AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: This action proposes regulations to implement the New England
Fishery Management Council's Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment
2. This rule would revise essential fish habitat and habitat area of
particular concern designations, revise or create habitat management
areas to protect vulnerable habitat from fishing gear impacts,
establish dedicated habitat research areas, and implement several
administrative measures related to reviewing these measures. This
action is necessary to comply with the requirements of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to periodically review
essential fish habitat designations and the protection of such
habitats. The proposed measures are intended to minimize to the extent
practicable the adverse effects of fishing on essential fish habitat.
DATES: Comments must be received by December 5, 2017.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2017-0123,
by either of the following methods:
Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.
- Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2017-0123;
- Click the "Comment Now!" icon and complete the required fields; and
- Enter or attach your comments.
Mail: Submit written comments to John K. Bullard, Regional
Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic
Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope,
"Comments on the Proposed Rule for OA2."
Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period,
may not be considered by us. All comments received are a part of the
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily
by the sender will be publicly accessible. We will accept anonymous
comments (enter "N/A" in the required fields if you wish to remain
Copies of the Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2, including
the Environmental Impact Statement, the Regulatory Impact Review, and
the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EIS/RIR/IRFA) prepared by
the New England Fishery Management Council in support of this action
are available from Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England
Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA
01950. The supporting documents are also accessible via the Internet
at: http://www.nefmc.org/library/omnibus-habitat-amendment-2 or http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Moira Kelly, Senior Fishery Program
Specialist, phone: 978-281-9218, Moira.Kelly@noaa.gov.