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NOAA Seeks Comments on a Proposed Supplementary Rule for the Shallow-water Grouper Quotas and Annual Catch Limits in the Gulf of Mexico
4/9/2012
Credit:
NOAA press release
NOAA Fisheries Service seeks public comment on a proposed supplementary rule. The rule would correct the regulations for the "other shallow-water grouper" complex. It published in the Federal Register on April 6, 2012. The comment period will end on April 23, 2012.

The final rule implementing management measures in the Annual Catch Limits (ACL) and Accountability Measures Amendment for Reef Fish, Red Drum, Shrimp, and Coral Fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico (Generic ACL Amendment) established a new species complex called "other shallow-water grouper." This complex includes scamp, black, yellowmouth, and yellowfin grouper. The rule set an "other shallow-water grouper" quota and annual catch limit.

Following the Generic ACL Amendment final rule, a final rule for Amendment 32 to the Fishery Management Plan for Reef Fish Resources in the Gulf of Mexico published. It erroneously replaced the new "other shallow-water grouper" quota and annual catch limit with older language that included gag and red grouper. Gag and red grouper are also considered shallow-water grouper, but they have their own quotas, annual catch targets, and annual catch limits. This proposed supplementary rule would re-establish commercial quotas and annual catch limits for "other shallow-water grouper."

Definitions
Annual catch limit is the highest level of landings that is acceptable to maintain an adequate stock size.
Annual catch target is the acceptable level of landings that provide a buffer, if needed, for management uncertainty.
Accountability measures are actions taken if the annual catch limit is exceeded.

Dates and Addresses
Comments on this amendment must be received no later than April 23, 2012, in order to be considered by NOAA Fisheries Service. Electronic copies of Amendment 32 and the Generic ACL Amendment may be obtained from the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s Web site at http://www.gulfcouncil.org, or from NOAA Fisheries Service’s Southeast Regional Office’s Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/. You may submit comments from April 6, 2012, to April 23, 2012, by either of the following methods: