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NOAA Fisheries Announces the Availability of Final Amendment 10 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan: Essential Fish Habitat

Posted: September 6, 2017

NOAA Fisheries announces the availability of Final Amendment 10 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (Amendment 10) on essential fish habitat (EFH) and an associated Environmental Assessment (EA).  By considering environmental and management changes and new information that has become available since 2009, Final Amendment 10: 

  1. Updates and revises existing HMS EFH boundaries;
  2. Modifies existing Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC) for bluefin tuna and sandbar sharks;
  3. Designates new HAPCs for lemon and sand tiger sharks;
  4. Minimizes to the extent practicable the adverse effects of fishing activities on EFH; and
  5. Identifies other actions to encourage conservation and enhancement of EFH.

This Amendment finalizes the Draft Amendment 10 EFH preferred alternative, which identified the procedure used to update EFH and implemented this procedure with updated data.  Depending on the species, the preferred method (Kernal Density Estimation / 95 Percent Volume Contour) model output varied from minor adjustments in EFH boundaries to the inclusion or exclusion of areas.  This Amendment also finalizes the Draft Amendment 10 HAPC preferred alternatives.   

New scientific information and data on the distribution, habitat requirements, life history characteristics, migratory patterns, spawning, pupping, and nursery areas of Atlantic HMS are considered when updating Atlantic HMS EFH and HAPC boundaries.  The identification of EFH and HAPC boundaries focuses conservation efforts and brings heightened awareness to the importance of HMS habitat.  The Final Amendment and Notice of Availability are available, and maps and shapefiles depicting updated EFH boundaries by species will be available, on the HMS Management Division’s website at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/documents/fmp/am10/index.html

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