FishNews – November 22, 2017

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NOAA Fish News

November 22, 2017

Editor's Note: Happy Thanksgiving and think outside the bird! Consider bringing both land and sea to the dinner table this year. Here are some dishes featuring sustainable seafood managed in the United States.



Bluefin Tuna
An Atlantic bluefin tuna strikes. Credit:Gilbert Van Ryckevorsel/TAG A Giant

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas – 2017 Update

The United States and other countries from around the world tackled management challenges for tunas, swordfish and sharks at the 2017 annual meeting of ICCAT that concluded November 21, in Marrakech, Morocco. This year, more than 700 delegates representing 47 members gathered to discuss a number of important measures that advance the sustainable management of these valuable species.


JPSS Satellite v2

Fisheries Scientists to Benefit from New Satellite
Meteorologists are not the only ones who rely on environmental satellites. Marine biologists, fishery managers, and coastal habitat planners need satellites to track changes in ocean color and temperature that provide important clues to our living marine resources. Learn more about how NOAA Fisheries will benefit from the new Joint Polar Satellite System that launched Saturday, November 18.



Fisheries Finance Program Loan Applications
NOAA Fisheries’ Fisheries Finance Program (FFP) is currently accepting loan applications. The FFP can provide long term financing for the cost of construction or reconstruction of fishing vessels, fisheries facilities, and aquaculture facilities, as well as individual fishing quota in the Pacific Halibut/Sablefish and Bering Sea Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries. Contact the Financial Services branch offices in Gloucester, St. Petersburg, or Seattle for more information on how to apply.


MAFAC Collage

Reminder: MAFAC Nominations Due Monday
NOAA Fisheries seeks to fill current and pending vacancies on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee, which advises the Secretary of Commerce on all living marine resources matters under the Department of Commerce. Applications are due next Monday, November 27.



NOAA Fisheries' New Chief Information Officer
NOAA Fisheries announced the appointment of Roy Varghese as the new Chief Information Officer for Fisheries. As CIO, Roy will continue the work of leading NOAA Fisheries and its regions and science centers in all areas of information management and technology.


West Coast


Veteran Interns 2017

Two Veterans Begin Internships at NOAA Fisheries
Two veterans will began internships this month with researchers from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s Watershed Program at Mukilteo Research Center. This marks the second year of a unique program created through a partnership between NOAA, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Veterans Conservation Corps.

Pacific Islands


Monk Seal Photo Contest Winner

Hawaiian Monk Seal Photo Contest Winners
The Pacific Islands Regional Office announced the winners of the first-ever Hawaiian Monk Seal Photo Contest. Two winners were chosen from each of the following eight categories: Coexistence with Hawaii’s Native Seal, Moms and Pups, Seal-Seal Interaction, Strike a Pose, Monk Seals in their Settings, Surf and Swim, Threats to Survival, and Monument Insight.


Monk Seal November

November’s Monk Seal of the Month
The Monk Seal of the Month for November is Kaimana, the first monk seal born in Waikiki. Kaimana spent 6 weeks with her mother, Rocky, on the crowded Waikiki beach, with lots of attention. NOAA Fisheries decided such a populated area would be a risky place for a young pup, so shortly after she was weaned, researchers relocated her to a new home.




Greater Amberjack illustration

Greater Amberjack Rule – Open for Comment
By December 5, please submit your comments on a proposed rule for commercial and recreational management measures for greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico. The rule would modify the annual catch limits and targets for 2018 and beyond, as well as set a new time frame for rebuilding the greater amberjack stock.


Fishery Bulletins icon

Reminder: Paperless Fishery Bulletins Available
NOAA Fisheries offers three ways to receive your fishery bulletins, which contain fishing regulation information and are typically referred to as “the blue sheets.” Paper bulletins are available by mail, but paperless include electronic bulletins via email or text message.


Greater Atlantic


NE boats

Northeast Fishery Sector IX Operations Plan Withdrawn Due to Non-Compliance
NOAA Fisheries withdrew approval of the 2017 and 2018 Northeast Fishery Sector IX operations plan. The Regional Administrator determined that the sector and its participants have not complied with the requirements of their approved operations plan, and that the continuation of the Sector IX operations plan will undermine achievement of the conservation and management objectives of the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This action follows the guilty plea and sentencing of Mr. Carlos Rafael, a major participant in Sector IX, who admitted to falsely reporting catch information.


American lobster v2

Proposed Rulemaking for American Lobster – Open for Public Comment
By December 15, please submit your comments on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking for the American lobster fishery. NOAA Fisheries seeks comments on the American lobster control date, proposed changes to lobster trap gear marking requirements, and a provision to allow substitute vessels to fish lobster traps for federally permitted, but inoperable, vessels.

Lobster Collage

Meet GARFO’s American Lobster Policy Analyst
Meet Peter Burns, a policy analyst in the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office who takes the lead on lobster policy. Peter works with the fishing industry, scientists, state agencies, and others to develop management plans for American lobster, which is managed by the states under the Atlantic Coastal Act. NOAA Fisheries enacts regulations in federal waters designed to complement state regulations and support the management plan.


Ribbed Mussels

Ribbed Mussels Could Help Improve Water Quality
A new study found that ribbed mussels, native to the East Coast, could help improve water quality in coastal urban locations by removing nitrogen and other excess nutrients. The findings are part of long-term efforts to improve water quality in New York City’s Bronx River Estuary.


Miniboat West

Miniboat Launches Connect Students and Teachers Across the Atlantic
Three 5-foot miniboats fitted with sails and GPS tracking devices were launched off Portugal’s Madeira Island on November 13 for their latest voyage westward. Built by students in New Jersey, Maine, and Portugal, the miniboats are part of an international regatta aiming to have boats completely circle the North Atlantic Ocean.

Milford Korean Collaboration

Milford Lab Collaborates with Korean Colleagues
Since its founding almost 100 years ago, NOAA’s Milford Laboratory in Connecticut has fostered relationships between its scientists, government and academic partners, the shellfish industry, and international organizations. Read a spotlight on the connection between the Milford Lab and South Korea’s National Institute of Fisheries Science.


November 28
(Rescheduled from September) Free Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshops in Panama City, Florida.

November 28–30
Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) meeting
in Silver Spring, Maryland.

November 30
(Rescheduled from September) Free Atlantic Shark Identification workshop in Panama City, Florida.

December 5
Quantitative Ecology and Socioeconomics Training (QUEST) webinar on Incorporating Ecosystem and Economic Models into Management Strategy Evaluation.

December 7
Public hearing in Honolulu on proposed critical habitat designation for main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whales.

December 11–14
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Annapolis, Maryland.



November 22
Nominations due for the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel.

November 27
Nominations due for the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee.

December 4
Application and required vessel information due for the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species 2018 Shark Research Fishery.

December 21
Proposals due for the 2018/2019 Monkfish Research Set-Aside Program.

December 22
Nominations due for the 2018 National Wetlands Awards.

January 22
Applications due for position of Director of Science and Research, Alaska Region.

February 23
Applications due for the 2018 NOAA Fisheries-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship Program.


Federal Register Actions

Visit for a list of only those actions open for public comment. Scroll search for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For a list of all daily actions, check the Federal Register online.

Corrections or technical questions should be sent to the FishNews Editor at