The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed changing the rules regarding catch of North Atlantic swordfish. NMFS announced proposed rules on Friday, Feb. 22. Read about them at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-02-22/html/2013-03990.htm.
The rules would implement Amendment 8 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan. Find background on the topic at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/ and the stories linked to below.
The latest data, which date to 2009, show that the stock has replenished and is not overfished.
NMFS is taking written comments on the proposed rules until April 23 and plans a series of public hearings.
Two hearings are slated for March 11, 2013, and the others on March 14, March 28, 2013, and April 10, in St. Petersburg, FL; Silver Spring, MD; Gloucester, MA; Fort Lauderdale, FL; and via a public conference call and webinar. NMFS also pans a conference call and webinar on April 18.
The proposal would increase fishing opportunites as long as gear was used that limits bycatch.
NMFS figures the proposed rules would have a small environmental impact because they retain low catch limits.