Guidance for Conducting Economic and Social Analyses of Regulatory Actions

The Office of Sustainable Fisheries provides guidance to the regional fishery management councils and NOAA Fisheries regional and program offices for conducting social and economic analyses of regulatory actions.

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Frequent Questions: Billfish Conservation Act

Submitted by kris.gamble on Wed, 07/17/2019 - 13:12

Does the Billfish Conservation Act prohibit the sale and possession of billfish of any kind in the United States, including in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands?

The BCA prohibits the sale of billfish and billfish products and having custody, control, or possession of billfish and billfish products for purposes of offering them for sale throughout the United States, unless the Section 4(c) exemption applies. 

Individuals, including recreational fishermen may possess, but not sell billfish or billfish products or have custody, control, or possession for the purposes of offering them for sale. Possession of billfish is subject to any other requirements under existing state and federal regulations.

Can a billfish caught by a U.S. vessel and landed in Hawaii or the Pacific Insular Areas (as defined under the Magnuson-Stevens Act) be transported and sold on the mainland United States, Alaska, or U.S. Caribbean?

No, the 2018 amendment (adding “and retained”) to sec. 4(c)(1) of the Act clarifies that billfish are exempted from the sales prohibition only when they are landed and retained in Hawaii or the Pacific Insular Areas. Accordingly, such billfish may only be sold in the same location where landed or when legally transported to the other exempted location. 

From where can U.S. seafood dealers buy and/or sell billfish?

U.S. seafood dealers on the U.S. mainland, in Alaska, and the U.S. Caribbean may no longer sell billfish or transport billfish caught in Hawaii or the Pacific Insular Areas for the purposes of sale.

Does the new amendment establish any restrictions on billfish that are caught by U.S. vessels and landed and retained in Hawaii or the Pacific Insular Areas and therefore within the exemption in section 4(c)(1)?

No, the Billfish Conservation Act amendment establishes no restrictions on the sale and possession of billfish caught by U.S. vessels and landed and retained in Hawaii or the Pacific Insular Areas.

Can I export billfish that is caught by U.S. vessels and landed in Hawaii or the Pacific Insular Areas to a foreign country?

No, billfish caught and landed by U.S. vessels must be sold and retained in Hawaii or the Pacific Insular Areas. Only foreign vessels landing in the Pacific Insular Areas are exempted from the prohibition and allowed to export to non-U.S. markets as provided under sec. 4(c)(2).

Can billfish landed by foreign vessels in the Pacific Insular Areas be sold?

Billfish lawfully landed by a foreign vessel in the Pacific Insular Areas may be sold as long as it is exported to non-U.S. markets or retained for local consumption, as provided under section 4(c)(2).

Can Pacific billfish that were on hand in cold storage in the United States, landed by U.S. vessels, and legally transported within the United States prior to the enactment of the amendment (August 2, 2018) be sold?

Billfish and billfish products that were landed by U.S. vessels and legally transported within the United States prior to August 2, 2018, may not be sold, offered for sale, or possessed for purposes of offering such products for sale, unless those products are exempt from the prohibition on the sale of billfish pursuant to section 4(c) of the Billfish Conservation Act. 

Must dealers dispose of the stock in their freezers? Can they sell it within a certain period after the effective date? Can dealers donate billfish on hand to charity? What about billfish that were in transit within the United States on August 2, 2018?

Billfish and billfish products landed by U.S. vessels or legally transported within the United States prior to the passage of the amendment may be donated or destroyed, but may not be sold, unless products are exempt from the prohibition on the sale of billfish pursuant to section 4(c) of the Act.   

Regarding billfish that were in transit from Hawaii or the Pacific Insular Areas on August 2, 2018, the prohibitions in the Act on sale and possession of billfish will not be applied retroactively; however, they do apply to actions (e.g., sales) that occur on or after August 2, 2018, regardless of when the fish was landed or transport began.

Are imports prohibited into the U.S. Caribbean?

The Billfish Conservation Act prohibits any person from offering billfish or billfish products for sale, selling them, or having custody, control, or possession of them for purposes of offering them for sale (sec 4(a)). The prohibition applies to imports into the U.S. Caribbean.

Who can I contact with other questions about the Billfish Conservation Act?

For any other questions or concerns regarding the amended Billfish Conservation Act, please contact the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office 

Phone: (808) 725-5000
Emailpirohonolulu@noaa.gov 

Address:
1845 Wasp Boulevard
Building 176
Honolulu, HI 96818

The Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 was originally signed into law on October 5, 2012. An amendment to the Act was signed into law on August 2, 2018.
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Glossary: Marine Mammal Protection Act

Submitted by jaclyn.taylor on Fri, 07/05/2019 - 16:29

Harassment under the Marine Mammal Protection Act

Under the 1994 Amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, harassment is statutorily defined as, any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which—

  • Has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (known as Level A harassment); or

  • Has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering but which does not have the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (known as Level B harassment).

Marine Mammal Stock

A stock is defined by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, as a group of marine mammals of the same species or smaller taxa in a common spatial arrangement, that interbreed when mature. See a list of the marine mammal stocks NOAA protects under the MMPA.

Strategic and Depleted Stocks

strategic stock is defined by the Marine Mammal Protection Act as a marine mammal stock—

  • For which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds the potential biological removal level;

  • Which, based on the best available scientific information, is declining and is likely to be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act within the foreseeable future; or

  • Which is listed as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA, or is designated as depleted under the MMPA.

depleted stock is defined by the MMPA as any case in which—

  • The Secretary of Commerce, after consultation with the Marine Mammal Commission and the Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals established under MMPA title II, determines that a species or population stock is below its optimum sustainable population;

  • A State, to which authority for the conservation and management of a species or population stock is transferred under section 109, determines that such species or stock is below its optimum sustainable population; or

  • A species or population stock is listed as an endangered species or a threatened species under the ESA.

NOAA Fisheries prepares marine mammal stock assessment reports to track the status of marine mammal stocks.

Take and Incidental Take Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act

Take as defined under the MMPA means "to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal" (16 U.S.C. 1362)

It is further defined by regulation (50 CFR 216.3) as “to harass, hunt, capture, collect, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, collect, or kill any marine mammal. This includes, without limitation, any of the following:

  • The collection of dead animals, or parts thereof.

  • The restraint or detention of a marine mammal, no matter how temporary.

  • Tagging a marine mammal.

  • The negligent or intentional operation of an aircraft or vessel.

  • The doing of any other negligent or intentional act which results in disturbing or molesting a marine mammal.

  • Feeding or attempting to feed a marine mammal in the wild.”

An incidental take is an unintentional, but not unexpected, taking.

Marine Mammal Stranding

The term "stranding" as defined in the MMPA means an event in the wild in which—

A marine mammal is dead and is—

  • On a beach or shore of the United States; or

  • In waters under the jurisdiction of the United States (including any navigable waters)

Or

A marine mammal is alive and is—

  • On a beach or shore of the United States and unable to return to the water

  • On a beach or shore of the United States and, although able to return to the water, is in need of apparent medical attention

  • In the waters under the jurisdiction of the United States (including any navigable waters), but is unable to return to its natural habitat under its own power or without assistance.

A stranded marine mammal becomes a specimen under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Commerce or authorized representatives. NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program coordinates a network of responders in all coastal states to respond to marine mammal strandings.

Minimum Population Estimate

minimum population estimate is defined by the MMPA as an estimate of the number of animals in a stock that—

  • Is based on the best available scientific information on abundance, incorporating the precision and variability associated with such information; and

  • Provides reasonable assurance that the stock size is equal to or greater than the estimate.

NOAA publishes annual Stock Assessment Reports that include the minimum population estimate. 

Optimum Sustainable Population

An optimum sustainable population is defined by the MMPA section 3(9), with respect to any population stock, as the number of animals which will result in the maximum productivity of the population or the species, keeping in mind the carrying capacity of the habitat and the health of the ecosystem of which they form a constituent element. (16 U.S.C. 1362(3)(9))

Optimum sustainable population is further defined by Federal regulations (50 CFR 216.3) as a population size which falls within a range from the population level of a given species or stock which is the largest supportable within the ecosystem to the population level that results in maximum net productivity. Maximum net productivity is the greatest net annual increment in population numbers or biomass resulting from additions to the population due to reproduction and/or growth less losses due to natural mortality.

Potential Biological Removal (PBR) Level

The potential biological removal (PBR) level is defined by the MMPA as the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population. The PBR level is the product of the following factors—

  • The minimum population estimate of the stock;

  • One-half the maximum theoretical or estimated net productivity rate of the stock at a small population size; and

  • A recovery factor of between 0.1 and 1.0.

NOAA publishes annual Stock Assessment Reports that include the potential biological removal level for marine mammal stocks.

Federal Register

The Federal Register (FR) is the official daily journal of the United States Government and contains rules, proposed rules, and notices published by the various federal agencies. When we publish a final rule, proposed rule, or notice in the Federal Register, we refer to the document citation (for example: 81 FR  62259) which identifies the volume number (e.g, 81) and page number (e.g., 62259) on which the document begins.

Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) contains regulations created by various federal agencies to support and explain Federal statutes. Both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries have created wildlife and fisheries regulations to support and clarify sections of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. The wildlife and fisheries regulations pertaining to marine mammals and endangered species can be found in 50 CFR 1 – 599.

 

Here are some terms you may encounter when reading about NOAA's work to protect, conserve, and recover marine mammal species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
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Glossary: Endangered Species Act

Submitted by margaret.h.miller on Fri, 06/28/2019 - 10:23

What does it mean for a species to be endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act?

An endangered species is defined under the ESA as "any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range."

threatened species is defined under the ESA as "any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range."

Species designated as threatened or endangered are called “listed species.”

Foreign species under the ESA

Under the ESA, we must list species that are endangered or threatened regardless of where they are found.

For our tables of ESA-listed species, foreign species are defined as species occurring only in areas beyond the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and territorial waters.

For recovery under the ESA, foreign species are defined as those listed species with current and historical geographical ranges exclusively within territorial seas or the EEZ of foreign nations.

Learn more about how we manage foreign species under the ESA

Petitioned Species

Any member of the public may petition us to list a species as threatened or endangered, reclassify a species, or delist a species. We may also receive petitions to revise designated critical habitat for listed species. These petitions need the support of biological data. We consider any information submitted on the biology, distribution, or threats to the species, and data to support critical habitat revisions, when we evaluate the petition. Species undergoing this petition process  are called petitioned species.

Learn more about the petition process and how species are listed

View currently petitioned species

Learn more about how species are listed under the ESA 

Candidate Species

candidate species is any species whose status we are currently reviewing to determine whether it warrants listing under the ESA.

Candidate species specifically refers to—

  • Species that are the subject of a petition to list and for which we have determined that listing may be warranted, pursuant to section 4(b)(3)(A); and

  • Species that are not the subject of a petition but for which we have announced the initiation of a status review in the Federal Register.

View current candidate species

Proposed Species

proposed species is one that is found to warrant listing as either threatened or endangered, or delisting, after completion of a status review and consideration of other protective conservation measures. We follow a strict legal process known as a rulemaking (or regulatory) procedure to propose to list or delist a species under the ESA. Public comment is always sought on a proposal to list or delist species under the ESA.

View species proposed for listing

View species proposed for delisting

Recovered Species

A species is recovered when it no longer requires Endangered Species Act protections and is delisted.

We have a recovery program with recovery plans to help species toward recovery.

Delisted Species

delisted species is one that was  formerly listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, but has since been removed from the lists of endangered and threatened species. We “delist” species for three reasons:

  • The species has recovered to the point that it no longer needs ESA protection.

  • The original information warranting listing has been shown to be incorrect, or new information suggests that the species is not actually endangered or threatened.

  • The species has become extinct.

View delisted species under the ESA 

Distinct Population Segment

Under the Endangered Species Act, a distinct population segment—or DPS—is a vertebrate population or group of populations that is discrete from other populations of the species and significant in relation to the entire species. NOAA Fisheries and the Fish and Wildlife Service released a joint policy defining the criteria for identifying a population as a DPS. The ESA provides for listing species, subspecies, or distinct population segments of vertebrate species.

Evolutionarily Significant Unit

Under the Endangered Species Act, an evolutionarily significant unit—or ESU— is a Pacific salmon population or group of populations that is substantially reproductively isolated from other conspecific populations and that represents an important component of the evolutionary legacy of the species. The ESU policy (56 FR 58612) for Pacific salmon defines the criteria for identifying a Pacific salmon population as an ESU, which can be listed under the ESA.

Take and Incidental Take Under the Endangered Species Act

Take as defined under the ESA means "to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct."

Incidental take is an unintentional, but not unexpected, taking.

When a species is listed as endangered, take prohibitions are automatically extended to it under ESA Section 9.

When a species is listed as threatened, NOAA Fisheries must issue protective regulations in order to extend any take prohibitions to the species under ESA Section 4(d).

Designated Critical Habitat

Critical habitat is defined as specific areas.

  • Within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time of ESA listing, if they contain physical or biological features essential to conservation, and those features may require special management considerations or protection; and 
  • Outside the geographical area occupied by the species if the agency determines that the area itself is essential for conservation.

Once designated, other federal agencies consult with NOAA Fisheries to ensure actions they fund, authorize, or undertake are not likely to adversely modify or destroy the critical habitat.Learn more about designated critical habitat

What is a 5-year review?

The Endangered Species Act requires periodic reviews of species that are listed as threatened or endangered to ensure that the listing is still accurate. These reviews are known as 5-year reviews

The 5-year review can be as straightforward as gathering current information on a species and determining whether recovery plan criteria have been met. Some species do not have recovery plans or have recovery criteria that do not meet all current ESA requirements. In these cases, the 5-year review will analyze information available on the species relative to the definitions of “endangered” and “threatened” and in the context of the five ESA section 4(a)(1) listing factors.

View the most recent 5-year reviews

Status Review

status review is the scientifically rigorous process we use to determine whether a species warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act. This scientific review involves collecting and analyzing the best available scientific and commercial information on the species, including its biology, ecology, abundance and population trends, and threats to the species, in order to evaluate the species’ current status and extinction risk.

View recent Status Reviews

Anadromous

Anadromous is the term that describes fish born in freshwater who spend most of their lives in saltwater and return to freshwater to spawn, such as salmon and some species of sturgeon. NOAA Fisheries has jurisdiction over most marine and anadromous fish listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) contains regulations created by various federal agencies to support and explain Federal statutes. Both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries have created wildlife and fisheries regulations to support and clarify sections of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. The wildlife and fisheries regulations pertaining to marine mammals and endangered species can be found in 50 CFR 1–599.

Federal Register

The Federal Register (FR) is the official daily journal of the United States Government and contains rules, proposed rules, and notices published by the various federal agencies. When we publish a final rule, proposed rule, or notice in the Federal Register, we refer to the document citation (for example: 81 FR  62259) which identifies the volume number (e.g, 81) and page number (e.g., 62259) on which the document begins.

 

Here are some terms that you might encounter when reading about our work to protect, conserve, and recover species under the Endangered Species Act.
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