- NOAA Fisheries is accepting comments on an application for an exempted fishing permit (EFP). The applicant proposes to evaluate the effectiveness of a management strategy that allows for increased retention of a reef fish species in areas prone to high discard mortality.
- The proposed study would be in the eastern Gulf of Mexico with red grouper as the test species.
- If granted, the EFP would allow the retention of 3,000 pounds of undersized red grouper harvested in federal Gulf of Mexico waters deeper than the 35-fathom depth contour on three federally permitted commercial reef fish bottom longline vessels.
- The proposed project is expected to improve the understanding of red grouper commercial discard mortality to help reduce uncertainty in stock assessments and assist in management decisions. Because this research would be conducted under normal fishing operations, adverse effects on the physical environment and other reef fish species should be minimal.
How to Comment On the Application:
The comment period is open now through August 4, 2023. You may submit comments by electronic submission or by postal mail. Comments sent by any other method (such as e-mail), to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.
Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
1. Go to https://www.regulations.gov/document/NOAA-NMFS-2023-0076-0001
2. Click the "Comment" icon, complete the required fields.
3. Enter or attach your comments.
Mail: Submit written comments to Rich Malinowski, NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
NOAA Fisheries finds this application warrants further consideration, and is seeking public comment on the application. A final decision on issuance of the EFP will depend on NOAA Fisheries' review of public comments received, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s recommendations, consultations with the affected states and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as any required analyses of potential impacts, including to managed fish stocks, protected species, and essential fish habitat.
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Quick Glance Contact List for the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office
Media Contact: Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750
Recreational Fishing Coordinator: Sean Meehan, 727-385-5202