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Marine Fisheries - News Release Archives - Jan 2012

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News Release Archives - Jan. 2012



Release: Immediate
Contact: Kate Michie
Phone: 727 824-5305, FAX 727 824-5308
Date: Jan. 31, 2012
Email: Kate.Michie@noaa.gov

NOAA Fisheries Service Requests Public Comments on Actions AffectingSouth Atlantic Black Sea Bass

 (Comment Period Ends April 2, 2012)

NOAA Fisheries Service requests public comments on Amendment 18A to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 18A). The primary purpose of Amendment 18A is to reduce effort in the black sea bass component of the snapper-grouper fishery to address the continued shortening of fishing seasons caused by derby fishing conditions, and to improve data reporting in the for-hire sector of the snapper-grouper fishery.

Actions in Amendment 18A include:

  • Updates to the acceptable biological catch and annual catch limits for black sea bass based on a new stock assessment.
  • An endorsement program for the commercial black sea bass pot segment of the snapper-grouper fishery, where only endorsement holders who meet certain landings criteria and also have a valid Unlimited South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Permit would be allowed to use pot gear to harvest black sea bass.
  • An appeals process for the black sea bass pot endorsement and endorsement transferability requirements.
  • Modifications to commercial and recreational accountability measures; actions taken if the catch limits are exceeded.
  • A limit of 35 black sea bass pot tags issued to each endorsement holder each permit year.
  • A requirement to bring black sea bass pots back to shore at the end of each trip.
  • A 1,000 pound gutted weight (1,180 pound whole weight) commercial trip limit for the black sea bass commercial sector.
  • An increase to the commercial minimum size limit from 10 inches total length (TL) to 11 inches TL, and an increase to the recreational size limit from 12 inches TL to 13 inches TL and;
  • A requirement for selected for-hire vessels to report landings information electronically on a weekly or daily basis.

*Please Note: If the black sea bass pot endorsement program is approved, a 30-day freeze on transfers of Unlimited South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Permits with black sea bass landings using black sea bass pot gear between 1999 and 2010 will begin on the publication date of the final rule, which will be announced with another fishery bulletin.

Request for Comments
Comments on Amendment 18A must be received no later than April 2, 2012, to be considered by NOAA Fisheries Service. See the Addresses section for information on where and how to submit comments.

Addresses
Electronic or hardcopies of Amendment 18A may be obtained from:
The NOAA Fisheries Service Web site http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/SASnapperGrouperHomepage.htm.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Web site at http://www.safmc.net.

To request a CD of the final environmental impact statement contact:
NOAA Fisheries Service
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: 727 824-5305

You may submit comments by the following methods:
The Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (select “Submit Comment”, then type in NOAA-NMFS-2011-0282 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 Kate Michie
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
For more information on Amendment 18A please see the Amendment 18A Frequently Asked Questions or view the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Web page at: www.safmc.net.

FB12-007


Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Phone: 252 726-7021
Date: Jan. 17,  2012

Fisheries, Wildlife Approve 14
Coastal Recreational Fishing License Grants

MOREHEAD CITY – Revenues from the N.C. Coastal Recreational Fishing License will pay nearly $2 million in the coming year toward projects to help provide coastal fishing access and fisheries and habitat research.

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission today announced the approval of 14 grants, totaling $1.99 million, for the 2012 cycle. The grants are funded from the N.C. Marine Resources Fund, which receives revenues from the sale of Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses.

The grants are sorted into three focus areas. Grants that fall under the People focus area include public education and public water access projects. Grants that fall under the Fish focus area are fisheries research projects. Grants that fall under the Habitat focus area include projects that enhance, protect or research fisheries habitat.

The approved grants are:

People – Total of $857,369

Take a Kid Fishing – $25,000
One-year funding for a multi-year grant to provide disabled and disadvantaged youth an opportunity to go saltwater fishing while teaching them about ethical fishing practices, conservation and the ocean environment.

Long Bay Artificial Reef Association – $220,622
One-year grant to place reef material on Artificial Reef-430 off Brunswick County to enhance the effective and responsible development of artificial reefs for long-term fishery enhancement.

N. C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Saltwater fishing Tournament – $25,727
Year-one funding for a multi-year grant to enhance and support the program, which produces citations that recognize recreational anglers for exceptional catches of marine finfish common to North Carolina.

Friends of the N.C. Maritime Museum – $28,620
Year-one funding for a multi-year grant to develop and implement a public exhibit with related educational materials centered on North Carolina’s recreational fisheries.

Wildlife Resources Commission’s Brick Landing Road Boating Access – $350,000
One-year grant to design and construct one new concrete ramp, floating docks, 24 paved parking spaces and Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, features.

Wildlife Resources Commission’s ADA Coastal Boating Access, Year-One Funding – $140,000
Multi-year grant to make all of the commission’s coastal boating access sites ADA compliant.

Town of Oriental  – $67,400
One-year grant to enhance the Oriental Artificial Reef-396 by purchasing and deploying reef balls and other materials.
Fish- Total of $400,710

University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Acoustic Tagging of Southern Flounder – $161,874
Year-one funding of a multi-year grant to evaluate the migration dynamics and within-estuary habitat use of southern flounder.

East Carolina University Cooperative Winter Tagging Cruise – $238,836
Year-one funding of a multi-year grant to tag striped bass and Atlantic sturgeon in the Atlantic Ocean, and sample all species encountered, to assist in assessing fishing mortality on coastal migratory stocks of striped bass, including the Albemarle-Roanoke stock.

Habitat- Total of $732,266

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Oyster Shell Recycling Program – $28,000
One-year grant to increase public exposure to the program to increase participation and provide additional shell material that will be used to enhance fish habitat, reduce solid waste in landfills and increase awareness of the importance of a healthy oyster population.
 
N.C.  Division of Marine Fisheries’ Inshore Fishing/Oyster Reefs – $469,427
Year-one funding of a multi-year grant to increase easily accessible and high-quality angling opportunities by creating three coastal recreational fishing reefs in close proximity to coastal towns and public boat ramps.

University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Ecosystem Function of Oyster Shoreline Stabilization – $87,501
One-year grant to study the impacts of oyster reefs on shoreline stabilization, specific parameters of oyster health and condition in created reefs, and the ecosystem benefit from oysters.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences, Defining the Critical Depth for Intertidal Oyster Reef Restoration – $39,491
Year-one funding of a multi-year grant to evaluate restored oyster reef evolution and sustainability across various water depths and determine the critical elevation threshold at which future restoration will likely be most successful.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences, Acoustic Tracking of Adult Red Drum and Sheepshead – $107,847
Year-one funding of a multi-year grant to track adult red drum and sheepshead to evaluate restored habitat function.

For more information on these grants or the Coastal Recreational Fishing License grant program, contact Tiffany Frazier, Coastal Recreational Fishing License grants coordinator, at 252-808-8004 or Tiffany.Frazier@ncdenr.gov
nr-12-2012


Release: Immediate
Contact: Steve Branstetter
Email: Steve.Branstetter@noaa.gov
Phone: 727 824-5305, FAX 727 824-5308
Date: January 9, 2012

Proposed Changes to Regulations for Bycatch Reduction Devices and Shrimp Effort Restrictions in the Southeastern Shrimp Fisheries

On January 9, 2012, NOAA Fisheries Service began accepting public comment on proposed changes to shrimp regulations.  One action would certify two new bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) for use in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic region.  Another action would relax a restriction regarding the level of allowable shrimp effort in the Gulf of Mexico.  
 
Both of the new BRDs represent modifications to the Composite Panel BRD, which is provisionally certified through May 24, 2012.  The proposed rule would add these BRDs to the list of allowable BRDs, and provide technical specifications for the construction and subsequent legal enforcement of the BRDs.  One version incorporates the addition of a square mesh panel (SMP Composite Panel BRD); the other version incorporates the addition of a “spooker” cone in the cod-end of the trawl behind the BRD (Cone Deflector Composite Panel BRD).  
 
The proposed rule would also relax a shrimp effort reduction threshold for the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery.  Regulations implemented in 2008 require that shrimp effort in the 10-30 fathom depth zone west of Mobile Bay, Alabama, be at least 74 percent less than effort levels documented during 2001 through 2003.  In accordance with the framework procedures set forth in Amendment 14 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico, this rule would adjust the threshold to require a 67 percent reduction in effort in the 10 to 30 fathom depth contours compared to the designated baseline years.  
 
The intended effect of this proposed rule is to improve bycatch reduction in the shrimp fishery, provide greater flexibility to the industry, reduce social and economic impacts to fishing communities, and better meet the requirements of National Standard 9 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).  
Background
 
BRDs have been required in shrimp trawls in the South Atlantic since 1997, in the western Gulf of Mexico since 1998, and since 2004 for the eastern Gulf of Mexico.  
 
In 2008, NOAA Fisheries Service provisionally certified the Composite Panel BRD for use in federal waters throughout the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic, and changed the classification for the Extended Funnel BRD in the Gulf of Mexico from “fully certified” to “provisionally certified.”  Provisional certifications only allow the use of the BRD for a 2-year period.  In 2010, NOAA Fisheries Service extended these provisional certifications to allow industry greater time to make modifications that would fully certify the BRDs.  Such testing occurred on the Composite Panel BRD, resulting in the two modified versions being proposed for certification.  No additional information is available for the Expanded Mesh BRD in the Gulf of Mexico.  
 
Therefore, as of May 25, 2012, the original Composite Panel BRD will be decertified for use in both the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic federal waters, and the Extended Funnel BRD will be decertified for use in  Gulf of Mexico federal waters.  Shrimp fishers who use the original Composite Panel BRD would have until May 25, 2012, to make the modifications to their BRDs to meet the new BRDs’ construction specifications.
 
Dates and Addresses
 
Written comments on these proposed changes must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern time, February 8, 2012
 
ADDRESSES:  You may submit comments, identified by [NOAA-NMFS-2011-0274], by any one of the following methods:
Electronic Submissions:  Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov.
 
Mail:  Steve Branstetter, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL  33701.
 
Instructions:  All comments received are a 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.
 
To submit comments through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, enter “NOAA-NMFS-2011-0274” in the keyword search, then select “Send a Comment or Submission.”  To view posted comments during the comment period, enter “NOAA-NMFS-2011-0274” in the keyword search and click on "search."  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 here will not be considered.
 
Comments received by February 8, 2012, will be considered by NOAA Fisheries Service in its decision to approve, disapprove, or partially approve the proposed actions.  Comments received after that date will not be considered by NOAA Fisheries Service in this decision.  All comments received by NOAA Fisheries Service will be addressed in the final rule. 
 
This bulletin provides only a summary of the information regarding the proposed rule.  Any discrepancies between this bulletin and the proposed rule published in the Federal Register will be resolved in favor of the Federal Register.
 
If you would like to receive these fishery bulletins via e-mail as soon as they are published, please email: sero.communications.comments@noaa.gov.

FB12-001

 


N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • (252) 726-7021 or 1-800-682-2632

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