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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - April 2012

Marine Fisheries


Release: Immediate
Contact: Kathy Collins
Phone: 302-674-2331 EXT: 253
Date: April 21, 2012

Mid-Atlantic Council Votes to Initiate Amendment for
Deep-Sea Coral Management

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council voted to develop a plan amendment to protect deep-sea corals at their meeting in Duck, NC last week.  This is the first time the Council has ever initiated an action specifically to protect corals in the Mid-Atlantic region.
 
Deep-sea corals provide important habitat for many commercially and recreationally important fisheries in the Mid-Atlantic.  While Mid-Atlantic deep-sea coral species do not build reefs, some types are structurally complex and require hard substrates for attachment.  These corals, which are important habitat areas, are thought to be particularly vulnerable to physical damage because of their slow growth rates.

“This decision demonstrates the Council’s commitment to manage and protect not only Mid-Atlantic fisheries but also the habitats that those fish rely on,” said Council Chairman Rick Robins.  “Our understanding of the location and ecological significance of deep-sea corals has improved in recent years and will benefit from upcoming benthic survey work in the Mid-Atlantic region.  This deep-sea coral amendment will put the Council in a position to manage these sensitive components of the marine ecosystem.” 

The amendment would include provisions for developing management measures to protect areas with high densities of deep-sea corals.  These areas were identified in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions during the development of the New England Fishery Management Council’s Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Amendment.  The amendment was initiated in 2005 to develop a comprehensive plan that will minimize adverse effects of fishing on deep-sea corals and other areas of EFH.

To date, efforts to identify and protect deep-sea coral areas have involved collaboration between the Mid-Atlantic and New England Councils.  In order to preserve the continuity of the process, the Council also voted last week to develop a memorandum of understanding between the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and South Atlantic Councils.  This will allow the councils to coordinate broad-scale deep-sea coral management measures.

A more detailed summary of the meeting can be found online at: http://mafmc.org/press/2012/April_2012_Council_Report.pdf


Release: Immediate
Contact: Rick DeVictor
Phone: 727-824-5305, FAX 727-824-5308
Email: rick.devictor@noaa.gov
Date: April 20, 2012

NOAA Fisheries Service Seeks Comments on a Supplemental Proposed Rule; Revision of Commercial Quota for
Greater Amberjack in the South Atlantic

NOAA Fisheries Service is seeking public comment on a supplemental proposed rule to revise the commercial quota for greater amberjack in the South Atlantic Region, as specified in the Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment (77 FR 15916). The supplemental proposed rule published in the Federal Register on April 20, 2012, with the comment period ending on May 7, 2012 (77 FR 23652).

Currently, the commercial quota for greater amberjack is 1,169,931 pounds gutted weight. The commercial quota for greater amberjack, as specified in the Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment is 769,388 pounds gutted weight. NOAA Fisheries Service approved the Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment on January 18, 2012. However, in the proposed rules that published on December 1, 2011 (76 FR 74757), and December 30, 2011 (76 FR 82265), the revised commercial quota for greater amberjack that was referenced in 50 CFR § 622.49 (b)(11)(i)(A) was inadvertently not revised in the commercial quota section in § 622.42 (e)(3). Therefore, this supplemental proposed rule specifies the revised commercial quota for greater amberjack of 769,388 pounds gutted weight, as described in the Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment.

Request for Comments
Comments on this amendment must be received no later than May 7, 2012, in order to be considered by NOAA Fisheries Service. See the Addresses section for information on where and how to submit comments.

Addresses
Electronic copies of the amendment may be obtained
from the NOAA Fisheries Service Web site http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/SASnapperGrouperHomepage.htm, or the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov.

If you would like the files in a different format (such as hard copies), please submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the NOAA FOIA Office. Guidelines on submitting a FOIA request can be found on the NOAA FOIA Web page (http://www.rdc.noaa.gov/~foia/index.html#guide).

You may submit comments by the following method:

Federal e-Rulemaking Portal:
http://www.regulations.gov. Enter the following docket number into the “Search” box: NOAA-NMFS-2012-0039. After you locate the document “Title,” click the "Submit a Comment" link in that row. This will display the comment Web form. You can then enter your submitter information (unless you prefer to remain anonymous), and type your comment on the Web form. You can also attach additional files (up to 10 MB) in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NOAA Fisheries Service will accept anonymous comments. Comments received through means not specified in this bulletin may not be considered.

FB12-029


Release: Immediate
Contact: Kathy Collins
Phone: 302-674-2331 (ext. 253)
Date: April 17, 2012

Council Seeks Nominations for Atlantic Sturgeon Advisory Panel

The Council is soliciting nominations from qualified individuals to serve on its Atlantic Sturgeon Advisory Panel including individuals with expertise in sturgeon biology and life history, sturgeon population assessment, and those familiar with sturgeon interactions with fisheries and gear types in the Mid-Atlantic. Advisors will assist in the development of management measures to reduce impacts on Atlantic sturgeon by helping the Council better understand the issues surrounding sturgeon and their interactions with Mid-Atlantic fisheries. Applicants who are appointed to the Atlantic Sturgeon Advisory Panel will serve a term of 3 years.

Anyone interested in serving as a member on the Council's Atlantic Sturgeon Advisory Panel can submit an application to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901, email the form to info1@mafmc.org or fax it to 302-674-5399. Please note as the subject on your email or fax: ATLANTIC STURGEON ADVISORY PANEL. Applications can be obtained by visiting http://www.mafmc.org/, or by contacting the Council office at 302-674-2331 (ext.253).
Applications must be received by May 11, 2012.

pr12 09 Atl Sturgeon


 

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