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Amendment 2 was developed to address essential fish habitat (EFH) and bycatch issues, and to revise the FMP to address several issues raised during the public scoping process.

This rule implements the following measures: a new limited access permit for qualified vessels fishing south of 38°20′ N. lat.; an offshore monkfish fishery in the Southern Fishery Management Area (SFMA); a maximum roller-gear disc diameter of 6 inches (15.2 cm) for trawl gear vessels fishing in the SFMA; closure of two deep-sea canyon areas to all gears when fishing under the monkfish days-at-sea (DAS) program; establishment of a research DAS setaside program and a DAS exemption program; a North Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulated Area Exemption Program; adjustments to the monkfish incidental catch limits; a decrease in the monkfish minimum size in the SFMA; removal of the 20–day block requirement; and new additions to the list of actions that can be taken under the framework adjustment process contained in the FMP. The intent of this action is to provide efficient management of the monkfish fishery and to meet conservation objectives. Also, NMFS informs the public of the approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule and publishes the OMB control numbers for these collections.

Final Rule