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International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Collection and Analyses of Data on Fish Aggregating Devices

Abstract: NMFS would issue this regulation under the Tuna Conventions Act to implement a resolution adopted by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in June 2013. This rule implements IATTC Resolution C-13-04 intended to conserve whale sharks and collect information on fish aggregating devices (FADs). By July 1, 2014, owners and operators of purse seine vessels in the eastern Pacific Ocean would be prohibited from setting a purse seine on a school of tuna associated with a live whale shark, if the shark is sighted prior to the commencement of the set. If a whale shark is encircled in the purse seine net, the master of the vessel would be required to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure its safe release and report the details of the incident to the IATTC/NMFS. By January 1, 2015, owners and operators of purse seine vessels operating in the eastern Pacific Ocean when fishing on FADs would be required to identify FADs and to collect and report the FAD location and type. The data may be collected through a dedicated logbook, modifications to existing regional logsheets, or other domestic reporting procedures. The proposed actions are necessary for the United States to satisfy its international obligations under the 1949 Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-American Tropical Tuna, to which it is a Contracting Party.
RIN: 0648-BD53
Type: Rule Making
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