Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 14
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 14 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper- Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. The amendment would establish eight Type 2 marine protected areas (MPAs) in which fishing for or possession of snapper-grouper species would be prohibited, but other types of legal fishing would be allowed. The MPAs would be located in the following areas: one off southern North Carolina, three off South Carolina, one off Georgia, and three off Florida, and range from 5 by 10 nautical miles to 22 by 23 nautical miles in area. Amendment 14 also proposes to prohibit the use of shark bottom longlines within the MPAs, however, NMFS is proposing to implement the prohibition of shark bottom longlines through separate rulemaking. If implemented, these measures are expected to enhance the optimum size, age and genetic structure of slow growing long-lived deepwater grouper species.
Permits; Foreign Fishing
NMFS reopens the public review and comment period that closed May 30, 2008, for information regarding a foreign fishing application submitted under provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
Marine Mammals; File Nos. 715-1706 and 545-1761
Notice is hereby given that Fred Sharpe, Ph.D., Alaska Whale Foundation, 4739 University Way NE, 1239, Seattle, Washington 98105 has requested an amendment to scientific research Permit No. 751- 1706-00; and North Gulf Oceanic Society (Craig O. Matkin, Principal Investigator), 2030 Mary Allen Avenue, Homer, AK 99603 has requested an amendment to Permit No. 545-1761-00.
Schedules for Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops and Protected Species Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops
NMFS announces free Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops and Protected Species Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops to be held in July, August, and September 2008. Certain fishermen and shark dealers are required to attend a workshop to meet new regulatory requirements and maintain valid permits. The Atlantic Shark Identification Workshop is mandatory for all federally permitted Atlantic shark dealers. The Protected Species Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshop is mandatory for vessel owners and operators who use bottom longline, pelagic longline, or gillnet gear, and have also been issued shark or swordfish limited access permits. Additional free workshops will be held in 2008 and announced in the Federal Register.
Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Regulations
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposes to amend the regulations implementing the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP), to delay the effective date of one of the broad-based gear modifications and remove one of the gear-related definitions required in the recent amendment to the ALWTRP. Specifically, NMFS is proposing to delay the broad-based sinking groundline requirement for trap/pot fishermen in the Atlantic for an additional six months, from October 5, 2008 to April 5, 2009. Additionally, the proposed rule would delete the ``neutrally buoyant line'' term from the regulations to avoid any potential confusion with the requirements and assist enforcement efforts.