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.

  • September 18, 2018. Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; U.S. Territorial Catch and Fishing Effort Limits. The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. NOAA Fisheries must receive any comments by November 19, 2018. Read the Federal Register notice.

  • September 13, 2018. Proposed rule; request for comments. Ecosystem component species. NOAA Fisheries proposes to reclassify certain management unit species in the Pacific Islands as ecosystem component species. The proposed rule would also update the scientific and local names of certain species. The intent of this proposed rule is to prioritize conservation and management efforts and to improve efficiency of fishery management in the region. NOAA Fisheries must receive comments by October 29, 2018. Read the Federal Register notice and supporting documents.

  • August 23, 2018. Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Logbook and Reporting. The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. NOAA Fisheries must receive any comments by October 22, 2018. Read the Federal Register notice.

  • August 23, 2018. Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Permit Form. The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. NOAA Fisheries must receive any comments by October 22, 2018. Read the Federal Register notice.

  • August 8, 2018. Notice of availability of fishery ecosystem plan amendments; request for comments. Ecosystem component species. NOAA Fisheries announces that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council proposes to amend the Fishery Ecosystem Plans (FEP) for American Samoa, the Mariana Archipelago, and Hawaii. Amendment 4 to the American Samoa FEP, Amendment 5 to the Marianas FEP, and Amendment 5 to the Hawaii FEP would reclassify certain management unit species as ecosystem component species. The intent of these amendments is to focus management efforts on species that are in need of conservation and management, and improve efficiency of fishery management in the region. NOAA Fisheries must receive comments by October 9, 2018. Read the Federal Register notice and proposed FEP amendments.

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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.

  • 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. 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.

  • February 5, 2018. Final specification. 2017 Hawaii Kona Crab Annual Catch Limit and Accountability Measure. In this final rule, NOAA Fisheries specifies an annual catch limit (ACL) for 2017 of 3,500 lb for Hawaii Kona Crab, and an accountability measure (AM) to correct or mitigate any overages of the catch limit. The ACL and AM support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands. The final specification is applicable from January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017. 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.