SOUTHEAST FISHERY BULLETIN
October 6, 2015
Correction to Final Rule to Expand Boundaries of Habitat Areas of Particular Concern and to Modify Transit Provisions for Rock Shrimpers
A correcting amendment to the final rule to implement Amendment 8 to the Fishery Management Plan for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitats of the South Atlantic Region (Coral Amendment 8) will publish on October 7, 2015, and is effective on that date. The correcting amendment fixes errors from the final rule to implement Coral Amendment 8 (July 17, 2015, 80 FR 42423).
Coral Amendment 8 extended protections for deepwater coral ecosystems by expanding the boundaries of the Oculina Bank Habitat Area of Particular Concern, and the Stetson-Miami Terrace and Cape Lookout Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern. The correcting amendment modifies three waypoints to describe the Oculina Bank Habitat Area of Particular Concern that were incorrectly listed in the final rule.
Coral Amendment 8 also implemented a transit provision through Oculina Bank Habitat Area of Particular Concern for fishing vessels with rock shrimp onboard. When traveling through the area, vessels are required to have gear appropriately stowed and maintain a minimum speed of five knots. Vessel speed is determined by a vessel monitoring system registering a ping (signal) at a rate of 1 ping per 5 minutes
The regulatory text in the final rule mistakenly states that appropriate stowage for shrimp trawl fishing gear includes the trawl doors and nets being out of the water and onboard the vessel deck or below deck. The correcting amendment clarifies the gear stowage provisions for vessels transiting the Oculina Bank Habitat Area of Particular Concern with rock shrimp onboard. Fishing gear appropriately stowed means that doors and nets are out of the water.
For more information on Coral Amendment 8 including the coordinates for Oculina Bank Habitat Area of Particular Concern, please click on the link to the Frequently Asked Questions found at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/coral/2014/am8/index.html.
Maps and coordinates of the Habitat Areas of Particular Concern can be found at:
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This bulletin provides only a summary of the information regarding the existing regulations. Any discrepancies between this bulletin and the regulations as published in the Federal Register will be resolved in favor of the Federal Register.
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FB15-076: Correction to Final Rule to Expand Boundaries of Habitat Areas of Particular Concern and to Modify Transit Provisions for Rock Shrimpers