Management Measures

Highly migratory species move throughout large areas of the Pacific and are fished by many nations and gear types. Therefore fisheries management by the United States alone is not enough to ensure that harvests are sustainable in the long term. The U.S. is a Member of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), which is responsible for the conservation and management of fisheries for tuna and other species taken by tuna-fishing vessels in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The U.S. is also a member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), which plays a parallel role in the western and central Pacific Ocean. The United States is obligated to implement decisions of these tuna Commissions, and does so under the Tuna Conventions Act and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act. To ensure that harvests of highly migratory species are sustainable Pacific-wide, the United States is dependent on other Member and Cooperating Non-Member nations of the tuna Commissions to adhere to their obligations to implement Commission decisions.

Regulations under the Tuna Conventions Act

The regulations implemented under the Tuna Conventions Act, in accordance with resolutions of the IATTC, apply to U.S. fishing vessels targeting or pursuing highly migratory species within the IATTC Convention Area. The recent rules and regulations are listed below, however the current and official list of international fisheries regulations are set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR part 300.

Proposed Rules Federal Register Date Published Comment Period
Proposed Rule: Measures for the Conservation of Whale Sharks in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (see Final Rule, below) 78 FR 32903 June 9, 2014 Closed
Proposed Rule: Establishment of Tuna Vessel Monitoring System in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
(supporting analyses included in the docket are listed below)
♦Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act
♦Initial Regulatory Impact Review
79 FR 7152 Feb. 6, 2014 Closed
Proposed Rule: Fishing Restrictions for Tropical Tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
(supporting analyses included in the docket are listed below)
♦ Initial Regulatory Impact Review
79 FR 6876 Feb. 5, 2014 Closed
Proposed  Rule: Fishing Restrictions for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
(supporting analyses included in the docket listed below)
♦ Draft Environmental Assessment
♦ Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act
♦ Initial Regulatory Impact Review
78 FR 1810 Jan. 10, 2014 Closed
Notices & Final Rules* Federal Register Date Published Date Effective
International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries: 2014 Bigeye Tuna Longline Fishery Closure in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; Closure 79 FR 63562 Oct. 24, 2014 Oct. 31, 2014
International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing Restrictions in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Whale Shark Conservation Measures 79 FR 56017 Sept. 18, 2014 Oct. 20, 2014
Temporary Rule: Fishery Closure of 2014 Commercial Fishing for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean 79 FR 53631 Sept. 10, 2014 Sept. 5, 2014
Final Rule: Measures for the Conservation and Management of Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
(Supporting analyses and documents included in the docket are listed below)
♦ Environmental Assessment
♦ Finding of No Significant Impact Statement
♦ Regulatory Impact Review
♦ Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
♦ Small Entity Compliance Guide
     
Notice of Public Meeting: General Advisory Committee and Scientific Advisory Subcommittee to the U.S. Section to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission 79 FR 24675 May 1, 2014  
Final Rule: Fishing Restrictions for Tropical Tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean
(supporting analyses and documents included in the docket are listed below)
♦ Regulatory Impact Review
♦ Frequently Asked Questions
79 FR 19487 April 9, 2014 May 9, 2014
Final Rule: Tuna Conservation (2011-2013), Prohibiting Fishing on Data Buoys and Prohibiting Retention of Oceanic Shark 76 FR 68332 Nov. 4, 2011 Dec. 5, 2011

*The regulations implemented under the  Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation, in accordance with Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Resolutions, apply to U.S. fishing vessels targeting or pursuing highly migratory species within the WCPFC Convention Area.

Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act

Regulations under the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species apply to U.S. fishing vessels targeting or pursuing highly migratory species within the West Coast exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of California, Oregon, and Washington or the adjacent high seas (seaward of the EEZ) and land their fish in California, Oregon, or Washington. Additional restrictions apply under the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act and for Hawaii-based longline permitted vessels landing into West Coast ports. The fishery management plan does not apply to U.S. vessels that fish for highly migratory species on the high seas and land into a non-U.S. port.

There have been five regulatory amendments to the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species. Because fishery rules frequently change, fishermen must familiarize themselves with the latest regulations and are responsible for complying with the current official regulations set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR part 660. Fishermen should also check with state authorities before engaging in fishing activities within state waters.

Proposed Rules & Temporary Final Rules Federal Register Date Published Comment Period
Temporary Rule for Sperm Whale Interactions in Drift Gillnet Fishery (effective 180 Days) 78 FR 54548 Sept. 4, 2013 Closed
Notices & Final Rules Federal Register Date Published Date Effective
Amendment 2 to the HMS FMP, Annual Catch Limits and accountability measures 76 FR 56327 Sept. 13, 2011 Oct. 13, 2011
Establishment of an HMS Permit Fee 74 FR 37177 July 28, 2009 Aug. 27, 2009
Daily Bag Limits for Sport Caught Albacore and Bluefin tuna in the EEZ off California 72 FR 58258 Oct. 15, 2007 Nov. 14, 2007
Amended Vessel Identification regulations for HMS Recreational Charter Vessels 72 FR 43563 Aug. 6, 2007 Sept. 5, 2007
Amended Regulatory Text Governing Closures of the Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery in the Pacific Loggerhead Sea Turtle Conservation Area During and El Nino Event 72 FR 31756 June 8, 2007 July 9, 2007
Revised Method for Renewing and Replacing Permits Issued under the HMS FMP 72 FR 10935 Mar. 12, 2007 April 11, 2007

 

For more information or questions on Highly Migratory Species rules and regulations, contact Heidi Taylor, at Heidi.Taylor@noaa.gov or 562.980.4039.
For more information or questions on permits, contact Craig D'Angelo at 562.980.4024.