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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

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

Marine Fisheries


Release: Immediate
Contact: Rick DeVictor
Phone: 727-824-5305; FAX 727-824-5308
Email: Rick.DeVictor@noaa.gov
Date: May 9, 2012

NOAA Fisheries Service is Eliminating the 240-Foot (40-Fathom)
Snapper-Grouper Prohibition in the South Atlantic

NOAA Fisheries Service is eliminating the 240-foot (40-fathom) snapper-grouper prohibition in South Atlantic federal waters. The 240-foot (40-fathom) prohibition, implemented on January 31, 2011, prohibited the possession of six deepwater snapper-grouper species (snowy grouper, blueline tilefish, yellowedge grouper, misty grouper, queen snapper, and silk snapper) in or from the South Atlantic federal waters in depths greater than 240 feet (40 fathoms). The final rule publishes in the Federal Register on May 10, 2012 and the removal of the prohibition is effective on that date.

The purpose of the 240-foot (40-fathom) prohibition approved in Amendment 17B to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region is to reduce bycatch of speckled hind and warsaw grouper. However, there is evidence, from both public comments and new analysis of data, that the prohibition is not effective at its stated purpose and comes at a higher economic cost to fishermen than originally anticipated. A new analysis of landings data following the implementation of the prohibition indicates that different management measures are likely more effective. Therefore, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is currently developing an amendment to further protect speckled hind and warsaw grouper. That amendment considers additional measures to reduce bycatch of speckled hind and warsaw grouper, including the expansion of existing, and establishment of new, closed areas.

The decision to eliminate the 240-foot (40-fathom) prohibition through Regulatory Amendment 11 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region does not affect the prohibition on harvest and possession of speckled hind and warsaw grouper in the South Atlantic. It remains unlawful to harvest or possess speckled hind and warsaw grouper.

More information, including Frequently Asked Questions for Regulatory Amendment 11 can be found online at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/SASnapperGrouperHomepage.htm

FB12-033


Release: Immediate
Contact: Michael Barnette
Phone: 727-551-5794; FAX 727-824-5309
Email: Michael.Barnette@noaa.gov
Date: May 8, 2012

NOAA Seeks Public Comment for Proposed Rule to Require Turtle Excluder Device Use for Skimmer Trawls, Pusher-Head Trawls,
and Wing Nets (Butterfly Trawls)

NOAA Fisheries Service is seeking comments on a proposed rule to strengthen sea turtle conservation efforts. The rule, if implemented, would require all skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing nets (butterfly trawls) to use turtle excluder devices in their nets. The purpose of the proposed rule is to aid in the protection and recovery of listed sea turtle populations by reducing incidental bycatch and mortality of sea turtles in the southeastern U.S. shrimp

NOAA Fisheries Service also prepared a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), which includes a description of the purpose and need for evaluating the proposed action and other potential management alternatives, the scientific methodology and data used in the analyses, background information on the physical, biological, human, and administrative environments, and a description of the effects of the proposed action and other potential management alternatives on the aforementioned

For more information on the proposed rule and the documents outlining the analysis, a list of frequently asked questions regarding the newly proposed requirements in the southeastern shrimp fisheries can be found on the NOAA Fisheries Service Southeast Regional Office’s website at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pr.htm.

Request for Comments
The proposed rule will publish in the Federal Register on May 10, 2012. A notice of availability on the DEIS will be published in the Federal Register on May 18, 2012. Written comments on the proposed rule and DEIS must be received no later than July 9 and July 2, 2012, respectively, to be considered by NOAA Fisheries Service. All comments received by NOAA Fisheries Service will be addressed in the final rule and final environmental impact statement.

Electronic copies of the proposed rule or the DEIS may be obtained from the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov and the NOAA Fisheries Service Southeast Regional Office’s website at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pr.htm.

Public Hearings
NOAA Fisheries Service has scheduled five public hearings in May and June 2012 to solicit public comment on the proposed rule. The dates, times, and locations of the hearings are as follows:

1. Morehead City, N.C. – May 30, 2012, 2 p.m.-4 p.m, Crystal Coast Civic Center, 3505 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557.
2. Larose, La. – June 4, 2012, 4 p.m-6 p.m, Larose Regional Park and Civic Center, 307 East 5th Street, Larose, LA 70373.
3. Belle Chasse, La. – June 5, 2012, 4 p.m-6 p.m, Belle Chasse Community Center, 8398 Highway 23, Belle Chasse, LA 70037.
4. D’Iberville, Miss. – June 6, 2012, 4 p.m-6 p.m, L.H. “Red” Barnett Senior Center, 10450 Lamey Bridge Road, D’Iberville, MS 39540.
5. Bayou La Batre, Ala. – June 13, 2012, 2 p.m-4 p.m, Bayou La Batre Community Center, 12745 Padgett Switch Road, Bayou La Batre, AL 36509.

How to Submit Comments
You may submit comments by either of the following methods. Comments received through other means may not be considered.

Electronic Submissions:
Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov
Enter the following docket number into the “Search” box: NOAA-NMFS-2012-0095.
Select the appropriate title, and click “Submit a Comment.” This will display the comment webform.
Attachments to electronic comments (up to 10 MB) will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

Mail: Michael C. Barnette, NOAA Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, Protected Resources 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 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. Anonymous comments will be accepted.

FB12-031

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