In response to a request from the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, NOAA Fisheries will publish a final interim rule on January 2, 2018, which will temporarily reduce golden tilefish catch limits for 2018 based on the most recent population assessment. The purpose of the action is to reduce overfishing (rate of removal is too high) of golden tilefish while management measures are being developed to end overfishing. The reductions in the catch limits are effective beginning January 2, 2018.
Summary of Changes:
- The final interim rule will temporarily reduce the total catch limit for golden tilefish from 558,036 to 323,000 pounds gutted weight. Using the existing allocations, the temporary catch limits will be 313,310 pounds gutted weight for the commercial sector and 2,187 fish for the recreational sector. For commercial fishermen, the hook-and-line catch limit will be 78,328 pounds gutted weight and the long-line catch limit will be 234,982 pounds gutted weight.
- The interim measures will be effective for 180 days after the date of publication and may be extended for an additional 186 days while the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council develops Regulatory Amendment 28 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery in the South Atlantic Region (Regulatory Amendment 28).
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why is the temporary reduction in the catch limit needed?
- In April 2016, a population assessment update for golden tilefish was completed using data through 2014 (SEDAR 25 Update 2016). The updated assessment indicated that the golden tilefish population is undergoing overfishing but is not overfished (population abundance is too low).
- As mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries must end overfishing of golden tilefish.
- These temporary regulations reduce overfishing of golden tilefish while long-term management measures are developed in Regulatory Amendment 28 to end overfishing.
What are the actions in the interim rule?
- Temporarily revise the commercial and recreational catch limits for golden tilefish for 2018 (See Table 1 below).
Table 1. Commercial and recreational catch limits for golden tilefish.
|Total Catch Limit||Commercial Catch Limit||Commercial Hook-and-Line Catch Limit||Commercial Longline Catch Limit||Recreational Catch Limit|
|(Pounds gutted weight)||(Pounds Gutted Weight)||(Pounds Gutted Weight)||(Pounds Gutted Weight)||(Numbers of fish)**|
**An average weight conversion factor of 4.43 pounds gutted weight was used for converting the recreational catch limit into numbers of fish.
Where can I find more information on the environmental assessment and the interim rule?
- Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
By Mail: Karla Gore or Mary Vara
NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
By FAX: (727) 824-5308
By Phone: (727) 824-5305
- The environmental assessment and interim rule may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Website.
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