Request for Comments: Proposed Gear and Harvest Limits at Artificial Reef Sites in the South Atlantic Region

November 16, 2020

FB20-068: South Atlantic Fishery Bulletin; For more information, contact: Rick DeVictor, 727-824-5305, rick.devictor@noaa.gov

KEY MESSAGE:

NOAA Fisheries requests your comments on the proposed rule for Regulatory Amendment 34 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region.  Comments on the proposed rule are due by December 16, 2020.

The proposed rule would create 34 special management zones around artificial reefs off North Carolina and South Carolina as requested by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.  There would be additional gear and harvest restrictions within the proposed special management zones.

The purpose of the framework amendment is to restrict use of fishing gear that could result in high exploitation rates to reduce adverse effects to federally managed snapper-grouper species at these sites.

Maps and coordinates of the proposed special management zones found here: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/regulatory-amendment-34-special-management-zones-smz.

SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHANGES:

  • The proposed rule would create special management zones around select artificial reef sites off North Carolina (30) and off South Carolina (4).
  • The proposed SMZs range in size from 0.041 to 1.01 square miles.
  • Harvest of snapper-grouper species would only be allowed with handline, rod and reel, and spear in the SMZs.  Therefore, this action would prohibit the use of bandit reel, powerhead, pot, and longline gear at these sites.
  • In the proposed SMZs off North Carolina, harvest of snapper-grouper species by spear would be limited to the applicable recreational bag limit.
  • In the proposed SMZs off South Carolina, harvest of snapper-grouper species with all gear types would be limited to the applicable recreational bag limit.

HOW TO COMMENT ON THE PROPOSED RULE:

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.  Comments on the proposed rule are due by December 16, 2020.

 

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NUMBER:  85 FR 73013, November 16, 2020

 

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

1. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2020-0123.

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

3. Enter or attach your comments.

 

Mail: Submit written comments to Rick DeVictor, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

 

Where can I find more information on Regulatory Amendment 34?

NOAA's Text Message Alert Program allows you to receive important fishery related alerts via text message (SMS).  Standard message & data rates may apply. You may opt-out at any time.

 

Text alerts you may receive include:

  • Immediate fishery openings and closures
  • Any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly

 

Sign up for one or more of the following groups:

  • Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLRECFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777
  • Caribbean Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text CARIBFISH to 888777

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Other contacts:

Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707

            Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750 

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on November 16, 2020