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See attached: <P align=left>NOAA IS SEEKING COMMENTS ON A PROPOSED RULE TO INCREASE<P align=left>THE RED SNAPPER QUOTAS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO<P align=left>NOAA Fisheries Service is seeking public comment on a<P align=left>proposed rule that would increase the commercial and<P align=left>recreational quotas of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.<P align=left>A recent red snapper assessment update projected<P align=left>overfishing ended in 2009, and therefore, the total<P align=left>allowable catch (TAC) can be increased. As evaluated in<P align=left>a regulatory amendment to the Fishery Management<P align=left>Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico,<P align=left>this increase would be from the existing 5.0 million<P align=left>pounds (MP) to 6.945 MP. The proposed rule would<P align=left>adjust the commercial and recreational quotas to 3.542<P align=left>and 3.403 MP, respectively, consistent with the 51:49<P align=left>ratio for the commercial and recreational allocation of<P align=left>red snapper. The proposed rule publishes in the Federal<P align=left>Register on March 30, 2010, with the comment period<P align=left>ending April 14, 2010.<P align=left>The proposed rule also includes a projection for the<P align=left>length of recreational season, which opens June 1, 2010.<P align=left>In determining the season length supported by the<P align=left>proposed 2010 quota, the increases in the average red<P align=left>snapper size and abundance that led to the overage of the<P align=left>recreational harvest in 2009 (preliminary estimate of<P align=left>more than 1.7 MP during the 2009 75-day season) must<P align=left>be taken into account. Absent action to increase the<P align=left>current 5.0 MP TAC, analyses indicate the fishery would<P align=left>remain open just 34-40 days in 2010 to avoid another<P align=left>overage. However, the proposed 3.403 MP recreational<P align=left>quota is estimated to support a 51-60 day fishing season<P align=left>in 2010. The closure date is tentatively defined as July<P align=left>24 based on the preliminary data and may be adjusted in<P align=left>the final rule.<P align=left>Request for Comments<P align=left>Written comments on this proposed rule to increase the<P align=left>red snapper commercial and recreational quotas must be<P align=left>received no later than April 14, 2010, to be considered<P align=left>by NOAA Fisheries Service. See the Addresses section<P align=left>for information on where and how to submit comments.<P align=left>All comments received by NOAA Fisheries Service will<P align=left>be addressed in the final rule.<P align=left>Addresses<P align=left>Electronic copies of the proposed rule or the regulatory<P align=left>amendment may be obtained from the e-Rulemaking<P align=left>Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, the Gulf of Mexico<P align=left>Fishery Management Council?s Web site at<P align=left>http://www.gulfcouncil.org, or from NOAA Fisheries<P align=left>Service, Southeast Regional Office, Sustainable<P align=left>Fisheries Division, 263 13th Avenue South, St.<P align=left>Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505.<P align=left>You may submit comments by either of the following<P align=left>methods:<P align=left>? Electronic Submissions: Federal e-Rulemaking Portal:<P align=left>http://www.regulations.gov. Enter the following<P align=left>docket number into the ?Search? box: NOAA-NMFS-<P align=left>2010-0049. All comments received are part of the<P align=left>public record and will generally be posted to<P align=left>http://www.regulations.gov without change.<P align=left>Comments will be posted for public viewing after the<P align=left>comment period has closed. All personal identifying<P align=left>information (for example, name, address, etc.)<P align=left>voluntarily submitted by the commenter, may be<P align=left>publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential<P align=left>business information or otherwise sensitive or<P align=left>protected information. NOAA Fisheries Service will<P align=left>accept anonymous comments. Attachments to<P align=left>electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft<P align=left>Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats<P align=left>only.<P align=left>? Mail: Peter Hood, NOAA Fisheries Service, Southeast<P align=left>Regional Office, Sustainable Fisheries Division, 263<P align=left>13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-<P align=left>5505.<P align=left>Comments received through means not specified in this<P align=left>bulletin may not be considered.<P align=left>Southeast Fishery Bulletin<P align=left>National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701<P align=left>This bulletin provides only a summary of the<P align=left>information pertinent to the rule. Any discrepancies<P align=left>between this bulletin and the rule as published in the<P align=left>Federal Register will be resolved in favor of the Federal<P align=left>Register.<P align=left>Need more information on these topics?<P align=left>Southeast Regional Office?s Web page:

http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov
 
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