| Re-opening a portion of the Georges Bank Closed Area to surfclam and ocean quahog harvesting : environment assessment, regulatory impact review - :4592 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
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Re-opening a portion of the Georges Bank Closed Area to surfclam and ocean quahog harvesting : environment assessment, regulatory impact review
  • Published Date:
Filetype[PDF-4.41 MB]

  • Corporate Authors:
    United States, National Marine Fisheries Service., Northeast Region, ; United States, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration., Office of Program Planning and Integration, ;
  • Description:
    "The following Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared in response to the request from Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) to re-open a portion of the Georges Bank (GB) Closed Area that has been closed to surfclam/ocean quahog (SC/OQ) harvesting since 1990 due to red tide blooms which cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6, the environmental impacts of this action and the anticipated level of significance of these impacts are addressed in this EA. Since red tide events can vary inter-annually, the areas of closure can vary depending upon the severity of the event and the level of monitoring by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to indicate safe consumption. For purposes of this EA, it is anticipated that the FDA will request portions of the existing GB Closed Area to be re-opened and closed based upon future PSP-toxin monitoring results of SC/OQ. The impacts related to re-opening and closing areas within the GB Closed Area to harvesting SC/OQ are discussed in this EA, and this analysis would be in compliance with NEPA for future related actions. If the Council requests the re-opening of an area larger than or an area outside of what is described in this EA, a new EA must be prepared. It should be noted that in the case of an emergency, such as a public health concern, the Secretary of Commerce has the authority, under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, to re-open or close an area at any time by publication in the Federal Register. Duration and seasonality are factors associated with a SC/OQ harvest area re-opening or closing that would affect the economic impacts described below in Section 6.0. In response to comments received on the proposed rule for this action, the previous area Alternative A (the previously preferred alternative) is no longer the preferred alternative. The previously preferred Alternative A area, which would have re-opened the entire GB Closed Area defined under previously issued EFPs, is no longer prefered because it spatially overlaps with two potential Habitat Management Areas (HMAs) currently being developed by the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) as part of the Essential Fish Habitat Omnibus Amendment (OA2). If approved, one or both of these areas could be closed to certain types of fishing gears, including hydraulic dredges. HMAs that will be considered in this amendment would most likely be implemented in 2014. If no HMAs are established in this portion of Georges Bank, this area or portions thereof may be reconsidered for reopening"--Introduction (page 6).

  • Document Type:
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