[MARMAM] NOAA Requests Comment on Fish Imports and Marine Mammals

Mike Simpkins Michael.Simpkins at noaa.gov
Tue May 4 08:47:08 PDT 2010

Dear MARMAM list members,

NOAA is requesting public comment on options for implementing parts of 
the Marine Mammal Protection Act that address the incidental catch of 
marine mammals in foreign fisheries.

The Federal Register notice (available at 
http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-10158.pdf) describes the 
options the United States is considering for assessing whether foreign 
fisheries whose products are exported to the United States meet U.S. 
standards to protect marine mammals while fishing. The notice also 
describes options for working with countries to reduce their fisheries’ 
effects on marine mammals through capacity building, training, and 
technology transfer.

“A large portion of the fish Americans consume is imported,” said Eric 
Schwaab, NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. 
“With this notice, we are looking for ways to lessen the effects of 
fishing on marine mammals worldwide, and to level the playing field for 
our own fishermen, who take many protective measures when fishing to 
ensure the survival of marine mammal species.”

Commercial fishermen in the United States must comply with the Marine 
Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and other laws and 
regulations that often specify what kind of fishing gear they can use, 
as well as how, when, and where fishing can take place, in order to 
reduce the number of marine mammals killed or injured by fishing gear. 
However, marine mammals are found around the world and interact with a 
wide variety of fisheries. International collaboration through exchange 
of technology and information may help control and minimize effects on 
marine mammals.

In this initial phase, NOAA is looking to gather as much information on 
the subject as possible. If NOAA moves forward in creating regulations 
on this subject, the public will have additional opportunities to comment.

Members of the public are invited to comment by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on 
June 29, 2010 via electronic comment at www.regulations.gov, fax 
(301-713–2313) or mail (mail to: Director, Office of International 
Affairs, Attn: MMPA Fish Import Provisions, NMFS, F/IA, 1315 East-West 
Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910).

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