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NOAA Fisheries Requests Public Comments on Actions to Improve Management of Vermilion Snapper and Red Porgy in the South Atlantic

Comment Period Ends June 7, 2013

NOAA Fisheries requests public comments on the proposed rule to implement Regulatory Amendment 18 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Regulatory Amendment 18). The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved Regulatory Amendment 18 for review by the Secretary of Commerce in March 2013, and the proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on May 8, 2013.

Population assessment updates for vermilion snapper and red porgy were recently completed. The vermilion snapper update indicated the population is no longer undergoing overfishing (when fish are taken from the population too quickly) and is not overfished (when there are not enough fish in the population). The stock assessment update for red porgy indicated the species is not undergoing overfishing but is still overfished. Based on the outcome of these population assessment updates, NOAA Fisheries is proposing to modify several management measures for vermilion snapper and red porgy.

The Proposed Rule Would:

Increase the vermilion snapper annual catch limit from 1,066,000 pounds whole weight to 1,372,000 pounds whole weight.
Reduce the commercial trip limit for vermilion snapper to 1,000 pounds gutted weight, and when 75% of the commercial annual catch limit has been met or projected to be met, the commercial trip limit would be reduced to 500 pounds gutted weight.
Remove the November 1 - March 31 recreational closed season for vermilion snapper (bag limit and size limit remain unchanged).
Reduce the annual catch limit for red porgy from 395,304 pounds whole weight to 306,000 pounds whole weight.
Request for Comments

Comments on the proposed rule implementing Regulatory Amendment 18 must be received no later than June 7, 2013, to be considered by NOAA Fisheries. See the Addresses section for information on where and how to submit comments.

Addresses

Electronic copies of Regulatory Amendment 18 may be obtained from:

The NOAA Fisheries' Web site
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Web site
To request a CD of Regulatory Amendment 18 contact:

            NOAA Fisheries

            Southeast Regional Office

            Sustainable Fisheries Division

            263 13th Avenue South

            St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

            Phone: (727) 824-5305

You may submit comments by the following methods:

Electronic Submission: The Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (select "Submit Comment," then type in "NOAA-NMFS-2013-0049" in the "Keyword or ID" box). All comments received are part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change.
Mail:
NOAA Fisheries
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
c/o Kate Michie
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
 

NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Comments received through means not specified in this bulletin may not be considered.

More Information

For more information on Regulatory Amendment 18 please click on this link to the Regulatory Amendment 18 Frequently Asked Questions.

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