Fishery Closures and Other Temporary Rules to Protect Public Health and NOAA Fisheries Trust Resources

In the event of an emergency, NOAA Fisheries may implement (or alleviate) certain regulatory requirements on a temporary basis to protect public health or our trust resources, or assist regulated fishermen.  Specifically, we may establish fishery closures or exempt affected fisheries from turtle excluder device (TED) or electronic recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

Fishery Closures

Through emergency rulemaking, NOAA Fisheries closes and reopens areas to fishing activities, as needed, to protect public health.  Any such closure could remain in effect until the circumstances that created the emergency no longer exist if the public has an opportunity to comment on the closure and the Secretary of Health and Human Services concurs with the action.  For questions about emergency closures, please contact Susan Gerhart.


Turtle Excluder Device (TED) Exemptions

With few exceptions, shrimp trawlers operating in Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic waters must have an approved TED installed in each net rigged for fishing.  However, NOAA Fisheries can authorize shrimp vessels to use tow time restrictions in lieu of TEDs following hurricanes or other severe weather events if we determine the presence of algae, seaweed, debris or other special environmental conditions in a particular area makes trawling with TED-equipped nets impracticable, effectively impeding their conservation benefits.  Such an authorization would take the form of an emergency rulemaking that could be effective for up to 30 days and may be renewed for additional 30-day periods, if we find the conditions necessitating the imposition of tow-time restrictions continue to exist.  Requests for temporary TED exemptions should be made by the appropriate state or federal fishery officials where the affected shrimp fishery is located to the Southeast Regional Administrator, Dr. Roy Crabtree.


Electronic Recordkeeping and Reporting Allowances

If NOAA Fisheries determines catastrophic conditions exist, we can authorize affected fishermen and dealers to use paper-based in lieu of electronic transactions for basic required functions of our commercial Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) and Gulf of Mexico Offshore Aquaculture programs until those conditions cease.  Similar allowances for other NOAA regulated fisheries programs are pending.  Please contact:

Federal regulations do not authorize NOAA Fisheries to waive permit renewal deadlines due to hardship, including disaster-related circumstances.  Please click here for information on the permit renewal process, requirements and deadlines.