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THE FISHERY IMPROVEMENT PROCESS AND EVOLUTION OF THE MANAGEMENT OF PELAGIC FISHERIES IN THE US WESTERN PACIFIC REGION (Updated April 30, 2014)

The following is a record of key actions taken in the evolution of the management of the pelagic fisheries of the US Western Pacific Region including Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. This historical record provides evidence of a continual fishery improvement process that has made these fisheries a model for science-based, precautionary and adaptive sustainable fishery management. The list will be periodically updated to document future actions and improvements. In the descriptions of each action there is a short sentence about the action followed by an expanded paragraph description of each action. Look for the citation and web links to the documents under the Type of Action column for greater detail.

 

2013
Date Type of Action Description of Action
12/30/2013 FEP Amendment 7 78 FR 79388 (Under Secretarial Review)

Catch and Effort Limits for the U.S. Participating Territories

If approved, Amendment 7 would establish a management framework and process for specifying fishing catch and effort limits and accountability measures for pelagic fisheries in the U.S. Pacific territories (American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). The framework would authorize the government of each territory to allocate a portion of its specified catch or effort limit to a U.S. fishing vessel or vessels through a specified fishing agreement, and establish criteria, which a specified fishing agreement must satisfy. The framework also includes measures to ensure accountability for adhering to fishing catch and effort limits. NMFS must receive comments on the proposed amendment and the included environmental assessment by February 28, 2014.

2012
Date Type of Action Description of Action
6/11/12 Proposed Rule
77 FR 34331

NOAA proposed rule to revise swordfish catch limits for the Hawaii deep-set tuna longline fishery.

NOAA has proposed this rule that would revise the limits on the number of swordfish that fishermen may possess or land during any given Hawaii-based deep-set longline-fishing trip north of the Equator. This proposed rule would also revise the definition of deep-set longline fishing to be consistent with the proposed swordfish retention limits. All other measures applicable to the deep-set fishery would remain unchanged. The proposed rule intends to reduce regulatory discards and optimize the yield of swordfish. NMFS must receive any comments on this proposed rule by July 2, 2012.

6/11/12 Proposed Rule
77 FR 34334

NOAA proposed rule to revise the annual number of sea turtle interactions allowed in the Hawaii-based shallow-set swordfish pelagic longline fishery.

NOAA has proposed this rule to revise the annual number of incidental interactions that are allowed between the Hawaii-based shallow-set pelagic longline fishery and leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles. NMFS also proposes administrative housekeeping changes to the regulations relating to the shallow-set longline fishery. The proposed rule would implement terms and conditions of the current biological opinion on this fishery, and clarify the regulations. NMFS must receive any comments on this proposed rule by July 11, 2012.

In progress Possible Amendment

The Council is considering amending the FEP to establish bigeye tuna catch limits for American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

In 2012, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is recommending to amend its FEP for Pacific Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region to establish annual longline bigeye catch limits of 2,000 mt for the U.S. Pacific Island Territories of American Samoa, Guam, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (collectively, Territories), which is consistent with and more conservative than what was agreed to for the Territories by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, of which the U.S. is cooperating member. Provide limited authority to the Territories to assign up to 750 mt per year of their annual longline bigeye catch limits through domestic charter arrangements or similar mechanisms with only U.S. vessels permitted under the FEP. Establish domestic charter permit requirements and criteria for U.S. vessels operating under domestic charter arrangements or similar mechanisms to be further integrated with the Territory’s domestic fleet by supporting fisheries development within the Territory. This proposed action has received approval by the Council but no proposed action numbers have yet been assigned.

In progress Possible Amendment

The Council is considering amending the FEP to address barriers that may be limiting small vessel participation the American Samoa longline fishery.

In 2012, the Council is recommending to amend its FEP for Pacific Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region to modify the American Samoa Longline program. The American Samoa longline fishery primarily targets albacore tuna and is managed under the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Council) Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pacific Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region (Pelagics FEP). In 2002, the Council recommended a vessel size-based limited entry system with criteria for participation in the American Samoa longline fishery. In 2005, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) implemented the program and issued 60 permits to qualified candidates among four vessel size classes. The management objectives of the limited entry program are to: 1) prevent local depletion, 2) maintain sustained community participation in the fishery, 3) ensure opportunities for participation by indigenous American Samoans, 4) reduce gear conflicts, and 5) minimize fish bycatch. From a high in 2001, small vessel participation in the fishery began to steadily contract due to what is believed to be from multiple external sources, including the combination of economic costs to go fishing and reduced albacore tuna catch rates. The American Samoa longline fishery has undergone substantial shift in participation in terms of vessel sizes, from a fishery once dominated by small vessels generally less than 40 feet in length (37 active in 2001), to a large vessel fishery with nearly all vessels over 50 feet (25 active in 2009). The lack of small vessel participation in the longline fishery is concerning to the Council, because this fleet, when active, is believed provide a primary pathway for sustained community and indigenous American Samoan participation in the fishery. This document considers potential modifications to the longline limited entry permit program (limited entry program) to reduce programmatic barriers that may be limiting small vessel participation, which in turn, may be affecting sustained community and indigenous American Samoan participation in the longline fishery. This proposed action has received approval by the Council but no proposed action numbers have yet been assigned.

In progress Possible Amendment

The Council is considering amending the FEP with fishing regulations for the Marianas Trench, Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll National Monuments.

In 2012, the Council is recommending to amend its FEP for Pacific Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region to add monument fishing regulations. In 2009, three Presidential Proclamations established the Marianas Trench, Pacific Remote Islands, and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments. Consistent with the terms of the Proclamations, the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council recommends establishing several fishery management measures, including the prohibition on commercial fishing, and requirements for non-commercial fishing activities. The purpose of this action is to amend the four fishery ecosystem plans to include the requirements for fishing in the Monuments so that such activities are consistent with the terms and conditions of the Proclamations. The purpose and need for this amendment is two-fold: 1) to limit bigeye longline harvests attributable to the Territories, and 2) to manage potential domestic charter arrangements to support responsible fisheries development in the Territories. This proposed action has received approval by the Council but no proposed action numbers have yet been assigned.

2011
Date Type of Action Description of Action
8/24/11 FEP Amendment 5
76 FR 52888

American Samoa longline gear configuration modifications to reduce sea turtle interactions.

FEP Amendment 5 addressed measures to reduce green sea turtle interactions with the American Samoa longline albacore fishery. Measures included longline gear configuration and use requirements to place hooks below 100 m and the common diving range of green sea turtles. Other requirements were placed on the swordfish catch in this fishery and discourage the setting of gear in shallower depths where sea turtle interactions are more likely to occur.

Disapproval:
7/11/11
FEP Amendment 3
76 FR 40764

NOAA disapproved a purse seine area closure proposed for American Samoa.

FEP Amendment 3 proposed a purse seine area closure around American Samoa. NMFS announces that it has disapproved proposed Amendment 3 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific (FEP) that would have prohibited purse seine fishing within 75 nm of shore around American Samoa. Therefore, NMFS withdraws the proposed rule for Amendment 3.

6/27/11 FEP Amendment 4
76 FR 37285

Omnibus amendment that establishes a mechanism for specifying annual catch limits.

This final rule establishes the procedures and timing for specifying annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for western Pacific fisheries. The final rule is intended to help NMFS end and prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, and achieve optimum yield.

6/27/11 FEP Amendment 2
76 FR 37287

Proposed a longline area closure in CNMI and purse seine area closures for CNMI and Guam. The final rule only approved the longline closure in CNMI.

FEP Amendment 2 proposed a 30 nm area closure to longline fishing around the Commonwealth for the Northern Mariana Islands and area closure to purse seine fishing in CNMI and Guam. This final rule prohibits pelagic longline fishing within approximately 30 nautical miles (nm) of the islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). By establishing a longline fishing prohibited area around the CNMI, NMFS intends to reduce the potential for nearshore localized fish depletion from longline fishing, and to limit catch competition and gear conflicts between the CNMI-based longline and trolling fleets. This rule also makes several administrative clarifications to the pelagic fishing regulations.

2010
Date Type of Action Description of Action
09/03/10 FEP Amendment 1
75 FR 54044

Establishes eligibility requirements and procedures for reviewing and approving community development plans for Western Pacific fisheries.

Establishes eligibility requirements and procedures for reviewing and approving community development plans for Western Pacific fisheries. The intent of this final rule is to promote participation of island communities in fisheries that they have traditionally depended upon, but in which they may not have the capabilities to support continued and substantial participation.

In progress FMP Amendment 19

Implement American Samoa purse seine restrictions

2009
Date Type of Action Description of Action
12/22/09 IND Assessment
2009 RFA

American Samoa longline fishery was evaluated using the United Nations Food and Agriculture Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

American Samoa’s pelagic longline fishery is undergoing responsible development as defined by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (Code). The Code is the global standard for how nations should develop and manage responsible fisheries. While aspects of the Code are achieved in many fishery management systems, very few fisheries have actually been assessed against the provisions of the Code in a comprehensive manner. The American Samoa fishery was assessed in 2009 using the provisions of the Code as a scoring system. The methodology and the set of questions were designed to elicit detailed information on the fishery, remaining consistent with the language and intent of the detailed provisions of the Code. The fishery evaluation followed the approach demonstrated in the 2006 and 2008 Responsible Fisheries Assessments (RFA) of the Hawaii longline fisheries. The RFA process applies FAO’s internationally-accepted set of criteria which define a responsible fishery managed for sustainability. This comprehensive approach translates the detailed provisions of the Code into questions about compliance that can be answered either “yes, no or some level of compliance” with corresponding scores of 1, 0 or 0.5 points. The 2009 summary compliance score was of 92.6%. Scores for pertinent articles in 2009 were: fishery management 94.3%, fishing operations 92%, integration with coastal zone management 88.1%, post-harvest and trade 91.3%, and fisheries research 92.4%.

12/10/09 FMP Amendment 18
74 FR 65460

Removed 2,120 set limit for Hawaii-based shallow-set longline fishery. Implemented a new loggerhead sea turtle hard cap of 46 annual interactions.

Amendment 18 proposed that NOAA remove the effort limit on longline sets in the shallow-set longline fishery, eliminate the set certificate program, implement new hard caps on loggerhead sea turtles (46) and leatherback sea turtles (16 unchanged) and to not implement time/area closures. This final rule removes the annual limit on the number of fishing gear deployments (sets) for the Hawaii-based pelagic shallow-set longline fishery, and increases the annual number of allowable incidental interactions that occur between the fishery and loggerhead sea turtles. The final rule optimizes yield from the fishery without jeopardizing the continued existence of sea turtles and other protected resources. This final rule also makes several administrative clarifications to the regulations.

In progress FMP Amendment 17

Draft Amendment (in progress) considers prohibiting longline fishing with 30 nm and prohibiting purse seining in EEZ of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Draft FMP Amendment in the process of evaluation by the Council that considers the implementation of longline and purse seine restrictions (no longline fishing within 30 nm and no purse seining) within the EEZ of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

suspended FMP Amendment 16

Amendment suspended that was intended as change to Pelagic FMP Framework process.

2008
Date Type of Action Description of Action
12/19/08 IND Assessment
2008 RFA

Hawaii longline fisheries were evaluated for the second time using the United Nations Food and Agriculture Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

Hawaii pelagic longline fisheries underwent a second independent assessment against the comprehensive provisions of the FAO Code of Conduct of Responsible Fisheries. The 2008 Responsible Fisheries Assessment (RFA) was conducted to report on improvements stemming from changes in the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the international management framework under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. The Code of Conduct prescribes in great detail what countries should do to manage fisheries sustainably by addressing, 1) fishery management, 2) fishing operations, 3) post-harvest & trade practices, 4) integration with coastal area management, 5) aquaculture and, 6) fisheries research. The RFA process applies FAO’s internationally-accepted set of criteria which define a responsible fishery managed for sustainability. This comprehensive approach translates the detailed provisions of the Code into questions about compliance that can be answered either “yes, no or some level of compliance” with corresponding scores of 1, 0 or 0.5 points. Articles of the Code were addressed. The 2008 summary compliance score of 94% was improved over the 2006 RFA. Scores for pertinent articles in 2008 were: fishery management 96%, fishing operations 93%, integration with coastal zone management 83%, post-harvest and trade 95%, and fisheries research 92%.

11/21/08 FMP Amendment 15
73 FR 70600

Included squid species under the Pelagic Fishery Management Plan and permitting, observer and reporting requirements for the squid fishery.

FMP Amendment 15 was implemented in December 2008 (73 FR 70600) and included pelagic squid in the Council’s existing Pelagics Fishery Management Plan to ensure monitoring of these species, and to establish mechanisms for their management should it become necessary. Added the following pelagic squid species to the FMP: Ommastrephes bartramii, Thysanoteuthis rhombus, and Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis. Also, required owners of U.S. vessels greater than 50 ft in length overall that fish for pelagic squid in U.S. EEZ of the western Pacific to obtain Federal permits under the Pelagics Fishery Management Plan, to carry Federal observers if requested by NMFS, and to report any Pacific pelagic squid catch and effort either in Federal logbooks or via existing local reporting systems.

6/19/08 NMFS Control Date
73 FR 42769

Control date (June 19, 2008) issued for the longline fishery in the Northern Marianas in the event a limited entry program is needed and implemented.

At the request of the Council NMFS issued a control date of June 19, 2008 (73 FR 42769) to notify persons who entered the CNMI longline fishery after that date that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented for their fishery. The control date was issued in response to concerns regarding the potentially uncontrolled expansion of the CNMI-based pelagic longline fishery and the potential resultant interactions with, and impacts on, small-boat pelagic fisheries and localized depletion of pelagic fish stocks.

6/19/08 NMFS Control Date
73 FR 42540

Control date (June 19, 2008) was issued for the Hawaii pelagic charter fishery in the event a limited entry program becomes necessary and is implemented.

At the request of the Council NMFS issued a control date of June 19, 2008 (73 FR 42540) to notify persons who entered the Hawaii-based pelagic charter fishery after that date that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented for their fishery. The control date was issued in response to concerns regarding significant expansion of the charter vessel fleet and its potential to impact billfishes and other pelagic species. This control date superseded the March 16, 2007 control date.

2007
Date Type of Action Description of Action
5/17/07 REG Amendment 7
72 FR 19123

Provided pelagic fishery participants the option of using NMFS approved electronic logbooks in lieu of paper logbooks effective May 17, 2007.

FMP Regulatory Amendment 7, effective May 17, 2007, allowed the optional use of electronic logbook (e-logs) forms in fisheries with federal reporting requirements as an alternative to the currently required paper logbook forms (72 FR19123). This rule was implemented in recognition that the availability and capability of personal computers had increased to the point where their use in recording fisheries dependent information could improve data accuracy and result in significant time savings for both fishermen and NMFS.

suspended FMP Amendment 13

Was intended to address issues which have now become moot due to changing circumstances.

suspended FMP Amendment 12

Was intended to address issues which have now become moot due to changing circumstances.

5/16/07 FMP Amendment 14
72 FR 33442

Addressed overfishing of bigeye and yellowfin tuna in the Western Central Pacific Ocean (partially approved by NMFS on May 16, 2007 (72 FR33442).

FMP Amendment 14 addressed overfishing of bigeye (BET) and yellowfin tuna (YFT) in the Western Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) and was partially approved by NMFS on May 16, 2007 (72 FR33442). NMFS noted that Amendment 14 met the requirements of the Magnuson-Act regarding overfishing. This amendment made recommendations based on the best available science including the most recent stock assessments (July 2004 and August 2005 for BET and YFT, respectively), and in light of the fact that any unilateral management action on U.S.-based vessels can only have minimal direct impacts on stocks due to our fleet harvesting only 2.3 percent of the total BET catch and less than 1 percent of the total Pacific-wide YFT catch. Therefore, multilateral internationally coordinated management is needed to ensure overfishing for these two tuna species is achieved and this approach is recommended in this amendment. This amendment contained recommendations regarding international and domestic management, including a mechanism by which the Council could participate in international negotiations regarding these stocks. Amendment 14 contained measures to implement control dates for Hawaii’s non-longline commercial pelagic vessels (70 FR 47781) and purse seine and longline vessels (70 FR 47782), as well as requirements for federal permits and reporting for Hawaii-based non-longline commercial pelagic vessels. NMFS disapproved the Amendment’s international measures as premature. NMFS disapproved the domestic permit and reporting requirements as duplicative of existing State requirements.

3/28/07 REG Amendment 6
72 FR 8289

NOAA permanently removed the 7–day delay in closing the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery in the event a sea turtle interaction limit is reached.

Regulatory Amendment 6 to the Pelagics Fishery Management Plan would allow Council managed vessels to use electronic logbooks to report their catch and effort. It was recommended by the Council at their 122nd meeting in March 2004 and specific operational protocols are being developed for inclusion in the regulatory amendment, which will then be transmitted to NMFS for approval and implementation. NMFS issues this final rule to permanently remove the 7–day delay in effectiveness when closing the Hawaii-based shallow-set longline fishery as a result of reaching interaction limits for sea turtles. This final rule allows for an immediate closure of the fishery to enhance protection for sea turtles.

3/16/07 NMFS Control Date
72 FR 26771

Control date (June 2, 2005) was issued for the pelagic charter fishery in Hawaii in the event a limited entry program is implemented.

NMFS announces that anyone who enters the Hawaii-based pelagic charter fishery after March 16, 2007 (the ‘‘control date’’), is not guaranteed future participation in the fishery if the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) recommends, and NMFS approves, a program that limits entry into the fishery, or other fishery management measures. The Council is concerned about expansion of the Hawaii-based pelagic charter fishery and the potential resultant impacts on billfish and other pelagic fishes.

1/12/07 Legislation
Public Law 109-479

Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act reauthorized.

Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Public Law 109-479) amended and reauthorized January 12, 2007. Major amendments were made to the Act on in 2006. Those amendments included in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act made important changes in federal efforts to conserve marine fishery resources. Major provisions included the following. 1) efforts to end overfishing through the establishment of Annual Catch Limits, 2) promote the use of market based management through the establishment limited access privilege programs, 3) harvest allocation, 4) improve the science and the role of the Regional Fishery Management Council’s Science and Statistical Committees (SSC) in management decision making among other changes.

2006
Date Type of Action Description of Action
12/28/06 IND Assessment
2006 RFA

Hawaii longline fisheries first to be evaluated using the United Nations Food and Agriculture Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

Hawaii pelagic longline fisheries became the first to undergo independent assessment against the comprehensive provisions of the FAO Code of Conduct of Responsible Fisheries. The Code of Conduct prescribes in great detail what countries should do to manage fisheries sustainably by addressing, 1) fishery management, 2) fishing operations, 3) post-harvest & trade practices, 4) integration with coastal area management, 5) aquaculture and, 6) fisheries research. The RFA process applies FAO’s internationally-accepted set of criteria which define a responsible fishery managed for sustainability. This comprehensive approach translates the detailed provisions of the Code into questions about compliance that can be answered either “yes, no or some level of compliance” with corresponding scores of 1, 0 or 0.5 points. Summary compliance score was 93%. Scores for pertinent articles were: fishery management 96%, fishing operations 93%, integration with coastal zone management 71%, post-harvest and trade 95%, and fisheries research 91%.

6/15/06 PRES PROC 8031
71 FR 36443

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument created by presidential proclamation. Fishing within monument prohibited.

On June 15, 2006, President George W. Bush signed Presidential Proclamation No. 8031 establishing the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument (NWHI monument). Commercial and recreational fishing is prohibited within monument. The proclamation set apart and reserved the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands for the purpose of protecting the historic objects, landmarks, prehistoric structures and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon lands owned and controlled by the Federal Government of the United States. Proclamation No. 8031 directs the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of the Interior (the Secretaries) to prohibit access into the NWHI monument unless authorized, and limit or regulate virtually all activities through a permit and zoning system among other measures. In establishing the NWHI monument, Proclamation No. 8031 assigns primary management responsibility of marine areas of the NWHI monument to the Secretary of Commerce, NOAA, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior. The proclamation assigns the Secretary of the Interior, through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) with sole responsibility for management of the areas of the monument that overlay the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, the Battle of Midway National Memorial and the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce. Proclamation No. 8031 also requires the Secretary of Commerce to manage the NWHI monument in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and the State of Hawaii and directs the Secretaries to promulgate any additional regulations needed for the proper care and management of the monument objects identified above, to the extent authorized by law.

3/24/06 Framework 3
71 FR 14824

Hawaii Shallow-set swordfish longline fishery was closed for the year after reaching its annual limit of 17 loggerhead sea turtle interactions.

NMFS published a temporary rule effective March 20, 2006 through December 31, 2006 closing the Hawaii-based longline swordfish fishery for the remainder of the calendar year due to its having reached its annual limit of 17 interactions with loggerhead turtles (71 FR 14824).

3/20/06 NMFS TEMP Rule
71 FR 14416

Temporary rule removed the delay in closing the Hawaii longline shallow-set swordfish fishery as a result of reaching a turtle interaction limits.

This emergency rule removes the delay in effectiveness for closing the Hawaii-based shallow-set longline fishery as a result of reaching one of its interaction limits for sea turtles. The intended effect of the emergency action is to afford enhanced protection for sea turtles via timely closure of the fishery. This temporary rule was in effect until September 18, 2006.

1/18/06 REG Amendment 5
70 FR 75075

Allowed Hawaii longline vessels to use side-setting of gear as one of the approved mitigation methods to reduce seabird interactions.

FMP Regulatory Amendment 5, effective January 18, 2006, implemented measures to further reduce the incidental catch of seabirds in the Hawaii-based longline fishery (70 FR 75075). Depending on the fishing method and area where the vessels operate, owners and operators of Hawaii-based longline fishing vessels must either side-set (deploy longline gear from the side of the vessel rather than from the stern) or one or more other specific seabird mitigation measures shown to prevent seabirds from being accidentally hooked, entangled, or killed during fishing operations. Allowed operators of Hawaii-based longline vessels fishing north of 23° N latitude, as well as those targeting swordfish south of 23° N, to utilize side-setting to reduce seabird interactions in lieu of the seabird mitigation measures required by Framework Measure 1.

2005
Date Type of Action Description of Action
12/15/05 REG Amendment 4
Appendix
70 FR 69282

Required longline vessel operators to attend annual protected species training and use special equipment for safely dehooking and releasing sea turtles.

FMP Regulatory Amendment 4, effective December 15, 2005 further reduced and mitigated interactions between turtles and longline gear by requiring that: (1) owners and operators of vessels registered for use under longline general permits attend protected species workshops annually, (2) owners and operators of vessels registered for use under longline general permits carry and use dip nets, line clippers, and bolt cutters, and follow handling, resuscitation, and release requirements for incidentally hooked or entangled sea turtles, and (3) operators of non-longline vessels using hooks to target pelagic management unit species follow sea turtle handling, resuscitation, and release requirements, as well as remove the maximum amount of gear possible from incidentally hooked or entangled sea turtles (70 FR 69282). In addition this rule extended the requirement to use circle hooks, mackerel-type bait and dehookers when shallow-setting north of the equator to include all longline vessels managed under the Pelagics FMP.

6/2/05 NMFS Control Date
70 FR 47781

Control date (June 2, 2005) was issued for the non-longline commercial pelagic fishery in Hawaii in the event a limited entry program is implemented.

NMFS announces that persons who enter the non-longline commercial pelagic fisheries (e.g., troll, handline, pole and line, etc.) in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around the Hawaiian Islands after June 2, 2005 (‘‘control date’’) are not guaranteed future participation in the fishery if the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (WPFMC) recommends, and NMFS approves, a program limiting entry or effort. This action does not commit the WPFMC or NMFS to limit entry, or prevent any other date from being selected for eligibility to participate in the non-longline commercial pelagic fisheries. The WPFMC or NMFS may also use other criteria to limit fishing effort or participation in a limited entry program that is developed in the future.

5/24/05 FMP Amendment 11
70 FR 29646

Established a limited access system and operating requirements for pelagic longlining in EEZ waters around American Samoa.

FMP Amendment 11, issued on May 24, 2005 (70 FR 29646), established a limited entry system for pelagic longline vessels fishing in waters of the U.S. EEZ around American Samoa. This was intended to: (1) Avoid a “boom and bust” cycle of fishery development that could disrupt community participation in the American Samoa small-scale pelagic fishery; (2) establish a framework to adjust regulations for the American Samoa-based longline fishery; (3) reduce the potential for fishing gear conflict in waters of the EEZ around American Samoa; (4) maintain local catch rates of albacore tuna at economically viable levels; and (5) provide an opportunity for substantial participation by indigenous islanders in the large vessel sector of the fishery. It applied to the owners and operators of vessels that fish for pelagic management species under Hawaii limited access longline permits or western Pacific general longline permits within the EEZ and high seas around the Western Pacific Region (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Hawaii, Midway, Johnston, and Palmyra Atolls, Kingman Reef, and Wake, Jarvis, Baker, and Howland Islands). Longline vessel operators were required to obtain federal permits, to complete federal logbooks, to carry and use vessel monitoring systems installed, owned and operated by NFMS on vessels greater than 40 ft in length, to carry federal observers if requested by NMFS, and to follow sea turtle handling and resuscitation requirements.

2004
Date Type of Action Description of Action
4/2/04 REG Amendment 3
Appendices
69 FR 17329

Shallow-set swordfish longline fishery re-opened with new requirements to protect sea turtles including an annual fleet hard cap on turtle interactions.

FMP Regulatory Amendment 3, effective April 2, 2004, re-opened the shallow-set swordfish fishery Implemented measures for the longline fisheries to achieve optimum yield while not jeopardizing the long term existence of sea turtles and other listed species. The amendment established a limited Hawaii-based shallow-set swordfish fishery using circle hooks with mackerel bait. Fishing effort in the shallow-set swordfish fishery was limited to 50% of the 1994-1999 annual average number of sets (just over 2,100 sets) allocated between fishermen applying to participate in the fishery. A ‘hard’ limit on the number of leatherback (16) and loggerhead (17) turtle interactions that could occur in the swordfish fishery was implemented; the fishery closed for the remainder of the calendar year if either limit was reached. The amendment re-implemented earlier sea turtle handling and resuscitation requirements and included conservation projects to protect sea turtles in their nesting and coastal habitats. This rule implemented the requirement for night setting imposed by the USFWS Biological Opinion on Hawaii-based longline vessels targeting swordfish north of 23 degrees north latitude.

2/24/04 FMP Amendment 10
69 FR 8336

Prohibits the harvest of Pelagic Management Unit Species in the no-take marine protected areas established under the Coral Reef Ecosystems FMP.

FMP Amendment 10 (prepared and transmitted to NMFS for approval in parallel with the FMP for Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Western Pacific Region) prohibits the harvest of Pelagic Management Unit Species (PMUS) in the no-take marine protected areas established under the Coral Reef Ecosystems FMP. The Coral Reef FMP establishes such areas around Rose Atoll in American Samoa, Kingman Reef, Jarvis Island, Howland Island, and Baker Island. The final rule implementing the Coral Reef Ecosystem FMP includes Amendment 10 to the Pelagics FMP. This amendment also clarified the PMUS by moving all but truly oceanic sharks to the Coral Reef Ecosystems FMP along with dogtooth tuna.

suspended FMP Amendment 9

Was intended to address shark management issues which became moot due to the passage of the Shark Finning Prohibition Act.

Amendment 9 was intended to address the management of sharks in the Western Pacific Region, however, passage of the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000 and reauthorization of the MSA in 2006 rendered the issues to be addressed in this amendment moot and therefore it was discontinued.

2003
Date Type of Action Description of Action
4/19/99

8/5/03

FMP Amendment 8
64 FR 19067
68 FR 46112

Addressed new requirements of the 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act including essential fish habitat, fishing communities, overfishing definitions and bycatch.

Amendment 8 addressed new requirements under the 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA). This amendment implemented new definitions for overfishing stemming from the 1996 reauthorization of the MSA, based on the biomass at MSY and the fishing mortality that generates MSY (see Section 5.6). Portions of the amendment that were immediately approved included designations of essential fish habitat (see Chapter 6) and the designations and descriptions of American Samoa, Guam and CNMI as individual fishing communities. Those provisions became effective on February 3, 1999 (64 FR 19067, April 19, 1999). Remaining portions that were approved in 2003 were provisions designating each of the inhabited Hawaiian islands as a separate fishing community, additional overfishing definitions (see Section 5.6), and methods to collect standardized bycatch data (68 FR 46112, August 5, 2003). Amendment 8 did not impose any new regulatory requirements on fisheries managed under the Pelagics FMP.

4/03 PIR Created

NOAA created the Pacific Islands Regional Office and Pacific Island Region Fisheries Science Center to manage the new Pacific Islands Region.

In April 2003, the NOAA Fisheries Service (also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service) transferred the responsibility for managing the marine resources in federal waters surrounding the U. S. Pacific Islands from the Southwest Regional Office and Southwest Fisheries Science Center, based in Long Beach and La Jolla, California, respectively, to the newly established Pacific Islands Regional Office and the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center based in Honolulu, Hawaii. The fishery management responsibilities of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council in Honolulu continue. Bound by the Hawaiian Archipelago in the north, American Samoa and U.S. Pacific remote island areas (PRIAs) in the south, and the Mariana’s Archipelago, including Guam in the west, the Pacific Islands Region encompasses the largest geographical management area within both the NOAA Fisheries Service and the fishery management council system. The total area of the U. S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters included in the region is more than 1.5 million square nautical miles, roughly equal to all the remaining U. S. EEZ waters surrounding the continental U.S., including Alaska.

2002
Date Type of Action Description of Action
10/4/02 REG Amendment 2
67 FR 59813

Established federal permit and logbook requirements for handlining and trolling for PMUS around Pacific Remote Island Areas.

Regulatory Amendment 2, effective October 4, 2002, required vessel operators using troll or handline gear to target PMUS around the Pacific Remote Island Areas (PRIA) to obtain Federal permits and to submit Federal logbooks documenting their catch and effort (67 FR 56500, September 4, 2004). The PRIA include the EEZ waters around the Pacific Remote Island Areas of Kingman Reef, Howland, Baker, Jarvis, Johnston and Wake Islands, and Palmyra and Midway Atolls. Although not specifically developed for bigeye tuna, this regulatory amendment to the FMP provides information on all pelagic catches (including bigeye and yellowfin tunas) from these vessels. This measure is intended to monitor participation in the pelagic troll and handline fishery, collect catch and effort data, and obtain information on interactions between fishing gear and protected species.

6/13/02 Framework 2
67 FR 34408

Required Hawaii longline vessel operators to use measures to reduce seabird interactions and attend annual mandatory protect species workshops.

FMP Framework Measure 2, effective June 13, 2002, required Hawaii-based pelagic longline vessel operators to use blue-dyed bait, strategic offal discards and line shooters with weighted branch lines to mitigate seabird interactions when fishing north of 23° N. (67 FR 34408; May 14, 2002). Also included was a requirement that all Hawaii-based longline vessel owners and operators annually attend a protected species workshop conducted by NMFS. These measures were primarily intended to prevent potential interactions with the endangered short-tailed albatross, as well as to reduce interactions with other seabird species.

6/9/02 REG Amendment 1
67 FR 40232

Established areas closed to shallow-set longline fishing for swordfish and handling requirements to protect sea turtles.

Regulatory Amendment 1, effective June 9, 2002, incorporated the reasonable and prudent alternative of the March 2001 Biological Opinion issued by NMFS. This amendment prohibited shallow set pelagic longlining north of the equator and closed waters between 0° and 15° N from April-May annually to longline fishing to reduce interactions with threatened and endangered sea turtles. It also instituted sea turtle handling requirements for all vessels using hooks to target pelagic species in the region’s EEZ waters and extended the protected species workshop requirement to include the operators of vessels registered to longline general permits.

4/5/02 NMFS EIR
66 FR 16323

Emergency interim rule prohibited longlining north of 26° N and prohibited retention of >10 swordfish by longliners fishing for tuna north of the equator.

NMFS issues an emergency interim rule applicable to any vessel registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit (Hawaii longline vessel). This rule prohibits longline fishing north of 26° N. lat. and the retention or landing of more than 10 swordfish per trip by Hawaii longline vessels that fish north of the equator. This interim emergency rule is intended to prevent additional takings of loggerhead sea turtles in response to turtle interaction levels anticipated in NMFS’ March 29, 2001 Biological Opinion and led to a new Biological Opinion on November 15, 2002.

3/13/02 MSA Amendment
67 FR 6194

The Magnuson-Stevens Act was amended prohibiting the retention or landing of shark fins (“finning”) without their associated carcasses.

In August 2000, the State of Hawaii enacted a law prohibiting the retention or landing of shark fins (“finning”) without their associated carcasses. The Magnuson-Stevens Act was amended with a similar prohibition. NMFS publishes this final rule to implement the provisions of the Shark Finning Prohibition Act (Act). This final rule prohibits any person under U.S. jurisdiction from engaging in shark finning, possessing shark fins harvested on board a U.S. fishing vessel without corresponding shark carcasses, or landing shark fins harvested without corresponding carcasses. Finning is the practice of removing the fin or fins from a shark and discarding the remainder of the shark at sea. This final rule is issued in accordance with the requirement of the Act that the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) issue regulations to implement the Act.

3/1/02 Framework 1
Appendices
67 FR 4369

Prohibited fishing for pelagic species by vessels greater than 50 ft in length overall within EEZ waters 0-50 nm around the islands of American Samoa.

FMP Framework Measure 1, effective March 1, 2002, closed waters within 3-50 nm around American Samoa to pelagic fishing by vessels greater than 50ft in length (67 FR 4369, January 30, 2002). Exemption was given to vessels that landed PMUS in American Samoa under a Federal longline general permit prior to November 13, 1997. Although not specifically aimed at bigeye and yellowfin tuna, the area closure may have a conservation effect by placing those fish out of the reach of large scale American Samoa based longline vessels as well domestic purse seiners. This action was taken to prevent potential gear conflicts and catch competition between large fishing vessels and locally-based small vessels.

2001
Date Type of Action Description of Action
12/31/01 NMFS Final Rule
66 FR 67495

NOAA amended the national sea turtle handling and resuscitation requirements.

NMFS amended the sea turtle handling and resuscitation regulation. Recent scientific and technical information indicates that the current procedures need to be updated. This measure is necessary to improve the handling of sea turtles that are incidentally captured during scientific research or fishing activities.

12/10/01 NMFS EIR
66 FR 63630

Extended the emergency rule through June 8, 2002 that included measures to provide further protection of sea turtles and sea birds.

This NMFS Emergency Interim Rule extends an emergency interim rule (66 FR 31561), now in effect, applicable to vessels registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit (Hawaii longline vessels) and allows the use of basket-style longline gear as an alternative method for deep-set tuna longline fishing. This emergency interim rule: Prohibits the targeting of swordfish north of the equator by Hawaii longline vessels; prohibits longline fishing by Hawaii longline vessels in waters south of the Hawaiian Islands (from 15° N. lat. to the equator, and from 145° W. long. to 180°long.) during the months of April and May; allows re-registration of vessels to Hawaii longline limited access permits only in October; imposes additional sea turtle handling and resuscitation measures; and requires all Hawaii longline vessel operators to attend an annual protected species workshop. This emergency interim rule implements an order issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (Court) in March 2001 to reduce the number of sea turtles injured and killed incidental to longline fishing operations. Other parts of this emergency interim rule implement the terms and conditions contained in an amended November 2000 biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on the effects of the Hawaii longline fleet on the endangered short-tailed albatross. In October 2001, FWS amended its biological opinion on the short-tailed albatross allowing Hawaii longline vessels to use basket-style longline gear as an alternative method for deep-set tuna longline fishing, which is implemented by this emergency interim rule.

6/12/01 NMFS EIR
66 FR 31561

Emergency interim rule was issued included measures intended to provide further protection of sea turtles and sea birds.

NOAA issued an emergency interim rule, effective for 180 days, applicable to vessels registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit (Hawaii longline vessel). This rule: Prohibits the targeting of swordfish north of the equator by Hawaii longline vessels; prohibits longline fishing by Hawaii longline vessels in waters south of the Hawaiian Islands (from 15° N. lat. to the equator, and from 145° W. long. to 180° long.) during the months of April and May; allows re-registration of vessels to Hawaii longline limited access permits only in October; imposes additional sea turtle handling and resuscitation measures; and requires all Hawaii longline vessel operators to attend an annual protected species workshop. This emergency rule required longlines targeting tuna to be set so that the deepest point between any two float lines was at least 100 m with a minimum of 15 branch lines deployed between any two floats and required all float lines to be at least 20 m long. It also prohibited the use or possession of lightsticks while longline fishing for tuna. To reduce the potential short-tailed albatross interactions, this rule required HI-based longline vessel operators fishing for tuna north of 23 degrees north latitude use thawed blue-dyed bait; use strategic offal discards to distract seabird during the setting and hauling of gear; employ a line-setting machine with 45 g or heavier weights attached within one meter of each hook; and follow specified seabird handling and resuscitation techniques. This rule implements an Order issued on March 30, 2001, by the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (Court). This Order superseded the Court’s Order of August 4, 2000, and this rule supersedes the emergency rules published on August 25, 2000; November 3, 2000; February 22, 2001; and March 19, 2001. Other parts of this emergency interim rule implement the terms and conditions contained in a November 28, 2000, Biological Opinion (BO) issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on the effects of the Hawaii-based longline fishery (Hawaii longline fishery) on the endangered short-tailed albatross.

3/30/01 NMFS Notice
66 FR 20134

NOAA issued a notice to inform the public of requirements in a Court order for measures intended to protect and conserve sea turtles.

This document announces the terms of the March 30, 2001, Order of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. This Order modifies the Court’s previous Order of August 4, 2000. The Order restricts the Hawaii-based longline fishery (Hawaii longline fishery) based on the preferred alternative of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) governing the Hawaii longline fishery conducted under the Fishery Management Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region (FMP). The new Hawaii longline fishery management measures are intended to protect and conserve sea turtles.

3/30/01 FINAL EIS

Final Environmental Impact Statement of the Fishery Management Plan for the Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region published.

Pelagic fisheries in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of the State of Hawai‘i, the territories of American Samoa and Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and several western Pacific islands and atolls that are U.S. possessions under direct federal jurisdiction are managed under the Fishery Management Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region. This Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) comprehensively analyzes the environmental impacts of various alternatives for managementof U.S. pelagic fisheries in the Western Pacific Region. The fisheries analyzed in this EIS include longline fisheries in Hawai‘i and American Samoa, commercial troll fisheries in Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Guam and the CNMI, charter troll fisheries in Hawai‘i, Guam and CNMI, commercial pelagic handliners in Hawai‘i, recreational troll fishing in Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Guam and CNMI, and the commercial pole-and-line skipjack fishery in Hawai‘i. The scoping process identified five broad areas of public and agency concern: issues related to the management process; fisheries impacts on habitat, protected species and other non-fish species; sustainability of target species catches as well as effects on incidental catch species and bycatch; fisheries and gear conflicts; and cultural and economic issues. Pending management actions and recent litigation (Center for Marine Conservation v NMFS (D. Haw.) Civ. No. 99-00152 DAE) require decision making to focus in particular on conduct of the Hawai‘i-based longline fishery, and its interactions with protected sea turtles and seabirds, the harvest of sharks, and emerging conflicts between large and small vessels fishing near American Samoa. A range of alternatives is therefore analyzed for efficacy in meeting a set of objectives that include reduction of sea turtle and seabird takes, reduction of pelagic shark incidental catch, and resolution of gear conflict issues in American Samoa. The cumulative environmental impacts of these alternatives are discussed in the context of natural variability of the pelagic environment and the ongoing fishing efforts of other U.S. (purse seine) and non-U.S. fisheries in the Western Pacific Region.

3/14/01 NMFS EIR
66 FR 15358

All Hawaii-based longline fishing was prohibited between March 15, 2001 and May 31, 2001.

NOAA announces that the limit on the number of longline sets specified for Hawaii longline fishing restricted Area B, from January 1, 2001, through March 14, 2001, will not be reached. Therefore, NMFS will allow longline fishing to continue in Area B through March 14, 2001. Further, NMFS clarifies that from March 15, 2001 through May 31, 2001, the use of longline gear by vessels registered for use under Hawaii longline limited access permits (Hawaii-based longliners) is prohibited everywhere. Closure of Hawaii’s longline fishery takes effect at 0001 hours local time (l.t.) on March 15, 2001, at which time all Hawaii longliners at sea must have ceased fishing operations, removed their longline gear from the water, and be in active transit to the next port of call.

2/15/01 NMFS Control Date
97 FR 27623

Control date (February 15, 2001) was issued for the Hawaii handline fishery in the event a limited entry program is implemented.

A control date was issued to notify persons who entered the Hawaii handline fishery that occurs around Cross Seamount and around four NOAA weather buoys and one University of Hawaii research buoy off Hawaii that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented for the fishery.

2000
Date Type of Action Description of Action
12/7/00

1/23/01

Executive Order
65 FR 76903
66 FR 7395

Established the Northwestern Hawaii Islands Coral Reef Reserve, included provisions that eliminated commercial fishing in the reserve.

Of relevance to the NWHI pelagic troll and handline fishery: the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, established December 4, 2000 through Executive Order (EO) 13178 (65 FR 76903), modified by EO 13196 on January 18, 2001 (66 FR 7395). The EO includes prohibitions on commercial and recreational fishing, including the taking of living coral and dead coral, in certain “Reserve Preservation Areas” within the Reserve. It also includes provisions that cap the number of permits and the “annual aggregate take” for particular types of fishing based on historical levels of permit issuance and “take.” The purpose of this Executive Order (13178) is to ensure the comprehensive, strong, and lasting protection of the coral reef ecosystem and related marine resources and species (resources) of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The EO established the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve (Reserve). The Reserve shall include submerged lands and waters of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, extending approximately 1,200 nautical miles (nm) long and 100nm wide. The Reserve shall be adjacent to and seaward of the seaward boundaries of the State of Hawaii and the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, and shall overlay the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge to the extent that it extends beyond the seaward boundaries of the State of Hawaii. The Secretary of Commerce, or his designee, shall manage the Reserve in accordance with the following management principles: (a) The principal purpose of the Reserve is the long-term conservation and protection of the coral reef ecosystem and related marine resources and species of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in their natural character; (b) The Reserve shall be managed using available science and applying a precautionary approach with resource protection favored when there is a lack of information regarding any given activity, to the extent not contrary to law; (c) Culturally significant, noncommercial subsistence, cultural, and religious uses by Native Hawaiians should be allowed within the Reserve, consistent with applicable law and the long-term conservation and protection of Reserve resources; (d) The Reserve shall be managed using, when appropriate, geographical zoning and innovative management techniques to ensure that the Reserve resources are protected from degradation or harm; (e) To the extent consistent with the primary purpose of the Reserve, the Reserve shall be managed to support, promote, and coordinate appropriate scientific research and assessment, and long-term monitoring of Reserve resources, and the impacts or threats thereto from human and other activities, to help better understand, protect, and conserve these resources and species for future generations; (f) To the extent consistent with the primary purpose of the Reserve, the Reserve shall be managed to enhance public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of Reserve resources, and the impacts or threats thereto from human and other activities; (g) The Reserve shall be managed to further restoration and remediation of degraded or injured Reserve resources; and (h) The Reserve shall be managed to facilitate coordinated management among Federal and State agencies and other entities, as appropriate, to provide comprehensive (looking beyond jurisdictional boundaries) conservation of the coral reef ecosystem and related marine resources and species throughout the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, consistent with applicable authorities and the Management Principles of this section.

11/3/00 NMFS EIR
65 FR 66186

This emergency rule defined the deep-set tuna longline fishing method and prohibited the use of light sticks to protect sea turtles.

NMFS makes changes to an emergency interim rule published on August 25, 2000, governing the Hawaii-based pelagic longline fishery. The changes, which are only applicable to the Hawaii-based pelagic longline fishery when fishing in Area C, as designated under that rule, expressly prohibit directing longline fishing effort toward the harvest of swordfish. The changes require vessels to set their main longline so that the deepest point between any two floats is greater than 100 m (328.1 ft), prohibit the possession of lightsticks on board vessels, require permit holders or operators to donate to charity at least 30 percent of their gross revenues from the sale of incidentally caught swordfish, and require each longline vessel operator to have aboard the vessel an observer waiver form issued by NMFS if the vessel fishes without an observer. The intent of this action is to ensure that swordfish are not targeted by the Hawaii longline fishery in Area C and to reduce adverse impacts on sea turtles while NMFS prepares a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS) that analyzes the environmental effects of fishing activities conducted under the Fishery Management Plan for the Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region (FMP). Effective through February 21, 2001, NMFS subsequently extended this rule through August 20, 2001 (66 FR 11120).

8/25/00 NMFS EIR
65 FR 51992

Closed certain waters to longlining, imposed gear restrictions, effort limits, catch reporting and increased observer coverage in the Hawaii longline fishery.

As ordered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, NMFS issues an Emergency Interim Rule (EIR) that closes certain waters in the central and north Pacific Ocean to longline fishing, imposes fishing gear restrictions, effort limits, fish sale restrictions, and catch reporting requirements, and requires increased observer coverage in the Hawaii-based pelagic longline fishery. This rule replaces an emergency interim rule issued by NMFS on December 23, 1999, and subsequently extended on June 26, 2000. Like that rule, the intent of this rule is to reduce adverse impacts to sea turtles by the Hawaii longline fishery while NMFS prepares a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS) that analyzes the environmental effects of fishing activities conducted under the Fishery Management Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region (FMP). This EIR was effective through February 21, 2001. The EIR implemented a modified area closure for three areas north of the Hawaiian Islands (Areas A, B and C). All Hawaii-based longline fishing was prohibited in Area A; 154 longline sets were allowed in Area B between August 10 and December 31, 2000 with another 77 sets allowed between January 1 and March 14, 2001; and longline fishing for swordfish was prohibited in Area C. Increasing levels of observer coverage were required in Area C and the profits from any swordfish landed from Area C by vessels targeting tuna were required to be donated to charity. In addition, all longline fishing was prohibited in Areas B and C between March 15 and May 31, 2001.

7/15/00 NFMS Control Date
65 FR 62692

Control date (July 15, 2000) was issued for the American Samoa longline fishery in the event a limited entry program is implemented.

Control date issued to notify persons who entered the American Samoa-based longline fishery that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented.

4/27/00 NMFS Final Rule
65 FR 16346

Required Hawaii-based longline vessels to carry and use line clippers and dip nets to free any hooked or entangled sea turtles.

In response to a November 26, 1999 Court order, NOAA issued this final rule to require the possession and use of line clippers and dip nets aboard vessels registered for use under a Hawaii pelagic longline limited access permit to disengage sea turtles hooked or entangled by longline fishing gear. The final rule requires the use of specific methods for the handling, resuscitating, and releasing of sea turtles. The intended effect of the measures is to minimize the mortality of, and injury to, sea turtles hooked or entangled by longline fishing gear.

1999
Date Type of Action Description of Action
12/23/99 NMFS ER
64 FR 72290

Prohibited longline fishing by Hawaii-based vessels in an area north of the Hawaiian Islands to protect sea turtles.

NMFS issues an emergency rule to prohibit vessels registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit from fishing with longline gear within the area north of 28° N. lat. and between 168° W. long. and 150° W. long. NMFS is also prohibiting vessels registered for use with receiving vessel permits from receiving Pacific pelagic management unit species harvested with longline gear while those receiving vessels are in the closed area. No vessel may land or transship, shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ, pelagic fish harvested by longline gear in the closed area. The closure is an interim measure in response to the Order Setting Terms of Injunction issued by the U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii, dated November 23, 1999. The intended effect is to implement the court-ordered closure and reduce adverse impacts to sea turtles by curtailing activities of the Hawaiian longline fishery while an environmental impact statement (EIS) is being prepared. This Emergency Rule was in effective through June 26, 2000 and was subsequently extended through December 23, 2000 (65 FR 37917).

1996
Date Type of Action Description of Action
1996 Legislation
Public Law 94-265

Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act amended and reauthorized October 11, 1996.

Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Public Law 94-265) amended and reauthorized October 11, 1996. Major amendments were made to the Act on October 11, 1996. Those amendments included in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (P.L. 104-297), (also known as the Sustainable Fisheries Act) made important changes in federal efforts to conserve marine fishery resources. Major provisions included the following. 1) Requires national fishery conservation and management standards to: provide for the sustained participation of fishery dependent communities and minimize economic impacts to those communities and minimize bycatch and its mortality. 2) Modifies operation of established Fishery Management Councils. 3) Mandates that the Secretary of Commerce shall take actions to identify overfished species and take action to rebuild those stocks. 4) Mandates the Secretary of Commerce to promulgate guidelines for identification of essential fish habitat by Fishery Management Councils. Other Federal agencies are required to consult with the Secretary when actions they take impact designated essential fish habitat. 5) Establishes a fishing capacity reduction program. 6) Mandates research on fishery management/ conservation and the economics/social characteristics of the fisheries. Also, mandates research on the incidental harvest of marine species.

1994
Date Type of Action Description of Action
12/15/94 NMFS Final Rule
59 FR 58789

Implemented an experimental vessel monitoring system (VMS) program using satellite tracking in the Hawaii-based longline fishery.

Final rule implementing an experimental vessel monitoring system (VMS) program in the Hawaii-based longline fishery, which required vessel operators to carry VMS for a maximum of three years.

5/24/94 FMP Amendment 7
59 FR 26979

Established the first limited entry pelagic fishery in the US.

FMP Amendment 7 which became effective on June 24, 1994 (59 FR 26979, May 25, 1994) established a limited entry permit program, supplanting the moratorium established under Amendment 4. This created the first limited entry pelagic fishery in the U.S. Amendment 7 capped the number of permits at 164 but made them transferable, allowing potential fishery entrants to purchase an available permit from someone exiting the fishery. It also made vessels longer than 101 ft ineligible for permits. This was the size of the largest vessel prior to the moratorium. These restrictions were intended to limit fleet fishing capacity, thereby helping to reach optimum yield and limiting impacts such as localized depletion, gear conflicts, and protected species interactions. It also established a framework procedure for use with implementation of certain new regulations.

4/23/94 NMFS Final Rule
59 FR 18499

Final rule that made 1992 interim rule permanent requiring observers on Hawaii longline fishing vessels.

NOAA issued this Final Rule that made the 1992 interim rule permanent requiring observers on Hawaii-based longline vessels.

1/6/94 NMFS IFR
58 FR 67699

Interim Final Rule required operators of Hawaii-based longline fleet vessels to carry a federal observer if requested by NOAA.

In response to a NOAA Biological Opinion regarding protected species interactions, NOAA issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) that required operators of Hawaii-based longline fleet vessels to carry a federal observer if requested by NOAA.

1993
Date Type of Action Description of Action
4/15/93 NMFS Final Rule
58 FR 14170

Final Rule revised gear marking requirements for Hawaii longline vessels fishing in EEZ waters to include vessel numbers on floats and buoys.

NOAA Final Rule revised gear marking requirements for Hawaii longline vessels fishing in EEZ waters. Required that all floats and buoys be marked with the vessel’s official number whether deployed or possessed on board the vessel. Unmarked gear could be seized and destroyed by enforcement officers.

1992
Date Type of Action Description of Action
11/2/92 FMP Amendment 6
57 FR 36637

Specified that all tuna and related species are designated as Pelagic Management Unit Species under the FMP under U.S. management authority.

FMP Amendment 6, which became effective on November 27, 1992 (57 FR 48564, October 27, 1992), specified that all tuna species are designated as fish under U.S. management authority and included tunas and related species as PMUS under the FMP. This amendment allowed tuna species to be subject to specific management and conservation measures developed by the Council. It also applied the longline exclusion zones of 50 nm around the island of Guam and the 25-75 nm zone around the MHI to foreign vessels.

7/2/92 NMFS Control Date
57 FR 36637

Control date (July 2, 1992) was issued for the Hawaii handline fishery at the Cross Seamount in the event a limited entry program is implemented.

At the request of the Council NMFS issued a control date to notify persons who entered the Hawaii handline fishery that occurs around Cross Seamount and around four NOAA weather buoys off Hawaii that after that date that they would not necessarily be assured of continuing participation if a limited entry program was subsequently implemented for the fishery. The control date was issued in response to rapid growth in this fishery.

3/2/92 FMP Amendment 5
57 FR 7661

Created a longline vessel exclusion zone around the Main Hawaiian Islands ranging from 50 to 75 nm, and a similar 50 nm exclusion zone around Guam.

FMP Amendment 5 became effective on March 2, 1992 (57 FR 7661, March 4, 1992) and created a domestic longline vessel exclusion zone around the Main Hawaiian Islands ranging from 50 to 75 nm, and a similar 50 nm exclusion zone around Guam and its offshore banks. The zones were designed primarily to prevent gear conflicts and vessel safety issues arising from interactions between longline vessels and smaller fishing boats which had arisen with the rapid growth of the Hawaii-based longline fleet early on the fishery. A seasonal reduction in the size of the closure was implemented in October 1992; between October and January longline fishing is prohibited within 25 nm of the windward shores of all Main Hawaiian Islands except Oahu, where it is prohibited within 50 nm from the shore.

1991
Date Type of Action Description of Action
10/14/91 FMP Amendment 3
56 FR 52214

Created a 50 nm longline exclusion zone around the NWHI to protect endangered Hawaiian monk seals and framework for observer program.

FMP Amendment 3, which became effective on October 14, 1991 (56 FR 52214, October 18, 1991), created a 50 nm longline exclusion zone around the NWHI to protect endangered Hawaiian monk seals. This is a contiguous area extending 50 nm from named features in the NWHI and connected by corridors between those areas where the 50-nm-radius circles do not intersect. Both 15 2 longline exclusion zones have a conservation benefit for bigeye tuna by placing them beyond the reach of Hawaii-based longliners operating in the U.S. EEZ around Hawaii. Amendment 3 also implemented framework provisions for establishing a mandatory observer program to collect information on interactions between longline fishing and sea turtles. This area closure has a conservation effect by placing those fish within the 50 nm zone out of the reach of longline gear.

10/10/91 FMP Amendment 4
56 FR 14866

Established a three-year moratorium on new entry into the Hawaii longline fishery and provisions for establishing a mandatory Vessel Monitoring System.

FMP Amendment 4 was effective October 10, 1991 through April 22, 1994 (56 FR 14866, October 16, 1991). It established a three-year moratorium on new entry into the Hawaii-based domestic longline fishery after the number of vessels reached 156. The amendment also included provisions for establishing a mandatory vessel monitoring system using satellite tracking technology for domestic longline vessels fishing in the Western Pacific Region. This amendment, through limiting vessel numbers, limited catches of pelagic species by the Hawaii-based longline fleet. A final rule effective December 15, 1994 (59 FR 58789, November 15, 1994) under Amendment 4 required Hawaii-based longline vessels to carry and use a NMFS owned vessel monitoring system (VMS) transmitter to ensure that they do not fish within prohibited areas.

5/26/91 FMP Amendment 2
56 FR 24731

Implemented requirements for longline fishing vessel operators, including permits, logbooks, observers, gear marking and area closures.

FMP Amendment 2 became effective on May 26, 1991, (56 FR 24731, May 31, 1991) and laid the groundwork to limit growth of the number of participants in the Hawaii-based longline fishery by requiring fishery participants to obtain Federal permits and maintain logbooks. It implemented requirements for domestic pelagic longline fishing and transshipment vessel operators to have Federal permits, to maintain Federal fishing logbooks, and, if fishing within 50 nm of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI), to have observers placed on board if directed by NMFS. The logbook program, in conjunction with the observer program, has permitted the accurate reporting of pelagic catches by longline fisheries under the Council’s jurisdiction. Amendment 2 also required longline gear to be marked with the official number of the permitted vessel, and incorporated the waters of the EEZ around the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands into the area managed under the FMP.

3/1/91 FMP Amendment 1
56 FR 9686

Defined recruitment overfishing for each Pelagic Management Unit Species. Defined the optimum yield for PMUS.

FMP Amendment 1 became effective on March 1, 1991 (56 FR 9686, March 7, 1991) and defined recruitment overfishing for each Pelagic Management Unit Species (PMUS). It also defined the optimum yield for PMUS as the amount of fish, including bigeye and yellowfin tunas that can be harvested by domestic and foreign vessels in the EEZ without causing local overfishing or economic overfishing.

1987 to 1990
Date Type of Action Description of Action
1989 History of Fishery

The Hawaii longline fishery was an open access fishery. Period of rapid expansion to 75 longline vessels.

The Hawaii longline fishery was an open access fishery. In 1989, there were 75 vessels in the Hawaii longline fishery. The rapid influx of longline fishing vessels entering the fishery from US fisheries in the West, Gulf and East Coasts raised concerns about gear conflicts and uncontrolled growth of the fishing fleet.

3/23/87 FMP Approved
52 FR 5987

The Fishery Management Plan for pelagic fisheries of the US Western Pacific Region was approved.

The Pelagic Fishery Management Plan authorized by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act was developed by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. The Pelagics FMP was approved in 1987. The Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region became effective on March 23, 1987 (52 FR 5987). The Pelagic Management Unit Species (PMUS) at that time were billfish, wahoo, mahimahi, and oceanic sharks. The FMP’s first measures prohibited drift gillnet fishing within the region’s waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and prohibited foreign longline fishing within certain areas of the EEZ.

1987 History of Fishery

The Hawaii longline fishery was an open access fishery. In 1987, there were just 37 vessels in the Hawaii longline fishery.

Early to Mid 1980’s
Date Type of Action Description of Action
1983 History of Fishery

In 1983, there were 37 vessels in the Hawaii longline fishery.

Early 1980’s History of Fishery

There were as few as 15 vessels participating in the Hawaii longline fishery in the early 1980’s.

1976
Date Type of Action Description of Action
1976 Legislation
Public Law 94-265

Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act adopted for the management of US marine fisheries and modern fishery management begins.

Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act. (Public Law 94-265, approved April 13, 1976; 16 U.S.C. 1801-1882; 90 Stat. 331). Under the MSA, the United States (US) has exclusive fishery management authority over all fishery resources found within its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The act also authorized the establishment of the 8 regional fishery management councils. The Act provides for the management of fish and other species in the EEZ under Fishery Management Plans (FMP) developed and maintained by the Regional Councils for review and approval by the Secretary of Commerce.

1976 Legislation
Public Law 94-265

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council was established and modern fishery management in the US Western Pacific Region begins.

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council was established in Honolulu, Hawaii for the management of federally managed marine fisheries of the US Pacific Islands including Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Council is comprised of 13 voting members including 8 private citizens who are familiar with the fishing industry, and/or marine conservation appointed by the Secretary of Commerce from nominees submitted by governors of the region. The other voting members include the Director of the American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, the Secretary of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Lands and Natural Resources, the Director of the Guam Department of Agriculture, the Chair of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Director of the NOAA Pacific Islands Regional Office. Non-voting members on the Council include representatives from the US Coast Guard, US Department of State, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

1917 to Mid 1970’s
Date Type of Action Description of Action
1954-mid-1970’s History of Fishery

Period of decline in the Hawaii longline fishery due to low profitability and lack of investment.

After 1954 and through the mid-1970’s, the longline fishery experienced a period of decline due to low profitability and lack of investment. In 1964 there were 31 longline vessels and in 1973 there were only 13 vessels in the fishery.

1948 – 1954 History of Fishery

There were 49 vessels in 1950 and 42 in 1952. Commercial fish landings reached 2000 tons in 1954.

In 1950 there were approximately 49 longline vessels in the fishery. By 1952 there were 42 vessels in the fishery. The Hawaii commercial fisheries landings reached 2000 tons in 1954.

1945 – 1948 History of Fishery

After World War II, commercial fishing in Hawaii recovered rapidly and reached 1600 tons in 1948.

1941 – 1945 History of Fishery

During World War II, commercial fishing in Hawaii was suspended.

1930’s History of Fishery

By the 1930’s the Hawaii longline fishery surpassed the pole & line bait boat fishery production of tuna.

1917 History of Fishery

The Hawaii longline fishery begins off Oahu using longline fishing gear and methods brought from Japan.

The Hawaii longline fishery began off Waianae, Oahu using Japanese longline fishing gear and methods. Longline gear and vessels evolved from wooden pole & line live bait boats targeting skipjack tuna for the cannery and fresh market in Hawaii.

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