March 15, 2010
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
Susan Gerhart or Susan.Gerhart@noaa.gov
727-824-5305, FAX 727-824-5308
Gulf Council Press Release: Southeast Fishery Bulletin - CONTROL DATES FOR THE KING AND SPANISH MACKEREL FISHERIES OF THE GULF OF MEXICO
On March 15, 2010, NOAA Fisheries Service published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking revising control dates for the Gulf group king and Spanish mackerel components of the coastal migratory pelagic fishery. This notice informs participants in the fishery of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s (Council) intention to consider further limiting access within the commercial sector of this fishery.
Specifically, the Council may consider creating a catch share program. To discourage accelerated effort to develop a catch history before the program is implemented, the Council may establish eligibility criteria based on catch histories from and before the most recent full fishing season. For king mackerel the date would be June 30, 2009, and for Spanish mackerel the date would be March 31, 2010. Thus, landings of the respective species after these dates may not count toward eligibility under future management programs. The previous control date for both components of the fishery was October 16, 1995. The current notice moves the control dates to the end of the most recent full fishing year to allow incorporation of more recent, as well as historical, fishing activity.
The revision of control dates does not commit the Council or NOAA Fisheries Service to any particular management regime. The Council may or may not make use of these control dates as part of the qualifying criteria for participation in any future catch share or other management program for Gulf group mackerel. Fishermen are not guaranteed future participation in the fishery, regardless of their entry date or intensity of participation in the fishery before or after the control dates under consideration. The Council may give variably weighted consideration to fishermen active in the fishery before and after the control dates. The Council also may choose to take no further action to control entry or access to the fishery, and rescind the control dates.
Publication of the control dates informs the commercial fishing sector that the Council is considering management measures in its jurisdictional area that could limit eligibility in the commercial mackerel fishery. Implementation of any program would require preparation of an amendment to the fishery management plan and publication of a notice of availability and proposed rule with pertinent public comment periods.
Request for Comments
Comments on the establishment of control dates for this fishery must be submitted by April 14, 2010. Comments should apply to the control date as an eligibility requirement for a catch share program, not the catch share program itself. You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
● Electronic Submissions: Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments received are part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. No comments will be posted for public viewing after the comment period closes. 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 Service will accept anonymous comments. To submit comments enter “NOAA-NMFS-2010-0031” in the keyword search and then check the box “send a comment or submission.” Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
● Mail: Susan Gerhart, Southeast Regional Office, NOAA Fisheries Service, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505.