NMFS Mitigates Coral Reef Ecosystem Fisheries Catch Limits
NMFS proposes 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.
(From Federal Register) — NMFS based the proposed specifications on recommendations from the Council at its 160th meeting held on June 24-27, 2014. The Council recommended 112 ACLs: 26 in American Samoa, 26 in Guam, 26 in the CNMI, and 34 in Hawaii. The Council recommended that NMFS specify multi-year ACL and accountability measures effective in fishing years 2015-2018. NMFS proposes to implement the specifications for fishing year 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 separately prior to each fishing year.
The fishing year for each fishery begins on January 1 and ends on December 31, except for precious coral fisheries, which begins July 1 and ends on June 30 the following year.
NMFS must notify permit holders that fishing for that stock or stock complex will be restricted in Federal waters on a specified date. The restriction serves as the AM to prevent an ACL from being exceeded, and may include, closing the fishery, closing specific areas, changing to bag limits, or restricting effort.
The proposed catch limits and accountability measures support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands.