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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - April 2013

Marine Fisheries

News Release Archives - April 2013


Release: Immediate
Date: April 29, 2013
Contact: Kim Iverson
Phone: 843-571-4366
Email: kim.iverson@safmc.net

Increases to Black Sea Bass Annual Catch Limits Under Consideration

Council plans special meeting via webinar May 13, 2013 to address increase; public comment open

Fishermen eagerly waiting for the black sea bass season to open in offshore waters on June 1, 2013 have an opportunity to comment on management measures that may increase the length of this year's fishing season. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is currently accepting public comment on measures to increase the Annual Catch Limit (ACL) for both commercial and recreational fishermen. A recent stock assessment shows that the black sea bass stock in the South Atlantic is no longer undergoing overfishing, is not overfished, and the stock is rebuilt. The proposed increases are based on recommendations from the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee.

The changes would be implemented through Regulatory Amendment 19 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan. The amendment includes two alternatives for increasing the current ACL of 847,000 pounds (all weights are in whole weight). Alternative 2 would allow the ACL to increase to 2,133,000 pounds in 2013. This value is equal to the Acceptable Biological Catch as recommended by the SSC. Under Alternative 2, the ACL would be reduced to 1,992,000 pounds in 2014 and to 1,814,000 pounds in 2015.

Alternative 3 would allow for an increase in the ACL to 1,756,450 pounds in 2013. Because the alternative provides for a buffer between the ABC and ACL that accounts for management uncertainty and the assessment suggests that this level of harvest can be maintained indefinitely, the ACL would remain at that level until modified. The current allocation for black sea bass is 43% commercial and 57% recreational.

The amendment also proposes a seasonal closure (Nov. 1 through April 30) of the commercial black sea bass pot fishery to address possible gear interactions with large whale migration and right whale calving season. The Council will consider public comment before making any decisions.

In order to help expedite the proposed increase to the black sea bass catch limits for the 2013 fishing season, the Council will hold a special one-day meeting via webinar on Mon., May 13, 2013. The meeting is scheduled from 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM. In addition to black sea bass management, the Council will address proposed measures affecting Gulf of Mexico For-Hire Federal Permit holders due to joint management plan requirements. Public comment will be taken during the meeting. Additional details about the webinar, including instructions for registering and providing comment, are available from the Council's website at www.safmc.net. A copy of Regulatory Amendment 19 is also available from the Council's website. Public comment should be emailed to SGRegAm19Comments@safmc.net or mailed to Robert Mahood, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, North Charleston, SC 29405. Comments are due to the Council office by May 10, 2013.

nr 042913 safmc


Release: Immediate
Date: April 29, 2013
Contact: Rick DeVictor
Phone: 727-824-5305
Email: karla.gore@noaa.gov

NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Actions for
Red Snapper in the South Atlantic

Comment Period Ends May 29, 2013

NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on proposed actions in Amendment 28 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 28). The proposed rule published in the Federal Register on April 29, 2013 (78 FR 25047). Comments must be submitted by May 29, 2013.
 
The actions in Amendment 28, if implemented, would establish (1) a process to determine if a fishing season will occur each year, which would include specification of the allowable harvest and season lengths for the commercial and recreational sectors; (2) an equation to determine the annual catch limit amount for each sector; and (3) management measures if fishing is allowed. It is important to note that the proposed actions, if they are implemented, only specify a process to determine if a season would occur.

Process to Determine if a Season is to Occur
If NOAA Fisheries determines that the estimated landings and dead discards that occurred in the previous year are equal to or greater than the acceptable biological catch for the current year, no harvest would be allowed and the annual catch limit would remain equal to zero. However, if NOAA Fisheries determines that the previous year's estimated landings and dead discards are less than the acceptable biological catch, then the annual catch limit would be set to the amount of harvest that may be allowed for the current year.
 
Equation to Determine the Allowable Harvest
If a season is allowed, NOAA Fisheries would calculate the season length for each sector based on an evaluation of historical harvest levels and fishing effort. The proposed equation is contained in Section 2.0 of the amendment.
 
Management Measures
If a red snapper season is allowed, Amendment 28 proposes the following measures for the commercial sector:

  • Opening date of second Monday in July. The season would end when the annual catch limit is projected to be met.
  • Elimination of the current 20 inch total length minimum size limit during the fishing season.
  • Commercial trip limit of 75 pounds gutted weight.

If a red snapper season is allowed, Amendment 28 proposes the following measures for the recreational sector:

  • Opening date of second Friday in July. The season would only consist of weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). The end date would be announced at the same time the opening day is announced.
  • Elimination of the current 20 inch total length minimum size limit during the fishing season.
  • A recreational bag limit of one fish per person per day.

Request for Comments
Comments on the proposed rule for Amendment 28 must be received no later than May 29, 2013, to be considered by NOAA Fisheries.
 
How to Submit Comments
You may submit comments either electronically or through mail. Comments received through other means may not be considered.
 
Electronic Submissions:

Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.* Go to: www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0040

  • Click on "Comment Now!". Complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
  • Attachments to electronic comments (up to 10 MB) will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

Mail:
Rick DeVictor
NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5505
 
All comments will be part of the public record, and generally posted for public viewing to 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. Anonymous comments will be accepted.

More information, including Frequently Asked Questions for Amendment 28, can be found online at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/SASnapperGrouperHomepage.htm.

FB13-034

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N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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