NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has released a rule to prohibit the use of spearfishing gear in Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Possession of spearfishing gear is also prohibited except for vessels passing through the sanctuary without interruption, and only when the gear is stowed and not available for immediate use. NOAA has prepared an environmental assessment and has determined there will be no significant impact as a result of this action.
A spearfishing ban was considered during the 1981 designation of GRNMS and again during the sanctuary’s management plan review beginning in 1999. After additional socioeconomic information was collected in 2007, the spearfishing gear ban was proposed again in early 2009. Public comments on the proposed rule were received from March 4-May 4, 2009. Comments came through a public meeting on March 19 in Richmond Hill and through email, standard mail and through regulations.gov
For related documents or rule explanations, go to www.graysreef.noaa.gov
For questions or more information, call Resource Protection Coordinator Becky Shortland at (912) 598-2381.