In 2008, a Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC) was developed to protect important deepwater coral. The SSA’s negotiations with the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (SAFMC), NMFS and other interest groups preserved the Royal Red shrimp fishery’s traditional fishing grounds through the establishment of a Shrimp Fishery Access Area. New Amendments that propose boundary revisions had the potential to undermine both the coral protection and fishery access aspects of the HAPC.
The SSA also worked with members and staff of the SAFMC as well as NMFS personnel to defer a proposal by the NMFS Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) to substantially revise and reduce the number of the coordinates that delineate the Deepwater Coral Habitat Area of Concern (HAPC) including the Shrimp Fishery Access Areas for the deepwater royal red shrimp fishery. The SSA continued to work with NMFS OLE and the Council staff and succeeded in reaching a compromise that is acceptable to the shrimp industry and addresses NMFS OLE’s objectives. This action was submitted in 2009 to the Secretary of Commerce for final approval and is expected to be approved and implemented in 2010.