Protected Species Hard Caps for the California/Oregon Large-Mesh Drift Gillnet Fishery
NMFS is publishing regulations under the authority of Section 303 (b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) to implement an immediate closure of the California/Oregon drift gillnet fishery for swordfish and thresher shark (14-inch (36 cm) minimum mesh size) if a hard cap (i.e., limit) on mortality/injury is met or exceeded for certain protected species during a rolling 2-year period. The length of the closure will be dependent upon when the hard cap is reached. The implementation of hard caps is intended to manage the fishery under the MSA to protect certain non-target species.
The publication of this final rule is necessary to comply with a court order issued January 8, 2020. NMFS is soliciting public comment on the final rule to gather information that can be used to develop a separate rulemaking to address the economic impacts to DGN fishery participants.