alternatives to be considered in an EIS and to identify potential issues, concerns, and any reasonable additional alternatives that should be considered. The comment deadline has been extended. Comments on this action must be submitted by October 31, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET. Read the Federal Register notice.

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rulemaking and supporting documents,
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Recent Final Rules and Notices

For a complete set of regulations go to the CFR.

  • December 10, 2018. Announcement of a valid specified fishing agreement. 2018 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits for American Samoa.  NOAA Fisheries announces a valid specified fishing agreement that allocates up to 1,000 metric tons (t) of the 2018 bigeye tuna limit for the Territory of American Samoa to identified U.S. longline fishing vessels. The agreement supports the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands, and fisheries development in American Samoa. Read the Federal Register notice

  • November 7, 2018. Announcement of a valid specified fishing agreement. 2018 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. NOAA Fisheries announces a valid specified fishing agreement that allocates up to 1,000 metric tons (t) of the 2018 bigeye tuna limit for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to identified U.S. longline fishing vessels. The agreement supports the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands, and fisheries development in the CNMI. Read the Federal Register notice.

  • October 23, 2018. Final specifications. 2018 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits. In this final rule, NOAA Fisheries specifies a 2018 limit of 2,000 metric tons (t) of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. Pacific territory (American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). NOAA Fisheries will allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 t each year to U.S. longline fishing vessels in a valid specified fishing agreement. As an accountability measure, NOAA Fisheries will monitor, attribute, and restrict (if necessary) catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna, including catches made under a specified fishing agreement. These catch limits and accountability measures support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands. The final specifications are effective October 22, 2018, through December 31, 2018. The deadline to submit a specified fishing agreement pursuant to 50 CFR 665.819(b)(3) for review is November 21, 2018. Read the Federal Register notice and supporting documents.

  • October 2, 2018. Final rule. Hawaii Shallow-set Pelagic Longline Fishery; Court Order. This final rule revises from 34 to 17 the annual number of allowable incidental interactions that may occur between the Hawaii shallow-set pelagic longline fishery and North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles, in compliance with an order of the U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii. The rule is effective January 1, 2019. Read the rule and supporting documents.

    September 11, 2018. Temporary rule; Purse Seine Fishery Closure on the High Seas in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. NOAA Fisheries announces the U.S. purse seine fishery on the high seas in the area of application of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean between the latitudes of 20° N. and 20° S. will close as a result of reaching the 2018 purse seine fishing effort limit in that area. The closure will be in effect from 00:00 on September 18, 2018 coordinated universal time (UTC) through the rest of the calendar year. View the regulatory action details for more information about the temporary rule announcing the closure and the compliance guide.

  • August 30, 2018. Final rule; Effective Date of Daily Purse Seine Fishing Effort Reporting Requirement in the Final Rule to Implement Recent Decisions of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. NOAA Fisheries announces approval by the Office of Management and Budget of a collection-of-information requirement which was contained in regulations implementing recent decisions of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, in a final rule published on July 18, 2018. The intent of this final rule is to inform the public of the effectiveness of the collection-of-information requirement associated with daily purse seine fishing effort reports included in the final rule. The reporting requirement is effective on August 30, 2018, but purse seine vessel owners and operators must report purse fishing effort daily only if and when directed by NOAA Fisheries. View the Regulatory action details for more information about the final rule and the collection-of-information.

  • August 23, 2018. Notice of a public meeting; Permanent Advisory Committee to Advise the U.S. Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries. NOAA Fisheries announces a meeting of the Permanent Advisory Committee to advise the U.S. Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), to be held October 11-12, 2018, in Honolulu, HI. Read the Federal Register notice for further information.

  • August 22, 2018. NOAA Fisheries announces approval of a marine conservation plan (MCP) for American Samoa, effective from July 25, 2018, through July 24, 2021. Read the Federal Register notice, the MCP, and supporting documents.

  • July 18, 2018. Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries: False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan; Closure of Southern Exclusion Zone. NOAA Fisheries is closing the Southern Exclusion Zone (SEZ) to deep-set longline fishing through December 31, 2018, for all vessels registered under the Hawaii longline limited access program, as a result of the fishery reaching the established annual trigger of two observed false killer whale mortalities or serious injuries (M&SI) in the fishery within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around Hawaii. This action is necessary to comply with False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan (Plan) regulations that establish the SEZ closure trigger and procedures to limit M&SI of false killer whales in the Hawaii deep-set longline fishery. Effective July 24, 2018, through December 31, 2018. Read the Federal Register notice and supporting documents.

  • July 18, 2018. NOAA Fisheries publishes a final rule to implement recent decisions of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. These regulations implement catch limits for the U.S. longline fleet operating in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), fishing effort limits for the U.S. WCPO purse seine fleet, restrictions on the use of fish aggregating devices for the purse seine fleet, and a prohibition on transshipments in the Eastern High Seas Special Management Area. View the regulatory action details for more information about the final rule and supporting documents, including compliance guides on how to comply with the final rule.

  • June 14, 2018. Final rule. 5-Year Extension of Moratorium on Harvest of Gold Corals. This final rule extends the region-wide moratorium on the harvest of gold corals in the U.S. Pacific Islands through June 30, 2023. NOAA Fisheries intends this final rule to prevent overfishing and to stimulate research on gold corals. Read the Federal Register notice and supporting documents.

  • May 11, 2018. Temporary rule; fishery closure. This final rule ​​closes the Hawaii shallow-set pelagic longline fishery in compliance with an order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, effective from May 11, 2018, through December 31, 2018 (the fishery must comply with the rule from May 4, 2018, through December 31, 2018). Read the ​​Federal Register notice and supporting documents.

  • April 11, 2018. Final rule. NOAA Fisheries is issuing regulations under the Tuna Conventions Act to implement Resolution C-17-02 (Conservation Measures for Tropical Tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean During 2018-2020 and Amendment to Resolution C-17-01), which was adopted at the 92nd Meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in July 2017. This final rule implements the C-17-02 fishing management measures for tropical tuna (i.e., bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), yellowfin tuna (T. albacares), and skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis)) in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). This final rule imposes the following on purse seine vessels with carrying capacity greater than 182 metric tons (mt) fishing for tropical tuna in the EPO: A 72-day EPO-wide closure, a 31-day area closure, and a requirement that—with some exceptions—all tropical tuna be retained and landed. In addition, this final rule revises the restrictions for exemptions due to force majeure, establishes a bigeye tuna catch limit of 750 mt for U.S. longline vessels greater than 24 meters in overall length, and regulates the use and design of fish aggregating devices. This final rule is necessary for the conservation of tropical tuna stocks in the EPO and for the United States to satisfy its obligations as a member of the IATTC. This rule is effective May 11, 2018, except for the amendments to 50 CFR 300.24(qq) and 300.28(e), which are effective on January 1, 2019. Read the Federal Register notice and supporting documents.

  • January 23, 2018. NOAA Fisheries establishes the annual harvest guideline for the commercial lobster fishery in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands for calendar year 2018 at zero lobsters. Read the Federal Register notice.

  • August 16, 2017. Notice of agency decision. NOAA Fisheries announces approval of a Marine Conservation Plan for Guam, valid from August 4, 2017, through August 3, 2020. Read the Federal Register notice, Marine Conservation Plan, and supporting documents.

  • August 11, 2017. Notice of agency decision. NOAA Fisheries announces approval of a Marine Conservation Plan for Pacific Insular Areas other than American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, valid from August 4, 2017, through August 3, 2020. Read the Federal Register notice, Marine Conservation Plan for Pacific Insular Areas, and supporting documents.

  • August 9, 2017. Notice of agency decision. NOAA Fisheries announces approval of a Marine Conservation Plan for the Northern Mariana Islands, valid from August 4, 2017, through August 3, 2020. Read the Federal Register notice, Marine Conservation Plan for the Northern Mariana Islands, and supporting documents.
  • September 7, 2016. Final rule. This final rule removes the medium and large vessel bottomfish prohibited fishing areas in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Conditions in the fishery that led to establishing the prohibited areas are no longer present, and the restriction is no longer necessary. This rule also makes administrative housekeeping changes to the description of the CNMI management subarea and to the regulations for the CNMI management subarea for crustacean fishing. The intent of this final rule is to improve the viability of the CNMI bottomfish fishery and promote optimum yield while preventing overfishing. This final rule is effective on October 7, 2016. Read the final rule and supporting documents here.