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NOAA proposes fisheries amendment

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — NOAA Fisheries Service is seeking public comment on a proposed rule for the Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery. The proposed rule published in the Federal Register Dec. 10. The public comment period ends Jan. 11, 2010.

On July 2, 2009, NOAA Fisheries Service approved Amendment 29, which creates an IFQ program for grouper and tilefish species in the Gulf of Mexico. A final rule implementing the amendment published Aug. 31. This proposed rule would remove several measures constraining harvest of shallow-water grouper species that were inadvertently not removed in the final rule for Amendment 29, further specify criteria for approval of new landing locations for both the red snapper IFQ program and grouper and tilefish IFQ program, and provide a definition of “offloading” for IFQ participants. The preamble of this proposed rule also discusses two additional options considered by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council).

The grouper and tilefish IFQ program will begin Jan. 1, 2010.

Amendment 29 can be found at sero.nmfs.noaa.gov.

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