The Deep Sea Corals Amendment to the Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) considers management measures to protect areas that are known or highly likely to contain deep sea corals. The draft amendment includes a range of alternatives that aim to protect corals by restricting fishing in select areas where fishing effort and prime coral habitats overlap, as well as by restricting expansion of effort into less heavily fished areas where corals are known or are highly likely to be present.
Kiley Dancy, Fishery Plan Coordinator - (302) 526-5257, firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the June 2015 meeting the Council selected preferred alternatives and approved the Deep Sea Corals Amendment for submission to the Secretary of Commerce for review and publication of a proposed rule for public comment. The amendment document is currently under review by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The Council recommended the designation of fifteen discrete coral zones and adopted the boundaries developed during the April 2015 Deep Sea Corals Workshop. The Council also voted to establish a broad coral zone with a landward boundary drawn between the 400 meter and 500 meter depth contour, targeting the 450 meter depth contour. The broad zone would originate at this landward boundary and extend seaward to the boundaries of the Council’s management region.
In both types of coral zones, the Council voted to prohibit the use of all bottom-tending gear, including both mobile and stationary/passive gear types.The Council approved an exemption from gear restrictions for the red crab fishery. This exemption would apply indefinitely in the broad zones and for a period of at least two years in the discrete zones. The Council also approved a provision that would allow for vessel transit through or across all deep sea coral zones with a requirement that the vessel’s fishing gear be stowed during transit. The amendment would also require the use of Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) for all Illex squid moratorium vessels regardless of whether fishing activity is occurring within or outside of any proposed deep sea coral zones.
Recent Documents & Resources
- Deep Sea Corals Amendment Overview (April 2016)
- Deep Sea Corals Workshop Page
- Revised Public Information Document, Updated May 2015
- June 2015 Council Meeting Materials
- February 2015 Council Meeting Materials
Scroll down for a complete list of documents.
- Revised Public Hearing Document, May 2015
- Public Hearing Document (draft amendment), January 2015
- Compiled Public Hearing and Written Comments, January 2015
- Additional Public Comment Letters and Petitions:
- Citizens Campaign for the Environment - Signatures and Modified Letters
- Earthjustice - Modified Comments and Signatures
- Garden State Seafood Association - Alternate Discrete Boundaries
- Marine Conservation Institute - Letter and Signatures
- Natural Resource Defense Council - Signatures and Modified Letters
- Ocean River Institute - Letter, Signatures, and Modified Comments
- Oceana - Letter and Signatures
- Rhode Island Shoreside Industry - Letters
- Save Our Environment - Letters
- The Pew Charitable Trusts Letter - Signatures and Modified Comments
- Seafreeze - Letters (3 Versions)
- Endangered Species Coalition - Letters (Volume 1)
- Wildlife Conservation Society
- Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation (MBCOI) Letter
- Wild Oceans Action Supporters
- NGO Joint Letter (revised)
- FMAT Recommendation Summary, January 2015
- Public Hearings and Comment Opportunity Notice, December 2015
- DRAFT Public Hearing Document, August 2014
- April 2014 Discussion Document, April 2014
- Range of Alternatives Decision Document, August 2013
- Draft Alternatives, April 2013
- Deep Sea Corals Alternatives Workshop, April 2013
- Scoping comments and hearing summaries, February 2013
- Scoping Document, January 2013
- Fishery Management Action Team (FMAT) Summary, January 2013
- NOAA Strategic Plan for Deep Sea Corals
- State of Deep Sea Corals in the U.S., October 2007
- NOAA's Deep Sea Coral Website
- NEFMC Omnibus Deep Sea Coral Amendment, June 2012
- Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Management of Deep Sea Corals between the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and South Atlantic Councils, June 2013
- NOAA Fisheries Guidance on Protection of Deep Sea Corals under the MSA Deep Sea Coral Discretionary Authority, June 2014
- NMFS Northeast Region guidance on use of MSA Discretionary Authority, May 2010