Date: May 22, 2014
Contact: Karla Gore
NOAA Fisheries Requests Comments on Proposed Actions to Expand Boundaries of Habitat Areas of Particular Concern
and to Modify Transit Provisions
Comment Period Ends July 21, 2014
NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on Amendment 8 to the Fishery Management Plan for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitats of the South Atlantic Region (Coral Amendment 8). The Notice of Availability for Coral Amendment 8 published in the Federal Register on May 20, 2014 (79 FR 28880), and the comment period ends on July 21, 2014.
If approved, the amendment would extend protections for deepwater coral ecosystems by expanding the boundaries of the Oculina Bank Habitat Area of Particular Concern, and the Stetson-Miami Terrace and Cape Lookout Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern.
Within Habitat Areas of Particular Concern, the use of bottom longline, bottom trawl, dredge, pot or trap is prohibited. If aboard a fishing vessel, use of anchor, anchor and chain, and grapple and chain is prohibited. Mid-water trawls are also prohibited in Stetson-Miami Terrace and Cape Lookout Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern.
Coral Amendment 8 proposes a transit provision through Oculina Bank Habitat Area for Particular Concern for fishing vessels with rock shrimp onboard. When transiting through the area, vessels would be required to have gear appropriately stowed and maintain a minimum speed. Vessel speed would be determined by a vessel monitoring system registering a ping (signal) at a rate of 1 ping per 5 minutes.
Request for Comments
Comments on Coral Amendment 8 must be received no later than July 21, 2014, to be considered by NOAA Fisheries. See the Addresses section for information on where and how to submit comments.
Coral Amendment 8 may be obtained from:
You may submit comments by the following methods:
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
c/o Karla Gore
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5505
NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Comments received through means not specified in this bulletin may not be considered.
For more information on Coral Amendment 8, please click on this link to the Frequently Asked Questions found at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/coral/2014/am8/index.html.