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Proposed Rule

Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Control Date

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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


Advanced notice of proposed rulemaking; consideration of a control date.


NMFS announces that it is establishing a new control date to control future access to the snapper-grouper fishery operating in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic. If changes to the management regime are developed and implemented under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), a control date could be used to further limit the number of participants in the fishery. This announcement is intended, in part, to promote awareness of the potential eligibility criteria for future access so as to discourage speculative entry into the fishery while the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS consider whether and how access to the snapper-grouper fishery should be controlled.


Written comments must be received on or before 5 p.m., eastern time, March 2, 2011.


You may submit comments, identified by 0648-BA33, by any one of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal
  • Fax: Attn: Karla Gore 727-824-5308.
  • Mail: Karla Gore, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, Sustainable Fisheries Division, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Start Printed Page 5326Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

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Kim Iverson, Public Information Officer, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council; toll free 1-866-SAFMC-10 or 843-571-4366;

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At the September 2010 meeting, the Council voted to establish a new control date of September 17, 2010, for the snapper-grouper fishery in the South Atlantic, due to concern that the previous control date established for the snapper-grouper fishery of October 14, 2005 (70 FR 60058; October 14, 2005), was almost five years old.

The control date would apply to persons who are contemplating entering the snapper-grouper fishery in the EEZ of the South Atlantic region. The Council requested that this control date be published in the Federal Register to notify fishermen that if they enter such a fishery after September 17, 2010, they may not be assured of future access if the Council and/or NMFS decide to further limit entry or impose other measures to manage the snapper-grouper fishery.

Establishment of the new control date for the snapper-grouper fishery would allow the Council to evaluate the level of participation in the snapper-grouper fishery and address any level of overcapacity. Control dates are intended to discourage speculative entry into a fishery, as new entrants entering the fishery after the control date are forewarned that they are not guaranteed future participation in the fishery.

Establishment of this control date does not commit the Council or NMFS to any particular management regime or criteria for entry into the snapper-grouper fishery. Fishermen are not guaranteed future participation in the fishery regardless of their level of participation before or after the control date. The Council may recommend a different control date or it may recommend a management regime that does not involve a control date. Other criteria, such as documentation of landings or fishing effort, may be used to determine eligibility for participation in a limited access fishery. The Council and/or NMFS also may choose to take no further action to control entry or access to the fisheries, in which case the control date may be rescinded. Any action by the Council will be taken pursuant to the requirements for fishery management plan and amendment development established under the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

This notification also gives the public notice that interested participants should locate and preserve records that substantiate and verify their participation in the snapper-grouper fishery in the South Atlantic EEZ.

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

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Dated: January 25, 2011.

Samuel D. Rauch III,

Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 2011-2125 Filed 1-28-11; 8:45 am]