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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BH98 Publication ID: Spring 2020 
Title: Modification to Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan's Restricted Areas 

NMFS may modify the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plans Massachusetts Trap/Pot Restricted Area and the Great South Channel Trap/Pot Restricted Area. Large whale entanglements resulting in serious injuries and mortalities still occur at levels that, for North Atlantic right whales, exceed the levels established by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. In accordance to recommendations from the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team, NMFS believes modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (Plan) are needed to meet the goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Currently the plan has seasonal trap/pot closures in two areas: Massachusetts Restricted Area and the Great South Channel. This rulemaking would allow trap/pot fishing that does not use vertical buoy lines (referred to as buoy-lineless or ropeless gear) prior to gear retrieval in these areas. By opening these areas to allow this type of gear, it is expected that a portion of previously excluded fishermen will regain access to fishing grounds--potentially leading to revenue increase as well as additional to develop practical and economically feasible buoy lineless gear technologies and techniques. These technologies and techniques will provide long-term options for helping reduce large whale entanglements in the future.

Agency: Department of Commerce(DOC)  Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Deregulatory 
CFR Citation: 50 CFR 229   
Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:  None
Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM  09/28/2018  83 FR 49046   
ANPRM Comment Period End  10/29/2018 
NPRM  07/00/2020 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: Federal, State 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Donna Wieting
Director, Office of Protected Resources
Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway,
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone:301 427-8400