NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on an Application for an Exempted Fishing Permit to Test an Experimental Shrimp Trawl Bycatch Reduction Device in Gulf of Mexico Federal Waters

June 03, 2019

FB19-031 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin, For More Information, Contact; Frank Helies, 727-824-5305, Frank.Helies@noaa.gov

KEY MESSAGE:

NOAA Fisheries is accepting comments on an application for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) from Dr. Glenn Parsons, University of Mississippi.  The applicant proposes to gauge industry acceptance of the Nested Cylinder Bycatch Reduction Device (NCBRD) by obtaining opinions, comments, and suggestions from shrimpers that might encourage them to use the device.  The device has been in development for a number of years, funded through NOAA Fisheries grant programs, but has seen limited uptake by industry.

 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

  • Over the past several years, the NCBRD has been tested on a variety of Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) commercial shrimp vessels contracted for research evaluation off the Texas coast.
  • Successful NOAA Fisheries at-sea certification trials were completed in December 2016, as prescribed in the Bycatch Reduction Device Testing Protocol Manual.
  • Under this EFP, cooperating Gulf shrimp fishermen would be provided a new NCBRD to use on seven vessels to gauge their acceptance before final administrative certification.
  • To allow for side-by-side comparison, the NCBRD would replace an existing certified bycatch reduction device in one outboard net during normal fishing operations.
  • To ensure proper use of the NCBRD, the applicant would make site visits to each participant to demonstrate proper installation in the trawl, and request shrimpers use the device for at least 30 trawls during normal fishing operations.
  • All shrimp trawlers would still be required to comply with the TED regulations at 50 CFR 223.206(d)(2).

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 Councils’ recommendations, consultations with the affected states, and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as a determination that it is consistent with all applicable laws.

HOW TO COMMENT ON THE APPLICATION:

The comment period is open now through June 18, 2019.  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/gulf-mexico-exempted-fishing-permits-efp.

Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the e-Rulemaking portal. 

1. Go to https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2019-0052.

2. Click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields.

3. Enter or attach your comments.

Mail:  Submit written comments to Frank Helies, NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.


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