March 1, 2013 (MASGP-13-001-3)
OYSTER FARMING TRAINING SLATED
The Organized Seafood Association of Alabama (OSAA) & Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center is offering a hands-on training program for individuals interested in becoming commercial oyster farmers using ‘off-bottom’ techniques. Off-bottom oyster farming is intended to produce high-value oysters suitable for the premium half-shell market, and is not intended to compete with the local fishery. This program is limited to full-time residents of Mobile County, with priority given to individuals in the commercial seafood industry. Training will occur on Dauphin Island, a field site in Portersville Bay and other locations within the area. The training will begin this spring (around May 1st) and continue for up to 12 months. After successful completion of the training program, participants may have an opportunity to establish a commercial oyster farm within the oyster farming park in Portersville Bay (up to 2 acres, pending permits) or seek permits for an oyster farm elsewhere. No harvest, commercial or recreational, is permitted from the training area. Permitting for commercial oyster farms is still pending and no guarantee is made that trainees will be allowed to harvest any oysters raised. Under current permitting, this is a training & education program only.
- Full-time resident of Mobile County (demonstrated by an Alabama driver’s license) with the ability to attend training.
- Applicants must be at least 19 years old by May 1, 2013 (demonstrated by an Alabama driver’s license)
- Priority will be given to participants in the commercial seafood industry, demonstrated by holding commercial seafood licenses (harvester, processor, etc.) for at least 3 of the last 5 years; others may apply, but opportunities will be offered first to commercial seafood industry participants.
- Attend an initial informational meeting. [March 19th, 4:00-5:30 PM, Bayou la Batre Community Center, 12745 County Road 23, Bayou La Batre, AL 36509]
- Submit an application to Organized Seafood Association of Alabama with requested materials by 5:00 PM, April 2, 2013, along with a non-refundable $25 application fee payable to OSAA
- Participate in a formal training program, a 15 hr course, ‘Fundamentals of Off-Bottom Oyster Farming’ offered by personnel at Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory.
- Maintain one ~100 yard ‘run’ of oyster farming gear (selected from the permitted types of gear) for duration of training (up to 12 months) at the training site.
- Be willing and able to provide own transportation to training program locations and Portersville Bay site (e.g., boat).
- Follow best management practices at the training site, as determined by a site management committee.
- Contribute at least 10 hours of volunteer effort to the training program over the duration of the training program (12 months).
- Provide a formal evaluation of the program and document oyster production.
- Pay a non-refundable participant fee of $250 by 5:00 PM, April 16th, 2013 payable to OSAA.
- Provide a signed statement of acknowledgment that investment in a commercial oyster farm (0.5 to 2.0 acres) requires investment of $12,500 to $50,000. The intent of the program is to train individuals to work on and operate a commercial oyster farm, permits allowing.
There are two tracks of training, one of which will be partially subsidized by Sea Grant and the other requiring an investment in gear on the part of the participant. Questions? Call 251-824-1672.
IMPORTANT TED UPDATE
In the past, sea turtle regulations assumed that the otter trawl shrimp fishery was in full compliance with TED requirements and that TEDs were 97% effective. TED non-compliance was previously only a matter of individual vessel responsibility. Today, both the individual vessel and the entire fleet are held to a strict sea turtle capture rate performance standard that is based on an evaluation of fleet-wide TED compliance. This new standard affects everyone in the fishery.
The new performance standard is a maximum fleet-wide turtle capture rate of 12%. Detailed data collected by NMFS Office of Law Enforcement on the type of TED violations is used to calculate the fleet-wide capture rate. Since this new standard went into effect in June, 2012, the fleet has already exceeded the 12% capture rate standard for the first 6 month monitoring period. As required, this has resulted in enhanced monitoring and outreach by the agency in a cooperative effort to bring the fleet into compliance. However, continued failure of the fleet to meet this standard can lead to time-area closures and other harmful regulation of the fishery. This is in addition to any enforcement liability vessel owners and captains may incur as a direct result of TED violations. Here are some things all shrimpers can do to avoid further regulations:
- Know and comply with all of your TED regulations!
- Don't leave the dock unless you are sure your TEDs are in compliance.
- Review available TED compliance guidance.
- Attend TED training when available in your area.
- Ask the NOAA Fisheries Gear Monitoring Team (GMT) to inspect your TEDs and work with you to get them into compliance BEFORE you leave the dock-rather than wait for a law enforcement officer to board you and give you a ticket. To make arrangements for a courtesy TED inspection or if you have any questions, just call the GMT at their Pascagoula, MS, office. Contact the GMT coordinator, Dale Stevens, by phone at 228-549-1773 or by email at email@example.com.
- Share this information with other shrimp otter trawl fishermen. Improper and illegal TEDs on any vessel can now affect you.
- Conduct regular TED tune-ups. TEDs must be regularly maintained like other fishing gear in order to benefit sea turtles, as well as maintain shrimp catch. The grid angle must be checked on a regular basis to assure the TED has maintained the proper angle.
PROPOSED FEDERAL RULE FOR GULF GRAY TRIGGERFISH
NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment the proposed rule implementing Amendment 37 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) submitted Amendment 37 to NOAA Fisheries for review, approval, and implementation. Gray triggerfish is overfished (population abundance is too low) and undergoing overfishing (rate of removal too high). The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires that overfished stocks be rebuilt and that overfishing be halted. Therefore, the primary purpose of Amendment 37 and its proposed rule is to end overfishing of gray triggerfish and allow the stock to rebuild to healthy levels. The commercial allocation is 21 percent and the recreational allocation is 79 percent of the annual catch limit. Until a future stock assessment is completed or the annual catch limit is exceeded, the commercial annual catch limit and annual catch target will be 64,100 pounds and 60,900 pounds, respectively. The recreational annual catch limit and annual catch target will be 241,200 pounds and 217,100 pounds, respectively.
This proposed rule would establish a commercial sector trip limit of 12 fish per trip throughout the fishing year, and establish a seasonal closure to the harvest of gray triggerfish from June 1 through July 31. Implementing a trip limit and closed season is expected to allow a longer fishing season for the commercial sector. The rule would also establish a recreational daily bag limit of 2-fish per angler within the 20-fish reef fish aggregate bag limit, and establish a seasonal closure to the harvest of gray triggerfish from June 1 through July 31. Implementing a bag limit and closed season is expected to allow a longer fishing season for the recreational sector. The proposed rule would replace the current post-season accountability measure with an in-season closure authority based upon the recreational annual catch target and establish an overage adjustment to reduce the gray triggerfish annual catch limit and annual catch target by the amount of the overage. This overage adjustment would apply if gray triggerfish is overfished.
Written comments on the amendment must be received no later than March 15, 2013, to be considered by NOAA Fisheries. All comments received by NOAA Fisheries will be addressed in the final rule. Electronic copies of the proposed rule may be obtained from the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov, and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's Web site at http://www.gulfcouncil.org. You may submit comments on this document, identified by "NOAA-NMFS-2012--0199", by any of the following methods:
- Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0199, click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments (enter "N/A" in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). You can also attach additional files (up to 10MB) in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
- Mail: Submit written comments to Richard Malinowski, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
FREE NAUTICAL “BOOKLET CHARTS" FOR BOATERS
The Office of Coast Survey re-introduced free "BookletCharts," moving the product from an experimental stage into official production. Nearly a thousand newly updated BookletCharts—reduced-scale nautical charts in PDF format for in-home printing—are available free on the Web. (http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/staff/BookletChart.html)