FishNews – February 21, 2018

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NOAA Fish News

February 21, 2018



Commerce Trusted Trader

Commerce Trusted Trader Program Webinars
Join NOAA Fisheries next Wednesday, February 28, 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 U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program. We will also host a public meeting at the Seafood Expo in Boston March 12.


Seafood Imports

"Informed Compliance” 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 at that time.


Atlantic MRIP Regional Implementation Plan
The Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program is the state-federal partnership that collects, manages, and disseminates Atlantic commercial and recreational fisheries data. This week, the program released a Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) Regional Implementation Plan summarizing the data needs and funding priorities for improving recreational fishing data on the Atlantic Coast.

Pollution report

Restoring Our Coasts after Industrial Pollution
In 2017, NOAA’s Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program worked across the country and in the Caribbean to restore our coasts from hazardous waste, oil pollution, and ship groundings. From Oregon to South Carolina, and New Jersey to Puerto Rico, NOAA works with partners in and outside of government to rebuild valuable ecosystems.


Coral Reef

New Committee to Study Coral Reef Resilience
In January, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine appointed a new committee to study interventions to increase the resilience of coral reefs. Over the next year, the committee will evaluate novel intervention strategies and their potential ecological benefits. Their findings will include a decision-making framework and recommendations on the most promising paths forward.



North Pacific Right Whale

Video: North Pacific Right Whales
With only 30 individuals remaining, North Pacific right whales are among the most critically endangered whales in the world. In this interview, NOAA Fisheries marine mammal scientist Jessica Crance describes joining an International Whaling Commission survey to track down and document these whales. 

Cook Inlet Belugas

Video: Cook Inlet Beluga Whales
Watch this new video to learn more about Cook Inlet beluga whales, one of NOAA Fisheries’ Species in the Spotlight. Though subsistence hunting for these whales ended in 1999, the population is still declining. NOAA Fisheries uses a variety of strategies to monitor the population and understand the threats they face.


West Coast


Sacramento Winter Run Chinook

Charting Progress for West Coast Species at Risk
NOAA Fisheries recently submitted our biennial Report to Congress on the status of threatened and endangered species listed under the Endangered Species Act, including five West Coast species at high risk of extinction. Read about NOAA Fisheries’ recent work toward recovering Southern Resident killer whales, Pacific leatherback sea turtles, Central California coho salmon, Sacramento winter-run Chinook salmon, and white abalone.


PFMC Banner

Webinar Series on Climate Change and Fisheries
The Pacific Fishery Management Council is sponsoring a series of webinars regarding the Fishery Ecosystem Plan Initiative on Climate and Communities. Learn about changes in West Coast species distribution
on February 22, and forecasts of fishery participation under different climate scenarios on February 27.


Pacific Islands


Green Sea Turtle N Marianas

Green Sea Turtles of the Northern Mariana Islands
A new study by NOAA Fisheries and regional partners found that endangered green sea turtles in the Northern Mariana Islands are threatened both by poaching of adult females and by rising temperatures that skew sex ratios and increase egg mortality.





Impacts of Invasive Lionfish
Populations of invasive lionfish continue to expand, threatening the well-being of coral reefs and other marine ecosystems, as well as the species that depend on them. NOAA Fisheries and our partners are working hard to develop ways to prevent further spread and control existing populations of lionfish.


Mississippi Upper Pascagoula

Funding to Improve Mississippi Water Quality
The Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group recently approved the Upper Pascagoula Water Quality Enhancement Project for funding. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is now requesting applications from those interested in participating, with a March 1 deadline for the first ranking period.


Mutton Snapper illustration

Mutton Snapper and Gag Measures – Open for Public Comment
By March 17, please submit your comments on a proposed rule for commercial and recreational mutton snapper and commercial gag management measures in the Gulf of Mexico. Reductions in mutton snapper harvest limits are necessary to ensure that overfishing does not occur, while changes to gag measures will achieve consistency between federal and state regulations.


Greater Atlantic


Caribbean Humpback Whale research

Caribbean Waters May Hold Clues to Humpbacks
From January through June 2017, researchers from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center and their colleagues in the Caribbean deployed underwater recording devices throughout the Caribbean to record whale sounds. Preliminary analysis of the recordings has revealed new insights into humpback whale behavior.


Humpback breaching

Woods Hole Science Organizations Involve Students in Real-Time Whale Research
An undergraduate research voyage in the Caribbean presents a perfect opportunity for scientists from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center to continue their research on humpback whales. Genevieve Davis, a marine mammal scientist in the passive acoustics research group, will join the Sea Education Association voyage as a guest scientist. She’ll work with the students to record humpback whale sounds.


Buckets of Scallops

Proposed Sea Scallop Rule – Open for Comment
By March 7, please submit your comments on a proposed rule to set specification and management measures for the 2018 Atlantic sea scallop fishery, as well as default measures for the 2019 fishing year. The rule will include opening new areas to scallop fishing and developing accountability measures for three flatfish stocks.


Black Sea Bass in net

2018 Chesapeake Bay Fisheries Science Grants
NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office released details of the FY 2018 Request for Proposals on fisheries science topics related to the Chesapeake Bay. Approximately $500,000 may be available to fund new projects, with a particular interest in funding research on habitat impacts on black sea bass and summer flounder. Applications are due April 26.


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

February 22 and 27
Two webinars on Climate Change and Fisheries, hosted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council.

February 22–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 24
Training workshops on electronic reporting requirements, hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, in Toms River, New Jersey.

February 28
Webinar on a proposed rule to establish a Commerce Trusted Trader Program.

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 11–13
Visit NOAA at the Seafood Expo North America in Boston.

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

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

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



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.

April 26
Applications due for 2018 Chesapeake Bay Office Fisheries Science grants.

Federal Register Actions

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