8/11/16 – NOAA Fisheries – FB16-054: NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Rule to Modify the Current Seasonal Prohibition on Fishing with Black Sea Bass Pots and Enhance Gear Marking


(South Atlantic) 




Nikhil Mehta 



August 11, 2016

NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Rule to Modify the Current Seasonal Prohibition on Fishing with Black Sea Bass Pots and Enhance Gear Marking  

Comment Period Ends September 12, 2016

NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on the proposed rule for Regulatory Amendment 16 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Regulatory Amendment 16). The proposed rule for Regulatory Amendment 16 published in the Federal Register on August 11, 2016 (81 FR 53109). The comment period ends on September 12, 2016.

Currently, fishermen may not fish with black sea bass pots from November 1 through April 30, each year, in the entire management area for black sea bass in the South Atlantic. The seasonal prohibition was established in 2013 as a precautionary measure to prevent interactions between black sea bass pot gear and whales during periods of large whale migrations, and during the right whale calving season off the U.S. southeastern coast. Regulatory Amendment 16 would retain a November 1 through April 30 seasonal prohibition but would reduce the size of the prohibited area. The goal is to reduce the adverse socioeconomic impacts to fishermen resulting from the current seasonal prohibition while continuing to provide the necessary protection to large whales in the South Atlantic region.

The proposed seasonal prohibitions are below. The prohibition shown in Figure 1 would apply annually during November and April. The prohibition shown in Figure 2 would apply annually from December 1 through March 31. The coordinates for the proposed area seasonal prohibitions may be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/sg/2013/reg_am16/index.html

.Figure 1. 

Figure 2:


Regulatory Amendment 16 would also require an additional 12-inch wide purple band in three locations on black sea bass pot lines. The goal is to enhance current gear marking requirements for black sea bass pots to distinguish black sea bass pot lines from other fishing lines.

More information, including Frequently Asked Questions for Regulatory Amendment 16, can be found online at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/sg/2013/reg_am16/index.html.

Request for Comments

Comments on the regulatory amendment must be received no later than

September 12, 2016, to be considered by NOAA Fisheries. See the

Addresses section for information on where and how to submit comments.

Electronic copies of Regulatory Amendment 16 may be obtained from the NOAA Fisheries website at

http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/sg/2013/reg_am16/index.html, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov/, the Council's Web site at https://safmc.net.


You may submit comments by the following methods:

  • Mail:

NOAA Fisheries

Southeast Regional Office

Sustainable Fisheries Division

c/o Nikhil Mehta

263 13th Avenue South

St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

All personal identifying information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. 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 (such as e-mail), may not be considered.

NOAA Fisheries Southeast is pleased to announce the introduction of our Text Message Alert Program.  The program will allow you to sign up to receive important fishery related alerts via text message.

Text alerts you may receive include:

  • Immediate fishery openings and closures
  • Any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly

How to opt-in

Sign up for one or more of the following groups:

South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts

Text SATLRECFISH to 888777

South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts

Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777

Read FB16-054

For a complete list of NOAA Fishery Bulletins, click here.

Comment Period Ends September 12, 2016