News Release Archives - Feb. 2012
Contact: Rick DeVictor
Phone: 727-824-5305; FAX: 727-824-5308
Date: Feb. 27, 2012
NOAA Seeks Comments on a Rebuilding Plan for
Red Grouper in the South Atlantic
Comment Period Ends April 27, 2012
NOAA Fisheries Service is seeking public comment on Amendment 24 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 24). The notice of availability for Amendment 24 published in the Federal Register on February 27, 2012 (77 FR 11477). The comment period ends on April 27, 2012.
Amendment 24 would establish a rebuilding plan for red grouper in the South Atlantic. The red grouper stock of the South Atlantic was assessed in 2008 through the Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review Process. The assessment determined red grouper to be overfished (population too low) and undergoing overfishing (rate of fish removal too high). The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and NOAA Fisheries Service are required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to implement a rebuilding plan within two years after identification of an overfished stock. NOAA Fisheries Service notified the Council of the stock status on June 9, 2010. Amendment 24 would implement a plan that would have an 81 percent probability of stock recovery in 10 years.
Actions in Amendment 24 consider:
- Implementation of red grouper annual catch limits for the commercial and recreational sectors. The sector annual catch limits are based on the Council’s proposed allocations of 44 percent commercial and 56 percent recreational.
- Implementation of red grouper accountability measures for the commercial and recreational sectors. Accountability measures are management controls to prevent annual catch limits from being exceeded and to correct overages of the catch limits if they do occur. The accountability measures would close each sector when the sector annual catch limit is projected to be met. If a sector annual catch limit is exceeded, the Regional Administrator would publish a notice to reduce the sector annual catch limits in the following season by the amount of the overage.
- Elimination of the commercial and recreational aggregate annual catch limits and accountability measures for black grouper, gag, and red grouper.
- Revision of the following management benchmarks for red grouper: Maximum sustainable yield; optimum yield; and minimum stock size threshold.
Request for Comments
Comments on the amendment must be received no later than April 27, 2012, to be considered by NOAA Fisheries Service. See the Addresses section for information on where and how to submit comments.
Electronic copies of Amendment 24 may be obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Service Web site http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/pdfs/SGAmend24_121411.pdf, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, the Council’s Web site at http://www.safmc.net.
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/)
You may submit comments by the following methods:
Electronic Submission: Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (select “Submit Comment,” then type in NOAA-NMFS-2011-0298 in the “Keyword or ID” box). All comments received are part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change.
Mail: NOAA Fisheries Service
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
c/o Rick DeVictor
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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. 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.
More information, including Frequently Asked Questions for Amendment 24 can be found online at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov.
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252 726-7021
Date: Feb. 27, 2012
Public Meeting Scheduled on Monkfish Large Mesh Gill Net Permit
MOREHEAD CITY - The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a public meeting to discuss the Atlantic Ocean monkfish large mesh gill net fishery at 5 p.m. March 1 at the division office, 1021 Driftwood Dr., Manteo.
The purpose of the meeting is to explain to local fishermen permit requirements and other conditions for participation in the fishery.
The fishery is scheduled to open March 16 and will close no later than April 14. The fishery is limited to a specified area between the Virginia state line and Wimble Shoals, off Avon.
The permit will allow for monitoring of the fishery, thereby reducing the threat of gill net interaction with marine mammals or sea turtles while the traditional monkfish fishery continues in North Carolina.
The season may close by proclamation prior to April 14 if sea surface temperatures exceed 52 degrees, when sea turtles become more active, or if interactions with marine mammals or sea turtles occur.
For more information, contact Holly White, division biologist, at 252-473-5734.
Contact: Sustainable Fisheries
Phone: 703-824-5305; FAX 727-824-5308
Date: Feb. 23, 2012
Commercial Harvest of Vermilion Snapper Closing to Vessels Fishing in the
South Atlantic Federal Waters on Feb. 29, 2012
The commercial harvest of vermilion snapper in the South Atlantic federal waters is closed, effective 12:01 a.m. (local time) Feb. 29, 2012, until 12:01 a.m. (local time) July 1, 2012. NOAA Fisheries Service has determined the 2012 Jan. through June commercial quota of 315,523 pounds of vermilion snapper will have been reached by this date.
During the closure period, no person aboard a vessel with a commercial snapper-grouper permit may commercially fish for vermilion snapper in federal waters of the South Atlantic. During the closure, all harvest or possession of vermilion snapper in or from South Atlantic federal waters is restricted to the bag and possession limits and the sale or purchase of such fish is prohibited. The bag limit for captain and crew on board a vessel with a federal charter vessel/headboat snapper-grouper permit is zero.
In addition, for a person on board a vessel with a federal commercial snapper-grouper permit, these provisions of the commercial closure for vermilion snapper would apply regardless of whether the fish are harvested in state or federal waters.
Closure of the commercial sector for vermilion snapper in the South Atlantic complies with regulations implementing the Amendment 16 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region and is necessary to protect the snapper-grouper resource.
The operator of a vessel with vermilion snapper in excess of the bag or possession limit aboard must have landed such vermilion snapper prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, Feb. 29, 2012, and all sale or purchase of vermilion snapper must occur prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, Feb. 29, 2012. The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to sale or purchase of vermilion snapper that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, Feb. 29, 2012, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.
Contact: Tina Berger
Date: Feb. 17, 2012
Atlantic Menhaden Public Information Document
Available for Public Comment
Arlington, Va. – The Public Information Document (PID) for Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden is now available for public comment and review on the Commission's website at http://www.asmfc.org/speciesDocuments/menhaden/fmps/Amend2PID_DraftForPublicComment.pdf. As the first step in the development of Amendment 2, the PID presents the current status of the fishery and resource, and solicits public input on which major issues and alternatives should be included for consideration and analysis in Draft Amendment 2.
The PID’s primary focus is to initiate discussion on the timing and implementation of achieving the new fishing mortality threshold (F = 1.32) and target (F = 0.62) reference points recently adopted through Addendum V. Since fishing mortality in 2008 (the latest year in the assessment) is estimated at 2.28, overfishing is occurring, however, the stock is not overfished. The goal of the new reference points is to increase abundance, spawning stock biomass, and menhaden availability as a forage species. The PID also seeks public input on a more timely and comprehensive catch reporting system, and scopes potential options to be used in managing Atlantic menhaden commercial bait and reduction fisheries as well as recreational fishery.
Alongside the development of Amendment 2, the peer-reviewed stock assessment will be updated with data through 2011 to provide a more recent estimate of fishing mortality. Results of the assessment update will be used to estimate the harvest reductions needed to achieve the new threshold and target fishing mortality rates. Therefore, preliminary harvest reductions are provided in the PID but will likely change based on the results of the stock assessment update.
Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the PID either by attending public hearings or providing written comments. Public comment must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. (EST) on April 20, 2012 and should be forwarded to Michael Waine, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703-842-0741 (FAX) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Subject line: Menhaden PID). A subsequent press release will announce the state's public hearing schedule. For more information, please contact Michael Waine at 703-842-0740.
Public Affairs Specialist
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N
Arlington, VA 22201-2196
Contact: Sustainable Fisheries
Phone: 727 824-5305, FAX 727 824-5308
Date: Feb. 10, 2012
Commercial Harvest of Golden Tilefish Closed to Vessels Fishing in the
South Atlantic Federal Waters
The commercial harvest of golden tilefish in the South Atlantic federal waters is closed, effective 12:01 a.m. (local time) February 17, 2012, until 12:01 a.m. (local time) January 1, 2013. NOAA Fisheries Service has determined the 2012 commercial quota of 282,819 pounds gutted weight of golden tilefish will have been reached by this date.
During the closure, all harvest or possession of golden tilefish in or from South Atlantic federal waters is restricted to the bag and possession limits and the sale or purchase of such fish is prohibited. In addition, a person on board a vessel for which a federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for the South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Fishery has been issued, is restricted to the bag and possession limits, and sale or purchase of such fish is prohibited during the closure for golden tilefish and would apply regardless of whether the fish are harvested in state or federal waters.
Closure of the commercial sector for golden tilefish in the South Atlantic complies with regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region and is necessary to protect the snapper-grouper resource.
The operator of a vessel with golden tilefish in excess of the bag or possession limit aboard must have landed such golden tilefish prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, February 17, 2012, and all sale or purchase of golden tilefish must occur prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, February 17, 2012. The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to sale or purchase of golden tilefish that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, February 17, 2012, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.
This bulletin provides only a summary of the information regarding the existing regulations. Any discrepancies between this bulletin and the regulations as published in the Federal Register will be resolved in favor of the Federal Register.