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NOAA Fisheries Publishes a Final Rule to Allow Transfer of Black Sea Bass Pot Endorsements

(Effective January 7, 2013)

NOAA Fisheries is publishing final regulations for a resubmitted action from Amendment 18A to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 18A) on December 7, 2012. Amendment 18A was implemented on July 1, 2012, and established a black sea bass pot endorsement program.

Amendment 18A also contained an action to allow black sea bass pot endorsements to be transferred to individuals or entities that hold or simultaneously obtain a South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit. However, Amendment 18A had the wrong preferred alternative designated and there were discrepancies in the record regarding the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's discussion of the alternatives. Therefore, NOAA Fisheries did not implement the transferability action in Amendment 18A and the South Atlantic Fishery management Council addressed the action in a separate amendment.

The Final rule for the Resubmitted Amendment 18A Action Amendment allows black sea bass endorsements to be transferred under the following conditions:

Valid or renewable black sea bass pot endorsements would be transferable upon the effective date of the final rule implementing this action.
Valid and renewable endorsements could only be transferred to any individual or entity holding or simultaneously obtaining a valid South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit.
Valid and renewable endorsements would be transferable, independently from the South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper Grouper Permit.
All landings of black sea bass using the black sea bass pot endorsement would be associated with the South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit with which the endorsement is associated regardless of when landings occurred.
Landings of black sea bass using the black sea bass pot endorsement would not be transferred with the endorsement.
Endorsements would not be automatically renewed when the associated South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit is renewed. (Endorsement holders would need to check a box on the application to renew their black sea bass pot endorsement.)
Addresses

Electronic or hardcopies of the Resubmitted Amendment 18A Action Amendment and the final rule may be obtained from:

The NOAA Fisheries Web site http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/SASnapperGrouperHomepage.htm.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Web site at
http://www.safmc.net.

To request a CD of the Resubmitted Amendment 18A Action Amendment contact:

            NOAA Fisheries

            Southeast Regional Office

            Sustainable Fisheries Division

            263 13th Avenue South

            St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

            Phone: (727) 824-5305

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