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Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hard Bottom Habitats and the Snapper-Grouper Fisheries of the South Atlantic; Exempted Fishing Permit

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National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.


Notice of receipt of an application for an exempted fishing permit; request for comments.


NMFS announces the receipt of an application for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) from Mr. Chris Ivers, Project Manager, on behalf of the North Carolina Aquariums (applicant), Raleigh, North Carolina. If granted, the EFP would authorize the applicant, with certain conditions, to collect up to 50 red porgy and up to 500 lb (227 kg) of coral/live rock each year for two years in Federal waters off North Carolina for public display. The three North Carolina Aquariums are located at Roanoke Island, Pine Knoll Shores, and Kure Beach, North Carolina. This EFP would replace the current EFP which expires on December 31, 2002.


Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern time, on December 23, 2002.


Comments on the application must be mailed to Peter Eldridge, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 9721 Executive Center Drive N., St. Petersburg, FL 33702. Comments also may be sent via fax to 727-570-5583. Comments will not be accepted if submitted via e-mail or Internet. The application and related documents are available for review upon written request to the address listed here.

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Peter Eldridge, 727-570-5305; fax: 727-570-5583; e-mail:

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The EFP is requested under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), and regulations at 50 CFR 600.745(b), concerning scientific research activity, exempted fishing permits, and exempted educational activity.

According to the applicant, the North Carolina Aquariums (NCA), located at Roanoke Island, Pine Knoll Shores, and Kure Beach, are public, non-profit, self-supporting institutions established to promote an awareness, understanding and appreciation of the diverse natural and cultural resources associated with North Carolina's ocean, estuaries, rivers, streams and other aquatic environments. The aquariums are major educational and conservation institutions with free admission to school children in groups, and extensive field study and outreach programs. The specimens will be maintained in the NCA for public display.

The applicant intends, over a period of 2 years, to collect for public display up to 50 red porgy and up to 500 lb (227 kg) of coral/live rock annually.

The proposed collection for public display involves activities otherwise prohibited by regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plans for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hard Bottom Habitats and the Snapper-Grouper Fisheries of the South Atlantic Region (FMPs). The applicant requires authorization to harvest and possess corals, live rock, and red porgy off North Carolina.

Based on a preliminary review, NMFS finds that this application warrants further consideration and intends to issue an EFP. A final decision on issuance of the EFP will depend on a NMFS review of public comments received on the application, conclusions of environmental analyses conducted pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, and consultations with North Carolina, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and the U.S. Coast Guard. The applicant requests a 24-month effective period for the EFP.

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

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Dated: November 15, 2002.

Bruce C. Morehead,

Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-29681 Filed 11-20-02; 8:45 am]