Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment

Overview

Fishing Type
Commercial
Action Status
Proposed Rule
Published
01/03/2020
Point of Contact
Travis Ford, 978-281-9233
Read Amendment

Summary

 This action would:

  • Establish a deep-sea coral protection area in deep waters on the continental slope and rise in New England waters. It would complement the Frank R. Lautenberg Deep-Sea Coral Protection Area established by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council in Amendment 16 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan. The area would run along the outer continental shelf in waters no shallower than 600 m and extend to the outer limit of U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone boundary to the east and north, and south to the Frank R. Lautenberg Deep Sea Coral Protection Area.

  • Restrict the use of all bottom-tending commercial fishing gear within the designated deep-sea coral area. The prohibition on these gears would protect deep-sea corals from interaction with and damage from bottom-tending fishing gear. Red crab pot gear would be exempt from the prohibition.

  • Designate a coral protection area in an area southwest of Mount Desert Rock off the eastern Maine. Vessels would be prohibited from fishing with bottom-tending mobile gear in this area.

  • Designate a coral protection area in an area on the Outer Schoodic Ridge, southeast of Mt. Desert Island. Vessels would be prohibited from fishing with bottom-tending mobile gear in this area. 

  • Establish provisions for vessels transiting through the coral protection areas.

  • Designate the area around Jordan Basin in the Gulf of Maine as a dedicated habitat research area.

  • Expand framework adjustment provisions in the FMP for future modifications to the deep-sea coral protection measures.

Federal Register

Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office on 06/05/2020

Deep-Sea Corals