06/19/18 – NOAA Fisheries – FB-042: Extension of an Interim Rule to Reduce Golden Tilefish Catch Limits in Federal Waters of the South Atlantic Region

South Atlantic Fishery Bulletin 
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FISHERY BULLETIN ISSUE DATE: June 18, 2018
CONTACT: Mary Vara, mary.vara@noaa.gov, Sustainable Fisheries, 727-824-5305
Extension of an Interim Rule to Reduce Golden Tilefish Catch Limits in Federal Waters of the South Atlantic Region 
KEY MESSAGE:
  • In response to a request from the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, NOAA Fisheries published a final interim rule on January 2, 2018, which temporarily reduces golden tilefish catch limits through July 1, 2018. The purpose of the action is to reduce overfishing (rate of removal is too high) of golden tilefish, based on the most recent population assessment, while management measures are being developed to end overfishing. NOAA Fisheries is extending the interim measures for an additional 186 days beginning July 2, 2018. The interim measures will remain in effect through January 3, 2019.
  • The commercial longline component for golden tilefish in federal waters of the South Atlantic closed on March 25, 2018, as landings reached the temporary 2018 commercial catch limit for the longline component. As a reminder, the commercial longline component will open on January 1, 2019.
SUMMARY OF CHANGES:
  • The final interim rule temporarily reduced the total catch limit for golden tilefish from 558,036 to 323,000 pounds gutted weight. Using the existing allocations, the temporary catch limits are 313,310 pounds gutted weight for the commercial sector and 2,187 fish for the recreational sector. For commercial fishermen, the hook-and-line catch limit is 78,328 pounds gutted weight and the longline catch limit is 234,982 pounds gutted weight.
  • The interim measures are being extended for an additional 186 days while the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council develops Regulatory Amendment 28 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery in the South Atlantic Region (Regulatory Amendment 28).
This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

 

Why is the temporary reduction in the catch limit needed?
  • In April 2016, a population assessment update for golden tilefish was completed using data through 2014 (SEDAR 25 Update 2016). The updated assessment indicated that the golden tilefish population is undergoing overfishing but is not overfished (population abundance is too low).
  • As mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries must end overfishing of golden tilefish.
  • These temporary regulations reduce overfishing of golden tilefish while long-term management measures are developed in Regulatory Amendment 28 to end overfishing.
What are the actions in the interim rule extension?
  • To continue a temporary revision to the commercial and recreational catch limits for golden tilefish (See Table 1 below).

Table 1. Commercial and recreational catch limits for golden tilefish.

Total catch limit
Commercial catch limit
Commercial Hook-and-Line catch limit
Commercial Longline catch limit
Recreational catch limit
(pounds gutted weight)
(pounds gutted weight)
(pounds gutted weight)
(pounds gutted weight)
(numbers of fish)**
323,000
313,310
78,328
234,982
2,187**
**An average weight conversion factor of 4.43 pounds gutted weight was used for converting the recreational catch limit into numbers of fish.
Where can I find more information on the environmental assessment and the interim rule extension?
  • Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
By Mail: Mary Vara
NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
By FAX: (727) 824-5308
By Phone:(727) 824-5305
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Other contacts:
Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707
Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750