Amendment 9: Coral Habitat Areas Considered for Management in the Gulf of Mexico
In 2013, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) hosted a workshop to discuss how corals may be affected by fisheries. One of the recommendations from that workshop was to reevaluate coral areas in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) that might warrant special protections. Methods of protecting coral and coral habitats from activities unrelated to direct harvest include designating particular sites within existing coral essential fish habitat (EFH) as habitat areas of particular concern (HAPCs). The Council is considering actions to modify the boundary of the existing Pulley Ridge HAPC; establishing new HAPCs in the Gulf, and improving fishing regulation consistency by prohibiting dredge fishing in all existing HAPCs.