NOAA Fisheries has published a notice of availability for Amendment 16 to the Mackerel, Squid, Butterfish Fishery Management Plan.
Amendment 16 would establish a deep-sea coral protection area in Mid-Atlantic waters where fishing vessels would be prohibited from using most fishing gear that contacts the ocean bottom.
The Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council developed Amendment 16 to protect deep-sea corals under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act's discretionary provision for deep-sea coral protection.
We are requesting public comments by November 1 on whether we should approve this amendment and the draft Environmental Assessment (pdf) incorporated in the amendment.
A proposed rule seeking comment on the implementing regulations for this amendment will publish soon.
John Bullard, Regional Administrator
Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office
55 Great Republic Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930
Please label the envelope: "Comments on Amendment 16 for the Mackerel, Squid, Butterfish Fishery."
Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, at 978-281-9175 or Jennifer.Goebel@noaa.gov.