Interim Triggerfish Rule

This final temporary rule, issued pursuant to NMFS' authority to issue interim rules under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), implements interim measures to reduce overfishing of gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf). 

This rule reduces the gray triggerfish commercial quota (commercial annual catch target (ACT)), commercial and recreational annual catch limits (ACLs), and recreational ACT. Additionally, this final temporary rule revises the recreational accountability measures (AMs) for gray triggerfish. At its April meeting, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) requested NMFS promulgate interim measures to reduce overfishing of gray triggerfish. The rule will be effective for 180 days, unless superseded by subsequent rulemaking, although NMFS may extend the rule's effectiveness for an additional 186 days pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The intended effect of this final temporary rule is to reduce overfishing of the gray triggerfish resource in the Gulf while the Council develops permanent management measures.

Red Snapper Assessment

The SEDAR 31 assessment of the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery will consist of a series of workshops and supplemental webinars. This notice is for a webinar associated with the Data portion of the SEDAR process. 

FWC Plant Restoration Improves Habitat for Fish, Wildlife in Lake Trafford

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) planted more than 25,000 aquatic grass plants in Lake Trafford on May 8. Biologists designed this project to provide better habitat for fish and wildlife that live in and around the lake. Lake Trafford, in Collier County, is the largest lake south of Lake Okeechobee.

NMFS Seeks Federal Approval to Continue Requiring VMS on Commercial Vessels

The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before July 3, 2012.

Center for Biological Diversity Files Petition To List the Dwarf Seahorse as Threatened or Endangered

Identification of protected habitat (grass beds) can cause restrictive regulations on their access 

NMFS, announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list the dwarf seahorse as threatened or endangered and designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

We find that the petition and information in our files present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted. We will conduct a status review of the species to determine if the petitioned action is warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial information regarding this species.

DATES: Information and comments on the subject action must be received by July 3, 2012.

Florida State Line Starts Scoping in AIWW Dredging Project

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District intends to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to analyze the impacts of the maintenance dredging of this portion of the AIWW, including disposal of dredged materials. Dredging helps keep the waterways navigable by removing excess debris and sediment from the floor of the water. 

The DEIS will analyze the impact that dredging has had on the area since 1976, providing background so that researchers can examine how continued dredging may cause an impact over the course of the next 20 years. The DEIS will use this information to evaluate alternative sediment and debris disposal options. NMMA encourages you to submit questions or comments by May 21. Submit comments to Mr. Charles W. Seyle, US Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, ATTN: PD, Post Office Box 889, Savannah, GA 31402 or email: CESAS-PD.SAS@usace.army.mil.

Florida Reps. Nelson and Rubio Pen Letter to Sec. Salazar with Concerns over Biscayne Bay General Management Plan

As a part of ongoing efforts to bolster awareness around the National Park Service Proposed General Management Plan for Biscayne National Park, which would close up to 20 percent of its land and water to recreational boating and fishing, Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio signed a joint letter expressing concern to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar. In the letter, the Senators note that the establishment of the proposed "marine reserve" as well as several "non-combustion zones" would essentially halt all fishing and boating in the area. 

On April 27th an oversight hearing by the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands titled "Access Denied: Turning Away Visitors to National Parks" took place.  Reps. David Rivera (R-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) were on hand as well to discuss the severe restrictions faced by the recreational fishing and boating community in Florida.

To read the comment letter 

New Manatee Protection Zones Coming to Flagler County FL

Flagler County is getting new manatee protection zones, which will be in effect from May 1 through Sept. 7 once signs are posted. 

ABC Work Group Convenes May 24

Working Group Via Webinar

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene its Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) Control Rule Working Group May 24, 2012, from 9:00 am - Noon Eastern Time. The meeting will be held via webinar. 

NACO Board Member Pat Kelly Presents Awards to FWC Employees

Captain Pat Kelly, Florida Guides Association president and NACO Board Member, presented FWC Officer Randy Hart with the “Trained Eyes Coastwatchers” Officer of the Year award.

“Officer Hart is a dedicated, proactive officer,” said FWC Lt. Ed Prouty, Hart’s supervisor. “His desire to protect Florida’s fish and wildlife is outstanding.”