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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BM34 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: ●Pacific Island Fisheries; 5-Year Extension of Moratorium on Harvest of Gold Corals 

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposes to extend a moratorium on harvesting deep-water gold corals in the U.S. exclusive economic zone in the Pacific Islands Region (generally 3200 nm offshore). The proposed action is consistent with a recommendation from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at their 194th meeting in March 2023. NMFS would implement this action pursuant to the rulemaking authority under Section 303(c) and 304(b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. In 2008, the Council and NMFS established a 5-year moratorium throughout the Western Pacific Region (i.e., American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Hawaii, and the Pacific Remote Island Areas). NMFS and the Council extended the moratorium in 2013 and 2018, based on new information that gold corals may grow more slowly and are more susceptible to overharvest than was previously known. The current moratorium expired on June 30, 2023, and the Council recommended that NMFS extend the moratorium for another five years, through June 30, 2028. This extension would provide additional time for recent information on gold coral to be assessed, and for the Council to consider a long-term management strategy that will ensure the sustainability of the subject fishery. The fishery was dormant prior to the establishment of the moratorium in 2008, and there has been no expressed interest in the fishery by stakeholders at Council meetings, so there are no economic impacts expected from the proposed action.

Agency: Department of Commerce(DOC)  Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 50 CFR 665   
Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:  None
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  09/22/2023  88 FR 65356   
NPRM Comment Period End  10/23/2023 
Final Action  01/00/2024 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Sarah Malloy
Acting Regional Administrator, Pacific Islands Region
Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1845 Wasp Boulevard, Building 176,
Honolulu, HI 96818
Phone:808 725-5000