NOAA Fisheries Service has adjusted the recreational and commercial quotas for greater amberjack for 2010 to account for quota overruns in 2009. For 2010, the recreational quota will be 1,243,184 pounds (lb); the commercial quota will be 373,072 lb. The intended effect of the quota adjustment is to maintain the rebuilding plan targets for the overfished greater amberjack resource, and meet the regulatory requirements established by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in 2008.
On July 3, 2008, NOAA Fisheries Service published a rule that established commercial and recreational quotas for the greater amberjack and accountability measures if the commercial and recreational quotas are exceeded. Accountability measures for greater amberjack require NOAA Fisheries Service to close the commercial or recreational sector when the respective quota is reached or projected to be reached. If despite such closure, landings exceed the quota, NOAA Fisheries Service must reduce the quota the following year by the amount of the overage of the prior fishing year.
On October 24, 2009, NOAA Fisheries Service closed fishing for greater amberjack by the recreational sector after landings data indicated the 1.368 million-pound quota had been exceeded. Final 2009 recreational landings data indicate the recreational quota was exceeded by 124,817 lb; a 9 percent overrun.
On November 7, 2009, NOAA Fisheries Service closed the commercial sector to harvesting greater amberjack after landings data indicated the 503,000-lb quota was exceeded in-season. Final 2009 commercial landings indicated the quota was exceeded by 129,928 lb; a 25 percent overrun.
The 2010 quotas established by this rule reduce the recreational and commercial quotas to account for these overages. This action is necessary to prevent overfishing of the greater amberjack resource.
In response to the Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill, NOAA Fisheries Service has closed some areas of the Gulf of Mexico to fishing. This closure is expected to affect commercial and recreational landings during the 2010 fishing year. NOAA Fisheries Service will monitor landings during 2010 and announce any closure as data become available.
This bulletin provides only a summary of the information regarding this rule. Any discrepancies between this bulletin and the rule, as published in the Federal Register, will be resolved in favor of the Federal Register.