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NOAA Fisheries Announces Extension of Comment Period and Webinar for EFP Application for Pelagic Longline Research in East Florida Coast Closed Area

Posted February 14, 2017

NOAA Fisheries published a Federal Register Notice on January 17, 2017 (82 FR 4856), announcing the receipt of an application for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) from Dr. David Kerstetter of Nova Southeastern University to evaluate pelagic longline (PLL) catch and bycatch rates from within the northern portion of the East Florida Coast (EFC) PLL Closed Area and compare those rates to rates from outside the EFC PLL Closed Area.  The availability of a Draft EA analyzing the impacts of granting the application to conduct the research using commercial PLL vessels was also announced in the same Federal Register Notice.

NOAA Fisheries has invited comments on the permit request, on specific terms and conditions NOAA Fisheries would place on the EFP if issued, and on the analyses presented in the Draft EA.  The application and Draft EA, as well as comments received to date, are available for review on the HMS Management Division’s website at

Given interest from the public and to allow additional time for Regional Fishery Management Councils to discuss the EFP application and Draft EA at upcoming meetings, NOAA Fisheries is extending the public comment period for this action to March 29, 2017.  Additionally, because of requests to hold a public meeting in South Florida regarding this issue, NOAA Fisheries has decided to hold a public webinar to facilitate public comments from across the geographic range of the U.S. Atlantic PLL fishery.  The public webinar will be held on March 27, 2017, from 1 pm - 4 pm EST.  Information on how to attend the webinar can be found on the HMS Management Division’s webpage at:

Comments may be submitted on either the EFP application or the Draft EA at:  Please include “0648-XF086” in the subject line as an identifier.  You may also submit comments via mail to: Margo Schulze-Haugen, Highly Migratory Species Management Division (F/SF1), NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. 

For more information, please contact either Craig Cockrell at (301) 427-8503 or Rick Pearson at (727) 824-5399.


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