The NOAA OLE provided a CD with VMS data for the South Atlantic rock shrimp fishery. However, it should be noted that vessels equipped with VMS, as required for this fishery, are also required to have the VMS operational during all sea expeditions and many of these vessels target other fisheries, such as penaeid shrimp species. Thus, this data layer should be used to indicate the general location of all shrimping activities conducted by vessels required to have VMS in the southeast region, regardless of the species targeted by those vessels. Furthermore, the VMS data summary provided includes records that include vessels transiting an area, drifting, anchored, and marking bottom. Since the rock shrimp and royal red shrimp fisheries are prosecuted in deeper waters > 100 ft, those grid cells (blocks) with records in nearshore waters are most probably associated with fishing for penaeid shrimp. Furthermore, since the rock shimp fishery has been primarily conducted by Florida based shrimp boats during the 2006-2010 period reviewed, VMS vessel activity in the nearshore waters off FL, GA, SC, and NC only represent a fraction of the penaeid shrimping activity being conducted off those states since vessels that are only shrimping for penaeid shrimp are not required to use VMS. Data received from NOAA were first partitioned among five MS Excel files, each containing 12 monthly data sets representing each year from 2006 through 2010. Data consisted of date, time, latitude, longitude, and a label confirming the fishery type (see caveat above). The data provided comprised 2,882,145 records, which were consolidated in a relational data base (MS Access) for filtering. In the first stage of filtering, records were excluded if the latitude was north of 36.5667°N or south of 24.33333°N, or if longitude was east of -74.70000°W or west of -81.85000°W since these records were outside the project area of interest. After the first stage of filtering, 57% (1,643,310) of records were retained. These geographic locations were then plotted in a geodatabase for the second stage of filtering, which clipped the data relative to land boundaries. After the second stage of filtering, 729,009 records, or 25% of the originally provided data set, were retained. Stage two filtered data were imported to MS Excel for assignment of an 8-character SEAMAP (Southeastern Area Monitoring and Assessment Program) block identification, corresponding to the southeast corner of each 1 min. latitude x 1 min. longitude grid in the study area. Block identification was assigned as follows: characters 1&2 = latitude degrees; characters 3&4 = integer value of latitude minutes; characters 5&6 = longitude degrees without western hemisphere designation; characters 7&8 = value of longitude minutes. Stage two filtered data were assigned to one of 23,756 SEAMAP grid cells (blocks). All data points observed in a grid cell over the five year period were then assigned to the mid-point of that grid cell with respect to latitude and longitude. The number of filtered locations per SEAMAP grid cell (block) was skewed from a normal distribution (i.e., kurtosis = -0.64). Thirty-four percent (8107) of SEAMAP grid cells contained just one location, and a maximum of 4,953 locations were contained within a single SEAMAP block. Ninety-five percent of SEAMAP grid cells contained fewer than 132 locations. The above data distillation process may include grid cells showing VMS activity within areas that prohibit such activity, such as the Deepwater Coral Habitats of Particular Concern (CHAPC). This does not indicate illegal activity, but rather is a function of records present in these areas that represent transit or the fact that activity within a grid cell could occur within the portion of that cell that is open to the fishery. NOTE: FOR THE LAYER FILE (.lyr): Initial examination of the grid cells with fewer than 6 locations indicated that the majority of these records were likely to represent transit activities rather than fishing activities. Those grid cells were excluded for the purposes of the .lyr file. All of these records are retained in the feature class in the geodatabase.