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January 18, 2017 6:40 pm EST
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NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on changes to the gag and black grouper recreational management measures in the Gulf of Mexico.

Proposed Changes:
  1. Increase the gag recreational minimum size limit from 22 inches total length to 24 inches total length.
  2. Increase the black grouper recreational minimum size limit from 22 inches total length to 24 inches total length.
  3. Lengthen the gag recreational fishing season from July 1 - December 2, to June 1 - December 31.
Need for Action:
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has chosen to increase the recreational minimum size limits for gag and black grouper from 22 inches total length to 24 inches total length. This increase is expected to provide more opportunity for gag and black grouper to mature before entering the fishery, and would create consistent recreational size regulations with those developed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and State of Florida for gag and black grouper. The Council also decided to lengthen the recreational fishing season from July 1 - December 2, to June 1 - December 31, which would apply to the 2016 fishing season. Should the gag recreational annual catch limit be projected to be met before December 31, the gag season would close when the recreational annual catch limit is projected to be reached.

How to Submit Comments:
NOAA Fisheries must receive comments on this proposed rulemaking no later than April 4, 2016. You may submit comments on the amendment or the proposed rule, identified by "NOAA-NMFS-2016-0010", by one of the following methods:

Electronic Submission: Go to the federal e-Rulemaking Portal at
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NOAA_FRDOC_0001-3766 click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attachyour comments.  NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments.

Mail:    
NOAAFisheries
SoutheastRegionalOffice
Sustainable Fisheries Division
 c/o Rich Malinowski
263 13th AvenueSouth
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on the regulations.gov website without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible.