New Regulations for Spiny Lobster in the Florida Keys30 July 2012
US - On July 16, 2012, NOAA Fisheries Service approved Amendment 11 to the Fishery Management Plan for Spiny Lobster Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic.
This amendment prohibits commercial spiny lobster trap fishing in certain areas of the Florida Keys to protect threatened corals. A final rule implementing these regulations published in the Federal Register on July 27, 2012 (77 FR 44168) with an effective date of August 27, 2012.
The fishery management plan for spiny lobster is jointly managed by the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils (Councils).
NOAA Fisheries Service and the Councils developed Amendment 11 to address requirements of a biological opinion developed under the Endangered Species Act that addresses impacts of the spiny lobster fishery on threatened and endangered species, including corals.
Staff from NOAA Fisheries Service and the Councils worked with fishermen, scientists, and managers to choose areas that would protect the most coral without overly restricting fishing. In total, 60 closed areas were chosen that cover 5.9 square miles. Maps and coordinates of the closed areas can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/SpinyLobsterClosedAreas.htm.
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