Thursday, June 29, 2017

NOAA FishNews - June 28, 2017

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NOAA Fish News
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Editor’s Note: Today NOAA Fisheries implements a new email subscription service that provides a mobile-friendly view and allows you to manage your information and subscription preferences. Although you remain subscribed to FishNews, we invite you to update your information, preferences, and subscription choices here.  Thank you for your continued interest in the science-based stewardship mission of NOAA Fisheries.  – Laurel Bryant

HIGHLIGHTS

FishNews 243 Council Appts opt2b
Regional Fishery Management Council Appointments
Today, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the appointments of 22 new or returning members to the eight Regional Fishery Management Councils. The Councils are key partners with NOAA in the United States’ regional, science-based, and transparent fishery management process. Learn more about the council appointments process here.

Review of National Marine Sanctuaries – Open for Public Comment
Pursuant to Executive Order 13795, Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, the Department of Commerce is conducting a review of all designations and expansions of National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monuments made since April 28, 2007. NOAA invites the public to comment on 11 sanctuaries that meet these criteria. Comments are due July 26.

Petition to List Giant Clams – Open for Comment
NOAA Fisheries announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list 10 species of giant clams under the Endangered Species Act. We found that listing may be warranted for seven of the species and have initiated status reviews for these. Please submit comments on the finding or scientific and commercial information related to the seven clam species by August 25.

Proposed Taiwanese Humpback Dolphin Listing – Open for Public Comment
By August 25, please submit your comments on NOAA Fisheries’ determination that the Taiwanese humpback dolphin has a high risk of extinction throughout its range and warrants listing as an endangered species.


Alaska

Cook Inlet beluga whale illustration
New Population Estimate for Cook Inlet Belugas
NOAA Fisheries released our biennial population estimate for endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales: between 279 and 386 animals. At such low numbers, the whales remain in danger of extinction.  Scientists from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center have conducted aerial surveys of Cook Inlet for more than two decades. Cook Inlet beluga whales are one of NOAA Fisheries’ eight Species in the Spotlight.

Field Dispatch: Steller Sea Lion Aerial Survey
What’s the best way to count Steller sea lions that live in an area covering more than 2,500 miles of coastline? To find out, meet the scientists who are conducting this survey, which extends from southeast Alaska through the Aleutian Islands.

Field Dispatch: Arctic Marine Mammal Survey
Annual surveys of marine mammals in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, off the northern and western coasts of Alaska, have been conducted since 1979. The summer 2017 survey kicks off next month, and we invite you to follow the researchers’ progress at their blog.


West Coast

Final Restoration Plan for Portland Harbor
The Portland Harbor Superfund site is a highly industrialized and polluted section of the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. NOAA, on behalf of the Trustee Council, has developed a restoration plan and environmental impact statement, proposing an integrated habitat restoration approach.

2017 West Coast Groundfish Bottom Trawl Survey
Researchers from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center will be conducting groundfish surveys this summer on chartered West Coast fishing vessels. Follow their blog as they use trawling and oceanographic sampling to learn about the California Current ecosystem and the health of many West Coast fish populations.


Southeast

FishNews 243 sea turtle video capture
Sea Turtles Released Following Successful Turtle-Safe Gear Testing
NOAA Fisheries scientists and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released more than 200 loggerhead sea turtles off the Atlantic coast of Florida last week. Raised in captivity at NOAA Fisheries’ Sea Turtle Facility in Galveston, the sea turtles participated in testing turtle-safe fishing gear before being released to the wild.


Greater Atlantic

FishNews 243 Atlantic salmon celebration
Celebrating Atlantic Salmon Restoration Efforts
The Penobscot River Restoration Project has orchestrated the removal of two dams on the river and improved passage around two others, opening hundreds of miles of habitat to Atlantic salmon and other sea-run fishes. This month, partners gathered to celebrate these efforts and present awards to two individuals who have spent years working to restore endangered Atlantic salmon, one of NOAA Fisheries’ eight Species in the Spotlight.

Atlantic Salmon Status Review
NOAA Fisheries is initiating a 5-year review of the Gulf of Maine distinct population segment of Atlantic salmon, as required by the Endangered Species Act. We are requesting any information on the status, threats, and recovery of this population that has become available since 2009. Submissions are due July 20.

Diving Deep in Search of Juvenile Lobster Habitat
Burton Shank is a research fishery biologist on the Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s Invertebrate Task Team. On June 20, in honor of Massachusetts Lobster Day, he answered a few questions about the Science Center’s lobster surveys.

Following the Fish: Where New England’s Catch Goes
Social scientists at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center have followed New England’s fishery supply chain from harvest to final destination. Following the fish leads to a better understanding of the sustainability of regional fisheries and their social, economic, and cultural relationships.

EVENTS

July 10 - 17
Four public scoping hearings on the Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Excessive Shares Amendment, hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council in three states and via webinar.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

June 30Applications due for two Stock Assessment Workshop Working Groups on Atlantic herring and sea scallops.

FEDERAL REGISTER ACTIONS

Visit regulations.gov 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.

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