We have completed one comprehensive, intra-service consultation on:
- 10 fishery management plans for (1) American Lobster, (2) Atlantic Bluefish, (3) Atlantic Deep-Sea Red Crab, (4) Mackerel/Squid/Butterfish, (5) Monkfish, (6) Northeast Multispecies, (7) Northeast Skate Complex, (8) Spiny Dogfish, (9) Summer Flounder/Scup/Black Sea Bass, and (10) Jonah Crab; and
- The implementation of the New England Fisheries Management Council’s Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2.
In developing the resulting Biological Opinion, we identified that, to meet the mandates of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), mortality and serious injury of North Atlantic right whales in federal fisheries that we manage needs to be further reduced. Therefore, we developed and are committed to implementing the North Atlantic Right Whale Conservation Framework for Federal Fisheries in the Greater Atlantic Region to further reduce mortality and serious injury of North Atlantic right whales resulting from entanglement in the federal fisheries. The Conservation Framework outlines our commitment to implement measures that are necessary for the recovery of right whales, while providing a phased approach and flexibility to the fishing industry. We are releasing the Biological Opinion and Conservation Framework.
Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each federal agency shall ensure that any action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat of such species. When the action of a federal agency may affect marine species listed as threatened or endangered, that agency is required to consult with the NOAA Fisheries. In instances where NOAA Fisheries is proposing an action that may affect listed species, the agency must conduct intra-service consultation. Formal consultations result in NOAA Fisheries developing a Biological Opinion.