[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 224 (Thursday, November 20, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Page 69097]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-27485]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XD362


Final Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Management-Based 
Research Needs and Priorities Document

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces the availability of the Final Atlantic HMS 
Management-Based Research Needs and Priorities document. The purpose of 
this document is to communicate key research needs that directly 
support Atlantic HMS management. Atlantic HMS are defined as bluefin, 
bigeye, albacore, yellowfin, and skipjack tunas, swordfish, billfish 
(blue marlin, white marlin, roundscale spearfish, longbill spearfish, 
and sailfish), and sharks.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Final Atlantic HMS Management-Based 
Research Needs and Priorities document may also be obtained on the 
Internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/documents/final_hms_research_plan_2014.pdf

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Durkee by phone at (202) 670-
6637.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic HMS Management-Based Research 
Needs and Priorities document was developed by the Highly Migratory 
Species (HMS) Management Division of NMFS to communicate key research 
needs that directly support Atlantic HMS management. Atlantic HMS are 
defined as bluefin, bigeye, albacore, yellowfin, and skipjack tunas, 
swordfish, billfish (blue marlin, white marlin, roundscale spearfish, 
longbill spearfish, and sailfish), and sharks. The document contains a 
list of near and long-term research needs and priorities that can be 
used by individuals and groups interested in Atlantic HMS to identify 
key research needs, improve management, reduce duplication, prioritize 
limited funding, and form a potential basis for future funding. The 
priorities range from biological/ecological needs to socio-economic 
needs.
    A draft version of this document was made available to the public 
on July 10, 2014 (79 FR 39367), and comments were requested on the 
content and usefulness. The draft version was also discussed at the 
September 2014 HMS Advisory Panel meeting. A few comments were received 
suggesting additional research needs and re-prioritization, many of 
which were incorporated. However, the final version remains largely 
unchanged from the draft. Many commenters felt the document was useful, 
including when applying for competitive research grants.
    The document is one of several efforts to highlight key research 
needs for HMS. One early effort, the HMS Research Plan, was developed 
by NMFS scientists across HMS disciplines in response to identify 
specific research needs based upon known data gaps. This document 
complements the HMS Research Plan currently in draft and, although of 
different purpose, some aspects of the HMS Research Plan were included 
in this document. Other efforts are also underway in the Agency to 
identify key research needs relevant to Atlantic HMS management, such 
as the National Recreational Action Agenda and Regional Plans and the 
National Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.
    At this time, specific funding for the priorities outlined in this 
document has not been identified. However, the Agency is currently 
undergoing a strategic review of both management and science planning 
processes and resource allocations. This document will inform the 
strategic review of management planning and resource allocations. 
Additionally, there are several Requests for Proposals (RFPs) that 
support different types of competitively awarded funds for research. 
Some of these RFPs include funds for the Bycatch Reduction Engineering 
Program, Cooperative Research Program, and Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant 
Program. More information on these RFPs is available on the NOAA 
Fisheries Web site (www.nmfs.noaa.gov). This priorities document may be 
used by interested scientists who are applying for these or other funds 
as a way to highlight the need for the research.
    While some of the priorities were derived from stock assessment 
reviews, other priorities were identified while developing and 
proposing management measures. Many of the research priorities address 
key data gaps and/or ways to reduce fishing mortality and/or bycatch to 
more effectively manage HMS fisheries, either directly or by improving 
stock assessments. Because these needs were identified by fishery 
managers, these research priorities may not correspond directly with 
the research priorities and needs identified by the scientists 
throughout NMFS.
    Ongoing survey and monitoring programs are not discussed unless 
there is a specific suggestion for expansion of an existing program. 
These survey and monitoring programs, which include but are not limited 
to shark nursery and essential fish habitat studies, fishery-
independent surveys, and observer programs, are vital to stock 
assessments and effective HMS management. These ongoing survey and 
monitoring programs should be considered high priority.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq., and 1801 et seq.

    Dated: November 17, 2014.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-27485 Filed 11-19-14; 8:45 am]
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