NOAA Fisheries Announces Final Rule to Revise Archival Tag Management Measures of Atlantic Highly Migratory Species

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From the NOAA site:

“This final rule revises the requirement in 50 CFR § 635.33 for persons surgically implanting archival tags to Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) or externally affixing archival tags to such species to obtain written authorization from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Archival tags are tags that electronically record scientific information about the migratory behavior of fish. This includes tags that are surgically implanted within a fish and tags that are externally affixed, such as pop-up satellite (PSAT) and smart position and temperature tags (SPOT). This rule only affects persons placing archival tags. The rule does not impact the placement of other tags such as spaghetti or roto tags, acoustic tags such as acoustic tags, or passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags

As of September 19, 2016, the final rule:

  • Removes the requirement for researchers to obtain written authorization from NMFS to implant or affix an archival tag,
  • Maintains the regulatory incentive that HMS caught with a surgically implanted archival tag (not an externally affixed archival tag such as a PSAT) could be retained, regardless of other regulations, on the condition that the surgically implanted tag is returned to either the originating researcher or to NMFS, and
  • Removes the requirement for the person retaining an HMS with an archival tag to submit an archival tag landing report to NMFS or make the fish available for inspection and tag recovery by a NMFS scientist, enforcement agent, or other person designated in writing by NMFS. All other landing reporting requirements for HMS still apply.

Fishermen are encouraged to return archival tags and any other information requested directly to the researcher(s) noted on the tag or to NMFS.

This notice is a courtesy to the HMS fishery participants to help keep you informed about the fishery. Official notice of Federal actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of Federal Register. Responses to the public comments received at the proposed rule stage can be found in the final rule. For further information on this final rule, contact Larry Redd, Tobey Curtis, Craig Cockrell, or Karyl Brewster-Geisz at 301-427-8503. Copies of the rule are available upon request from the Highly Migratory Species Management Division, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (phone: 301-427-8503, fax: 301-713-1917).

The information will also be posted on the HMS website at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/.”

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