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FB17-035
FISHERY BULLETIN ISSUE D
ATE: June 30, 2017
CONTACT: Frank Helies (727)-824-5305, Frank.Helies@noaa.gov

Actions to Implement Spawning Special Management Zones in Federal Waters of the South Atlantic Region

                      

KEY MESSAGE:

NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule for Amendment 36 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 36).  The actions in Amendment 36 and the final rule will implement spawning special management zones (SMZ) to protect spawning, or reproducing, fish and their habitat.

WHEN RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:
  • Regulations will be effective July 31, 2017. 
 WHAT THIS MEANS:

The final rule for Amendment 36 will implement the following management measures:

  • Implement five spawning SMZs in federal waters of the South Atlantic region off North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida (see map and coordinates below).
  • Inside of the spawning SMZs, fishing for, retention, and possession of fish species in the snapper-grouper complex will be prohibited year-round by all fishers.
  • Anchoring inside all the spawning SMZs, except Area 51 and Area 53 off South Carolina, will be prohibited.
  • Transit through the spawning SMZs with snapper-grouper species onboard will be allowed if gear is properly stowed.
  • Most spawning SMZs would automatically go away in 10 years unless they are reauthorized.
  • Modify the SMZ procedure in the fishery management plan to allow for the designation of spawning SMZs.  In addition, modify the framework procedure to allow spawning SMZs to be established or modified through the framework process, rather than through plan amendments.
  • Move the existing Charleston Deep Artificial Reef Marine Protected Area to match the boundaries of the permitted site.

 

Figure 1: Spawning SMZs implemented through Amendment 36.

South Cape Lookout (Corner Coordinates)

North Latitude

West Longitude

33° 53.040’

76° 28.617’

(5.10 sq mile)

33° 52.019’

76° 27.798’

33° 49.946’

76° 30.627’

33° 51.041’

76° 31.424’

Devil’s Hole / Georgetown Hole

North Latitude

West Longitude

32° 34.311’

78° 34.996’

(3.03 sq mile)

32° 34.311’

78° 33.220’

32° 32.748’

78° 33.220’

32° 32.748’

78° 34.996’

 

 

 

Area 51

32° 35.250’

79° 28.600’

 

32° 35.250’

79° 27.000’

(2.99 sq mile)

32° 33.750’

79° 27.000’

 

32° 33.750’

79° 28.600’

 

 

 

Area 53

32° 22.650’

79° 22.250’

 

32° 22.650’

79° 20.500’

(2.99 sq mile)

32° 21.150’

79° 20.500’

 

32° 21.150’

79° 22.250’

Warsaw Hole

North Latitude

West Longitude

24° 22.277’

82° 20.417’

(3.60 sq mile)

24° 22.277’

82° 18.215’

24° 20.932’

82° 18.215’

24° 20.932’

82° 20.417’

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: 82 FR 29772, published June 30, 2017.

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)

What are the fishing regulations associated with the spawning special management zones (SMZs)?

 What species are considered “snapper-grouper”?

 What is the definition of “fishing gear appropriately stowed”?

 Why is protection of these areas necessary?

When implemented, how long would the spawning SMZs be in effect?

How would the spawning SMZs be monitored and evaluated in the future?

What are the coordinates of the Charleston Deep Artificial Reef Marine Protected Area (MPA) and why are the boundaries being moved?

 

Charleston Deep Artificial Reef

North Latitude

West Longitude

NW

32° 9.65’

79° 9.2’

NE

32° 7.155’

79° 5.595’

SW

32° 2.36’

79° 9.975’

SE

32° 5.04’

79° 13.575’

 

Where can I find more information on Amendment 36?

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Other contacts:
Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707
           Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750