Final Rule Modifies The Number Of Unrigged Hooks Carried On Board Bottom Longline Vessels In The Gulf Of Mexico
by NOAA Fisheries
Posted: 2018-02-06 15:59:09 EST

NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule modifying commercial bottom longline regulations in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf).

WHEN THIS RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:

  • Regulations will be effective February 6, 2018.

WHAT THIS MEANS:

  • The 1,000 hooks per vessel limit onboard commercial reef fish vessels with a bottom longline endorsement in the Gulf when fishing for reef fish east of 85°30' west longitude (Cape San Blas, Florida) has been removed.
  • The limit of 750 hooks that could be rigged for fishing on commercial reef fish vessels with a bottom longline endorsement in the Gulf remains unchanged.
  • Bottom longline endorsement holders in the Gulf can now carry an unlimited amount of additional hooks onboard their vessel.

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER:  83 FR 5210 published February 6, 2018.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Why are these changes needed?

  • Implemented in 2010, Amendment 31 placed a restriction on the number of hooks bottom longline fishermen with an endorsement could carry on board their vessel to help protect sea turtles; 1,000 total hooks of which no more than 750 could be rigged for fishing.
  • Currently, reef fish bottom longline fishermen can only carry 250 extra unrigged hooks onboard their vessels.
  • Industry representatives indicated this was not enough hooks for longer trips due to hook loss, and NOAA Fisheries observer data supported this.
  • After the 250 extra hooks are used, the vessel must return to port, reduce the number of hooks fished, or be resupplied by another vessel.
  • Allowing additional unrigged hooks on board should make multi-day trips more economical while still maintaining the observed reduction in sea turtle interactions since the implementation of Amendment 31.
  • Area rule affects (see map below).

Where can I find more information on this rule?

Sustainable Fisheries Division

263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
By FAX: (727) 824-5308

Source: NOAA Fisheries