[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 115 (Wednesday, June 14, 2000)]
[Rules and Regulations]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-14528]
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Part 622 and 640
[Docket No. 990621165-0151-02; I.D. 022599A]
Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic;
Essential Fish Habitat for Species in the South Atlantic; Amendment 4
to the Fishery Management Plan for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hard
Bottom Habitats of the South Atlantic Region (Coral FMP)
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: NMFS issues this final rule to implement Amendment 4 to the
Coral FMP. This final rule increases the size of the Oculina Bank
Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC) and incorporates two adjacent
areas within the Oculina Bank HAPC. Within these areas, fishing with
bottom longline, bottom trawl, dredge, pot, or trap is prohibited.
Furthermore, fishing vessels may not anchor, use an anchor and chain,
or use a grapple and chain in these areas. This final rule also
implements regulatory changes to reflect the South Atlantic Fishery
Management Council's (Council's) proposed framework procedure for all
its fishery management plans (FMPs) that allows for timely modification
of definitions of essential fish habitat (EFH) and establishment or
modification of EFH-HAPCs and Coral HAPCs. The intended effect is to
protect, conserve, and enhance EFH.
DATES: This final rule is effective July 14, 2000.
ADDRESSES: Copies of the final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA)
prepared by NMFS may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office,
NMFS, 9721 Executive Center Drive N., St. Petersburg, FL 33702.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Barnette, 727-570-5305, fax
727-570-5583, e-mail [email protected].
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The fisheries for shrimp, red drum, snapper-
grouper, coastal migratory pelagics, golden crab, spiny lobster, and
coral, coral reefs, and live/hard bottom habitat of the South Atlantic
are managed under the Council's FMPs, as approved and implemented by
NMFS. These FMPs were prepared solely by the Council, except for the
FMPs for coastal migratory pelagics and spiny lobster that were
prepared jointly by the Council and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery
Management Council. These FMPs are implemented under the authority of
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622, except for the FMP for
spiny lobster that is implemented by regulations at 50 CFR part 640.
On March 5, 1999, NMFS announced the availability of the
Comprehensive Amendment Addressing Essential Fish Habitat in Fishery
Management Plans of the South Atlantic Region (EFH Amendment) and
requested comments on the EFH Amendment (64 FR 10612). Amendment 4 to
the Coral FMP was included within the EFH Amendment. On June 3, 1999,
NMFS approved the EFH Amendment. On July 9, 1999, NMFS published a
proposed rule to implement the measures in Amendment 4 and requested
comments on the rule (64 FR 37082). On November 2, 1999, NMFS published
a supplement to the proposed rule due to the inadvertent omission of
information from the initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA)
summary in the proposed rule classification section, and requested
comments on this supplemental information (64 FR 59152). The background
and rationale for the measures in the EFH Amendment and proposed rule
are contained in the preamble to the proposed rule and are not repeated
Comments and Responses
Thirteen comments and one group comment were received on the EFH
Amendment, the proposed rule, and the supplement to the proposed rule.
A summary of public comments and NMFS' responses follows.
Comment 1: One commenter and a group comment asserted that the
Council's economic assessment in the EFH Amendment failed to evaluate
the impacts on the bottom longline fishery for shark, golden tilefish,
and grouper, a necessary exercise when implementing the EFH Amendment's
management measures (Actions 3A (expanded Oculina HAPC) and 3B (two
satellite Oculina HAPCs)). Therefore, they believe these actions are in
violation of national standard 8 (conservation and management measures
shall take into account the importance of fishery resources to fishing
communities by providing for sustained community participation and
minimizing adverse economic impacts).
Response: NMFS agrees that the Council's economic assessment in the
EFH Amendment does not address potential economic impacts to the bottom
longline fishery. However, NMFS disagrees that these actions are in
violation of national standard 8. Prior to initiating Secretarial
review of the EFH Amendment, NMFS reviewed the available data
(summarized in the IRFA and FRFA) and it reveals substantial catches of
shark, golden tilefish, and grouper by bottom longline gear from
statistical grids that encompass the Oculina Bank HAPC. The statistical
grids are larger than the Oculina Bank HAPC and, therefore, precise
catches of shark, golden tilefish, and grouper originating from within
the HAPC are unknown. However, the bottom longline fishery could
potentially be adversely affected by the expanded and satellite Oculina
Comment 2: One commenter and a group comment commented that large
portions of the proposed expansion of the Oculina Bank HAPC do not
include areas identified as Oculina EFH and, thus, are in violation of
national standard 2 (conservation and management measures shall be
based on the best scientific information available). The commenters
maintain that the proposed expansion consists of large areas of flat
mud bottom devoid of Oculina coral, and that the proposed actions will
not provide any Oculina coral protection.
Response: NMFS recognizes that the proposed expansion of the
Oculina Bank HAPC includes habitat areas aside from Oculina coral
communities, but disagrees that it is in violation of national standard
2. When delineating the boundaries for the expanded Oculina Bank HAPC,
the Council used the best available information to identify vulnerable
Oculina coral communities. However, the Council included habitat areas
other than Oculina coral to address enforcement concerns and regulatory
consistency issues to achieve the desired conservation goals. The
expansion includes areas adjacent to the Oculina coral communities,
such as flat mud bottom, to provide a buffer from accidental
incursions. Furthermore, it was necessary for the expanded area to be
large enough to allow for effective enforcement; the expanded HAPC
allows enforcement to more easily identify an incursion and prevent
potential damage to coral habitat. The expansion also provides
regulatory consistency between the rock shrimp and calico scallop
industries by establishing identical prohibited areas for the two
fleets; presently, the calico scallop fleet is permitted to fish in
areas closed to the rock shrimp fleet. Therefore, the Council used the
best available information in expanding the Oculina Bank HAPC. However,
relevant enforcement and regulatory issues that may have jeopardized
the effectiveness of the expanded Oculina Bank HAPC also influenced the
Comment 3: Two commenters requested an extension of the Notice of
Availability comment period past May 4, 1999, based on their belief
that the necessary documents were not available for distribution or
review. Furthermore, they claim that the internet web sites that
provide access to online versions of the documents were constantly
Response: NMFS disagrees with this comment. Copies of the EFH
Amendment and the associated Habitat Plan were available during the
subject comment period as reflected by numerous other comments received
from other groups. Although the Council's supply of documents was
temporarily depleted, there was sufficient time for the public to
receive the documents and review and comment within the statutory 60-
day comment period. Furthermore, the EFH Amendment was available on the
Council internet web site throughout the comment period. Claims that
the internet web site was malfunctioning are unsubstantiated.
Comment 4: Four commenters supported the conservation and
management efforts of the Habitat Plan and the EFH Amendment, including
the proposed measures to expand the Oculina Bank HAPC to protect EFH.
However, all groups noted that EFH and EFH-HAPC identification should
be improved to be species specific in subsequent amendments to FMPs.
Response: NMFS agrees with these comments and believes the Council
provided an exceptional source document on EFH in its Habitat Plan and
is well on its way to improve EFH information.
Comment 5: Two commenters stated that the Council has not
identified and minimized all fishing gear impacts. Additionally, one
commenter claimed that few if any management measures have been
implemented to protect EFH from the effects of a number of gears,
providing the example of bottom trawls. The commenter contended that
while bottom trawls are prohibited in and around the Oculina Bank HAPC,
they are allowed elsewhere in the South Atlantic exclusive economic
zone (EEZ) where there is a potential to damage other hard bottom
Response: NMFS disagrees with this comment. NMFS believes that the
Council has done an adequate job minimizing fishing gear impacts to the
extent practicable, as is required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
Furthermore, NMFS disagrees with the comment that the Council allows
bottom trawls in areas of hard bottom habitat elsewhere in the South
Atlantic EEZ. Amendment 1 to the Fishery Management Plan for the
Snapper Grouper Fishery in the South Atlantic Region (September 1988)
prohibited the use of bottom tending (roller-rig) trawls in the snapper
grouper fishery to prevent damage to sensitive hard and live bottom
Comment 6: One commenter stated that the EFH Amendment exceeds
Congressional intent and is overly broad. They claimed that the
Council's broad EFH description implies that EFH is not unique and that
it detracts from the benefits of the EFH designation process.
Furthermore, the commenter stated that an overly broad range of non-
fishing activities are identified as potential threats to EFH without
adequate justification. The commenter also stated that the proposed
rule, in particular the amended framework procedures, reflects the same
Response: NMFS disagrees with this comment. The Magnuson-Stevens
Act defines EFH as those waters and substrate necessary to fish for
spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity. Therefore, the
geographic scope of EFH must be sufficiently broad to encompass the
biological requirements of the species. As for the comment regarding
non-fishing activities, one of the stated purposes of the Sustainable
Fisheries Act of 1996, which amended the Magnuson-Stevens Act, is to
promote the protection of EFH through the review of projects, including
non-fishing activities, conducted under Federal permits, licenses, or
other authorities that have the potential to affect EFH adversely.
NMFS' EFH-related recommendations to Federal agencies on non-fishing
activities are advisory in nature. Federal agencies will be required to
consult only on those activities that may adversely affect EFH, based
on an assessment of the particular activity at issue.
The amended framework procedures under the EFH Amendment are
procedural in nature and do not have immediate substantive impacts.
amended framework procedures of the Councils' FMP simply allow the
Council and NMFS to undertake a more timely modification of EFH
definitions and establishment or modification of existing EFH-HAPCs and
coral HAPCs without requiring an amendment to the appropriate FMP. This
framework procedure will involve assessment of all expected biological
and socioeconomic impacts of the proposed action and an opportunity for
public comment prior to final agency action.
Comment 7: One commenter commented that the EFH Amendment and
Habitat Plan do not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act
(NEPA), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), and the Paperwork
Reduction Act (PRA).
Response: NMFS disagrees with this comment and believes that all
requirements of these statutes were fully met. The Council prepared
draft and final supplemental environmental impact statements (DSEIS and
FSEIS) for the EFH Amendment; both the DSEIS and FSEIS contained all
elements required by NEPA, the Council on Environmental Quality's
regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508), and NOAA's
Administrative Order 216-6 (Environmental Review Procedures for
Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act). All proper NEPA
procedures were followed and the DSEIS and FSEIS were filed with the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for publication of notices of
availability for public comment. EPA published a notice of the
availability of the DSEIS on July 17, 1998 (63 FR 38643). EPA published
a notice of availability of the FSEIS on April 9, 1999 (68 FR 17362).
EPA cited no inadequacies of the DSEIS or FSEIS. Specific NEPA-related
discussions of alternatives and expected environmental impacts and
other NEPA analysis elements are contained in the EFH Amendment's
Sections 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 8.0, and 9.0 and in the cover sheet
(viii), table of contents (pages i-v), and summary of NEPA elements
Section 4.8 of the EFH Amendment contains the Council's discussion
intended to meet RFA requirements; additional discussion and
information regarding impacts on small entities, as required by RFA, is
provided in Sections 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199. Also, NMFS determined, in
conjunction with publication of the proposed rule for the EFH
Amendment, that this action would have significant impacts on a
substantial number of small entities and prepared an initial regulatory
flexibility analysis (IRFA) as required by the RFA. NMFS announced the
availability of the IRFA for public comment in the proposed rule (64 FR
37082; July 9, 1999) and in a supplement to the proposed rule (64 FR
59152). This final rule announces the availability of the FRFA as
prepared by NMFS.
The Council did not propose any measures under the EFH Amendment
that will involve increased paperwork or consideration under the PRA.
The EFH Amendment provides for a voluntary vessel monitoring system
(VMS) to be established as soon as possible for the rock shrimp fishery
that would involve a collection-of-information requirement. NMFS
approved this provision in approving the EFH Amendment. Since the
voluntary VMS would involve only 2-3 vessels, this collection is not
subject to the PRA.
Comment 8: One commenter commented that the Habitat Plan fails to
show any connection between silviculture activities and EFH, and it
overemphasizes the importance of silviculture as a nonpoint source of
water quality problems.
Response: While the Habitat Plan does not illustrate any specific
examples of direct EFH degradation or adverse impact, studies cited
within the Habitat Plan indicate that there is a potential for adverse
impacts on EFH from silviculture or from activities related to
silviculture. The Council intended the Habitat Plan to provide a wide
spectrum of background information to aid in management, conservation,
and enhancement of EFH. Therefore, NMFS supports the Council's
inclusion of this pertinent material.
Comment 9: One commenter requested an extension of the comment
period for the supplement to the proposed rule due to its inability to
respond during the allotted time.
Response: NMFS is unable to extend the comment period due to
Magnuson-Stevens Act time requirements for issuing final rules to
implement approved fishery management plan amendments.
Comment 10: One commenter supported the proposed rule to expand the
Oculina Bank HAPC and the establishment of the framework procedures in
all fishery management plans.
Response: NMFS agrees with this comment.
Comment 11: One commenter commented that the expansion of the
Oculina Bank HAPC would include areas of flat, mud bottom. The
commenter states that this inclusion would not protect Oculina coral
but would negatively impact bottom longline fisheries for tilefish,
grouper, and shark. The commenter proposed a revised expanded area that
was believed to offer better protection for Oculina coral while
minimizing adverse economic impacts on longline fishermen.
Response: NMFS acknowledges that areas of flat, mud bottom are
included in the Oculina Bank HAPC expansion. The rationale for
including these areas is to facilitate enforcement and to implement
regulations consistent with the South Atlantic Shrimp FMP. While the
revised boundaries proposed by the commenter would isolate Oculina
coral, it would create enforcement problems. Therefore, NMFS disagrees
with this comment.
Comment 12: One commenter requested that further details of the
socioeconomic impacts on affected fisheries be documented, especially
the cumulative impacts of a number of federal regulatory actions for
highly migratory species, snapper/grouper species, and tilefish.
Response: To the extent practicable, NMFS recognizes and considers
cumulative impacts resulting from the implementation of a series of
management measures that affect the fishery in question. The analysis
of the potential impacts of this particular action was conducted based
on the status quo. Since the status quo takes all previous management
actions into account, any analysis of the impacts of additional
regulations implicitly incorporates impacts of previous management
actions. Further details of this analysis are found in the Regulatory
Impact Review, the IRFA, and the FRFA written to accompany this
rulemaking process. Thus, NMFS made a good faith effort to assess the
impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed actions on all
The Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, determined that the EFH
Amendment is necessary for the conservation and management of the
Council's FMPs and it is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and
other applicable law.
This final rule has been determined to be not significant for
purposes of E.O. 12866.
NMFS prepared a FRFA for this final rule implementing Amendment 4
to the Coral FMP. The FRFA was based on the IRFA and public comments
that were received on the IRFA. A summary of the FRFA follows:
Except for EFH Amendment Actions 3A (expanded Oculina HAPC) and 3B
(two satellite Oculina HAPCs), the
amendment does not contain measures that would result in immediate
economic effects. Actions 3A and 3B would enlarge the existing Oculina
Bank HAPC and prohibit fishing with bottom tending gear. The Council
originally determined that these regulations would affect trawling for
calico scallops to some degree, but concluded that there would not be a
significant impact and did not prepare an IRFA. NMFS subsequently
gathered additional information on the potential impacts and prepared
an IRFA. During the public comment period on the proposed rule,
fishermen commented that their catches of shark, grouper, and tilefish
would also be affected. In response to these comments, NMFS looked at
its catch data for shark, grouper, and tilefish. The data indicated the
possibility that these fishermen may also be affected by the rule.
The rule responds to the Magnuson-Stevens Act requirements to
identify EFH and to minimize any fishing related damage to EFH. The
overall objective of the rule is to protect, conserve, and enhance EFH.
NMFS received a number of comments on the possible economic effects
of the rule. One commenter stated that the economic assessment failed
to include any evaluation of the bottom longline fisheries for shark,
golden tilefish, and grouper. NMFS agrees that the Council's EFH
Amendment did not address those potential economic impacts. However,
prior to initiation of Secretarial review of the EFH Amendment, NMFS
determined that substantial catches of shark, golden tilefish, and
grouper may be affected, resulting in adverse economic impacts.
Another commenter stated that the EFH Amendment did not comply with
NEPA, RFA, and the PRA. NMFS disagrees with this comment. The combined
Council and NMFS efforts addressed all relevant requirements of NEPA
(including preparation of a DSEIS and FSEIS) and RFA (including
preparation of an IRFA and FRFA). The Council did not propose any
measures under the EFH Amendment that will involve increased paperwork
or consideration under the PRA.
Another commenter indicated that the expansion of the Oculina Bank
HAPC includes areas of flat, mud bottom and would negatively impact
bottom longline fisheries for tilefish, grouper, and shark. NMFS
acknowledges that areas of flat, mud bottom are included, but
incorporating these areas into the closed area would facilitate
enforcement and result in regulations consistent with the South
Atlantic Shrimp FMP.
One commenter suggested that further details of the socioeconomic
impact to affected fisheries should have been documented, especially
the collective impacts of Federal actions taken over a period of time.
To the extent practicable, NMFS recognizes and considers cumulative
impacts resulting from the implementation of a series of management
measures that affect the fishery in question. The analysis of the
potential impacts of this particular action was conducted based on the
status quo. Since the status quo takes all previous management actions
into account, any analysis of the impacts of additional regulations
implicitly incorporates impacts of previous management actions. Further
details of this analysis are found in the Regulatory Impact Review, the
IRFA, and the FRFA written to accompany this rulemaking process. Thus,
NMFS made a good faith effort to assess the impacts, including
cumulative impacts, of the proposed actions on all affected entities.
Consideration of the public comments did not result in changes to
The rule would apply to a total of 45-60 small business entities
that engage in the harvest of calico scallops, sharks, tilefish, and
grouper. The scallop fishermen utilize shrimp trawling vessels with
modified gear and generate annual gross revenues of approximately
$52,000 per vessel. Fishermen targeting sharks, tilefish, and grouper
utilize fishing craft in the 30- to 49-ft (9.1- to 14.9-m) category,
take trips that average 7 to 10 days, incur variable annual expenses of
$3,683, generate annual gross revenues ranging from $5,954 to $7,145
per trip, and realize annual returns to the owner, captain and crew
that range from $34,000 to $51,000.
No additional reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance
requirements by small entities are contained in the rule.
The Council considered two alternatives in addition to the proposed
alterative (Actions 3A and 3B). The status quo obviously would have no
impact on small business entities, and was rejected because it would
not meet the objective of providing additional protection for EFH. The
other alternative considered and rejected by the Council would expand
the Oculina Bank HAPC by an area larger than in the preferred
alternative. This option was rejected because it would result in the
closure of a major portion of the known historic fishing grounds for
calico scallops; the resulting negative economic impacts were deemed to
be greater than the benefits that would accrue from the additional
protection for EFH. Accordingly, the Council chose the alternative that
would meet the objective of providing additional protection for EFH
while attempting to minimize the economic impact on small entities.
Copies of the FRFA are available (see ADDRESSES).
List of Subjects
50 CFR Part 622
Fisheries, Fishing, Puerto Rico, Reporting and recordkeeping
requirements, Virgin Islands.
50 CFR Part 640
Fisheries, Fishing, Incorporation by reference, Reporting and
Dated: June 2, 2000.
Bruce C. Morehead,
Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries
For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR parts 622 and 640
are amended as follows:
PART 622--FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC
1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as
Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.
2. In Sec. 622.35, paragraph (g) is removed and paragraph (c) is
revised to read as follows:
Sec. 622.35 South Atlantic EEZ seasonal and/or area closures.
* * * * *
(c) Oculina Bank--(1) HAPC. The Oculina Bank HAPC encompasses an
area bounded on the north by 28 deg.30' N. lat., on the south by
27 deg.30' N. lat., on the east by the 100-fathom (183-m) contour, as
shown on the latest edition of NOAA chart 11460, and on the west by
80 deg.00' W. long.; and two adjacent areas: the first bounded on the
north by 28 deg.30' N. lat., on the south by 28 deg.29' N. lat., on the
east by 80 deg.00' W. long., and on the west by 80 deg.03' W. long.;
and the second bounded on the north by 28 deg.17' N. lat., on the south
by 28 deg.16' N. lat., on the east by 80 deg.00 W. long., and on the
west by 80 deg.03' W. long. In the Oculina Bank HAPC, no person may:
(i) Use a bottom longline, bottom trawl, dredge, pot, or trap.
(ii) If aboard a fishing vessel, anchor, use an anchor and chain,
or use a grapple and chain.
(iii) Fish for rock shrimp or possess rock shrimp in or from the
area on board a fishing vessel.
(2) Experimental closed area. Within the Oculina Bank HAPC, the
experimental closed area is bounded on
the north by 27 deg.53' N. lat., on the south by 27 deg.30' N. lat., on
the east by 79 deg.56' W. long., and on the west by 80 deg.00' W. long.
No person may fish for South Atlantic snapper-grouper in the
experimental closed area, and no person may retain South Atlantic
snapper-grouper in or from the area. In the experimental closed area,
any South Atlantic snapper-grouper taken incidentally by hook-and-line
gear must be released immediately by cutting the line without removing
the fish from the water.
* * * * *
3. In Sec. 622.48, the introductory text and paragraphs (c), (f),
(g), and (h) are revised; and paragraphs (k) and (l) are added to read
* * * * *
Sec. 622.48 Adjustment of management measures.
In accordance with the framework procedures of the applicable FMPs,
the RA may establish or modify the following items:
* * * * *
(c) Coastal migratory pelagic fish. For a species or species group:
Age-structured analyses, target date for rebuilding an overfished
species, MSY (or proxy), stock biomass achieved by fishing at MSY
(BMSY) (or proxy), maximum fishing mortality threshold
(MFMT), minimum stock size threshold (MSST), OY, TAC, quota (including
a quota of zero), bag limit (including a bag limit of zero), size
limits, vessel trip limits, closed seasons or areas and reopenings,
gear restrictions (ranging from regulation to complete prohibition),
reallocation of the commercial/recreational allocation of Atlantic
group Spanish mackerel, permit requirements, definitions of essential
fish habitat, and essential fish habitat HAPCs or Coral HAPCs.
* * * * *
(f) South Atlantic snapper-grouper and wreckfish. For species or
species groups: Biomass levels, age-structured analyses, target dates
for rebuilding overfished species, MSY, ABC, TAC, quotas, trip limits,
bag limits, minimum sizes, gear restrictions (ranging from regulation
to complete prohibition), seasonal or area closures, definitions of
essential fish habitat, and essential fish habitat HAPCs or Coral
(g) South Atlantic golden crab. Biomass levels, age-structured
analyses, MSY, ABC, TAC, quotas (including quotas equal to zero), trip
limits, minimum sizes, gear regulations and restrictions, permit
requirements, seasonal or area closures, time frame for recovery of
golden crab if overfished, fishing year (adjustment not to exceed 2
months), observer requirements, authority for the RA to close the
fishery when a quota is reached or is projected to be reached,
definitions of essential fish habitat, and essential fish habitat HAPCs
or Coral HAPCs.
(h) South Atlantic shrimp. Biomass levels, age-structured analyses,
BRD certification criteria, BRD specifications, BRD testing protocol,
certified BRDs, nets required to use BRDs, times and locations when the
use of BRDs is required, definitions of essential fish habitat, and
essential fish habitat HAPCs or Coral HAPCs.
* * * * *
(k) Atlantic coast red drum. Definitions of essential fish habitat
and essential fish habitat HAPCs or Coral HAPCs.
(l) South Atlantic coral, coral reefs, and live/hard bottom
habitats. Definitions of essential fish habitat and essential fish
habitat HAPCs or Coral HAPCs.
PART 640--SPINY LOBSTER FISHERY OF THE GULF OF MEXICO AND SOUTH
4. The authority citation for part 640 continues to read as
Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.
5. Section 640.25 is revised to read as follows:
Sec. 640.25 Adjustment of management measures.
In accordance with the framework procedure of the Fishery
Management Plan for the Spiny Lobster Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico and
South Atlantic, the RA may establish or modify the following items:
definitions of essential fish habitat, Essential Fish Habitat-Habitat
Areas of Particular Concern, Coral-Habitat Areas of Particular Concern,
biomass levels, age-structured analyses, limits on the number of traps
fished by each vessel, construction characteristics of traps,
specification of gear and vessel identification requirements,
specification of allowable or prohibited gear in a directed fishery,
specification of bycatch levels in non-directed fisheries, changes to
soak or removal periods and requirements for traps, recreational bag
and possession limits, changes in fishing seasons, limitations on use,
possession, and handling of undersized lobsters, and changes in minimum
[FR Doc. 00-14528 Filed 6-13-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-F