Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
* Mail: Rich Malinowski, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13
* Fax: 727-824-5308.
The application and related documents are available for review upon written request to any of the above addresses.
The EFP is requested under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801
The described research is part of a Cooperative Research Program Grant and the Emergency Disaster Relief Program. The Cooperative Research Program is a means of involving commercial and/or recreational fishermen in the collection of fundamental fisheries information. Resource collection efforts support the development and evaluation of fisheries management and regulatory options. The Emergency Disaster Relief Program is administered by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, to assist in an assessment of the status of the for-hire fishery fleets operating in counties impacted by the 2005 hurricane season.
The proposed collection for scientific research involves activities otherwise prohibited by regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico. The applicants require authorization to harvest and possess snapper and grouper species for scientific research activities during the period from June 15, 2009, through June 15, 2012. Specimens would be collected from Federal waters off the west coast of Florida. Sampling would occur during normal fishing operations of the recreational for-hire fishery. Data collections for this study would support improved information about the catch, bycatch, discards, discard mortality, age structure and sex determinations for species in the reef fish complex. These data would provide insight on a stock's resilience to fishing and would help refine estimates of long-term biological productivity of the stocks. It is anticipated project results would yield valuable data within this fishery.
NMFS finds this application warrants further consideration. Based on a preliminary review, NMFS intends to issue an EFP. Possible conditions the agency may impose on this permit, if it is indeed granted, include but are not limited to, a prohibition of conducting research within marine protected areas, marine sanctuaries, or special management zones, without additional authorization. Additionally, NMFS may prohibit the possession of Nassau or goliath grouper and would require any sea turtles taken incidentally during the course of fishing or scientific research activities to be handled with due care to prevent injury to live specimens, observed for activity, and returned to the water. A final decision on issuance of the EFP will depend on a NMFS review of public comments received on the application, consultations with the affected states, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and the U.S. Coast Guard, and a determination that it is consistent with all applicable laws.
16 U.S.C. 1801