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NOAA Fisheries Announces New Mid-Atlantic Deep Sea Coral Protection Area

December 14, 2016

Today, we are announcing the designation of the Frank R. Lautenberg Deep-Sea Coral Protection Area off the Mid-Atlantic coast. The area extends from the continental shelf/slope break off the Mid-Atlantic states (New York to North Carolina) to the border of the Exclusive Economic Zone.

The deep-sea coral zone consists of a broad zone, starting at a depth contour of approximately 450 m, and encompasses 15 discrete zones. The use of bottom-tending commercial fishing gear in the designated deep-sea coral zone is prohibited in this area. Prohibited gear includes bottom tending otter trawls, beam trawls, hydraulic dredges, non-hydraulic dredges, seines, longlines, pots and traps, and sink or gill nets.

The prohibition does not apply to the American lobster fishery or the deep-sea red crab pot fishery.

Map of deep-sea coral protection area in the Mid-Atlantic

Read the final rule as published in Federal Register and the permit holder bulletin.

You can find the boundaries of the Frank R. Lautenberg Deep-Sea Coral Protection Area on our GARFO GIS Website and the NOAA GeoPlatform.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel at 978-281-9175 or