NMFS Proposes to Amend Take Authorizations for WA/OR/CA Fisheries

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service proposes to issue an amended permit to authorize the incidental, but not intentional, take of two stocks of marine mammals listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and under the Marine Mammal Protection Act , by the California (CA) thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh) and the Washington /Oregon /CA sablefish pot fishery.

In accordance with the MMPA, NMFS must issue this permit provided that it can make the determinations that: the incidental take will have a negligible impact on the affected stocks; a recovery plan for all affected stocks of threatened or endangered marine mammals has been developed or is being developed; and as required by the MMPA, a take reduction plan and monitoring program have been implemented, and vessels in the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh) and the WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fisheries are registered.

NMFS Publishes Revised SARs

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has incorporated public comments into its revisions of the 2013 marine mammal stock assessment reports. Electronic copies of SARs are available on the Internet as regional compilations and individual reports at the following address: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/. Copies of the  reports can also be requested from Chief, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910– 3226, Attn: Stock Assessments. Click here for NMFS’ Federal Register notice of the revised SARs.



NMFS Publishes Fur Seal Subsistence Harvests

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published the annual fur seal subsistence harvests on St. George and St. Paul Islands, Alaska (the Pribilof Islands) for 2011– 2013, and the annual estimates of fur seal subsistence harvests for 2014–2016. NMFS estimates the annual subsistence needs for 2014–2016 are 1,645–2,000 fur seals on St. Paul and 300–500 fur seals on St. George. Click here to read NMFS’ Federal Register notice of these  subsistence harvests.

NMFS Seeks Comment on Beluga Whale Depleted Stock Petition

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has received a petition to ‘‘designate the Sakhalin Bay-Amur River stock of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) as a depleted stock under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).’’ NMFS has found that the petition presents substantial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted and will initiate a status review promptly. NMFS solicits information from the public that may contribute to the status review.  Information and comments must be received by NMFS by close of business on September 2, 2014.

Click here to read NMFS’ Federal Register notice seeking comment on this petition.