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December 15, 2017 10:10 pm EST
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Public Invited to Provide Input on Overfishing Guidelines
Friday, February 23, 2007 @ 07:05:15 EST

Public Invited to Provide Input on Overfishing Guidelines

NOAA Fisheries has opened a scoping period to analyze alternatives for implementing annual catch limits, accountability measures and other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006. The Act requires fishery management plans to establish a mechanism for setting annual catch limits at a level that prevents overfishing. Accountability measures in the fishery management plan could take the form of inseason management techniques that prevent the catch limit from being exceeded in a given year (e.g., closures, or restrictions on retention of a stock), and/or corrective actions to address overharvests (e.g., reduction of a subsequent year's catch limit). These requirements take effect in fishing year 2010 for all stocks that are subject to overfishing. Other stocks, including those with unknown or undefined status regarding overfishing, will need annual catch limits and accountability measures by the 2011 fishing year.

The agency welcomes public comments on these topics, as well as other related portions of its National Standard 1 Guidelines addressing conservation and overfishing. After considering all comments received during scoping, NOAA will either develop a draft environmental impact statement and proposed rule, or an environmental assessment and proposed rule. Following these additional opportunities for public input, NOAA Fisheries intends to publish a final rule in the Federal Register by the end of 2007. The new guidance relating to these legal requirements will then be incorporated as part of National Standard 1 guidelines.

A public meeting to discuss these issues and alternatives will take place on March 9, 2007, from 9AM to 3PM. This meeting will be held at 1315 East-West Highway; Room 4527, in Silver Spring, MD. Additional scoping meetings will be scheduled in the near future. Written comments may be sent to: annual.catch.limitDEIS@noaa.gov through April 2, 2007. For more information, contact Mark.Millikin@noaa.gov or visit www.nmfs.noaa.gov/msa2007.

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