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NOAA Fisheries’ Artificial Reef Team Completes National Plan

The NOAA Fisheries Artificial Reef Team, in partnership with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, has revised and updated the National Artificial Reef Plan. The plan, originally published in November 1985, was developed by the Secretary of Commerce under direction of the National Fishing Enhancement Act of 1984. This Act directed the Secretary of Commerce to develop and publish a long-term National Artificial Reef Plan to promote and facilitate responsible and effective artificial reef use based on the best scientific information available. The revised version was approved on March 7, 2007, and is now available online.

The revised National Plan provides information on the roles of federal, state, and local governments; interstate marine fisheries commissions; Regional Fishery Management Councils; and private citizens in artificial reef development. The document also provides guidelines for siting, materials, design, construction, and management of artificial reefs; and information on regulatory and permitting requirements, liability issues, and research needs. It also includes updated information on artificial reef activities and programs, and references other useful sources of information for artificial reef development. The most significant changes occur in the section of the plan dealing with materials for artificial reef development.

The interstate marine fisheries commissions have been involved in the development and review of this document due to their extensive experience with state artificial reef management programs. Most coastal states have coordinated their artificial reef activities through the respective interstate marine fisheries commissions, and most interstate commissions have established technical advisory committees for marine artificial reef development. These committees are composed of the coordinators of the state marine artificial reef programs, as well as representatives from NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Minerals Management Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Regional Fishery Management Councils.

Hard copies of the plan may be requested from the Partnerships and Communications Division of NOAA's Office of Sustainable Fisheries, at (301) 713-2379. For more information, read the Notice of Agency Decision or contact Christopher.M.Moore@noaa.gov.

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