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Gulf of Mexico Coral Historical Amendments and Rulemaking (1984-2002)


Fishing Type
Commercial, Recreational
Action Status
Final Rule
List of amendments to the fishery management plan from 1984 to 2002
Point of Contact
Southeast Regional Office 727-824-5305


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: Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures

This amendment addresses a requirement in the Reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act of 2006 to establish Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures for federally managed species. The amendment has been approved by the Secretary of Commerce.

  • Proposed Rule, 76 FR 66021.
  • Final Rule, 76 FR 82044. Effective January 30, 2012, except for the amendments to § 622.32(b)(2)(iii) and § 622.39(b)(1)(ii). NOAA will publish a document announcing the effective date of the amendments to § 622.32(b)(2)(iii) and § 622.39(b)(1)(ii) in the Federal Register.
  • Correction, 77 FR 23632. Effective April, 20, 2012.

Generic Amendment: Essential Fish Habitat Requirements, Habitat Areas of Particular Concern, and Adverse Effects of Fishing

This amendment addressed EFH requirements, Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPCs), and adverse effects of fishing in the fisheries for shrimp, red drum, reef fish, stone crab, coral, and coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as spiny lobster and the CMP resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Management measures include; prohibiting bottom anchoring to protect coral reefs in the East and West Flower Garden Banks, McGrail Bank, Pulley Ridge, and the North and South Tortugas Ecological Reserves, as well as Stetson Bank HAPCs prohibiting longlines, buoy gear, and all traps/pots to protect coral reefs in those same HAPCs; and requiring a weak link in the tickler chain of bottom trawls on all habitats throughout the Gulf EEZ.

  • Proposed Rule, 70 FR 56157
  • Final Rule, 70 FR 76216. Effective January 23, 2006, except for Sec. 622.34(q), which is effective January 24, 2006.

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).

Sustainable Fisheries Act

This amendment was to all 7 fishery management plans and addresses the new provisions implemented by the SFA that pertain to preventing overfishing and rebuilding of overfished stocks. It also provides demographic and economic information on fishing communities. It proposed scientific definitions for each stock managed by the Council for maximum sustainable yield, optimum yield, Maximum Fishing Mortality Thresholds, and for Minimum Stock Size Thresholds. It proposed rebuilding plans for overfished stocks for which such data were available. It assessed bycatch and proposed reporting requirements for bycatch.

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

Amendment 3

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

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

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.

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on 05/07/2020

Aquaculture Deep-Sea Corals Essential Fish Habitat