Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin

 
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FB18-011
FISHERY BULLETIN ISSUE D
ATE: February 6, 2018
CONTACT: Kelli O’Donnell, 727-824-5305, Kelli.ODonnell@noaa.gov

Final Rule Modifies the Number of Unrigged Hooks Carried On Board Bottom Longline Vessels in the
Gulf of Mexico

 

KEY MESSAGE:

NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule modifying commercial bottom longline regulations in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf). 

WHEN THIS RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:

  • Regulations will be effective February 6, 2018.

WHAT THIS MEANS:

  • The 1,000 hooks per vessel limit onboard commercial reef fish vessels with a bottom longline endorsement in the Gulf when fishing for reef fish east of 85°30' west longitude (Cape San Blas, Florida) has been removed.
  • The limit of 750 hooks that could be rigged for fishing on commercial reef fish vessels with a bottom longline endorsement in the Gulf remains unchanged.
  • Bottom longline endorsement holders in the Gulf can now carry an unlimited amount of additional hooks onboard their vessel.

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: 83 FR 5210 published February 6, 2018

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Why are these changes needed?

  • Implemented in 2010, Amendment 31 placed a restriction on the number of hooks bottom longline fishermen with an endorsement could carry on board their vessel to help protect sea turtles; 1,000 total hooks of which no more than 750 could be rigged for fishing.
  • Currently, reef fish bottom longline fishermen can only carry 250 extra unrigged hooks onboard their vessels.
  • Industry representatives indicated this was not enough hooks for longer trips due to hook loss, and NOAA Fisheries observer data supported this.
  • After the 250 extra hooks are used, the vessel must return to port, reduce the number of hooks fished, or be resupplied by another vessel. 
  • Allowing additional unrigged hooks on board should make multi-day trips more economical while still maintaining the observed reduction in sea turtle interactions since the implementation of Amendment 31.
Area rule affects (see map below).
Where can I find more information on this rule?

• Number of Unrigged Hooks Carried On Board Bottom Longline Vessels Abbreviated Framework may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web
site at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/reef_fish/2017/Unrigged%20hooks/Unrigged_hooks_index.html.
• Additional information on bottom longline rulemakings in the Gulf of Mexico may be found at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/policy_branch/rules/gulf/reef_fish/index.html.
• Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
     By Mail: Kelli O’Donnell
     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