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NOAA Fisheries Announces Public Hearings for Draft Amendment 10 on HMS Essential Fish Habitat

October 17, 2016

On September 8, 2016 (81 FR 62100), NOAA Fisheries announced the availability of the Draft Fishery Management Plan (FMP) amendment and Environmental Assessment for Amendment 10 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) FMP (Draft Amendment 10) on essential fish habitat (EFH).  Draft Amendment 10 would update and revise existing HMS EFH; modify existing Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPCs) or designate new HAPCs for bluefin tuna and sandbar, lemon, and sand tiger sharks, as warranted; and analyze fishing and non-fishing impacts on EFH by considering environmental and management changes and new information since 2009.  New information identified through the EFH 5-Year Review process on the biology, distribution, habitat requirements, life history characteristics, migratory patterns, spawning, pupping, and nursery areas of Atlantic HMS were considered when developing the proposed updates to Atlantic HMS EFH designations. 

NOAA Fisheries seeks public comment on the updates for Atlantic HMS EFH designations and existing HAPCs as well as the new HAPCs for lemon and sand tiger sharks. 

More information about Draft Amendment 10 may be found at

Public Hearings/Webinars

NMFS will conduct two public hearing conference calls/webinars to allow interested members of the public from all geographic areas to submit verbal comments on Draft Amendment 10.  See the table below for information on accessing the conference calls/webinars. 


Date and Time Access Information
November 10, 2016
3 – 5 p.m. EST

To participate in the conference call, call: (888) 455-5378

Passcode: 6522610

To participate in the webinar, go to:

Meeting Number: 396 375 761
Meeting Password: NOAA

November 18, 2016
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. EST

To participate in the conference call, call: (888) 455-5378

Passcode: 6522610

To participate in the webinar, go to:

Meeting Number: 392 481 985
Meeting Password: NOAA

Participants are strongly encouraged to log/dial in 15 minutes prior to the meeting to allow time to address any technical issues.  NMFS will show a brief presentation via webinar followed by public comment.  Participants who have not used WebEx before will be prompted to download and run a plug-in program that will enable them to view the webinar.

NMFS has also requested time on the meeting agendas of the relevant Regional Fishery Management Councils (i.e., the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, and New England Fishery Management Councils) to present information on Draft Amendment 10. Information on the date and time of those presentations will be provided on the appropriate council agendas.

Comments on Draft Amendment 10 should be submitted online at the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: (click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments), or in writing to Jennifer Cudney, NMFS Highly Migratory Species Management Division, 263 13th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.  Comments should be identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2016-0117.”  Comments are due by December 22, 2016.

This notice is a courtesy to fishery participants to help keep you informed about the fishery. Official notice of Federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register.  For further information, contact Jennifer Cudney or Randy Blankinship at (727) 824-5399.  This information will also be posted on the HMS website at:


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