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.
Actions 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.
*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.
Actions 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 Rules, and Analytical documents||Federal Register||Date Published||Comment Period|
|Draft Environmental Assessment for Consideration of an Exempted Fishing Permit to Fish with Longline Gear in the West Coast Exclusive Economic Zone||81 FR 60675||September 2, 2016||Closes October 3, 2016|
|Proposed Rule: Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Management Amendment 1||81 FR 215||January 5, 2016||Comments closed (February 9, 2016)|
|Proposed Rule: Pacific Bluefin Tuna Recreational Bag Limits and Multiday Possession Limits; Tuna Fillet-at-Sea Requirements||80 FR 22156||April 21, 2015||Closed|
|Establishing a control date of June 23, 2014, for the large-mesh drift gillnet fishery||79 FR 64161||Oct. 28, 2014||Closed|
|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|
|Notice of Determination: NMFS’ Response to the Center for Biological Diversity’s Petition for Rulemaking Regarding Pacific Bluefin Tuna (see supporting material: NMFS’ Detailed Response)||81 FR 39213||June 16, 2016||June 9, 2016|
|Temporary Rule: Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area Closure in the West Coast Drift Gillnet Fishery from June 1, 2016, to August 31, 2016||81 FR 35653||June 3, 2016||June 1, 2016|
|Final Rule: Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1||81 FR 19054||April 4, 2016||May 4, 2016|
|Correction to Notice; Application for exempted fishing permit (EFP) to test modified drift gillnet (DGN) gear for swordfish and other highly migratory species off the U.S. West Coast in the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area (PLCA) (corrects docket number and hyperlink for submission of comments)||81 FR 12472||Correction published March 9, 2016||Comments closed (March 31, 2016)|
|Notice; Application for exempted fishing permit (EFP) to test modified drift gillnet (DGN) gear for swordfish and other highly migratory species off the U.S. West Coast in the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area (PLCA)||81 FR 10593||March 1, 2016||Comments closed (March 31, 2016)|
|Final Rule: Revise Prohibited Species Regulations for West Coast Highly Migratory Species Fisheries||80 FR 46519||August 5, 2015||August 5, 2015|
|Final Rule: Vessel Monitoring System and Pre-trip Notification Requirements in the West Coast Drift Gillnet Fishery
(supporting analyses and documents included in the docket are listed below)
♦ Regulatory Impact Review
|80 FR 10392;
80 FR 32465
|Feb. 26, 2015;
June 9, 2015
|July 9, 2015|
|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 Shannon Penna at 562.980.4238.