NMFS Seeks Comments on Proposed Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan
On December 31, 2020 the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published a proposed rule to amend regulations implementing the Atlantic large whale take reduction plan. The agency is proposing several changes including (1) reduction in vertical lines; (2) seasonal restricted areas; (3) replacement of buoy lines with weak rope intervals; (4) gear marking requirements. The agency is also proposing certain regulatory alternatives concerning seasonal restricted areas for comment and feedback. The agency prepared an initial Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis that demonstrates that a substantial number of small entities will be significantly impacted by the rule. Written comments on the rules are due by March 1. 2021.