FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gordon Helm
News Releases 2003
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NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is seeking comment on proposed changes to its annual list of commercial fisheries that interact with marine mammals. The List of Fisheries (LOF) categorizes each U.S. commercial fishery based on the level of interaction each fishery has with marine mammals. The annual list is required by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an agency of the Commerce Department.
Each fishery is placed into one of three categories, according to whether it has a frequent (Category I), occasional (Category II), or remote (Category III) likelihood of incidental mortality and serious injury of marine mammals.
The annual List of Fisheries classifies fisheries based on a two-tiered, stock-specific approach that first addresses the total impact of all fisheries on each marine mammal stock, and then addresses the impact of individual fisheries on each stock. The annual rate of marine mammals seriously injured or killed incidental to commercial fisheries is compared to the Potential Biological Removal (PBR) level for each stock. The PBR level is defined in the MMPA as the maximum number of animals that may be removed from a marine mammal stock, while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population. Tier 1 considers the cumulative fishery-related incidental mortality and serious injury for a particular stock, while Tier 2 considers fishery-specific incidental mortality and serious injury for a particular stock.
After reviewing marine mammal stock assessment reports and other new information (e.g., observer data, marine mammal stranding data), NOAA Fisheries is proposing several classification and administrative changes.
Commercial fishers who participate in fisheries placed in Category I or II must register with the Marine Mammal Assessment Program and submit a $25 fee, unless registration has been integrated with a pre-existing state or federal registration program. The MMPA requires that all commercial fishers, regardless of Category, submit a report to NOAA Fisheries within 48 hours of the end of each fishing trip if a marine mammal is injured or killed incidental to fishing operations.
The proposed 2003 List of Fisheries was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 10, 2003 (68 FR 1414) and is available for public comment until Feb. 10, 2003. Copies of the proposed rule are available online or by contacting Gale Heim, Office of Protected Resources, NOAA Fisheries, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Md. 20910; (301) 713-2322, Ext. 132.
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.
For more information online:
NOAA - http://www.noaa.gov
NOAA Fisheries: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov