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Southeast Region Letters of Acknowledgement (LOA)

June 25, 2018

Information about letters of acknowledgement for scientific research which involve fisheries in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and Caribbean.

Request for a Letter of Acknowledgment (LOA)

  1. Persons planning to conduct scientific research activities on board a scientific research vessel in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) are encouraged to submit to the appropriate Regional Administrator, 60 days or as soon as practicable prior to its start, a scientific research plan for each scientific research activity. 
    1. The Regional Administrator will acknowledge notification of scientific research activity by issuing to the operator or master of that vessel, or to the sponsoring institution, a LOA. 
    2. This LOA is separate and distinct from any permit or consultation required under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), or any other applicable law. 
    3. The Regional Administrator will include text in the LOA informing the applicant that such permits may be required and should be obtained from the agency prior to embarking on the activity. 
  2. Information on applying for an LOA can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 C.F.R. § 600.745(a).  To request an LOA, please contact the Southeast Regional Office at the address below. 
  3. The request should identify the activity to be conducted and should include a copy of the scientific research plan as defined at 50 C.F.R. § 600.10, and provide sufficient information to establish that a LOA is warranted and appropriate[1].  A copy of the principal investigator(s) CV(s) or resume(s) and, where different, the CV or resume of the person in charge of the research project on board the vessel, should be included with the request.  Additionally, the scientific research plan should include the following information about the vessels to be used during research activities:
    1. Vessel name.
    2. USCG documentation number.
    3. Vessel home port.
    4. Vessel owner information – name, mailing address, phone number, email.
    5. Vessel captain information and/or primary project participants – names
  4. The letter should identify an individual as a point of contact who can respond to any questions regarding the project that NMFS staff may have during consideration of your request for an LOA.

[1] If the Regional Administrator (RA), after review of a research plan, determines that it does not constitute scientific research but rather fishing, the RA will inform the applicant as soon as practicable and in writing.  The RA or Director may also make recommendations to revise the research plan to ensure the activity will be considered to be scientific research activity or recommend the applicant request an EFP.


LOA application packages should be addressed to:


Andrew J. Strelcheck, Regional Administrator
NOAA Fisheries Service
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Ave. South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701


South Atlantic applications can be mailed or emailed:

            Attn:  Rick DeVictor, South Atlantic Branch Chief



Gulf of Mexico applications can be mailed or emailed:

            Attn:  Peter Hood, Gulf of Mexico Branch Chief



Caribbean applications can be mailed or emailed:

            Attn:  Dr. John McGovern, Assistant Regional Administrator



Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on 10/07/2021