Wednesday, August 2, 2017

NOAA Fisheries FishNews - August 2, 2017

NOAA Fish News
August 2, 2017


Capitol Dome
NOAA Fisheries AA Testifies on Capitol Hill onMagnuson-Stevens Reauthorization 
NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Chris Oliver testified this week at a hearing for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard. The hearing was the first in a series by the Senate Subcommittee to examine the state of the nation’s fishery laws and guide the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Hawaiian monk seal_James Watt
Photo by James Watt / NOAA
Marine Monuments Review – Extended Comments
NOAA has reopened the public comment period on a Department of Commerce review of 11 designations and expansions of national marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments that began June 26, 2017. Comments will now be accepted through August 15.

Celebrating Habitat Month

FishNews 247 bulldozer
Wrapping Up Habitat Month 2017
NOAA’s Office of Habitat Conservation celebrated Habitat Month in July, highlighting the importance of habitat conservation to fish and wildlife, coastal communities, and the economy. NOAA awarded projects under five funding competitions targeted toward habitat restoration in 2017, with the last two profiled below.
Stony Island Restoration GL
The Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system on Earth, are some of our nation’s most important natural resources. NOAA is working with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative on habitat restoration projects that will help improve “toxic hotspots” known as Areas of Concern. This week, NOAA recommended $1.37 million in funding for continued support of two Great Lakes regional habitat restoration partnerships.
HFA Funding rollout
NOAA is recommending $1.2 million in funding for habitat restoration projects in eight Habitat Focus Areas. These new projects will educate coastal residents, restore habitats, and support sustainable fisheries and resilient communities.
Coral restoration Florida Keys NMS
Habitat Restoration Supports Jobs, StewardshipNOAA received $167 million from the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to restore coastal areas throughout the country. A new memo, Socioeconomic Benefits of Habitat Restoration, looks at the ecological and environmental benefits of the 125 habitat restoration projects supported through this funding.

West Coast

Point Reyes murre colony_Rhoads USFWS
Photo by Sandy Rhoades / USFWS
“Ecosystem Cascades” Affect Salmon Returns
Scientists from NOAA Fisheries and partner institutions found that, in the Gulf of the Farallones, the common murre—a small ocean seabird—can make a difference in the number of salmon that return as adults. This is especially true when ocean conditions encourage the murres to feed primarily on salmon and anchovy instead of rockfish.

Pacific Islands

PIFSC shark tagging_Hutchinson
Photo by Melanie Hutchinson
Shark Research and Conservation in Hawaii
The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center is conducting research to learn more about shark biology, behavior, and populations in the Pacific Ocean. One collaboration with regional fisheries observers seeks to study post-release mortality rates in sharks captured by commercial fisheries targeting tuna and billfish. Another project is using satellite tags to gather data about shark behavior and learn more about ocean conditions.


Hogfish illustration
Hogfish Management in the Gulf of Mexico
Following the most recent population assessment, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will manage the western-most stock of hogfish (the West Florida population) from Texas to Cape Sable, Florida. A final rule adjusts catch limits, establishes gear restrictions, and increases the minimum size limit for Gulf of Mexico hogfish to prevent overfishing.

Hogfish Management in the South Atlantic
Following the most recent population assessment, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will manage the central and eastern-most stocks of hogfish (the Florida Keys/East Florida population and the Georgia-North Carolina population.) A final rule sets management measures for these two populations, including a rebuilding plan for the Florida Keys/East Florida population.

Greater Atlantic

Right whale and calf
Continue to Watch Out for Whales
The voluntary vessel speed restriction zone south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, has been extended to protect an aggregation of four right whales sighted on July 28. The zone is now in effect through August 12.

Windowpane flounder 2
NOAA Announces Northeast Multispecies Measures
NOAA Fisheries announced measures to implement Framework 56 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. These actions include catch limits for four groundfish stocks for the 2017 fishing year, as well as additional allocation adjustments and accountability measures.

Oyster Reef Ecosystem Services from report
Oyster Reef Ecosystem Services Research Update
NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office released its annual update report on research conducted through its Oyster Reef Ecosystem Services project. The project investigates fish and other Bay species’ use of restored reefs, and other ecosystem benefits of restored reefs.


August 3­–8 Q&A session and two public hearing webinars on the South Atlantic Council’s Snapper Grouper Amendment 43 (red snapper catch limits.)

August 7­–10 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

August 7–10
Northwest Fisheries Science Center Program Review in Seattle, open to the public.

August 8 - 10
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Philadelphia.

August 12
Woods Hole Science Stroll
a free family event in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, highlighting 18 institutions—including several NOAA offices.

August 15
Public scoping webinar on the South Atlantic Council’s Coastal Migratory Pelagics Amendment 31 (cobia management.)

August 16 Public webinar overviewing NOAA’s International Aquaculture Research Opportunities.


August 3
Applications due for the summer flounder Stock Assessment Workshop (SAW) Working Group.

August 8 Applications due for FisherySocial Scientist position at South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

August 16 Applications due for open seats on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Advisory Panels.

October 17 Applications due for FY 2018 John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grants.


Visit for a list of only those actions open for public comment. Scroll search for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
For a list of all daily actions, check the Federal Register online.