NOAA Fisheries requests your comments on a proposed rule for commercial greater amberjack management measures in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf). Comments are due by January 21, 2020.
SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHANGES:
- The proposed rule would reduce the greater amberjack commercial trip limit from 1,500 pounds (lbs) gutted weight (gw) to 1,000 lbs gw.
- This proposed rule would also implement a commercial trip limit step-down to 250 lbs gw when 75 percent of the quota has been landed.
HOW TO COMMENT ON THE PROPOSED RULE:
The comment period is open now through January 21, 2020. 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.
FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: 84 FR 69715, published December 19, 2019
Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
2. Click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields.
3. Enter or attach your comments.
Mail: Submit written comments to Kelli O’Donnell, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Why is the commercial trip limit changing?
- During public comment, commercial fishers have indicated a preference for as long of a fishing season as possible, since incidentally caught greater amberjack must be discarded if the season is closed.
- A commercial trip limit of 2,000 lbs whole weight (1,923 lbs gw) was established in 2013, and a reduced trip limit of 1,500 lbs gw in 2016, however, harvest for Gulf commercial greater amberjack has closed before the end of the fishing year every year since 2009.
- The reduction in the current commercial trip limit from 1,500 lbs gw to 1,000 lbs gw with a step-down provision to 250 lbs gw when 75 percent of the quota is harvested is expected to extend the Gulf greater amberjack commercial fishing season, while still allowing for targeted trips for the species.
Where can I find more information on the Greater Amberjack Commercial Trip Limit Framework?
- Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
By Mail: Kelli O’Donnell
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 Greater Amberjack Commercial Trip Limits Framework may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web site at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/framework-action-greater-amberjack-commercial-trip-limits.
- Additional information on management of greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico may be found at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/management-plan/gulf-mexico-reef-fish-fishery-management-plan.
What are the current Commercial Greater Amberjack Management Measures?
- Fishing Year- January 1 - December 31
- Seasonal Closure- March 1 - May 31
- Size Limit- 36 inch fork length
- Accountability Measures- ACL overage payback and inseason closure
- Trip Limit- 1,500 lbs gutted weight
- 2020 ACL if no payback- 484,380 lbs whole weight
- 2020 ACT if no payback- 421,411 lbs whole weight
Management Measure not contained in the Framework
- This proposed rule would formally revise the boundaries of the Gulf reef fish stressed area, reef fish longline and buoy gear restricted area, and the recreational shallow-water grouper closure, as a result of the Department of Commerce Appropriations Acts of 2016 (Public Law 114-113 Department of Commerce NOAA General Provisions Section 110) and 2017 (Public Law 115-31 Department of Commerce NOAA General Provisions Section 110).
- When Congress established the 9 nautical miles (nm) reef fish boundary under the Appropriations Act, federal reef fish regulations inshore of 9 nm became outdated.
- The waypoints for the three areas are being updated to align with the Appropriations Act 9 nm reef fish boundary.
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