NMFS to hold two November hearings…

… on draft EA for Atlantic highly migratory species management plan amendment

ST. PETERSBURGS, FL – NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has released a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for public comment on the proposed Amendment 10 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (HMS FMP) that would update the Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for 31 species of Atlantic sharks and 11 species of Atlantic tunas, billfish, and swordfish.

hms123_11-16NMFS will hold public hearing webinars from 3 to 5 pm on Nov. 10, and from 10 am to noon on Nov. 18.

“Amendment 10, if adopted, will also update and enlarge the existing Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC) for bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico and the HAPC for sandbar sharks,” said Margo Schulze-Haugen, chief of the HMS Management Division.

Three new HAPCs would be created, she said: a lemon shark HAPC between Jupiter Inlet and Cape Canaveral, FL for juveniles and adults; a sand tiger shark HAPC in Delaware Bay for all life stages; and a sand tiger shark HAPC in the Plymouth/Kingston/Duxbury bay system in Massachusetts for neonates, young-of-year, and juveniles.

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act defines EFH as the waters and substrate necessary for federally managed species of fish to spawn, breed, feed or grow to maturity, and may include state waters…


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