NOAA Fisheries Modifies Gear Requirements and Commercial Management Measures Gulf and South Atlantic Spiny Lobster Fishery

These requirements are for federal waters off Florida and address bully net gear requirements, commercial daily possession limits when using bully nets or diving for the harvest of spiny lobster, and the soak period for spiny lobster traps.

WHEN RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:

  • Regulations for commercial trap soak period are effective July 26, 2019. For the 2019/2020 fishing season, commercial spiny lobster traps may be baited and placed in Federal waters beginning Saturday, July 27, 2019. 
  • Regulations for the rest of the rule will be effective August 30, 2019.

SUMMARY OF CHANGES:

  • Spiny lobster commercial harvesters using bully net gear:
  • must have a bully net permit from Florida,
  • must mark buoys with the harvester’s Florida bully net permit number using reflective paint or other reflective material,
  • are prohibited from having trap pullers onboard,
  • are prohibited from the simultaneous possession of a bully net and any underwater breathing apparatus (not including dive masks or snorkels) onboard a vessel used to harvest or transport spiny lobster for commercial purposes.
  • Commercial spiny lobster daily vessel harvest and possession limits: 
  • 250 per day/vessel for spiny lobsters harvested by bully net in or from all federal waters off Florida,
  • 250 per day/vessel for spiny lobsters harvested by diving in or from federal waters only off Broward, Dade, Monroe, Collier, and Lee Counties, Florida.
  • Existing language in spiny lobster federal regulations that incorporates Florida regulations by reference has been updated, which includes a new commercial trap soak start time.
  • Commercial spiny lobster traps may be baited and placed in the water beginning on the Saturday immediately following the recreational mini season. 
     

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: FR 2019-16265, will publish on July 31, 2019.

This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.   

~