The National Marine Fisheries Service is considering an application for an exempted fishing permit under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act which would allow fishers off of the eastern coast of Florida to collect a limited number of snapper-grouper, coastal migratory pelagic, dolphin, and wahoo species with evidence of shark depredation for transfer to researchers at Florida Atlantic University. Researchers seek the permit to quantify the impacts of shark depredation on the specified species in relation to recreational fisheries. The public comment period is open through November 8, 2021.
NMFS Seeks Comments on Exempted Fishing Permit
FSIS Announces Pork Product Recall
USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service has announced a recall of 3,140 pounds of “Nick’s FAMOUS Hickory Smoked Pork Bar-B-Q” ready-to-eat smoked pork products due to possible listeria contamination. The products originated from Nick’s Famous Bar-B-Q, a Nashville, Tennessee establishment and were distributed to several institutions, including school locations in North Carolina. FSIS discovered the problem during an inspection of the producer’s records.
FSIS Announces Approval of Poultry Imports from Poland
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has announced that the Republic of Poland is eligible to export poultry products to the United States. The agency stated that it “has reviewed Poland's poultry laws, regulations, and inspection system, as implemented, and has determined that they are equivalent to the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), the regulations implementing this statute, and the United States food safety inspection system for poultry products.” Poland's poultry products eligible for import to the United States will be added to the FSIS Import Library on October 7, 2021, and will be subject to reinspection by FSIS.
Lawsuit Challenges Allowing Arizona Cattle Ranchers to Use Protected Habitat
The Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon Society have sued the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for allowing cattle ranching in the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (“Gila Box RNCA”) in southeastern Arizona. Plaintiffs argue that cattle grazing and accumulations of manure are harmful to the Gila Box RNCA and allege that the federal agencies are violating their obligations under the Endangered Species Act to protect a designated critical habitat and at least six listed species who live there. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief.
NMFS Approves Interstate Bluefish Quota Transfers
The National Marine Fisheries Service has approved the transfer of 20,000 pounds of bluefish from Virginia’s 2021 state quota to Rhode Island and has approved the transfer of 50,000 pounds of bluefish from New Jersey’s annual quota to Massachusetts to prevent recipient states from exceeding their respective 2021 quotas. NMFS has determined that these transfers are necessary to maintain compliance with the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan and will be effective between September 30, 2021, and December 31, 2021.
NMFS Reduces Annual Catch Limit for King Mackerel
The National Marine Fisheries service has announced a temporary rule reducing the annual catch limit for king mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico for the 2021-2022 season because the 2020-2021 annual catch limit was exceeded by 11,920 pounds. The 2020-2021 season was closed on January 28, 2021, when the catch limit was reached. Accordingly, NMFS has determined that reducing the annual catch limit for the 2021-2022 season from 575,400 pounds to 563,480 pounds is necessary to protect the supply of Gulf king mackerel.
NMFS Temporarily Reopens Recreational Fishing Season for Snapper
The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced a temporary rule reopening the recreational fishing season for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico because the annual catch target has not yet been reached. The season will be reopened effective October 15, 2021, through November 6, 2021.
NMFS Announces Temporary Increase in Tuna Fishing Quota
The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced it is exercising its authority to transfer 140 metric tons of Atlantic bluefin tuna from the “Reserve” category to the “General” category in order to allow uninterrupted fishing between October 4, 2021, and November 30, 2021 (or whenever the adjusted quota is met). Because unused seasonal fishing quotas may be “rolled over” into the next season, NMFS is tapping into the Reserve category in order to avoid closing the fishing season. The agency is waiving public comment and the usual 30-day waiting period for new regulations to become effective based on its determination that the move will not affect the overall US Atlantic bluefin tuna quota.
NMFS Announces Increase in Fishing Quota for Tuna and Swordfish
The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced it is rolling over unused 2020 quotas for Northern albacore tuna, South Atlantic Swordfish, and Atlantic bluefin tuna due to and “underharvest” during the 2020 fishing season. The rollover will increase the available 2021 quotas between October 4, 2021, and December 31, 2021.