NOAA Research Expedition Will Map Fish Spawning Habitats West of Key West

Cruise results will guide future management of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Scientists from Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and partner agencies will depart Key West Thursday aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster to map fish spawning sites between Key West and the Dry Tortugas. Data collected on this 10-day research cruise will enhance scientific understanding of fish spawning locations, as well as fish movements in and around the sanctuary’s Tortugas Ecological Reserve.

Midwest Drought Brings 4th Smallest Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Since 1985

NOAA-supported scientists have found the size of this year’s Gulf of Mexico oxygen-free ‘dead zone’ to be the fourth smallest since mapping of the annual hypoxic, or oxygen-free area began in 1985. Measuring approximately 2,889 square miles, the 2012 area is slightly larger than Delaware.

Gulf Council Meeting & Agenda August 20-23

The meetings will be held August 20-23, 2012.

The meetings will be held at the Astor Crowne Plaza, 739 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130; telephone: (504) 962-0500. 

Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to the Explosive Removal of Offshore Structures in the Gulf of Mexico

In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued a one-year LOA to take marine mammals incidental to the explosive removal of offshore oil and gas structures (EROS) in the Gulf of Mexico.

This authorization is effective from September 3, 2012 through July 19, 2013.

Amendment 32 Revisions

NMFS issues this supplement to the regulations that implemented management measures described in Amendment 32 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Amendment 32) prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). After the February 10, 2012, publication of the final rule for Amendment 32, NMFS identified inconsistencies in the regulatory text regarding the quotas and annual catch limits (ACLs) for ``other shallow-water grouper'' (Other SWG) that needed correction. This final rule revises the regulatory text regarding the quotas and ACLs for Other SWG. In addition, this final rule implements some minor revisions to the regulatory text to improve the clarity of the regulations.

When Agencies Come Together, Fisheries Benefit

It’s not always easy to judge the success of collaboration. But thanks to five years of teamwork in the Dry Tortugas, anglers across Florida are seeing the collaborative benefits: more fish.

Greater Amberjack Recreational Season to Open in Gulf

Greater amberjack will open for recreational harvest in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters Aug. 1st. The season closes annually June 1st. 

Cobia & Spanish Mackerel Assessments

The SEDAR 28 assessment of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Spanish mackerel and cobia fisheries will consist of a series of workshops and supplemental webinars. This notice is for a webinar associated with the Assessment portion of the SEDAR process.

Reef Fish Advisory Panel Meeting

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene its Reef Fish Advisory Panel August 6 and 7, 2012. The meeting will be held at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, in Tampa, Florida. The Reef Fish Advisory Panel will convene at 8:30 a.m. August 6, 2012, and conclude no later than 5:00 p.m. August 7, 2012.

The Advisory Panel will review several amendments under development, which include:

Amendment 35 Sector Separate ACLs & ACTs


NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in Amendment 35 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP) prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. If implemented, this rule would establish sector annual catch limits (ACLs) and sector annual catch targets (ACTs) for greater amberjack; revise the sector accountability measures (AMs) for greater amberjack; and establish a commercial trip limit for greater amberjack. Additionally, Amendment 35 would modify the greater amberjack rebuilding plan. The intent of Amendment 35 is to end overfishing of greater amberjack, modify the greater amberjack rebuilding plan and help achieve optimum yield (OY) for the greater amberjack resource in accordance with the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

Written comments must be received on or before August 20, 2012.