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Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Spiny Lobster Historical Amendments and Rulemaking (1982-2017)


Spiny Lobster are managed jointly by the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils. The area of management is from the Mexico/Texas border to the North Carolina/Virginia border.
Fishing Type
Commercial, Recreational
Affected Species
Action Status
Final Rule
List of amendments to the fishery management plan from 1982 to 2017
Point of Contact
Southeast Regional Office 727-824-5305


The following is a list of historic rulemakings to the Fishery Management Plan for Spiny Lobster in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic effective in 2017 or earlier.

For recent and current rule making, please visit the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan homepage or Notices & Rules.

To be notified of rulemaking, sign up for our fishery bulletins.

Generic Amendment 12: Joint Dealer Permitting and Reporting Amendment

Joint South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Generic Dealer Reporting Amendment: Modifies the permitting and reporting requirements for seafood dealers who first receive species managed by the Councils through the previously mentioned FMPs. These revisions create a single dealer permit for dealers who first receive fish managed by the Councils, require both purchase and non-purchase reports to be submitted online on a weekly basis, prohibit dealers from first receiving fish from federally permitted vessels if they are delinquent in submitting reports, and change the sale and purchase provisions based on the new dealer permitting requirements. This rule also adds regulatory language to clarify the bag limit for private recreational vessels when a trip exceeds one calendar day

Amendment 11: Protections

Establishes measures to help protect threatened and endangered species in a manner that complies with the measures established in the 2009 biological opinion on the spiny lobster fishery. The amendment creates 60 new closed areas for the commercial lobster trap fishery in the Florida Keys in order to help protect staghorn and elkhorn coral from gear impacts. The Council approved Amendment 11 during its March 2012 meeting.

Amendment 10: ACLs and AMs

Establishes annual catch limits and accountability measures for Caribbean spiny lobster; removes other species from the fishery management unit (smoothtail spiny lobster, spotted spiny lobster, Spanish slipper lobster, ridged slipper lobster); defines maximum sustainable yield; sets annual catch limits and accountability measures; considers sector allocations; updates the protocol for enhanced cooperative management; modifies the regulations regarding the use of undersized lobster as bait as well as tailing permit requirements; and addresses the removal of abandoned traps in Florida waters. The amendment became effective January 3, 2012. 

  • Proposed Rule, 76 FR 59102.
  • Final Rule, 76 FR 75488. Effective January 3, 2012. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of January 3, 2012.

Amendment 9: Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1 (CE-BA 1)

The amendment was included under Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1 (CE-BA 1) and provided the presentation of spatial information for EFH and EFH-HAPC designations under the Snapper Grouper FMP. Designated Deepwater Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPCs)

Amendment 8

Amendment 8

Amendment 7: Establishment of the Tortugas Marine Reserves

Developed by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.  Created two no-use marine reserves in the Tortugas.

Amendment 6: Comprehensive Sustainable Fisheries Act Amendment

Amended the Fishery Management Plan as required to make definitions of MSY, OY, overfishing and overfished consistent with "National Standard Guidelines"; identified and defined fishing communities and addressed bycatch management measures.

Amendment 5: Generic Essential Fish Habitat Amendment

Identified Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) and EFH-Habitat Areas of Particular Concern for spiny lobster.

Generic Amendment for Addressing Essential Fish Habitat Requirements in the Gulf of Mexico

Regulatory Amendment 2: March 1993

Changed the days for the special recreational season in the EEZ off Florida; Prohibited night-time harvest off Monroe County, Florida during special recreational season; Specified allowable gear during special recreational season; and Provided for different bag limits during the special recreational season off the Florida Keys and the EEZ off other areas of Florida.

Regulatory Amendment 1: May 1992

Established a trap certification program for the EEZ off Florida; Reduced the number of undersize lobster that could be held aboard a vessel for use of attractants to no more than fifty or one per trap on board; Specified allowable gear for use in the EEZ off Florida; Limited fishermen diving at night to the recreational bag limit; Required divers to measure lobster while in the water: and Specified uniform trap and buoy numbers.

Amendment 4: Import Restrictions

restricts imports of spiny lobster into the U.S. to minimum conservation standards in an effort to achieve an increase in the spawning biomass of the stock and increase long-term yields from the fishery.

Amendment 3

Amendment 3 was implemented on March 25, 1991 (56 FR 12357) and contained provisions for adding a scientifically measurable definition of overfishing, an action plan to prevent overfishing, should it occur, as required by the Magnuson Act National Standards (50 CFR Part 602), and the requirement for collection of fees for the administrative cost of issuing permits. The fishery management plan, as amended, provides for management of the fishery throughout its range from North Carolina through Texas. However, the commercial fishery and, to a very large extent, the recreational fishery, occur off South Florida and principally off Monroe County in the Florida Keys (96 percent of landings in 1984).

Amendment 2

Modified the problems/issues and objectives of the fishery management plan; Modified the statement of optimum yield; Established a protocol and procedure for an enhanced cooperative state/council management system; and Added to the vessel safety and habitat sections of the fishery management plan.

Amendment 1

Required a commercial permit; Limited possession of undersized lobsters as attractants and required a live well; Modified recreational possession and season regulations; Modified closed season regulations; Required the immediate release of egg-bearing lobsters; Modified the minimum size limit; Required a permit to separate the tail at sea; and Prohibited possession or stripping of egg-bearing slipper lobsters.

  • Proposed Rule, 52 FR 8485.
  • Final Rule, 53 FR 17194. Effective May 11, 1988.
  • Final Rule, 55 FR 26447. Effective July 30, 1990, except that | 640.4 is effective June 28, 1990.

Original Fishery Management Plan

Included provisions to protect long-run yields and prevent depletion of lobster stocks; Increased yield, reduced user group and gear conflicts, acquired the necessary information to manage the fishery and to promote efficiency in the fishery; and Implemented a minimum size limit, gear limitations, possession limits, and seasonal restrictions.

  • Proposed Rule, 47 FR 10878.
  • Final Rule, 47 FR 29202. Effective June 30. 1982; except for § 640.6, 640.20(c). 640.21. 640.22. 640.23. 640.24, and those prohibitions in § 640.7 that cross-reference these sections. which are effective on July 28, 1982

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on 06/08/2021