FishNews – September 19, 2018

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NOAA Fish News

September 19, 2018



NOAA Response to Florence

NOAA Responds to Hurricane Florence
Our thoughts are with those dealing with the impacts of Hurricane Florence. NOAA’s National Weather Service cautions that, while Florence has departed, rivers will rise further in the Carolinas for days to come as rainfall makes its way through regional river systems. NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey has started collecting aerial imagery to assess the damage in the storm’s aftermath. And NOAA Coast Survey’s navigation response teams are working to identify new navigational hazards and reopen ports.


Drew Lawler

NOAA Appoints New Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Fisheries
NOAA announced the appointment of Drew Lawler as the new Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Fisheries. In this role, he will engage in high-level development and coordination of NOAA international fisheries policy and bilateral meetings. Mr. Lawler has a long career in international trade that includes a focus on saltwater sportfishing.

Shortfin Mako

Shortfin Mako Rule – Extended Comment Period
By October 8 (formerly October 1), please submit your comments on a proposed rule and Draft Amendment 11 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan. The proposed amendment aims to end overfishing of shortfin mako sharks and to rebuild their populations. 

Removing crab traps

Marine Debris Removal Grants – Call for Proposals
The NOAA Marine Debris Program announced its FY 2019 Marine Debris Removal federal funding opportunity. Awarded projects will prioritize the removal of derelict fishing gear and other medium- and large-scale debris to improve habitat and foster public awareness of marine debris impacts. Proposals are due October 29.

West Coast



Pacific Groundfish Measures – Open for Comment
By October 19, please submit your comments on proposed harvest specifications for the 2019–2020 Pacific Coast groundfish fishery. In 2017, after years of low harvest levels, three previously-overfished stocks of rockfish were declared rebuilt. The proposed measures will increase commercial and recreational fishing opportunities while ensuring sustainable harvest into the future.

Pacific Salmon Treaty

Pacific Salmon Treaty Renewal 2018
The Pacific Salmon Commission has reached an agreement on conservation and harvest sharing of Pacific salmon, thereby continuing the longstanding cooperative management partnership between the United States and Canada. The Commission’s new agreement recommends reduced harvest of Chinook salmon in both countries to reduce fishery impacts on natural Chinook stocks and to complement recovery efforts.


Forest Service Plan

Forest Service’s Revised Forest Plans Protect Fish
An updated blueprint for the management of 5.5 million acres of public land in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington prioritizes habitat restoration for threatened salmon and steelhead where the fish need it most, thus boosting their chances for recovery in coming decades.

Pacific Islands


Hatchery mullets

Hatchery-Born Mullets for Hawaiian Fish Ponds
Ancient Hawaiians developed fishponds as a kind of natural refrigerator to trap and store mullet and other fish. A new NOAA Fisheries–funded project aims to help these traditional fishponds increase production and become economically sustainable. Three fishponds will receive hatchery-born mullets to raise experimentally, providing valuable data on how different factors affect the growth rate and health of fish. 


Hawaii Ecosystem

Proposed Ecosystem Components Rule  Open for Public Comment
By October 29, please submit your comments on NOAA Fisheries’ proposal to reclassify management unit species in America Samoa, Hawaii, and the Mariana Islands as ecosystem components. This proposed rule is intended to create a more effective federal management system for Pacific Island fisheries by prioritizing conservation and management resources toward those species caught in federal waters that are in the most need.  



Mississippi Trustees Update

Mississippi Trustees Announce Changes to Early Restoration Project
The Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group for the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment announced changes to an early restoration project approved in 2015. The Trustees canceled three of the eight components of the Restoring Living Shorelines and Reefs in Mississippi Estuaries project after determining that they are not feasible at this time. The five remaining project components will move forward.


Alabama restoration

Alabama Releases Second Restoration Plan
The Alabama Trustee Implementation Group for the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment approved its second Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment to address natural resource injuries from the oil spill. Read more about the plan’s restoration priorities and the steps leading up to its release. 

Greater Atlantic


Bloede Dam

Video: Blowing up Maryland’s Bloede Dam
Following the recent Bloede Dam removal kickoff, NOAA and project partners took the most important and exciting step needed to begin opening up the Patapsco River: breaching the giant structure with explosives to allow the river to pass. Over the coming weeks, construction will continue on the remaining portion of the dam, removing it piece by piece with heavy equipment.

Sebasticook fish

River Restoration: Finding the Next Sebasticook
Restoring the Sebasticook River, a smaller tributary to the Kennebec River, yielded historic river herring runs, bringing back fish, eagles, and revenue to the region. While NOAA continues to focus our efforts on restoring major East Coast rivers, we are also looking at the huge restoration potential of smaller rivers that feed these major water bodies.



September 20
Free Atlantic Shark Identification workshop in Panama City Beach, Florida.

September 24–27
Seven public hearings for the Summer Flounder Commercial Issues Amendment, hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

September 24–27
New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

September 25
Public hearing webinar on Draft Addendum V to the Atlantic Coastal Sharks Interstate Fishery Management Plan, hosted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

September 30–October 5 
Rescheduled South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Charleston, South Carolina.

October 1 and 4
Two free Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshops in New Jersey and Florida.

October 1–9
North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage.

October 2–4
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Cape May, New Jersey.

October 4–November 9
Top NOAA leaders will conduct public conferences around the nation about the Department of Commerce 2018–2022 Strategic Plan.

October 18
Free Atlantic Shark Identification workshop in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

October 22–25
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting in Mobile, Alabama.

October 23–24
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

October 26–27
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Tumon, Guam.

November 13–16
United States–Japan Natural Resources Panel on Aquaculture Scientific Symposium in Mystic, Connecticut.


September 20
Proposals due for the 2019–2021 Atlantic Herring Research Set-Aside Program.

October 1
Proposals due for the 2019–2020 Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program.

October 1
Nominations due for advisors to the U.S. Section to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

October 1
Applications due for groundfish sector at-sea monitor providers for fishing years 2019 and 2020.

October 29
Proposals due for 2019 Community-Based Marine Debris Removal grants.

October 30
Applications due for 2019 Species Recovery Grants to Tribes.

October 31
Proposals due for funding to document the distribution of surfclams in the U.S. Northwest Atlantic.

November 1
Applications due for 2019 Species Recovery Grants to States.

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