Interim Action Cod Executive Summary

A recent assessment of the amount of cod found in the GOM was finalized in January 2012. The results are substantially different from those from a similar examination conducted in 2008. The new assessment concludes that GOM cod are ``overfished,'' meaning there is a lower amount of fish than necessary to sustain the population over the long term. It also concludes that GOM cod are subject to ``overfishing,'' meaning fishing activities are removing too many fish from the sea to sustain the population. The required population and fishing-related removal levels are set for GOM cod under a fishery management plan developed by the New England Fishery Management Council (Council) in collaboration with NMFS. This plan is designed to satisfy requirements of the primary law governing U.S. fisheries--the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.  

Swordfish Regulatory Changes

NMFS proposes regulatory changes to the adjusted quotas and minimum sizes that would affect commercial and recreational vessels that catch Atlantic swordfish.

North and South Atlantic swordfish are managed under the dual authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and ATCA, which authorizes the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to promulgate regulations as may be necessary and appropriate to implement ICCAT recommendations. The authority to issue regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and ATCA has been delegated from the Secretary to the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA). On October 2, 2006, NMFS published in the Federal Register final regulations, effective November 1, 2006, implementing the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP), which details management measures for Atlantic HMS fisheries. 

ICCAT is responsible for the conservation of tuna and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. ICCAT recommendations are binding on Contracting Parties, non-Contracting Cooperating Parties, Entities and Fishing Entities (CPCs), unless Parties object pursuant to the treaty. All ICCAT recommendations are available on the ICCAT Web site at In November 2011, ICCAT adopted Recommendation 11-02 for North Atlantic swordfish. This recommendation maintains the U.S. baseline quota of 2,937.6 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) for 2012 and 2013. Previous North Atlantic swordfish recommendations included a quota transfer of 18.8 mt dw from the United States to Canada; however, Recommendation 11-02 eliminates this quota transfer and includes a transfer of 112.8 mt dw from the United States to Morocco to support joint scientific research and Morocco's efforts to eliminate the use of driftnets. Recommendation 11-02 also includes a provision for the submission of annual swordfish management plans and a change to the underharvest carryover provisions. The recommendation limits the amount of underharvested quota that can be carried over by a CPC allocated a baseline quota greater than 500 mt to 25 percent of the baseline quota. 

Recreation Advisory Panel Will Meet

The New England Fishery Management Council's (Council) Recreational Advisory Panel will meet to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

DATES: The meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 9 a.m.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Colonial, One Audubon Road Wakefield, MA 01880; telephone: (781) 245-9300; fax: (781) 245-0842.

    Council address: New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul J. Howard, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council; telephone: (978) 465-0492.


2012 Atlantic Bluefish Fishery

NMFS issues final specifications for the 2012 Atlantic bluefish fishery, including an annual catch limit, total allowable landings, a commercial quota and recreational harvest limit, and a recreational possession limit. This action establishes the allowable 2012 harvest levels and other management measures to achieve the target fishing mortality rate, consistent with the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan.

DATES: The final specifications for the 2012 Atlantic bluefish fishery areeffective May 29, 2012, through December 31, 2012.

MRIP to Meet with Constituents

MRIP is conducting a Road Show this spring and summer to meet with constituents along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The meetings provide anglers and other stakeholders the opportunity to pose questions, share their ideas and concerns, and learn the latest MRIP news.

The Communications and Education Team began its Road Show with a series of listening sessions, both formal and informal, with recreational fishermen in New Jersey at the beginning of April. We traveled up and down the state's coastline to meet with tackle shop owners, fishing groups, recreational fishing advocates, members of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Marine Fisheries Division, and everyday anglers from all walks of life.

Recreational Yellowfin Tuna Data for Future Quotas

At its 2011 meeting, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) actively considered country-specific yellowfin tuna allocations as well as the potential landings histories that could be the basis for those allocations. While the final recommendation did not establish any country-specific allocations, some members of the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel and the public have expressed an interest in discussing historical and future data collection in the U.S. recreational yellowfin tuna fishery, in case this issue comes up at the 2012 ICCAT meeting. 

To participate in this conference call 

USCG Safety Zones for Recurring Events in Northern New England

The Coast Guard is updating special local regulations and permanent safety zones in the Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) Northern New England Zone for annual recurring marine events. When these special local regulations or safety zones are activated, and subject to enforcement, this rule will restrict vessels from portions of water areas during these annual recurring events. The revised special local regulations and safety zones will expedite public notification of events, and ensure the protection of the maritime public and event participants from the hazards associated with these annual recurring events.

This rule is effective May 21, 2012. This rule will be enforced during dates and times specified in the Tables below

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna; HMS Amendment

ACTION: Notice of intent (NOI) to hold public scoping meetings and to prepare a draft environmental impact statement (EIS); request for comments.

SUMMARY: NMFS announces its intent to hold public scoping meetings to determine the scope and significance of issues to be analyzed in a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on management measures for Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) and a potential proposed amendment to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP based on that process. The public process will help NMFS determine if existing measures are the best means of achieving certain management objectives for Atlantic BFT and providing flexibility for future management, consistent with the Consolidated HMS FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), and other relevant Federal laws. NMFS is also announcing the availability of a scoping document describing measures for potential inclusion in a proposed Amendment. Table 1, below, provides details for seven scoping meetings to discuss and collect comments on the scoping document and certain management objectives for BFT. NMFS is requesting comments on this NOI, and the management of BFT, including, but not limited to, those described in the scoping document.

Recreational Accountability Measures Not Needed

This final rule published by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) removes the recreational accountability measures that were implemented in January 2012 to address an overage of the fishing year 2010 Gulf of Maine haddock sub-annual catch limit by the recreational fishery. Newly available data indicate that there was no overage by the recreational fishery for fishing year 2010. Therefore, possession limits and an increase in the minimum size for haddock caught in the Gulf of Maine by recreational anglers aboard private or charter/party vessels are no longer needed.

Massachusetts Wants EPA to Determine Adequate Facilities for the Safe and Sanitary Removal and Treatment of Sewage from All Vessels

A petition has been received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requesting a determination by the Regional Administrator, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, that adequate facilities for the safe and sanitary removal and treatment of sewage from all vessels are reasonably available for the waters of Mount Hope Bay. DATES: ``Comments must be submitted by May 21, 2012.'' 

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R01- OW-2012-0200, by one of the following methods:, Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. Email: Fax: (617) 918-0538. Mail and hand delivery: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency--New England Region, Five Post Office Square, Suite 100, OEP06-1, Boston, MA 02109-3912. Deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office's normal hours of operation (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays), and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.