Proposed Rule to Amend the Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Plan
NOAA Fisheries is proposing to amend the regulations implementing the Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Plan. The proposed rule would (1) remove the CHSRA and its special observer and research participation requirements; (2) modify the mainline length requirements for the EEZ portion of the Mid-Atlantic Bight to limit total length of active gear in the water and reduce soak times associated with pelagic longline sets that have multiple mainlines; and (3) implement terminal gear (hook and gangion) requirements in order to make the hooks the weakest part of the terminal gear (so that the hooks straighten before the gangion breaks) in the EEZ portion of the Northeast Coastal, Mid-Atlantic Bight, South Atlantic Bight, and Florida East Coast statistical areas. The actions in the proposed rule were based on consensus recommendations made by the Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Team. NOAA Fisheries is also proposing to remove long-finned pilot whales and Risso’s dolphins from the scope of the Plan as average annual mortality and serious injury incidental to the Atlantic pelagic longline is below the insignificance threshold of 10 percent of the Potential Biological Removal level for both species.