FishNews – February 14, 2018

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NOAA Fish News

February 14, 2018



Sea Lions diving

Dive into the New NOAA Fisheries Website
We are in the process of dramatically transforming our web presence and welcome you to check it out. Please have patience as we make this transition and continue improvements. At this time, much of our old national site ( is now redirecting you to the new site ( Here's an important tip: if you are looking for something specific, we recommend using the site search box at the top of every page.

Whale Week 2018 border

Splash into Whale Week with NOAA Fisheries
Whales play a pivotal role in the marine environment and they are important sentinels of changes in our marine ecosystems. Join us this week as we celebrate the largest and oldest mammals on Earth.

Whale Week welcome

Welcome to Whale Week Leadership Message

Chris Oliver, head of NOAA Fisheries, kicks off Whale Week 2018 by highlighting our work to recover them and sharing more about why these fascinating creatures grab our attention. 

Killer whale border

Video: Spotlight on Southern Resident Killer Whales

Learn more about this Species in the Spotlight in an interview with NOAA Fisheries scientist Lynne Barre.

Faces of right whale conservation

Faces of North Atlantic Right Whale Conservation

The past year has been devastating for critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. Meet the experts at NOAA who are tackling this difficult problem: Sofie van Parijs conducts acoustic monitoring,
Mike Asaro works to prevent entanglements, and
David Morin leads disentanglement efforts.

Gray whales

Celebrating 25 Years of Counting Gray Whales

NOAA scientists at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center celebrate 25 years of research on gray whale calf production. Annual shore-based counts of gray whale mother-calf pairs serve as a firm foundation for examining the interplay between changing environmental conditions and gray whale population dynamics.

Seafood Imports

Informed Compliance Provision for Seafood Import Monitoring Program Ends April 7
NOAA Fisheries announced that, beginning April 7, all filings for seafood products covered by the Seafood Import Monitoring Program must comply with the electronic filing requirements in order for an entry to receive a “may proceed.” NOAA Fisheries’ transitional “informed compliance” approach will end that time.


Commerce Trusted Trader

Commerce Trusted Trader Program Webinars
Reminder: Join NOAA Fisheries for a presentation on our proposed rule to establish a voluntary Commerce Trusted Trader Program for U.S. seafood importers—
a valuable complement to the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. Webinars will be held February 15 and 28.



Beluga calf collage

New Home Announced for Beluga Whale Calf
After NOAA Fisheries determined that the Cook Inlet beluga whale calf rescued last fall could not survive in the wild, we followed our formal procedure to find him a permanent home. We determined that Sea World of Texas, which currently houses adult male and female belugas, would provide him the best chance of survival and social development.

2017 AFSC Year in Review

Alaska Fisheries Science Center Year in Review
The research of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center provides the foundation for sustainable marine resource management to ensure strong and profitable fisheries and businesses, ample jobs, and a stable food supply for local Alaska communities and the nation. Read more about the Center’s accomplishments in 2017.

West Coast


NOAA Day Art Contest

NOAA Day Showcases Agency’s Work on Environmental Challenges
On November 18, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach hosted several NOAA agencies for the 11th Annual NOAA Day. This event showcases how NOAA biologists, engineers, data scientists, oceanographers, meteorologists, and other public servants work in concert on our nation’s most challenging environmental issues.


Green Sturgeon

Green Sturgeon Recovery Plan Workshop
In January, NOAA Fisheries released a draft recovery plan for green sturgeon in central California. A public workshop on the draft recovery plan will take place in Sacramento on March 5. Please RSVP by February 26 if you plan to attend.

Pacific Islands


hooked monk seal

Monk Seal Updates: A Tale of Two Hookings
Interactions with fishing gear can pose a serious threat to Hawaiian monk seals. A couple of recent hooking incidents illustrate the difficulty and the risk involved for responders trying to help.




Fishery Disaster

Fishery Disasters Declared for 2017 Hurricanes
Last week—following requests from the Governors of Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico—Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross determined catastrophic fishery disasters occurred in the areas because of impacts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria that made landfall in August and September of 2017. These disaster declarations make the participants in those fisheries eligible for certain federal loans and assistance.


Living Shorelines

Living Shorelines Help Protect Communities from Hurricane Impacts
By the second half of this century, more than half of our population will live within 60 miles of a coastline. An increasingly popular and cost-effective means of restoring coastal ecosystems is the use of living shorelines. According to NOAA’s Guidance for Considering the Use of Living Shorelines, living shorelines will become the common-sense option for coastal restoration work.


Aquamapper screenshot

New Tool for Siting Aquaculture in Gulf of Mexico
NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science released the newly created Gulf Aquamapper, a web-based tool for exploration, permitting, and siting of offshore aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico. The tool aims to streamline the permitting process established by the 2016 Gulf Aquaculture Fishery Management Plan.

White pelican

Gulf Spill Open Ocean Trustees Initiate Planning
The Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group has started drafting its first and second post-settlement draft restoration plans to address natural resource injuries caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The first plan, which focuses on birds and sturgeon, should be released in summer 2018, and the second plan—covering sea turtles, marine mammals, fish, and invertebrates—is expected toward the end of the year.

Winter Issue of Gulf Fishery News Available
The latest issue of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s newsletter, Gulf Fishery News, is now available. Topics include updates from the January Council meeting, recently approved final regulations, a new red snapper abundance study, and more.

Greater Atlantic


Groundfish trip notification observers

NOAA Upgrades Online Trip Notification System
Northeast groundfish vessels notify NOAA about upcoming groundfish trips so the agency can assign a fishery monitor or observer to the trip if needed. In April, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center will launch an upgraded online notification system that is easier to use, mobile-friendly, and adaptable to future management requirements.


NJ artificial reefs

Proposed Special Management Zones – Open for Public Comment
By March 15, please submit your comments on proposed management measures to establish year-round special management zones at all 13 New Jersey artificial reefs.  The measures would allow only handline, rod-and-reel, or spear fishing (including the taking of fish by hand) in these areas.

Charter vessels

New Reporting Requirements for Mid-Atlantic Charter Vessels
Starting March 12, vessels issued a Greater Atlantic Region charter/party permit for certain species will be required to submit electronic vessel trip reports within 48 hours for all trips carrying passengers for hire. These new requirements stem from the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Omnibus Electronic Vessel Trip Reporting Framework.


Marine Mammal Stranding Response

New Marine Mammal Stranding Response Group
After 4 years of no stranding coverage on Nantucket, Tuckernuck, and Muskeget Islands, a new NOAA-authorized organization will fill an important gap in the Greater Atlantic region. Marine Mammal Rescue Nantucket will respond to both live and dead whales, dolphins, and seals, conducting assessments, transportation to treatment facilities, and necropsies.


February 15
Last day of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina.

February 15
Free Atlantic Shark Identification workshop in Corpus Christi, Texas.

February 15 and 28
Webinars on a proposed rule to establish a Commerce Trusted Trader Program.

February 15–March 8
Public meetings on the Draft Proposed Program for the National Offshore Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, held in cities around the nation.

February 22
Free Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshops in Gulfport, Mississippi.

February 24
Training workshop on electronic reporting requirements, hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, in Tom River, New Jersey.

March 5
Green Sturgeon Recovery Plan Workshop in Sacramento, California. Open to the public, but please RSVP by February 26.

March 5–9
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

March 7–9
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland.

March 7 and 13
Two free Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshops in Florida and Texas.

March 8–14
Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Rohnert Park, California.

March 14–16
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Honolulu.

March 15
Free Atlantic Shark Identification Workshop in Fort Pierce, Florida.

NOAA Ocean Discovery Day

March 24
NOAA Ocean Discovery Day at the NOAA Galveston Lab in Galveston, Texas.



February 16
Proposals due for contract work assessing the importance of Atlantic chub mackerel to the diets of recreationally important highly migratory species.

February 20
Applications due for summer 2018 student internships at NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office.

February 28
Nominations due for two U.S. seats on the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

March 2
Complete proposals due to state Sea Grant Programs for 2018 National Aquaculture Initiative funding.

March 7
Pre-proposals due for 2018 Coastal Resilience Grants funding.

March 9
Applications due for 2018 Chesapeake Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) funding.

March 12
Applications due for 2018 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding.

March 16
Applications due for open seats on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s Reef Fish and Shrimp Advisory Panels.

March 30
Applications due for 2018 student summer programs at Woods Hole Science Aquarium.


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