Gulf of Mexico Stone Crab Historical Amendments and Rulemaking (1978-2011)
The following is a list of historic rulemakings to the Fishery Management Plan for Gulf of Mexico Stone Crab effective 2011 and earlier. The federal stone crab fishery management plan (FMP) was originally implemented in 1979, and was repealed in 2011. Florida now manages stone crab fishing in adjacent federal waters. The original The FMP was prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 654.
See current rules that are open for comment here.
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Generic Amendment: Establishment of the Tortugas Marine Reserves
This was the Council’s Generic Amendment addressing the establishment of Tortugas Marine Reserves.
Amendment 19, also known as the Generic Amendment Addressing the Establishment of the Tortugas Marine Reserves, was submitted to NOAA Fisheries in March 2001 and implemented on August 19, 2002. This amendment, affecting all FMPs for the Gulf fisheries (as Reef Fish Amendment 19, Coastal Pelagics Amendment 13, Coral Amendment 4, Red Drum Amendment 4, Shrimp Amendment 12, Spiny Lobster Amendment 7, and Stone Crab Amendment 8), establishes two marine reserve areas off the Tortugas area and prohibits fishing for any species and anchoring by fishing vessels inside the two marine reserves.
Amendment 7 creates a trap reduction program for the exclusive economic zone that complements a similar program for the Florida fishery. Trap certificates issued will be reduced when transferred. Certificates can be bought, sold, and transferred.
- Proposed Rule, 67 FR 42744.
- Final Rule, 67 FR 61990. Effective November 4, 2002, except for amendments to § 654.4 (a), which is effective December 2, 2002.
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. These regulations also revise the stone crab trap construction requirements, as proposed by the SFA Amendment. The intended effects are to provide a more timely mechanism for incorporating stock population parameters into the applicable FMPs when such information becomes available and to establish stone crab trap construction regulations that are compatible with those of the State of Florida and that will reduce finfish bycatch.
Amendment 6 extended the moratorium on the issuance of registration of stone crab vessels by NOAA Fisheries through June 30, 2002.
Generic Amendment for Addressing Essential Fish Habitat Requirements in the Gulf of Mexico
Amendment 5 was implemented on April 14, 1995 (60 FR 13918) and placed a three-year moratorium on registration of stone crab vessels by the Regional Administrator of NOAA Fisheries. This was done for the period, April 15, 1995 – June 30, 1998, because the Florida Legislature proposed a state moratorium on the issuance of permits while the industry considered the development of a limited access system. Amendment 5 also included a protocol and procedure (framework measure) under which the RA could approve for implementation in the exclusive economic zone certain types of rules proposed by the state of Florida after review by the Advisory Panel, Scientific and Statistical Committee, and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.
Amendment 5 also updated the description of the fishery habitat and the factors affecting this habitat. The Council published a control date effective July 24, 1995 (60 FR 37868) for the commercial fishery; the effect of which was to notify fishermen entering the fishery after this date that they may not be allowed to participate in the fishery if that date is used in a limited access program to limit entry.
Amendment 4 was approved on February 21, 1991 (56 FR 6837), and contained provisions for adding a scientifically measurable definition of overfishing and an action plan to arrest overfishing, should it occur, as required by the Magnuson Act National Standards (50 CFR 602), a section on vessel safety considerations, and a revised habitat section as required by the Magnuson Act.
- Final Rule, 56 FR 6837. Effective February 13, 1991.
Amendment 3 was implemented on September 25, 1986 (51 FR 30663), and included management measures to enhance survival of crabs held on board vessels and prohibited harvest of egg-bearing female crabs. It also rescinded the logbook reporting provision and substituted the Florida trip ticket system.
Amendment 2 was implemented on August 31, 1984 (49 FR 30713), and established procedures for resolving gear conflicts in central west Florida.
- Final Rule, 49 FR 30713. Effective August 31, 1984.
Amendment 1 was implemented on November 8, 1982 (47 FR 41757), and specified a procedure for modifying the zoned area to resolve the gear conflict.
Original Fishery Management Plan
The Fishery Management Plan for the Stone Crab Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico was implemented on September 30, 1979 (44 FR 53519). The FMP resolved an armed conflict over competing gear use between stone crab and shrimp fishermen operating in the Exclusive Economic Zone off southwest Florida and extended Florida’s rules regulating the fishery into the EEZ. The management area of the FMP is limited to the EEZ seaward of the west coast of Florida in the Gulf.