Gulf of Mexico Coral Historical Amendments and Rulemaking (1984-2002)
The following is a list of historic rulemakings to the Coral and Coral Reef Resources Fishery Management Plan for Gulf of Mexico U.S. waters effective 2017 and earlier. For more recent and current rule making, visit the Gulf of Mexico Coral and Coral Reef Fishery Management Plan homepage.
See current rules that are open for comment here.
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Species managed: hard corals, aquacultured live rock
Generic Amendment: Establishment of the Tortugas Marine Reserves
Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2 (Tortugas Marine Reserves). This amendment was to all seven fishery managment plans and created two marine reserves where all fishing is prohibited. One 60 sq. mile reserve was created on a spawning aggregation site for mutton snapper. The other (125 sq. miles) was created in the jurisdictions of the National Park Service (NPS), Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and State of Florida. These reserves will provide for research to assess the value of no-use reserves. The amendment number for each FMP is as follows: Mackerel (13), Coral (4), Red Drum (4), Reef Fish (19), Shrimp (12), Spiny Lobster (7), and Stone Crab (8).
Amendment 3 was prepared to provide additional management to the harvest of live rock in the Gulf of Mexico. Live rock is an assemblage of living marine organisms attached to a hard substrate such as dead coral or limestone. This amendment considers further live rock regulation including an annual quota during phase-out, revision of trip limits, closed area off Florida’s Panhandle, redefinition of allowable octocorals, and limited personal use live rock harvest.
Amendment 2 established area closures, vessel trip limits, gear restrictions, permits and reporting for live rock harvest and aquaculture, restricted access, a phase-out of harvest by 1997, and a redefinition of octocorals.
- Proposed Rule, 59 FR 49377.
- Final Rule, 59 FR 66776. Effective December 22. 1994, except that § 638.25(c)(3) is effective December 22. 1994, through December 31, 1994. and § 63.8.4(a)(1)(iv)(A) and (h)(2) and 638.7(a)(4) are effective March 1, 1995.
Amendment 1 established the total allowable harvest (TAC) for commercial harvesters of gorgonians (soft coral) at 50,000 colonies annually. It established permits and reporting requirements for persons landing gorgonians commercially. It established a permitting requirement and landing limit for non-commercial harvesters (i.e., 6 colonies).
Original Fishery Management Plan
The fishery management plan (FMP)/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), completed in 1982, described the coral communities throughout the jurisdictions of the Gulf and South Atlantic Councils (1). The FMP prohibited harvest of stony coral and seafans except by scientific permit. It established Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC) in the Gulf and Atlantic where the use of any fishing gear interfacing with the bottom was prohibited. It regulated the use of chemicals used by fish collectors near coral reefs. It established a data reporting system for permittees.