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Public Comment Requested on Sea Turtle Careful Release Requirements in the Highly Migratory Species Longline Fisheries


Action Status


NOAA Fisheries seeks public comment on a proposed rule that would affect all commercial Highly Migratory Species permit holders fishing with bottom or pelagic longline gear.

The rule to update the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species regulations regarding sea turtle safe handling and release requirements is based on two technical memoranda (NOAA Technical Memoranda 735 and 738) published by NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center.

These updates would:

  • Replace some technical terms with plain language
  • Clarify requirements with additional details
  • Provide additional tool and procedural options to meet sea turtle safe handling and release requirements
  • Clarify responsibility of implementation with minor wording changes

The proposed updates would not change any of the current operation requirements of Highly Migratory Species fisheries such as fishing location, timing, effort, authorized gear types, or harvest levels. All previously authorized sea turtle bycatch mitigation tools and gear removal protocols remain approved for use.

Comment Period Open Until May 8, 2024

Submit comments on the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

Federal Register

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on 04/08/2024

Sea Turtles