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NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on an Application for an Exempted Fishing Permit to Evaluate a Management Strategy for Red Grouper in Gulf of Mexico Federal Waters

July 05, 2023

FB23-042: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin. For more information, contact: Rich Malinowski; (727) 824-5305, Rich.Malinowski@noaa.gov

Key Messages:

  • 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.

Application information:  https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/southeast/science-data/exempted-fishing-permit-mote-marine-lab-red-grouper-full-retention-study.

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

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on July 05, 2023