Red Snapper Quota Increased

NMFS issued a final rule that increases the commercial and recreational quotas for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish fishery for the 2012 fishing year, and for the 2013 fishing year if NMFS determines the acceptable biological catch (ABC) is not exceeded in the 2012 fishing year; eliminates the October 1 closure date of the recreational fishing season; and announces the quota closure date of the 2012 recreational fishing season. Closing date for 2012 is July 10th at 12 PM. This final rule is intended to provide more flexibility in managing recreational red snapper and to help achieve optimum yield (OY) for the Gulf red snapper resource without increasing the risk of red snapper experiencing overfishing.

This rule is effective June 29, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the regulatory amendment, which includes an environmental assessment and a regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web Site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/GrouperSnapperandReefFish.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia Meyer, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, telephone 727-824-5305; email: Cynthia.Meyer@noaa.gov.